PLUS A DIGITAL ISSUE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SASAMI
POST ANIMAL ALSO FEATURING MOLLY BURCH, DJ HUIZIT, LUCIEN PARKER, DISQ, KENNYHOOPLA
TEAM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ART DIRECTOR ALBUMS EDITOR CONCERTS EDITOR FEATURES EDITOR PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR MARKETING DIRECTOR WRITERS
logan rude geordon wollner daniel winogradoff abbey meyer christian zimonick matt weinberger mitchell rose nina bosnjak ashley evers nathan hahn rishabh kishore daniel klugman benny koziol brandon phouybanhdyt malcolm richardson mitchell rose logan rude matt weinberger daniel winogradoff geordon wollner mercy xiong christian zimonick bri bailey noah laroia-nguyen geordon wollner stephanie brink ashley evers daniel klugman matt weinberger morgan winston geordon wollner
featuring work by
special thank you
good style shop whim.world
PLAYLISTS ON THE COVER
EMMIE staff post animal by morgan winston
4..........FOR THE RECORD SPRING 2019 ALBUM REVIEWS
10.............................................MOLLY BURCH A SXSW EXCLUSIVE
14........................................DJ HUIZIT 18...................LUCIEN PARKER 22......................................OFF STAGE “TRUE STORY.”
24......................LIVE WIRE A PLAYLIST
32..........WILD SOUND IN THE BOTTLE:
RECORDING AND THE
34......................................SASAMI 38............................DISQ A SXSW EXCLUSIVE
42.................................................KENNYHOOPLA 46.....................CENSORED A PLAYLIST
COMMENTARY “THAT’S A HOT TAKE.”
50.......................................CONCERT GALLERY CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS
THE WILD ISSUE
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Five years ago, I listened to MF DOOM & Madlib’s collaborative album Madvillainy for the first time. As it came to an end, I sat and thought about what I had just listened to — a wholly unique combination of sounds unlike anything I had heard before. There are few feelings quite like those we experience when listening to a new song for the first time, diving into an unexplored genre, or bearing witness to a live performance filled with frenetic energy. It’s a certain type of excitement that exists only through the experiences themselves. For this issue, we wanted to explore those feelings and what it means to be “wild.” When we say “wild,” we aren’t necessarily referring to the untamed majesty of nature and all its creatures, though it is a happy coincidence that our cover star is Post Animal. Instead, when we say “wild” we mean unexpected, energetic and bold. This issue exists to explore the artists who take risks of all kinds — risks that we believe have paid off in spades. Within these pages, we take a closer look at the artists, local and beyond, who are pushing their music to the limits. From a conversation with KennyHoopla about creating a cultural moment to a conversation with DJ Huizit about combining media in new ways, we dive into the complexities of what it means to be “wild.” In the years since first hearing Madvillainy, it’s become one of my favorite albums of all time. It was one of my first interactions with music that did some really wild stuff, and I feel like it set the standard for the kind of music I’ve pursued since then. It was the first record I bought on vinyl, two years before I even owned a record player. That day was also when I did my first big artist profile. Now, two years later, for my last profile as a student, I have a piece in this issue featuring the same artist. In a way, it seems like things are coming full circle as I move on from college. If you’ve ever had an experience with an album like the one I have, then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then hopefully some of the artists featured in this magazine impact you in a similar way.
LOGAN RUDE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
“Scary! Shocking! Very attractive!”
“When you achieve your actual normal, not societal normal.”
“a person or… a riff.” “Wild represents something very freeing and uninhibited… going with your gut and not censoring yourself and what you want to put out into the world. Not just in your art, but in everyday life.”
“avant garde, arrhythmic, atonal.”
FOR THE RECORD FOR THE RECORD FOR THE RECORD SPRING 2019 ALBUM REVIEWS
4 / EMMIE
Purge, Dis Fig
Berlin-based artist and DJ Felicia Chen, better known under the moniker Dis Fig, is not new to making ripples. After a stint living and working in Brooklyn, she secured a Berlin Community Radio program titled “Call Dibs” where she and fellow artist Hunni’d Jaws showcased their broad tastes, including music from friends and other experimental artists. Furthermore, she produced the score for An Atypical Brain Damage, a performance piece by Chinese visual artist Tianzhuo Chen. Her experiences, growth and ability to draw from her eclectic interests collide on her debut album Purge.
Perth based psychedelic pop-rock band Pond laid down the bricks with their eighth studio album, Tasmania. The project, produced by former drummer and current Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker, consists of an abundance of tracks that flirt with social commentary, yet prefer to not dive too deep into any one issue. Coming from a band that had not seemed majorly concerned with all that much in the world, this represents a minor shift in the band’s ideological goals.
Purge sounds like a coven warehouse party’s soundtrack: a harrowing vocal performance meets industrial percussion and bass for a project that’s equal parts Avant-garde and club-friendly. The album’s lyrics are sometimes discernible, but Dis Fig’s cathartic voice stirs and broods with every track as she relents bad feelings. Purge is painful, yet succinct and memorable, in one of the best ways possible. Clocking in at 35 minutes total, Purge is compact enough to give a slice of Dis Fig’s world of influences. Opener “Drum Fife Bugle” offers a symphony of dissonant horns and warbling synths that invites listeners into a wicked soundscape. “U Said U Were” and “Unleash” blend techno and hardstyle kicks with bouncy energetic vocals to form tracks that would fit perfectly in a Berlin club. Consequently, songs like “WHY” are droning compositions that are void of hard, industrial percussion, yet still sit in the album’s distinct air of anguish. It is the balance between these songs where Purge shines.
Purge exists in a Venn diagram between experimental electronic music and club music: twisted voices meet distortion for a debut album that separates Dis Fig from other acts. Her ability to walk between and navigate two worlds so effectively cements her position as an artist to watch.
— brandon phouybanhdyt
Tasmania is an album that could have easily fallen into the trap of feeling mildly formulaic, but it was saved by tracks such as “Sixteen Days” and “Burnt Out Star,” which all explore fairly new creative territories: drums, synths, sound bytes and bleep-bloops galore give the band some untapped edges and textures. It’s pretty good. Psychedelia, a touch of funk, a glimmer of punk and a thick layer of smothering pop lotion is what listeners can expect before pressing play. Title-track “Tasmania” is a nice nod to the band’s Australian heritage. “The Boys Are Killing Me” is certainly an album favorite: it’s familiar, yet after every listen it still somehow feels fresh, with a sound reminiscent of The Flaming Lips, but with a bit more punch. Nick Allbrook treats the vocals well and Jay “Gumby” Watson tickles the keys with proper intention. As expected, Shiny Joe Ryan plays the guitar as he should — handsomely. This album will not blow your mind, but it may massage it. If you are looking for an album to crush as you walk to class or work with hopes of feeling a hazy empowerment to get you through the day, or if you are just kicking it with some friends, this album is exactly what you do not need. But it may be what you want. And that’s perfectly okay.
— matt weinberger SPRING 2019 / 5
FOR THE RECORD
Hyperion, Gesaffelstein Gesaffelstein’s brooding production stands alone in today’s electronic music scene; no other artist crafts such pulsing beats that brim with dark energy quite like the French producer. Fans’ patient anticipation for another album came to an end with the release of Hyperion, his first full-length project since 2013’s Aleph. Unfortunately, Hyperion fails to develop on any of Gesaffelstein’s past work, as his once heralded production now feels lack-luster and underwhelming.
When I Get Home, Solange On introduction “Things I Imagined,” Houstonian Solange Knowles pearls in the expanse of her past dreams, her current successes. Solange recirculates the title-phrase in all spectral inflections as the widened eyes and ready ears of her listeners eagerly greet her after a long absence. When I Get Home, Solange’s fourth studio album, spends much of its playtime ruminating in these reflections, as she still searches for answers and strives for greater heights. Much of how A Seat at the Table honed in on Solange’s experience with New Orleans’ historic and contemporary music scenes (the project snuggles in a blended space of bounce, rumba and dixieland jazz), When I Get Home, consequently, explores Houston, her hometown,and its sonic landscapes through her eyes. With the help of zany creatives such as Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and Christophe Chassol, among many others, Solange further expands her legacy as one of R&B’s most daring and experimental artists. Standout tracks “Almeda” and “Sound of Rain,” both engulfed in Pharrell Williams’ astrological production style, dance with bells and twinkles resonating throughout and can only be described as aural magic. “Stay Flo” and “Binz” feature simple, yet distinct rhythms, and classic dirty Southern basslines that seem, holistically, Houston. On “My Skin My Logo,” Solange and legendary coolman Gucci Mane trade slick flexes for each other over a sexy and spacey instrumental.
