Page 1


magazine May/Jun 2014

PlayThink Movement & Flow Arts Festival

The Lexington Comic & Toy Convention Dream the Electric Sleep Tha U & HERO


Community-Conscious Sponsors

Hair Razors Salon 859-233-4488

Flashpoint Magazine is free thanks to our awesome sponsors. When you’re finished, please pass your copy forward so someone else can enjoy it!

If you’re interested in spreading the word about Lexington’s artistic community, sponsorship packages start as low as $50. For more info, contact Info@FlashpointMagazine.com


CONTENTS 11

THE EPIDEMIC OF POPULAR CULTURE Local Talent at the Lexington Comic & Toy Con

by Daryl Janisch & Bronson O’Quinn

YOU CAN’T STOP PROGRESS An Interview with Dream the Electric Sleep by Matt Renfrow

7 STATE OF THA UNION Building Community Through Unity by David Laurenvil

18

LIKE A CHILD PlayThink Movement and Flow Arts Festival

2 by Samantha Jean Moore


Letter from the Editors LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, a sprawling city of over 300,000 citizens, was once referred to as “the Athens of the West”. Project: Flashpoint is here to reclaim that title. Our community is on the precipice of something huge; we’re riding a momentous wave of artistic consciousness, a wave that is ready to crest and crash in a swift and powerful way. P:F and Flashpoint Magazine are the forces of nature primed to act as the catalyst for positive change and growth within this community. As a co-op of young artists and entrepreneurs, this magazine seeks to facilitate a spark of creative cultural growth by unifying the artistic community and encouraging cross-medium and cross-genre collaboration via new-media platforms while P:F will host frequent and varying cultural events. This initiative only progresses when socially conscious individuals step forward and encourage the positive growth of Lexington’s arts and entertainment community. As the founders of the P:F movement, we cannot guarantee our readers will love every new artist presented to them, nor can we promise a torrent of new followers for artists to bedazzle, however we solemnly believe the readers of Flashpoint Magazine will find enjoyment and inspiration in new and unforeseen places. We promise that your mind will be expanded and your heart will grow to appreciate and take pride in the artists you’ve unknowingly shared the roads, sidewalks, bars, and coffee shops with. Yours Truly,

Zachary P. Dearing

Zachary Paul Dearing

David Laurenvil

David Laurenvil

2

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March April 2014


Credits EDITORS IN CHIEF

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Zachary Dearing David Laurenvil

Daryl Janisch Bronson O’Quinn Matt Renfrow

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Bronson O’Quinn

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Bronson O’Quinn

PROOFREADERS Zachary Dearing Daryl Janisch David Laurenvil Bronson O’Quinn Matt Renfrow

WRITERS

Daryl Janisch David Laurenvil Samantha Jean Moore Bronson O’Quinn Matt Renfrow

Erica Chambers Dream the Electric Sleep Tha U Brandon Turner L.A. Watson

IMAGES PROVIDED BY

Tressina Bowling Andrew Heath Stevie Moore Justin Stewart Sara Turner

Copyright © 2014 Flashpoint Ltd., Co. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without express written consent is prohibited, especially since we’ll probably give you permission if you’re pretty cool and not doing something lame. For inquiries regarding rights, permissions, and other such practices, contact Info@FlashpointMagazine.com.

March/April 2014

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine

3


Like a Child O

The PlayThink Movement and Flow Arts Festival by Samantha Jean Moore photos by Erica Chambers

