P E P E L B
+ PLUS LATVIAN POP STAR MARKUS RIVA SINGER/SONGWRITER LANCE HORNE
ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAMER
OF THE POLICE TALKS BEN HUR POWERHOUSE VOCALIST
THEY HAVE MORE YOUTUBE SUBSCRIBERS THAN BRITNEY, BEYONCE & JUSTIN. “THE SING OFF” CHAMPS
PENTATONIX TALK YOUTUBE & THEIR SOLD-OUT AMERICAN TOUR
IT’S TRUE. EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS. WE’RE ON THE SCENE IN AUSTIN AT THE TECH & MUSIC FEST
ON HER NEW EP & LIVE TWEETING AMERICAN IDOL
HIS NEW ALBUM & THE FREEDOM TO MAKE THE MUSIC HE WANTS C.B. HUDSON & MATT NOVESKEY OF
HAVE A VISION FOR PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEWBLEEP ARTISTS 1
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Our special correspondent Nikki Gafford is on the scene at the Austin tech/film/music fest.
The singer talks about his battle with alcoholism, the music that has come from it and why he purposely sings in bars.
Stewart Copeland, drummer of the legendary band The Police, has been crafting the soundtrack of our lives for years. Now, he’s focused on scoring the story of one of history’s greatest heroes, Ben Hur.
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He’s been called the Forrest Gump of music and has performed all over the globe with world class talent. His album, First Things Last, features superstars like Alan Cumming, Cheyenne Jackson and Ricki Lake. She made her mark on “American Idol,” but when the show ended, she was no where near done. We catch up with the powerhouse vocalist.
PENTATONIX ON THE COVER
Mitch Grassi skipped his high school graduation ceremony in order to make the auditions for “The Sing Off” and we talked with Mitch about what the group did to parlay their TV win into conquering the iTunes charts.
James Durbin talks about his new album Celebrate & finally making the music he wants to make.
The man with a classical music background is now the artistic director of the bar “Dstyle” in Riga as well as one of the most recognizable party’s dj in Latvia. Markus Riva is hard at work on new music.
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C.B. Hudson & Matt Noveskey of the band Blue October have a vision for providing opportunities for new artists to record in Austin.
Men’s fashion has taken a clear-sighted step forward in the world of menswear. We find out how and chat with the models about what drives them to do what they do.
He’s danced with the best in the business. We chat with Zac Brazenas about dancing the ‘locomotion’ and with britney in her vegas spectacular “Piece of Me.”
BLEEP OBSESSED LIST
We’re obsessed. Find out why and what we think you should be paying attention to this month.
BLEEP CREATIVITY. UNCENSORED. RYAN BRINSON Editor-in-Chief SARAH ROTKER Business & Audience Development Manager KADI MCDONALD Content Manager PABLO SALINAS Social Media Associate BEN HUMENIUK Cartoonist BRANDON LYON Cover Photography RACHAEL MARIBOHO Culture Editor FEATURE EDITORS: Nathan Robins Hatley Moore WRITERS: Caleb Bollenbacher Courtney Shotwell Lisa Sorenson Laura Seitter Alex Wright FEATURE CONTRIBUTORS: Florian Hubertus WEB CONTENT: Sheena Wagaman Eric Lehman Jordan Shalhoub
All articles and photos are the property of the writers and artists. All rights reserved.
An open letter to Anna Wintour Ms. Wintour, First, I’d like to say that I’m such an admirer of what you have done at Vogue and the product you release each month. While not a part of the fashion industry, I think what you do for designers, models, and artists from various creative fields is truly remarkable. I sit and go through the September issue each year with wonder. I even watch the documentary, “The September Issue,” from time to time to remain inspired. I really think what you do is great. Well, I did. You see, I thought putting Lena Dunham on your cover was awesome. She’s not the typical model, the photos of her were terrific, and it continued the dialogue about women of all sizes being beautiful. Then, there was the hub-bub from Kanye about why Lena Dunham was on the cover and not Kim Kardashian. Well that was simple: Kim is a reality star whose fame was born from a sex tape. She has no place on the cover of Vogue, obviously. The news slipped away because no one took anything the self-absorbed West had to say seriously. Except for you, apparently. You more than took him seriously, and both he and his baby-voiced bride-to-be/soon-to-be-ex-wife are on your cover, complete with a cute little hashtag to make Vogue seem relatable and accessible to the Twitter crowd. And you know, as I write this, you’re the top trending topic. Everyone is talking about Vogue again and you are achieving exactly what you want to: the Vogue name all over the internet and on the lips of TV personalities. But what you have also done is glorified two people who are the the most striking representations of the worst parts of our society. Kanye West is the single most arrogant man in music. For the love of God - pun intended - he has compared himself to Jesus Christ. He has a proverbial chip on his shoulder and takes any opportunity he can to make sure we know it. You have allowed him a platform to continue to spread that mentality to a generation of young people who have lost the ability to think for themselves, and instead do whatever someone on a magazine cover tells them to do. Then there’s Kim, the single most worthless celebrity in the news today. At least a past American Idol finalist can sing or an out-of-the-news actor can still act if given the chance. Kim Kardashian does nothing well except wear the clothes someone picks out for her, and tweet pictures of her ass to get attention. But what you’ve done by putting them on your cover is endorse the notion that these qualities are what warrants you fame and are what is necessary to be on the cover of the world’s largest fashion magazine. In one image, you have turned Vogue into a tabloid, because that is all either of them are suited for. So Ms. Wintour, I am sorry that I will no longer be purchasing any issues of Vogue, which is sad, because I truly love magazines. But what I don’t love are the tabloids, and as I just said, you’ve made the decision that tabloid culture holds more importance than the other features in the issue. Even on the cover, you tease a story with Mindy Kaling, an actress/writer/producer who is reshaping the Hollywood landscape to be inclusive of anyone as long as they have the talent to back it up. But I suppose a beautiful photo of the normal-sized Kaling wouldn’t read as well to the shareholders than the press-addicted Kardashian. I’m happy you’ve accomplished what we are all trying to do which is to get the names of our magazine inserted into the conversation. I’m sad it’s at the expense of the integrity both of your magazine, and of the entire team who made this decision. P.S. If you’d like to read a cover feature on people who are famous for their talent and not for anything else, we talked with Pentatonix in this issue. They’re awesome.
Ryan Brinson Editor-in-Chief BLEEP 7
Photo by Tatyana Vlasova
You know that we at BLEEP love opera. Well, one of our favs, Kristine Opolais is returning to the Metropolitan Opera in April to sing Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s ‘’Madama Butterfly.’’ With five performances throughout the month, you have plenty of opportunity to go and see one of the greatest voices singing today in one of the greatest shows ever written. www.metoperafamily.org
IT’S TRUE. EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS. SPECIAL BLEEP CORRESPONDENT NIKKI GAFFORD TAKES US WITH HER AT THE AUSTIN TECH, FILM & MUSIC FEST.