Several tracks throughout Hyperion feel directionless and repetitive. Songs like “Reset” and “Vortex” establish themselves within 16 bars as high-tension instrumentals with some interesting features. However, Gesaffelstein fails to elaborate on the tension, with no build or release of the pressure. Similarly, “Hyperion” is comprised of melodic bleepbloops reminiscent of an old arcade soundtrack. Tracks like these give the feeling of what people in the 1990s thought futuristic music would sound like, but now it comes across as incomplete and unoriginal. While Gesaffelstein lacks consistent ability to make quality solo tracks, his spacey production can go hand in hand with the right feature. The Weeknd shines on “Lost in the Fire,” where his moody vocal performance has ample room to resonate with audiences. Similarly, “Forever” featuring The Hacker and Electric Youth stands out as a perfect pairing of dark production and bright vocals. However, not every collaboration goes over well on Hyperion. “Blast Off,” one of the best and most developed cuts on the album, sonically speaking, is marred by a sub-par vocal performance from Pharrell. Overall, Hyperion shows promise at times. However, it often fails to live up to its potential. While some tracks begin well, they quickly grow exhaustive and uninteresting. A few vocal performances stand out, but top-to-bottom, Gesaffelstein’s solo comeback is quite disappointing.
Not to discredit Solange’s artistic longevity by any means, but it was hard to believe that she could drop something with the same impact of A Seat at the Table. Nevertheless, I was stupid and wrong again. When I Get Home is more than a curiously different, yet totally on-brand, continuation of Solange’s spiritual journey: it’s a freshly paved avenue for a whole new subset of musical prowess.
SCORE: 9.2 6 / EMMIE
— daniel winogradoff
— mitchell rose
SPRING 2019 ALBUM REVIEWS
Good at Falling, The Japanese House The Japanese House, composed of English synth-pop star Amber Bain, released her highly anticipated debut album, Good at Falling, a masterclass in the navigation of feelings. As the project plays, slightly shifts in shape, giving each successive song a new purpose that explores sounds from other genres, but still maintains a form of consistency that is personal and lush. Lingering themes of haunting existential dread and the tireless search for answers are skillfully introduced in each of the 13 tracks. The strong narration on Good At Falling is one of the project’s defining characteristics. The powerful “went to meet her (intro)” sounds more like an epic prologue, as it strings together sounds from her previous work, such as Clean EP. Somber rager “We Talk All The Time” introduces the project’s more angsty tone, a distinct eeriness that surrounds Bain’s thoughts on disassociation. Bain doesn’t stick entirely to such depressive sounds, however. Changes of pace on tracks like “You Seemed so Happy” and “Follow My Girl” express the influences rooted in 2000s indie realms - such as driving basslines and underlying acoustic chords - and dancy synth pop that create a perfect balance for Bain’s soft voice and unforgettable imagery. The most surprising moments on the album come from “Everybody Hates Me,” a piano laden ballad that immediately transforms into an electronic masterpiece with sudden bursts of spunky guitar and electronic rhythms, eventually leading way to near-perfect closer, “I saw you in a dream.”
Good At Falling leaves listeners still searching for closure, even in the most mundane moments. Bain provides us with nostalgia and the revelations needed to sit in a moment of reflection, when everything seems to be spinning around us. Take a deep breath, fill the bath with bubbles and show some self-love—as narrated by The Japanese House.
— ashley evers
Sky Blue, Townes Van Zandt The tragic poetry of late singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt is well displayed on his latest posthumous release, Sky Blue. Featuring a suite of previously unreleased works as well as unheard recordings of some of his favorites, it’s a nice collection that’ll put a smile on the face of any Van Zandt fan. The best part of Sky Blue are the new tracks. The title track is quite lovely and reminiscent of one of Van Zandt’s hallmark tracks, “To Live is to Fly,” but with a more upward, airy lilt. “Dream Spider” is nightmarish, as it echoes the apocalyptic, biblical verse of “Lungs,” another Van Zandt favorite. “The Last Thing on My Mind,” an attempt at the heavily-covered Tom Paxton song, is less of a regurgitation of the versions that so many country and bluegrass artists in the past have tried to master. The gravel and subsequent falling sadness in his voice, serves as a nice counterpoint to, say, one of Doc Watson’s glittering versions of it. Those who’ve listened to much of Van Zandt’s discography have heard many recordings of “Pancho and Lefty.” When comparing albums, it’s a solid benchmark: the complexity, level of over- or under-production, and how Van Zandt was feeling on the day of recording can all be judged. On Live at the Old Quarter, he seems down, his speech slightly slurred over the track’s simplicity. By contrast, on Rear View Mirror, Van Zandt seems chipper over a slew of complex, but not overbearing, backing instrumentals. Sky Blue’s version is flat, similar to the Old Quarter version, but lacks the live aesthetic and grit in Townes’ voice.
Sky Blue could’ve, certainly, been pruned a bit, but the unheard originals and covers are great additions to the already all-time-great songbook that Townes fans are spoiled enough to enjoy.
— christian zimonick SPRING 2019 / 7
FOR THE RECORD
Immigrance, Snarky Puppy
Harverd Dropout, Lil Pump
It’s hard for Snarky Puppy to fit on one stage. Led by bassist Michael League, the jazz fusion band has a core membership of 18 masterclass musicians. Each musician -- whether they play a korg synth, a saxophone, or a cello -- serves a vital purpose within the band. Snarky Puppy’s forte is their ability to seamlessly blend genres such as jazz, rock, metal, Latin jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, and soul. On Immigrance, the band’s 12th studio album, League puts together some of his most complex and dexterous compositions to date.
Oh boy, here we go again. 18-year-old Miami native Gazzy Garcia, better known as Lil Pump, has released his second studio album, the long awaited Harverd Dropout (yes, the incorrect spelling is intentional), and, surprisingly enough, it’s worse than one could have imagined.
Immigrance opens with “Chonks,” an eight-minute jam built around a nasty clavinet riff. It’s the prototypical Snarky Puppy song: a central riff morphs into an atmospheric chorus that then explodes into fiery solos which, ultimately, resolve back into the catchy choruses. The band members perform choppy solos effortlessly and bring musicianship and skill to every note. On the funk jam single “Bad Kids To The Back,” the band builds infectious grooves built around syncopated horn hits, polyrhythmic drums and melodious solos. As a drummer myself, I was drawn to Snarky Puppy’s main drummer (they have three contributing drummers) Larnell Lewis and his absurd solos. Lewis fills space, employing some crazy rhythmic ideas while maintaining perfect timing and keeping the band together and on track. Behind every great big band is an incredible drummer, and Larnell Lewis serves as the backbone of Snarky Puppy. After 12 studio albums, Snarky Puppy’s formula does become somewhat tiring and predictable: as mentioned beforehand, the band’s strict blueprint has been, and probably will be, recycled for as long as they put out music. Yet, the group’s musicianship is so incredible that any composition League and his bandmates create will bend and manipulate the mind as we know it. One can only hope that the band will experiment more with structure and sound in the future.
SCORE: 8.0 8 / EMMIE
— daniel klugman
The follow up to Lil Pump has enough energy to power turbines and engines: distortion and loud vocals has been, and continues to be, Pump’s modus operandi. Where his sophomore project differs from his debut, however, is the lack of self-awareness. Sure, any track from Harverd Dropout is matched perfectly with the likings of performative art, but at least Lil Pump, in its own maniacal fashion, was consistent enough in its sinister and ignorantly blissful language. Now, Pump is only concerned (emphasis on “only”) with stunting on anyone he met as a wild teenager, specifically from his days in high school, hence the exhausting amount of references to the Ivy League institution. “Drop Out,” the flat-out annoying opener, takes on the spirit of Danish EDM as he *reflects* on his life as a *dropout*, spewing empty asininity like “Used to hotbox the bathroom at school” and “Teacher mad at me, ‘cause she knew I was right.” Perhaps the only redeemable aspects of Harverd Dropout are the all-star guest appearances. Apollonian reincarnate Lil Uzi Vert fits in perfectly with dizzying single “Multi Millionaire,” where he juxtaposes his own wealth, simultaneously referring to it as “sunny” and “cold.” West Coaster YG rolls through on “Stripper Name” with a verse that is perhaps too raunchy, but, nonetheless, more memorable than any Pump verse on the project. No one expected Lil Pump to grow up since his viral successes as a 16-year-old. Unfortunately, for those on his side, Harverd Dropout simply doesn’t prove that Pump is interested in anything more than being a (wait for it) coked-out fetus.