nce upon a time… She packed up her world and drove to a land of pure imagination, where the music never ceased, and the colors danced ‘til dawn. She let her hair grow wild; her skin embraced the sun; her eyes delighted in the endless beauty of her company, adorned like birds of paradise, flowing like iridescent waves in the green valleys of hidden foothills. She had forgotten that traveling to a new world had nothing to do with the landscape, and everything to do with changing her mind. At first, she questioned her importance to them, she devalued her own gifts until they became all that she had left to share. And when she did decide to share her spirit with the world, she fell witness to a feast of offerings! The transformation was total, and the old world, destroyed. And together they rejoiced in the perfection that came when all of our ragged parts fit seamlessly together. The joy of community. This is my story of exiting conventional reality and contributing to the construction of the space known as PlayThink. It is also the story of how I met Paige Hankla, who plays the hero of this tale, serving as creator, ambassador, promoter, and performer, and all around insurer of happiness and safety at PlayThink Movement Festival. And above all else, this is a story of a triumphant community, that can only exist when willing hearts are courageous enough to perform…


PlayThink! Movement Festival

It began like one of those anxiety-ridden trips to some dead end country road, afraid I might run out of gas or meet the end of a double-barreled shotgun. I felt completely lost until finally spotting a tiny painted sign stating simply “festival” with an arrow pointed in the direction I was driving. Triumph! Relief! I was on a long and winding road to somewhere. And soon enough, it ended in a pile of cars nicely nestled into the hillside. It was like a dream. I stepped lightly on a tiny bridge that crossed the shallow creek bed. And for a moment I stood mesmerized by sparkling water and the laughter of children discovering a new world among the pebbles. My first great observation was that they were wholly unattended and some of them were naked. It’s important to note the distinction here between an observation and a judgment. In general, I could care less about a shortage of rules or clothing, I merely wish to point out that in most situations, unattended naked children are strictly prohibited. But it was exactly this sighting of fully free, ungendered and unencumbered beings that let me know I was in a very good place. She must have read my mind at that moment because she met me with her trademark playful smile which seemed to say “I know, right?” I crossed the bridge and Paige Hankla escorted me graciously into the world that she manifested. To be precise, Paige Hankla serves as creator, ambassador, promoter, performer, and all around insurer of happiness and safety at PlayThink Movement Festival. She’s a good Southern woman with a penchant for lighting hula-hoops on fire, and a playful instructor who gets lost in her own flow. She’s wild, but balanced, and remains calm under pressure. Her composure and humility were best highlighted while being responsible for stilt-walkers, fire dancers, acrobats, and plenty of frugal


PlayThink Movement Festival

6

families with extremely specific dietary specifications; she did it all with the grace and smiling face of someone who just feels good to be outside today. And here she was, absolutely in her element. Her hair was swept back, and brightly colored feathers peaked through, as if they were her own. Her yoga pants bore cosmic patterns of galaxies and shooting stars. She glided barefoot along the soft grass, her arms pointing out landmarks, but she could have been dancing. “Are you vegetarian?” She looked back at me. “No,” I answered almost shamefully, “but everyone always asks.” “Well, we try hard to respect everyone’s lifestyle. That is the mess hall.” She points to a happy tin-roofed shed festooned with a cow bell. “Some beautiful volunteers are cooking up delicious community meals, all gluten free, with vegetarian and vegan options.” “Community meals?” I was even more ashamed to be unsure of what she meant. “Yeah, basically it’s free food and we all eat together. When you hear the bell, you’ll see people come runnin’. And if you have your own bowl, bring it. They have disposables, but anything we can do to save the environment, ya know.” She proceeded to show me the pavilion which housed a stage and sound system along with swings and hoops hanging from the ceiling. “There’s music and dancing here every night, and the belly dancing class will be starting soon.” Several gypsy-clad ladies were making their way from the field, scarves trailing behind them. “There’s sunrise and sunset yoga, and all kinds of fun workshops all day; you pretty much just need to walk around and see. Feel free to park your car and pitch a tent wherever there is room. And yeah! I have to go teach a hoops class.” She gave a bright wave and was off. It was so simple, I was almost confused. No map? Wasn’t necessary. Anywhere you stood, you could easily see the entirety of the site. A quick survey proved there was nowhere to buy beer. Just saying. In truth, the hillside was void of any food stands or branded billboards of any kind. But there were plenty of vendors, all local craftspeople selling their handmade goods at reasonable prices. So it was definitely different, and absolutely a place where I could get down. I made the rounds and