Top Left: The cast of the film “Veronica Mars” talks to fans about their crowd-funded leap from the small screen to cinemas. Top Right: Jason Schwartzman and director Wes Anderson talk about their new film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Right: Australian band, The Preatures performs during a recording of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
Left and below: How many titles can these women have? Writer/Director/ Producer/Actor/Author Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham proved they are in a league of their own during the festival bringing their voice to small screen and changing the landscape of TV while they are at it. Bottom: Our correspondent Nikki hangs out with actor Lee Pace.
the intersection by
For Everything, A Season
Alright, alright, alright let’s talk about Matthew McConaughey’s new show. I, like much of the television-watching public, just finished the first season of “True Detective.” I, like everybody else, enjoyed it immensely. I was overwhelmed with potential topics to write about in regard to one of the best seasons of TV I’ve watched in a very long time, but kept coming back to the one element that made the show so truly special: time. Time flies when you’re having fun. “True Detective” is nearly flawless in its execution. The performances - especially by the two leads - are phenomenal, the music is the perfect tonal supplement for the scenery and story, and the direction is artistic without being obtrusive. All of that, however, is just enough to give a show a tip-toed boost over the competition. What places “True Detective” head and shoulders above everything else is the structure, and a lot of that ties into the show’s format as an anthology. I adore the idea of anthologized television. Shows that are tied together by theme rather than plot open the door for magnificence, because anytime a timer is introduced, there’s an opportunity for buzzer-beating excellence. Time flies when you set a “best by” date. While I’m all for prolonged stories and feel that television is the best medium for them, I also think that continuation breeds complacency. Far too often once-great shows are relegated to punch lines because they refuse to die. After years of excellence they digress to the point of wandering on aimlessly because networks like the status quo. “True Detective,” however, is shying away from the “throw what you know” mantra. While it would be easy to push the excellence of “True Detective” into following seasons on the strength of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey alone, neither will be back next year, and that is absolutely the right call. They won’t be back because their story is finished, and that’s what makes the show so genius. How many times have detective/cop shows fallen into mediocrity because of an absolute lack of realism? I used to watch plenty of procedurals – “Criminal Minds” was a particular 12 BLEEP
favorite – but eventually got utterly burnt out on the genre because of the numbing sameness of it all. How am I supposed to believe that there are ten seasons worth of serial killers out there to serve as flavor-ofthe-week antagonists? The brilliance of “True Detective” is that the anthology format allows the show to ring true, and the main reason for that is the timeline. For those of you who have not seen it, the story spans seventeen years over the course of its eight episode season. That might seem like a lot, but when you’re talking true crime, sometimes seventeen years is reality. This show might not actually be true, but it sure feels like it. The story is believable, because it shows character evolution, it allows time for weakness, and seventeen years allows time for failure. It allows time for being human. Detectives aren’t going to catch a serial killer twice a week like they’re working on commission at a shoe store. There’s red tape and missed opportunity to wade through, and in the midst of all that, life happens. Seventeen years is true. Time just flies. If “True Detective” were going to continue a story for more than one season there would be no need for the particular pace that endows this story with a unique sense of urgency and concentrated power. When continuation is the end game, then the priority becomes milking that continuation for everything it’s worth. Cramming as many plots into as little time is suddenly of the utmost importance, and it ends up feeling hollow. Focusing on a story in its most true form, where time is an actual concern, is what makes the few shows similar to “True Detective” effective. Though it sounds counterintuitive, packing the timeline into a potent eight episodes makes the show feel more immediate, and that’s what hooks the viewer. Anthologies are not open-ended, and the end result is a gripping one, because when time flies it grabs its audience by the hand, pulling everyone along for the ride.
by Alex Wright
“How did you get into acting?” This is one of the questions I was asked most frequently this past week during the Q and A session after our 5th grade student matinees (followed by, “How do you memorize your lines?” and, “Can I follow you on Instagram?”). Afterwards, in the lobby, while posing for giddy photographs and answering more breathless questions about my Twitter handle, parents chuckle and shake our hands and shake their heads as if to say, “Oh, kids. They’re all so silly with excitement over a show.” I was six when I saw the production that would change my life. My parents had divorced, and my mother moved my sister Cassidy and me to Texas from Mississippi. We knew many of the secrets from our parents’ divorce secrets they thought they stealthily hid - but I still didn’t understand where my daddy was, why he wasn’t moving with us, and why my parents were so mad and insistent on hurting each other. In my mind, my parents had created their own universe, outside of which Cassidy and I existed, floating aimlessly and doing our best to remain children in a world where we had to be parents to each other. At school, my classmates and teachers couldn’t understand me due to my thick Mississippi accent, and I quickly learned to keep quiet so as to not be teased relentlessly. Cassidy and I spent most recesses inside, doing extra credit homework (NERD ALERT!) and reading books that fed our imaginations. My parents were fabulous in making sure that my sister and I had time with our father, and we spent a lot of hours shuttling back and forth between states. We wore those huge luggage tags around our necks that proclaimed to everyone on board that were MINORS and that we were ALONE. Being in the sky made everything below seem so far away and small,
and the airplane cabin gave my sister and me a chance to cry together and be kids. Saying goodbye to our parents was always hard, mainly because they cried and seemed so helpless, like they were the ones who needed comforting. Flying gave us our own universe – a place to be children, and it was even plainly printed around our necks. One night, our neighbor in Texas took me and Cassidy to a community theater production of Peter Pan. I had grown up proudly performing and producing princess plays for my parents, but now I ached to be a part of the glorious world that I was watching unfold. There were lights and sounds and music and singing and costumes and FLYING! Before me was a world where you could fly away and go to a land of Lost Boys: a world where you never had to grow up, or deal with adults. And not only was it okay to speak, it was okay to SING! It could be my own universe with my own set of rules. I convinced my mother to let me audition for the next show at the theater, and the first time I stepped on that stage was when I learned how to fly. Meeting with these kids after last week’s student matinee reminded me of the responsibility we share as artists. It would be overdramatic to say that the production of Peter Pan saved my life, but it definitely changed the course of my life. So often I put down my work because, unlike my doctor father and sister, I don’t save lives. Securing agents and managers, perusing breakdowns, facing rejection, reaching for financial safety—all of these out-shadow the real purpose of what we do and why we do it. I figure, I’m not famous, so my work isn’t really reaching anyone. But I can reach these kids. I can give them some magic and maybe a bit of comfort. And I can teach them how to fly. BLEEP 13
ake pfiel STORY BY SUSAN MINA
“I chose to work here very deliberately,” Blake Pfeil says while sitting at The West End, a venue with not one but three fully stocked bars. The Underground Lounge is an odd choice for Blake, a musician who is an openly recovering alcoholic. “I knew that if I could surround myself with the problem, I could look at it objectively,” he says, gesturing to the bottles on the bar. “And that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do.” It was six months ago that Blake, 26, who has been an actor and musician for more than half his life, hit the proverbial rock bottom. Without going into too much detail, Blake says that he woke up reeling from a painful night of drinking and knew he had a problem. Still hung-over but finally ready for change, his first impulse was to reach for his pen and began composing. That morning Blake wrote “Wallpaper,” the first track on what will hopefully become his first album. “Everything changed with that song,” he says. Blake not only found sobriety in those following weeks - he also found a depth and drive to his creativity. The result: nine tracks chronicling self-reckoning, forgiveness, and growth. Now, he’s on a mission to get his songs out into the world and onto an album with the help of an Indiegogo campaign.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE THE MOVE OF STARTING AN INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN? It actually took a lot of convincing. At the time I was so humbled by the support of my friends and family, and so grateful. After eight years of being an alcoholic, I didn’t think that I was deserving. It was my best friend who said to me, “You are in control of your work. People want to see you succeed.” And it was knowing that the story my album tells is really universal, that it can help people no matter what issue they’re trying to overcome.
up. I had walls, a foundation of who I was, but I was putting so many layers of wallpaper up that it became part of a destructive process. HOW HAS THAT PROCESS OF HONESTY BEEN FOR YOU? The learning curve of owning up and facing who I am has been steep. When I - when anyone - makes an admission to himself, when you start telling the truth…It’s like everything flies open and there’s so much good energy waiting for you. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am playing catch-up with my creativity.
