MUSIC, COMMUNITY, AND CULTURE IN PORTLAND
ISSUE 86 | JULY 2018
Wye Oak INSIDE: FLASHER | TENDER AGE | THE VOIDZ | WIMPS | DIRTY PROJECTORS | NO KIND OF RIDER
ELEVEN PDX MAGAZINE - VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2
ELEVEN PDX MAGAZINE VOLUME 8
THE USUAL 4 Letter from the Editor 4 Staff Credits
ISSUE NO. 2
FEATURES Local Feature 12 No Kind Of Rider
Cover Feature 16 NEW MUSIC
5 Aural Fix Flasher Hollie Cook Sam Evian The Voidz
COMMUNITY Meet Your Maker 24 Klum House Workshop's Ellie Lum
8 Short List 8 Album Reviews Tender Age Wimps Dirty Projectors Ty Segall and White Fence
Literary Arts 26 Portland author and drummer José Medeles
Visual Arts 28 Portland artist Jodie Beechem
LIVE MUSIC 10 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 elevenpdx.com
HELLO PORTLAND! Dear readers, Despite the indisputably fine weather we’ve been experiencing here in Portland, June has proved to be a dark month, both for me personally, and for our churlish abomination of a government. While my own grief could never outweigh the immoral separation and detainment of immigrant children, suffice it to say that with this new dawn of summer I’ll be taking the opportunity to reexamine my commitment to personal growth, as life is too short and precious for complacency. This theme of self examination and development is echoed throughout this month’s issue. In our cover feature interview, Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak waxes poetic about the evolving emotional connection to her songs and the need to adapt to find new sources of inspiration. In the Literary Arts feature, drummer about town, owner of Revival Drum Shop and author of The Stoic Drummer, José Medeles discusses learning how to be an internal hero in your own story; walking softer, talking softer and being a better human in general. The man possess a wise and beautiful outlook. Until next month, friends, continue to do the best you can.
EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Dornfeld (firstname.lastname@example.org) CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dustin Mills (email@example.com) MANAGING EDITOR Travis Leipzig (firstname.lastname@example.org) SECTION EDITORS LITERARY ARTS: Scott McHale, Morgan Nicholson VISUAL ARTS: Mercy McNab
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GRAPHIC DESIGN Dustin Mills ADVERTISING email@example.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Carter, Brandy Crowe, Lou Flesh, Liz Garcia, ELEVEN WEST Eirinn Gragson, Nathan Royster, Ellis Samsara, MEDIA GROUP, LLC Eric Swanson, Charles Trowbridge, Henry Whittier-Ferguson Ryan Dornfeld
Dustin Mills PHOTOGRAPHERS Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, Molly Macalpine, Mercy McNab, Katie Summer, Todd Walberg
- Travis Leipzig, Managing Editor
ONLINE Mark Dilson, Kim Lawson, Michael Reiersgaard
COVER PHOTO Shervin Lainez
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 Jen Dessinger
up and coming music from the national scene
FLASHER JULY 19 | BUNK BAR
Flasher starts their new, righteously raucous Dominoreleased album Constant Image with the lyric, “Doing drugs at midnight,” which is a sign that this is going to be an all-night punk-out. The consequences of risk-taking behavior, of both personal and political intentions, are the focal point of many of the songs, as is being caught in the middle of weirdness and damage, as the three members of the band were caught in the gun-wielding nightmare of Pizzagate. (Thank God they were spared any tragedy of that terrifying situation, a perfect example of ignorance becoming potential violence.) Recorded in Brendan Canty’s (of Fugazi) studio and produced by Nicolas Vernhas (Deerhunter, the War on Drugs), guitarist Taylor Mulitz collaborates with drummer Emma Baker and bass player Daniel Saperstein to create a beautiful interplay of genres and textures that seems more like a beloved Calvin Johnson homemade mixtape than a D.C. post-hardcore band (same attitude, more diverse grooves and noises). Mulitzer honed his aesthetics with Priests, which got him involved in the usual DIY fashion of working at a label (Sister Polygon) and helping to put out bands like Downtown Boys
and Snail Mail. He left Priests to focus on Flasher, after their debut seven-inch caught the attention and signing ink from the UK label best known for also housing the Arctic Monkeys. Their hometown Washington, D.C. has had an inspiring influence on the band to create music that is both aware of the brutal news cycle yet still timelessly hopeful. Flasher may be the first topical, most accessible band of the new era; celebrating the death of racism while making soul music for rebels, deserving of the accolades they’ve received for their enticing preliminary singles “Skim Milk,” “Pressure” and “Who’s Got The Time?” Constant Image is making Best of 2018 lists already, combining musical bliss and tons of hooks with their protest music. Clocking in at around a half hour, you’ll find yourself playing Flasher’s first full-length again and again. » - Lou Flesh
Daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and singer
Photo by Ollie Grove
Jeni Cook, Hollie grew up steeped in music, and cut her teeth with the re-formed British punk legends The Slits, whose sound was by then itself straying into the realm of reggae. Her solo work shows that range of influence in its depth, though that depth is manifested mostly in the subtle ways her rhythms and changes stand apart from others in her class. There’s also the smooth, implacable quality to her voice, which drives the often-spacey, reverb-heavy riffs of guitar, synthesizer and horns in an unexpectedly steady way. It remains central to each song, as do themes of love, perseverance, loss, and a sense of communion through music. This sense of communion doesn’t come from nowhere–
collaborators on the album include producer Youth, Prince
Fatty, Jah Wobble, Keith Levine and many more, and Cook has JULY 20 | DOUG FIR
Hollie Cook is the kind of artist whose presence seems fated, the kind who couldn’t have done anything but sing, even if she tried. It’s a good thing, too. Cook’s latest album, Vessel Of Love, has her floating smoothly across a sea of dub and rocksteady rhythms, reaching back to the ‘70s and ‘80s for songwriting inspiration, though with a contemporary ear for production, creating a sound both fresh and timeless.
repeatedly spoken of their influences as central to the project, everybody lending a bit of inspiration and direction to Vessel Of Love. The songs, then, become vessels themselves, containing what has been for Cook a catharsis, an outpouring of honesty, and though the process of singing them may not be a cure, it’s a way of transporting those feelings away, to a place where with each listen, we return. » - Henry Whittier-Ferguson
www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 5
new music aural fix
Photo by Shervin Lainez
JULY 24 | MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS At first glance, Sam Owens–aka Sam Evian–is a New Yorkbased producer/sound engineer turned singer-songwriter, but there is so much more under the surface. Yes, Owens is a producer. Yes, he is a singer-songwriter. However, he is also a multi-instrumentalist. Although, above all, the work of Owens is saturated with meaning, sentiment and a simplicity that is very much his trademark. His sophomore LP, You, Forever, was released June 1, 2018, via Saddle Creek Records. The record is a culmination of experiences and lessons learned while touring for his debut album, Premium. During that tour, Owens opened for Whitney, Big Thief and Nick Hakim, among other notable acts. Both as a solo artist, and as a member of the Brooklynbased trio Celestial Shore, the music Owens creates is inspired by ‘60s pop rock. “Apple” and “Country” are very reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel tunes. The title alone, You, Forever, sounds endearing and sweet, and while yes, the album does invoke feelings of the heart; the album title holds some philosophical meaning as well. You are forever. Your thoughts, actions and being are forever, because they are looped in an endless cycle that even after you are gone remains. What you are, say, or do will affect others, even after your physical presence comes to an end, therefore you are rendered infinite. It’s a truly beautiful sentiment and outlook on life.
