TRANSIENCE T H I S I S
ISSUE NO. 8 WWW.ATWOODMAGAZINE.COM
COVER by ELLIOT T ALEX ANDER M O D E L | N I D A @ S C O U T STYLING | MONICA AVILA - THEACIDNESS.COM M U A | K E K E VA S Q U E Z @ L O O K 4
Editor-in-Chief & Founder LIZA PITTARD
Managing Editor NITESH GUPTA
C o p y E di to r LAURA WINGFIELD
Music Director MITCH MOSK
Literary Director JEANNINE ERASMUS
W r i t e r s
ALEXIS GARCIA CRISTINA GOOD MOLLY GOLSKY LIBBY HAYS MORGAN MCTIERNAN CHARLOTTE RASKOVICH LARA LOBRUTTO
P h oto g r a p h y ELLIOTT ALEXANDER LAUREN WITHROW KAYLIN AMABILE NOLWEN CIFUENTES TAYLOR VARVIL
SIMON BETSALEL NAYANTARA DUTTA JESSICA GAY
Special Thanks to EMILY ALFORD
Transience isnâ€™t a term that immediately comes to mind when I think about the fundamental elements of the artistic process, but throughout the process of working on this issue, it has become apparent that this concept is ever-present in the arts. Transience to me means evolution, the uprooting of permanence, fleeting moments, the ephemeral. As artists, it is our natural inclination to grow and change, and this can be seen by piecing together the timeline of our creations. We all have resounding transient events in our lives that, although they are shortlived, have repercussions that effect not only our work, but also who we are, which, as artists, further informs our art, our music. By pinpointing this concept of transience as it exists in the lives and works of each individual, we are able to dig deeper into the stories behind each creator. These stories are what Atwood is all about. Issue 8 represents an important personal milestone. Atwood is now entering its third year of existence. Our team has expanded to over twenty people who are some of the most inspiring and dedicated people Iâ€™ve ever worked with, and we now have a fully functioning website, providing our readers with even more content. I canâ€™t believe that what started as a little project to pass the time has now turned into an ever-expanding publication with a reach that stretches all over the world. To those of you who have been with us since the beginning or the ones that are just now discovering Atwood, I cannot thank you enough for your support and coming with us along the journey.
L i z a P i t ta r d
Zara dress, Equipment shirt, Birkenstocks
Photographer | Lauren Withrow Stylist | Jamie Gorden @ Seaminx Stylist Assistant | Brocke Lyons HMUA | Shane Monden @ Wallflower Model | Taylor @ Wallflower 8
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Zara dress, Equipment shirt, Birkenstocks
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NONONO From Sweden to America and beyond, NONONO is taking the world by storm. This indie rock trio has played at several music festivals this summer, including Lollapalooza and Firefly, and has seized the opportunity to travel the world on tour. Their newly released album,We Are Only
What We Feel, has a magical sound that portrays the membersâ€™ emotions and conjures those same sentiments in their listeners. Although each member of the band has a different musical style, collectively they form a harmonious trio that has a bright future ahead of it.
B Y M O L LY G O L S K I
Photo: RenĂŠ & Radka
You guys recently released your first debut album. Has the response been what you expected? It’s kind of special with albums nowadays, since the market is so single-oriented. So you get more response on a single although you work so much more, harder, and longer on an album. But a full length album felt important to us and we are very happy with the response we get on the live shows and from our listeners. How do you feel the title of the album, We Are Only What We Feel, is represented through the songs themselves? The album title refers to being rather than seeming to be, so to lay aside the should-do’s and what you think others think you should do. Throughout the album we just wanted to go with whatever sounds and emotions that inspired us and let that take us wherever it did. I write and care only about what kind of emotion a song gives me, so I would say, yes, there is a little bit of the album title in every song. What artists have had the most influence On your music? We are completely different when it comes to music influences so that is a really hard one. Tobias comes from the hip hop world, Michel loves 80s synth (Depech Mode and The Cure), and I’m more into sing and songwriter stuff (Martha Wainwright, Bon Iver). It will have to be a mix of those three.
Is there a story behind how NONONO became the name of your band? Michel and Tobias felt like they needed to say no to music projects where they didn’t feel fully invested in order to have time for the type of music they really wanted to do (which was our project). And with time it has become a more general band motto. To make active choices in life and leave space for the things you really want to do. Pumpin Blood is a song that listeners cannot help bobbing their heads to. What do you think makes this song so special? We were all in a very happy place writing the song (Swedish summer), and it was one of those songs written in a heart beat which I think makes it very direct. Hungry Eyes has a very emotional sound. Can you guys elaborate on the song’s meaning? It’s about releasing yourself from the heaviness of the world, believing in what you think is beautiful in life, and holding on to your own opinion of right and wrong. I feel like I am the absolute worst at explaining meanings of songs since they are so emotionally driven, but the core feel of the song is to find strengths in your own beliefs.
Photo: Per Kristiansen
â€œWith time [NONONO] has become a more general band motto. To make active choices in life and leave space for the things you really want to do.â€?
Photo: René & Radka
When you are not playing music, what do you like to spend your time doing? I’m very much in love with the nature, so a lot of walks, and, of course, friends and family as much as possible as soon as we are home. This one is very important, are you guys cat or dog people? Hmm, we are so different! Tobias is allergic, Michel doesn’t really like animals, and I really love both cats and dogs. But yeah, I guess I prefer dogs. As personas I would say me and Michel are more happy go lucky dogs whereas Tobias is more of a (cool) cat.
What has been the most exciting thing that has happened to the band so far? We are just about to enter Red Rocks together with Lykke Li and Foster the People, so we are very excited about that! How was your experience at Firefly 2014? Was it what you were expecting? We are still overwhelmed by the fact that people outside of Sweden are listening in, so our Firefly experience was truly amazing! What direction do you see yourselves going in the future? Sound wise we want to be as open as ever, so we are very excited to step into a new writing period and see what comes out. 23
NATALIE KUCKEN A C O N V E R S AT I O N W I T H
By Morgan McTiernan
Dreaming is what we do when we want our minds to escape. What we experience is what we want to make reality. Our subconscious takes our minds on a field trip inspired by our experiences and emotions while thinking becomes obsolete. Visual art can have much the same emotional effects on us. Art has the capability of reaching into oneâ€™s mind to highlight emotions surrounding events from the past. Natalie Kuckenâ€™s photography has embraced all of these qualities to capture a dreamlike aesthetic. Her photography consists of surreal visions which capture her dreams beautifully. 24
You prefer not to tell about people about yourself so that people can imagine your story. How would you like them to imagine it? I’m not sure. I think it’s a bit of a cop-out bio. Then again I don’t really think it’s possible, nor do I want to control what a person feels or imagines or how they connect when they look at an image or look at any sort of visual art, etc. How did you feel when you got your first break? And how did it come about? When I was much younger I was found by my first large clothing company through the web. It wasn’t so much of a jump forward in my career, but the start of it. The reassurance it gave me of my work’s worth was mostly unconscious (I don’t often think pointedly about my work relating to others’ opinions – I try to please myself and don’t worry about the rest) but thinking back on it now, it was important.
Images speak louder words. What would you like your images to say? Something quiet. The process of taking a photograph can be described as transient, taken with the quick click of a button, but the product is permanent–a moment held in time. This makes photography a unique medium. What else do you think sets photography apart to you? Why photograph? Photography first caught me by forcing me to get out. If I wanted a photograph of something amazing, I had to go and experience that something amazing and photograph it, rather than sitting at home and painting my imagining of that something, for example. I think I photograph primarily (aka it is my ‘passion’) because it’s the only medium that I’ve been able to find a voice in. I’m interested in creating and of course viewing all visual mediums, but I think when viewing you must be able to ‘hear’ something, and in photography my ‘volume’ is far higher, for whatever reason.