WHAT IS THE SONG OR METAPHOR OR LYRIC ON YOUR SO YOUR WORK HAS CHANGED SINCE YOU’VE GOTTEN ALBUM THAT’S MEANT THE MOST TO YOU? Definitely “Wallpaper.” It sets the tone for the entire SOBER? Yeah. I think my creativity has become more album. I wrote it that morning after I hit rock bottom, and I said to myself that I had to stop covering things grounded. And I’ve been listening a lot more too, really listening. I can’t hide behind a bottle of Jack or 16 BLEEP
a glass of champagne; whatever is happening around family are the best of the best. And when you find the me, I have to sit and listen. Even music I’ve listened to people who will love you and accept you for who you since I was twelve sounds different now, because I’m are, you can find empowerment in a lot more places. finally hearing the lyrics and feeling the song. I’m so glad this happened now, I’m so glad I’m not wasting EVEN IN A BAR? any more time. Oh yeah. In a backwards way, this job [at The Underground Lounge] has been very empowering. In BUT IN SHOW BUSINESS… IT ISN’T EXACTLY EASY TO the other room, there are two bars in the back, but BE SOBER, IS IT? in front of them is this gorgeous grand piano. I pass No, but I can’t imagine what I would have done if that almost every day and it’s this visual reminder: I didn’t have this creative outlet. Music has been my I’m choosing to focus on the piano and not the stuff journal through this, and I’ve been able to write songs behind it. that make a difference to other people too. Plus, I have this amazing support system. My friends and WWW.BLAKEPFEIL.COM BLEEP 17
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Story by Ryan Brinson Photography by Matthew Stocke/Matt James Photo Studio
stewart copeland Stewart Copeland, drummer of the legendary band The Police, has been crafting the soundtrack of our lives for years. Now, heâ€™s focused on scoring the story of one of historyâ€™s greatest heroes, Ben Hur.
The Police are considered one of the greatest bands in rock and roll history. They sold more than 70 million albums, are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and their 2007 reunion tour sold 3.7 million tickets all over the world. For drummer Stewart Copeland, he couldn’t remember a time when music wasn’t his passion. “When I was in college and I was in a band, I was thrown out of the band because I had to go to class and they wanted to keep working. So I became a radio jockey at Berkley. Then I got a call about a musician I admired who was starting a band and I never looked back.” When he looks back on his storied career with The Police, Copeland looks back fondly on the early days – a time he was able to revisit because he’d been documenting the band from the beginning. “In around 1978, I had a Super 8 camera and I shot everything we did in the van we toured around in,” he said. “Cutting it back then was literally cutting frames with razor blades and having little pieces of tape and 22 BLEEP
glue. I realized I didn’t know how to edit so I put it all in shoe boxes and I put it away. Then they invented video and I transferred some of it but it looked like shit. Then computers came along with cheaper memory and I transferred the reels and started cutting it. I sent it to Andy [Summers] and a couple friends who told me to send it to Sundance.” He sent in his application and on Thanksgiving Eve, got a call from Sundance stating they wanted to show the film. On the following Monday, every film company, agent, and publicist wanted this new documentary on The Police which became “Everybody Stares: The Police Inside Out.” “My little home movie I’d shown to friends was now an entity going out into the world. I then had to actually polish the movie and make it real for people who weren’t there. The film reminded me of the good times we’d had, the mob hysteria and that first rush. We were receiving the kind of fan adoration that comes with being in a boy band, not a rock band. It’s that high pitched shriek from thousands of teenage
girls that Led Zepplin has never experienced and that’s what we were receiving.” But where The Police left off, Stewart Copeland was only just beginning. While Rolling Stone named him one of the top five drummers of all time, he had more on his mind than just drums. Between the years when he shot his home movies and when the film debuted at Sundance, Copeland earned a 1983 Golden Globe nomination for the score to the Francis Ford Coppola film, “Rumble Fish”, which led to a 20-year film career scoring films such as “Airborne,” “Talk Radio,” “Wall Street,” and “Good Burger.” “It was the most fun because I didn’t know what I was doing and it was an adventure, which is sort of what it’s all about,” he explains. “It’s one of the reasons I don’t score films anymore, because I’ve sort of figured it out. That’s why I’m in a whole new world with orchestras because there’s a lot to learn there.” Working with orchestras is precisely what Copeland has been doing. His love of film has continued as he reached deep into cinematic history for a project that has allowed him to be composer, arranger, film editor and historian. About five years ago, he was asked to do the music for a live arena production of “Ben Hur”, opening in the O2 Arena in London and then touring Europe. Utilizing instrumentalists from all around the world, including Istanbul, London and New York, he recorded the 90-minute score. Two months out from opening in the O2, the financial crash happened and the production came to a halt. Copeland ended up owning all of the music he’d written for the show. “I hate to see a good tune go to waste and my manager suggested I do a concert of it [Ben Hur]. So I was thinking along those lines and I happened to see on the box set of the Ben Hur movie that there was a 1925 version of it,” Copeland explains. “I looked into it and wow, it’s so much bigger and enormous and emotional and superior in every way to the later version. This was made in 1925, a silent film by Fred Niblo. The scale of it is colossal. Thousands of extras. Ships are literally in the ocean crashing into each other and extras are jumping for their lives. It’s unbelievable.” Copeland wasn’t just drawn to the film because of the scale of the final product, but
also the scale of the work that had to put into it. “There ought to be an Academy Award for assistant directors because in this film, there are thousands of people in the frame and every single bit of it is active: sword fighting, cheering, moving. The way it’s constructed is a piece of art and a masterwork,” he said. A three year journey with Warner Bros. ensued to navigate the rights to not only scoring the picture, but re-editing it as well to fit for a concert. The studio was eventually able to defrost and the print, which hadn’t been defrosted since the 60s when it was shot to video, and Copeland was able to start cutting the music and the movie together. “The original version was shot anywhere between 18 and 22 frames per second, depending on which camera and who was cranking it that day. So the version that I shot is not the version that is on the DVD in terms of the length and the speed of it. There’s not a machine that can play that film anymore, so I
Stills from “Ben Hur.”
had the option of duplicating every fourth frame to make it line up for a 24 frames per second projector which would match the DVD, or leaving it. I chose to leave it as is.” Copeland realized that in using the original print of the film, he had to work on the tints, the colors, the contrast and the framing of each shot to create one unified look to the film. At the same time, he was attaching every note of his 420 page score to the frames of the film. “It’s a work of great reverence. As I work on it, I realize how much went into it. And how talented was Mr. Niblo was to create such a masterpiece. The actors were so talented in their style of operatic over-acting to tell the story without words.” That operatic style is something Copeland has latched onto. He’s currently working on two different operas, which for the man who wrote the score to the film “Good Burger,” the score for the Nickelodeon TV show “The Amanda Show,” gave wings to the music of “Spyro the Dragon” for Playstation and crafted the theme for the Blackberry Bold, it just proves he’s an artist and a musical craftsman who can work in any genre or industry. For more information on what’s next for Stewart Copeland and news on upcoming concerts and projects, head over to WWW.STEWARTCOPELAND.NET
THE PREMIERE OF “BEN HUR” IS AT CHRYSLER HALL IN NORFOLK, VIRGINIA ON SATURDAY, APRIL 19 AT 8PM. TICKETS $20–$60 AS PART OF VIRGINIA ARTS FESTIVAL FOR TICKETS HEAD TO WWW.VAFEST.ORG
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HE’S BEEN CALLED THE FORREST GUMP OF MUSIC. HE’S PERFORMED ALL OVER THE GLOBE WITH WORLD CLASS TALENT. HE’S WORKED WITH LIZA, ON THE MACY’S DAY PARADE, WITH THE GANG FROM SESAME STREET, AND HAS EVEN WON AN EMMY. HIS ALBUM, FIRST THINGS LAST, FEATURES SUPERSTARS LIKE ALAN CUMMING, CHEYENNE JACKSON AND RICKI LAKE. LANCE HORNE IS AN UNDENIABLE TALENT.
WHERE DID YOUR DIVERSE MUSICAL PALETTE COME FROM? I think it all started on the ranch in Wyoming where I grew up. I would listen to The Sound of Music. My dad was constantly turning the dial to country western and I was always switching it to Sweeney Todd. That’s just how my musical taste grew and it’s stayed that way. When Kristin Chenoweth and I were performing in London for the President, First Lady, and Queen one night, the next day I flew to the Grand Ole Opry to perform with Larry Gatlin.