6 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com
This is the very doctrine of Owens’s sophomore album. Throughout the album, he is leading listeners through his own journey of growth and love. Within You, Forever, Owens manages to capture complex feelings of existence in a simple way that any listener can’t help but relate to. Part of the simplicity comes from the recording technique he used to produce the record. Intent on staying away from the convenience of modern day production, he relied on an eight-track reel-to-reel tape recorder and did away with using tuning pedals. Owens’s latest is a stark comparison to his debut album. It is much less glittery and much more, well, comfortable in its own skin. On You, Forever, Owens is unafraid to pose questions he may not know the answers to, like, “Who will look out for me?” “Who knows my name?” “Is there anybody out there?” » - Liz Garcia
new music aural fix
PICKIN’ ON SUNDAYS! LIVE MUSIC ON THE PATIO 3PM! FREE! 7/1 ANDY JENKINS WEEZY FORD 7/3 TWRP, PLANET BOOTY
7/6 KARMA RIVERA MAARQUII FOUNTAINE EMPRESS HOSTED BY MASYN WADE
THE VOIDZ JULY 27 | WONDER BALLROOM
In 2014, the album
recent work, it only confirms
7/7 HOMIEFEST BENEFEST 2018! MÁSACARAS MINDEN BITCH’N BROWN CALCULUS
Tyranny was listed under
his musical dexterity and
the band Julian Casablanca
the overall experimental
+ The Voidz, however, now
curiosity of the band as a
they’re known simply as
whole. It's like they said,
The Voidz. Whether this was
“Why don't we just try this
done to show the band as a
and see how it goes,” and it all
more cohesive unit or not,
somehow melded together to
The Voidz new album Virtue
form a new flavor of music.
starts off with a song called
The Voidz are an exciting
"Leave it in My Dreams," that
band because they take on
will surely please Strokes
these challenges and in turn
fans because it sounds like
offer something new and
a Strokes song. This track
unusual into the boring mix
could easily become a radio
of psychedelic has-beens and
7/13 JOE HENRY
hit, mainly because it mixes
sickly sweet pop music. »
7/14 THE TAMED WEST BOONE HOWARD POOL BOYS
- Scott McHale
pleasing lyrical styling with
7/8 WE ARE SCIENTISTS BEVERLY 7/10 FORTH WANDERERS ILLUMINATI HOTTIES SUNBATHE
different and very specific genres in the new album: post
punk from the early ‘90s, Middle Eastern electronica
and even elements of early
“PYRAMID OF BONES”
metal when Casablanca hits those Ozzie-esque falsettos. At times on Virtue it seems like band was stuck in an ‘80s
Sounds like the Julian Casablancas of old dressed up like Marylyn Manson to perform a post punk darkwave power ballad.
7/22 JACOB MILLER 7/29 MELVILLE 8/5 NERVOUS JENNY 8/12 OLIVIA AWBREY CLARA BAKER TARA VELARDE 8/26 LEWI LONGMIRE AND THE LEFT COAST ROASTERS 7/15 MISS RAYON THE FUR COATS STAR CLUB 7/16 THE SWEEPLINGS, BROOKE ANNIBALE 7/18 WAKER
7/11 JEREMY ENIGK CHRIS STAPLES
7/19 GEEZER (WEEZER TRIBUTE) DOLL PARTY (DOLLY PARTON TRIBUTE)
7/12 MATT COSTA KATIE TOUPIN (FORMERLY OF HOUNDMOUTH)
7/20 HOLLY COOK 7/21 KING PRINCESS 7/22 TATANKA
some nice surf guitar licks. The Voidz take on many
7/15 REDWOOD SONS
and ! e r o m
7/23 COBI 7/26 HONEYHONEY 7/27 VACATIONER SEGO 7/29 ALEXANDRA SAVIOR, MERO EIRANN 7/31 HUMAN OTTOMAN LONG HALLWAYS VOLCANIC PINNACLES
video game and forced to play a vaporwave soundtrack to get out. While all of the intertwining of different genres and sub-genres may be disarming to someone unfamiliar with Casablanca’s
B “LAZY BOY” A regular feel good rock song with some strong vocals and tight percussive action. Could this be classic rock?
(503) 231-WOOD ALL SHOWS 21+ 830 E. BURNSIDE SERVING BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER & LATE NIGHT HAPPY HOUR 3-6 EVERYDAY & 10PM-12AM SUN-THURS TICKETS AND MORE INFO AT DOUGFIRLOUNGE.COM
www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 7
new music album reviews
ALBUM REVIEWS THIS MONTH’S BEST R REISSUE
L LOCAL RELEASE
Short List Deafheaven Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
L Tender Age
Becoming Real Forever Sinis Recordings
Boz Scaggs Out Of The Blues The Internet Hive Mind Between The Buried and Me Automata II Cody Jinks Lifers Halestorm Vicious
In the five years since they formed, Tender Age has witnessed a varied cast of players come and go in their ranks. On their first full-length, Becoming Real Forever, the band has plenty of lyrics that question the nature of authenticity, but the aim of
Daughtry Cage To Rattle
feeling as lead vocalist/guitar player
Body/Head The Switch
Rachel Ratner elaborates on the general malaise of “Procrastination”
Real Friends Composure
as she explains, “I don’t wanna do the laundry… I’ll do it in a minute, I don’t
Chelsea Grin Eternal Nightmare
wanna go to work… NOT NOW… my heart's not in it.”