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March/April 2014


PlayThink Movement Festival discovered there certainly was beer and moonshine and delicious food, just in controlled quantities. No excess, no fluff, just enough for everyone to be filled and have a good time. Artists weren’t there to make tons of money; they got to share their craft with humble admirers and hopefully cover the cost of their tickets. In many cases, folks were simply trading and enjoying one another’s work. It was a beautiful reflection of true community, a stark contrast from the cesspool of greed and wanton consumerism that floats most well-known festivals. It was impressive. And at the end of the weekend, I left the mountains behind, but I took the spirit of PlayThink with me. I later asked Paige how the whole thing started, and I was surprised by what she had to say. Paige certainly reigns supreme among hoopers in Lexington, but it took her many years of spinning before she spiraled into flowarts fame. “Hoopers can be very exclusive, or at least, really intimidating!” It was hard to hear this from such an accomplished performer, but I know how she feels. I have often been afraid to try new things, especially physical activities, because I’m afraid of messing up in front of other people. This sort of fear often begins in childhood and gets worse as we get older and become more socially restricted. Paige didn’t want to feel like her performance wasn’t good enough, and she didn’t want others to suffer that shame. So she designed a world where she and others could practice freely. PlayThink was born as a response to other festivals…a better option. Paige Hankla has truly given life to something beautiful, but she will be the first one to tell you, it takes a village... “This whole thing depends on people willing to volunteer. Without them, there is no festival.” PlayThink aims to create a safe environment where all people are encouraged to participate and perform some type of service. Whether it is fundraising, teaching a class, or cleaning up after the show, Paige notes that every job is of equal importance. This triumphant community only exists when willing hearts are courageous enough to recognize their talents and decide to share them. It’s no coincidence that this Movement Festival is itself a social movement and a beautiful metaphor for how we should live our lives. It promotes high ideals of social responsibility, noting that we must all contribute so that we might all enjoy the benefits. It also shows us how important artists

March/April 2014

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine

7


PlayThink Movement Festival and performers are to our community, because, without them, our lives would be utterly boring. It proves that we need more than just the practical, structural elements of life. We also need fire dancers and face painters and storytellers and the people who enjoy all these things. Paige knew she couldn’t do it by herself, but she had faith in so many talented people around her and knew that together they could develop a new world. Her website provides beautiful imagery of Paige’s vision for an inclusive, collaborative safe-haven for self-expression. Simply put, it’s a world where kids run naked and free. It also encourages adults to reconnect with that playful inner child, but teaches us to do so in an engaged and respectful manner. You owe it to yourself and those around you to offer up some form of charitable and creative service. It’s not an obligation, but a privilege, to know that you are an amazing unique creature with exclusive talents and tradable skills. Face it: there is something undeniably great about you. And it’s your job to share it. Don’t waste time trying to be perfect, and instead just realize that people are waiting for you to bring whatever you’ve got to the table. If you don’t like what’s being offered, create a

8

better option, and make sure it’s inclusive so that more members of the community can benefit from your work. And keep a special place in your heart for children. Because while it’s our job to contribute all we can, it is the duty of children to absorb all that they can, and they can’t do their best unless the grownups live up to that standard—so you better give them lots of good things to soak up! If you truly want to escape your reality, try changing your normal routine. Find new ways to spend your time that will be fulfilling to you. A community arts festival is certainly a great place to pick up a new hobby. And don’t feel like you have to be a certain kind of person to participate. You may question your own level of creativity, but I promise: your childlike imagination still knows how to PLAY! I invite you to join the movement. You can start by finding them on Facebook @PlayThink Movement Festival and @PlayThink 2014, or their website at PlayThinkFest.com. The group is planning a Pre-Party on March 9th at a new gym called the Urban Ninja Project on 3500 Arbor Drive in Lexington.