— daniel winogradoff
SPRING 2019 ALBUM REVIEWS
Lux Prima, Karen O & Danger Mouse
Helium, HOMESHAKE HOMESHAKE, the Quebec-based musical project stemming from Mac DeMarco’s former guitarist Peter Sagar, released their fourth studio album Helium. The band, known for their soothing sounds and beats, has managed to take that sound even further, but not necessarily for the better. HOMESHAKE increasingly strips down their music to its basics with each of their studio albums, and this is no exception. Helium is clearly influenced by experimental sounds and ambient music, but at points, the influences are taken to such far extremes that everything is slowed down to the point where it seems mundane and resembles background music that is easier to tune out than pay attention to. Having an entire minute of white noise on “Couch Cushion” and a basic synth covered by extremely manipulated vocals on “Salu Says Hi,” for example, seems extreme for HOMESHAKE’s art: it creates a drawn-out and painfully slow album that has one wondering how much longer it will last. The lyrics throughout the project seem to resemble a stream-of-consciousness that bounces back and forth between criticism of the digital media generation (“Everyone I know/ Lives in my cell phone”), overwhelming love (“Busy holding hands/ Got me smiling finally”) and a still sense of solitude and feeling lost (“I don’t feel like anything else/ Not sure how to deal with it”). This serves to create an extremely incohesive work, with only the sounds between the songs tying everything together.
Karen O is undoubtedly one of the most important figures of the 2000’s indie-rock landscape. As the front-woman for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen O consistently blended moments of intimacy with ones of anarchy, backed by dynamic soundscapes that pack as big of a punch as her voice does. Her latest album — and first in 5 years — sees her shedding some of those anarchistic tendencies for a more subdued approach towards self-exploration.
Lux Prima sees Karen O joining forces with another one of this millennium’s most dynamic artists, Danger Mouse. The sole producer on the collaborative album, his atmospheric, groove-driven production gives this album a wholly distinct sound. What makes Lux Prima so enticing is the seamless blend of Danger Mouse’s hypnotic, psych-pop production and Karen O’s soothing voice that works as an added layer onto the production. Though the majority of the track list revels in its grand, echoing spaces, there is no shortage of captivating melodies and driving rhythms that bridge the gap between auteur and pop tendencies. Nine tracks spread over 41 minutes, Lux Prima wastes no time building strong momentum that continues throughout the entire runtime, ending with the onetwo punch of “Reveries” and “Nox Lumina,” which brings back cues from the opening track. The result is an album that loops incredibly smoothly, demanding to be broadcasted across the galaxy to be played as the soundtrack for the cosmos, looped for millennia to come.
All of this is not to say that the entire album is flawed. The mellowness of the beats and annoyingly overt ambiance throughout strives to capture a dream-like aesthetic, which is actually accomplished. In addition, Helium does manage to capture a feeling of longing with extremely soothing synth patterns, creating a project that could be listened to at any point of the day.
— nina bosnjak
— logan rude SPRING 2019 / 9
10 / EMMIE
MOLLY BURCH HOMETOWN: LOS ANGELES CURRENTLY: AUSTIN
With a gentle wave, her eyes grow wide, and a soft smile appears as she floats over to where Iâ€™m standing. In the midst of SXSW, we manage to steal a moment of peace and tuck into the single quiet corner of a busy coffee shop on a breezy Austin afternoon.
WRITTEN BY: GEORDON WOLLNER
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: MORGAN WINSTON
“Being an artist during SXSW is strange,” Burch confesses, looking around the room at all the frantic comers and goers, coffee in hand. “You have to see shows in a different light. It’s not a real show, in a way.” Holding the phone close to her as she speaks in an attempt to get a clear recording in the now loud shop, we lean in closer. The shows of SXSW are for experimentation and exposure. Nothing is guaranteed, and each show and crowd is different. But before Burch was a regular SXSW performer and Austin local, she grew up in Los Angeles, where she discovered her natural voice at an early age. Drawn to artists she wanted to emulate — Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill, Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey to name a few — her passion for singing never left her. Seeking reprieve from the intimidating city lights and insincere characters, Burch abandoned the controlling hands of the City of Angels to attend college in North Carolina, where she studied the many female jazz vocalists that captivated her as a child. A year after graduation, still in North Carolina, she found herself lacking artistic integrity and was searching for another outlet. “I felt stunted creatively, and I just didn’t know what to do with my life,” she explains. “I was thinking about either moving back home to L.A. or a new place, and to me Austin felt like the safer choice, but also scarier because I didn’t know anybody! But the size of the city is more manageable. I think it was a good choice. It’s easier to meet supportive people.” Free of the competitive and shallow nature of Los Angeles, Burch found solace in Austin in 2013 and began to find her balance in life and art. “It feels really cozy. No one is in competition with each other … I like it,” she says with a smile. Now, after three rounds of SXSW, Burch is able to identify which moments are key for inner change and growth. Her writing now comes a little easier, as easy as it can be for writer and artist, and catering simple melodies to her voice is all part of the process. Currently promoting her sophomore release, First Flower, 12 / EMMIE
she has taken more pride in her voice and her performances, bringing a live five-piece band to every show while ditching her guitar to focus on and give more of her honest self on stage. (She often takes on both the roles of band leader and tour manager, to boot.) As if it were fated in the stars, Burch’s latest release includes a song entitled “Wild.” Over a wistful guitar, she repeatedly croons “She’s so wild,” and coolly yearns “I wish I was wilder soul.” For Burch, wildness takes on another meaning — not one of extraordinary circumstances or outlandish character. Instead, it’s about freedom. It’s about being liberated from the social anxiety that is tethered to the act of comparing oneself to others, to be free of the habit of idealizing other people and the weight that is carried with it. Unfortunately, in today’s world, it seems as if that weight of comparison and idealizing never truly goes away. We are always plugged into the happenings around us, easy to forget to think of ourselves first. ‘Wild’ offers us a chance to think introspectively: a through-the-looking-glass moment of reprieve to reconsider what we think of others and of ourselves. This idea carries throughout First Flower. Burch’s gentle, melancholic voice feels hopeful, lifting us off the ground into another space of reflection and longing. She’s a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with, despite being known for her calm, jazz-infused, smoky voice. Burch has settled into herself, moving her voice through these wide, wired inflections strong enough to make even the most hopeless of romantics believe in something more. From our 15-minutes in the coffee shop, I was reminded that though the road ahead might be blocked, there’s always another way. All you need is patience, perseverance, kindness, and trust in yourself. You don’t need to be loud. You don’t need to scream to get your point across. You have a choice on how you use your voice. And you can tell that to the boys.
SPRING 2019 / 13
14 / EMMIE
DJ HUIZIT HOMETOWN: CHENGDU, CHINA CURRENTLY: MADISON, WIS.
You might know Janaé Hu by her alias DJ Huizit. All the way from Chengdu, China, Janaé Hu, can do it all. She’s a DJ, visual artist, videographer, photographer, curator — the list goes on and on and on.