THE MUSIC ON FIRST THINGS LAST REFLECTS THIS DIVERSITY. THE OPENING TRACK WITH ALAN CUMMING HAS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT VIBE THAN THE TRACK WITH MEOW MEOW. WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM? Hammerstein told Sondheim that content dictates form, and [Sondheim] told that to me. I believe that is the case. I love collaborating with vocalists and WHEN DID YOU START WRITING SONGS? sewing a song onto a voice. I love knowing who I get I first started writing when I was 7 or 8. I started out to write for, and that is what decides how the song as a piano prodigy and I kept moving things around. I will sound. would take Beethoven up a half step on my right hand or I would play Bach backwards. I had never thought I MORE THAN JUST THE SOUND OF YOUR MUSIC, THERE could write my own music. IS SUCH DIVERSITY BOTH AMONG THE ARTISTS YOU
WORK WITH AND THE TYPES OF SONGS YOU WRITE. You can learn something from every creative collaboration which is why I love collaborating with performers in whatever capacity. I love writing and presenting work that’s healthy for the voice. I think there’s amazing potential in that, especially for longevity. Everyone on my album is at the top of their game. I love working with all of them and I would never ask any of them to do something that isn’t comfortable for their voice. I learned that when I did the vocal arranging for Little Women on Broadway. We were pressured, unintentionally, to make Sutton Foster not sound like Sutton Foster. That was the year after Wicked and people wanted to hear that type of sound from women on Broadway. But I think there’s no one better at doing what she does than Sutton, and I fought to keep her voice and her style in the show. I’m really proud of [Little Women] as a jewel of a piece. SPEAKING OF MUSICALS, YOU’VE WORKED ON AND WRITTEN A FEW. Yes, one is called The $trip. It’s the history of the 20th Century as told through American dance. If that show opened tomorrow, you’d experience everything from swing music to dub step. I have another musical called Amandine. It’s in France in the 18th Century and has evocative strings and more of a French sound and operative quality. Another is the Neil Gaiman work I’m doing right now. He’s given me all of this unpublished poetry he wrote for Amanda Palmer. I’m turning them into a piece called The Night Before My Wedding which takes the words and textures of Neil, the spirit of Amanda and puts them into a Valentine of a piece.
through bookstores. I’m also a mentor at Julliard. I mentor two or three students every year on really interesting projects that are outside the box. Right now, I have an opera singer, a great string player, and an actor. I get together with them and talk about life from the perspective of our different decades and what the arts mean to our society. I try my best to help them get through the craziness that college is. It’s such a great program that Julliard has. Support for the arts is waning because of the economy, but they have stepped up and vowed to support their students even more. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? On April 15th, I have a show at Rockwell in LA. with amazing L.A. artists. Meow Meow and I are taking a new show to London to the Wonderground Festival in May and the Von Trapp Family and I are going to be playing a couple concerts together at the end of April. BEYOND THAT? I’m supervising a film, doing a workshop of Amandine in April and doing a gala for PS122 with Michael Stipe. I’m also creating something new with Jake Shears and the album of Liza’s birthday concert with Alan Cumming recorded live from Town Hall will release in May.
ANY NEW THEATER? I’m writing a 24-hour musical that goes up April 7th for the Orchard Project which brings artists upstate in New York to create. It gets together the best people from Broadway and TV and four musicals are written, learned, staged and performed in 24-hours. I wrote one before and there’s a documentary on it called WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO PERFORM? “One Night Stand.” Last year I music directed when I love performing in Australia. The people there Ben Folds wrote one and this year, I’m writing again have more of a sport about them so the concerts and it’s an amazing shot-out-a-canon experience. there really have an added life. There’s a great place where Alan Cumming and I performed in Brisbane ANYTHING ELSE? called Powerhouse and it’s still one of the best places There’s also a new series of shows happening at The I’ve ever performed. Players Club in New York. It’ll be a place to hear new I love the audiences in San Francisco and I love work, live from the Players, with guest performers bringing things back to New York. New York audiences coming in. Now it’s gathering steam. My middle name do not suffer fools. Most of my heroes live in this is Booth and I’m from the Booth lineage so it’s cool to town and create in this town. When they are in the go back there. audience, it ups your game. You can’t help but grow. DO YOU EVER REST? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT ON STAGE? I learned a long time ago, I will give you a better I love reading. I love touring around whatever city product if I can have the space to not be constantly I’m in and finding the most interesting and obscure creating and churning it out. I do sleep eight hours a nook. We have great games on tour and try to find night, I promise. the local hang out and the local drag queen to see their performance. I also collect old books so I hunt WWW.LANCEHORNE.COM BLEEP 29
INTERVIEW BY RYAN BRINSON
Photo by Stephen Sorokoff
AFTER THE FINALE OF THE SIXTH SEASON OF AMERICAN IDOL, SIMON COWELL TOLD “GOOD MORNING AMERICA” THAT THE TITLE SHOULD HAVE RIGHTFULLY GONE TO MELINDA DOOLITTLE, A FORMER BACKUP SINGER FOR SOME OF MUSIC BIGGEST GROUPS AND THIRD PLACE FINISHER ON IDOL. SINCE THEN, SHE’S RELEASED TWO EPS AND MADE A NAME FOR HERSELF AS ONE OF THE MOST DYNAMIC AND POWERFUL LIVE PERFORMERS AROUND.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO TO SOMEONE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? I sing my heart out. I love what I do. I love the fact that I get to get on stage and just be me and tell my own story. I used to be a background singer and that’s all about supporting someone else. I’m at the point in my life when I have something to say and a story to tell so I’m a storyteller. THE STORIES YOU’RE TELLING RIGHT NOW ARE VERY PERSONAL. What was most important for me on this EP was to just really tell my own story and honestly tell the story of my life. It caused me to be a lot more transparent than I planned on being. The first song I went in to write with my producer and Jonathan Lee was “Never Giving Up.” I thought we were going in to write a happy, upbeat song, but they asked “What have been some of the hard parts for you in dealing with criticism and things you’ve had to get over?” And I started talking and realized I didn’t know if I was ready to say these things. But we got this song about the fact that no matter what anyone has said about me, I’ve come to the place where I’m not going to give up and no one can tell me any different. It set the tone for the entire record.
Above: Melinda performing with Bebe and Cece Winans on the “American Idol” Finale. Right: Melinda with Ryan Seacrest, recieving the judges’ critiques during “Idol.”
IDOL ENDS AND THE TOUR IS OVER. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? It’s crazy. What happens after Idol is one of the craziest things. It feels like someone took your life, threw it up in the air and you don’t really know where it’s going to fall. That’s how I felt, at least. I was approached by an independent label that had a great catalog of songs and that was my first debut record, doing soul music. We recorded the whole thing in nine days and there was no real time for me to insert myself into it. While I’m definitely proud of it, I was waiting for a chance to really be me. During that search, I wrote a book, “Beyond Me,” and just told my stories. I needed a way to tell my stories. I started speaking, and traveling, and I put my own band together and had my own background vocalists, which was the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.
cried because it felt so good to have people who have your back on stage. I didn’t realize, as a background singer, how much I was giving that artist and feeding that artist. They definitely feed me. I love being on stage with them. We’ve been everywhere together, from Carnegie Hall to The Kennedy Center to the White House. FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO ONE OF YOUR SHOWS, WHAT SHOULD THEY EXPECT? What I want them to expect is a journey and an actual experience. It’s not just me standing on a stage, singing at you. It’s sharing my story and taking you on this journey we’ve all been through. What I’ve learned from singing in different cities [is that] people relate to my journey because we’ve all been through the ups and downs of love. I always sing about love, because who doesn’t want to hear about love? I miss songs with melodies that make you cry and those lyrics that make you feel something, so that’s what I try to give in my show.