Your work can be defined as whimsical and dreamlike. How did you come Who or what influences you artistito this aesthetic? cally? Not on purpose – it was a slow process, and it is Lately I’m very attracted to simple paintings– things still and always will be evolving. I don’t think a spevery focused on color and composition. cific reason can be put into words for a person’s basic aesthetics. How do you envision your editorials? It’s never on purpose or without help from whatDescribe your artistic process. ever team that I’m working with, the complete reMy documentary photographs aren’t much of a sult. Sometimes I’ll see a stranger doing something process – I try to capture what attracts me in an odd or read a sentence from something and a whole attempt to create a visual diary and to express a photographic story will be in my mind instantly – certain feeling in the actual images through what I something clicks and there’s never a particular reaexperience. My fashion and planned work varies – son for it. it can take months of preparation and I often map out what I want to convey very clearly on paper. What advice would you give to your There are many components to photographically younger self? organizing a shoot, from how much a model is able Don’t be so dependent on being independent. to move in each look so I know how freely she can pose to trying to best articulate what a client envi- What are your hopes for your next sions into pixels. chapter? I just want to do what I want and be genuine in my life and art; what comes next will be okay. 28
Apparitions Photography/styling | Taylor Varvil Model | Madeleine Acton Athena floral crown | Mystic Magic Masquerade
C L AU D I O A . T R O N C O S O R O JA S Claudio A. Troncoso Rojas cannot stay in one place for long. He travels across the globe seeking to capture the moments when architecture, nature, and motion collide. Observing his art, one can distinguish the lazily elegant way nature creeps into urban centers, contrasting with the blatantly fast-paced city life. His photography is his way of discovering and understanding the world and the cultures which inhabit it, and it helps viewers do the same. B y C r i st i n a G o o d
Have you always wanted to become an artist? If not, what was your dream job as a child? The truth is that I never thought about myself as an artist, but rather as an architect who takes photographs. During my life, I have always had the interest to get closer to the cultural field or the art world, either through spaces, materials, pictures, people, or institutions. So more than it is to be an artist, I have wanted to be close to this area of work; I find it very interesting and stimulating, full of exploration potential, bringing together multiple disciplines and generating many discursive lines. When I was a boy I passed through several stages: one day I wanted to be an astronaut and then I wanted to be an archaeologist (after watching the Indiana Jones movies). Basically, I dreamed of getting a job where I had to travel and appreciate multiple landscapes and cultures.
Have you ever gotten lost in a country where you donâ€™t speak the language? If so, elaborate. I have been lucky. I have visited several countries worldwide where I did not know the language at all, such as Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Lisbon, and France, among others. However, in all those countries I was able to communicate in one way or another. I prepared every trip thoroughly, using maps, data and general info, but one of the most remote places Iâ€™ve been and where I actually got lost was in Tokyo. It was my fault; I had to travel from the city of Tokyo to Narita airport for my flight back to Taipei. I had planned the route the day before, calculating the right time and train. However when I was on my way to the airport, I did not consider switching trains and the Japanese punctuality. The train service officials were very friendly and tried to guide me as best as they could but our language differences made it so that I couldnâ€™t understand the instructions, and I took the wrong train! Finally, as in the movies, I made it to the airport just when the plane was taking off, so I missed my flight.
Do you think photography negates or supports the definition of transience? I think that photography does both, denies and supports. The support comes from the action of capturing an image of an object or a specific time and attaches the result into a medium, which in one way or another endures over time. We do not know if it will last a couple of days or if it will be something that we could review years later, but that makes a cut in the continuum of time beyond that image to some extent. In another way photography denies the definition of transience because the image that is captured becomes banal, often less important than the object or event that is logged. I think this happens with most of the photographs that are made, but it depends on the observer if the image will transcend or not.
How has rapid urban growth changed and molded your view of art? The truth is that rapid urban growth is not what has changed my view of art. I think what has changed it is my ability to access more information than I had years ago. The increasing flow of knowledge that everyone currently can handle makes what we are able to study and learn about cultural and artistic movements like never before in history. One way or another we can learn from any activity that occurs in many places simultaneously, unlike when I started college, as an example. This has highly changed my view of art; just imagine that my access to any knowledge was only possible through the encyclopedias that my grandfather had in his studio. Then in college I had access to a larger library and had daily access to the Internet, so I was able to approach many more items, contemporary or former ones. This, together with my chance to travel to different destinations, has been what has shaped my view of art.
What time of day is your favorite to take photos? My favorite moment is when I have my camera in my hand and can find a subject that motivates me.
When you got your first camera, what would you mostly take pictures of? My first camera to take pictures formally was a second hand Sony Alpha that I bought in Barcelona. I had gone to Spain for a tourist trip and I decided to travel around Europe, so I found it necessary to have a DSLR to record my travels. My second camera (which I consider more important than the first) was a Minolta AL-F, a rangefinder camera from the 60’s, which I bought in a flea market in Barcelona near Rambla del Mar. This camera marked the beginning of my learning of analog photography. Since then I have bought many analog cameras, but I’ve kept the Minolta because of this meaning.
Which urban center most delicately balances the human-built and natural world and why? There are many cities in the world that have amazing parks, or are facing the sea, or have wonderful rivers crossing them. These cities have an urban planning that includes a lot of natural elements that make the experience of roaming and going all over them very stimulating. As far as I am concerned about the balance between built and natural elements, I would not include these cities because everything in them is man-designed. However, Taipei comes to my mind when it comes to that balance; Taipei is a city where the arms of nature come into the town, literally; hills and forest are joined with the urban weave. If you are caught unaware, in a couple of days plants will grow in a corner of your house. Taipei is a city which cohabits urban and natural elements which generate a very strange and fantastic landscape at once. You can walk around and find yourself in the middle of a tropical rainforest.
Besides art, what do you do when you have free time? Additionally, I work in a publishing project with Mary Aparicio Puentes, which is called Thieves Editor. On Thieves Editor, we introduce different emerging photographers from around the world. We are currently developing the “Sequence” project that is a work in progress with some photographers featured on Thieves Editor, and we expect to release a publication and an exhibition in the future. Furthermore, I participate in several cultural groups that develop different projects, in which I participate as a producer, photographer, or architect, depending on the project.
In your opinion, what is the most rewarding aspect of art and photography? What I love about art or visual arts (including photography) is that you can develop a myriad of themes; they can create realities that are unknown, set up discussions, and motivate talks that bring you to another level of knowledge and perception. As I read some time ago in a book, “Art is the world speaking back.” What emotion do you most often want to evoke through your photographs? Maybe I could define it as a scan that superimposes the image of the urban built with the natural landscape. I try to represent some spaces where different notions of materials and textures are mixed, thus making visible the potential relationships between these different concepts. I am interested in giving the image a sense of strangeness or incongruity. I try to represent a static and expectant scene on the image that looks like it’s going to set in motion. I look for pictures of landscapes that make us wonder what the meaning is of the urban planning when it meets nature, the transition spaces between urban built and natural landscape. If you had a time machine and could only go back in time or into the future, which would you choose and why? I wish I had a time machine that only goes to the past, to the periods that I have known through books and movies. I choose this to look at the interesting parts of history, find out the source of the situations, things, or spaces that we experience today; be witness of exciting and interesting historical periods. I’d like that. Traveling to the future would be too uncertain and unknown of an adventure for me. I would rather go for the safer situation, but still with the “past,” you never know.
