Eleven PDX Magazine - April 2019

Page 1

URAL THOMAS AND THE PAIN LIVE IN CONCERT Friday, April 19th at Revolution Hall with Federale and Orquestra Pacifico Tropical

Grab their album “The Right Time” at all Tender Loving Empire locations 2 | ELEVEN PDX



April 2019

THE USUAL 4 Letter from the Editor 4 Staff Credits

COLUMNS 5 Aural Fix

Stella Donnelly Iceage White Denim Little Simz

FEATURES Local Feature 12 Amenta Abioto

Cover Feature 16

DJ Anjali

COMMUNITY Meet Your Maker 24

NEW MUSIC 8 Short List 8 Album Reviews Weyes Blood Shana Cleveland Wand The Flaming Lips

Tom Burkleaux

Literary Arts 26 Felicity Fenton

Visual Arts 28

Shelly Sazdanoff

LIVE MUSIC 12 Musicalendar An encompassing overview of concerts in PDX for the upcoming month. But that’s

not all–the Musicalendar is complete with

a venue map to help get you around town.


ALRIGHT PORTLAND! It looks like we might finally be cascading into the sun in a good way. I can hear birds outside as I’m writing, and flowers are popping up all over the city! That said, I may have gotten a little overzealous at the sun’s arrival and packed far too light this year before heading east to Boise for Treefort Music Festival. The festival: incredible; me: very cold. If you didn’t catch Treefort this year – or have never been – you might want to mark it on your calendar next spring! Each year, Boise comes alive with some of the best music you can put in your ears. I was lucky enough to catch some acts I’d never heard, like Prism Bitch and CHAI, and while I ended up being sick on Saturday and Sunday, I heard that Delicate Steve, Reptaliens, Nappy Roots, Rubblebucket, and Black Moth Super Rainbow all put on amazing shows! I’d love to give credit to Mathieu Lewis-Rolland for capturing some incredible live photos that made it to our Instagram page, Scott McHale for covering some stories, and as always, the incredible Ryan Dornfeld for spearheading ELEVEN’s part at The Portland Party. My appreciation for everyone at ELEVEN Magazine and the greater music community as a whole is very high right now. Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s just my mushy heart, but everything feels fresh and exciting! I’m very happy to share this issue with you all, as we’re featuring two incredible local artists: DJ Anjali and Amenta Abioto, as well as many other amazing up-and-coming artists. Thank you to the Portland music scene for being alive and thriving, thank you to music for sounding so good, and thank you all for keeping this dream alive. Truly, Madly, Deeply,

- Eirinn Gragson, Managing Editor


EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Dornfeld (ryan@elevenpdx.com)

ONLINE Michael Reiersgaard Kim Lawson

MANAGING EDITOR Eirinn Gragson (eirinn@elevenpdx.com)

FIND US ONLINE www.elevenpdx.com social channels: @elevenpdx

COPY EDITOR Chance Solem-Pfeifer SECTION EDITORS LITERARY ARTS: Scott McHale VISUAL ARTS: Mercy McNab MAKERS: Brandy Crowe CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Trowbridge, Eric Swanson, Anthony King, Nathan Royster, Matthew Weatherman, Liz Garcia, Matthew Sweeney, Henry WhittierFerguson, Richard Lime, Laurel Bonfiglio PHOTOGRAPHERS Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, Molly Macapline, Katie Summer, Todd Walberg COVER DESIGN Ryan Dornfeld COVER PHOTO Mercy McNab

GENERAL INQUIRIES getinvolved@elevenpdx.com ADVERTISING sales@elevenpdx.com ELEVEN WEST MEDIA GROUP, LLC SPECIAL THANKS To all of our friends and family that make this project possible, and to those that champion tolerance, equality, generosity and kindness in the world. We love you best.

columns aural fix


Photo by Poone Ghana

up and coming music from the national scene

1 STELLA DONNELLY APRIL 03 | POLARIS HALL There is always something to be said for an artist that can successfully bring forth a powerful message without seeming to check off boxes. While having an agenda is helpful for staying organized, Australian singer/songwriter Stella Donnelly navigates unapologetically through some of the messier aspects of Western society with enviable verve. Until early March, Donnelly built her rep on the back of strong EP Thrush Metal (2017), with killer live shows and a popular showing on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. She released her official studio debut, Beware of the Dogs, with label Secretly Canadian in March 2019, showcasing her acerbic, not-quitecynical songwriting to the masses. Donnelly is outspoken about the connections her music traces between growing up in our current social and political climates, using her platform to call out the importance of the #MeToo movement on “Boys Will Be Boys.” Then, “Beware of the Dogs” tackles the caricature of modern politics. Musically, she alternates between a punky edge and a tenderness backed by finger-plucked electric guitar. She has credited Jeff Buckley as an influential musical figure for her

Photo by Steve Gullick

2 ICEAGE APRIL 25 | DOUG FIR LOUNGE There’s not much to say about Norwegian punk rockers Iceage that hasn’t already been said. Since their critically acclaimed debut New Brigade (2008), expectations of and attention on the young band have always been high. Were we witnessing the “saviors” of post-punk? Many hoped so, but no one ever bothered to ask the band if they wanted the job. Eleven years and four albums later, it’s impossible to write

guitar playing and songwriting, which can be seen at times in the trailing, quavering vibrato on some of her softer vocals. In fact, the chorus of “Tricks” is a beautiful, Buckley-esque progression that climbs and falls. It’s a raw and perfect distillation of Donnelly’s overwhelming talent. Overall, Donnelly has crafted a both rapturous and plainspoken debut album. The instrumentation writ large alternates between overpowering guitar work and light beats with just a synthesizer in the background; the latter opens space like a four-lane highway. As Donnelly continues her ascent as an influential songwriter and creative talent, it’s worth taking in her raw lyrics as soon as you can. Next time you see her, she’ll be too big to be ignored. » – Charles Trowbridge

Iceage off as a flash in the pan and equally impossible to write them off as saviors of a sort. In many ways, most recent release Beyondless (2018) feels like an attempt to separate themselves from predetermined mythos. Especially on standout tracks “Painkiller” (feat. Sky Ferreira) and vaudeville-esque “Showtime,” we find the band playing with brass and more lush arrangements instead of the unbridled emotional output of past releases. However, the album’s shift to a poppier sound hasn’t stopped critics from regarding it as further proof of past prophecies. Of course, albums alone don’t tell the story of a band, and Iceage’s unpredictable live show has always been at the core of their intrigue, namely the spectacle of how the four manage to perform so loosely, with such energy, and still keep their music from deteriorating into anarchy. Although the material on Beyondless generally features a more restrained sound than past releases, the cleaner production draws even more attention to the clash between Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s trademark not-quite-ontempo vocals and the rest of the band. Like trying to sync up The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, what makes Iceage such as interesting live act is the way Rønnenfelt and the rest of the group fall in and out of sync. When sneers, croons, and chords that crescendo in tandem, there’s always the question of whether you’re witnessing a happy accident or a group of masters at work. Given the frequency of brilliance, the laws of probability suggest the latter. » – Eric Swanson

elevenpdx.com | 5

columns aural fix











and more!