TELL ME WHAT THAT WAS LIKE, HAVING YOUR OWN BACKGROUND SINGERS. First of all, I was picky. It’s a hard job to be a background singer and I wanted killer singers. So WHAT ADVICE HAVE ARTISTS YOU USED TO SING FOR these three girls I’d been friends with for years, I call GIVEN YOU ABOUT TAKING CENTER STAGE? them “the white divas”, and they’ve been singing I used to sing for a gospel group called Anointed together for 15 years. [At] our first rehearsal, I just and what they’ve told me is to be the same person on
Photo by Stephen Sorokoff
stage that you are off stage. Don’t change it because people want to see you. Whoever you are, everyday, bring that to the stage. Then, I’m nobody different and I’m just getting up there and telling my story. You’re getting Melinda. CeCe [Winans] told me I needed to make time in my schedule to rest. I didn’t understand it then but your voice needs time to rest or it suffers. Gladys Knight is my favorite artist...and when I met her, I asked her what she did with the music that makes the difference. She said, “Melinda, I watched you on Idol, I see what you’ve done on stage and I feel like you tell a story. I feel like you tell a story from a book. What you need to do is become the movie. Be the live action story.” I take that with me every single day. WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM? From life. From my momma. She is my favorite
person on the whole Earth and her strength is beyond. The strength she has instilled in me has taught me that I can make it through whatever I need to get through. LET’S SWITCH GEARS. YOU ARE ALL ABOUT TWITTER. Yes I am. I am a live-tweeter. “So You Think You Can Dance” is my favorite show. I WOULD THINK, ON BASIS OF YOUR TWEETS, YOUR FAVORITE SHOW WOULD BE A SINGING SHOW. I love singing shows. But when I watch them, I can’t help but put myself in their spot. I get nervous; I know what they’re going through and I feel for them. When I watch “So You Think You Can Dance,” it’s something I wish I could do and they are just so skilled at what they do. With singing, there’s room for interpretation but on that show, you just have to be good at what you do.
WOULD YOU EVER DO REALITY TV AGAIN? I wouldn’t do another singing show for sure. I’m not opposed to reality TV, but I am opposed to drama. So in that, I don’t think they would want me on any reality show. I love documenting a process, but I don’t love drama.
For tour dates and more information, check out WWW.MELINDADOOLITTLE.COM
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM? I would say what I’ve learned through this experience is that this platform I’ve been given, the bigger the platform, the more reach I have. I’ve been involved with some huge charities and to walk into a room and see kids eyes light up just because I came is unreal. I want to be able to reach as many people as possible and make a difference. That drives me and that drives my dream. I’m so grateful that this is what I get to do.
Photo by Stephen Sorokoff
Photo by Brandon Lyon
PTX 36 BLEEP
THEY HAVE MORE YOUTUBE SUBSCRIBERS THAN LORDE. MORE THAN SELENA GOMEZ. MORE THAN BRITNEY. MORE THAN JUSTIN. EVEN MORE THAN BEYONCE.
THE MEMBERS OF PENTATONIX MET THE DAY BEFORE THE AUDITIONS FOR THE THIRD SEASON OF THE SING-OFF BEGAN. THEY NOT ONLY CLICKED, BUT THEY WON THE SHOW. THE FIVE VOCALISTS, SCOTT HOYING, KIRSTIE MALDONADO, MITCH GRASSI, AVI KAPLAN AND KEVIN OLUSOLA, WON THE RECORDING CONTRACT WITH SONY AND THEIR DEBUT EP, PTX VOL. 1, WAS A TOP 20 HIT. THEIR SECOND RELEASE, PTX VOL. 2, DEBUTED #10 ON THE BILLBOARD 200. THEY MORE THAN 400 MILLION VIEWS OF VIDEOS ON THEIR YOUTUBE CHANNEL, AND YES, THEY HAVE MORE FOLLOWERS THAN BRITNEY, JUSTIN OR BEYONCE. MITCH GRASSI SKIPPED HIS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION CEREMONY IN ORDER TO MAKE THE AUDITIONS FOR “THE SING OFF” AND WE TALKED WITH MITCH ABOUT WHAT THE GROUP DID TO PARLAY THEIR TV WIN INTO CONQUERING THE ITUNES CHARTS. AFTER “THE SING OFF,” HOW DID YOU SET OUT TO MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF INDEPENDENT OF THE SHOW? We didn’t want to just be another flash-in-thepan reality show contestant, so we sought to solidify our sound/brand through social media [outlets], the biggest one obviously being YouTube. Over the years, we’ve strengthened our YouTube presence tenfold by staying consistent with releasing new, fresh material often. WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOUTUBE WAS GOING TO BE THE TOOL TO MAKE YOU A HOUSEHOLD NAME? I think after our videos started getting worldwide recognition. For me, it was the viral reach of our “Somebody That I Used to Know.” I never really thought it would blow up like it did, but I think that was our turning point.
we’re constantly looping our individual parts, engraining it into our muscle memory. WHAT INSPIRES THE NEW ARRANGEMENTS? WHERE DO THE VIDEO CONCEPTS COME FROM? Typically, someone will be inspired by a particular tune and bring it to the group if they think we would do it well. If the group agrees, we’ll begin arranging it and sometimes it works, sometimes it fails. We work primarily with FifGen Films, an extremely talented video troupe out of Portland. Their creativity combined with the group’s artistic vision makes for unusual and eye-catching videos. YOU’VE BEGUN INTEGRATING SOME INSTRUMENTS INTO YOUR MUSIC. HAVE YOUR FANS BEEN RECEPTIVE TO NON-VOCAL SOUNDS BEING ADDED? Absolutely! We’ve only really ever used string instruments, like Kevin (our beatboxer) and his cello, or Lindsey Sterling (in our Radioactive video). The combination of vocals and string instruments makes for a lovely, romantic sound that I think our audience really enjoys. YOUR TOUR IN AMERICA IS COMPLETELY SOLD OUT. THERE ARE MUSIC MEGASTARS WHO CAN’T EVEN BOAST THAT. HOW GOES IT FEEL? It feels incredible, honestly. The support we receive from our fan base is absolutely unreal, and I’m so eternally grateful for them; they give us the strength to keep doing what we do! WHAT CAN AUDIENCES EXPECT FROM A PENTATONIX LIVE SHOW? Crazy production, heavy beats, and a ton of energy. WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE GROUP? Definitely more original material. We want to establish ourselves as a legitimate band and not just a YouTube cover band.
WHY IS ACAPELLA MUSIC IMPORTANT? WHAT’S THE CONTINUED APPEAL? HOW IS PENTATONIX GOING TO CONTINUE FURTHERING THE ART? I think the overproduction of music on the radio IN AN ACAPELLA GROUP, EVERY MEMBER IS ESSENTIALLY these days really drives people to want something THE LEAD BECAUSE THEY ARE EACH CARRYING AN more organic in the music they listen to. We also rely INTEGRAL PIECE OF THE SOUND. HOW DO YOU HANDLE mainly on our vocal prowess, which although not THE RESPONSIBILITY OF NOT HAVING ROOM FOR ERROR? always easy, garners us a lot of respect in the music We practice like crazy! And while we’re arranging, world.
For tour dates and more information, check out WWW.PTXOFFICIAL.COM
Photo by Ryan Parma
JAMES DURBIN ON HIS NEW ALBUM & MAKING THE MUSIC HE WANTS TO MAKE
WHAT INSPIRED THIS ALBUM? I wanted to remove myself physically and mentally from any stereotype that has been put on me. I have this amazing platform and the complications with it are, when you’re showing that you’re capable of something, and people start paying attention to that one thing, you can get lost in it. I sing everything. I like to write all types of music and so many genres affect and influence me. To pigeon-hole myself in one style is hard for me. On this record, I wanted to remove myself from that and have no boundaries from song writing and performing. I had fun exploring music and exploring art. How can you call yourself an artist if you don’t explore? WHAT SEPARATES CELEBRATE FROM YOUR FIRST ALBUM, MEMORIES OF A BEAUTIFUL DISASTER? With Memories, it was done in two weeks and with Celebrate, it was done in a year and a half. I got to figure out what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. I wanted to focus on having more material and take my fans on a journey through my show.
parts and pieces that take people out of what they are expecting. HAVE YOUR IDOL FANS STUCK WITH YOU? One of the cool things about coming from “Idol,” there’s a whole list of cool things that come from that, is that your fans are with you from the beginning. They see your journey and are able to relate to this person. By the time you get to the voting rounds, they are already die-hards. Because of that, I try to tell my fans that this isn’t one-sided. We are in this together because we came up together. We are on the journey together. I think this record is going to be ground breaking for me. I don’t gauge my success by the success of others, I have my own measurement. It’s not about album sales or a plague on the wall. It’s about personal growth and accomplishing more than I did on my last album.
WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO WEREN’T “IDOL” FANS? WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD FROM THEM SINCE YOU LEFT THE SHOW AND STARTED TOURING? I’ve heard “Nothing serious comes out of Idol,” by people before. But when I went on tour with Buck WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING OUT FROM UNDER THE “IDOL” Cherry, I did my best to blow people’s minds. Then, UMBRELLA AND OUT IN THE INDUSTRY? people were coming up to me saying they didn’t I was so ready to get off the Idol stage and show watch Idol but like what I’m doing now. what I could do. But I picked all these songs that need me to be at a 10 for every song. If every song WHAT HAS MOST SURPRISED YOU ABOUT KICKING OFF is matched the same, how can I show anyone any YOUR POST-IDOL CAREER? sort of variation? On this album, there are so many I think that there’s so much opportunity. I was 42 BLEEP
kind of scared about post-Idol. They’re on the 13th season right now and how many people do you remember? How many people who didn’t win or were the runner-up do you remember? I didn’t want to become a casualty of “American Idol.” Idol is hard work. A lot of hard work goes into it. It’s like a beauty pageant mixed with stage moms and a dog show. So we know how to work hard. There are a lot of ways to stay successful. YOU’RE VERY OPEN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES AS A CHILD BEING BULLIED FOR HAVING ASPERGER’S SYNDROME AND TOURETTE’S SYNDROME. TELL ME ABOUT “DIFFERENT IS THE NEW NORMAL.” HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED? I’m very open about what I have, and I want to show the world that just because someone has been given a handicap or disability doesn’t mean they aren’t able to achieve their dreams. According to society, I have disabilities, but I have dreams and I’m going after them. Right after Idol, we were getting ready for the tour when I did the interview. At the end of my interview, I happened to say “Different is the new Normal” and that stuck as the film’s title. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? More music videos, going on tour and I never stop writing. You can never write too many songs. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM? I’m already living it. I think if I ask for anything more, that’s just being greedy. For tour dates and more info, check out WWW.DURBINROCK.COM 44 BLEEP
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YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
RIVA HE’S TALENTED. HE’S DASHING. AND HE’S ON THE RISE.
VA BLEEP 49
THE MAN WITH A CLASSICAL MUSIC BACKGROUND IS NOW THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE BAR “DSTYLE” IN RIGA AS WELL AS ONE OF THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE PARTY’S DJ IN LATVIA. MARKUS RIVA IS HARD AT WORK ON NEW MUSIC AND PLOTTING HIS RETURN TO THE EUROVISION STAGE.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JURIJS VAHRUSEVS
YOUR MUSIC HAS A VERY FULL SOUND, VOCALLY. IS THAT FROM YOUR DAYS IN THE BOYS’ CHOIR? [With] A lot of the songs I’m writing and creating, I’m producing them as well. I know how it should sound and I know how full I want the sound to be. When I was six years old, I was in a music school and it was a must to sing in the choir. I really enjoyed that and when I became a man, I still did the choir thing and studied choral music. I was born to do it. I fell in love with music. I still like classical music. I also obviously love pop music and the pop scene.
YOU HAVE A HISTORY DOING MUSICAL THEATER AS WELL. I did West Side Story and Les Miz. It was right after I graduated from college and it was a lot of fun. It was a new world to me and it was a really nice experience and school for me. It was like a pop factory because we were singing, dancing and learning to act. It definitely affected how I perform now. YOU’VE WON LATVIAN STYLE AND FASHION AWARDS. HOW DOES WHAT YOU WEAR FACTOR INTO YOUR PERFORMANCES AND THE MUSIC YOU MAKE? When I’m writing music, I always think [about] what it’s going to look like. I have the package already in my head. I have a new single in my mind and I’m preparing for the next level and how my next video
will be presented. I like to change my style with every song I’m doing. IN YOUR AUDITION FOR EUROVISION, YOU PERFORMED YOUR SONG “LIGHTS ON.” VISUALLY, THE PERFORMANCE WAS REMINISCENT OF SOMETHING LADY GAGA OR KATY PERRY WOULD CREATE. DO YOU DRAW FROM OTHER POP STARS FOR INSPIRATION? I sit on YouTube for hours and watch all the pop performances and videos. If you are in pop music, you have to see what other people are doing. I don’t copy it, because you have to get it through your own prism and vision. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO AUDITION FOR EUROPE’S BIGGEST SHOW? It was a nice experience. I was in the finals two times with my songs for other artists but it was my first time performing as a soloist. For next year, it’s going to be even more interesting and I already have some ideas on how to surprise people. WHAT FUELS THE MUSIC YOU WRITE? It’s from my life. When you’re working 24/7, you see a lot of people. Now I’m working on my third solo album which is the first one since I’ve started doing [the] nightlife and DJ thing every week and I think the album is going to be inspired by nightlife. It won’t be about drinking or partying, but the feelings it brings up when you need to get out and let go, or when you get home and you’re alone again. It won’t be all EDM (Electronic Dance Music) but it’ll be more versatile than my previous CDs. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM? My dream is to be happy. In my personal life, I’m working all the time and I have so many ideas and dreams to achieve, but I want to find a balance. I want to be able to have the creative work side and the personal side. WWW.MARKUSRIVAOFFICIAL.COM
Justin Furstenfeld, lead vocalist for Blue October, singing at the grand opening of Orb.
The Beginning of the Next Big Music Studio
Interview & Photos By Hatley Moore BLEEP 53
When it comes to bands that I’ve passionately listened to for years, one band that has consistently been on that list is Blue October. So when I heard that C.B. Hudson and Matt Noveskey from Blue October were opening a music studio here in Austin, Texas, I was ecstatic. While they began recording clients in January, the official grand opening of Orb Recording Studios took place during SXSW, consisting of live acoustic performances, free Bloody Mary’s and BBQ, and a special ribbon-cutting ceremony with the founders’ friends and families surrounding them. I sat down with Matt and asked him a few questions about Orb, Blue October, and just how this all came to be. WHAT IS THE HISTORY BEHIND THE CREATION OF ORB? It’s been maybe 3 or 4 years in the making. First of all, C.B. and I are very close, as I am with everybody in the band, but C.B. and I have a tendency to hang out a lot, and we have a lot of the same interests. He had always had an interest in having a recording studio, but it was just something that never materialized for whatever reason. I began producing records in 2007, and I never looked back. It was just one of those things I did, and all of a sudden I was doing it constantly to where I was saying, ‘this is really fun, I’m going to go work with my friend’s band!’ To, ‘I can get paid to do this! This is cool.’ The combination of that and what his wishes were really lined up at the right time to where we both went, ‘You know, we should talk about forming a business together.’ It was like we could be one of a hundred, or we could be one of one, and there’s a lot more risk, and there’s a lot more at stake to be one of one, but ten years from now, we’d wish we had done it that way, so screw it. 54 BLEEP
Let’s do it. At that point, we made a commitment to be in the right area, and be in the right building, and really build a studio from a musician’s point of view. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU’RE VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT WITH THIS STUDIO? I feel artist development is kind of a lost art, you know. I think labels these days, they don’t make as much money, their record sales aren’t what they use to be and there’s not as much devotion. There’s not as much loyalty and seeing it through as there used to be. I think it’s kind of sad and it should exist, because I think there’s a lot of talented people out there that deserve to be heard and for their music to get out there that don’t really have the means to do it. So I work with some bands and some artists that really need help getting from A to B, which is sort of the hardest part. AS FAR AS BLUE OCTOBER GOES, HOW WILL THIS STUDIO PLAY A PART IN THAT, AND WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS OF THE BAND? We actually all have studios now, so it’s great because we have a lot of options of how we want to go about recording. Sway came out early fall, late summer last year, and we just released the title-track, “Sway” as our second single, so I think we’re going to not take it for granted, and stop and enjoy it a little while. But I do feel like now that we did the fall tour, which was a lot of heavy touring, and now that we’ve been off for a while, if everybody’s on the same clock that I am, I feel like new songs are going to start being written very soon. So I think we’re going to start working on that material so that we can refine it, rehearse, and next year be ready to hit the studio.