WRITTEN BY: MERCY XIONG
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: STEPHANIE BRINK
It was Hu’s mom that pushed her to pursue visual art. She reasoned with her at a young age and told her to focus on having an aesthetic and the ability to critique art. Asian moms are always right in their own ways, because now Hu is grateful that her mom insisted that she learn visual art, like painting and drawing. Even so, the DJ was interested in music as a child regardless of the number of times her mom denied her requests to learn piano, insisting she focus on visual arts. Since she didn’t have any musical training, Hu listened to music. A lot of music. Her infatuation grew when she accidentally stumbled upon her parents’ collection of CDs hidden away in an old-school suitcase. Celine Dion, Elvis Presley, Mariah Carey, old school R&B— anything you could dream of, they had it. Though she could not perform it, listening was enough to suffice her love for music. But how did her DJ career take off? It all started with her comprehensive music collection. If you walked through the halls of the Studio Learning Community in Sellery Hall, you could hear Hu “bump music hella loud in her dorm” daily. Her door was open to all and anyone could come and listen to music with her. Everybody on her floor knew to come to her room for some eclectic tracks. “People started telling me that I should be a DJ because my music was so good, but I wasn’t really prepared for it until sophomore year when I got into First Wave.” First Wave is the first UW-Madison scholarship program centered on the foundations of hip-hop and urban arts. Her cohort of brothers and sisters were one of the biggest advocates for Hu’s DJ career and couldn’t get enough of her music. At first, Hu was hesitant, but her cohort relentlessly praised her abilities and continuously pushed her to DJ, going as far as giving her a name — DJ Huizit. With endless support from her friends, Hu came around to DJing. She started to incorporate different 16 / EMMIE
music, sounds and visuals together for sets. Hu’s career as a DJ did not start on the big stage. “One of my friend’s birthday party was my first show,” she recalls, “and it totally sucked. People were vibing with it but there wasn’t really a lot of people.” Her eyes lit up with laughter and assured me she was playing good music. What followed was the birth of an up-and-rising DJ of multiple talents that has since done shows in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Madison and other cities around the United States, as well as shows in China. She details some of her notable shows including drunkenly DJing two New Year’s Eve parties back-toback in China and others being her friends coming out to support her shows, no matter where she plays. Her music has changed as well. She explains to me her process in picking songs, which mainly depends on the venue and her mood that night. Everything she plays, she vibes with. “I have a huge collection of music and I consistently absorb new music from different genres,” the DJ says, and goes off to list some of her favorite genres to play including house techno, Baltimore club, Latin music and everything in between. In particular, Hu emphasizes playing music for people of color during her Madison sets, which is why she mixes music from different cultures. With the lack of a music scene for people of color in Madison, she aims to make each performance a safe space for them. Although she has a strong grasp on her artistic vision, Hu says she doesn’t know where she’ll end up in five years. “I love art. I love visual art so much. I love crazy stuff. Oh, I love DJing as well,” she pauses, “I want to get more into music production. So, I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out a way to combine together everything I want to do. I guess that’s my dream.” Although her future may be uncertain like any other college student, two things are for sure—Huizit is here to stay and most importantly, to fuck shit up.
“I’m still trying to figure out a way to combine together everything I want to do. I guess that’s my dream.”
SPRING 2019 / 17
18 / EMMIE
LUCIEN PARKER HOMETOWN: MINNEAPOLIS CURRENTLY: MADISON, WIS.
All music careers have to start somewhere. For Lucien Parker, a 21-year-old singer and rapper from Minneapolis, the dream began in a University of Wisconsin-Madison dorm room in 2016.
WRITTEN BY: MALCOLM RICHARDSON & LOGAN RUDE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: MATT WEINBERGER
He recalls using a few pieces of cheap recording equipment to create a makeshift studio for himself and a group of nine or ten other artists on his floor. Huddled around the microphone in his dorm room, he recorded his first album, Black Sheep. In addition to his artistry, Parker also took the lead on mixing and mastering his project.
butter might come from in the next year and half,” Parker says. It’s become abundantly clear that strategy is at the forefront of his mind. “I think it’s just teaching artists that being an artist doesn’t mean you record all the time, and being successful doesn’t mean you have to be the person who is the center of attention all the time.”
“It came from the necessity of me and my friends being genuinely interested in just making and recording sonic pieces, and not being able to afford to go elsewhere to do it,” Parker says. “We did more in that year than I could have ever imagined.”
When discussing the hectic chain of events following the explosion of “Impossible,” one might expect Parker to speak excitedly or emphatically, reminiscing on what might be the most pivotal moment of his career so far. The funny thing is, he does the opposite. During the fall of 2018, Parker went on a two-and-a-half week tour in Europe, and he recalls it in a happy, yet calm-and-collected tone, almost to signal that a major breakthrough in his career was inevitable. Lucien Parker knows that he’s destined for big things.
Parker is pretty candid about the struggles of pursuing a rap career, especially in the midwest which, excluding Chicago, is somewhat of a barren wasteland for mainstream hip-hop culture. While Minneapolis and Madison lack the rich hip-hop culture one might find in cultural centers like Atlanta or New York City, Parker doesn’t let his location stop him from pursuing greatness. Over the past two years he’s put in countless hours working on his craft to make sure his legacy remains when he’s gone. And the grinding is starting to pay off. After a couple of chance placements on prominent Spotify playlists, Parker’s first major hit, “Impossible,” went viral in the spring of 2017. With more than a million streams to date on Spotify, the song gained enough traction to draw the attention of Hit the Ground Running, an LA-based company that focuses on placing music in television and film as part of a process called sync licensing. Several months and failed pitches passed until Lucien got an offer in the summer of 2017 to have the song placed in a new Marvel television series called Cloak and Dagger. Two days before the trailer for the show was set to drop, Lucien was told the song would serve as the musical accompaniment for the trailer’s premier, making “Impossible” the show’s new anthem. Then, the song blew up even more. While Parker himself attributes much of his recent success to the explosion of “Impossible,” it’s clear that there is much more at work. In a lot of ways the work ethic and genuine love for making music that Parker exudes seem to be just as important as the little bit of luck that went into having a viral hit. Now, he’s doing everything he can to capitalize on the opportunities he’s stumbled upon in the sync market, and he’s got big plans. “I think with sync licensing it’s been where our bread and 20 / EMMIE
Parker’s most recent album, Mephoria is a testament to his recent growth. From just a single listen, Parker’s deft rapping and increasingly melodic singing jumps out — a blend vaguely similar to what you might find on a Frank Ocean album. However, Parker’s influences aren’t limited to contemporary singers; he says he often looks to James Brown’s vocals for inspiration. It’s through his unique list of influences and tremendous work ethic that Parker develops an incredibly compelling sound that reaches beyond the hodge-podge of lookalike, lazy, aspiring rappers in today’s up-and-coming rap game where image has risen to the forefront. “I wanna be iconic. It’s not enough to have a sound or just an image any more,” Parker says. “What people want to buy into is a culture. When you create a subset of a culture, you become an icon.” Parker has a phenomenal understanding of how to construct a coherent song. A single listen to Mephoria will reveal pop melodies, ferocious bars and driving instrumentals. With a little bit more luck, Parker is set for a bigtime launch into a much larger spotlight. From the growth in his music to his aspirations to expand the Midwest’s sync licensing market, it’s clear that Parker spends all of his time and resources to make sure his work is sustainable. It’s driven by a long-term goal to make an impact. “It’s easy to be out here and get lost or to fade away,” Parker says. With his ambition more present than ever, that’s not going to happen any time soon.
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CRAZY CONCERT TALES FROM EMMIE STAFF
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Vampire Weekend made their triumphant return to Chicago by playing one of their very few shows of 2018 at Lollapalooza and then another set at the 1,100 capacity Metro in Wrigleyville. This was my first “no phones show;” employees confiscated any device we had and put them in securely locked bags that remained locked until their set was finished. Naturally, we were expecting something big. After a few live fan-favorites, frontman Ezra Koenig silenced the crowd and plugged his phone in to the aux. He played 4 1/2 new songs for fans after not releasing music since 2013. He backed up his actions with the comment, “Chicago, you are our true fans, you deserve a taste of this album.” Later in the set, my friends and I moshed to the front during “Walcott,” and Ezra came back out on stage before the encore holding a stack of real $2 bills and handed them out to the crowd. A few months later, I found out that my friend’s dad gave the stacks of bills to Ezra.