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March/April 2014


State of Tha Union Building Community through Unity by David Laurenvil

photos by Brandon Turner

Note: This article contains several quotes from different members of Tha U, who all wish to remain anonymous for the purpose of conveying one cohesive voice and message.

G

angsta rap is known to be coarse on its surface. But penetrate to the core of the most rugged mountain and you’re sure to find gems and rubies, jewels and precious stones, the foundations from which the mountain top peaks. Molded by the pressures of society, cut by the struggle to survive, and polished by their will to succeed, Tha U represents the shining light and luster of local hip-hop, the diamond in the rough that Lexington has to offer. Referring to themselves as “U-Tang Deep!” and to their music as “Mid-South” and “conscious rap”, Tha U is Lexington’s Wu-Tang Clan. Established in 2006, Tha U encompasses 13 artists and exhibits a range of talent. “We rap, sing, do poetry, art, and most of all make songs. Real songs. Tha U is naturally diverse when it comes to the types of music we like and

March/April 2014

do. We do rock, we do hardcore rap, we can make pop songs. And all of it has a conscious undertone.” A dynamic crew of “childhood friends and friends of those friends”, what brought members of Tha U together was a downturn in the economy. “In 2006, a number of us were having a hard time finding employment, and at the same time we were thinking of a way to give back to the community.” […] “Growing up in Lexington, programs like Micro City Government would employ the youth and keep them engaged in the community. Programs like that and many others are now gone, so collectively we decided that we wanted to start a similar type of program that could employ and engage the youth. The first project started with community cleanup, starting in the Northside subdivision of Marlboro, cleaning a neighbor’s

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine

9


Tha U

10

untamed yard. Everyone also had desires to be rappers in the music industry, too, and even though we all worked on music, we had never really worked together until it was time to shoot Ike Brown’s video for “Dirty Game”. From that experience we all naturally continued to gravitate towards one another, getting more organized and turning our ideas and dreams into reality.” Forgoing their solo individual projects, each member joined Tha U in order to focus on a common goal: to better themselves and their community. They set out to build a platform that would not only refine the more experienced artists, but that would also develop the younger artists to achieve their aspirations. “We are helping each other to become better men where it matters most, and that is in our own homes. We support each other and are helping each other to build towards becoming better fathers, brothers, sons, friends, community members… better men.”

Their unity and common goal culminated in 2009 with the creation of the Hometown Environmental Restoration Operation (or HERO), which focuses on uplifting the community. “Starting with community cleanup, HERO has evolved into incorporating environmental awareness, promoting Kentucky’s beautiful landscape, bringing more family-oriented activities back to the communities, and plans to building homes with Habitat for Humanity starting Spring of 2014.” In their constant endeavors to develop themselves, their community, and their crafts, Tha U boasts a juggernaut of community activities and creative musical content. From a performance at Douglas Park, to multiple album releases, to a torrent of online music videos, Tha U is surely rising to the top, albeit a slow grassroots progression. Although their hustle and musical catalog are prolific, making it in Lexington is just as hard as making it anywhere else. It’s difficult to find anyone in Lexington’s indie scene that has heard of them. Their lack of exposure could properly be linked to a lack of venues willing to book them from fear of drawing in “the wrong crowd”, a phrase repeatedly uttered by local live entertainment establishments. Another attribute which adds to their unfamiliarity is the demographics they have to appeal to. Lexington seems to prefer indie rock, pop, and folk to anything rap or hip-hop. But that doesn’t deter Tha U. Not one bit. “Our music speaks for itself. Our packaging and presentation is professional and we are showing and proving that we have a voice and we have something to say. The size of our group has also caused difficulties because of perception. People get nervous when they see a group of young black men together and assume that we are up to no good. But that is what Tha U is here to do, show otherwise. However, the size of our (continued on page 12)

