Page 1





THE USUAL 4 Letter from the Editor 4 Staff Credits


FEATURES Local Feature 14 Kulululu

Cover Feature 18 NEW MUSIC

Andrew WK

5 Aural Fix Benjamin Booker Broncho Smino

COMMUNITY Literary Arts 26

8 Short List 8 Album Reviews Protomartyr The Babe Rainbow Chad VanGaalen Deerhoof

Portland writer Brian K. Friesen

Visual Arts 28 Portland artist Travis Suda

LIVE MUSIC 10 Know Your Venue White Owl Social Club

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.

more online at

HELLO PORTLAND! To quote the great Andrew W.K., “There are things to learn and ultimately gain from even the darkest times.” Times have indeed been dark of late. But like the totality of our moon passing over the sun, casting her fleeting shadow over those lucky enough to witness it—what ails us now won’t last forever; and if fortunate enough we might grow stronger, learn how to be excellent to ourselves and each other. Remain courageous and keep listening to that voice telling you to be the best version of yourself. Aiding in my own personal journey of being my best self— musically, September brings much to find solace in. There are so many great albums out this month, it was a unique challenge narrowing down our coverage. We’re graced by new releases from Chad VanGaalen, Deerhoof, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, LCD Soundsystem, The National and Protomartyr, to name a few. Plus, Andrew W.K. returns to the stage with his full band for the first time in five years, performing in Portland at the Wonder Ballroom. See you there? Dutifully yours,

- Travis Leipzig, Managing Editor S EPT EM B E R M U S I C C AL E N DAR

THE TOFFE E C LU B Friday 1st - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with Bald Eagle Saturday 2nd - BREXIT Grime, Garage and British Bangers Thursday 7th - HEAVY DENIM 90s Indie with Cisco Friday 15th - LOVE ACTION 80s Electro with Cisco Thursday 21st - PARKLIFE All-Vinyl Britpop Friday 22st - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with Quirkes and Maliksun Thursday 28th - ONE DROP Reggae and Roots with Sicoide and Guests Friday 29th - STICKY TOFFEE House and Disco with Jason Urick PLUS... Every Sunday - YOUR HEART BELONGS TO TWEE Indiepop Brunch with My lil’ Underground 1006 SE HAWTHORNE BLVD, PORTLAND



ONLINE Mark Dilson, Kim Lawson, Michael Reiersgaard



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rosie Blanton, Laurel Bonfilgio, Tyler Burdwood, Matt Carter, Crystal Contreras-Grossman, Brandy Crowe, Sarah Eaton, Eric Evans, Lou Flesh, Jameson Ketchum, Christopher Klarer, Kelly Kovl, Samantha Lopez, Scott McHale, Lucia Ondruskova, Gina Pieracci, Kelsey Rzepecki, Ellis Samsara, Tyler Sanford, Stephanie Scelza, Matthew Sweeney, Charles Trowbridge, Rick White, Henry Whittier-Ferguson, Wendy Worzalla

PHOTOGRAPHERS Patrick Chapman, Eric Evans, Alexander Fattal, Eirinn Gragson, Greg LeMieux, Mercy McNab, Andrew Roles, Todd Walberg, Caitlin Webb COVER PHOTO Shane McCormick


SPECIAL THANKS Our local business partners who make this project possible. Our friends, families, associates, lovers, creators and haters. And of course, our city!

new music aural fix


Photo by Neil Krug

up and coming music from the national scene



Born in Tampa Bay and known for his first album of scorched blues-punk out of New Orleans while working as a barista, Benjamin Booker has come back from a journey to the end of the night. Starting with writer’s block and rage over what our country has become, he is trying to make sense of the prevalent racism that affected him so personally. After a brutal assault outside a club there, Booker wrote about the confusion, misunderstanding and pleas for justice that can be heard in his soulful sophomore release, Witness. Feisty opener “Right on You” and the other 9 songs on his new album are all slow-cooked funky, with new wave effects and delicate strings draped over near-boogie riffs, multi-

alone?” he sings on “Motivation,” realizing against the odds of oppression he has to bear witness and choose. How to do more than just witness the wrongs. Witness closes with “All Was Well,” a spinning epilogue

percussive backbeats and gospel great vocalist Mavis Staples

about how once upon a time everything was beautiful and

helping out on the key title track. His voyage to Mexico

nothing hurt–and that it’s not like that now. Now is the time

reminded him of what an outsider he was everywhere, for

institutions that once kept us together are housed by evil, and

what he was and who he is. That sense of alienation permeates

he warns, “If I have my way / I’m going to tear this building

Witness, but it doesn’t make it cold or frigid with bitterness.

down.” Don’t be distracted by this album’s lovely, emotionally

“It’s the same thoughts that leave a man with no home... living

resonant tunes–there is a stark mission admonished here, and

and dying alone / Am I made out of choices, living and dying

it is to be more than just a witness to these times. » - Lou Flesh



Photo by Pooneh Ghana


An afterthought to all but die-hard fans, Barbed Wire Kisses collects soundtrack work, b-sides, and other ephemera from The Jesus and Mary Chain. It’s the JAMC album I play the most, in part because it feels loose and fuzzy and has lots of lazy hooks. One could say exactly the same thing about Broncho’s 2016 album Double Vanity, an album full of catchy

songs which feel willfully, gleefully lo-fi in their production but are, to a one, well crafted and hummable. There’s so much to love. Opener “All Time” sets the stage for shoegazing with a grumbling guitar line and vocals that sound as if they were recorded in a subway toilet three stalls away from the microphone. “Fantasy Boys” teases the same kind of pop exuberance as the first Suede record, and while it never quite scales the giddy heights of “Metal Mickey” it does settle into a great little groove. “Señora Borealis” is a gem–it could be a Marc Bolan song from The Slider, which is basically the highest praise that there is. Anyone who digs The Jesus and Mary Chain or T Rex would find a lot to love in those 11 tracks. The band’s new single “Get In My Car” is all the more surprising for its clarity and polish. It’s arguably their best work, an effortlessly catchy pop track which feels–don’t laugh–like early ‘80s Nick Lowe, The Knack, Milk-N-Cookies, or even the best of pre-Wings solo Paul McCartney in its economy. Whether it signals a sea change in Broncho’s sound or is just a one-off departure remains to be seen. The band’s September 9 date at the Star Theater will be interesting if only to see if they translate the older material to the newer sound or not. Certainly they could–the hooks on Double Vanity are vibrant enough to survive a sonic restructuring. The band’s tour has them routed from Spokane to Eugene to Seattle to Portland, so go in knowing that they’re road warriors. » - Eric Evans | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 5


new music aural fix



There is no better place in the world for hip-hop than Chicago right now. Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins, Noname, Saba, Vic Mensa, the list goes on and on. It should never be surprising when another incredible talent comes out of the windy city, but here we are with Smino. His first full length album, blkswn, was released back in March, and he’s managed to turn the success of that record into opening for SZA on her Ctrl tour. Smino is talented at rapping. He’s fully capable of intense double-time verses and switching up his flows frequently, but that’s not really what makes him stand out. His charm comes from his ability to sing his bars as he’s rapping them over these jazzy, often sparse instrumentals. His voice becomes an instrument just as much as it is the vessel for the story in his work. The production of blkswn is taken over almost entirely by Monte Booker, who has proven himself capable of producing a wide-variety of instrumentals for Smino. Where tracks like “Netflix & Dusse” are a bit bouncy

in their production and focus heavily on melody and pop-appeal, tracks like “B Role” are a bit more sparse in production, a bit less melodic, and often use eclectic sounds as a backdrop instead of traditional instruments. On blkswn, Smino gives us a glimpse into a lot of his life, the glamorous, the romantic, the hopeless—and he matches the production with the mood and the lyrics on each. His voice is never out of place. » - Tyler Sanford

QUICK TRACKS A NETFLIX AND DUSSE The most pop-friendly thing Smino has made with the catchiest chorus on blkswn.