The feeling of immaturity and lack of responsibility that this album
Dee Snider For The Love Of Metal
exclaims is somewhat of a fictional
Ah God Tiiime
L Buy it
the title is closer to a declaration of self-actualization. Imagine an indie band that uses distortion the way Jackson Pollock used drip painting. What may seem messy is actually quite deliberate and ecstatic in affect, and the band's recently settled lineup may be the cause of such freedom heard on the album. “Olives Choice” features guitar riffs that whisk by like dive bombing plane engines, while “Lowers” has no intention of coming down from its eagle-esque soaring. Tender Age may write pop music that never lacks in noise, but it's pop in the image they’ve crafted–and that means moods of dizzying extremity. It may be easier to record indisputable audio proof of the supernatural than to capture the jangly guitars on "Isn't Real" in one live take. Becoming Real Forever is the next wave of Portland indie: a soundtrack to your would-be existential leanings, with a killer back beat. » - Matt Carter
fantasy, seeing that Ratner works for Seattle based super company
Wimps Garbage People Kill Rockstars
Amazon as a web developer. This rings true as you can imagine her sitting in her office thinking up the song “Giant Brain,” where the premise consists of an office worker creating
8 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com
If you were to take the brat punk style from notable ‘90s punk bands like F.Y.P and Screeching Weasel, throw it into the gutters of the legendary Seattle grunge scene, then pick it up out of a garbage can and treasure it with a mischievous teenager-like grin, you would get a slight understanding of Wimps new album Garbage People, hitting the streets July 13. The simple, stripped down punk sound generates a catchy yet humorous
an interconnected web of thought. She literally is creating a giant brain during her 9-to-5 work week. We actually get the opportunity to see these successful trash punks from Seattle at Mississippi Studios on the day that they release Garbage People and kick off their upcoming tour. This album is disgustingly catchy, smart and funny. » - Ellis Samsara
new music album reviews
Dirty Projectors Lamp Lit Prose Domino Records Life is always a matter of balance. What goes up must come down, what swings left also swings right. For David Longstreth and his ever evolving and eclectic Dirty Projectors project, their latest and eightest effort, Lamp Lit Prose, feels like an emotional recalibration (or retcon) to last year’s self-titled release. While Dirty Projectors featured David at his most vulnerable–
Ty Segall and White Fence Joy Drag City Records
The legendary duo, Ty Segall and White Fence (who collaborated on 2012’s Hair), are back with a refreshing punch in the face–new album Joy–which is precisely what psych rock fans will be feeling on the album’s release day. Segall and White Fence (aka Tim Presley) both stem from the California garage rock scene, growing up listening to ‘70s psych and obsessing over music
cathartically cataloguing his heartbreak and quest for closure after parting ways with former bandmate Amber Coffman through a somber and synthetic wasteland–Lamp Lit Prose could hardly be more different. Practically bursting at the seams with a mixture of joyful spontaneity, blindingly bright sounds and lifeaffirming hooks, one has to assume that whatever lamp the title is referring to isn’t the type of lamp that has a shade. Album opener “Right Now” (featuring Syd) starts off with the sound of David inhaling deeply—a fresh breath and a new start–before an interplay of fingerstyle guitars, triumphant brass and dreamy vocal harmonies blossom into the album’s thesis: life is better when you stop fighting it for what it isn’t and enjoy it for the mess that it is. Lead single “Break-Thru” feels like a love song continuation of this personal epiphany. Featuring no shortage of sharp drums, yelps of joy and shiny and slinky guitar hooks, the song is just begging to be used by a brand to sell you something in a few years’ time. If you find yourself at a loss for the
band’s emotional 180° shift, you’re not alone. “I Feel Energy” (featuring Amber Mark) contains a brief existential crisis of an interlude where David wonders to himself about whether he actually deserves his new-found state of happiness, but the moment of selfreflection ends when he decides it’s better not to question a good thing. As per usual, Longstreth’s production chops are a delight. The entire album has a feeling of almost HD intimacy—which manages to balance a sense of tangible live energy with almost too-good-to-be-true clarity. That being said, the album’s track list can get a bit exhausting due to its bombardment of seemingly neverending optimism. Although featuring multiple notable musical collaborators (including Empress Of and Dear Nora among others) one shouldn’t expect much more than the Longstreth Happiness Express. And while by itself Lamp Lit Prose seems a bit one sided, it certainly brings a renewed sense of closure and balance to last year’s self-titled effort. » - Eric Swanson
through a youthful teen gaze. Joy elicits a nostalgic dream, falling down the rabbit hole into an age of technicolor and psychedelic sweats. “Beginning” kicks off the album with muffled sounds, diving feet-first into dizzying reverse reverb vocals– taking a turn with stunning displays of tempo change after tempo change. From here, the noise steps off into the low-tempo harmonic ballad “Please Don’t Leave This Town.” Just wait. There’s more. The entire album is an emotional roller coaster ride: shifting delicately from calm folky guitar interludes to spastic, chaotic walls of sound, to experimental squeaks and barks. “Good Boy” and “Hey Joel, Where You Going With That” roll out fluidly like acid on the tongue, dripping with ‘70s undertones; in moments, Segall and Presley may truly be possessed by ghosts of Lennon and Hendrix: they sing “Hey Joel…” containing lyrics “Yellow Sandwich Submarine” with a song title channeling Hendrix lyric, “Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun of yours?” Surely, this is no accident. Segall and Presley bleed psych rock with
influence from the best. While the remnants of a beautiful past sit inside star-gazy lyrics, fuzzy guitar tones and trippy vocal schemes, this is not a copy and paste, but rather a collage of brilliant color, forming an entirely new and bizarre image. Surreal and full of mysticism, Segall and Presley toy with simple words to portray a hazy state of being and a fond affection for those around them: “He’s a good boy/she's a good boy/we are good boys now. He’s a good girl/she’s a good girl/We have always been. We are people now.” Striking, wacky, almost comical, this whimsy is followed by tracks that prod at the listener’s brain with juxtaposition, showcasing 30 seconds of manic, screeching flutes, slowing into docile guitar tracks, into more jarring bricks of ear-blistering fuzz tone. Joy is a beautiful rendition of life: a past, present and future. It twists and turns, warps and flails, and drives hard and soft into the listener’s guts. Joy is the wild ride that everyone has been on, and never thought to listen for. » - Eirinn Gragson
www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 9
live music JULY
6 15 16 20 26 27
CRYSTAL BALLROOM 1332 W BURNSIDE
The Damned | Alice Bag | Guida Car Seat Headrest | Naked Giants The Pillows fea/FLCL | Noodles | Cullen Omori Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Cody Johnson Streetlight Manifesto
3939 N MISSISSIPPI
Us The Duo | Justin Nozuka Melvins Snow Tha Product The Voidz
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NORTH WEST BROADWAY ST.
PEARL OLD TOWN 2
Robin Bacior | Old Unconscious | Rare Diagram Quintron & Miss Pussycat | Mattress TK & The Holy Know Nothings | Barna Howard Tribe Mars | Astro Tan | Dan Dan Tender Age | The Wild Body | Chip Scout Sparta | Arctic Flowers Lorain | Notel | Laura Palmer's Death Parade Anna Tivel | Jeffrey Martin | Chris Frisina Wimps | The Ghost Ease | Mope Grooves The Intelligence | The Lavender Flu S. Carey | H.C. McEntire Boy Pablo Breakdown: A Tribute To Tom Petty Facs | Lithics | Strange Babes The Low Anthem | The Ophelias Vice Device | Martin Bisi | Vibrissae Sam Evian Sarah Shook & The Disarmers | Jason Hawk Harris Cicada Rhythm Mimicking Birds | Sunbathe | Evan Way Summer Cannibals | Kinski Holiday Friends | Foxtails Brigade
5 19 20 24 27
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4 1 3 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 23 24 26 27 28 29
830 E BURNSIDE
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1 3 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 26 27 29 31
14 Qucksand & Glassjaw 21 Jesse McCartney | Just Seconds Apart 28 Veio | Rustmine | Tyranny of Hours | MLSD
11-12 Social Distortion | Aaron Lee Tasjan | Low Cut Connie
8 NW 6TH 6 Bazzi 7 A$AP Ferg | IDK + Buddy 8 Neurosis | Converge | Amenra
live music HOLOCENE
1001 SE MORRISON
FREMONT ST. 24TH AVE.
D. BLV Y D AN
LAURELHURST GLISAN ST.
BURNSIDE ST. 11 6
MORRISON ST. 11TH AVE.
LADD’S ADDITION DIVISION ST.
CESAR CHAVEZ BLVD.