gave the stacks
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ASHLEY EVERS Boston Calling Music Festival. May 25th, 2018. It was BROCKHAMPTON’s first performance since allegations of sexual misconduct were made against SATURATION cover star Ameer Vann. As I surveyed the field of thousands, I was shook: It looked like I was the oldest person in the entire crowd. Every which way I saw salivating, brace-faced teens yearning to see the world’s hottest 22 / EMMIE
boy band perform live. However, it wasn’t too long before I realized that my quick judgment was oh so false. Several songs into the set, in my sweaty hue and all, I noticed a very large man working his way through the crowd. Slung across his shoulder was, what appeared to be, an unmoving elderly woman, approximately 60 years old. The man screamed in pure fear, urging people to move aside so he could get her to an ambulance. With one hand supporting the body on his shoulder, the man threw an array of stiff arms and uppercuts to nearby fans, clearing several square feet with each successive flail. It wasn’t too long before the man and unconscious woman made their way past me, and towards the back of the sea of people, never to be seen again. DAN WINOGRADOFF There was only one way to know about Alan Kingdom’s birthday party show; RSVPing via DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip’s email. When my friends and I got the address in my inbox, we headed out to what we assumed would be a theater. Instead, we found ourselves at a mid-size, empty warehouse in suburban Minneapolis. We double and triple checked the address, then hesitantly headed in. A hazy atmosphere full of dancing and dim lights greeted us, and we began to dance as caught the vibe of the night. As the night progressed, the warehouse filled while DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip mixed his tracks from a loft over-
looking the dance floor. Just as we began to forget how strange the event was, a project began playing hentai onto the wall near the dance floor for all to see. About half the crowd became focused on the hentai. The other half, unaware or emboldened by the development, continued dancing. My friends and I were in the distracted camp, and we decided it was time to leave the warehouse. MITCHELL ROSE The last week of my first semester at UW-Madison, Vince Staples performed at The Sett, still touring in support Summertime ‘06. I got to the show early to not only see the openers, but to make sure I had a spot front-and-center for Vince’s set. When Vince finally came out on stage, he carried with him a 12pack of Sprite™, which he has since become a brand sponsor for. With the 12-pack in tow, he walked to the center of the stage, leaned down, and personally handed me the soda, with explicit instructions to share the cans with the fans surrounding me. After asking fans if they were voting for Hillary or Bernie in the upcoming 2016 primary election, Vince dove into his set. Meanwhile the fans with Sprite cans cracked open the sweet lemon-lime nectar and sprayed it in the air in celebration. The bottom of my Nike Blazers are still sticky to this day. LOGAN RUDE
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There is a strange phenomena that happens to Jews who find themselves growing up in New York City. As a twelve year old kid, just as you’re getting into all the drama that comes along with puberty, you start going out to multiple parties every weekend. In that one year, you and all your friends start hitting the NYC Bar Mitzvah scene hard. These Bar Mitzvah parties range from being hosted in quaint west-side restaurants to the most happening downtown clubs. One Saturday night, I found myself at a party at Rockefeller Center. At first it seemed like a run-of-the-mill night: I was showing off all my skating skills from back when I took figure skating lessons. Then Flo Rida showed up. He started performing classics like “Low,” “In the Ayer” and “Right Round.” In the middle of his set, he took off his tank-top and threw it into the crowd. Being the tall boy I am, currently 6’ 5” and at the time not much shorter, I caught it. It reeked of cologne
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and was disturbingly damp. Nevertheless, I held on to that sweaty shirt for the rest of the night. Later that week, in my young entrepreneurial spirit, I traded the shirt with a friend for one-hundred dollars and a Nintendo DS. He chipped in a copy of New Super Mario Bros. I can only wonder what my friend did with the shirt. Nevertheless, I left feeling like a success, and I will forever appreciate Flo Rida in a way which I never imagined I would. MATT WEINBERGER I went to the Camp Flog Gnaw festival hosted by Tyler, the Creator, and the most anticipated set of the weekend was Kids See Ghosts. Since it was Kanye’s first time performing in a while, everyone was pushing their way up to get a better view. Somehow I managed to get to the front row, and with thousands of people pushing forward to attempt to get closer, it became harder and harder to breathe. The manager of the festival kept pushing Kanye’s set back until people stopped crowding the front rows. Eventually, Kanye’s performance started. Tyler, the Creator ended up coming into the crowd to watch the show, too. As soon as the set ended, my friends and I were still trying to recover, when suddenly we saw Kim Kardashian walk right in front of us with bodyguards. Following her was almost the entire Kardashian family, and Khloé was laughing while high-fiving us. After that, more celebrities walked by us and gave us all high fives (Jaden Smith, Don C, Big Boi and Lil Yachty to name a few). Then, I saw Tyler, the Creator, one of my personal heroes, and when he walked by I got to hold his hand for a couple of seconds.
IT WASN’T TOO LONG BEFORE THE MAN AND UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN MADE THEIR WAY
N PAST ME,EAND
.. N. ER TO B AI E V S E AG E N
In April of 2018, The Sett housed JPEGMAFIA fans who were curious to see how he would set up the stage. I expected there to be crazy visuals and aggressive slogans plastered all over the venue, but instead all he had was his Macbook on a table, plugged into an aux. He walked onto the stage to a roar, hit the spacebar on his laptop, and then he disappeared. As his music played, I noticed that people were constantly displaced in circles for no apparent reason, and then I realized it was him. Peggy jumped down into the crowd and just threw himself onto us as he rapped with an intensity I have never experienced before; it made his music sound that much better. He went to different parts crouched, danced, jumped, and the crowd joined. He did this for every song and I have not stopped listening to his music since.
TOWARDS THE BACK OF THE SEA OF PEOPLE, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN.
figure skating oR l k o F o t I lessons. Then hen w k c ing skills from ba
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LIVE 10 SONGS PRESENTED HERE NO HOLDS BARRED
Dirty Harry Gorillaz Demon Days Live at the Manchester Opera House (2011) Changes David Bowie A Reality Tour (2010) Dog Days Are Over Florence + The Machine MTV Unplugged (2012) Idioteque (Live in Oxford) Radiohead I Might Be Wrong (2001) EndOrs Toi Tame Impala Live Versions (2014)
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WIRE RECORDED LIVE
FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Hips Don’t Lie Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean Shakira Oral Fixation Tour Live (2007) BELIEVER Stuyedeyed Stuyedeyed on Audiotree Live (2018) Like a Prayer Madonna MDNA World Tour Live (2012) Stop Being Greedy DMX Woodstock ‘99 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted 2Pac & Snoop Dogg Live at the House of Blues (2005)
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POST ANIMAL POST ANIMAL POST ANIMAL
*GASP* ITâ€™S POST ANIMAL!
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WRITTEN BY: GEORDON WOLLNER
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: MORGAN WINSTON
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Your mind begins to wander. Different hues float around you, shades coiling and billowing into a single color P PU UL LS SIIN G NG AT TII N G. RADIIA R N This moment of transcendent radiation exists exclusively within the rampant surge of being that embodies Post Animal. Despite the ease with which others attribute their sound to contemporary artists or those of decades past, Post Animal’s sound is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before — one that creates an experience, or a special moment, if you will. I can’t speak for others and what they encounter when they hear that first note or deep-cutting riff, but for me, my mind takes me back to the basement of my childhood home, sunlight streaming in through the glass doors that overlook “The Land” (i.e. the woods behind our house) on a crisp fall day, the Wisconsin River extending out in the distance to my right. I imagine myself sitting on a quilt that’s been in the family since the 70s, sewn together with squares of burnt orange, charred brown, a few breaks of stained, dingy white and vibrant lime green patches, which I decided had no business being part of that quilt. Incense burns in the other room that holds my mother’s sewing machine and record player. This rooted sense of nostalgia always wafts over me when a Post Animal track is playing, having grown up listening to artists like The Doors and The Eagles on vinyl in that very same basement. There’s something raw and eerily scratchy, yet incurably optimistic, about the way Post Animal operates that makes genre-identifying much like the task of sticking a square block into a round hole (or trying to justify why lime green patches belong in an orange and brown quilt). Post Animal emanates an airy sentimentality that’s peaceful, but still a little dirty, like most memories of the past. Sitting around a table on a cloudy Sunday afternoon in Chicago with Dalton Allison, Jake Hirshland, Javi Reyes, Matt Williams and Wesley Toledo, we start tossing genres out, concluding their music has warped into something of a mix between “interplanetary simulation,” “Gameboy rock,” and “dino-pop” — which helps with defining their genre and simultaneously makes it that much harder. By not being just
one thing, they are many, and that is why they are the way they are. “We appreciate when people call us progressive, prog-rock,” Hirshland speaks for the group, sipping his venti iced coffee. “But we also always like to acknowledge that we make pop music, even though it can be heavy or … rockin’. Something a little weird, a little pop-y, a little heavy.” This heavy pop-rock-prog-psych-dino-interplanetary blend makes every melody, every riff, and every tune a triggering one. “We want everyone to feel about our genre the exact way that I do, or we do,” Hirshland continues, “but we used to be one thing and the newest release is completely different from the first thing, and now we also see the next thing. So, it’s nearly impossible for all of us to be on the same page.”