B AMPHETAMINE A feature heavy, melancholic outro to blkswn detailing some of Smino’s personal hardships. | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 7

new music album reviews



Short List Mogwai Every Country’s Sun LCD Soundsystem American Dream The Pains of Being Pure at Heart The Echo of Pleasure L.A. Witch L.A. Witch Nosaj Thing Parallels The National Sleep Well Beast Ariel Pink Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

Protomartyr Relatives in Descent Domino Records Detroit’s Protomartyr are a post-punk influenced group with a manifesto as canny and mysterious as the found photograph on the cover of their new album Relatives in Dissent. The kid adorning the cover wears a white robe and has soft features, but his gaze looking outward is defiant, almost cold. This band is a hard-bitten but literate lot; vocalist Joe Casey

Foo Fighters Concrete and Gold

Sounds that persist through the record strike the image of The Beatles

Cut Copy Haiku from Zero

teaming up with Franz Ferdinand on an endless summer surf trip with

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Luciferian Towers

Beck to fill in the gaps. Lead man Angus Dowling (drums/lead vocals),

Wolf Alice Visions of a Life

was quoted in an interview with The Lens in May 2017 describing The Babe

The Killers Wonderful Wonderful

Rainbow’s sound as “James Brown’s Beach Boys” and the sound of “God

The Blow Brand New Abyss Cold Specks Fool’s Paradise Alvvays Antisocialites Buy it

Stream it

picking flowers.” A tender, majestic, yet funky sentiment that nestles up in

The Babe Rainbow The Babe Rainbow Flightless Records

Toss it @elevenpdx


(whose raspy muttering and shouting understandably get him compared to Dave Thomas, of fellow Midwestern outsider rockers Pere Ubu) mixes nasty invective with highfalutin allusions. And the musical backdrop (handled by Scott Davidson on bass, Alex Leonard on drums, and Greg Ahee on guitar) isn’t exactly your standard garage-punk type deal—it’s often tense, dissonant. On Relatives in Dissent, Protomartyr make good to accentuate their arty tendencies, moving away from fuzzed-out garage rock towards something still darker, with an undercurrent of unease and an incisive lyrical bite. It’s an album of industrial ruin and apocalyptic black humor, with Casey’s zoned-out narration ferrying you down streets where nothing is as it seems. “My Kids” and “Windsor Hum” paint a bleak picture of the future, but they’re also cheeky in their depiction of the pricks behind it. But the hope offered by “Night-Blooming Cereus” definitely isn’t ironic. Worthy of note. » - Matthew Sweeney

the eardrums and consoles the soul. Tunes like “Fall in Love” hit a calm cool with spot-on percussion, flowing funk guitar riffs, wispy, dancing vocals that offer lyrical guidance

A certain gentleness calmly ensues and unexpectedly shapeshifts into the form of psychedelic disco/folk/surf/ funk, peppered with a bit of indie/glam while Australian tricksters The Babe Rainbow coast and cut back through the mystical ocean of melodic rhythm, releasing their debut full-length album The Babe Rainbow, out on Flightless Records and available to us yanks September 1.

through the twisted land of love and sharp, steady bass as deep as the Pacific Ocean. The record transitions in pleasant and energetic succession as the mix of Dowling, Jack/Kool Breeze (guitar/vocals), and Lulu (bass/vocals) sends us off through an endless summer of love, inviting us all to promiscuously join in. » - Ellis Samsara

new music album reviews

Chad VanGaalen Light Information Sub Pop Records There is always something interesting about watching a generation go through the parenthood process. It marks a distinct change in personal lives–our own, friends’ and family’s–but it is also a ride that we can take vicariously, as well, through our cultural icons. Each generation’s musicians and artists go through a phase of reckoning with existential

Deerhoof Mountain Moves Joyful Noise Records Deerhoof has always resisted category. They’re a rock band, undoubtedly, but they buck tradition at every turn. Mountain Moves boasts a disparate collection of guests, including the rising star R&B singer Xenia Rubinos, and experimental jazz saxophonist Matana Roberts. On the second track, “Con Sordino,” Satomi Matsuzaki sings, “Your voice may be con sordino [“with a mute”], but we know

concepts, and the mindfuck of sudden parenthood is certainly a catalyst. On Light Information, Canadian altrocker Chad VanGaalen wrestles with this next phase of life—parenthood— by looking at it through a prismatic lens of aging, lost loves, isolation and of course, internet paranoia. VanGaalen departs from his more alt-oriented roots to get weird, mixing in monosynth instrumentals and psychedelic hooks. “Mind Hijackers Curse” opens the album with a catchy, warbling chorus that melts into a bass-driven hook. VanGaalen plays with the song structure a bit, a literal framing of the song’s them: the passage of time and its effect on the aging psyche of a loner. “You’re so scared to be adored but more scared to be alone,” he sings, as the synth bends and pops around him. The theme of disembodiment or depersonalization arises time and again throughout Light Information. On some levels, it’s a theme VanGaalen has spent nearly the entirety of his discography exploring, but when put

within the context of what it means to

it can sing.” She seems to refer to her own quiet voice, which has always been the foil to the lumbering, many-faced monster of a band behind her. Deerhoof are the mad architects of new experiences. Frenetic lead guitars run wonky circles around the chilled vocal harmonies on “Ay That’s Me.” Help from comedian/rapper Awkwafina makes “Your Dystopic Creation Doesn’t Fear You” a futureshocked, emotive collage that veers into Carlos Santana territory before ending in a voice-modulated wreckage. On “Come Down Here and Say That,” the characteristically rude guitar works around a disco beat. “Kokoye,” with its dreamy melodies, is a gem hiding near the end of the album. Mountain Moves only risks drowning in its own avant garde-ness in the title track, where jazz drumming, sax, and lead guitar all but pull the song apart at its seams. The listener is then rescued by a refreshingly minimal, truncated cover of The Staple Singers’ “Freedom Highway.” The line, “The whole world is wonderin’ / What’s wrong with the United States?” lands with chilly, new

meaning. Two other partial covers are spread throughout the LP. “Gracias a la vida” is a song first written by Violeta Parra of Chile, a leading figure in the socially conscious Nueva Canción movement of the ‘60s, first brought to American ears via Joan Baez. Partial cover #3, Bob Marley’s “Small Axe,” is sung over sparse piano chords to end the album: “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe / ready to cut you down.” The covers taken together seem carefully picked to foster resistance to the current administration, in a way more soul-nourishing than hatefeeding. The sheer variety of influences make Mountain Moves a decidedly postmodern collection of music. The band, technically airtight, compositionally stumbles through a million thoughts. It’s somewhat remarkable the songs sound like songs at all, but they do. That’s the piece of Deerhoof’s style that makes them inimitable. It’s not that you couldn’t write like them–you could–but good luck making it sound like music. » - Tyler Burdwood

lose oneself to the unconditional love of a parent to a child, it takes on a less melancholic hue. “Pine and Clover” could just as easily be about a past flame or about seeing the reflection of a kinder world in the eyes of a daughter (both VanGaalen’s daughters make a vocal appearance on the record). It evokes an image of a simpler time when someone, or something, allowed you to let your guard down enough to feel a momentary weightlessness in life. “Pine and Clover” is also the most stripped-down tune on the record, with just a slightly distorted guitar and minimal synthesizer. On Light Information, VanGaalen perhaps sees a sliver of light at the end of his journey of intense self-exploration. Maybe he doesn’t necessarily find all the answers he’s looking for, but there is a weird peacefulness that results from the cumulative experience. » - Charles Trowbridge | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 9

live music Simpson’s trivia night, but until recently bands and DJ nights were pretty sparse. More live music is happening though and is likely to continue, because the new owners have seized upon The White Owl’s best asset: The enormous patio. The entire property has plenty of room. Inside is a beautiful bar and lots of seating, but outside is where it’s at. There’s a glow from the strings of lights and a fire pit under the stars. Rows of picnic tables are for chilling, eating, and occasionally dancing on. A second bar has been added outside to ease the lines of people ordering from Photo by Greg LeMieux

KNOW YOUR VENUE White Owl Social Club | 1305 SE 8th

the topnotch menus. Happy Hour offers full plates

for 5 bucks and craft drafts for 3. They boast “Quality Adult Beverages, Fair Prices, Mixed Strong,” and sure enough there are fanciful combinations of spirits and fine ingredients on the cocktail menu. I kept it pretty simple with their Kentucky Moonshine (which isn’t actually moonshine but instead bourbon, pineapple juice, and raspberry liqueur). It might be one of the only places in town where you can get a locally sourced lamb burger, and the veggie burger made with beets and hazelnuts is one of the crispiest and


most flavorful veggie burgers in the city (Bon Appetit he blocks in this part of inner Southeast are truly representative of hard-working, artistic Portland. Old warehouses are transformed into small