“What I love about art or visual arts (including photography) is that you can develop a myriad of themes; t h e y c a n c re a t e re a l i t i e s t h a t a re unknown, set up discussions, and motivate talks that bring you to another level of knowledge and p e rc e p t i o n . A s I re a d s o m e t i m e ago in a book, “Art is the world speaking back.””
AN INTERVIEW WITH
Simon Becker BY LARA LOBRUTTO Simon Becker, now residing in Berlin, has lived in the Lake Geneva region, France, and Istanbul in between traveling to Scotland, Bulgaria, and Japan, and he has taken pictures all along the way. His subjects vary from casual gatherings with his own friends to the violent police response to the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Istanbul. The images are striking: a woman dressed in what appears to be a cape deeply asleep on an outdoor bench, the foreboding silhouette of a man in a gas mask against a red sky. Besides a photographer, Simon is a â€œmusician and an admirer of good music.â€? He currently owns two guitars, one banjo, one ukulele, one drum set, and one very out-of-tune piano.
Tell me about your first camera. Oh, I got my very first camera way before I developed a serious interest in photography. My grandfather gave it to me as a gift when I was about 7 or 8 years old, a few years before he died. It was one of those APS film, zoom lens compacts that was fashionable for a very short time in the ‘90s and then died out almost instantly with the advent of digital compacts. It was an Olympus model. I don’t think it works anymore. I’m not even sure where it is. Fond memories though! What do you use now? I do most of my work with old Leica M Rangefinder cameras. I also have a Fuji x100 and a Canon DSLR that I use. Film or digital? I do prefer film, but I get along with both. Finding what works for me was a long process, but I am quite happy with what I settled with for the last couple of years. I focus on producing photography rather than on gear. What is your process? Tell me about a typical day of shooting. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a typical day of shooting. I usually try to deal with what and who I am interested in, and then I take pictures in the process. It also depends on whether I am working on something specific like a project or an assignment, or whether I am just going about my business and have my camera with me. For instance, in Berlin these days, a “typical day of shooting” for me may consist of walking through the city, meeting some friends for a beer or a girl that I like. But in Istanbul last year, for a period of time a typical day of shooting involved staying awake for about 19-20 hours a day, a lot of teargas, and wearing a helmet and gasmask.
“EVERYTHING CAN BE PHOTOGRAPHED. THAT IS WHAT MAKES PHOTOGRAPHY SO IMPORTANT.” Yes, your photos of the Gezi Park protests are fascinating. What was that experience like? The teargas? It burns. It makes your face feel like it’s stuck in a toaster. And it gets worse if you rub your eyes. Don’t rub your eyes. There’s a naked man in the street in a few of your photographs. Who is he? I don’t know who he is. He marched out naked in between the police and a couple of thousand protesters on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul and started shouting at the police. It’s funny how differently people see that picture though: many like to politicize his nakedness for their own agenda in one way or another. I found a pro-AKP online news blog for example that used it as a proof to their point that all protesters are basically pathetic disgraceful drunks. Ridiculous. I think he was just naked in order to show that he could Have you ever encountered anyone that objected to being photographed? Of course, several times. I think that is unavoidable. Maybe it lies in the nature of what photography is today. As a photographer, you cannot be everybody’s friend. It is perfectly okay for somebody not to appreciate or not to want me to take their picture, but that doesn’t always mean that I won’t. I am tired of the very bland and somehow pointless discussions about when it is acceptable to take pictures. Everything can be photographed. That is what makes photography so important. 53
Do you have a goal when you photograph? Or is it more about the process for you?
Well, most of my work is documentary in nature, so
my goal is to tell of or about something. I believe photography does that best when you are honest about your own dependency on perspective – call it subjectivity if you want. So I don’t necessarily want to reproduce my own feelings in my photography, but I want people to feel that I am telling those “stories” from my perspective – that the person I am is a part of the situation that I am documenting and this has an undeniable (and also unavoidable) influence on how the things in front of me are represented in my pictures. I don’t like how a lot of mainstream photojournalism is produced, as it seems to suggest that there are bodiless uninvolved cameras flying around to bring you the hard-fact news of what is happening “over there.”
Where do you get your inspiration? Are there any photographers that you look up to? There are many photographers, some well-known and established, others lesser-known or friends or acquaintances of mine, that inspire me with regards to why I think photography is such a fantastic and fascinating thing. But the word inspiration doesn’t do it for me. My kind of photography is too recipient and too dependent on environment and individual situations. Inspiration sounds like I see someone took a great photo of a donkey and now I have to run out and take donkey photos too. That’s not how it works, fortunately. That would be very boring indeed. How would you describe your own work?
I wouldn’t. It’s very unsatisfying.
What do you mean by being honest about your own dependency on perspective? I can only be in one place at a time, and things will always look the way they look from that point at that time. Let me say it this way: my photographs are a representation of facts, not the facts themselves. Being honest about that can go a long way in making photography interesting and actually informative I think.
If your photos could have a musical soundtrack, what songs/artists would be on it? If I absolutely had to... some Tom Waits, some Sigur Rós, some Eie Antwoord, some Otis Redding, some Ratatat… many things would work. It’s quite interesting how different music can fit to the same picture or series of pictures and how the different notes (quite literally) they add to the photographs alter the way we perceive them.
The theme of this Atwood issue is Transience. Can you think of a fleeting moment you were most proud of capturing? Let me see. There are of course those moments with people that are or were very important to me, fleeting moments that turned out to be very defining or special in hindsight. Or there are things coming together just for a split second that can be surprising, funny, strangely beautiful, or more meaningful than they would appear it first.
What are you working on now? Any upcoming projects? I have some loose plans for the near future and some bigger projects in mind for the not-so-near future. Something about borders. Or even forms of isolation. I am interested in islands and also ships. We will see. Most of my photography at the moment is about my life here, little spontaneous stories, friends, family, moving places, etc. Something that will hopefully make some form of sense when I bring it all together later.
Do you spend a lot of time waiting to capture those moments? You know, like Ansel Adams? No. I am closer to a complete opposite of Ansel Adams. I just come upon or purposely go to things instead and capture things and people as they appear.
Is there anything else you want your Atwood readers to know? I really don’t know, aren’t Atwood readers the smartest smartheads anyway? They probably all know way more than I do… One thing people should know is that if they live in interesting places and are willing to accommodate me for a little while I will make them pancakes in return. Or scrambled eggs.
the trouble with loving a traveling salesman photography - Kaylin Amabile Model - Ashley Wynn (Click Models of Atlanta)
We live in such a fast paced, modern society that we tend to get very caught up in the viral world, so it easy to forget about the actual world we live in. Maciek Jasik reveals this aspect of everyday living in his art; however, what makes Jasikâ€™s work so potently interesting and striking is that he also captures how surreal and immensely poignant the human species itself can be. While his photographs create an abstract and cosmic setting, he still conveys the universally perplex beauty of human beings; therefore, he is able to share with our technological society how bizarre, yet utterly exquisite, the human species has always been 66 and what it is becoming.
Maciek Jasik By Alexis Garcia
HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR DISTINCTIVE, SURREAL STYLE?