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March/April 2014


Tha U

“Everyone is talented in their own right and when you have this much talent working together towards a common goal, the results are magical.�

March/April 2014

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine 11


Tha U

group is also an advantage because everyone brings something to the table. Everyone is talented in their own right and when you have this much talent working together towards a common goal, the results are magical. […] We literally have to create or make a way for ourselves, but that is OK. It is what drives our success, having to forge our own way.” What Tha U most signifies is a creative spark and shining light for the growth and unity of Lexington. “Lexington has and has always had a wealth of talent in music. There is so much untapped, dope talent in Lexington, and we see Lexington being a pipeline to the industry. For the indie scene to really take off, it is going to take exactly what we stand for, and that is unity. Clubs are going to have to work together, artists are going to have to work together, promoters are going to have to work together, and the music genres are going to have to come together so that, collectively, Lexington can make a bigger impact. […] We feel that Tha U can not only fit in the mix, but stir up the pitcher, too.”

12

Tha U is currently promoting their first collaborative debut album, State of Tha Union, and the release of their second album, Blakk Starzz Rizin, set for release 2014. The group’s members consist of J-hurt, Yung Dreadz, Ike Brown, Strong, Half-Breed, Al-Money,Lil Pimp,Telle Tel, Jp, Action, Ray-Ray, Tone, J-Henn, Jay Rice, Major Bobit, and DJ. For more information about Tha U, visit UVizion.com

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

photos of HERO provided by Tha U

March/April 2014


The Epidemic of Popular Culture I Local Talent at the Lexington Comic and Toy Con

by Daryl Janisch & Bronson O’Quinn

image by Tressina Bowling

image by Justin Stewart

f zombie comics have taught us anything, it’s that you can’t escape infection. And while some view the infiltration of popular culture as a virus mortally endangering local identity, others view it as a vaccination, a way to borrow healthy antibodies and become stronger than ever before. When the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention opens its doors on March 14th, Lexingtonians won’t just be the ones ambling about to feast on vinyl toys and superhero posters; they’ll be selling them, too. Event executive Jarrod Greer created the event for local artists of a particular mindset to join forces. “I like getting folks to say, ‘How do we get this to happen?’” He says the show gives them a chance to collaborate and “show off their stuff that they’ve worked on all year.” When Flashpoint Magazine interviewed several of the local artists exhibiting their art at the Lexington Comic & Toy Conven-

March/April 2014

tion, we found that they believe—among other things—that artists should work together (or at least in close proximity). Given a pile of money, cartoonist/colorist/designer Justin Stewart said, “I’d open a studio with multiple artists and styles, like the Periscope Studio in Portland.” Sara Turner (of the Bread Box’s Cricket Press) said she’d “love to invest in a large, group gallery space.” You also have paleoartist Stevie Moore who teaches art and design all around town (currently at the Lexington Public Library’s Northside Digital Studio), Andrew Stewart, who enjoys using his graphic design expertise to create minimalistic pieces with mass appeal, and Tressina Bowling, who started the Beaucoup Pop podcast with Justin Stewart and friends (Kerry and Matt) to discuss popular culture. Conventions like the Lexington Comic & Toy Con aren’t about giving us pop culture zombies a place to feast privately; they’re about sharing the meal.

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine 13


Lexington Comic & Toy Convention

Justin Stewart Specializing in cartoony, exaggerated characters, Stewart’s done work for Marvel, Image Comics, Graphitti Designs, AAM/Markosia, Viper, and Zenoscope. He even made an “animation character bible” for a Disney show that never made it to air.

“Do work. Show it to people. Don’t be a jerk.”

-Justin Stewart

Stewart’s also a comic book colorist, letterer, and designer. “All facets of art exercise different parts of my brain.”

See more from Justin Stewart at Justin3000.com

14

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March April 2014


Lexington Comic & Toy Convention

“I like to support other women in comics, as creators and readers.”