HAWTHORNE BLVD. 24
1 8 15 22 29
DJs in The Taproom (weekends)
KELLY’S OLYMPIAN 426 SW WASHINGTON
Party Damage DJs (Sundays/Tuesdays) Eye Candy VJs (Mondays) Flickathon (Tuesdays) KPSU DJs (Wednesdays) Happy Hour DJs (Fridays) Comedy Trivia Night The Thesis (hip-hop showcase) Pretty Gritty | Secondhand Ramblers Chris Johnson | Corina Lucas | Milan Patel Spec Script Presents: Sons of Anarchy "The Love Boys!" Sketch Comedy Jack Maybe Project | Zach Bryson & The Meat Rack Moon Darling | Foxy Lemon | Salo Panto | Low Flyer Films Against Humanity Presents: VHS Vengeance NW Selects w/Sour Deez Hippie Death Cult Eyez Front Presents: Each Both Synchro-Niss With Me Mic Capes | Randal Wyatt Mic Crenshaw | Mighty | NYQE | Unorthodox
235 SW 1ST
3 7 10 11 12 13 19 21 22 26
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600 E BURNSIDE
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1800 E BURNSIDE
Cary Miga Trio Ron Carroll 90s Dance Party Dante Zapata & The Zapata Brothers Amine Edge & Dance Immersed Music Launch Party Just Friends Viceroy Donald Glaude King Beta Latin Dance Night Treasure Fingers HER Dance Party
REVOLUTION HALL 1300 SE STARK
4 5 6 7 8 11 13 14 15 19 21 22 26 27 28
5 7 8 11 13 14 18 20 21 25 26 27 28
James McMurtry 11 Wye Oak | Madeline Kenney 13 Ry Cooder fea/The Hamiltones 17 Toad The Wet Sprocket | Megan Slankard 26 Rhye 28-29
www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 11
features Photo by Eirinn Gragson
JULY TOFFEE CLUB 12 1006 SE HAWTHORNE ALBERTA STREET PUB 13 1036 NE ALBERTA 2 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 15 18 19 20 21 22 23
Blueprint | Research & Development The Rad Trads | Jaycob Van Auken Elke Robitaille Grupo Masato The Hillwilliams Blossom | Adebisi Local Roots Live Series The Hackles Haley Lynn Julie & The WayVes Andrea's Sunday Country Showcase Mitch & The Molody Makers The James Low Irregulars Wallace | Redray Frazier DoveDriver | Ron Rogers & The Wailing Wind The Minus 5 Josephine Antoinette fea/La Rhonda Steele
THE SECRET SOCIETY 14 116 NE RUSSELL
6 13 14 20 21 28 30
Two-Step (Tuesdays) Zydeco (Wednesdays) Swing (Thursdays) Soul Vaccination | Pepe & The Bottle Blondes Pete Krebs & His Portland Playboys The Midnight Serenaders | Baby & The Pearl Blowers Curley Taylor Melao De Cuba Salsa Orchestra Bang-A-Rang! Rocksteady Explosion Broke Gravy
WHITE EAGLE 15 836 N RUSSELL 1 3 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 26 27 28 29 30 31
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12 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com
No Kind Of Rider
t’s clear that the members of No Kind Of Rider are very close; sitting down to chat with them, I could feel the energy immediately: raw, funny, comfortable. The five members– Joe, John, Sam, Jeremy and Wes–stem from southern roots, having moved to Portland from Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s also clear that this new album, Savage Coast is truly an extension of the members themselves. Having known each other for over 10 years, and working on this newest album since 2015, there is a truth and authenticism both in themselves as humans, and the music they produce, that is refreshing. From their own personal histories, to the album art, to their journeys together, No Kind of Rider is something to revere: ELEVEN: Where are you guys from? Joe Page: We all moved here from Tulsa, Oklahoma actually. We’ve lived here... it’ll be 10 years in September. 11: What prompted that move? Sam Alexander: We actually had a really great thing happening in Tulsa. I had a job that was trying to move to
Portland and I did not think that made sense. The president of that company was a fan of the band and actually suggested, “Hey, what if we move the entire band up to Portland?” Jon Van Patten: Riding on the coattails of the company there was an opportunity already, and he was only a few years older than us. So we had this weird, crazy, random opportunity to move out here in our mid-20’s and we were like “Fuck it, let’s do it.” 11: Do you like living in Portland? JP: We’ve been here 10 years now, so it’s not very new. Obviously, we’ve been here 10 years so we’ve stayed because we really like it here. John recently moved to Brooklyn and just moved back in the past couple months. JV: I was going through a time when I was just not a happy human being, so I went out to the east coast last year, spent time away and did some stuff. I lived in Brooklyn, Bed Stuy, and focused on art stuff. After a year, I was exhausted, and after our record is coming out, and after all this time knowing these dudes I was like “I need to be around the record!” So I’m here working, painting houses and playing music.
11: How did that work for you all as a band? SA: John tracked all the stuff here when he was in Portland and we all tracked together in a room like facing each other basically and then John moved to Brooklyn. JV: It was a good time for me to go because the record had been done. It was in the process of getting mixed, it was going slowly and it was a good window to go. JP: This record basically got made between 2015 and… JV: Now. SA: It was finished in 2017. JP: Yeah, it was finished in 2017 and we started releasing singles in 2017. But yeah, it was recorded in like three different studios. 11: Do you have a release show booked? JP: We’re looking at having a release show and hopefully a tour late summer/ early fall. SA: We spent so much time on this that we’re not rushing any other piece of it, we’ve already spent so much energy just getting the record to this place, so we’re planning a tour for this year and we’ll be in Portland. 11: How did you all meet? JV: Mostly, we went to high school together. I was a year younger than these three dudes and then they met Jeremy at a college in Oklahoma and the four of them had been playing for a while. I knew them from back in the day, many years. Kind of one of these weird, small town things. JP: He was playing in a band in Dallas and just moved back and we had just moved into a house together. JV: This was like 2006. I found myself emailing Sam on Myspace back in the day. 11: Who does the album art? JV: Our old high school friend was a graffiti artist and graphic artist. He doesn’t live here, he was based out of Tulsa. I don’t know if he’s there currently. He’s an old friend and we’ve used him on everything we’ve put out.
SA: He takes graffiti and makes it art and he’s done that forever. 11: Do you all collaborate? SA: It’s pretty Democratic, it’s very tough, and it takes a long time. JP: It’s very chaotic and inefficient but that’s kind of the way. JV: When it works, we’re happy, but we have to do a lot of work to get there. What’s magical about our band, why we’ve stayed together so long, even when it’s frustrating, we all genuinely get along and respect each other as musicians, and then when it comes together it’s like the opening of Full House, there’s freeze frame high fives. SA: We have a bond that kind of transcends friendship, but also it’s tough because we all have our own lives and try to do our own thing and I think a part of this group is that we have each our own interests and what keeps bringing us back is we have this shared musical love of the same types of music. And so, yeah it’s been… we have each spiraled out on our own things, on creatives and business and personal things. JV: Spiraled out… That’s also true! SA: We’ve done our own damn thing. 11: That’s the sign of a healthy relationship, though, right? SA: I guess so? JP: Maybe? WJ: Up until you’re like, “I’m gonna keep doing my own thing, indefinitely!” JP: There’s definitely been weeks where John was gone—he’d leave for a couple months and come back, play a show, where we won’t see each other or where we’re not in contact. Whereas, years ago when we were first doing this, we were collaborating constantly. Now it’s like, when we get together it’s very intentional. SA: It’s pretty precious. I think that on this record, we hear a lot of that. Just the fact that we did this stuff in a basement together and I think we tried to capture… I think we all recognize that what we had in that basement when we moved to Portland was special, so that is what is in this record. JV: We would write together, the five of us. If all five of us weren’t in a
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room, it wasn’t going to happen. And so there was so much time spent in that basement, we used to have this place off N Killingsworth and Commercial over by the Florida Room, we were there for many years–a lot of memories there–and when we were recording the record, it was about capturing that live feeling of how we played and so all the songs were based on live recordings that we did in that studio in Sellwood at the Magic Closet, that was king of the foundation of the record. JP: EPs we released in the past. JV: Very DIY. 11: Low Fi? SA: We were not trying to make it Lo-Fi, but it was Lo-Fi. It was Lo-Fi, in hindsight! JP: But you know, we wanted to have these electronic or these R&B inspired things–production styles–in the record. It sounds a lot more polished than a
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band in the basement.