Magazine says it’s one of the best in the country). “We don’t want to just be a place to get food, we want to bring quality back,” says co-owner Matt Relkin, as he tells

businesses, breweries and

distilleries. It’s also a mural district, with many huge walls becoming sprawling canvases. Strolling towards the White Owl Social Club, I pass one that says “Hey! You’re A Part Of It” in big bold letters. I hear guitar and a crowd’s cheers echoing off of the bricks. A lot of people still miss Plan B, a dark dive bar which transformed into The White Owl back in 2012. It’s been classed up but still holds a noir edge. There might even be some heavy metal playing in the background. There are special events like the annual Rose City Kentucky Derby Party, and the insanely popular


Photo by Greg LeMieux

live music

Local band The Prids playing White Owl. Photo by Brandy Crowe

me about their “Taco and Tecate” Tuesdays. “It’s not just an afterthought here, it’s something we take very seriously.” But let’s get back to those live shows coming into play. With all of that space, the new owners took previously covered patio seating and flipped it into a stage. Relkin emphasizes that they work with a variety of bookers and sponsors, and strive to keep things accessible for their patrons. “We are not just planning everything ourselves. It’s nice to work with other people to create events. It definitely helps us bring more to the table.” This month, be on the lookout for free shows, end of summer celebrations, and vintage surf-wop from Shannon and the Clams. With a wide appeal of menus and music, a comfortable vibe and lots of room to mingle, The White Owl lives up to its “Social Club” status. It’s very central and easily accessible from nearly every part of the city, so make plans to meet up. » - Brandy Crowe

Local band Mini Blinds playing White Owl. Photo by DjM | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 11





1 2 6 18 20

Simple Plan | The Bottom Line Johnnyswim | The Talbott Brothers Thundercat Manchester Orchestra | Tigers Jaw | Foxing Goldfrapp 21-22 Future Islands | Oh, Rose 23 Ride 24 An Evening with Apocalyptica 25 Thee Oh Sees | Dreamdecay | Arrington de Dionyso 26 An Evening with The Magpie Salute 28 Ninja Sex Party 29 The Brothers Comatose | The Lil’ Smokies | Mispo










25 18













Wild Ones | Reptaliens | Strange Babes DJs Blitzen Trapper | Lenore. | Strange Babes DJs Orquestra Pacifico Tropical | Edna Vazquez Band Lillie Mae | Miller & Sasser Small Skies | Doubleplusgood | Small Million Thelma & The Sleaze | Lavender Country | Cool Schmool Coast Modern Carbon Leaf | Kat Myers & The Buzzards The Dave King Trucking Co. | Blue Cranes Monsieur Perine Blu & Exile | Dag Savage | Choosey | Cashus King | Tope Greg Graffin | Chuck Westmoreland 15,18 Deerhoof | Christina Schneider’s Genius Grant 16 Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas | Candace 17 Andrew Belle | Praytell 19 The Domestics | Kyle Craft | And And And 20 Black Kids | Le Vice 21 Downtown Boys | Lithics | Cool Flowers 22 Widowspeak | Clearance | Wet Dream Committee 23 Sera Cahoone | Barna Howard




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13








Junius Meyvant | Sama Dams Autonomics | Ice Queens | Devy Metal Verite | Tigertown Now, Now | Cumulus Alexandra Savior | Mascaras Ages and Ages | Genders | Robin Bacior Cigarettes After Sex Tops | She-Devils Wild Cub The Living End | The Darts | Rotties Marv Ellis & We Tribe | Mosley Wotta Mighty Oaks | Lydia Ramsey Willie Watson | Bedouine The Last Bandoleros Dan Croll | The Dig James Super Cave | The Seshen | New Move Cascade Crescendo | Yak Attack Ramble On | Crazy Train The Pains of Being Pure at Heart | The Prids INVSN | Darkswoon The New Division | Gold Casio | Leo Islo | Talk Modern Frankie Rose | Suburban Living | A Certain Smile Moses Sumney



8 NW 6TH

Ok Go | Paper Pilots Reverend Horton Heat | Fishbone | Strung Out Zomboy | Eptic | Xilent Gov’t Mule Bonobo Troyboi | Slumberjack Lil Yachty City & Color | David Bazan Ben Folds | Tall Heights GoldLink | Masego

3 1 2 3 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 15 16 17 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 28 29



8 9 13 19 20 21 23 26 28 29







Sam Amidon Death Valley Girls Jeff Crosby & The Refugees | Redwood Son Sarah Shook & The Disarmers | Jenny Don’t & The Spurs Valley Queen























3 11 6

















17 26


8 9

Eye Candy VJs (Mondays) Party Damage DJs (Tuesdays) Laugh Trakz Comedy & Hip Hop Show Stevo The Weirdo | Rasheed Jamal | Verbz Samuel The 1st & Co. Chrome Horses Knowmads Tour fea/Addverse Effects Lovejoy | Down North NW Selects Sextile



3 10

DJs in The Taproom (weekends)



6 7 11 12 13 14 15 17 20 25 30


The Lower 48 | Redlight District Ezza Rose | Kelli Schaefer | The Wild Body


8 13 16 19 21 23 25


Sassyblack | Blossom | DNVN | VNPRT The Heavy Hustle | Karma Rivera | Courtney Noe Golden Retriever | Dylan Stark | Brown Calculus XYLØ Tender Age | WL | See Through Dress | Drowse Blockhead Tokimonsta | The Lune Rouge Experience Arizona | Glades Natasha Kmeto | Fritzwa | Notel Japanese Breakfast | Mannequin Pussy Love Theme | Mattress | Sun Pack




Benjamin Booker | She Keeps Bees | The New Respects A Tribe Called Red RAC | Nvdes Tennyson | Photay Public Service Broadcasting | King Who Turkuaz | Sinkane Andrew W.K.



24 25 26 28 29



Star Club | Wave Action | Boink Starover Blue | The Fourth Wall | Young Elk Gold Casio | Ellis Pink The Yawpers | The Macks | Forty Feet Tall Chuck Westmoreland | Mission Spotlight Liquidlight | Hollow Sidewalks | Down Gown Cobi Wilsen | Rare Monk Korgy & Bass | Mic Crenshaw | Knablinz/Infinityface Vandella | Risley | Paper Brain The Prids | Motrik | Pacific Latitudes Astro Tan | Slow Corpse | Mood Beach Kelli Schaefer | Iska Dhaaf | Arlo Indigo Charts | Hawkeye | Motorcoat Patrick Sweany


2 7 8 9 10 15 21 23

1 3 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 23 29 30


The Church | The Helio Sequence Daniel Norgren Colin Hay

8 23 30 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 13


12 1006 SE HAWTHORNE 1 2 7 15 21 22 28 29

Indie Pop Brunch w/My lil’ Underground (Sundays) Sticky Toffee: House & Disco w/Bald Eagle Brexit: Grime, Garage, & British Bangers Heavy Denim: 90s Indie w/Cisco Love Action: 80s Electro w/Cisco Parklife: All-Vinyl Britpop Sticky Toffee: House & Disco w/Quirkes & Maliksun One Drop: Reggae & Roots w/Sicoide & Guests Sticky Toffee: House & Disco w/Jason Urick

6 7 13 21 27 29 30

Jay Cobb Anderson Band | Honeysuckle Francis Luke Accord | Ali Burress KMUZ Local Roots Live Series Portland Country Underground | Lesser Known Mission Spotlight | Medallion Scratchdog Stringband | Sweetwater Stringband Amanda Richards & The Good Long Whiles | Ismay


THE SECRET SOCIETY 14 116 NE RUSSELL 1 2 8 9 15 16 17 22 23 24 29 30

The Gary Ogan Band The Bandulus | Buddy Jay’s Jamaican Jazz Band Jai Ho! Dance Party Maryann Nicholas Clawfoot Slumber | 1939 Ensemble Melao de Cuba Salsa Orchestra The Secret Light | We Are Parasols Old Mill | Haymaker | Steve Wilkonson w/Grant Cumpston Michelle Decourcy & The Rocktarts | The Yachtsmen Lemolo | The Breaking The Rock Bottom Boys | The Junebugs The Sentiments | Manimalhouse