Tressina Bowling

-Tressina Bowling

Dracullama (below) feeds off people’s “drama”. Created during the 30 Characters Challenge, Tressina then made a full comic of him during 24 Hour Comics Day.

Tressina (second from the left) chats with Justin Stewart (far right), Matt (far left), and Kerry (third from the left) on the Beaucoup Pop podcast (at BeaucoupPop.blogspot.com), the official podcast of the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention.

March/April 2014

You can find Tressa’s work at TressinaArt.blogspot.com

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine 15


Lexington Comic & Toy Convention

Sara Turner

“Constantly stay busy, constantly keep making something.”

-Sara Turner

“I think the thought that fine art needs to be expensive is slowly dissolving.” -Sara Turner

Sara Turner started illustrating comic books in 2002. Her Ghosts of Pineville series combines her love of scary stories with “themes of childhood adventure and explorations.” She runs Cricket Press with her husband, Brian, but both work independently. And even though they don’t print other people’s material, they do host plenty of community events. “Hey You Guys!” celebrated 1980’s culture on February 4th at West Sixth’s Bread Box Artist Studio. You can find more of Sara Turner’s art at GhostsofPineville.com & Cricket-Press.com

16

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March/April 2014


Lexington Comic & Toy Convention

Stevie Moore

Stevie Moore is a painter, graphic designer, and illustrator from Lexington, Kentucky. Stevie works in both traditional oil painting and digital illustration. Since graduating from the University of Kentucky in 2005 with a BA in Fine Arts, Stevie has freelanced through his company, StudioSpectre. In addition to creating imaginative prehistoric dioramas, Sci-Fi creatures, and fantasy landscapes, Stevie enjoys teaching traditional and digital art classes at local organizations. Stevie is committed to the craft of illustration and views being an artist as a lifelong journey of learning and creativity. Find more from Stevie Moore at StudioSpectre.com

“Bust your ass early. It’s better than being late.”

-Stevie Moore

“Every day I do some art.”

-Stevie Moore

March/April 2014

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine 17


Lexington Comic & Toy Convention

Andrew

What parts of the comic/toy genre do our featured artists love the most? “My favorite book is New Gods by Jack Kirby. I love Star Wars, too. I have an addiction to custom vinyl toys as well.”

-Justin Stewart

“I’m a big toy collector, and I love a broad spectrum of comics. I really love books like Chew, The Maxx, Y The Last Man, and anything by Faith Erin Hicks.”

Heath’s minimalist style combined with a loving attention to pop culture icons has earned him a bit of a following on the internet. You can find his work entertaining gallery patrons in New York or Los Angeles, or at conventions. And just like the rest of our featured artists, Heath does a lot of freelance work, even for a few non-profits.

-Tressina Bowling

“I’ve always been a fan of scary stories, ghost stories. The horror genre has always inspired my work.” -Sara Turner

“Science fiction, fantasy, and science. And The Walking Dead.”

background image by Andrew Heath

-Stevie Moore

18

“I’m pretty well rounded when it comes to pop culture. Growing up, I was involved in games, comics, movies, toys, cartoons, and pretty much anything else you could think of. Currently, I’ve started revisiting my favorite 80’s movies, classic Nintendo games, and some toy collecting (I have conventions to thank for getting me back into that one). ...Oh yeah, and Ghostbusters. Always Ghostbusters.