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needed to be: this is how we play, this is
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11: What kind of music do you listen to? What music inspires you?
JV: It had to be us on the record. It how it gets captured. And yeah, we were they’re placed together structurally on a record, interludes and things. There’s a great kind of storytelling aspect to that, how it kind of flows along. There’s kind of a loose reference point to that, some of that stuff.
JV: Talking about the record–some Kendrick Lamar stuff, we were really inspired by some of his records, how they’re put together. Collectively, we have overlapping bands but all of us are into very different things, I think. I mean, we could be talking about this for 30 minutes. Jeremy? JL: Mostly, I listen to a lot of hiphop now, I haven’t listened to a band record in years. I’m into Kendrick, I like Curren$y, Ab-Soul. SA: It’s all over the place. I’m listening to Afrobeat right now, but this record I listened to a lot of El Guincho. Also, Beach House. Blonde Redhead, Interpol. JV: In the early days, there were specific bands that we all really kind of… I think Flaming Lips was in there. SA: It was almost geographical, our relationship to Flaming Lips. WJ: Oh I didn’t name any bands! Isaac Brothers, Funkadelic, The Roots, D’Angelo. JV: Early AND contemporary! WJ: Radiohead. JP: Air. Are we talking about what was influenced on this record, or just music in general? 11: What influenced you, particularly? What were you listening to?
JP: I don’t know, it’s a span of a couple years that we were recording. When I think about the sounds, honestly I don’t think about bands that much. Like after we finished that first session in the Magic Closet, John and I went to Sauvie Island the next day and we started recording the sounds of the water splashing up on the coast and stuff, a lot of that. After that I was really inspired and rented a field recorder and went out to the ocean and recorded all these sounds and then... actually most of the stuff I recorded didn’t actually make it on the album. SA: It was the setting for the record. JV: The setting for structure. JP: You can hear my neighbors wind chimes and swing in the beginning, the beginning intro song. There was so much history with how these songs were put together that I wanted to capture some dreamy...
JV: Nostalgia JP: That felt like a memory. SA: In that way this record is actually much more than the inputs and the inspirations. I think I can look at everyone here and be honest and say everything on this record was much more about what we went through together. It has an influence of the experience of being displaced and the experience of having these relationships that are jostled about. And our lyrics, they relate to that kind of
features NO FUN
1709 SE HAWTHORNE
There is something nostalgic yet futuristic about No Kind Of Rider’s debut album, Savage Coast. Starting off on the ambient side, the album seamlessly transforms into a more somber tone on “Time is Unkind.” Heavy on guitar and something like looped synths in the back, the track unfolds layers of emotion, which are carried by a subtle, yet groovy guitar riff. “Interlude” is a trippy, bassheavy track that sounds much like a scratched record at first but then turns jazzy on you. And just when
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experience, so musically we draw from all these places but we also certainly bring it back to the experience that we share together. JV: The record is born out of us being authentic together. » - Eirinn Gragson
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Savage Coast Self-released
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things couldn’t get more pleasantly trippy, chime-like synths come in. It’s not often an interlude is a highlight of the album. Sure, the tempo slows down some on this track but no momentum is lost whatsoever. Title track, “Savage Coast,” is a journey. It is a whirlwind of instrumentals that are chaotic in the most cathartic way, and at the epicenter is the guitar riff keeping everything in motion. When listening to “Intermission,” tell me there isn’t something eclectically and intergalactically badass about the brief track. “Dreams” is the kind of entrancing song that unknowingly sweeps you into a state of lucid dreaming, while on “Old Times,” the album reaches peak nostalgia, as No Kind Of Rider reflects on a past romance. Although this track features more mellow instrumentation, intricacy is found within the reminiscent lyrics. Translating sound into imagery, Savage Coast is like a futuristic romance set to ambient rock. The ensemble shows they can lay out solid riffs and melodies while still indulging listeners with some more experimental sounds. » - Liz Garcia
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Photo by Shervin Lainez
ye Oak is Baltimore, Maryland’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack–an indie rock band five albums into their career, and they’re making albums that go above and away from established rock tropes. In a way, all songs are love songs (or unrequited love songs), but Wye Oak’s love songs are less about interpersonal romances–they’re about intrapersonal love, the love of life and difficulty of staying in a glassy-eyed infatuation with it. Wasner’s side project Dungenousse puts her into ‘90s pop territory, and on her first solo album, using the moniker Flock of Dimes, she explores the panoply of creative freedom on the debut If You See Me, Say Yes, showcasing more beats, less drums and a trio of foggy guitars. When she’s not with Stack she’s still making earnest music that struggles to pinpoint the emotions we don’t have words for.
Wye Oak’s first album If Children (2007) is a solemn, slow swinging guitar and drums album, where songs are vocalized in whispers. This is not anymore obvious than on “Family Glue,” where Wesner dunks on the futile family obligations we go along with: “Never use your hands/Our blood has given into it/ Save the holidays for me/Dress as love for Halloween.” Their zeitgeist is 2014’s Shriek; the reverb-heavy guitars are replaced with soft synths and keys, giving them a much more dream-pop aesthetic. The titular track anticipates a judgement of coldness associated with electronic instruments, with subtle background layers that, at first listen, are convincing enough to be a field recording of seagulls over the surf. The big difference between the first half of their discography and the later half is the change from a garage band minimalism to the lush electronic angularity of the last few albums. The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is the newest writing since the solo endeavor. The title track is a dark questioning of life, smeared in an ambiguous, yet pointed philosophy (“I search for patterns, sense that isn’t there/You can have everything, and still you have nothing”). On “The Instruments,” Wasner’s voice is magnetized, drawing the music around her to match her cadence, blending the voice in with the bass and treble, lying just beneath everything else. And when the chorus hits you hear her still in shallow water, but in with the tide, just higher in proportion to everything else, and her yearning is louder than anything.
www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 17
Photo by Shervin Lainez
ELEVEN: I hear you’re moving. Where are you headed?
work on music. I also just needed to do that, you know, because I moved to North Carolina I’ve made three records–I made two
Jenn Wesner: I’m in North Carolina, moving from a house I
Wye Oak records and a solo record. I also don’t think I could
currently live in by myself but I’m moving across the street to
keep up with the pace of what I’ve been doing if I hadn't given
a house with roommates.
myself the time and space and resources to make it possible.
11: You like living with people?