While on a job for a photographer in London and during a free afternoon at the National Gallery, I was overwhelmed by several post-Impressionist paintings. Color, emotionality and movement were emphasized over detail. I had been troubled by how obvious photography could be, and I saw that this new approach could help me make work that was mysterious and affecting. I began experimenting with in-camera methods of creating this dynamic; that was five years ago. YOU EMPLOY A LARGE SCALE OF COLORS, WHICH CREATES A HAZY, VIBRANTATMOSPHERE THAT HAS A BALANCE OF REALISM AND DREAMLIKE ASPECTS. DO THE COLORS OF EACH PHOTOGRAPH HOLD A SIGNIFICANT MEANING OR ARE THEY SPONTANEOUS DECISIONS WHEN EDITING?
The colors are picked on the spot when I’m on location for a landscape or working with a subject in the studio. YOU HAVE TWO SERIES, “A REMAINING THREAD” AND “CORRUPT NATURE,” WHICHBOTH INVOLVE NATURE AND PEOPLE OF THE WESTERN SOCIETY; FURTHERMORE, BOTH SERIES SCRUTINIZE HUMAN BEINGS RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE. YOU MENTIONED HOW WE ARE ALWAYS SEPARATED FROM NATURE AND ARE ALSO DEPRIVED SINCE IT IS EASY TO FORGET AND EVEN BE ANNOYED BY NATURE; HOWEVER, YOU CLAIMED THAT IF WE DO GO AGAINST THE FABRICATED IDEAS, WE WOULD BE IN CONFLICT WITH SOCIETY. DO YOU MIND TELLING ME MORE ABOUT THIS?
Modern society demands that we live in urban environments. Our work increasingly is based on interactions with electronic devices. Our food comes from an industrial monoculture. Our interactions with nature come from fleeting pleasure activities. 68
There’s simply a great distance between nature and us. We don’t really know how it functions anymore and we don’t really care. We allow others to manage its upkeep. If we did care, that would come into conflict with all of our practices, which are based on extracting resources from the earth. People are increasingly aware of the costs and are choosing to eat local and organic, to recycle materials, to bicycle instead of drive. But their iPhones are still composed of materials mined in Africa, shipped to factories in China, and made obsolete within a few years. Their information is stored in a cloud powered by servers that need cooling 24 hours a day. It doesn’t end. And if you continually focus on how things are done ‘wrong,’ it’s nearly impossible to do anything, for the entire model is built on doing things the most exploitative way possible. There is also the personal relationship one has with nature. I live in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I was a tree steward at one point, which meant I helped new trees by watering them, keeping the soil loose, and cleaning out the garbage. I would remove blocks from the soil bed to provide room for the roots; the problem was that people would attack me and call the police saying I was stealing the blocks. I remember this as painful evidence of their distance from even the most basic element of nature. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE LEARNED SO FAR?
Don’t stop. Find your perspective, your style and keep doing it. Over and over, finding nuances and details within that world. WHAT WOULD YOU CALL YOUR GENRE OF PHOTOGRAPHY?
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE AND THE UNAUTHENTIC IDEAS OF SOCIETY?
I grew up in suburban America and have lived the vast majority of my life in urban areas, but I have taken many trips out west to Sequoia in California, to Zion in Utah, to the Andes in Peru, to the jungle in Laos. All these places remind me how amazing and majestic and incredible our natural world is. Admittedly, my understanding is limited,since I’ve never lived off the land. I’ve never hunted or fished. I feel that distance from nature; that’s probably why I make work about it so often. I’m a product of this society just like the rest of us—I own electronics composed of plastic parts that will never die. I fly in planes. I may be a member of a local organic coop, but every time I eat at In ‘N’ Out, I’m guilty just like everyone else. I try to manage this compromise. HOW DO YOU CHALLENGE YOURSELF IN YOUR WORK? I’m often on tumblr looking at the incredible output of creative people all over the world. Or I’m at the MET or MoMa. It’s often a great source of inspiration. I love seeing a retrospective of an artist; you see the ebb and flow of their career and how they kept finding new directions within a world of their own creation. Then I look at my work and realize I have so far to go. W HAS BEEN THE HAPPIEST MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE SO FAR? WHY?
I can’t say what my happiest moment in my life is— but I can say that the moment I see the photograph pop up on the screen, my heart surges, I’m in this momentary moment of bliss. It’s incredible. And then it passes and the process begins again. HAT
YOUR SERIES, “A THOUSAND SOULS” IS AN ETHEREAL COLLECTION OF RADIANT YET UNCANNY PORTRAITS THAT CAPTURE AN AURORA OF A PERSON’S SOUL IN SUCH SUBTLE EXPRESSIONS AND MANNERISMS. WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT ONLY ALLOWS THE SUPERFICIALITY OF OURSELVES TO DEFINE US. HOWEVER, JUST BY LOOKING THROUGH THIS SERIES, I FELT I UNDERSTOOD MORE OF THE PERSON IN THE PHOTOGRAPH’S TRUE SPIRIT AND SAW WHAT THEY DON’T EVEN REALIZE LIES WITHIN THEM. WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND THIS SERIES AND WHAT WERE YOU HOPING TO CONVEY TO YOUR AUDIENCE?
I read ‘The Steppenwolf’ by Herman Hesse a few years ago after I had already started my project. It completely crystallized my thoughts on portraiture, namely that the idea of a single soul being captured on film is silly and impossible. We’re far too complex beings, and we have too many sides of ourselves that are drawn from a huge range of experiences. My aim became about expressing as much of that range as possible, since we do share these facets of our beings. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE SUCH IDIOSYNCRATIC, SURREAL, YET SURPRISINGLYUNIVERSALLY UNDERSTOOD, PHOTOGRAPHS WHILE CONVEYING THE STRUGGLES AND CONFLICTS OF SOCIETY?
I have to create! It’s impossible for me not to. YOU HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED MULTIPLE TIMES AND ARE CONSTANTLY PARTICIPATING INEXHIBITS; YOU ARE VERY AMBITIOUS AND CONTINUE TO AMAZE YOUR AUDIENCE. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU FEEL YOU HAVE YET TO CONQUER?
I feel like I haven’t done anything at all. The party’s just starting.