Photo by Alexander Fattal



t’s just before midnight and I’m riding my bike through Portland. It’s summer so it feels amazing and I’m flying down Rosa Parks Way. I arrive at a house that belongs to a human, but the human isn’t home. Instead I find a group of beings known as Kulululu. Adorned in strange garb and masks, they offer me a beverage and I begin to mingle. All the while they are plucking their instruments and having WHITE EAGLE the most mirthful encounters. Our 836 N RUSSELL staff photographer Alexander Fattal Ghosts Like Us | LaTevin Alexander | Michael Galen arrives in hopes of photographing Garcia Birthday Band these mysteries beings. Beautiful chaos Harmed Brothers explodes during the “photoshoot.” Old Salt Union One minute the beings are in perfect Rich Layton & The Troublemakers Blair Crimmins harmony, singing the original Mickey Mic Check Hip Hop Showcase Mouse anthem, and the next they’re Benyaro | The Pine Hearts | Woodlands West burping and laughing wildly. The laughter is contagious, and before I TURN! TURN! TURN! 8 NE KILLINGSWORTH know it, I’m partaking in the gleeful Wave Action | Hayley & The Crushers | Cool Schmool merriment. The rumors I’ve heard are Wet Trident | Months | Riled true. I and you and everyone is also Mercy Station | Plastic Harmony | Cynthia Nelson the thing that they are called, which Magical Trash is Kulululu. Alex continues snapping Comet Talk | Social Stomach | Sea Moss Hunter Gather | The Crenshaw | Paper Gates photos and I grab the one other human Ssold | A Volcano | Mike Khoury I see, Kulululu’s sound engineer David Ripe Red Apple | Ms. Fridrich’s MessyAnn Band Pollock, and we sit down to talk about Sahba Sizdahkhani | Plankton Wat | Pulse Emitter recording these ethereal beings. Ali Burress | TBI | Wasting Seasons

15 13 15 16 21 22 27 28 30

16 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 22 23 27

Dreckig | Star Club | Miss Rayon Advance Base | Lise/Liza | Man at War Dreckig | Star Club | Miss Rayon Advance Base | Lise/Liza | Man at War L.O.X. | Charlie Moses | Ian Christensen Quartet


ELEVEN: So you recorded Kulululu’s album. Can you tell me more about that process?


David Pollack: Yeah, I actually recorded it not too far from here, in my basement. It’s called Fortress Galaxy. It was so awesome, they came in many times over about two years. 11: So it took two years to make this record? DP: Almost, but it was so quick. They would come in for half a day and just rock out four songs with guitar, drums, and bass live in my basement. It’s not a basement though, it’s a studio! It’s full of awesome shit! 11: Oh yeah? Like awesome gear? What’s some of your favorite gear? DP: I don’t try to nerd out super hard on gear. I have a tape machine (reeltoreel recording), and that is something a lot of people don’t have. I don’t do it as a process while recording; I do it as a way to add some flavor, later. Like if the drums need some color, I’ll record it on tape. I stay pretty minimal; in my own personal studio I only have eight inputs. I often go for like an old school ‘70s kind of sound, which means I’m using a lot of vintage ribbon microphones. It’s a quality over quantity deal. I have a handful of nice tools I can rely on.

11: Did they (Kulululu) come in with

and ready to go. They are a ball of fire

all pre written material, were they

that almost wears me out. Their sessions

ready to go?

will be hours long and the enthusiasm never wanes.

DP: Totally, they just slammed it out. They used my house kit (1972 Rogers

11: That’s awesome, that’s how more

kit), which is kind of like a Ludwig. It

people should be. How long have they

has a big, nice sound but they brought

been playing together?

in their own cymbals. They had to sing really quietly though because I have a really small basement. We actually

DP: This group has been playing together for about three years, I believe.

put the guitar amp in the bathroom. I just had to treat it like it wanted to be

11: So you guys are great at keeping

treated, it was really natural. I didn’t

pretty much everything about you

have to mix the shit out of it. The whole

ambiguous and secretive. Do you think

record was really easy to make. It was

that helps people focus on the music

really quick. They would come in for a

and stay in the moment when they’re at

couple of days here and there and we’d

your shows? DP: It’s easy for the crowd to get

There was not a lot of going back and

involved. It’s so over the top so they

forth, which a lot of records usually are.

don’t take themselves as seriously. They don’t have their guard up. It invites

11: The majority of their songs are

them to shed their own identify in a

fairly short. Do you think that’s why it’s

way, if we’re being so silly we’re inviting

so easy?

them to follow along. We were at a show last week where the music was so silly

DP: No, I don’t think that has any

SEPTEMBER TURN TURN TURN (CONTINUED) PennyMart | Le Grotto | Harrison Garrison Shadowlands | Loveboys




and so weird that everyone in the crowd

effect. I think they know what they

began dancing like they had never

want and they come in and play it like

danced before. This showed exemplified

experts. They’re so talented. They are

exactly what we’re talking about. The

way better musicians than other people

band was also a costume band. A one-

who play their kind of music. I think

man costume band. Instead of people

that’s a really interesting point. They

perceiving us as telling our stories,

just love this music and they are beyond

we’re non-people, non-members, and

what they are doing. They just slam it

non-humans. We’re storytellers of some

out and they do it for fun.

other reality. We’re not talking about


11 19


Judy Collins An Evening with George Winston Greg Brown Television Dave Mason


6 12 14 20 22 24 25 27 28 29 30


Pacific Radio | Cheap Thrills The Toads


28 29


Quicksand | No Joy Epica | Lacuna Coil | Insomnium | Elantris Al YoungBoy Twiztid | Moonshine Bandits | Whitney Peyton MURS J.Roddy Walston & The Business | Sleepwalker Atlas Genius | Flor | Half the Animal Sheer Mag | Tenement Mayday | The Late Ones | Inner Family Legacy GoldLink | Masego Dark Tranquillity | Warbringer | Striker


throw down several songs. Then once we were done they gave it to me to mix.


10 13 22 24 28


The Resolectrics | Foster’s Kids Tyrone Hendrix | Excellent Gentlemen Asher Fulero Band Brett McConnell’s Lovetet | Aniana Lost Ox | Russell Street Jam La Rivera Jujuba

6 13 14 20 21 27 30

our feelings or our stories. 11: Yes I’ve definitely never seen anything quite like Kulululu.

11: I love that you’re imbuing people to let go and sort of disappear within

DP: Recording the vocals, when we’re

the music. You have a goofy, silly vibe

doing it live, some of them have to not

but what about the other side? What

sing because some of their vocals are

about serious sad music? Does that

so powerful the drum mic will pick it

have no place in Kulululu?

up! They all know each other so well. They’re so tight and so close to each

Kulululu: I think there are songs

other. I can’t stress enough how easy it

that we play that once people listen to

is working with them. They will come in

and hear the lyrics might think they

whenever there is free time.

are sad songs, even if they don’t sound sad. Like “Do What You’re Told” is kind

11: It sounds like they have great work ethic!

of somber. It’s on a minor key. We get happy and fun in the middle but it’s definitely tapping into something.

DP: They do have great work ethic.

DP: If you listen, they’re saying some

They’re all high energy and really

heavy stuff–it’s not all fun and games.

enthusiastic about it. Totally practiced

There’s more to it. There’s not a ton to




Piss Test | Macho Boys | Vog | Rubble Mr. Wrong | Way Worse | Plastic Weather Shameover | Paper Thin Youth | Lost Nerves | Brave Hands Mdou Moctar | Galaxy Research | Savila Muscle Dungeon | Vacation | Howardian | Mala Fides Bilious | Terror Apart | Black Seas of Infinity Brian Ellis | Zackey Force Funk | Dan Dan Havania Whaal | Bitch’n | Deathlist | Floating Room Prude Boys | Melt | Plastic Cactus | Frenz The Heartlights | Patsy’s Rats | The Suicide Notes Aerial Ruin | Horse Cult | Weather Veins Psychomagic | Sunbathe | Woolen Men | Charlie Moses Mo Troper | No Thank You Dark/Light | Public Eye | Sloppy Kisses | Vog Months | The Wild Body | Mujahedeen


7 8 9 10 11 14 16 17 19 21 22 23 24 29 30


Ott. Broncho | Billy Changer GoGo Penguin | The Mattson 2 Sharon Needles | Valerie & The Haus of Deville Ryan Sheridan | Ronan Nolan

8 9 13 16 20 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 15

features SEPTEMBER STAR THEATER (CONTINUED) 21 22 23 29 30

Photo by Heather Hanson

LVL UP | Dude York | Cende Alison Moyet Guida | Buster Shuffle The Dream Syndicate | Eyelids Toadies | Local H

STREET SALOON 23 ASH 225 SW ASH 5 6 9 10 12 15 17 20 21 23 24 26 27 28

Postcard Artisan Steve Johnson Trio | Blue Swans Magick Gardens | The Decliners | Dinner for Wolves Mannequins in Cages | Spare Spells The Jack Mortensen Band | Bob Fossil | Jane Deux Volcker | Riverpool | Push Yawning Man | Alex Perez & The Rising Tide Brent Marks | A Bad Plan Some Kind of Nightmare | God Bless America This Fair City 13 MM | Crowded Habit | Edge of Eather | Ill Equipped Barret C. Stolte | Jason Rocksmore | Ferall | Aron Baca Fools Holy Tentacles | The Vedasay | Salo Panto | Rugby

LIQUOR STORE 24 THE 3341 SE BELMONT 5 So Pitted | Sleeping Lessons | Surfs Drugs 14 Shadowlands | Moon Tiger | Masonique 15 Prince & MJ Experience

25 350 W BURNSIDE Mouthbreather | Star Garbage | Tito’s Dream Theatre of Hate Michael Dean Damron | Micah Schnabel BassMint Pros Marshall Crenshaw | Los Straitjackets | Roselit Bone Big Business Curren$y | Kent Jones | Corner Boy P | T.Y. Jojo Mayer | Nerve The Paladins Agent Orange | Get Dead | Bomb Squad 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. NE HOLLYWOOD 4122 NE Sandy Blvd (97212) 503.493.1128 |

26 1937 SE 11TH


1 Josh Nielsen | Challenger ‘70 | Postwar Radio 16 The Eric Lovre Band 29 Amy Bleu

27 4830 NE 42ND


2 8 15 22 23 24 28 29

an idea in a nicely packaged way, it’s a

11: Any advice for young, aspiring musicians out there?

feeling. There’s always a feeling, there’s


7 8 10 14 15 20 21 23 28 29

it but I feel like your lyrics encapsulate

Woolen Men | Landlines | Honey Bucket | Wave Action Norman Sylvester Band Devin Phillips Band Harvey Brindell & The Tablerockers Kris Deelane & The Hurt WESKE Country Night with Zach Bryson The Get Down

always something that you’re trying to

Kulululu: Yeah! Um, eat a lot of

say. Lyrically it’s NOT goofy, and I think

sugar and then play a lot of music after

that’s a misconception with the band.

you’ve eaten a lot of sugar. That’s how

It’s deeper than it looks.

I play all my music. And do it younger

Kulululu: When lyrics are being written that sound heavier, it’s often describing weight that comes down on people. When you feel the weight of the world you can write about it and then release the weight. The idea is that through listening to that type of music that releases the weight of the world, the listener can feel the release of the weight as well. We think that’s where sad music and emotional music has a place. 11: With this album that you guys just put out, is there any kind of theme or concept you would associate with it?

not feel really bad. I also think I had a breakthrough when I put strings on my guitar. It started to work better. And then you tune it and you get a pick. Another thing I like, when you take the tuning you’re supposed to use and you don’t use that. 11: Can you speak about the creative process at all? Kulululu: The way that most of the music is originally conceptualized is me in my basement with all the instruments. I create a demo with all the instruments the way that I sort of envision it. Then the band will sort of

Kulululu: Human life, every day.

inhale or chow down or take a munch

Things that people might not really talk

or a bite out of the sandwich of sound

about. The album is kind of like walking

and once they taste the sandwich they

out the door and noticing what’s out

are sort of able to digest it in a way that

there and then deciding to go back

results in this really great turd.

inside and close the door. Then put your shoes on and then you go and think


about it a little bit. Then once you figure

2 The Resolectrics 13 Bahttsi 17 Hot Club of Hawthorne

that’s probably the most important part


when you can eat a lot of sugar and

it out and once you know what it isn’t, of what is going on with everything.

11: So you’re the squatty potty for the band? Kulululu: Well, maybe? We also just want to give a personal shout out

to all music educators (and educators in general). I think at some point in time all of us were involved in some sort of music program and the schools in Kulululu land are really, really good. Those people helped with the creative processes. 11: Any last messages for our readers?? Kulululu: Not only do we need to appreciate our musical educators, we need to appreciate our musicians. If musicians got compensated for the time they spend sending emails, the time they spend rehearsing, the time they spend packing and unpacking gear, the time they spend sound-checking and doing promotional work to make sure a show is a success, being a musician would be a living wage job. But it’s not, because people think it’s all fun and games. Not to mention the greed that has poisoned business owners and administrators. People in charge of our music scene

L Kulululu

Kulululu Dazzleships Records

Kulululu share the same predilection for the sonically strange that brought together the collective known as the Residents in the early ‘70s. The costumes, crazy antics and insistence on anonymity are similar to the classic oddball group, but musically Kulululu tends to be more sweet and melodic than the often dark and disturbing Residents. There are not many local bands in recent memory that have gone to such a level of weird and still

have no problem asking performers to pay money out of the door to cover the cost of a sound person, a door person, a stage manager, etc. It’s despicable. That money is the only money the performers have any access to unless they’re able to afford to produce and sell merch. These institutions call themselves music venues and expect the musicians to pay for the necessary amenities of a music venue. The economics are all wrong. And it’s the artists who are suffering. People will argue that the businesses will fail if they don’t take a cut from the door. I say they should fail then because they’re not offering an environment that is appealing to the public. We HAVE to step up and support the artists in our community so that we can foster and maintain a vibrant culture of creatives that can afford to make and share the purest of art. » - Rosie Blanton

CATCH KULULULU LIVE IN PORTLAND THIS MONTH SEPTEMBER 22 AT BUNK BAR been able to build a large fanbase. What sets Kulululu apart is how much fun their shows are and how much fun these dudes seem to be having freaking people out a bit. Their music shifts from punk rock to melodic, with some nice harmonies layered in. The lyrics span from simple anti-societal statements to lazily listing skateboarding moves, or just singing in their nonsensical Kulululuan language. At times they come pretty close to sounding like more of a mainstream act, but then they break into an intensely feverpitched ending, like in the second track “Tee-Vee.” The aforementioned “Skateboard Song” features fits of frenetic energy bridged by a hazy-dazy psychedelic sound that balances it out nicely. The song that sticks out the most musically is “Do What You’re Told,” building from a laid back reggae track to a full out mind-bending finale. So, is Kulululu being weird for the sake of weird? It’s hard to say for sure, but they certainly are having fun being Kulululu. And they want you to be Kulululu too. » - Scott McHale



The Sellwoods | Aloha Screwdriver | The Apollo Four Latter Day Skanks | Day Labor | Unusual Suspects Tough Guy | Mannequins in Cages | People Toxic Kid | Amsterdam | Question Tuesday Street Tramps | The Sadists | Bad Sex | The Cry Sweeping Exits | Hayley & The Crushers | Manx City Mouse | The Murderburgers | 48 Thrills Lord Gore | Petrification | Fetid Inquinok Serpents Tongue | Mugshot | Nasadiy Rotten Monolith | Erik Anarchy | Brent Marx Swamp Devil | Uncommon Evolution | Saola The Hague | Beach Party | Bashface | Horse Movies The Grannies | The Beaumonts | Jagula Burn the Stage | At Both Ends | Proof | The Tanked Harmful if Swallowed | The Decliners The Abnorms | The Wild Jumps Decker Hair Puller | Year of the Coyote | True Form The Exacerbators | The Ransom Christina LaRocca | David Pollack Jessie Williams | Hannah Noel | Dogtooth & Nail Rascal Miles | Shootdang | John Underwood

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16 18 19 21 22 23 26 27 28

THE FIRKIN TAVERN Located on the west side of Ladd’s, the Firkin Tavern features an astounding selection of craft beers to enjoy inside or on our patio. Art enthusiasts will enjoy a variety of local artwork on display and sold comission-free! SE LADD'S 1937 SE 11th Ave (97214) 503.206.7552 |



Alan Jones Presents (Wednesdays) The Easy Leaves | Zach Bryson Cocky Stevens JT & Rowdy Mountain Black Belt Eagle Scout | Blackwater(Holylight | Shortline George Colligan The Hillwilliams Western Centuries Tia Fuller Laryssa Birdseye | Berahmand | Camp Crush Trashcan Joe Tim Berne’s Snakeoil Gracie & Rachel Howard Ivans | Mbrascatu Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra Airport | Ancient Oak Brothers of the Baladi Loose Wig