11: This current album has a very existential feel to it, do you think that comes from living alone?
JW: I’m used to being on tour so I’m used to being around people all the time. I prefer to live alone, but it’s a luxury I
JW: I think it just comes from how I am, honestly. It’s
can’t really justify because I’m really just not home much. So
from the particular kind of person that I am, and the specific
in the interest of saving money while I’m mostly on the road…
cocktail of anxiety, and despair, and angst that is all around
it’s a necessity. It is what it is.
us, to an extent that I think is unprecedented, and also our exposure to it, the amount that we’re able or expected to
11: How long have you lived in North Carolina?
take in from all sources at all times. I think I’ve always been something of an overthinker. Anxious about the future
JW: About three years, three-and-a-half years.
and sort of trying to analyze and maybe feel excessively responsible for things that are out of my control. In some ways
11: How do you think that has affected your albums in the last three years? JW: I initially moved specifically because I had never really
I think making records is one way to burn off some of that anxious energy. 11: There’s a track on The Louder I Call, the Faster It
lived alone, and I felt like I had more creative energy than I
Runs titled “Lifer.” Lifer is a term often used to describe
really had the time and space to capitalize on. Baltimore is
people who spend their whole life at one job. I’m interested to
the best and it’s one of my favorite places in the world, and
hear what you think of that.
it’s full of many of my favorite people in the world, but it’s also full of many distractions. I was specifically trying to find a place where I had more solitude and fewer distractions to
18 | ELEVEN PORTLAND | www.elevenpdx.com
JW: There’s a purposeful ambiguity to the title, because it’s not just about my experiences it’s also about someone else.
features national scene In some ways it’s about my own commitment to my creative
after that is not really… like I’m kind of the person that
process and the sharing of that with others and the struggles
finishes a record and says “Cool, I did it, I’m done,” and at that
that compete with that, but in another very literal sense it’s
point in a lot of ways the process is just begun. If you think
just about not killing yourself. It’s about making the choice
about the process of sharing it and promoting it and selling
everyday to stay alive and continue to try and fight whatever
it, those things are completely separate from the actual
struggles that life has handed you. In the end, it’s about direct
creation of the thing. I don’t need that and I don’t benefit from
inspiration from my experiences, and not just for me.
it as much as the whole process of creating a thing. It’s very important to me.
11: Do you find yourself running out of experiences after having made seven-plus albums?
11: Can you tune into those feelings again once you get back on stage?
JW: I don’t think I’ve run out of experiences to draw from, I can certainly imagine getting to that point in my life where
JM: I have a harder time with that process than most
I just don’t feel like I have a desperate need to create things
people do, I think. Occasionally I will, but it gets harder and
anymore. It hasn’t happened to me yet. I think to a certain
harder for me to tap into that brainspace everytime I play a
extent, output requires input. Having something to say about
song. That’s probably the essential difficulty of my life: trying
life requires living and relying on your experiences and what
to make a career out of the things I make because I do have
it feels like. I don’t feel as though my own personal worth and
such a powerful emotional connection to, and attachment
value hinges upon the things I create or their recognition.
to, the things I create in the moment I created them, but everytime I play a song I get a little further away from it in
11: The afterglow of praise doesn’t really last long, does it?
my own life experience. So as the years go by it starts to feel more like I’m acting or pretending or inhabiting an outdated, or dishonest version of myself. That’s not really the way I like
JM: It’s really just the process of making it for me that’s very therapeutic and rewarding, and everything that comes
to feel when I’m performing but it’s kind of mandated by the process of asking people to pay money for a show. People want
www.elevenpdx.com | ELEVEN PORTLAND | 19
features national scene to hear the songs they’re familiar with. For nostalgic reasons they connect it to, or are sent to a place. The irony being the songs people want to hear the most are the songs I’m most disconnected from. It’s always been this weird existential rub in a live show for me. Sometimes we strike a balance where things kind of align and I’m able to have a pretty good time, but a lot of the times it feels weird and disingenuous. 11: Do you forget what you wrote some of those songs about? JM: Yeah, if not in total, there will be lines where I’ll go, ”What did I mean by that?” Or maybe years later I’ll be like, “Oh god! I didn’t realize at the time but that’s really awful. What a terrible person I am for writing that down.” It’s very purculuor psychology to confront your past self, which is someone a lot of us would probably like to distance ourselves from. It’s not very pleasant to be reminded what a fucking idiot I was when I was 23–every night of my life. 11: Well and when we’re 23 we think, “I was a fucking idiot when I was 18.”
JM: Exactly, and I’m probably a fucking idiot still. But I haven't learned yet the things I have to learn about being 32. I’d like to get on with that process and make sense of it, but the bulk of my time is spent reminding myself of what I was thinking when I was an actual child 10 years ago, and it’s just so deeply unpleasant. It’s sad, weird, ironic detachment. 11: It’s very easy to get stuck in a weird, toxic feedback loop, returning to remember the good times while forgetting the bad parts, too. JM: And it changes every time. We cannot properly remember the past. It’s like playing a game of telephone with your memories. I’m sure a lot of the songs I’ve written aren’t even close to my memories or the creative interpretations I’ve made of those memories, and on top of that I’ve told them over and over again. It’s really trippy if you think about it. I’d probably be a less anxious person if I didn’t have to be confronted with them repeatedly. 11: Do you think that’s why so many artists are known for their suicide?
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features national scene JM: Oh yeah. Say you take someone who creates art that is personal and emotional; what you’re taking is a very sensitive person, a person with an amount of kind of sensitivity and openness, and you’re putting them in a situation in which all of the worst things about that sensitivity are expanded on. You’re putting them in one of the most difficult situations you can for someone who is inclined in that way. For me, it’s when I’m not on tour, I have my routines to take care of myself–I can exercise, be outside, work on music, get a good night’s sleep–I can keep a lid on it. But you take away all someone’s routines, put them on the road, force them to perform everynight, to make other people happy, and it’s just an absolute breeding ground for insanity. It makes you crazy. I struggle with it because it’s the only way for me to make money from music because people don’t buy records anymore. You’re taking sensitive people and dropping them into the fucking fire. The fact that anyone would be surprised by that is what gets me. 11: How much time do you have before you need to start working on the next album? JM: Hypothetically speaking, I have as much time as I want, but the question becomes: How much time can we afford? Because after we finish a tour, we don’t have a lot of money left over. I’m sorry this is all sounding a little dark, I’m not feeling real optimistic about my life or my career. I can take as much as I want, and I probably will, but I also have to figure out a way to make money. 11: Have you taken other jobs? JM: I have, and I probably will again. In the past I’ve waited tables, I’ve walked dogs–which is maybe the best job I’ve ever had. Maybe I’ll do that again. I think most musicians, with the exception of a very very privileged few, are not really able to be make a whole lot of money, even when the public thinks they are very successful. There’s just less and less money to be made. The musical well has dried up substantially. Everyone is just scrambling to figure out how to stay afloat. 11: It is strange to pay to see someone’s show and then have that same person serve you a drink at a bar across town later that week. JM: Some people can really handle, and thrive in an environment where they’re playing a 150 shows a year, and for those people music is still doable, but for someone like me it’s really hard to do. I think a lot of musicians are not well suited for a lifestyle. I’ve also never really wanted or had to, fortunately, phone-in a record because I needed one. That’s how mediocre trash gets put out into the world. Someone is trying to make something before they have something to say.