Not being on the same page is exactly what makes Post Animal so powerful. What they produce is distinct and stands apart from everything that clutters up contemporary music space. At the end of the day, I’d be worried if everyone listening was always on the same page as them. Post Animal exists in a constant state of “what the fuck, that’s weird.” But I like that. I love that wired energy of the unexpected, while being heavy and fresh at the same time. The Post Animal sound is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book of music (and who would ever choose the “safe” option, anyway?). What they offer is the opportunity to think differently, think weirdly, and understand that it’s okay to be different and weird and appreciate that as art, for what it is. You can operate within the same frequency as Post Animal, just never on the same wavelength. SPRING 2019 / 29
THE WILD ISSUE
Given this, an unidentifiable genre truthfully makes sense, considering they draw inspiration from the likes of Pink Floyd, Yellow, Black Sabbath, Rush, YES, Heart, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Ariana Grande. (Also, for the record: Charlie Puth and John Mayer rank as important influences for the group and can be frequently heard playing in their van.) “We love melodic things, we love heavy things … big-sounding things,” Williams, guitarist and dog emperor, chimes in. “Big ideas,” adds Allison after taking a sip of his grande iced coffee and the room lets out a sigh of agreement. Although progressively-minded, Post Animal never intentionally tried to be a certain kind of band from their inception. They never try to write an [enter any genre here] song. “We make it, then adapt it for the live set, then decide what it is after that,” Hirshland clarifies. Leaning forward on his chair, Reyes, wearing Dickies that look as if they’ve been soaked in mac & cheese (see photo, right) shares, “We were just listening to ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ by Ariana Grande and it makes me feel like I’m small in a large space and that’s more … heavy, in a way.”
“Pop music has as much good in it as the rest of the genres,” Hirshland states. “It’s not uncool to like pop music.” “Cool doesn’t exist,” Allison adds, casting a sidewards glance my way. Ultimately, it’s up to the listener, to you, to decide whether or not they successfully execute all their big ideas and big sound. In the meantime, we’ll be wrapped up in a never-ending emotion-laden time warp as we’re left to stew another burning question: What can we expect next from a group that’s pop, psych, prog and (sometimes) heavy? “Six more weeks of winter,” Williams says followed by a gasp. The entire thing is tight under wraps right now. “It’s a bit of an adventure into new territory,” Hirshland follows. “We’re getting into new … stuff.” “Not new ‘shit?” I ask. “I’ve gotta keep it clean. My mom is gonna read this,” he replies. 30 / EMMIE
A MESSAGE FROM POST ANIMAL: While instinctual rockin’ leads to rowdy tendencies, the guys of Post Animal would like to make something clear: be respectful. “Don’t fuck around at the show,” Allison demands. “Have fun, but if you’re making someone else have a worse time, that’s not good. Don’t limit others’ ability to protect themselves from what they don’t want to be a part of.” Hirshland adds, “We don’t condone people making other people feel uncomfortable or hurting people at our shows. That includes moshing, crowd surfing,” he counts on his fingers. “You gotta do it the right way.” You can be wild, without being scary. Get it? Got it? Good. Music truly runs in the family. Having known each other since they were younger, Allison and Williams guided the band through its humble beginnings, officially making their start in 2014. Hirshland was added to the mix by the two originators in Chicago, Joe Keery and Reyes were recruited not long after, along with Toledo, and a wise, brotherly bond has kept them close since. The comradery and Midwest linkage is felt in everything they do, which led them toward their debut album When I Think Of You In A Castle. Created during a time of upheaval and uncertainty for the band (on the verge of a possible breakup), it wholeheartedly represents the lighter, looser side of Post Animal, as a project all, at the time, six members could be part of. A go-to album for “easy summer rockin’,” the heavy pop tracks are more improvised and expressive. The clarity of this album allows you to catch each and every instrument, despite the erratic and gritty sound — a Post Animal trademark that has been cleaned up since the release of their two EPs: 2015’s Post Animal Perform the Most Curious Water Activities and 2017’s The Garden Series. Since their early days, regardless of their intent, and sometimes lack thereof, there has been an off-the-cuff hazy, eco-rich underbelly that has become quintessential to Post Animal’s aesthetic. When I Think Of You In A Castle cradles you with unbridled emotion and curious transitions that are, according to Toledo, “exploding in many different directions.” Already pushing both pop and heavy further out, what’s coming next is more intentional, only widening the spectrum. Without divulging too much more, we do know that we can expect a record that’s bigger sounding, more experimental, both instrumentally and lyrically, and lives in the shadows. “We’re officially stoked for something,” Williams says with a wink.
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Wild Sound in the Bottle: Recording and the American Tradition Today, we encounter the song in a variety of shapes and settings. The mass-distributed recording everyone sings along to seems like the quintessential place to start. But a composer or intense idealist might tell you the literal score â€” the printed notes on the staff â€” is where the song really exists. And, of course, there is the in-person, unmediated experience, coming ear-to-ear with the wild sound that a musician and their instrument emit in a room with you. 32 / EMMIE
Not long ago, the primary musical experience for the American listener was through a live, oral tradition of wild sound: a banjo-player blowing off steam on his front porch in a coal-mining town; a local Baptist choir practicing spirituals in a churchyard; a Cajun squeezebox wailing in a dancehall; all of it; wild sounds
that rang out across the nation all at once in fragments. Some of this music was written down, very little of it recorded, and most of it felt through fleeting moments and communal occasions.
art by noah laroia-nguyen
written by benny koziol
Such oral traditions are inherently unstable. When our memory fails or our participation declines, these musical treasures can easily vanish into limbo. Wild sound is always bordering on oblivion, silence, the moment when a tune is permanently forgotten. Songs that live among the people will also die with the people. From this very existential dilemma comes the mission of field recording. It was in 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, that a group of workers at the Library of Congress’ Music Division began collecting an “Archive of American Folk Songs.” The Library’s recording equipment was loaned out all across the country to regional song “collectors” who mobilized to capture whatever bits of music they could. Through the Works Progress Administration, hundreds of individuals were employed in various extensions of this cultural recording project. The mission was to unite as many fragments of American wild sound as possible into a cohesive, bigger picture of the folk tradition. This central compendium of the nation’s folk-songs would be preserved at the
Library of Congress. As Music Division Chief, Carl Engels wrote in 1928, “This collection should comprise all the poems and melodies that have sprung from our soil or have been transplanted here, and have been handed down… as a precious possession of our folk.” Engels understood the larger trends of technology and cultural consumption in his time. The oral folk song was inevitably losing ground to a new mass-mediated experience. On this matter, he wrote, “The preservation of this material in the remote haunts where it still flourishes is endangered by the spread of the radio and phonograph, which are diverting the attention of the people from their old heritage and are making them less dependent on it.” Here was an instinct of self-preservation from a nation faced with severe social and economic unrest. It’s quite telling that these field recording projects found their way into the agenda of The New Deal. The posterity of American folk culture was prioritized alongside the building of schools, roads, and bridges. Like
many infrastructure and education projects, field recording was used as a vehicle for employing the masses and advancing the common good. Here was a moment when we had come to understand the importance of our shared culture, the vast invisible canon of songs we had inherited. And, in the midst of national strife, we understood the very bleak prospect of losing it all. Today, the “recorded” is simply ubiquitous to our culture. Yes, wild sound still delights us, whether at social sing-alongs or stadium tours. But the streaming catalogue reigns as our definitive mode of consumption. Spotify and the likes are seemingly universal, eternal libraries of man’s achievement in music. The modern artist can access millions of ears simply by uploading content to Soundcloud. It would appear we have solved the whole problem of oblivion. Maybe we have. It seems the old cliché about “a tree fell in the forest” is horribly outdated now. We hear and perceive all the trees now. But it’s the forest that, unfortunately, doesn’t belong to us anymore. SPRING 2019 / 33
THE WILD ISSUE DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE
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WRITTEN BY: MERCY XIONG PHOTOGRAPHED BY: MORGAN WINSTON
THE WILD ISSUE DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE
According to her birth chart, Sasami Ashworth is a warm person who is very in touch with her feelings. Her Gemini Moon makes her charming but without her Leo Rising, Ashworth claims she would not be onstage today. “Being a Leo saves me because Cancer and Gemini are not performance confident types of people,” she says. “I would have been a barista poet if it weren’t for my Leo.” As an avid believer in astrology, Ashworth acknowledges it’s a way to get to know your weaknesses. “It’s like you have this thing to blame your weaknesses on, so you don’t have to pretend like it’s not true,” she says. “I am overly sensitive but it’s because I’m a Cancer!” And as a Cancer, she’s maternal and familial. Working with her brother on her debut album and featuring her grandma in the “Morning Comes” music video so she can “use the label’s money to make an advertisement for [her] grandmother’s kimchi” is a testament to that.
Since breaking out as a solo act, Ashworth has spent the past year touring non-stop. She has opened for Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, Blondie, Liz Phair, Soccer Mommy, and Snail Mail (just to name a few artists). But before starting her career as a touring musician, Ashworth already had a prolific music career. She studied classical music in college, majoring in French horn. After school, she went on to play in an orchestra, taught music to first graders in Los Angeles, composed film scores alongside Nate Walcott and contributed vocals and various arrangements to studio albums for some of your favorite indie bands. She had her hands in various outlets in the music industry that ultimately enhanced her artistic ambitions. Everything she did in her career led up to the release of her debut album SASAMI. Ashworth wrote SASAMI on her Notes app in her iPhone while touring. Any spare time between shows and cities was spent in the studio, which unquestionably paid off. SASAMI manages to conjure up distant memories of ex-loved ones through her soft voice backed by brilliantly arranged shogaze-y tracks.
GOING TO BE WILD.”
Cancer Sun. Gemini Moon. Leo Rising.
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THE WILD ISSUE DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE
Although she held basically every job in music, Ashworth still finds it hard to exist in an industry that is heavily dominated by men. As an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and touring musician, she spends her day proving to front-of-house staff that they should respect her and her work — that she deserves to be on stage. “It’s hard to be creative because you’re just using all your energy to just be respected in the music world, so that can be really frustrating.” Back in Los Angeles, Ashworth used to do benefit shows for Planned Parenthood. She fondly remembers one of her favorite shows she put on with her friends: With a stacked lineup including solo sets from Harmony from Girlpool, Melina from Jay Som — who could forget? What made the night even more memorable to the singer was the lack of men running the front-of-house. Not a man was in sight touching power cords or running sound. “The whole night was just an awesome moment where it was like ‘OK, men are not necessary in this game.’ It was possible to do it without them,” she gushed. And that’s one thing Ashworth definitely vouches for — more women doing technical and infrastructural jobs in the music industry. “I think any label can sign a woman of color to the roster but to have your A&R person, your head of PR, your label manager and all the people that actually work in the music industry to be women, says a lot more.” She goes on to call out those who believe there’s equality in the music industry just because
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festival lineups are starting to have more women. “There’s just so many other jobs in the music world that are still so male-dominated.” She explains that everyone offstage is male, and she compares it to going into a job as a boss while having every employee be a man. “You feel disempowered because you’re insecure, because there’s that imbalance of power.” On the other hand, Ashworth has spent time cultivating a respectful environment of workers in the music industry. Always surrounded by this supportive group of women in music, it can be easy for her to forget about the existence of misogynists. “There so many non-music-related jobs in the music industry that there are always going to be some dudes lurking in the corner somewhere, so it never ends.” She continues and eventually circles back to how she’s grateful to be in a supportive non-competitive community of women musicians who are also her good friends. Like every 28-year-old, Ashworth is trying to better herself and stay more present. The musician has been touring on and off since 2016, and the one thing she has a grip on is her music. She is unusually good at staying in control during sets (because she’s a Cancer!) but sometimes, she lets go of it all. “The universe is already heading toward entropy, just in its natural state, so if you don’t hold it together, it naturally just becomes wild. So, if you just let yourself do it the universe is telling you it’s probably going to be wild, you know.”
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DISQ HOMETOWN + CURRENTLY: MADISON, WIS.
On a particularly sunny afternoon in a central Texas park, we sat down with the Madison-based group, Disq. You may be wondering why we met in the Lone Star State when we could have just taken a stroll to the nearest coffee shop on State Street. While Disq hails from The Dairy State, this midwest group had the opportunity to play several shows at Austin, Texasâ€™ annual gathering of aspiring musicians, film nuts, gamers, and industry professionals: South by Southwest (SXSW).
WRITTEN BY: NATHAN HAHN
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: MORGAN WINSTON
Disq is comprised of Isaac DeBroux-Slone on guitar and vocals, Raina Bock on bass, Logan Severson on guitar, Shannon Connor on guitar and synthesizer, and Brendan Manley on drums. The band stems from a lifelong friendship between DeBroux-Slone and Bock, both of whom agreed their love for making music together spans as far back as the seventh grade. Playing with other musicians and bands over the next several years — Dash Hounds and a Weezer cover band to name a couple — allowed the pair the ability to perform in the way we see today. SXSW is just another rung on the ladder for these young musicians who are slowly climbing toward indie rock stardom. Disq released their debut album, Disq I in the summer of 2016, followed by their next release, Communication b/w Parallel 7” as part of Saddle Creek Records’ Document Series earlier this year. Critics are quick to classify Disq under the umbrella of power pop, but when asked how they would describe their sound to those who haven’t heard it before, Connor chimes in, “Poppy, nice, melodic music but played really loud and aggressively.” The rest of the band agreed, especially with the word: LOUD. The band is a pool of midwest attitude that harkens back to their small town, Wisconsin roots. Bock said they want this to be apparent to others when looking at their career. This attitude is expressed concisely in their music video for “Communication.” From sweeping, green forests to a farm covered in a midwinter’s snow, Disq wants you to know where they’re from and what they’re here to do. Seeing that this is our Wild issue, we wanted to checkin with Disq to see what “wild” means to them. Though answers varied with words like “spiritual” and “unencum40 / EMMIE
bered,” the band agreed that they had been using the term a lot more recently. Connor finished the sentiment by saying, “For the times we are living in, people need to be less afraid to be wild. Gotta be wild.” I remember that the first time I saw Disq play live, and I enjoyed their music. Toward the end of their show, they struck a tune that exclaimed, “I WANNA DIE.” This lyric, juxtaposed against a set full of relaxed melodies, was backed by a heavy, churning guitar riff that simply left you wanting more: more music, more angst and more information. When asked what inspired this striking lyric, DeBroux-Slone jokingly recounted writing it after a “stressful field trip or something.” He explained that the band would throw it into the end of a show occasionally to “whip out a wild ending.” While we may not all feel how DeBroux-Slone did that one day after school, Disq helped us to let go of our anxieties with a wild concert conclusion. As we sat in the grass finishing up our talk, we wanted to provide Disq a platform for any cause or belief they believe is important for their listeners to know about. It took a minute, but when Manley says, “Wear earplugs,” the band erupted in immediate agreement. Connor continues, “I am losing my hearing currently and it really fucking sucks. I have really bad tinnitus, and I’ve been militant about wearing earplugs the last year, year-and-a-half. There’s no reason to feel uncool or stupid if you wear earplugs…” Isaac went on to mention that there are types of earplugs you can purchase for better sound quality than a standard foam pair, and they are still relatively cheap. “You have your hearing for the rest of your life then,” he says. “And you know, we gotta play loud. That’s how we bring the hot thunder.”
“we gotta play loud. That’s how we bring the hot thunder.”
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KENNY HOOPLA HOMETOWN: CLEVELAND CURRENTLY: LOS ANGELES
Existentialism seems to constantly be running through Kenneth La’Ron Beasly’s mind. Wrapped up in a plurality of realities that are just as valid as the rest, his mind works in scribbles, constantly trying to process the legitimacy of each and every perspective for a given situation.