vacationer B y C h a r lot t e R as ko v ic h p h oto s b y m at t s c h wa rt z
Kenny Vasali of Vacationer took the time with us to talk about the band’s second album, musical influences and life on tour. Vacationer formed as a side project in 2011 and has since developed a unique and dreamy electro-pop sound. Based in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, the band’s music is surprisingly tropical, with elements of 1940s rhythm and blues. When did you first become interested in music? I always remembered enjoying listening to music. The first recollection I have is listening to Van Morrison’s “Moondance” on family road trips to visit my grandparents in Altoona, PA. I still love that record. I recall having the desire to pick up a bass after watching a Green Day live concert on MTV and also the Stone Temple Pilot’s Unplugged. The bass player from STP had me mesmerized in that performance. Vacationer began originally as a side project, can you tell me a little bit about the band’s formation? I had been a fan of electronic music for many years prior to the formation. The artists that hit me the hardest were the ones who melted electronic elements into the organic instrumentation, and those who used organic instruments in electronic production (i.e. Radiohead, Four Tet, LCD Soundsystem.) When my intrigue reached its height, I sought out partners who could collaborate with me to make music within that universe. Matt and Grant from Body Language were introduced to me through our mutual friend/manager. In the midst of our first session writing, we could tell that there was potential in our dynamic together. Songs started coming together very quickly. Within a year we started building up the live band. Our drummer, Ryan, has been a best friend of mine since adolescence. Greg (guitar) and Michael (keys) share a similar history. Greg was my first choice due to his ability and overall rad personality, he introduced me to Mike and that was that. They didn’t make me look hard and for that I am deeply grateful. I love these guys! 75
How would you describe Vacationer’s group dynamic? We are all operating on very similar wavelength. We love to have fun and cut loose, but at the same time we all want to be masterful musicians. That’s really the most I can ask for. There is nothing to worry about with these dudes. We have extremely minimal drama in the dynamic, and we seem to have the ability to extinguish it upon arrival. Tons of laughs and lots of love on the Vacationer camp. Who are some of your biggest influences? David Byrne is a major one. His innovations in dance and punk music is truly inspiring. James Murphy is also an idol of mine. I just loved his ability to corral an extremely fun time and masses dancing, without having to do any type of insisting. The guy is just cool. I’d be remiss if I did not mention Thom Yorke. He is probably my longest running major influence to date. His music always remains relevant to me throughout every era I’ve experienced. How did the creative development of Relief differ from that of your 2012 album, Gone? I think this time around we had a clearer vision of what kind of album we wanted to make. The first record process included us finding our sound all together. After touring as heavily as we did for Gone, we got to identify the type of energy we want more of in our sets. That was a big motivator for crafting this record. Vacationer is based in Brooklyn and Philadelphia and yet your music has a very distinctive lush tropical sound. What draws you to that sort of sound? I just love feel good music. The way I see it, life can already become a bummer at times without music reminding you of the downsides. Don’t get me wrong, I very much love living in Philadelphia, and I even enjoy the snow! Creating and playing music is my time to get out of my head, I believe it has the power to transport you anywhere. It just so happens I really like to be transported to the beach. We are also big fans of Exotica and Brazilian music, so when we started taking cues from those old records it made inherently sound tropic tinged. On the same note, there is an old fashioned, sort of jazzy feel to your music; what are some of your influences in that regard? The old Exotica soundtrack guys influence us a great deal. Guys like Martin Denny, Percy Faith, and Esquivel! We kind of try to do what they did, but on top of hip-hop tempo (most of the time.) One of my favorite songs off the record Relief is”Parallels,” which opens with what sounds like horns and flutes. What led to this sort of experimentation with these classical instruments? That song in particular was inspired by a specific Percy Faith single called “The Sound of Surf.” I recommend everyone check it out, so chill and well composed. It has a similar structure to “Parallels”: it’s mostly instrumental, but with vibey vocal “aahs.” 77
Your music is very evocative of a certain type of mood. What do you hope listeners feel when they listen to your music? I hope they feel relinquished of all their worry. There isn’t a place for it when you are listening to music, in my opinion. Carefree. I read that this project was partly inspired by LCD Soundsystem and other electronic acts. How has working within that sub genre affected your work versus non electronic music? It’s really been exciting to be putting my writing on the electronic-ish canvas. Especially since we mix the non-electronic instruments with the rest, I feel like it’s a world of endless possibilities. I love it and only want to dig further. To answer the question, though, I actually have built up an appetite to make more music with the typical rock band set-up for other projects, so hopefully that will materialize into some good tunes. What are some of your favorite cities to tour in? I love when I have a chance to go overseas, anywhere really. I love Holland and Australia, I’d love to get back there soon. In the states, I really love Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin and Phoenix just to name a few. Have you had any wild or possibly frightening experiences while touring? Or has everyone been chill? There have been a few roadside accidents I’ve seen secondhand that I wish I could bleach out of my memory. And there was a brawl between two guys at a Panera Bread in St. Louis that got a little dicey. Other than that stuff, its been very chill and mighty groovy for the most part. What are some of your favorite songs to play live? I have a lot of fun playing “Shining”. We recently started playing out “Paradise Waiting” and it’s totally enjoyable for me. “Wild Life” is a good time as well. I dig it all! What do you guys do together when you aren’t working on music? We are hunting down the best local coffee to get our fix. Me and Mike bring skateboards and will often go explore record stores and such. We all are pretty normal dudes with a healthy friendship. It’s lots of chilling and laughing. Do you have any nascent ideas on what you want your next album to be/ feel like? I want to keep continuing down the path we set out on. I love this sound we fell into, and I just want to keep making it unique to us and making memorable records. The first two records mean so much to me, I want to keep making music that is significant for the times of my life.
Photographer - Elliott Alexander ModeL - Nida @Scout Styling - Monica Avila for theacidness.com MUA - Keke Vasquez @ Look
l Hall of Fame l o R d In 2 n a k 042 c o R : A CONVERSATION WITH
YELLOW OSTRICH B Y M O L LY G O L S K I P h oto : S h e r v i n L a i n e z
With their newly released album, Cosmos, and their tour with The Antlers, Yellow Ostrich is an up and coming band with a bright future ahead. Their songs have a wide variety of unique sounds, keeping listeners intrigued throughout the entirety of each album. Yellow Ostrich has progressed beautifully between each of their three albums released thus far. They never stray completely from their signature sound, but they manage to make each album tell a different story and evoke all ranges of emotion. Out of their three albums, Cosmos is the most emotive, and with each song comes a new layer to the albumâ€™s story. I had the opportunity to discuss some aspects of the band with one of its members, Alex Schaaf, and his answers reflected the work Yellow Ostrich has done.
I KNOW JON HAS WORKED WITH THE ANTLERS BEFORE, AND NOW YOU GUYS ARE ON TOUR WITH THEM; HOW AS THAT DYNAMIC BEEN? It was a great tour, we love those guys. Inspiring music and super cool guys. We played a few shows with them a couple of years ago, and had kept in touch since then (we all live in Brooklyn). It was nice to play for their crowds, I felt like it was a really good fit. HAVE YOU GUYS GOTTEN INTO ANY MISCHIEF ON THE TOUR? Not too much mischief, but we did do a lot of camping for the first time - got some tents and camped out in Utah, Yellowstone, and the Redwoods. It was great to get out into nature for a change; it’s a nice shift from the normal van to club to hotel routine. COSMOS IS A VERY INTERESTING ALBUM. HOW DO YOU TH INK THAT THE ALBUM ART (IF AT ALL) REPRESENTS THE ALBUM? It was a very important image for me, it’s from the artist Bas Jan Ader - a still from a video he made of himself falling. I just loved how it so masterfully visualized the idea of gravity, one of these big forces that affect all of us even if we don’t think about it every second of the day. IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONLY ONE SONG (YOURS OR A COVER) TO PERFORM, WHAT SONG WOULD IT BE? Like perform over and over again for the rest of my life? Brian Eno “Ambient 1”, because it’d be important to have something calm and soothing, if it’s going to be there for the rest of your life...
HOW DO YOU THINK THE BAND HAS TRANSITIONED FROM STRANGE LAND TO COSMOS? I think we’ve moved away from more direct guitar rock and into something that’s a little more nuanced and atmospheric - worrying less about capturing a pure live performance and more about focusing more on the recording itself. DON’T BE AFRAID IS A VERY POWERFUL SONG. WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND IT? It’ a song I wrote to myself in a time of anxiety - I like a nice and simple hymn with hints of peril to close out this album.
WHICH SONG HOLDS THE MOST MEANING TO YOU AND WHY? None of them necessarily mean more than others, but I’ve been enjoying performing My Moons maybe the most, I’m just really happy with how that one turned out. SEVERAL OF YOUR SONGS GO INTO A BEAUTIFUL MEDLEY OF ECLECTIC SOUNDS, SUCH AS IN WHEN ALL IS DEAD. WHAT IS IT LIKE PERFORMING THESE SONGS LIVE? We’ve never really done When All is Dead live (only a couple times) because it was difficult to nail that with the 3 of us - but with the new lineup now (4) it’s been easier to pull off things like that, since we all have a range of sounds we can do and I feel like we have more options now.