“Take Risks while you can.” -Andrew Heath

-Andrew Heath

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March/April 2014


Lexington Comic & Toy Convention

Heath

“I’m really big into graphic design more so than traditional art. That’s where I get a lot of my inspiration.” -Andrew Heath

To see more of Heath’s work, check out Andrew-Heath.com March/April 2014

You can find these artists along with 120+ exhibitors, nearly 100 vendors, and over 90 special celebrity guests at this year’s Lexington Comic & Toy Convention on March 12-14 You can find more information at LexingtonComicCon.com

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine 19


20

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March/April 2014


YOU CAN’T STOP

PROGRESS An Interview With

DREAM THE ELECTRIC SLEEP by Matt Renfrow photos by L.A. Watson

Rarely does a band’s debut album receive massive acclaim worldwide without garnering fame and fortune, even in its own hometown. Yet that is just what happened with Lexington’s own Dream the Electric Sleep. After 2011’s widely acclaimed debut album Lost and Gone Forever, Matt Page, Chris Tackett, and Joey Waters spent the better part of the past three years crafting their follow-up—Heretics—which was released on January 31st. I recently caught up with the band to discuss the difficulties of being a band in the internet age, the inspiration behind their new album, and trying to gain the same recognition in Lexington as they have everywhere else. March/April 2014

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine 21


Dream the Electric Sleep

What does it mean to be a band in 2014? Joey Waters (Drums): It is so easy to write, record, and distribute music these days that there seems to be as many bands as there are people. This makes it very difficult to rise above the din. You have to really prove yourself for people to give you a chance, especially with original rock music. We prove ourselves with our attention to detail and professionalism in the recording process, as well as the Artwork/packaging of our albums.

Chris Tackett (Bass): I’ve been in one band or another for my entire adult life, and I will say it’s a lot different now than it was twenty years ago. When I started touring, very few people had the internet. It just wasn’t a thing yet. You really had to be super dedicated and totally on your game songwriting-wise to get any sort of attention. Some say that there’s never been a better time than the present to be an independent artist. I do think the internet is a great tool for exposing your music to the world, but there’s a whole lot of it out there now. Sometimes it’s hard to find the diamonds in the rough.

22

Matt Page (Guitar, Vocals): It means thinking smaller and focused. It means reaching out into niche audiences and investing in long-term sustainable relationships with fans and collaborators.

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March/April 2014


Dream the Electric Sleep How do see your place in the Lexington music scene? Joey: We’re still relatively unknown in Lexington. Chris is from Huntington and Matt and I were out of the scene for seven or eight years until DTES formed. Many of the bands that we knew and bars that we played are gone. We have to build a fan base from the ground up, which is hard when you play complex 8-minute original rock songs! The word about us is slowly getting around, and I think 2014 will be a good year for us in Lexington. Chris: We don’t really think about it too much. We don’t do a lot of shows because it seems like we’re always working on a record. You could almost say we are a “studio band”, although I would like to play more shows in 2014. I would guess that we’re not very well-known in Lexington. Being visible in the scene has never really been a top priority for us. We all have demanding careers, so we operate a little differently than most bands. I think our ultimate goal is to create a body of work that we can be proud of. Matt: This goes back to the last question a little. We have a few fans in Lexington, but we have a few fans in lots of other places. I stopped thinking geographically about reaching an audience a few years ago and have found that it doesn’t matter where you are from; what matters is reaching the person who cares about what you do (wherever they are) and building that relationship. Lexington has a music scene, but it’s not clear yet where we fit in and how we can reach those few people that really want to invest their time and energy into the project. Who are some of your favorite local artists?

Joey: My favorites are all defunct. Chum. Groovezilla. Amazing Grace. All gone. As far as players are concerned, I will just about step over my granny to watch Ben Lacy or Dave Farris play. Those guys are world-class and I am proud to call them friends of mine. Chad Gravitt [drums for Groovezilla and GFunk Allstars] still blows me away, as well. Chris: I don’t get to see many local bands, but my favorite is Ford Theatre Reunion

Matt: I think The Seas are really great. We have played a lot of shows with them and not only are they super talented, they are super nice and down to earth. Ben Lacy is way up there, too. Ford Theatre Reunion… The John Lancaster Band [Huntington]… Stampede… There are really a bunch of cool bands these days! How does art impact your music and life?