WRITTEN BY: LOGAN RUDE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: NIKOLAI HAGEN
“People tell me I’m a good performer, but I’m really just having a mental breakdown, and I’m venting. I guess it’s really that. That’s my energy,” Kenny says. “I just go hard every show because I could die after that.” His shows and his music exist as a place to explore and express the scattered thoughts in his mind. While his performances are a cathartic outlet for his emotions, he’s simultaneously aware of people’s expectations, and he does everything in his power to put on a wild and memorable show. From mosh pits to crowd surfing to amateur acrobatics on stage, his concerts are filled with unbridled excitement that captures an energy that only raw, unfiltered music can. Ever since I met Kenny two years ago, he’s maintained that his end goal is to create music that speaks to something greater — music that demands to be felt rather than simply listened to in passing. But the issue with capturing an indescribable feeling like the one he is after is that you can only talk about it by giving examples. Kenny asked if I remember the first time I ever heard The Killers’ now iconic song “Mr. Brightside,” to which I replied “Of course.” It’s a moment so heavily ingrained in my and so many other people’s consciousness as a moment of pure joy and escape from the world. When that song comes 44 / EMMIE
Now, he’s exploring different ways to create music that captures that feeling. Inspired by the sounds of his early youth and other recent discoveries, namely The Drums (especially frontman Jonny Pierce, who Kenny credits as his biggest inspiration), Passion Pit and Wolf Alice, Kenny’s music has drifted toward punk/rock-oriented sounds with infectious pop-influenced choruses to give an extra twist. It’s a shift toward music that disguises its underlying anxieties with sunnier sounds. The ideas of isolation still remain, but now they’re universal themes that speak to the feelings of a generation, wrapped up in instrumentation that fits seamlessly. Despite notable growth expressed by catchier melodies and increasingly poetic lyrics, Kenny remains his own worst critic, always hesitant to release new music for fear of it not meeting his own standards. Therein lies the paradox of KennyHoopla: constantly stuck between wanting to release music that very well could become the moment he’s searching for, and keeping it to himself in an attempt to keep refining it. Each release only sees the light of day when Kenny reaches a point where he would be satisfied with that music being the last thing the world ever heard from him. “The heart in me hasn’t felt the heart in anything,” Kenny says. “I just be sad as fuck, but I’m trying to make something out of it.”
When we started talking late one Sunday night in early March, he was on his third watch-through of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video. “I’m just like hating myself because I’ll never make something beautiful, and it really sucks, but I also feel inspired,” he said before going on to praise the beautiful simplicity of Kurt Cobain’s now-vintage outfit in the video. Cobain’s likeness and impact on popular culture has become inseparable from his struggles with depression, and that mythos is something that rings true with Kenny’s music.
“I’m just trying to make a moment. I want people to feel what I’m feeling,” Kenny says. “I want you to really be there with me when you hear the song and for it to be forever. It’s something only I’ll know… until I make it.”
The title holds a sense of uncertainty and unease that’s existed as a through line in all of Kenny’s music to date. There can be no rest or no peace until we find some sort of personal meaning in the constant motion of our lives. Sometimes that meaning comes and goes in waves, forcing us to live feeling disconnected from the beauty around us.
Growing up, Kenny split his time between Cleveland and Oshkosh, Wis., and death was always around the corner, creeping, waiting for another chance to strike. Beneath the Willow Tree, much like Kenny’s musical output since, has worked as an outlet to explore the complexities of life and death. It’s that constant hyper-awareness of death that continues to drive his art now — a motivator to create music that will last long after his time comes to an end.
on, people relive their favorite memories associated with it. Kenny wants his music to have the same effect.
There is no denying that KennyHoopla is as authentic as they come. He makes an interesting point though: just because he’s being himself doesn’t inherently make his music good. That self-awareness mixed with self-critique drives him to continuously refine his craft, holding on to his emotions as fuel for his creativity — sometimes more successfully than others. In the late spring of 2019, Kenny plans on releasing his next EP, tentatively titled How Will I Rest in Peace if I’m Buried by the Highway.
Better known as KennyHoopla, the 22-year-old artist had his debut in the fall of 2016, with the release of his EP, Beneath the Willow Tree. Loaded with dark, dreary production, and slightly reminiscent of WZRD-era Kid Cudi but much less polished, the project explored the cavernous isolation of mental illness and personal loss.
suggestive DO NOT INAPPROPRIATE DO NOT LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN ADVISORY DO NOT LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN ADVISORY DO NOT LISTEN INAPPROPRIATE ADVISORY DO NOT LISTEN SUGGESTIVECONTENT 46 / EMMIE
LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN suggestive INAPPROPRIATE DO NOT LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN ADVISORY DO NOT LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN DO NOT LISTEN ADVISORY DO NOT LISTEN INAPPROPRIATE ADVISORY DO NOT LISTEN SUGGESTIVE CONTENT DO NOT LISTEN Stan EMINEM
The Pill LORETTA LYNN
Fuck tha Police N.W.A.
Light My Fire THE DOORS
If U Seek Amy BRITNEY SPEARS
God Save The Queen SEX PISTOLS
Pumped Up Kicks FOSTER THE PEOPLE
Puff the Magic Dragon PETER, PAUL AND MARY
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds THE BEATLES
Killing in the Name of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
ART BY: BRI BAILEY
HOT TAKES 48 / EMMIE
deliberately provocative commentary
Khalid let his ego get in the way of his music. - @ashleyaevers
Yung Gravy is actually good. - matt weinberger
Young Thug is a top 5 hip-hop artist. - @loganrude_
Tupac is super overrated. - christian zimonick
Brockhampton is NOT the best boy band since One Direction. - @ycrxm
Skrillex is one of the top ten most influential artists of the 21st century. - @rosemitchell17
All concerts should be seated. - @loganrude_
People shouldn’t separate the art from the artist. - @guppy_boi
People who talk about how they hate country music are somehow more annoying than country music. - christian zimonick
Cardi B isn’t very good. - deeba abrishamchi
The Beach Boys are a significantly better band than the Beatles. - @loganrude_ Anthony Fantano sucks. - @ycrxm Solange is better than Beyoncé. - stephanie brink
Travis Scott isn’t good live. - @arovitz16 Kanye West hasn’t made his best album yet. - @guppy_boi
Drake has always been really good. - @postanimal SPRING 2019 / 49
CONCERT CONCERT GALLERY GALLERY
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HIPPIE SABOTAGE PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIEL KLUGMAN
IAN SWEET PHOTOGRAPHED BY MATT WEINBERGER
KING PRINCESS PHOTOGRAPHED BY MORGAN WINSTON
STONEFIELD PHOTOGRAPHED BY GEORDON WOLLNER
SPRING 2019 / 53
WET PHOTOGRAPHED BY ASHLEY EVERS
54 / EMMIE KILO KISH PHOTOGRAPHED BY ASHLEY EVERS
BALI BABY PHOTOGRAPHED BY MATT WEINBERGER
COLONY HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIEL KLUGMAN
VUNDABAR PHOTOGRAPHED BY MORGAN WINSTON
56 / EMMIE SWITCHFOOT PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIEL KLUGMAN
YOUNG THE GIANT PHOTOGRAPHED BY MORGAN WINSTON
KING TUFF PHOTOGRAPHED BY GEORDON WOLLNER
SPECIAL THANKS TO: WISCONSIN UNION PRESIDENT mills botham Through the publishing of our seven student-run journals and magazines, the Publications Committee of the Wisconsin Union Directorate provides a creative outlet for UW-Madison students interested in creating poetry and prose, reporting on music and fashion, or delving into research in science and public policy. We celebrate creativity on campus by providing hands-on experience in publishing, editing, writing, and artmaking.
PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE DIRECTOR fernanda martinez PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE ADVISOR jen farley
Featuring: POST ANIMAL Molly Burch DJ Huizit Lucien Parker KennyHoopla Disq Plus, an exclusive digital interview with Sasami. Spri...
Published on May 3, 2019
Featuring: POST ANIMAL Molly Burch DJ Huizit Lucien Parker KennyHoopla Disq Plus, an exclusive digital interview with Sasami. Spri...