I MENTIONED TO ONE OF MY FRIENDS THAT I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERVIEW YOU GUYS AND SHE IMMEDIATELY WENT ON ABOUT HOW YOU GUYS RESPONDED TO HER FAN EMAILS ALMOST INSTANTLY AND SENT A VERY PERSONAL RESPONSE. DO YOU REACH OUT TO ALL OF YOUR FANS IN THIS WAY? WHAT DO YOU GUYS DO TO KEEP UP WITH THEM? I don’t necessarily respond to everything that gets said to us, because I don’t think that’s the point -the important thing is people having thoughts and feelings about the music and wanting to communicate that. But I enjoy responding back - making any sort of art is a dialogue, you’re putting something out there hoping that other people connect to it, so it’s great to hear from people that do connect, it verifies what you’re doing in a way. WHERE HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE VENUE TO PERFORM? IS THERE A SPECIFIC REASON FOR THIS? On this Antlers tour my favorite stop was Great American Music Hall in San Francisco - just a beautiful space with a really great crew, it was a great night all around. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE THE BAND HAS OVERCOME? Every new album is a struggle, but in a good way - working with other people in close collaboration is never easy, since by the nature of the work you’re going to be compromising in order to find common ground, but in the end that can result in something more satisfying, since you really had to work for it. IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO ASPIRING ARTISTS, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Don’t worry about everything you do being perfect -- all the great bands have turned out some duds, it’s important to not restrict what’s coming out of your head, just open up the valve and see what comes out. WHAT ARE THE BAND’S HOPES FOR THE FUTURE? Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2042!
“ D o n ’ t wo r r y a b o u t e v e r y t h i n g yo u d o b e i n g p e r f ec t - - a l l t h e g r e at b a n d s h av e t u r n e d o u t some duds, it’s impo rta n t to n ot r e st r ic t w h at ’ s c o m i n g o u t o f yo u r h e a d , j u st o p e n u p t h e va lv e a n d s e e w h at c o m es o u t . ” 95
jeffrey michael austin B y L i b b y H ay s
Jeffrey Michael Austin is like a zen Kanye West. Both are multidisciplinary mavens hailing from Chicago who utilize found objects (like sound bites) to construct loose narratives on love, loss, and our directionless modern existence. Jeffrey is just a bit less of an ass about it. With a preponderance of talents , J.effrey. is an installation artist, sculptor, graphic designer, electronic musician, furniture craftsman, video artist, painter and t-shirt maker all rolled into one. Below is our conversation on topics ranging from the liminal moment between two planes of possibility, to how nice I am. (Which is very.)
no. 7, “Un-” series assembled from various detritus found in The Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland.
Regarding your body of work as a whole, I noticed a recurring theme of cleanliness, balance and order—or more specifically, the transformation from chaos to order and back again. In the “Un-” series, for example, you’re taking these objects, which had been cast off from their functional place in society and subjected to the randomizing forces of nature, and creating a (precarious) new order for them based on how they balance. Would you say the role of an artist is to create order out of entropy? That focus on states of precarious balance is definitely the one constant that I believe directs my work—as both an aesthetic motif and a motivating force. Rather than trying to push an idea into territories of chaos or order, I am most often trying to locate the precise threshold between the two; the tipping point, so to speak. I feel this is where life’s most exciting events occur: that liminal moment between two planes of possibility.
“I was excited by the thought that an artwork has the potential to confront or surround its viewer with the sense that they are an active participant—an integral component in the realization of some larger event.”
Always And Ever Is Never Enough Flies on wall; 12 x 12’ Burren College of Art 2013 98
Do you think your art—or art in general—makes promises it can’t actually keep? I couldn’t speak for artists in general but I’ve never really considered my art practice a platform for making promises of any kind. I think of the process not so much as a means for pinpointing certain answers, but rather for unearthing the next set of questions. What inspired you to begin creating installation art? Did making installations attract you to the theme of transience, because they themselves exist only for a limited period of time? The typical short lifespan of each piece is a facet that I’ve come to love about installation work, but I wouldn’t say it was what first pulled me in that direction. After a period of working through painting and discreet sculpture, I just came to feel that I hadn’t yet found the most adequate or appropriate language for the ideas I was exploring. I was excited by the thought that an artwork has the potential to confront or surround its viewer with the sense that they are an active participant—an integral component in the realization of some larger event.
“I’m Not Worried About You”
A Language Older Than You Thread, nails, wood; 8 x 8 x 8’ School of the Art Institute of Chicago 101 2013
Composure 10 x 3’
“When you present a recognizable object that has a widely understood and agreeable purpose in a light that shakes that foundation, things get really interesting. The objects can act as starting points—pinpoints or triggers grounded in the personal history of each individual that happens across it—from which a new language can be built.” 102
This year is the hundredth anniversary of the readymade, which playfully disregarded the history of art by eschewing craftsmanship and aesthetic value. What do you think is the enduring appeal of the readymade—what does it say today? Do you consider some of your works in the same tradition as Duchamp’s readymades? I can definitely draw a connection in the way they both seem to be geared toward the dissection and redirection of an object. I really enjoy the process of imagining objects that undo or contradict their own intended function—impossible objects. In this light, I feel the enduring appeal of the readymade has a lot to do with the opportunity it offers up for challenging the learned logic of objects in general. When you present a recognizable object that has a widely understood and agreeable purpose in a light that shakes that foundation, things get really interesting. The objects can act as starting points—pinpoints or triggers grounded in the personal history of each individual that happens across it—from which a new language can be built. You utilize found objects in your music, as well as your art. Is this important for the sense of history, the texture, or some other reason? Is it essential to your process to have some starting point? Definitely. The choice to use “found objects” in my music stems from the same thought process I just described. I try to saturate my music with sampled audio that I hope will act as some sort of vague, intuitive memory trigger. It can give a composition a dreamlike quality that I really enjoy. The found samples act as starting points -- cloudy references in the memory of the listener—while the original composition itself serves as a sort of emotional guide or platform for the potential challenging or reframing of those memories. Has anyone tried playing one of your infinite compositions (pictured)? Ha, not to my knowledge. I think they’re meant to be more of an internal event—a reflection on a mantra or nagging impulse that you may have, in some way, already been reciting. If you could have dinner with any person, past or present, who would it be? Well, you seem nice. Would you like to have dinner sometime?
P h oto g r a p h y - N o lw e n C i f u e n t es Model/Styling - Jacob Andrew Morales
It all starts here:
p h otos by gavi n t h om as
MAGIC M A N A CONVERSATION WITH
by Mitch Mosk
I like Magic Man because their music reflects a number of my passions. The band’s anthemic synth-driven debut album, Before the Waves (released July 8th) is littered with odes to travelling and allegories of love, but above all else there lies this intoxicating ‘live-in-the-moment’ mentality that gives their music a refreshing and youthful jolt of energy. Magic Man first came into my life a month or two after their September 2013 EP release, and songs like the wistful “Paris” and the no-frills (all thrills) “Texas” quickly found homes in my iTunes’ weekly playlists, where they reside to this day. Magic Man have been touring the country this summer, bringing their powerful live act to summer festivals as well as national staples like DC’s 9:30 Club and Boston’s House of Blues. Magic Man are also co-headlining a must-see national tour with fellow synth-rock act Smallpools this fall. In less than a year and a half, the group has gone from an independent east coast act to a nationally touring, “Big Four”-subsidiary signed hit-maker. In short, they’re living the good life. Judging from their polished brand of synth-fused rock, it’s hard to imagine this five-piece as a duo making lo-fi recordings on their laptops, but everyone’s got to start somewhere. To get a better sense of the Magic Man story arc, I sat down with Magic Man ‘founding members’ Alex Caplow (vocals) and SamVanderhoop Lee (guitar).