1 2 3 7 8 10 12 15 16 17 20 21 22 23 28 29 30


Jerry Bandito | Massacooramaan | Mijo | Dubblife We Are Parasols | Sex Park | Vacant Stares Thick Business | Night Heron Ben Tactic | Nathan Detroit | The Perfect Cyn Shannon & The Clams | The Shivas

2 6 7 10 13



ntil I was presented with the opportunity to interview Andrew W.K. last month, I was only peripherally aware of his partytill-you-puke persona via his early aughts hit “Party Hard,” a triumph of major-chord-metal with enough infectious energy to live up to its name. Little did I know, in addition to being a virtuoso of maximalist party anthems, W.K. is something of a public intellectual. Since 2005, the long haired rocker, still top-to-toe in dingy white cotton, has been proselytizing a philosophy of partying in some of the most hallowed halls of academia. He’s accepted invitations to speak at Yale, NYU, the Oxford Union and a handful of other institutions since he reimagined himself as the world’s preeminent party philosopher. He’s also penned a surprisingly cogent advice column for The Village Voice and has written weekly musings for Vice Media, in which he cuts to the heart of a variety of topics both seemingly mundane and existential. I shot the shit with the prince of parties, and I have to say, it was like trying to catch a waterfall with a dixie cup. If I’d polished all the gems he dropped I’d have blasted past my word count three times over. So, I edited and condensed it down to some of the most salient points he had to offer on music, life and the universe. | ELEVEN | 19 Photo PORTLAND by Shane McCormick

features national scene life very intense, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth having a party about. Even existence itself, while being perhaps the ultimate mystery and the ultimate puzzle, can be considered a party. 11: Why do you think it’s so important that the world learns to party harder? AWK: You know, I’ve realized that life is going to take everything you have, the entire time, until the day you die. I think I was expecting at some point that things would kind of click and life would make a lot of sense, and even if it wasn’t easier, it would at least be easier to think about. I thought I’d have some predetermined formula I could apply to just about every situation so that life wouldn’t feel so intense all the time. But, I’ve learned that with every aspect of life we think we’ve mastered, a new one will present itself that pushes us to our limit, and that’s what partying hard is really about: going all-in at all times, because, what else is there to do?

Photo by Nina Ottolino

ELEVEN: The last time you were in Portland was on the Power of Partying speaking tour, what was the general message of the lectures? Andrew WK: I was trying to instill a celebratory mindset that revels in all the ups and downs of life, with the understanding that there will be very difficult and painful moments, but that there are things to learn and ultimately gain from even the darkest times. There are those that would argue that there is some absolute truth telling us that life is either fundamentally good or bad, but I believe, even if we don’t know for sure one way or the other, even that feeling of not knowing can be a source of celebration. I guess I was trying to engage everyone’s minds and spirits in a thoughtful and celebratory appreciation of the whole adventure. I mean,


11: It seems like you’ve had a shift in focus towards being a public figure in recent years–lectures at Ivy League schools, a fifty state speaking tour, advice columns and think pieces–what’s caused the shift?

AWK: It sort of happened naturally. I just follow this feeling, this energized enthusiasm that makes you want to get up and live in the world. I just let that lead me wherever. I think maybe the one sort of shift you’re picking up on is that I really started to follow the feeling more fearlessly. In the past, I would have turned down opportunities to speak publicly because I thought I wouldn’t be good at it or that people would think I was stupid. I had a lot of people telling me it didn’t make sense, and I understand what they meant looking back now. They weren’t trying to limit or discourage me, they were just trying to keep me focused on what was working for me at the time, without realizing that as long I was promoting this type of joy in any way I could, I was focused.

features national scene It kinda feels like there’s this deep sensation telling me what to do. In a way, it’s pretty clear, like a quiet-loud voice that’s very persistent, but easy to tune out if you don’t want to listen. I think we all have that. Part of the challenge is having the courage to believe that the voice knows what the hell it’s talking about. I think that’s the best thing we can develop as we get older. I actually think we have that skill from the very beginning; it’s not like the voice ever gets louder, we just get stronger and more courageous at listening to it. That’s what growing up is supposed to be: getting better at listening to the voice that’s been there since we were children that tells us what we’re supposed to do.

“I HAVE THIS CHANCE IN MY OWN LITTLE WAY TO SPREAD A LITTLE BIT OF LIGHT WHILE I’M HERE” 11: That’s funny because it seems that in our culture–or maybe Western culture in general–there’s a feeling that you’re supposed to suffocate that voice as you get older. AWK: Yeah, there can be moments when it is necessary to not listen to the voice–moments of sacrifice or moments of emergency–but even then, that voice will speak up and inform us on how to act in those instances. Really, that voice is your true self. It’s the best version of you. It’s who you really are with all the nonsense and B.S. stripped away. If we just removed all the fear, confusion and frustration, it’s the true pure shining real self that’s left. That’s how I try to think when I have these little moments of clarity. I think, “OK, if I was the perfect person, what would I do?” Or, “What would the greatest person in the world think about this situation?” If you try to imagine what it would be like to be that person, you’ll realize, in your ability to imagine them at all, those qualities are coming from inside you! All the differences between you and this perfect person you’re imagining is just the willingness to go through those steps to actually do what you know is right. We all have the ability to tap into the most charitable, high-minded and generous point of view, but like you said, it gets squashed out by all the other stuff telling us to ignore those thoughts. It’s challenging, but it’s worthwhile, and it’s a challenge we’re worthy of. 11: With your speaking tour you really upped the ante, do you feel some kind of imperative to positively influence our country’s cultural landscape? | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 21

features national scene






MONTHLY comedy (last tuesday standing) storytelling (pdx story theater) live radio plays (tesla city stories) ANYTIME THE DOORS ARE OPEN craft cocktails, hot dogs + cold beer there’s something for you at

AWK: It seems impossible to think on that scale. I’ve always started very small, literally as local as I could get– meaning myself. I start by asking, “How can I feel better right now?” That’s why music became my first and most primal focus. More than any other experience I could engage with, music made me physically and holistically feel good. Music was proof that the very fundamental aspects of existence must be good, or something as beautiful and pure as music couldn’t exist. I could always doubt and puzzle my way into or out of any particular worldview or philosophy, but with music, I couldn’t deny the feeling. It provided a definitive and all-encompassing confirmation of life’s goodness. Whether someone achieves it through music or anything else, we’re all just trying to get that undeniable clarity of purpose. I try to put that feeling first, before even my own interests. I feel like I’m a servant to it. It doesn’t matter if I’m embarrassed, if it’s awkward, or really scary, this feeling is calling on me–really calling on all of us–to do what we can to further it. I’ve heard it described as “spreading the light,” and so I have this chance in my own little way to spread a little bit of light while I’m here, and I can’t not do that.

“IT’S LIKE SOME INTERDIMENSIONAL BEING IS TOYING WITH YOU AND TEASING YOU WITH THIS STOREHOUSE OF GREAT IDEAS AND INSPIRATION” 11: Have you ever considered running for public office, even something local? AWK: I’ve been asked that before, but I can’t imagine actually doing it. It kind of makes me feel nauseous imagining venturing into that world in a formal capacity. I kind of use that sense of nausea to gauge how in line a particular opportunity might be with destiny, and, while I’m all for partying till you puke, sometimes the nausea is telling you that you’re not supposed to spend your time and energy on something. 11: Getting back to music, how would you describe your approach as a musician? |

: fremonttheaterpdx | 2393 ne fremont


AWK: I didn’t really think of it this way myself, but people have often described my approach as a “maximalist” approach. That’s why I like rock music:

Photo by Shane McCormick

it’s all about big sound. I generally write music on the keyboard, which unleashes every sound you could ever imagine, and then some sounds you can’t imagine! I say use them all; use all of it to try to get across that pure amplified emotional energy. I want to feel moved. I want that euphoric chills-up-my-spine feeling, and on every song there’s a chance to hit that spot, to give that butterflies-and-goosebumps feeling. You can’t describe that state. It’s like feeling happy and sad all at the same time. It’s feeling completely, fully, and undeniably alive– and it feels good. It almost hurts a little bit, kind of like an orgasm. Like an orgasm of the soul, where it’s every feeling all at once–almost too much. Every part of this work is a chance to try to reach out and conjure up that feeling. Sometimes I get there. Other times I don’t, but that’s all the more reason to keep trying. 11: What does your songwriting process look like? AWK: When I was younger, I’d see other bands going into the studio and writing songs together, and I thought that’s what I was supposed to do, but I’ve accepted that I tend to do better making music in complete solitude. Most of the time, I’ll be going to get a burrito late at night, or sitting at a stoplight, and a chord change or melody will just present itself. It’s rare that I’m just sitting down at the piano trying to make up a song. It’s more like, I get

a vision of something and the challenge becomes, “How do I manifest this?” The problem is, you might go ten years without any ideas, then you’ll get ten of them in one day so fast and rapid fire that you can barely keep up with it. It’s like some interdimensional being is toying with you and teasing you with this storehouse of great ideas and inspiration that they dole out whenever they feel like it. If you get too greedy, they’re like, “You know what? I’m not going to give you any more ideas.” And you think, “How about one idea a day? Or one idea a week? Can we just create some organized allowance system?” I think a lot of people don’t have that problem. For some, it’s even a point of pride that they have a work ethic where they sit down every day and write music, whether they like it or not, whether they feel inspired, or whether they’re even happy with the results, they make it part of their daily schedule. I think that’s quite impressive, but I’ve never been able to do that. 11: You’re the second artist I’ve interviewed recently who said they just spontaneously hear songs before writing them. That must be nice! AWK: Actually, on this album, for the first time ever, I had a song come to me in a dream. 90 percent of the time songs I think are awesome in a dream just aren’t good in real life, but this one worked out. I had a weird anxiety | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 23

Photo by Shane McCormick

dream where my manager was really disappointed in me for messing everything up and blowing all these chances. While we were having this dark conversation some really amazing song came on the radio and he was like, “Why can’t you write a song like this?” It was a really depressing dream, almost a nightmare, but I woke up and remembered the song being awesome. So, I recorded a really quick version, then I was afraid it was a song that already existed, so I called up my manager and told him about it. He was like, “I think you should do this!” 11: Anything else you want to touch on about the new record? AWK: Well, it’s coming out next year, so this tour is getting the band back out on the road. We never really stopped playing though, so I didn’t even realize that ten years had passed since the last album. It’s actually scary realizing that, without even trying, we’ve inadvertently created a drought of new albums. I don’t want that to ever


happen again. I want this tour to officially start what I feel like could be us in our prime. I want this to be the most productive era we’ve ever had. Ten years can just fly by, so I gotta do this while I can. So, new album and more touring, and then more new albums. As my guitar player’s father put it, “The only way to do things is to do things.” You know? So, I just have to start doing more things. 11: That’s funny because it’s not like you guys didn’t do anything in the interim. AWK: Yeah, there were so many wild and exciting opportunities coming along that it was easy to just follow all of them. Like the last time I tried to record this album back in 2013. We had just blocked off two months for recording, and literally the next day Sharon Osbourne called and asked if I would like to be the opening heavy metal D.J. on Black Sabbath’s tour. So, it was easy for me to say, “OK, I guess I’ll record the album some other two months so I can go on tour with Black Sabbath.” I’ve

features national scene realized that there are all these things in life that you know you want to do, and you know that you can do them, but you realize that thinking about them doesn’t count as actually doing them. I just kept putting this album off, and since I’d been thinking about it for so long and imagining what it would be like when we made it, it’s like I forgot that we’re going to actually have to do it! Anyway, I’m excited and very thankful. I can’t believe we’ve gotten to do all we’ve gotten to do as a band, as a team and as this phenomenon in general. The longer this has gone on the less I have taken it for granted, and I really feel like it’s going to be the best that it’s ever been. Because of all the practice and all the experiences in these other areas, I think we’re going to hit a new level of clarity and quality. »



community literary arts crawled along those shores, the more fascinating those rivers became. I began to appreciate the beauty and power of the often smelly, unphotographable shores. While on the water, I had this childlike sense of getting away with something in such a vast landscape that felt liberating. That was the first thing that materialized in the first drafts of At the Waterline. And that was the place I wanted to capture in the novel. 11: How did your personal experiences on Oregon’s rivers inform the content of the book?


Photo by Eric Costa

Portland writer Brian K. Friesen


rian K. Friesen’s debut novel At the Waterline offers a remarkable look at Oregon waterways. In it, Friesen dives head first into The Columbia and Willamette Rivers, surfacing a beautiful story contextualizing the complex cultural currents along their shores. The characters he imagines–or the people informing his work–possess as much depth as the water flowing throughout the novel’s pages. Entangling their storylines is a series of lost faith, failed love, hot dogs and death that all collects at a fictional marina outside of Portland, where Friesen’s characters find sanctuary. While Friesen’s own experiences living on a boat along local riverways inform At the Waterline, his fictionalization of those occurrences characterize his story even deeper. The result is one that finds Friesen succeeding at delivering a confident, tightly threaded, at times humorous and heartfelt debut novel appreciating the rivers he clearly admires and respects. ELEVEN: At the Waterline centers on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, which are two waterways you know quite well. Can you talk about your own history with the book’s setting? Brian K. Friesen: So much of my life–since about 1985–has been lived in this corner of Oregon, where the land tilts toward the Columbia River and gravity pulls water into the Willamette and Columbia watersheds. As a young adult, ever since I could drive myself places, I would go down to the river as often as I could. You see such a tiny percentage of the river when you “view” it from a car window, or in photographs. But the more I


BF: My own personal experiences are where I started when I began to write the first drafts of the book. My experience roughly follows the main protagonist in the novel: I lived on a sailboat for several years near Jantzen Beach. I took sailing courses, and I helped teach them for a short while. I worked odd jobs at marinas on the Columbia River, and on the Multnomah Channel between Sauvie Island and the Oregon mainland. I clumsily bumbled my way into figuring out what to do and not do on the water. I ran my sailboat into things. I got towed back to a marina by the Coast Guard once. I learned a lot of stuff the hard way. Some of the people I knew on the water informed the characters in the book. The people who lived on the water who–unlike my younger self–seemed to know what they were doing. That was probably the next big thing to influence my writing: The people. 11: At the Waterline began as a collection of nonfiction and fiction essays. Can you elaborate on your writing process? BF: Right. At first, I was writing short creative nonfiction essays heavily focused on the setting and the people I came to know. At first, I had too much on my mind about what I wanted to say. I was probably more interested in writing reportage pieces about the people who live on the river. Personal interest stories, maybe, that I could try to get published somewhere. I was self-consciously trying to architect what I thought good literary nonfiction was supposed to be. 11: And collectively, it’s now fiction. BF: With several years of overly self-conscious study into the artifice of nonfictional essays, I found fiction to be extremely freeing, so I kept going. The temptation for me now is to dance the reformed literary-fiction dance. It is just as easy to lose sight of the art of fiction by over-refining a story until the artifice of the literary form overwhelms the reader’s ability to get lost in the story. 11: How did you approach fictionalizing the nonfiction pieces? BF: Maybe my saying that it started out as nonfiction was a little misleading. I was trying to find a way to write about real people, but I couldn’t find a way in. I’d written nebulous essays about the river setting, but I got lost when I tried to

community literary arts place people in that setting to tell a compelling story about them. So on a whim, I thought I would try to take a couple of the nonfiction characters I had, and place them into a fictional setting. Then I tried dialing back on the fictional aspects of these characters, while staying within the realm of creative nonfiction. At that point, the characters were already taking on their own lives, so their stories began to weave into one another. I guess my own experience might show that one way to write fiction is to try hard not to write fiction. 11: Can you talk more about the fictionalization of people you know? BF: There are a couple of characters that reflect real people I knew, but the motivations and decisions of the fictional characters are unrecognizably unique. Of the characters in At the Waterline, Dory is the one who most closely resembles an actual person I knew. Someone who ran a hot dog stand on a dock somewhere along the Columbia River basin. The character Jack, however, is an amalgamation of a couple different people. And yet, Jack’s character is a force of fictional nature that wouldn’t stand for being pinned down as being merely this guy I used to know. 11: What’s pulling your characters into the currents of the river? BF: The river seems like an endless source of metaphors. The past is always moving by. And the future. Shifting memories. Missed opportunities. That’s one thing I love about the setting: the river is always underfoot, giving the illusion of movement. For a character like Dory, the river is like the social current at the marina. She’s like a river herself, giving and receiving gossip, counsel and comfort. She’s unavoidable. She is oblivious about certain little things that are obvious to the reader, but you wouldn’t write her off entirely. The main character, Chad, on the other hand, goes back to the river (if slowly) to face his past. Maybe he is young enough that he doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing. His curiosity about people and about his own experience may be a saving grace, or it may get him killed. There is courage there (and naivety) that Chad doesn’t recognize, but I think Jack eventually does.

11: Your book captures this amazing counterculture existing along Portland’s waterways. What was marina life like? BF: The marina in the novel is very much a crux for the difference in cultures, character motivations and passions. There is a lot of push and pull between sailors and power boaters. That aside, one person might urinate over the side of their boat into the river, much to the horror of those who take their refuse to the treatment plant. The gregarious characters might also share space with the introverted, evasive characters. So if you walk down the thin rows on the dock where there’s barely any room, and pass by someone going the opposite way, your arms will brush. And if there’s a shared history between those swinging arms–look out! The setting is great for bringing out these disparate characters together, often at cross-purposes. 11: How did you approach writing those cultural differences? BF: While writing cultural differences is fascinating, I didn’t want them to be there for their own sake. I wanted any writing about those differences to fuel character exploration. You might look at a character like Barry, who lives on his sailboat, eats fish, and drinks alcohol incessantly, and you might say that he’s living a form of homelessness. Then you put him on a yacht with a large family, have them share a thanksgiving dinner, and suddenly this ex-catholic priest is interacting with the children of a rich family and stunning things happen. If you hover over the surface of these kinds of interactions, you might come to the convenient social conclusions about priests and children, or rich and poor people. I’ve hopefully written my way under the skin of the characters in that situation in a way that enables readers to engage with everyone at some level. It’s what I want most from fiction: The ability to give a compassionate reading to every character making their way through the story. 11: Your book gives one the best portraits of the Columbia River and Willamette River. How did writing At the Waterline inform your understanding of those rivers? BF: I definitely grew to love and respect Pacific Northwestern rivers more in the process of writing this novel. And I learned about the Anglo-centric narrative of the Columbia and the older histories of the river while writing. I also read and researched Celilo Falls and the loss of that important cultural place as well. However, I’m no less curious or fascinated about the Columbia after writing this than I was before. I like this river. I want to get to know it more. Affection and respect for a place are important to nurture. Society needs that–all levels of society. If we are going to find our way to a healthy state somewhere between caring for our rivers and managing them, cultivating affection and respect have to be part of that. » - Morgan Nicholson | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 27

community visual arts Photo by Mercy McNab

actually quite spontaneous. I just sat down one night and created a sculpture out of some clay that had been sitting on our kitchen table. The thing that stuck with me about that first piece, and what really inspired me to keep exploring the medium, was just how natural it felt. It was so simple and familiar to be conscious of how I formed the shapes and layered them together. I guess the whole process felt much more full-bodied using both hands rather than simply holding an aerosol can or a pen. 11: Alternatively, how has your growth as a sculpturist played into your graffiti?

VISUAL ARTS Portland artist Travis Suda

TS: My sculpture work and spray paint style really go hand-in-hand. As strange as that seems, both being such polar opposites in art medium, they really complement one another quite well. With spray painting it’s all about layering to get fine edges and depth to your shapes. In my sculpture work I’ve basically taken that style and figured out how to conceptualize it three-dimensionally. It works similarly by layering different colors and shapes to highlight certain angles or movement in the piece that I find

ELEVEN: You are a multi-talented artist–from graffiti, to sculpture and photography. How has your identity as an artist been shaped by this variety in medium? Travis Suda: As an artist I am always looking for different ways to show self-expression and my perception of the world to others, so I move from one medium to another trying to find something that resonates with the masses. Each medium has taught me so much, not only about my art but about my true self. I feel like creation is such a pure form of expression, whether you’re catching tags in an alleyway or painting the Sistine Chapel, your brush strokes or paint-covered hands tell a much truer story of who we really are as artists. I’m very thankful for what my many forms of creation have taught me about who I am as a person and as an artist. 11: It seems you’re traditionally a graffiti artist. What inspired you to transition to three-dimensional sculpture? TS: From my earliest memories of creating art, I always envisioned my creations two-dimensionally. I was never quite sure how to go about transitioning it into three-dimensional pieces. There was always intention of evolving my creation and like anything else I’ve found real truth and pleasure in, it seemed to naturally evolve. The whole transition was


appealing. Before doing sculpture work it would have never occurred to me that the two could meld together and evolve so perfectly side-by-side. 11: I’ve also seen some pretty spectacular work you’ve done on shoes. Is there anything in the works with that? TS: Not currently. Most of my wearable art was done in the developmental process of me figuring out my style and playing with ideas. Eventually I’d love to go back and start “Lumetta” (clay and wood, 2017)

community visual arts a clothing line, and learn more about screen printing and everything that goes into that

respect and try and replicate in my own existence. I feel my best art comes from a place of connectedness with myself and

process. I feel like there is a different

my surroundings. I believe that’s why there’s a similarity with

aesthetic appeal from seeing art

my style of creation and the First Nations people’s art. I think

on someone’s body, whether

we all pull from that same creative source. It’s just a matter of

from tattoos, or a piece of clothing. It’s something

how you perceive it and what you do with it that defines you as an artist.

that I’d love to try and focus on more in the future.

11: Many of your recent sculptures are reminiscent of totem poles. Is that your intention? I’ve also seen reference of your work to kachina dolls, a small carved figure in the

11: On Instagram, your

Pueblo Indian culture. What is their significance in your life?

tagline is “My Whale Song.”

“Separation” (clay and wood, 2016)

TS: There’s definitely a strong influence from totem art

Can you tell

as well as kachinas in my work. The totem tells a story while

me about the

the kachina are viewed


realm. Kachinas

were a way for people

and meaning

to communicate

with the unseen as

as conduits to the spirit

behind that?

TS: I’ve always had an affinity for nature and the way evolution works in developing different characteristics in certain animals. Some time ago I read that male humpback whales have been known to sing songs. They resonate through the water for thousands of miles, and when heard by other humpbacks, are memorized and sung along to. This continues, and eventually the song begins to change as they pick up other songs along their journey. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why whales sing but speculate that it has something to do with identifying their location in the ocean and displaying personal traits. A good friend of mine once told me that he believes the whales sing to keep our planet in balance with other harmonious frequencies, which is a theory I love to draw from. In a sense, I view my creation as my whale song–just something I’m doing along my path to inspire others and keep the positive vibrations going. 11: It seems you take some inspiration from Northwest American Native, Inuit and other Native Tribes. What role has that genre of art played in your creative process? TS: My biggest influence by far has been Southwestern Native American art; from pueblo pottery, to Navajo sand paintings and Hopi kachina dolls. Northwestern Native American culture has also played a huge role in my creative process. For me, it is more than just the art. The Native

“Tulsa” (acrylic on canvas, 2016)

lifestyle and oneness with the environment is what I truly | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 29

community visual arts well as a way to pass knowledge and culture down from

Photo by Mercy McNab

generation to generation. I use that term because I do believe my sculptures are more than just clay and wood. Some people may take more spiritually from one of my sculptures than just viewing it as a piece of stationary art. I believe that each of my pieces has their own identity and purpose, though that is up to the viewer to discover. 11: All of your sculpture pieces utilize natural elements, like driftwood and animal skulls. Where do you find those elements and what goes into choosing each of these “canvases?” TS: I’d like to think the canvases choose themselves. I find all the wood, stones, and bones walking around and beachcombing. At first I just grabbed anything, but since creating my first few pieces that has changed. The whole process of creating the sculptures has turned into more of a spiritual process, and like anything spiritual, I’ve had to slow down and really analyze what goes into my creation. I try to only incorporate things that I am drawn to, and feel are right to take from the earth.

11: What aspect of the natural world do you take the most inspiration from? Has that changed with your growth as an artist? TS: I don’t think I can put my finger on any one aspect of the natural world that inspires me more than another. I think cumulatively as a whole, our entire coexistence with this amazing self-sustaining organism we call nature still blows my mind. I imagine that could change my perception as I continue to learn more about my true self. I think I’ll continue to be more and more amazed as I understand even more of how that coexistence works. » - Laurel Bonfilgio


Please enjoy Travis's piece "Evolution" (acrylic on canvas, 2016) decorating our inside back cover.


Profile for Eleven PDX

Eleven PDX Magazine September 2017  

Eleven PDX Magazine September 2017  

Profile for elevenpdx