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features national scene 11: When Shriek came out you said you were pretty fed up
do something else. That journey is a place close to you for a
with the guitar, then Tween was very guitar heavy and this
creative person. It’s a series of stories you’re telling yourself
new album backs off more. Where are you at with the guitar?
over and over again in order to get back to the same place of being inspired.
JM: To come correct, I was never really fed up with the guitar, it was more that at that particular moment I had kind
11: Do you have an idea of what it takes for the next
of felt like I had tapped out that particular source, and I had
album in order for you to get to where you’re talking about?
needed a new source of ideas. Finding the mindset of being inspired requires being in situations that are new, and at that
JM: Only in the most basic teeny tiny inklings of an idea.
point I had written many, many albums primarily with a core
I just have little things like–I think something Andy and I
guitar and I felt like I had done everything I could do with
both are drawn to now, probably because we’ve spent so much
it. It wasn’t even a matter of making a choice. It was either
of our lives playing in a quote unquote loud rock band, we’d
write the songs that I like or write no songs. It had become an
really like to make some quiet music, and play some very quiet
embodiment of something I had already done.
instrument shows. And that’s not really enough to anchor an entire record yet, it's more like, “Oh let’s keep that in mind.”
11: Do you feel like you’ve exhausted this current lineup, that you need to switch things around?
Basically what do you want to get out of the next thing you make, and how do those things come together? A bigger picture starts to take shape. »
JM: Well yeah, it’s not really about the source as much, it’s about the mindset. If you’re in the right mindset you don’t even need the instrumental. You’re telling yourself a story to get in the right brainspace, and you have to believe the story and at the time I just couldn’t get there with a guitar. Now I feel completely differently because I was able to make that record, it was the record I needed to make to get to a place I could
WYE OAK PLAYS LIVE IN PORTLAND THIS MONTH, JULY 13 AT REVOLUTION HALL
CATCH WYE OAK LIVE IN PORTLAND THIS MONTH, JULY 13 AT REVOLUTION HALL
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community meet your maker
Photos by Mercy McNab
MEET YOUR MAKER Klum House Workshop's Ellie Lum
Located within The HUB Building on NE Williams is the Klum House Workshop, a cozy and creative space where messages of “I Believe In You” and “Work With Your Hands” are artistically scrawled on the walls. Colorful spools and tools are meticulously displayed for use around the room. A little shop dog–Winston–waits in a corner for the workshop’s proprietress, Ellie Lum, who is busy lugging sewing machines onto a large table for an upcoming class. The workshop has been open in this location for just over a year, but Lum is a professional at caravanning her studios. She’d shared her sewing skills in San Francisco, Seattle and Philadelphia, before nestling into the support of Portland’s makers community. Educated in Eco-literacy and Adult Theory at UC Berkeley, Lum studied teaching people about ecology and the environment in an urban setting, and did a lot pedagogical research on how adults benefit from experiential learning.
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She also focused on arts entrepenurialship, which she already had experience with from running her own bag design company, R.E.Load Bags. Cumulatively, this served as the foundation for Klum House. Instead of uploading a pattern or stitch into a computerized sewing machine, Lum encourages an analog DIY approach to create one of their many totes, belts and heavy duty rolltop backpacks that have been featured nationally in knitting, crafting and bicycling periodicals. “There is a general cultural response right now for people who want tactile experiences in life, because we are so digital,” she says. “We are a city of designers, but most designs are done
community meet your maker digitally these days. People find a sense of accomplishment and empowerment when they get to make a functional good that they get to use in their day-to-day lives.” Even if you’ve never touched a sewing machine, Klum House can instruct a novice to create something by hand from start to finish. Classes range from introductory, to industrial, to intensive bag design that allows customization of colors, pockets and strap style–all with an “I Made This” tag attached for bragging rights. The shop sells ready-to-sew maker kits with all the fixings to tackle a project on your own, as well as online courses. Klum House is also a very collaborative entity, organized around education and skill sharing. This allows for pop-up classes and guest instructors sharing skill sets in many areas, including garment design, Shibori indigo dyeing and cyanotype (solar) printing on fabric. These are small classes with personalized instruction from the designers. “One thing that sets us apart from other sewing schools is that you get to learn from the designer in the design house,” says Lum, “So we’re a pattern design house and a school that is sharing more of the design process as well as skill building at the machine. Our mission is to give people a safe space to create with their hands, to connect with other makers, and to interact with their own creative process through the act of building something themselves. » - Brandy Crowe
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community literary arts Photo by Jason Quigley
ELEVEN: Can you tell me about the philosophy of stoicism, as it relates to drumming? José Medeles: To be clear, I never studied philosophy in college. I never went to college. I practice stoicism, but I’m not an expert. This book is a representation of my healing and the journey that I’ve been on. Stoicism is a Roman philosophy, and it’s a practical philosophy that really just asks the question: What is the good life? How do you live? How do you be an internal hero in your own story? So when I discovered stoicism, I was going through struggles, and looking for something. Music has always
Portland author and drummer José Medeles
been my religion. I was brought up Catholic, but when I discovered stoicism… it must be like when people go to the bible. I try not to go there but for me, it’s the only way I can describe it. This is my journey. I’m not advocating anything. This is my peace, and my path. And it was incredible, because I started to practice stoicism and asking myself questions every day and journaling every day and reading every day, it made me a better husband, a better father, a better friend and a better human in general. I felt more content in my life, I felt more content in my own skin. It allowed me to walk softer, talk softer. I still have
my moments, just like anybody. It’s nice because it’s a very ext to a 76 gas station on East Burnside Street in Portland is Revival Drum Shop, owned by José Medeles, who has played with The Breeders, Joey Ramone, Donavon Frankenreiter,
Ben Harper and Modest Mouse, and currently leads 1939 Ensemble, a modern avant-garde jazz band. He recently wrote and self-published The Stoic Drummer, a collection of mantras and axioms for his fellow drummers. It takes a certain type of musical mind to create the rhythm and structure necessary for any song, but drummers are sometimes overlooked as integral parts of the band. José used the ancient wisdom of stoics like Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus to enhance his lifelong practice of drumming, in turn changing his complete outlook on life. With a heartfelt forward from Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin, and Wood, The Stoic Drummer is the perfect companion for any serious drummer who needs some assistance focusing on their craft during these difficult times. Its Zen-like layout alone helps concentrate the mind on the wise words within. When I met José for this interview, I found his mindfulness and thoughtfulness to embody the very tenets of stoicism that inspired his work.