It’s been a while since you produced [Magic Man’s first, independent album] Real Life Color. From that to Before the Waves is an immense sonic jump; how did your sound evolve? SAM: The two of us have been friends with each other for a long time - since pre-school. ‘Magic Man’ started as us sending ideas back and forth to each other in college (Sam went to Yale; Alex went to Tufts). That’s basically how the first album (2010’s Real Life Color) came to be. Things began to change when we started playing shows to real audiences and with a full band. We liked the energy that it brought to the shows, so we kept developing it. ALEX: We’ve been together [in the current lineup] for about a year. You released the EP You Are Here last September, and then your debut Before the Waves last month. What does the name Before the Waves mean? SAM: It comes from the lyrics to [the song] “Waves.” We had a number of album name ideas, and it stood out the most, with its epic imagery and this feeling of the “calm before the storm.” Tell me about the song “Paris.” ALEX: Some songs take a long time to create. “Paris” came all at once. I was thinking about my experience [studying] abroad in Paris for 6 months, and the troubles of life readjusting in Boston afterward. I sat in bed with my laptop and with a melody in mind, and the song and chords came all at once. The first version of the song was called “Rattlesnake.” Sam really took it to the next level, restructuring it into a real song. Almost all the songs [off Before the Waves] were done within the year after that. 116
What was your mindset when recording the EP and the full-length album? SAM: We recorded them at the same time, so the songs come from the same mindset. The idea behind the EP was for it to be a collection of separate songs, like examples of our work - they were singles. With the album, we wanted the listener to have one full listening experience, and we treated it as a body of work. Let’s talk about your approach to the music. Do you make music for the live performance, or is the live performance a reproduction of the studio recording? SAM: Neither - we kind of build our music in a non-live way when we’re recording. We can switch things around and re-record when we’re in the studio. When we’re playing live, we don’t try to emulate the album, but we try to capture the essence while adding the energy and intensity that comes with the live performance. What can concertgoers expect from your live show? ALEX: Expect energy, and lots of it. Do you include any covers? ALEX: Sure. We started off playing a remix to R Kelly’s “Ignition” and “Float On” by Modest Mouse. We recently added [Bruce] Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” We like to make them our own. 117
Is the past year your first experience touring? How has it been? SAM: Yes! It really started full time last summer, and it’s been a blast. It’s a lot of fun to go to new cities every day, meet new people, travel and play shows every night. Touring is tiring at times, but I love it. On the off days we work on other stuff, whether it’s writing new songs or remixes. I’m always trying to do something new every day. Got any wild/worthwhile stories from the road? SAM: Nah, it’s pretty boring. I just recently watched some of the guys from the Panic! team play cornhole - but they were playing a version called “corncock,” throwing bean bags at each other’s crotches. It was very satisfying thing. What’s it been like touring with Panic! At the Disco? SAM: We’re learning from Panic! - I’m learning every night, getting new tricks, music ideas, fun ways to spend time on tour. What have been your favorite aspects of the live show? Alex, how as a frontman have you developed your performance, in terms of learning to get the crowd riled and excited? ALEX: There are a bunch of frontman moves that you see so many do. You put your hands in the air, go side to side, front to back… When I’m up there with Magic Man, I’m trying to directly engage with the fans, to make that connection. I want to bring as much energy as I can to the stage and make it as great for the audience as it can be.
Were you always a frontman? [laughs] In high school, I was the guitarist in the back, and I was not at all in the front or in the spotlight, but over the course of time things change. It was a big process to learn the crowd and to open yourself up to everyone to be the frontman. For a while I was really awkward, especially when we decided I was not going to have any instruments. I started learning moves with the microphone, etc. I gained comfort, and realized that it doesn’t matter that I’m up there without a guitar in hand. Sam told me to watch some Bruce Springsteen videos, and Brandon Flowers [The Killers]. I learned from the best.
The album’s closer, “It All Starts Here” stands out sonically and structurally from the rest. Is this indicative of future progression? SAM: That song was around unfinished for a while, but we wanted it to have that feel - that long, climactic build, hopefully triumphant in the end there. We definitely worked it out with the album in mind. What is the sound clip at the tail end of that song? SAM: The noise at the end is just the feedback from the song trailing off. We recorded a ton of different tracks. We’re using a fuzz pedal on the bass, applying things to get good contrast, with string modulation, reverb, delay - you name it… It’s the aftermath of all that came before that moment. It’s like “the wave.”
“Whether we’re the first band or the last band, we’re always trying to put on a good show.” Bringing the album to completion. SAM: Exactly. Do you find yourselves writing new music on the road? SAM: We definitely try, whether it’s remixes, for fun or for Magic Man. I started dabbling into other genres of music recently; I had songwriting opportunities with different artists, and I’m trying some different stuff from our current album - minimalist, darker music, down-tempo… The next album is so far away, but it’s really nice to do something out of your comfort zone. I have a feeling we’ll always be evolving our sound. Your tour over the past year has been in support of acts such as Panic! At the Disco and Walk the Moon, but this November will be the first time you headline. How does that change things, and do you feel any more pressure? SAM: There’s always pressure to put on a good show because people gave their money and time to see you. When you’re a little higher on the bill there’s more pressure to make sure people have a good night. ALEX: As we get closer, there’s definitely more pressure to sell out [the venues]. Whether we’re the first band or the last band, we’re always trying to put on a good show.
from the blog each issue, we choose one of our favorite features from our blog.
dennis auburn by alexis garcia
We tend to forget all the bruises, scars, tears, and heartaches that occur during our chase towards our passions and dreams. While our eyes are focused on what awaits in the future, Dennis Auburnâ€™s eyes have been on our cuts and scraps this entire time. Born in Mons, Belgium and grew up in Missouri, USA, he currently resides in Houston, Texas where he is a freelance photographer, who allows his wanderlust to take him where it pleases. His photographs highlight the small yet vivid details of daily emotions to remind himself just how exquisite, surreal, and destructive this human life can be. Here at Atwood, we are grateful and eager to see where his artistic insight will take him and what he has yet to remind us about ourselves that we almost forgot.