Photo by Jo Bongard


3 WHITE DENIM APRIL 20 | DOUG FIR LOUNGE Is it too early to wax nostalgic about bands that came up in the mid-to-late-aughts? Austin, Texas’ White Denim fits this bill: a band whose hyper-kinetic debut 7” EP, Let’s Talk About It, and follow-up album, Fits, once lit tail feathers ablaze but have since been slept on. Their 13-year supply of modulating and nervy experimental indie-Americana has more or less flown under the radar. Now, with two return-to-form barnstormers, White Denim seem intent on rekindling the vivacious, rowdy, and freewheeling spirit of their earlier output. Formed in 2006—out of Austin-area bands Parque Touch and Peach Train—White Denim started with founding members James Petralli on vocals and guitar, Steve Terebecki on vocals and bass, former guitarist Austin Jenkins, and former drummer Josh Block, who wound the band through its increasingly more soulful forays (2011’s D and 2013’s Jeff Tweedy-produced Corsicana Lemonade). After the departure of Jenkins and Block (who went on to write and record with Fort Worth neo-soul balladeer Leon Bridges), Petralli and Terebecki decided to get back to the noisy basics. The result was 2016’s Stiff, a relentlessly energetic and fervent album that sounds akin to Mojo Nixon, gleefully egging on a melee between the New York Dolls and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Stiff busted down the door for White Denim to explore more controlled chaos with 2018’s synth-and-riff drenched Performance. Awash in layered vocals, backmasking, and brass flourishes, album opener “Magazin” establishes the album’s funkrock aesthetic from the jump. Petralli and Terebecki produced Performance’s immediate follow-up: this year’s Side Effects, built from demos and rough drafts that weren’t quite right for previous albums. A record bursting at the seams with equal parts post-punk, manic panic, and a winking playfulness, Side Effects finds White Denim circling back to the off-kilter, devil-may-care raucousness that served them so well over a decade ago. Nostalgia-leaning though it admittedly may be, Side Effects serves to remind listeners of what they initially found so effortlessly enjoyable about White Denim in the first place. » – Anthony King

columns aural fix

Photo by Jack Brigland

4 LITTLE SIMZ Since 2012, North London hip-hop artist Little Simz has put out 10 mixtapes. As if that weren’t showing off her work ethic enough, she’s also released three full-lengths since 2015 and toured with the likes of Gorillaz, Anderson .Paak and AbSoul. Praise for her work has come from high places too, like the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar, and she’s been picked as a special guest on Lauryn Hill’s upcoming Diaspora Calling! US tour. Little Simz released her first album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons (2015) when she was only 21 and quickly set out rapping with confidence. She even challenged the musical establishment on the track “Wings,” with lyrics like, “Good things come to the people that wait and I waited / tell me, do you believe the quote above I stated? / nobody handed me a dream, I had to chase it.” Then, her second full-length, Stillness in Wonderland (2016), is a concept album based on Alice in Wonderland. It’s a full multimedia experience simultaneously existing alongside a companion comic, an art exhibition, a short film and a music festival. GREY Area (2019) chooses a decidedly different path, ditching the samples for live instruments. Songs like “Venom,” with its drum kit and strings section, offer the kind of organic sound that wouldn’t be out of place on a Wu-Tang or Tribe Called Quest album. On GREY Area, Simz is building a case for where she should be among those that came before, and it’s clear she’s only going to accept one particular place. » – Nathan Royster




“101 FM”


A 16-bit foil to the rest of the album, it delivers an angular, bouncy riff paired with a stopand-go flow.

A static, flute-driven jazz track, it sets her album’s manifesto right away with a frank sense of humour: “I said it with my chest and I don’t care who I offend, uh huh/ha.”

elevenpdx.com | 7

new music album reviews


Throughout the album, ambient sounds and electronic flourishes balance out orchestral arrangements to give her psychedelic folk sound a modern touch. Mering worked with producer Jonathan Rado on this album, who she previously collaborated with when recording backing vocals for the title track for Father John Misty’s God’s Favorite




Short List

Khalid Free Spirit Lizzo Cuz I Love You Anderson .Paak Ventura Guided By Voices Warp and Woof Priests The Seduction of Kansas Cage the Elephant Social Cues The Drums Brutalism Melissa Ethridge The Medicine Show PUP Morbid Stuff The Cranberries In The End SOAK Grim Town Aldous Harding Designer

Buy it

Stream it

Weyes Blood Titanic Rising Sub Pop When Natalie Mering sings, “True love is making a comeback,” you want to believe her. When she finishes by adding, “Or only half because the rest just feel bad,” she offers some insight into her keen sense of humor. As Weyes Blood (pronounced Wise Blood), Mering wrote and produced Titanic Rising, her fourth full-length album and first on Sub Pop.

Toss it

Shana Cleveland Night of the Worm Moon Sub Pop

Disagree? Scold us: @ELEVENPDX


As the frontwoman of La Luz, Shana Cleveland has had a major hand in crafting the doo-wop, surf noir for which the femme quartet is known. And while Cleveland may call Los Angeles home now, her Midwest roots still come through on forthcoming solo album Night of the Worm Moon. Here, Cleveland goes lighter on the neopsychedelia and pivots toward folk. The record starts off with “Don’t Let

Customer. Diving into the album, the titular song is a minute-long instrumental interlude that swells with dramatic effect before leading into the sweepingly cinematic “Movies,” beginning, “This is how it feels to be in love.” Her compelling voice is both nostalgic and wholly her own. When she sings, “No one’s ever gonna give you a trophy for all the pain and things that you’ve been through,” her darkly optimistic lyrics pair wonderfully with layered vocals and eerie synth to create a timeless melody that is equal parts haunting and comforting. » – Matthew Weatherman

Me Sleep,” setting the scene with a soft chord progression. Cleveland introduces the character of the story: a lost heroine who is both waiting and running from something. She sings, “There she’s looking on the side stage, who knows where mind goes.” A subtle flute in the background interweaves with Cleveland’s dreamy vocals, creating a dancing duo. Then, “Invisible When the Sun Leaves” is a somber ballad that finds our lost heroine sorrowful, which Cleveland communicates not only through her lyrics but also with a delicate descending progression. On “Castle Milk,” listeners are reminded that Cleveland is equal parts guitarist and vocalist, with an all acoustic interlude leading to the title track. The album ends on a hopeful note with “A New Song,” as the protagonist of Cleveland’s story finally finds her way. Throughout, Cleveland’s guitar and vocals are never in competition. This is what stands out most about her new direction. With its intentional instrumentation and beautiful lyrics, this album is a must for fans of Big Thief and Bedouine. » – Liz Garcia

new music album reviews

Wand Laughing Matter Drag City The five piece LA-based group Wand started as a fairly typical psych/garage band. In fact, they got their first big break thanks in large part to Ty Segall’s championing. Over time, the group has switched gears, becoming a more ambitious art-rock outfit, as evinced in their 2017 LP, Plum. That album seemed to announce the beginning of a new band, blossoming with more inventive, eclectic

The Flaming Lips King’s Mouth Warner Bros. Records Historically speaking, the Flaming Lips have always chosen to skip the road less traveled and create entirely new maps. Across the 35-year-old band’s 14 studio albums, boundary-pushing conceptualism has created notable swerves for musicians looking to pair wild artistic vision with compelling musicality. The upcoming King’s Mouth: Music and Songs picks up where Oczy Mlody (2017) left off. King’s Mouth was originally created

song arrangements and production. While lead vocalist Cory Hanson’s cadence is admittedly Lennon-esque, which may still elicit exasperating comparisons to Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Plum succeeded in its energetic flow, mysterious found sounds, and analog textures. In short, Wand are definitely not slouches. To some extent, new album Laughing Matter keeps the ball rolling on this more exploratory approach. It makes it to 50 minutes and has just as many experimental facets as Plum, with the band’s psychedelic eccentricities stretched into standalone instrumental tracks: hazy songs “Bubble,” “Hare,” and “Tortoise” represent its most intriguing high points. Nevertheless, the band seems to alternate between this newer territory and falling back on psychrock adages. The album’s flow piques interest, only to throw the listener off with an awkward transition between the immersive ambient vibes of “Bubble” and the lethargic faux-Americana vibes of “High Plains Drifter.” Blind spots such as these may come off as low energy or

to be paired with frontman Wayne Coyne’s immersive psychedelic art installation, which he launched in 2015. It’s a shimmering, ultrasonic soundscape with interspersed speaking parts from The Clash’s Mick Jones, which complete the mythos of the eponymous installation. A spin through Coyne’s installation requires the viewer to climb inside a giant, shiny tree. Inside, long strips hang like LEDlit tentacles, housing pulsing lights that extend like paths up to a central membrane – (consciousness, perhaps?) As a record, King’s Mouth exists both within the context of the art and as a standalone and otherworldly fairy tale. It lacks the expansiveness of other Lips projects but more than makes up for that in ambitious storytelling. The album is backdropped by openended synth chording and snaking tones, transforming into ominous setups. When additional instrumentals break through, the tracks take on a familiar kick-drumdriven sound that marks some of the band’s ear-wormiest singles. The opening track is a narration from Jones – “We Don’t Know How and We Don’t Know Why.” Here, he sets

weak songwriting. The anthemic riff of “Wonder” and nervy “Evening Star” show more than a spark, but lackluster tracks like “Airplane” and “Rio Grande” kill the momentum. There’s a sense that the band was aiming for a more exploratory and progressive vibe, though ultimately settled on lackluster songs in a rush to put out a follow-up album. The lyrics attempt to convey a sense of epic journey, though the underwhelming melodies in production and performance don’t seem to bring these ambitions justice. At last, closer “Jennifer’s Gone” reaches for poignant wistfulness, but ends up feeling like an uncertain conclusion. There’s an interesting contrast between this and the epic sense of resolution achieved on “Driving,” which rounded out the final minutes of Plum so nicely. Ending an album on a sad, spare ballad of “what could have been” does border on cliché. Laughing Matter is the work of a good band, though it ultimately amounts to the feeling described between the lines of its closing song: comme ci, comme ça. » – Matthew Sweeney up the story: We don’t know how, and we don’t know why, but when the king was born, his mother died.” It progresses with a story about how this new king grows up. On “How Many Times,” Coyne’s vocals and guitar bring out a nakedness from the dusted and murky preceding tracks. As Jones continues the story, “Feedaloodum Beedle Dot” brings an abrupt tonal shift. Electronic voices mimic a kingdom’s trumpeted announcement: the king is dead. A prominent bassline and minor progression take over as funeral bells begin to toll. With sounds borrowed from formal proceedings – snare drums and a choir’s dirge – the band successfully creates a visceral, yet choreographed grief. The penultimate track, “Mouth of the King,” closes the loop between Coyne’s installation and the album’s focus (though we won’t spoil it here). King’s Mouth is ultimately a testament to the ongoing brilliance of Coyne and his gang. It speaks to the band’s ability to articulate emotion with aural and cinematic creativity. » – Charles Trowbridge

elevenpdx.com | 9

live music



3 12 16 17


Brett Young CloZee | MEMBA | Supertask | Luxora Major Earl Sweatshirt & Friends | Liv.e | MIKE | Black Noise Failure | Swervedriver 19-20 Taking Back Sunday | The Maine 21 DakhaBrakha + Yemen Blues | Soriah


11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 23

Gunna | Shy Glizzy | Lil Keed Party Favor Midnight Tyrannosaurus | Kai Wachi | Yakz | Cromatik Ben Rector | Josie Dunn Tower of Power | Ron Artis II & The Truth Buddy Guy | Curtis Salgado Band Eric B & Rakim | Makaya McCraven Budos Band | The True Loves Roy Ayers & Bobby Caldwell Gramatik DMX | DJ OG One 24-25 RÜFÜS DU SOL: Solace Tour 2019 26-27 Lizzo | Tayla Parx 28 YBN Nahmir | Keith Canvas | Igwe Aka


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19


22 24 25 26 27 28 29

Babehoven | No Aloha | Surfer Rosie Pacific Dub | Tyrone’s Jacket | Seranation The Rubens | Hosannas The Hugs | The Lavender Flu | Kulululu Howie Day | Emma Charles The Get Ahead | Those Willows | Charts Dilly Dally | Chasity Troll | Maestus | Hrnn Sasami | Slut Island Health | Youth Code Ten Fé | Tents Cambrian Explosion | Ghost Frog | Ayla Ray Blackwater Holylight | R.I.P. | Dommengang Queen Soul (Aretha Franklin) | DJ Blind Bartimaeus Griffin House Hot Buttered Rum | Toubab Krewe, Quattlebaum White Denim | Son of Stan The Pack A.D. | See Night Escort Iceage | Pelada Ages and Ages | The Harmaleighs Jessica Pratt | Business of Dreams Fourty Feet Tall | Monsterwatch | Vany Hans Bass Drum of Death



3939 N MISSISSIPPI 3 JD McPhearson | JP Harris


7 9 10 11 12

Slothrust | Rituals of Mine Sonny and the Sunsets | Kelley Stolitz DWP 2019: A Conversation with Shawna X Ruby Boots | Jenny Don’t and the Spurs Andy Frasco & The U.N. | Vintage Pistol The Murlocks | Othis


live music



Grateful Shred 13-14 Damo Suzuki’s Network | Abronia 15 Big Business | Gaytheist | Nasalrod 16 The Prixies | Surfer Rosie | Melt 17

Stumpfest VIII: Elder | Ancestors | Baptists Earthless | Drunk Horse | Dead Now Once and Future Band | Carlton Melton | Kinski Buke and Gase | Like a Villian Show me the Body | Smut | Cliterati | Born A Lot John Vanderslice | Meernaa Flat Worms | Warm Drag | Deamdecay Strand of Oaks | Wild Pink

Old Time Relijun Horse Feathers | Wave Action | The Hackles Flock of Dimes | Madeline | Kenney Nick Waterhouse | Ben Pirani Andrew Paul Woodworth | Kathryn Claire



Bob Mould Band | Alien Boy Lennon Stella | Valley Hop Along | Summer Cannibals Girlpool | Hatchie | Claud Lovelytheband | Flora Cash | Jagwar Twin Shy Girls | Akua Wallows King Princess | Banoffee Turnover | Turnstile | Reptaliens Somo | Drama Relax | Michael Constantino The Floozies | Birocratic




5 7 9 11 17 20 22 24 25 26 28


SLAY | DJ Automaton | DJ Ronin ROC Blow the Whistle | Maxx Bass | DJ Bnick | Illordess Plantrae & Confresi | Art of Fact Dance Yourself Clean Shirley Nanette | Jon Kirby | DJ Bobby D Kadja Bonet Rasheed Jamal | Kingsley | Mal London | VNPRT MNDSGN | Devonwho | Omari Jazz | The High Kids Anomalie | Rob Araujo ¿TEO? | Maro Mordecai | Small Million | Small Skies City of he Sun The Palms


18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

5 6 11 12 13 17 18 19 23 24 25 26 28


Dan Dan (Release) | Wet Dream 7 Dead Leaf Echo | Souvenir Driver 14 Loch Lomond | Merō 28



Party Damage DJs (Tuesdays) KPSU DJs (Wednesdays) The Stockings |The Future | Dennis Paul Alex C Mills | Madison Crawford | Pulp Romance The Thesis Gus Clarke & the Least of His Problems | Zach Bryson Centaurs of Attention | Fells Acres Cody Weathers | Modern Day Neanderthal | 13mm Awol One | Ghost Palace | Grape Juice Scott Christina LaRocca | David Pollack | Salvatore Manalo New Modern Warfare | Y Axes | The VS Inebriated | Hydrated | Faded Bummer Pop Fest Out/Loud: Doubleplusgood | Jame | Notel Val Bauer | Kids on Fire | Plastic Pets

2 3 4 5 6 10 13 16 18 19 20 24 26

elevenpdx.com | 11



5 8 10 19 20 24 25


Photo by Eirinn Gragson

Kuinka | Cumulus Shana Cleveland | Michael Hurley An Evening with Jame Siberry Aldous Harding | Yves Jarvis Tribe Mars | High Pulp | Weeed | Super Secret Band Kimya Dawson | Your Heart Charley Crockett | Jesse Daniel Revue


Steel Pulse Damien Jurado | Corrina Repp Shook Twins | Catherine Feeny | Chris Johnedis Alan Parsons Live Project: The Secret Tour 11-13 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 16 Masego 19 Ural Thomas and the Pain | Federale | OPT 21 Micahel Schenker Fest 25 The Little Smokies | Michigan Rattlers 26 Terrible, Thanks for Asking 27 Justin Willian: Magic In Real Life Tour

3 5 6 10


The Alliance Comedy Showcase (Sundays 9pm) Britnee Kellogg | Jaycob Van Auken M. Lockwood Porter | The Angry Lisas | Marcus Logan Robin Jackson and the Caravan | Acoustic Minds A Diamond in the Rough Don Bonsai (Release)


5 6 13 19 20 24 26

Honky Tonk (Tuesdays) Zydeco (Wednesdays) Swing (Thursdays) Cloud Six | Motus | Josephine Antoinette The Libertie Belles The Fourth Wall | The Monegreens |The Slick and Dead Dear Drummer | Soul Progression Melao de Cuba Salsa Orchestra Fatai Pete Krebs and his Portand Playboys

WHITE EAGLE 14 836 N RUSSELL 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Open Bluegrass Jam (Thursdays) Whitney Rose Bassel & The Supernaturals Justin Klump | Jacob Westfall | Samsel Caleb Paul | Benjamin Krogh | Charlie Shaw Old Cross | Matt Danger | Throw D. Pel and Strange Attractors The Last Revel | Brother Not Brother Biddy On The Bench Tony Furtado | Rob Burger Glass Heart String Choir | The Duke of Norfolk #WomenCrush




by Henry Whittier-Ferguson

Amenta Abioto

menta Abioto works in layers that overlap and intersect — layers she lays down then pulls away, revealing something underneath. She’s gathered a dedicated following with her improvisational solo act, weaving powerful songs into being with the help of a kalimba, a loop pedal, and a voice that dances in and out with the weight of countless stories. There’s a seriousness and an urgency to her work but also an effortlessness, built on the dramatic openness of performances that are, at their heart, affirmations of both herself and the audience. It seems she carries this openness wherever she goes. When we met up to talk about her process, her recent video release, “Plant It,” and KILEO — her new project with Dan Talmadge and Akila Fields — she was eager to share the ways she approaches the creative process. Check out our conversation below: ELEVEN: You’ve been in Portland for a while now, but you’re originally from Memphis, and it sounds like you’ve lived in quite a few different places in between. What’s drawn you back here?

Amenta Abioto: I really appreciate that you can just do your thing. You can create stuff easily in Portland. It has been very open, and that’s good. I like Portland’s openness in terms of people just getting out there and doing their thing and not having it be weird. 11: On Opening Flower Hymns (Abioto’s 2013 record), you’ve got a song called “Five Sisters.” It seems like growing up and moving around with your family has had a big influence on you. Are you guys close? How do you think that’s come out in your work? AA: Yeah, we’re all very close. We’ve created together. My sister Intisar, (who runs The Black Portlanders) started this project back in 2005? 2006?

features Something like that. It’s called “The People Could Fly Project.” It’s named for The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton. It’s about African slaves who were here, but who flew off back to Africa. So it was this project about flying, traveling and dreams. We went around and documented different black artists, people who called out to us about their dreams and flight. We did interviews and things like that, traveled all over the U.S. We went to Africa, and they went to Jamaica. Eventually, it morphed into this other thing called Flier Arts, where we interviewed all kinds of artists of all ethnicities, although it was still mostly people of color. We interviewed Little Dragon, and Cody Chesnutt, Nikki Giovanni, Ntozake Shange, even just people in the neighborhood. We were just getting the different wisdoms, the different stories. The weight of that was really important, showcasing that and bringing it out into the world. 11: When did you get into using a looper? AA: I started using the looper when I was in the project Dopebeds that I formed right around the end of 2010, beginning of 2011, with Joseph Anderson. He had a loop pedal, and I played drums in that band. He did most of the production stuff with the computer. I eventually phased out of that, but I kept the loop pedal. 11: What’s your setup like now? For the gear heads... AA: Yeah, for the gear heads! I use the 65-98 on the equencesequencer, the 25-38 on the LL... (laughs) I’m just playin. I use a Boss 505. That’s a five channel looper, and then I use a Roland JDXI. Then, I have the Kalimba that I play. 11: Switching from a project like Dopebeds or your new project KILEO, where you’re playing with other people, to doing just a solo set — do you approach those things differently?

AA: Oh yeah, for sure. It’s so much more pressure solo because I’m in charge of everything: music, my voice, the performance. I’m multitasking a lot. The new project, KILEO, I’m focusing on the vocals. I’m the vocalist, so I have a chance to really go there, you know? Just focus on that, which feels really good. I haven’t done that in a while. It’s refreshing: I don’t have to worry about any kind of gear; I don’t have to press anything (laughs). I just focus on the audience. It’s like “I’m free!” There’s more freedom, for sure, but also more freedom in a different way when I’m alone. There’s a different aspect to it. I’m understanding more just within these different projects.


Brown Stallion (Ween) Jon Ostrom Band | The Bundy Band Jenny Sizzler Tony Furtado | Luke Price | Todd Sickafoose Joe Nuttall & Nttls New Dew | Karyn Ann “Mic Check” Stan McMahon Band | The Fluke | LiquidLight The Reverberations | Stereo Embers | Daystar Vandoliers | Cory Branan | The Rightly So


11: Would you say the solo stuff is more improvisational? AA: Oh yeah. I do improvisational stuff with KILEO too, which is fun. But it’s more set what we do. 11: Is it different for you to sing on someone else’s song or sing someone else’s lyrics? Some of your solo stuff, “Wade,” for instance, is a classic hymn. Is there a difference writing your own lyrics versus singing words that already exist? AA: Hmmm. There is ... in a way. Definitely. The way I sing covers, I like to find different variations and ways of singing it. That part of it for me is fun. It’s different when I write a song. I might stick to a part that I do more than I would stick to a part that somebody else does. I won’t sing it exactly how somebody else sings it, but I might stick to the part that I wrote the first time. I’d be a bad cover artist for my own stuff because I won’t take it to a different place. I like improvising on my own work and doing something different, which makes my performances different. I want to do that, but it’s harder, you know?


“Left Of Center” Rhythym DeLucco | Dallas David Ochoa

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 30


Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic) Bday Celebration w/Trujillo 10 Street Hassle | Veradas | High Spiral 11

Plastic Harmony Band | Guillotine Boys | Thee Last Go Round Melville | Holiday Friends | Hayley Lynn Gregg Belisle-Chi | Barra Brown | Bryan Smith Naomi Siegel | Douglas Dietrick Emily Reo | Foxes in Fiction | Ancient Pools Douse | Boink | Yuvees Mouth Painter | The Saxophones | Test Face Paul Metzger | SLOW TICKET | John Saint Pelvyn Dusty Santamaria and Moira Ichiban | Petit Poucet Maria Grand | Book of Colors Creature to Creature | Snailbones | Dead Dives Rob Noyes | Greg Kelley/Ilyas Ahmed Personality Test | Matt Carlson Sigh | Havania Whaal | Mantis | Daemones Cry Babe | 36? | On Drugs Rick Bain and the Genius Position | Chad

12 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23

24 25 27 Grand Style Orchestra 28 Mordecai | Stephanie Mae | Rain Ezra 29



Mortiis | Mors Certa 5

6 7 8 10 12 14 18 20 22 23 Texas Hippie Coalition 24 The 69 Eyes | MXMS and The Nocturnal Affair | Die Robot 27 Roy Blair’s Cat Heaven USA Tour 28

DND7 / Dreadlight | Hed Change | Draggin Ass Jack & Jack | Spencer Sutherland | Alec Bailey Missio | Blackillac | Swells Andy Black | The Faim and Kulick Murs | Locksmith | Cojo | Jetes Anvil | Don Jamieson | Archer Nation | Madwagon Indubious | Jon Wayne & The Pain | Balance Trick Path to Ruin | Kingdom Under Fire | Chainbound Movements | Boston Manor | Trash Boat | Drug Church Haley Reinhart




Karaoke with Atlas (Mondays) Flip Chuck | Whales Whaling | David Motocross David Devil’s Pie Hungry Clocks Ponte Vedra Signal Holloway | Fossa Club Tiny Tigers

11 13 17 18 20 21 25

elevenpdx.com | 13


18 3017 SE MILWAUKIE 6 10 16 17 18 19 20 27 30

Photo by Brendon Quinn

The Tannahill Weavers Al Stewart with The Empty Pockets | Marc Macisso Drag Race Superstars The Expendables | Pacific Roots Ex Hex | Feels Hillstomp | Eric Early (Blitzen Trapper) Woodstock 50th Anniversary Gungor | The Brilliance | Propaganda Hayes Carll | Ben Dickey HOLLYWOOD THEATRE A not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, inspire, educate and connect the community through the art of film while preserving an historic Portland landmark.

4122 NE Sandy Blvd, 97212 503.493.1128 hollywoodtheatre.org

THE GOODFOOT 19 2845 SE STARK 3 4 6 10 11 13 17 18 20 24 25 27

Lost Ox (Tuesdays) Soul Stew w/ DJ Aquaman & Friends (Fridays) Andy Coe Band Sweet n’ Juicy | A Hot Mess | Laryssa Birdseye Jujuba | Nojeem Lasisi Kellen Asebroek (Fruition) Sol Seed | Dubbest DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid present Tropitaal Galen Clark’s Outer Orbit ft. Sarah Clarke Dodgy Mountain Men | Cedar Teeth Scott Pemberton Band Rainbow Electric | The Campfire Boys LDW (Talking Heads) Get On Up w/ Takimba & DJ Saurcy

6 9 10 11 13 17 18 19 20 26 27 28

Ayla Nereo | Elijah Ray | Amber Lily Delhi 2 Dublin w/ DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid Kontravoid Low Cut Connie | New Move Mdou Moctar | Lithics | Marisa Anderson The Wailers | Julian Junior Marvin Samuele-M & The Joyful Noise | Fresh Track Dirty Revival | Con Brio Mike Love | Clinton Fearon Emancipator | Frameworks | 9Theory | Lapa Defiance | Hat Trickers | Deathcharge | more Ben Kweller | MainMan | Modern Love Child

6 9 10 11 12 13

Wake The Town Mantis | Biltmore Dive | Small Million Lunch | Vacant Stares | Major Hex



Ancient Pools | Shadowgraphs | Laura Palmers Death Parade

Believe You Me Always Never Yesterday | CCL | Orographic 11-13 Lose Your Mind Week 16 LYM: Jo Passed | Woolen Men 17 LYM: Kulululu 18 LYM: Kyle Craft | WIBG 19 Sublimate Records 20 LYM Lineup Announce ft. Wimps | Candace | Clarke & The Himselfs


10 Sabrina Benaim | Clementine Von Radics 11 Shane Smith & The Saints | The Pine Box Boys | more


11: Speaking of that, I was digging on YouTube. I found an older video of you doing a song called, “Let’s Just Say You Know Me,” which I realized would eventually become your new single, “Plant It.” AA: Yeah, exactly! It’s all different. It was totally different then... (laughs)

I just gathered different visual inspirations and film inspirations. It was a very collaborative process. 11: So you hadn’t recorded that song before the video? With your evolving process, do you find there’s something hard about nailing a song down like that?

11: I wanted to talk a little bit about the “Plant It” video. Was that a pretty collaborative process? Did you give them the song and just say, “Use this as inspiration?”

AA: There is. That one was pretty new and fresh, so it might not have all the little interesting things that I might develop later on. But it sounds great, and what I did there I’ll still do. I mean, I made up some of those lyrics when I was at the studio! (laughs)

AA: It was crazy: they reached out and said they were thinking of doing something with nature and I was like, “Hey, I’ve got this song!” I had worked on the song, but it wasn’t recorded. So it was like, “OK, we’re doing a video? I gotta record!”

11: That’s good though, I think. If your process tends to be that way, don’t you want to capture some of that spontaneity in the recording? It seems like on Opening Flower Hymns you went in and recorded it in one take.

features AA: Yeah! It’s like stream of consciousness. 11: There’s something really impressive about that. If you can pull that off, that’s dope! AA: It was fun! It was all through my loop pedal. At the time I had a Boss RC-2, so there was no mixing involved really. It was just that one channel. I couldn’t delete anything. 11: “Plant It” does seem like it’s the most produced thing you’ve put out. What was your recording process like for that? AA: It is. I went in to the studio three times, and each time was shorter than the last. But I went in, adding layers on this part or that part, like, “Lemme bring this up, I need something to happen here!” 11: How was that compared to your older process? AA: I love that shit! (laughs) 11: It’s nice to have that power. You’ve gotta be careful, though: you can get lost. You can keep messing with the song forever. AA: You can! It’s OK, though. I’m good at being like, “Okay, that’s it, that’s good.” 11: One thing I was thinking about listening to your stuff — the technical term is “semantic satiation.” It’s when you say a word so many times that it becomes meaningless, which sometimes happens with loops or samples. But there’s a way in which you keep repeating something and it becomes more meaningful each time. Is that something you think about? AA: Hmmm, yeah, I do, that’s true! It becomes like a chant, like this mantra, like this engrainment in your consciousness, this repetition. You get into this sort of trance with the layering and begin to hear different incantations, different rhythmic things. When

you’re adding things, you might hear a different element of a sound that was there before, but you didn’t hear before. Like, “Oh, this is poppin’ now, more than that.” If I repeat a word, you might hear it differently. It’s a metamorphosis, that’s how I look at it. 11: What do you have going on in April and beyond? AA: In April, I’m doing this soundscape experience with The Jupiter hotel, in collaboration with the Parallel Studio. It’s like this surround sound piece. We’re going into one of the rooms in the hotel, and there’s going to be this drink served. We’re basing our soundscape and our visuals off this drink, so it’s this whole experience. 11: Whoa, that’s wild! Have you tasted the drink yet? AA: I have; it’s so good! It’s for Portland Design Week. But that’s a recording. I’m not playing live or anything. 11: How did you go about pairing a song with a drink? Did they give you a name for the drink or anything? Or just give you a glass and say, “Here you go”? AA: No, we met with the mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler. He made the drink and was telling us what he put in it. Parallel Studios, the people who brought us all together, they’re doing this surround sound. I’m going to have different sounds in different places. There’s a visual artist, DB Amorin, he’s doing some crazy stuff too. For live shows, I have one coming up at Variform Gallery. It’s a two-and-a-half hour sound experience. It’s nature based, live nature looping and stuff. 11: Nice. What’s the timeline on the new album? AA: I want it to be out in November. 11: We can’t wait to hear it! »

[Visit amentaabioto.com for upcoming shows and more]




Cedars & Crows | Sindicate | My Friend the Monster Garden of Eden | Pitch Black Mass | Paradigm Shift The Sugarhill Gang | The Furious 5 Grand Royale | The Chicarones | Speaker Minds Micah Schnabel | Vanessa Jean Speckman | more Aura Zorba | Batmoth Integrity | From Ashes Rise | Incendiary | Funeral Chic Young Fresh Fellows | Carmaig de Forest Peter Case


12 13 19 20 24 25 26 27 28

1937 SE 11TH




Flying Fish Cove | Bed Bits | Tough Boy 8 Mouthbreather | Dusty | Antonioni | Johnny 12

4832 NE 42ND

Karaoke Mon-Wed Karaoke From Hell! The Reverends Merle Haggard Birthday Tribute Tevis Hodge Jr The Hustle Norman Sylvester Band Harvey Brindell and The Tablerockers Francine West & The High Speed Wobblers Devin Phillips Band Tevis Hodge Jr Son De Cuba




Night Bloom VIII The Forever Agos | Wooden Sleepers Ponte Vedra | The Adam Rea & TJ Thompson Duo | more Indira Valey | Half Shadow | Infinite Neck | CHIBI Ten-Speed Music/Isaac Pierce | Fred E. Stephenson

Body Shame (Release) | Road Kill | The Social Stomach Doug Theriault | Liew Niyomkarn | Inne Eysermans Filomena | Maria DeHart | Diablito Glass Curtains | Space Shark Zombie Easter | The Other Place The Laytcomers | Collate | Phony Nicholas Merz | Martha Stax | Being Awone Drooler | Loose | Disappointed Nosila | Tender Kid | Milk Bandits


1305 SE 8TH

5 6 7 8 11 12 16 18 19 21 23 25 26 28


Bazooka Sharkz | Pass the Flask | more The Limit Club | The Brainiax | Downtown Devils | more Violent Traditions (Release) | The Industry | more Rock N’ Roll Suicides | Gravity Layne | more These Idol Hands | The Carotids | The Lazy Universe | more Garden Hoe | Rascal Miles | Kat and Mouse | more Chemical Annihilation | Meathook | more Aggression | Damage Overdose | Munchkin Suicide | more Weird Year | Magenta Placenta | Shana-Na-Na Oxygen Destroyer | Anialator | Ænigmatum | Coffin Rot Slayer, Motörhead, Death, Manowar Tribute Night Noogy | Born Sick | Ballads of the Compound | more Massive Scar Era | The Anima Effect | Stovokor | more


4 5 6 7 12 13 18 19 20 21 25

4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 18 19 20 26 27


Taco Tuesdays w/ DJ Lamar Leroy & Dev From Above Rad Habits w/ DJ Rap Class (Thursdays)

Honey Divers | Idea The Artist 4 Helens | Dead Soft | Get Real 14 Mobilities | Dream Wulf | Salo Panto 18




elevenpdx.com | 15

DJ ANJALI BY RICHARD LIME live PHOTOs BY SARAH RACE portrait photos by mercy mcnab


It’s an unseasonably sunny Monday at the Portland Mercado, and Anjali Hursh is radiant. Better known as DJ Anjali and half of DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid (Stephen Strausbaugh), Hursh is a staple of the local scene that she helped create in the early ‘00s. If you live in Portland and enjoy a night out dancing, you’ve seen her spin. Whether it’s the Desi-Latino Soundclash: Tropitaal, the Bhangra Bollywood dance party: ANDAZ, or her annual NYE rager, Anjali is the premier Portland dance DJ. The “Desi” in Desi-bass, Anjali explains to me, means “from the country” and is a more appropriate description than Indian or Pakistani as it doesn’t have national limitations. Her music is inclusive, exciting, and when she’s on the decks, everyone on the floor is family.

ELEVEN: I’ll leave it to our readers to get the full backstory of your first needle drop, but when was the moment you went from “exploring the DJ thing a little bit” to, “I want to do this all the time”? DJ Anjali: I had been studying classical Indian dance for like two years and went to my teacher’s house out in BeavertonHillsboro a couple times a week. Studying with little kids and teenagers, I’m 24 something -- 25. Then I started DJing, and I was in this in-between phase where I still wanted to be a dancer. The Kid was like, “You need to get your own equipment. You need to practice at home.” I was like, “No, I’m not a DJ. I’m just doing that for fun. I’m a dancer.” 11: “I’ll just use your equipment.” DJA: Exactly, or just show up at the gig. 11: Right, and use what they have.

In the following conversation, glean some insight into what got her started, the fateful road trip vinyl score that became the backbone of her record collection, and what keeps the party going with the marvelous DJ Anjali.

Photo by Renée Lopez


DJA: Yeah, and that’s my practice. The gig is my practice. I moved to New York briefly, thought I was gonna study dance. Then I was like, “No, I just like going to Indian parties.” Came back, and kept DJing. It went from bar to club, and it kind of exploded. I think it was 2004.

11: Wow. So dance in the late ‘90s, when did you start DJing? DJA: I started DJing [around] 2000. We’d been DJing Lola’s Room for a minute, then at the Fez [Ballroom]. That all started in 2002. In 2004, I [was] taking The Kid to India for his first trip. At Powell’s, they let you take a leave of absence every three years up to six months, and you get your job back. So it’s great if you want to travel. I was just a few months shy of three years and the store manager was like, “Yeah, I’ll approve it, Anj. We wouldn’t want to lose you!” Then the corporate person was like, “Denied.” I was like, “Fuck it, I am going anyway. Going to India is more important to me right now.” I came back and I was broke as fuck. A couple months later, we came back and I was so broke, but I was like, “I’m gonna be a DJ.” 11: When you were in India, did you have any club experiences, or was it more of a meditative, self-reflecting time? DJA: That 2004 trip was my first trip back without my mom. It was like my first “you’re on your own” [trip], sink or swim. It all comes back to the language and everything, from going so many times as a kid. When you go with your family, your trip is so protected. Whoever the native speaker is that’s with you, they take care of everything, so you’re sheltered when you go with your family. Most Indian families are not going to let you explore whatever neighborhood you want. So it was liberating in that way to go on my own. I have to go back a little. Our first club gig was at Lola’s Room. We’d been playing at the Blackbird and [other small venues]. We played these little free parties, and then you do your first club in Lola’s Room. It’s 300 people. We each get a check for almost a thousand each or whatever, and I was like, “Cha-ching!” And Stephen is like, “You can’t rely on it.” It was a couple years later, in 2004, and I was really, really broke for a long time. But I was like, “I don’t care. I don’t want a boss.” I know that people love what we do. It was old Portland, my rent was couple hundred bucks. 11: Right. It was a very different time. DJA: I could sell my book collection or record collection if worse comes to worst, which I definitely did. Culled through that shit so many times. 11: So getting back from India, you decided to pursue being a full time DJ? DJA: I did go back to Powell’s super part-time, like one day a week, and then later just on-call. 11: I’ve got a two-part question. How did you source music back then, and how has that changed from how you source music now?

DJA: It’s so different. Back in the day [I would] go to the west suburbs, to the Indian grocery stores, and that’s where they had CDs and tapes. We would go to New York, and then we would go to San Francisco, sometimes Berkeley. We would go to Surrey, BC a lot because we weren’t as busy with gigs back then, so we’d be like, “We have a weekend off! Let’s go to Canada!” and road trip. We’d come home with boxes of CDs. We did play Bollywood that we could find here because they would have the new Bollywood stuff. But if it was UK Bhangra, that was harder to find. 11: When you’re shopping in BC, do you know what artists you’re looking for, or is it guesswork? DJA: It’s both. We do have a vintage Bollywood vinyl store though in Surrey where there were all these shops. I don’t know if you’ve been to Vancouver, BC, but there’s Main Street which is in Vancouver, and that’s the Little India. It’s like Little Punjab in the suburbs. We knew all the store owners and we’d go in and check out their CD selections. Then, one day, there were some records on the wall and I was like, “Can I look at those?” They’re old, I don’t know if they’re Bollywood or Punjabi, but I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna buy these.” He was like, “You want more of this stuff?” And I was like, “Yeah!” He calls up some old Punjabi uncle, and he’s like, “Yeah, they’re gonna come over right now.” We went down the street to some massive suburban mansion. Punjabi uncle invites us in, the front room is his music room and his vinyl is immaculate. I don’t think he played very many of his records, [they were] kept in plastic,

elevenpdx.com | 19


FEATURES alphabetized. So we scored! Of course he only wanted cash, so all the cash we had we bought a couple boxes of vinyl. We came home, crossed the border in my muscle car, and we’re just like, “Hopefully they don’t ask to see the trunk ‘cause there’s a lot of music in the trunk.” I obsessed about what we didn’t buy. So I called him back up and his wife answered, she only spoke Punjabi, so she hung up on me! I had to get my mom to call her back. My mom arranged us to come back. We drove back, bought more, still didn’t buy everything, and I’m still like, “Aw, we still left some of that shit there.” That was the bulk of both our collections. 11: That’s an incredible story. DJA: It was insane. I don’t know. You go to New York Record Convention back in the day, they’d sell a Bollywood record for 50, 60 bucks. We were buying these for three dollars Canadian. 11: What a score! So that’s still gotta be the secret treasure of your collection, but in this digital era, if you’re putting together a set for a weekend show…

Indian party. If you go to New York or Chicago, their version to our party is very mainstream, and we’re all just like, “No, we’re gonna play the Desi chopped-up remix that you might recognize.” 11: Any recent finds that resonate with you? DJA: There’s a guy named Kone Kone. He’s an American dude, I believe, based in India, been there long time. He’s been making some killer remixes of ‘70s and ‘80s Bollywood stuff. We both adore him and we’re in touch with him. He’s super sweet, love his stuff. Off the top of my head, the song I’m obsessed with right now is a new Wiley and Sean Paul song that’s super grimey.

Ever since I “ started DJing, it

electrifies me, and that’s maybe how dance came back into my life...

11: True or false: music transcends culture. DJA: Yes, absolutely. I’m not a religious person, not even really that spiritual, but I feel like music is the divine for me. You know what I mean? Not all music, but some music can bring you to tears, right? Or almost stop you in your tracks.

DJA: It’s all SoundCloud, iTunes, and then... The Kid is really good about following a lot of blogs. For me, there’s the BBC Asian Network. They have an entire station devoted to South Asian music where there’s Punjabi news or what’s the hot AC Urban sound coming out of the UK. I listen to that a lot. We have to kind of keep up with what the new Bollywood is. 11: Do you have to, or do you want to? How is that sound constantly evolving, or your sound constantly evolving? DJA: We have to because we do some South Asian weddings. 11: Awesome. DJA: It’s interesting! We do maybe five a year. Often times it’s a mix, like the bride or the groom, or the bride of the bride, two brides. Somebody South Asian in the wedding party. We’re good at doing the mixed weddings. The Kid has PTSD over weddings because they can be really brutal. Indian weddings can be total shit shows. For ANDAZ, we’re committed to that party because it’s like our baby — the party we started at Lola’s and we took to the Fez. Maybe it’s just a habit? We’ve been keeping up with that music for so long. But yeah, you have to listen to a lot more shit. A lot of it’s really bad, and when it’s really bad, we won’t play it. 11: You’ll remix it to make it good. DJA: Yeah, we’ll find the good remix, definitely. And that’s the thing, that party has never been necessarily the top 40

elevenpdx.com | 21

FEATURES 11: Make you feel things. DJA: I’m not, by any means, fluent in Hindi, Punjabi, or Spanish, but I feel the music. Obviously lyrics are important, and some of the songs, we know what the lyrical content is. But if it’s dance music, I don’t know if people are actually paying attention. Music, it doesn’t really matter where you’re from, you’re obviously drawn to certain music.

couldn’t find the right teacher. It’s a sadness in my life. At 25, I was like, “I’m never gonna do the thing I wanna do!” I thought that this particular North Indian classical stuff was my dance. Every time I would see it performed, I would weep. Missed opportunity! Like I missed my calling in life.

“ In the early

11: Well, that goes with the transcendent thing, and dance as well. What is the intersection of music and dance for you? Are you thinking about dance while you’re DJing, or is it just a natural side effect of music? Does dance come from music, or is it a marriage?

days, when my technical abilities were really blah, I think I kind of let my body guide me.

DJA: Yeah, it’s one and the same for me. In the early days, when my technical abilities were really blah, I think I kind of let my body guide me. If I hear a song, I’m like, “OK, this will work,” Mixing my BPM, that’s great. My mom was a classically trained dancer in her childhood, and later she performed in India. Then in my childhood here, she performed at Indian functions. I was always drawn to it but


11: What brought you back?

DJA: Well, I figured out [Bhangra] is my dance. In India, every state has their stereotype. Everybody thinks that I’m Punjabi because I play so much Bhangra, but my family is from Maharashtra. My mom grew up in Madhya Pradesh, different state. My family is pretty reserved. They’re not the party people. Punjabis have this stereotype in South Asia as being the party people. I feel that music so much. Ever since I started DJing, it electrifies me, and that’s maybe how dance came back into my life, I guess. I teach Bollywood as well, but it’s really informed my classical training. If I’m DJing, I’ll just run out and go dance and then come back.

11: Do you feel that’s where you have a leg up on some other shows? I’d say at Anjali shows, people are actually dancing and not just standing with their arms crossed and nodding their heads. Do you get more of the energy from that? DJA: Yeah, I attribute that to the music, not to me. But people do obviously love it when I come out and dance. I really think it’s the music and who comes to our shows. 11: People come out to dance and they know that it’s going to be a dance party. DJA: People say, “Oh the vibe at your party is so great!” We can only do so much, and then it’s up to who comes. 11: The audience is fun and inclusive. You mentioned ANDAZ. What’s a little synopsis of your monthly shows? So our readers know why they should go to these. DJA: We do ANDAZ pretty much every last Saturday at the Liquor Store. We started that party in 2002, still running strong. That’s all Bollywood, Bhangra, what we call “Desi bass,” which is stuff that doesn’t fit in those two.


11: What is “Desi bass”? DJA: Desi is, for me, a better word to use than Indian or Pakistani because it means “from the country.” It doesn’t have those national limitations. Our other party is called Tropitaal, we do that party pretty much every second Saturday at the Good Foot. Sometimes first Saturday, usually second Saturday. That’s Latin with Desi bass. We play some Bollywood there. We play a lot of Bhangra, Dancehall, Cumbia, Reggaeton. We try to have guests maybe every other month of that party. We don’t want to be like, “Here’s Latin music played by us.” We want to promote Latin DJs and performers mostly from Portland to be like, “Share your music with our audience.” »

Get more DJ Anjali: www.anjaliandthekid.com


West End · Hawthorne NW 23rd · Portland Airport Bridgeport Village tenderlovingempire.com

elevenpdx.com | 23

MEET YOUR MAKER Tom Burkleaux by Brandy Crowe Photos by Mathieu Lewis-Rolland

Portland’s “maker” scene goes well beyond what sits on your walls, shelves and limbs. The city’s vast drinking culture has a part to play as well. After all, you can’t have a craft cocktail without the craft, right? So this month, we’re visiting with one of the first spots on Distillery Row: New Deal. In addition to the well-stocked tasting room and CARL, the giant copper still, New Deal offers spring cocktail classes and whiskey workshops. In 2001, Tom Burkleaux was on the consumer side of things, drinking cheap vodka, and lamenting it, due to the recession.

Then, in true DIY fashion, he decided to make his own. New Deal’s first tiny still resides in the tasting room even today, among other incarnations. (CARL is around No. 15 for New Deal.) “It was an art project that got out of hand,” says Burkleaux, who admits he started with little knowledge when he got into the distilling game. “I consider myself a natural scientist. There weren’t as many resources then as there are now. But, wow people were excited seeing me do it! Portland is supportive of craft. We want to do it ourselves and be part of the process.” Now, celebrating 15 years, New Deal sees its artisan spirits on many craft cocktail menus across the city. The distillery puts out about seven to eight thousand cases a year of their flagship Bike Lady vodka, reserve whiskey, gin, liqueur, rum and brandy — all made with mostly local ingredients. Burkleaux says his company could double its production at this point, but he wants to hone in on the time and quality of the finished product. “I do think there’s something about small scale distillation,” he says. “Some people have very automated stills. It’s more of just having a direct experience with your medium.” You can order a beautiful drink at New Deal, but you can also take part in a series of Thursday evening classes this April. There, Public Provisions will step in to share knowledge on how to prepare, balance, and mix the perfect cocktail.


community meet your maker

Burkleaux’s hands-on whiskey-making workshops are set to resume as well. These workshops include a bit of history — the agrarian economics of distilling’s past — and a little science, such as how flavor preferences have been influenced. There are traditional methods mixed with creative new ideas and barrel sampling, and New Deal is currently expanding to build a barrel room on its property for more event and class space. “Certain traditions become ensconced,” Burkleaux says. “Kentucky and Scotland are doing amazing things, but there are so many styles that we haven’t even experienced yet — experimenting with odd grains like spelt and oat. It’s interesting that some flavors are just what we want. I think history gives us some clues.” True to the Portland distilling community’s cooperative spirit, New Deal supports other makers by carrying other locally made cordials, such as CBD spirits and other barware in their tasting room. “The lesson of Portland is, ‘Well, why can’t we?’” Burkleaux says. “People had done everything else: wine, beer, chocolate. I have to really credit the fact that the idea only happened from being here in Portland. I think in a lot of other places, there wouldn’t have been the same community support. People here don’t scoff at your ideas; they say, “Let’s try it.” »

elevenpdx.com | 25

community literary arts

LITERARY ARTS Felicity Fenton by Scott McHale


hat would life be without social media? Does anyone remember? For many people these days, checking Instagram or Facebook is the first thing done after waking up in the morning. Those little hearts or thumbs-ups deliver dopamine directly to the brain much like a loaded syringe. In her essay “User Not Found” (Future Tense Books), Felicity Fenton very candidly describes her own experience with getting off “the walls” and re-engaging the terrestrial world. For a 30 page chapbook, User Not Found contains so many snippets of wisdom on taking on the compulsion to keep up appearances online. This smartphone size book is the perfect alternative to aimlessly scrolling through your social media apps, and may just help you get back to what’s important in life, real human interaction. ELEVEN: How did this book come about? Why the chapbook form? Felicity Fenton: My publisher and friend, Kevin Sampsell and I have been reading each other’s writing for a while now. I sent him the essay in its beginning stages. He was enthusiastic about it and thought it would be a fitting piece for his terrific phone-sized Scout Book series. The motivation to write the essay was prompted by a few things: Over a year ago, I was in Mexico for a few weeks around the holidays. I had a nagging itch to document, share, respond, and scroll rather than experience my days there as the open eyed wanderer I used to be. Not only was I noticing this desperation in myself, but in others around me. Scrolling humans seemed to be everywhere, on buses, on motorbikes, in hot air balloons, in cafes, while walking in front of oncoming traffic. Then one of my internet friends disappeared. They erased me from their digital walls. We had been relatively close, so I was a bit crushed and wondered what I had done to upset them. I reached out, but never heard back. This sort of ghosting happens every day. Happens to teenagers, business executives, zookeepers, and people in retirement homes. I question where this is taking us as humans. Not being able to confront one another through healthy conversations, resolving things in person, hugging afterwards. It’s a bit depressing. Then my child said something to me one morning about it being strange always seeing her parent’s faces painted in light. What was it like for her growing up in a place where the most important people in her life were cemented to screens? I wanted to crawl out of the algorithmic hole I’d buried myself in, for her and for me. It was time to take a break.


Severing myself from a world I had being so enmeshed in was challenging. My hands constantly reached for my phone and my desire to check in was on fire. I’d never had addiction issues before and suddenly I knew I had a problem. So I wrote about it. 11: You use a lot of terms related to social media addiction that really sum up how a lot of people behave online. Can you explain what a wall score is? FF: Wall scores are points you get in the virtual world for posting, curating, responding, and sharing. You can post too much or too little. You get major points for posting images of yourself or your child. Even bigger points if you claim to have battled some sort of health scare or other life threatening situation. If you win a Pulitzer, people will applaud you, and you may gain a lot of followers, but if you post about other accomplishments that aren’t as fancy, you may lose followers. Mediocrity isn’t great for wall scores. It’s all very finicky and mood based, the response you may or may not get from others. Right now, I’m not very popular on social media. I pop things up on walls occasionally, but I never scroll and interact with others. Sort of defeats the purpose of being there at all. Still wrestling with that.

community literary arts

ELEVEN: Another term that many of us might relate to is “going cold”. Can you tell me how people reacted to you when you decided to do so?

internet followers, you can generate a substantial audience. Responses can be dull, but they spike dopamine levels, so you keep coming back for more.

FF: It seems like a good slice of our real life encounters are based on how we’ve interacted with others online. I often hear people say things like, I unfollowed this person because they posted too many pictures of their dog, or their art, or their mother’s banana bread. It’s a passive aggressive pissing party. After the book came out, a few social media friends sent emails confessing they thought I had unfollowed them, blocked them, stepped out of their room. I imagine this is still the case for a few who don’t know I’m not on the walls as much anymore. Some people either assume you are going through some sort of personal catastrophe or that you denounced them as humans.

11: One subject that you address in the book is “the imbalance of human and non-human relationships.” Why is this so important, and how much more are you aware of this after writing this essay?

11: You write that, ”Digital applause makes art less lonely. Despite its vapidness, I had grown attached to being followed and following others online.” Can you expound on that sentiment specifically on how it relates to artists? FF: The fear of being forgotten is very real. But it goes beyond fear. People do forget. Out of site, out of mind. Since I’ve curbed my wall use, my website traffic has gone down by 50%. In many ways, platforms like Instagram have opened up a plethora of opportunities for makers of all types. It doesn’t require the same sort of work that goes into finding representation, writing grants, or cover letters. You can simply set up a scene in your bathroom with a couple of chickens, food coloring, and wigs, and presto, you’re there. If you know what you are doing and shimmy your way into the lives of other

FF: This is something I often consider. Having grown up between the city and a mountain valley. These relationships are vital to me. The screens we claim, grasp, and ogle, are taking us further and further away from the non-human side of things, tossing us into an oozing anthropocentric vat because the river is far too cold and doesn’t always have Wi-Fi. 11: Have you ever considered not even owning a smartphone or having social media accounts? FF: For sure. I think about it frequently. A bulk of what I use my phone for anymore is texting, checking emails, and voice recordings. I don’t take as many photos as I used to, probably because I don’t feel the need to capture my every waking moment. I’d like to dumb it down, get some sort of landline, start writing more letters instead of sending text messages, but it may be hard to convince others to go there with me. Most people I know don’t like talking on the phone anymore and very few of them write letters. Until I’m ready to experience heavy wallops of silence and isolation, I’m going to hang onto my device. Deleting myself from social media may happen eventually, but because it is one of the only ways to share information and check in on friends and family, I’ve accepted it as a tool I can choose to use if I like. »

elevenpdx.com | 27


Shelly Sazdanoff by Laurel Bonfiglio Photo by Mercy McNab


community visual arts

ELEVEN: How did you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest? Has it offered any unique inspiration to your creative endeavors? Shelly Sazdanoff: Portland has been on my husband and I’s radar on and off for some time, but ultimately it was close friends who lived in Bend and few trips out here to visit them, that made us realize that we wanted to raise our children up here rather than Phoenix, which is where we are originally from. Portland feels more like home than any other place we have ever lived.

11: The meshing of fiber, concrete and wood is fascinating, exhilarating and quite an unexpected combination. Where did the birth of this trio originate? SS: The concrete idea just came to me one day. I really love the roughness of its texture and juxtaposition of this hard material over the natural fibers. I had an experimental woven piece hanging around the studio and decided to try painting concrete over the bottom half. I loved the contrast it brought but what really sold me was when I realized I could add pigment to it and change the color. Not surprisingly, black and white concrete came out of it first. Adding the doug fir framing was just a natural step after that. The work is so clean and minimal and the frame just completes it nicely. 11: Conceptually, how does a piece come to being? Does it form raw and organically, or is it planned prior to execution? SS: The pieces are sketched and planned beforehand. Everything has to be thought out and calculated while I’m weaving. Once woven and stretched, there is really not much room for error with the concrete or else the entire piece is ruined. I’ve only made two mistakes in the last 4 years that couldn’t be fixed but they were pretty devastating. Weaving is such a slow process it was hard to lose all that time and work. So I try to move at a pace where I am able to pay attention to the details and carefully execute the ideas. 11: Has it been difficult finding a creative community and establish yourself as an artist here in Portland? What is your take on technology and the internet’s role in success as an artist?

Being here has been integral to my practice. I found weaving after moving here. I’ve been inspired by the arts, the architectural shapes and shadows of the city and the rainy weather has been good motivation to stay inside and be productive. 11: How did you begin your journey as a weaver and an artist? SS: After moving to Portland over 4 years ago, I fell in love with fiber arts. I’d never had formal training but just bought a loom, read a few tutorials and went for it. From my first try, something clicked and I’ve been working on pushing myself and maturing in my work almost everyday since. Weaving is slow and counter-intuitive to our fast-pace consumer culture and I love it for that.

SS: The creative community has been so wonderful and supportive here. All the people I’ve encountered have been interested in encouraging and building each other up. I’m super grateful to be here and to create here. I have a love/hate relationship with technology as I am sure I am not alone. It is a very useful tool to get your work out there and I would never have been able to find the art community I have found or other amazing personal connections without it. It has brought me a lot of very great opportunities and friendships. At the same time I feel like social media has added such a heavy pressure on our generation. The pressure for content, for consistency etc. I used to try and keep up with all of it but have lately gone through some disillusionment. I sometimes think about earlier generations of artists and how different it must have been for them. No one to see your process and progress unless they physically come to your studio and make a real life connection. No instant reaction to your work or comparing how good something is based on how many people pushed the “like” button. I now feel like I am finding a healthier line somewhere. Not succumbing to feeling like I have to post something all the time or keep up with it all. So I think it can be very helpful just in moderation. »

elevenpdx.com | 29

community visual arts

p.3 [Table of Contents] To Mourn The Opression, 2018 Handwoven linen, concrete, Doug-fir frame, 21” x 21” p.29 The Art of Extraction, 2019 Handwoven fiber, concrete, Doug-fir frame, 21” x 21”

p.30 [Above] Inventing Endless Subtleties, 2018 Handwoven linen, concrete, Doug-fir frame, 21” x 21” p.32 [Back Cover] Black and Honey, 2019 Handwoven fiber, concrete, Doug-fir frame, 21” x 21”


more at: www.shellysazdanoff.com and @shellysazdanoff

elevenpdx.com | 31


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.