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forgiving philosophy. When you start reading Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, or Seneca’s Morals (Moral Letters to Lucilius) and Epictetus, it starts leading to some really solid things. What I started to do was reflect on how much this was enhancing my life and my being, so I started to apply some of these practices to drumming. Because drumming is as much of a part of my life as is being a father, a husband, a business owner. Being a drummer is right there. I really thought that I was a content drummer before, but after practicing some of these meditations and mantras and applying them to drumming, it took it to the next level. When I was in my little side yard writing and journaling, it hit me that I needed to let people know about this. I went and looked for a book like this, because if there were I would have bought it in a heartbeat. I wasn’t able to find something that melded essentially my two loves. What made me look forward to things. So I started going through and writing and applying the writings of essentially the OG stoics to the art of drumming. So it’s a book of really practical ideas. 11: Is this book only for drummers?
community literary arts JM: What’s interesting is that I’ve had guitar players and artists go, “Man you can apply this to anything!” But of course, my world being drums it only made sense that I looked at it from the POV of the drummer. I’ve had people reach out to me and say that Photo by Jason Quigley
they bring this book with them to gigs and
read parts of it before they play. That to me is huge. I just love that there’s something coming out of my struggles. And that I’m continuing that process of adding to my drumming community. 11: So is that what made you put it on paper?
victories, don’t get me wrong. But when we get pummeled, we feel it. I feel that because we are artists, I feel that we have the sensitivity and the vulnerability and I just want to remind myself that no one can harm me. I’m not just talking musicality, I’m just talking about life in general, too. I think ultimately you want to get to a point where someone punches you in the face and you don’t even know it. I think that’s a neat goal. I just like the idea of walking softer. 11: Can you tell me about Revival Drum Shop as far as it being an anomaly in the business of selling drums? JM: The shop started ten years ago. Revival is a vintage and custom drum shop. We focus on boutique drums and eclectic percussion and boutique cymbal-makers and percussion-makers. We celebrate the artisan side of the percussion world since the beginning. Fast forward almost ten years later and not only are we still around but we are being celebrated on a national and international level. Because of our business model we are kind of an enigma among the drum industry. We’re viciously independent. I love that we’ve kept our integrity, and haven’t pivoted. We’ve never had to bring in every drum company in the world to survive. And that is a beautiful thing. I think the tip of our spear is the love of what we’re doing there. The business and numbers are a part of it, but it’s not the main thing. And I think that that’s the trick. » - Scott McHale
JM: I felt the same way about drumming so many years ago–I had to do it. It’s the same thing with Revival. Once I realized what was happening, I had to do it. I had to open up the shop. Same thing with my music, with 1939 Ensemble and my solo stuff. I have to do it. And I felt that was with the book, If we sell four it will be ok. I also feel that way about my music. I don’t feel like you should as an artist, just make something and let it sit and not see the light of day. This book is self-published so I’m not sure how to get this to the next level but I’m just enjoying this moment because it has no “have to’s.” I’m just happy that it’s bringing light to the world, and to drummers. And it’s all out of love, which is what makes me happy. 11: Can you speak about the general role of the drummer in the band? JM: Being a drummer, I feel that our role can be very disposable. If the singer decides to put out a solo record, or decides to pivot in any way. A lot of time, we’re just kind of left out. I needed to remind myself of why I became a drummer, why I drum. Really, that is the seed of all of this. And also not being distracted by outside forces. As far as perception goes. You know, so you didn’t get that gig, and not be devastated. Not to go into this dark hole, or this cave. It’s just kind of knowing that no one causes you harm. Really it’s your choice. I know it’s starting to get into heady stuff, but it’s really important. There are so many distractions, and as musicians we get pummeled a lot. We have a lot of
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community visual arts Photo by Mercy McNab
T-shirt design for Portland band And And And
start with a bunch of quick sketches in order to work out my ideas and create a good composition. Then I’ll do a more precise drawing and then do a final inked version. From there, I’ll either add details by hand or bring it into the computer and add details there (or both!) Drawing
VISUAL ARTS Portland artist Jodie Beechem
by hand is my favorite, so I try to do that as much as possible, but in order to edit things efficiently sometimes you gotta get digital. 11: There is an almost dark, psychedelic aspect to your art. Where does that style originate?
ELEVEN: How long have you been creating art in Portland? Are these your original stomping grounds? Jodie Beechem: I’ve been making art in Portland for around five years now, but my original stomping grounds were in Eugene, OR. Although I made lots of art in Eugene, I feel like I wasn’t making art that really felt like “me” until I moved here. 11: Is your art digitally produced, or do you physically draw by hand? What does that process look like from conception to final execution? JB: I do a little bit of both! Most of my illustrations are combinations of hand-done drawings mixed with textures and colors that I add with my tablet digitally. I usually
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Drumhead art for Portland band The Domestics
community visual arts Alternatively, I’m always getting inspired by music, which is convenient because a lot of the work I do is for musicians. It’s one of my favorite things to be able to translate the mood of a song/album/show/etc. into a piece of artwork. 11: You’ve created work for everything from T-shirts and music festival posters to wedding invitations and album covers. How does that creative process vary from creating personally inspired work to commission and collaborative pieces? JB: It really varies project to project. Sometimes people have very specific things they want, and sometimes the format is a bit looser. No matter what, I always do a lot of research before I start on a project. For instance, when I work with bands, I listen to all their music, pay attention to the lyrics, the vibe, etc. and kind of go from there to figure out how to best represent them in a design. For me, it’s almost always easier to create work for people than to create work for myself. Working with people, there’s constant inspiration from the music or the brand’s vibe, etc. but when you’re creating work for yourself, it’s a bit scarier. You figure out how your brain really thinks, if that makes any sense. 11: It looks like you’re a pinball junkie! Where is your favorite spot to play and what is your favorite machine? Poster art for the Trail Blazers Game Day poster series
T-shirt design for Portland band Ice Queens
JB: I’ve always been really interested in thinking about concepts of time, memory and perception. I draw from these themes a lot when creating artwork, because they’re endlessly fascinating. For instance, just thinking about people’s perceptions of time and how they can differ so much–I can be sitting creating artwork for eight hours and feel like ten minutes have passed by, while the counterperson at the coffeeshop next-door works an eight hour shift that feels like ten hours–it’s just wild. 11: Do you have any mentors our artists that have inspired your work? JB: I’m a huge art history nerd, and am constantly inspired by old paintings and the stories behind them. I recently got to go the Louvre and see “The Death of Sardanapalus” by Eugène Delacroix, and I was so inspired that I sat and drew in front of it for over an hour.
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community visual arts JB: Oh man, if I could spend every night at Quarterworld I would. Put me on Medieval Madness and I’ll go to town. I also love the machines at Hungry T-shirt design for Portland band New Move
Tiger. They’ve usually got The
Sopranos, which is an old favorite, and then lots of other fun machines that rotate in. 11: Do you have anything new and exciting you’re working on for summer you can share with our readers? JB: I’m currently doing this collaboration with Banana Stand that I’m really excited about. They put out great live albums and music videos with some amazing artists. They normally have these beautiful black and
Festival poster for What Was Sound 2017
white photos as the covers, but for our collaboration, I’m taking those photos and drawing over the top of them to create something totally different that hopefully better reflects the individual energy of the live recordings. It’s been so fun, and I can’t wait to do more of them. 11: If you could give one piece of advice to all the hardworking, hustlin' artists out there, what would it be? JB: For me, it’s really important to always have a passion project going. Something that you’re doing just for yourself where you can create exactly the art you want to create. It’s essential in order to creatively recharge, and it also inevitably brings in projects that are similar, so you end up getting to create super fun work all the time for a living. That’s really the ultimate dream. » - Mercy McNab FIND THIS ARTIST ONLINE WEB: WWW.JODIEBEECHEM.COM INSTAGRAM: @JODIEBEECHEM
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Poster for Homiefest 5 benefit show designed by Jodie Beechem