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. My name is Dennis Auburn and, I am 22 years-old. I am an analog and digital photographer traveling around Texas and wherever else my mind takes me. WHY PORTRAITS? I guess I take portraits because it gives me insight about a person. It has been one of the best methods for me to meet new acquaintances and friends as well. WHAT ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS FASCINATES YOU THE MOST? The human body is so beautiful to me. There’s always a story to tell from every scar, stretch, curve, impression, or beauty mark. It’s funny because my father always told me growing up that he disliked humans; on the other hand, once I picked up a camera, he told me that it is probably the best reason to take photos of them. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR ART THAT YOU FEEL YOU HAVE NOT CONQUERED? I only hope that I keep moving forward. I never want to get to the point where taking photos becomes a hassle. It’s always been a ride to new experiences and, it continues to thrill me till this day. I don’t think I’ve given my full potential just yet but that might only be because I’m still trying to find myself; however, I’m young. I have time. YOUR ARTWORK IS SO INTRIGUING; IT IS FULL OF DELICATENESS AND, IT IS VERY AMIABLE, WHICH CAN LEAD A VIEWER TO FEEL AND MANY DIFFERENT, SOFT EMOTIONS. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO CONVEY TO YOUR AUDIENCE THROUGH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS? I don’t ever try to convey a particular message with my work. When I take photos, it sparks some sort of feeling, and I hope that same feeling comes across through my work. IN OUR ISSUE, CONTRAST, YOUR SERIES BORDER LINE (pictured, page 121) IS VERY CAPTIVATING AND DISTINCTIVE. THE SERIES DEMONSTRATES SOFT COLORS AND LIGHTING THAT CREATES A DREAMLIKE, ORNATE WORLD. WHAT WERE YOU WISHING TO ACHIEVE DURING THE EDITING PROCESS OF THESE PHOTOGRAPHS? OVERALL, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE THIS SPECIFIC SERIES? At the time, I was widely influenced by King Krule. I daydream a lot and once his new album came out, I was not only daydreaming, but I almost felt as if he put me in a trance. When I worked with Sara, the model of the series, on this editorial, we were really just experimenting, such as laying around with our projector and images we had, all while listening to King Krule. I guess I wasn’t thinking of a significant meaning. Instead, I was lost in thought working with my best friend and just enjoying the moment. I named the series, “Border Line,” for Atwood because this is a track name from King Krules album and, I wanted to dedicate it to him. Overall, I named the series, “Aura,” because the way Sara moved gave me clarity of not only herself, but her energy and the atmosphere, which all worked in her favor. I think after this shoot Sara and I became a lot closer. 123
LOOKING AT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS, I FIND MYSELF STRUCK BY A SENSE OF ADOLESCENT BEAUTY AND FEMININITY. IN PARTICULAR, I REALLY LOVED SOME OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS WITH A YOUNG GIRL AND GUY IN NATURE AND COVERED BY A TRANSPARENT CLOTH. WHAT WERE YOUR INTENTIONS BEHIND THE SHOOT? I enjoy youth in general, and I love to present different ways that youth live in this century. From what love and connections mean, what struggles hurt us or make us stronger, how we deal with such stress that we start to either lose it or live carefree, or just somewhere in between it all. IT SEEMS YOU ARE VERY FASCINATED BY THE HUMANNESS IN US, SUCH AS LOVE, CONNECTIONS, AND SUFFERING, THAT WE FAIL TO SEE DUE TO ALL THE DISTRACTIONS THIS WORLD HAS TO OFFER. HOW DO YOU CORRELATE THIS INTO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY? DO YOU HOPE TO PORTRAY A MESSAGE ABOUT HUMANNESS TO YOUR AUDIENCE? I’ve always been an observer. People watching is really enjoyable because you can tell a lot about a person just from simple body language. I work a 9 to 5 job sitting at a computer all day, and I realized that I lose a lot of insight on what living really has to offer. Sure, I have free time to experience love, connections, and sufferings, but I start to drift away from it all the more I stick to such a mundane routine. I think that’s why I try to express as much of these experiences through my photos, for it will always remind me, especially as I grow older, that you can always work hard but always play harder.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON LIVING? Wow, such a complex question. I guess a lot of times I feel like I’m not fully living quite just yet. I think I get stuck in my comfort zone way too often so, I do try and burst out every once in a while; however, I wanna take that great leap of no return. Not sure if that make sense but, I guess, as a 22 year old, I view living as a constant adventure and challenge. WHAT COLLECTION OF YOURS IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY? I think my favorite collection of mine is everything I’ve shot in West Tejas. This is the farthest west I’ve ever been in the United States; every place I’ve explored in that area, with friends by my side, felt like a whole new world. I can’t wait to venture further out West and hopefully make my way to the West Coast, preferably Oregon and Washington. I’m a sucker for rainy days. TELL ME WHO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST (DEAD OR ALIVE). WHY ARE THEY SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND IF YOU HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH THEM WHAT WOULD YOU ASK? I look up to Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso a lot. I was introduced to these two by father at a young age and surrealism has always been a huge interest of mine growing up. Just imagining the unimaginable and creating something out of thin air still amazes me to this day. I’m honestly not one to talk about how an artist works or what their process is; I’d rather wonder how they think, what their daily activities are, and where most of their inspiration comes from. These qualities are the best way to express them and not just by their respective medium. I also look up to my favorite photographer, Tamara Lichtenstein, and I’m really glad I can call her a good friend as well. I often ask for advice but most of the time we’re too busy cracking up about the weirdest things, and those are the times I enjoy a lot more than talking about each other’s work.
WHAT ARE YOUR REMEDIES FOR WHEN YOUR CREATIVITY IS DRY? I’ve been dealing with this a lot lately. I try to figure out why I have a creative block and assess the situation. It’s mainly been stress that’s been keeping my mind cloudy. I usually just keep my mind preoccupied with good vibes like hanging out with people I’m comfortable with and try to get back in the spirit of creating something new. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING OUTSIDE OF PHOTOGRAPHY? I love eating. I would give up photography if someone paid me a million dollars to just taste test food all day. My taste buds have a true love for tacos. Bring me tacos and my heart is yours. YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED SO MUCH AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE. WHAT ARE SOME FUTURE GOALS OR PLANS? I appreciate the compliment, but I really don’t think I’ve accomplished much. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out the next chapter in my life. Though it seems risky, I know I’ll enjoy every struggle and opportunity that comes along.
literary UNTITLED By Simon Betsalel I thought the same thing When you texted me Talking of a man Of troubles Of love. I remember walking to your car. There was fog You wore a sweater And I was annoyed with you. What a luxury annoyance can be.
ROOFTOPS By Nayantara Dutta Youâ€™ve learned to love this city Through the quiet happiness you found Watching bluegrass street musicians on the subway And shuffling through paperbacks in thrift stores Morning walks with heavy-lidded eyes from fragmented sleep And scarlet sunsets with birds on the telephone line The times you had the streets to yourself And could finally hear the echoes That had hung static in the midnight mist You stacked jars of spices in your cupboards Lighting incense to open up the air An oasis as you breathed in its cool comfort And felt your nervous energy scatter under the floorboards Spent twilight bike rides and rooftop escapes Searching for somewhere to call your own Too shy to say a word In this land of elevator stares and empty conversations A million dizzying lives wandering the streets In the wake of better things I met you thirty thousand feet up in the air And your light tiptoed into my mind Running against time zones Back home after all this time
THE DAYS THAT MAKE UP THE DAYS By Jeannine Erasmus and when were we supposed to learn to run between the shadows to hide behind the moon at night. they never told us that this was the start that these peanut butter sandwiches on a thursday afternoon the colors painted on an old canvas this blue left sock, that green right sock the curtains drawn over the windows at night those grey winter sundays and the dead branches the classical music, the foreign films the plugs for the toaster, the television, the radio this is the this we were waiting for.
GIRLS WHO ARE THE SUN By JESSICA GAY
I suppose I should tell you about the way the spaces in between our fingers fit together perfectly or how I have memorized the freckles on her nose or the smell of her when I bury my nose in her collarbone (green apple with a hint of spearmint) or the way she looks when she stands in the moonlight â€“ glowing, luminescent, beautiful. But what you need to know is that she slips in between the spaces effortlessly, like water seeping in between cracks. That she is the sun, and although I depend on her to live, she only shines for herself. That she holds my beating heart in her hands, and could crush it any minute. I hold her in my arms, and I pluck petals while she plays with my hair. At 11pm she loves me, at 2am she is gone.
Issue 8 features art and music interviews featuring Vacationer, Yellow Ostrich, NONONO, and more!