AS FAR AS ORB, IS THERE A FUTURE VISION? It sounds super idealistic, but we just don’t want this to be a studio. That’s never been the vision. It was never my intention to be a studio owner. This is a much bigger thing to me. I want this to catch on, and I want people to become familiar with it, and of course I want people’s business, but I want this to be home. I want there to be a story, when this is all said and done, or if we’re still doing well 30 or 40 years from now, I want this to be a home for Austin talent, for people around here but I want it ultimately to be one of the places that people refer to when they talk about the growth of Austin and the industry here. And obviously that has negatives and positives, but if you want to have a healthy music community here, you have to have some infrastructure, and I want this to contribute to that. I want everybody in Austin to feel proud of this, and I want to be part of this community. I want this to be a place that people look at and see as a benchmark of Austin’s success.
rendition of “Bleed Out”, the first single off of their newest album Sway, it was a great finale to the opening of this studio, and was a testament to how special this is for C.B. and Matt, and just how much of an accomplishment this really is.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO TELL TO UP-ANDCOMING ARTISTS? I’ve had this conversation with a lot of bands that are young and in the early stages of their career figuring out who they are, and I really enjoy that process and helping bands connect the dots. One thing I say over and over because it’s the truth and a wake up call, but a challenge at the same time: If you really want to do this, think about this for a minute: Blue October lived in a van for years. We went out and played for nobody. We were broke, poor, and living with girlfriends just scraping by, being told no, over and over again, until something started to click on the outside. Part of the reason we continue to do what we do and we’re able to do it is our fans come The grand opening featured acoustic out to see us every tour, and part of the reason is not performances, such as the guitar and vocals of Reed because of “Hate Me”, it’s because we went out in a Turner, the intensity, passion, and cool percussive van and lived in that for years. We connected with instruments of Tori Vasquez, and the always great our fans, and we spent time with them and got to ensemble of Quiet Company. know them, and we kept playing and all those people Following the ribbon cutting ceremony outside that we met, they told their friends to come to the in front of the building, which included emotional next show, and it spread grass roots. That doesn’t and heartfelt speeches from C.B. and Matt, we all go away. Gold records go away, grass roots don’t go moved back inside for a surprise performance from away. That’s what I try to preach to the artists I work Blue October front-man, Justin Furstenfeld. with. I think it scares them half the time. [Laughs] While only playing four songs, Justin’s set was the most emotionally powerful, and incredible WWW.ORBRECORDINGSTUDIOS.COM live performance I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing. Finishing the set off with an a cappella BLEEP 55
Models: Loranny Inocencia & Scotty Lester On Scotty: Top Man Shirt/Blazer
ARCHITECTURE MEN’S FASHION HAS TAKEN A CLEAR-SIGHTED STEP FORWARD IN THE WORLD OF MENSWEAR. WE ARE BECOMING BRAVER EVERYDAY WITH HOW WE PERCEIVE AND DRESS THE MALE FORM. WITH THE WORLDS EVER CHANGING AND POSITIVE VIEW ON WHAT IS “MASCULINE” - WE ARE CONTINUOUSLY REDEFINING AND RECREATING A NEW MALE ARCHITECTURE.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIC PIETRANGOLARE
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO MODELING? I decided to give it a try after college when an NYC agency showed interest. I flew up from Atlanta and have been here ever since! WHAT INSPIRES YOU? I’m in pharma-sales so I’m out and about most of the day. I see many types of people and many types of selfexpressions, and it really inspires me to find clothing that help express myself as well. WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER MODELS? I guess the same thing that sets all of us apart, I’m uniquely me – but my southern charm and accent helps a bit too.
BLEEP 57 MUA/Hair: Yvelissa Munoz
Model: Gavin Grymes On Gavin: Goorin Brothers Hat/All Saints Jacket WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH YOUR JEWELRY LINE, THE FORGERY? We are excited to be planning a re-launch this year with some tricks up our sleeves. WHAT’S APPEALING TO YOU ABOUT BEING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA? I love being in front of the camera to challenge myself, collaborate, and make art with another artist. I’m a designer at heart, so anything involving that I love.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL OF MODELING? I’ve been modeling on and off for the last two years or so and meeting and creating with new people has also been the most appealing aspect to me.
YOU’VE SPENT SO MUCH TIME TRAVELING. WHAT PLACES HAVE INSPIRED YOU AND HOW? Tokyo has been inspired me the most. The high respect for creativity and art is really admirable. I also love that they still uphold traditional values and practices whilst pushing the boundaries in the modern world.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR BIG BREAK? My big break would probably be when Men’s Wearhouse made me the national face of their company. This was in 2008, President Obama had just been elected, and I guess the “mixed racial look” was in. I was truly grateful for that company and continued to work with them and their sister company, David’s Bridal, for the next 5 years from there.
WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER HOBBIES/WHAT ELSE ARE YOU INTERESTED IN? Any and all things, but not limited to: Pocket monsters, mutant august, blades and butts, princesses, giant robots piloted by emotionally charged and damaged teens, sneaks, science, space, face and body, and naps.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING MODELS WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING IT IN THE INDUSTRY? The most important advice I have to anyone who wants to be in this industry is to know yourself and what you have before entering an agency. There are many beautiful people out in society. If you know how you look and where your physique stands and have full confidence in your ability to be a model, go for it. But, your agent may see you as K-Mart and Target (which can pay oodles more than Prada and Gucci, if you want to compare commercial work to high fashion), where as you may want to see yourself in Paris fashion week. All I’m saying is be realistic with yourself and know your strengths and you’ll have a fabulous career. WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO BESIDES MODELING? I wrote a novel and am currently working on its sequel as my editor finishes up his touch on the first book. It’ll be out hopefully by the end of this year. I’m really excited about this project because it’s a labor of love. Look out for this fictional series called “Dark Tales of the Black Forest: Winter.” If you’re into bad-ass kids, wildly colorful wicked witches, Grimms collected stories, and my family’s homeland, Blackforest, Germany - you’ll be into this tale.
Models: Robb Sherman & Arden Ytterberg On Robb: Venley Pants/Zara Gloves On Arden: American Apparel Henley
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MODELING? I started modeling senior year of college. A friend of mine hired the talent for local fashion/ runway events, conventions, and corporate dinners. They always needed men to hold doors, wear tuxes, etc. and since I was a theatre major, sometimes I would dance at the events as well. WHAT’S THE APPEAL OF IT? Good modeling can be fascinating because it is basically acting that is captured in stillness. I love photos that take your breath away or make you think about the story behind the photo, and when you work with a photographer that has the ability to capture that emotion at the right time, the result is like a very, very short play. (A la “A picture is worth a thousand words.”) WHAT’S YOUR GOAL/DREAM? Unlike most models, my dream right now is not to be on a huge billboard in Times Square (although that would be pretty cool). At this moment I’m happy learning more about the industry and meeting other models and photographers. I’m an actor, most recently in the first national tour of the Broadway show The Book of Mormon. I’d like to continue my acting and cross over into the television/ commercial market.
Model: Mike Schwitter On Mike: Ted Baker Shirt/Calvin Klein Belt, Pants, Underwear
WHY SORTS OF CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED WITHIN THE INDUSTRY? Like most models, the biggest challenge I faced was my body type. My main issue, per the model industry standard, was more about my curves. As a Latina, I’m practically born with curves and that cost me a lot of really good castings. [That’s] a very hard fact to deal with as an aspiring model and I really didn’t want to go on extreme dieting or be anorexic. Therefore I dedicated myself to doing more of commercial work and every now I then I hired for editorial work, and let’s say...my curves make any wardrobe look good! WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER MODELS? Initially, I started modeling as a way to escape from my problems in the real world. I had no goals of where I was going to take modeling, I just did it to meditate. In my teens, I was very self-conscious about my image (so much I used do extreme workouts at the age of 15 ) and I didn’t like my body at all. Then I discovered my passion for modeling which helped me accept my naturally unique flaws.
DUSTY ST. AMAND
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SHOWS LIKE “AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL?” I have mix feelings about ANTM. Mainly because it’s a reality show and you get picked based on how dramatic your story is (I went to the casting one year). On the other hand, it’s an entertaining show because as a model, I observe and learn from the girls when they pose and the advice the judges give. WHY DO YOU MODEL? I think it’s important that queer sexuality have a consistent presence in both mainstream and user-generated media, because if people don’t see it they’ll never get used to it. I put myself out there because people like me or people who just feel different need reassurance that they themselves are special. WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER MODELS? I think the beard and my body hair definitely set me apart. As well as my willingness to explore weird or unflattering images, in the hope of finding more real and relatable for those who eventually view the work. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN GROWING YOUR BEARD? I wish I’d never trimmed my beard, to be honest. I had this crazy mountain man thing going that I loved. It’s probably been about 6 months that I’ve been growing this little guy. WHAT ELSE ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT? I’m passionate about nutrition, exercise, and with helping people discover a better quality of life. I’m sure all of that will manifest itself into a profession or a cause over time.
Model: Loranny Inocencia On Loranny: Chiqle Top, Shorts/Forever 21 Bracelet
Model: Dusty St. Amand On Dusty: 2(x)ist Underwear
HE’S DANCED WITH THE BEST IN THE BUSINE DANCING THE ‘LOCOMOTION’ AND WITH BRITN 64 BLEEP
ESS. WE CHAT WITH ZAC BRAZENAS ABOUT NEY IN HER VEGAS SPECTACULAR “PIECE OF ME” BLEEP 65
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE MEANT TO DANCE? When I was seven years old, I’d been roller-skating for a couple years. When my rink closed, my neighbor who danced wanted me to dance with her. I remember the first song and the first steps were that I took. It was “Another one Bites the Dust” and from that moment, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
IT YOUR OWN? Sometimes you can’t make it your own. With Britney and Kylie, it’s very stylized and if you make it too much your own, it affects the vision. But there are shows where you can give it more of your flavor. When I was working with JLo, I could do that. There’s an art to being a dancer who can adapt and do what the choreographer wants you to do. YOU SUFFERED AN INJURY AND YOU’VE HAD TO WORK BACK FROM THAT. WHAT WAS THE RECOVERY PROCESS LIKE? I enjoyed the process of rehab. I was an aerialist when I fell and I’m not able to return to that, which is sad because I love it. I remember looking at my ankle when I got my cast off and I could only use my toes. Even after months of physical therapy, just my toes would move and I was worried it was never going to move enough for me to dance. But I do yoga every day and a lot of Pilates. I was determined to get back to the point where I could do big stage shows and now I am.
YOUR CAREER SKYROCKETED WHEN YOU BOOKED CELINE DION’S TAKING CHANCES WORLD TOUR. That was like winning the lottery. I’d done promotional tours but it’s so different doing a big WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS IN world tour like that. We stated with venues of 75- YOUR CAREER THUS FAR? 110 thousand people. The immensity of it and how Having my family come and see me perform with exciting it is to be on stage to get that energy and Celine and hearing my father say he was proud of me love from an audience. is the first thing. The second would be performing in Times Square on New Years Eve with JLo. It was one IF YOU’RE DANCING FOR AN ARTIST, HOW DO YOU MAKE of those moments that was so amazing and I never
thought it would be possible. Now, it’s dancing with Britney because it is me coming back from my injury after not knowing if I was ever going to dance again. I’ll also say I’d wanted to dance for Kylie since I was young and listening to “Locomotion.” In grade school I wrote down my list of goals. They were to dance at Casino, dance on a cruise ship, and dance with Kylie and Madonna. YOU’RE CURRENTLY DANCING WITH BRITNEY IN HER “PIECE OF ME” VEGAS EXTRAVAGANZA. WHAT HAS THE RECEPTION BEEN LIKE? I’ve worked for a lot of artists but I’ve never seen fans who are as into it as Britney fans. I honestly think they are the biggest and best fans in the world. I will be walking down the street and people will call my name. I’ve been recognized from dancing with artists before but never to the point where they have known my name. It’s on a different level. And they’re very sweet and are very nice. They want to know about me as well as her. A lot of fans just want to know about the artist, but Britney fans they are Britney dancer friends as well. WHAT HAVE THE ARTISTS YOU’VE WORKED WITH TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? Each one is different but what they all have in common is that they all believe in themselves so much. You have to have an immense faith in who you are to pull that off night in and night out. You realize that’s what makes them special. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT OFF STAGE? I love yoga and have a great community of yoga friends. It’s something that really helped me from the moment I fell and I could find a calm place and breathe through the pain and anxiety of it all. I like hiking with my friends. My life is pretty simple. WHAT’S YOUR DREAM? The only job I haven’t done is dance for Madonna. But in a way, that’s okay because it’s the reason I moved here and that goal has led me to have all of these amazing experiences with amazing artists. Ultimately, my dream is to be happy with myself, and one day find a partner I can share my life with. Follow Zac on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zacbrazenas
Speaking of what we’re
OBSEwithSSrightEDnow We’re obsessed with “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Wes Anderson has done it again. Clever, stylized (with Anderson that feels redundant), and imaginative, this black comedy feels like dessert. Speaking of dessert, we can’t get enough of Dominique Ansel’s Chocolate-Chip Cookie Milk Shots. What’s not to like here? Chocolate chip cookies in the shape of a shot glass and they’re filled with milk and don’t get soggy or stale. They’re perfect. Speaking of things that don’t get stale, Whedon’s Firefly universe and the original tv series holds up to re-watch after re-watch. A new comic series finally continues the story begun in the film, Serenity. Speaking of the universe, we are fixated with the Fox miniseries “Cosmos.” Not only because it’s bringing educational TV into prime time, but the animation used to tell the human stories is stylized and awesome. Speaking of stylized TV, we are loving “Brooklyn 9-9.” It surprised a lot of people when both the show and its star Andy Samberg won Golden Globes, but not us. We knew it was quirky and solid from early on and it’s only become funnier. Speaking of funny, we love the implosion of “The Bachelor” Juan Pablo. Not only did the women on the show tell him off, but in doing so, they kicked back the mystique of a show about “falling in love”
and showed that being good looking with an accent does not equate to being a person of substance. Speaking of substance, “No Mythologies Left To Follow,” the debut album by Danish electro-pop starlet MØ is utterly danceable and full of interesting beats. Seriously, this one’s got beats for days. Speaking of beats for days, we’re obsessed with Pharrell’s album “Girl.” He wowed us at the Oscars with a major dose of “Happy” and the rest of his album reflects that sentiment. Speaking of happiness, Mark Ballas from “Dancing With the Stars” makes us happy. Not only is he a stand-out dancer on the show, but he does what he wants with the choreography and creates pieces that rival what’s seen on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Not only that, but he’s a musician as well and you know, at BLEEP, we are fans of artists who know how to diversify. Finally, we are obsessed with the return of “Mad Men.” There’s nothing on TV like it. It’s always flawlessly executed, the problems are at once exaggerated and entirely relateable. It’s a piece of art on the small screen.
P E E L B