Matt: Art and music have a complicated relationship for me. They share so much, but there is also a chasm there that feels necessary on the one hand, but one that I wish I could bridge on the other. It is a relationship fraught with contradictions. The simple answer for me would be that art has the ability to confuse and short circuit expectations concerning history, social/political systems, aesthetics, psychology, etc. And in my mind, music has the same potential, but expressed in very different ways. My relationship to art allows a space to reflect critically about my music through these contrasts. What is the inspiration for the new album?

Joey: Musically, the only inspiration for me was creating something within our genre that I felt was missing.

March/April 2014

FlashpointMagazine.com | Flashpoint Magazine 23


Dream the Electric Sleep Chris: It is really about struggle. I focus on the early suffragettes and women’s right to vote and use that struggle as a stand-in for anyone who struggles within a movement. I am really interested in the contradictions one feels within a social justice/political movement and how those contradictions must always exist and how they may never be resolvable. How can something be both productive and destructive all at once, and why is this possibly more generative than simple right/wrong, good/bad binaries? For a limited time, you gave away your first album. How do you balance charging for music that you are eventually giving away for free? Do you feel this creates more freedom in the marketplace?

Joey: I don’t mind charging for music that we are also giving away because I love to buy all of my music and actually own it in its physical form. I don’t much care for free downloads myself, as some of the soul of the music feels missing when a new file just “appears” in iTunes. Many true music lovers seem to feel much the same. People are free to experience music any way they choose today. They can buy it on CD (or, in many cases, vinyl), pay for a download, or they can just download it for free, legally or not. We just want to provide as many avenues for people to enjoy the art we have spent the last 3 years creating. We are fairly certain that no large monetary compensation is in our future given our current career level coupled with the overall depleted state of the music industry, so if we can reach more fans by giving it away for a limited time, then so be it.

24

wherever it pleases. But we do need the support of those who value what we do, and usually those people know what’s at stake and buy even though it is free. My guess is you will see us trying new things out as we go trying to balance a freedom to let the music go where it will and then to fund the next project. In some ways maybe it’s a little like public television or radio, the content is free, but it wouldn’t exist without the donations and support of those who listen or watch. It’s an old model, I guess, and maybe that is a way to frame how we distribute the music. We are always incredibly grateful and honored when someone decides to buy a CD or merchandise. We don’t take that action lightly or take it for granted. I really think of this as a collaboration and partnership. And maybe all music is already a collaboration between the sender and the receiver, the space where real meaning is made. But I don’t know that many bands or fans think of it in that way explicitly, so I would really like to lead with that paradigm, one that always reminds us as a band that what we do would languish in silence if it weren’t for those who dedicate their precious time into invested listening and support.

Chris: I think it was a no-brainer on the first record to let it be totally free, because no one really knew who we were. We spent the first two years as a band writing, demoing, and recording Lost and Gone Forever and played very few shows. So offering that album as a free download really helped get our name out there. Let’s face it: you can easily get any album, movie, etc. for free these days. I’d rather people get it from us—at least we can control the quality. We will be offering the new album Heretics for free for a limited time, not sure how long yet. There will always be people that prefer a physical CD, so we’ll have that option available to those who want it You can find Heretics as well. and more from Dream Matt: That’s tough. We give the Electric Sleep at the music away to reach new D r e a m t h e E l e c t r i c people. To let the music spread Sleep.com

Flashpoint Magazine | FlashpointMagazine.com

March/April 2014


Community-Conscious Sponsors CHARMED LIFE Tattoo & Artwork

Liz Douglas

Designs

the Morris book shop.

859-227-0538

Flashpoint Magazine is free thanks to our awesome sponsors. When you’re finished, please pass your copy forward so someone else can enjoy it!

If you’re interested in spreading the word about Lexington’s artistic community, sponsorship packages start as low as $50. For more info, contact Info@FlashpointMagazine.com

Profile for Flashpoint Magazine

Flashpoint Magazine Issue 02 (March/April)  

Flashpoint Magazine Issue 02 (March/April)  

Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded