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ISSUE SIX | MAY/JUNE 2013

DEAD RED VELVET the MOUTH OF GHOSTS Tim Chaisson

BRENDAN MACLEAN WALT CESSNA sara jackson-holman THE EDEN HOUSE

DELHI 2 DUBLIN SHADOWBINDERS ANDRA DARE

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EXECUTIVE EDITOR

The Artist D

what is

Managing Editor

Paula Frank

CALLING ALL ARTISTS

creative director

Ann Marie Papanagnostou EDITORIAL

Christine Blythe Serena Butler Kathy Creighton Paula Frank Alexandra Oppedisano Annie Shove WEB DEVELOPMENT

Art, music, literature, and compelling societal views that live outside of the box: these are the four pillars of culture that create the world we live in. Fourculture seeks to bring to the light artists of all mediums. Your contributions to the magazine and the universe are the fuel that brings the movement to life as we reach out around the globe.

Rene Trejo, Jr. art

Ann Marie Papanagnostou

Calling all artists as we join in support of those who are creating the culture of tomorrow.

let’s chat

let’s get connected

Send correspondence to inquiries@fourculture.com

Artists, musicians & writers . . . we want to hear from you

CALLING ALL ARTISTS

www.fourculture.com © 2012-2013 Fourculture Magazine | Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


A New Music Revolution: Delhi 2 Dublin.........................................6 The Mouth of Ghosts: Power and Fragility....................................12 Anything But Stupid... BRENDAN MACLEAN................................18 SARA JACKSON-HOLMAN Siren of Sound..........................................24 Truth or Dare with WALT CESSNA..............28 Sounds, Visions, Words, Voices: SORNE.....................................................40 Sonic Soundscapes: DEAD RED VELVET....................................54 Belatyr and Beyond: SHADOWBINDERS...................................64 DARYA TEESEWELL: Miss Kitty’s...............70 ANDRA DARE, The Secret Angel................73 TIM CHAISSON: Taking Us to the Other Side.......................78 THE EDEN HOUSE....................................84 FRANK COTOLO: Doomsday Salt & Preppers........................92 myfour......................................................94

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who we are CHARLIE DEMOS

The artist d The Artist D has been performing online since the mid 1990s; a relic from the cam show age before social networking was a network, advocate for the rights of the underground, author, painter, columnist, raconteur, provocateur and host of The Fabulous D Show, a radio show broadcast weekly for anybody with a brain in their head. Catering to the freaks, geeks and black sheep of society, he makes the extraterrestrials of culture feel right at home on planet Earth.

SERENA BUTLER Serena “Rena” Butler marches to the beat of a Linn LM-1 Drum Computer. Currently, she remains in a virtual time warp looking to hit that day where replicating a DeLorean time machine becomes reality. Sadly, it has yet to occur; she remains in the current year here to bring you the latest noise making waves in the four pillars of culture. When not working on the magic behind these pages you can find her rummaging the local independent record shops for CDs and vinyl, trying to get past the second level in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker game for Sega Genesis, or mastering The Force just from watching the Star Wars trilogy.

FRANK COTOLO Known for his comedic acumen, Cotolo has made his living as a writer and a performer all of his life and during the lives of others. He is the author of the novel License To Skill and has co-authored its screenplay version, Molotov Memoirs, a collection of short stories, The Complete and Unabridged History of Japan, an epic novel, and a serious novella, Sweet Shepherd. Cotolo, born in Brooklyn in 1950, has worked in broadcasting, film, theater, music and television.

kathy creighton Kathy Creighton, a.k.a. Mama Kath, is on a magical mystery tour of current fine, literary, and performance art and wants to bring you along for the ride. How? Besides watching, reading and listening, Kathy sits down with these creators and discusses everything from what inspires them to where their journeys began to how to fix the current A&E industry. She asks the questions you’ve been waiting for someone to ask.

© 2012-2013 Fourculture Magazine | Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

A graduate of Bennington College, Mr. Demos is an award-winning songwriter, singer, music producer, and performance artist in New York City. He is a spiritual warrior, rabble rouser, Marijuana enthusiast, art-house film lover, and proud father to a Yorkshire Terrier.

PAULA FRANK Writer, painter, music lover, dreamer; Paula’s everchanging Pisces spirit rolls with whatever the tides bring her. Constantly in pursuit of the beauty of art in all its forms, she pours her love for human connections into everything she does, be it writing fiction, interviewing her favorite musicians and artists, painting an emotion, or sharing time with the people she loves. This small town girl has great big dreams and strives to make them reality. She is thrilled to offer them to you, the readers and fellow dreamers. After all, what good are dreams with no one to share them?

ann marie papanagnostou Ann Marie likes to make things pretty. This award-winning designer loves to lose herself in the creative process and is psyched to work alongside amazing individuals who fuel her artistic fire . . . and tolerate her fierce coffee addiction. She is most content with a beverage in one hand and a mouse in the other.

producer mark Producer Mark can be found at www.OnAirTunes.com, specifically The Indie Show, playing some of the best rock, goth and alternative music there is. His hunger for fresh, new talent is almost as intense as his love of crisps. Salt and vinegar, please.

darya teesewell Darya Teesewell has been a lot of things, often simultaneously. She’s spent years working in the velvet prison of the Los Angeles movie biz, but nothing is below her line, because she hates lines. Darya travels freely from gender to gender and had made her living as a cinematographer, a writer, a teacher, a shop girl, a union organizer, and she’s ridden in Angelyne’s Pink corvette; oh does she have a tale to tell.


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ome nights when I put my fingers down on the keys I feel like a great pianist. As a writer I feel like I’m about to start something big. The pen is mightier than the …? A symphony is unleashed when we begin punching endlessly and sometimes mindlessly at our keyboards, our typewriters. Sometimes I sit back with arms outstretched as if trying desperately to channel every other being that came before me to make sure I say everything I was meant to say. We’ve got to get everything out before we go down with the ship. In the future I envision we’ll download our books directly into our brains and it’ll be the biggest trip we’ve ever experienced. It’ll be like getting high but instead we’ll wake up with this gobsmack of knowledge. I look at my long list of books that I must read and am overwhelmed. Where will I ever make the time for this many books? If only I could zap them into my consciousness. How much brighter would I be? It’s like looking back at your journal from “Once upon a time 1999 and realizing you were an idiot. All it takes is to read six books and suddenly you realize how far you’ve come. What a moron you were before my music, book and art collection was that last thing you read, saw or did. Idiot! In today’s world there’s so much to absorb and we’ve sped up the growth filled with the likes of bohemian lifestyle. I am proud to have found a lair of dedicated artists of whatever society who wish to unearth the truth of the underground. Together we have created a website with regular flowing content and a quality magazine with dictated it to be. even more. No longer will the indie music supporters be held to a standard Now it is filled of posting monthly updates when we post daily. There’s no time to waste with nothing but and the laxidasical pushers among us must go away. It’s time to make room that produced by for people who know that life is art and art is our only essence. You have people, direct from something else to do? Impossible. There is nothing else. Over the last year we have built a dream of mine into a reality. The dream them to us…to me.” would be nothing near a reality if people didn’t share in the dream and dedication. A congregation of people dedicated to shoving art, music, literature and true opinion your way. For cultures for your culture, foUR culture. Once upon a time my music, book and art collection was filled with the likes of whatever society dictated it to be. Now it is filled with nothing but that produced by people, direct from them to us… to me. My body jives to Dead Red Velvet, Mouth of Ghosts and the deliciously deep SORNE. I do not read the New York Times Best Sellers, I read that of which should be best sellers. I read the epic adventurous stories of Frank Cotolo and gender gangsterism of Darya Teesewell. I look at the beauty displayed in Walt Cessna’s art and it touches every inch of my body (and mind). I will never live long enough to absorb it all. I long for a USB port in the back of my head so I can inhale information, conversation and insubordination like a junkie inhales any mind-releasing substance. Sure, I will get as much in as I can before I expire to dust, but it will never be enough. There is never enough culture, because when you find the true culture to tap into you can’t possibly fathom how much time you wish was left. I want it all. I want more for your culture, for my culture. For culture, forever.

The Artist D let’s chat

let’s get connected

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HT Y CREIG H T A K Y B

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It’s something almost primal that speaks to you head, your heart, your body and your soul. The, what other’s would call crazy, combination of Celtic, Eastern Indian and Reggae music that is Dehli 2 Dublin will grab a hold of you and take you on a journey of joy, trust and maybe even a little love.

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rom the first beat, the crowd starts moving. At this point they probably don’t even realize they are being driven by something based in humanity’s roots, its very core. Percussion mixes tempos from the beginnings of Eastern Indian, Caribbean and Celtic culture. Toes are tapping, bodies are swaying, raised arms pump. The audience has connected with the musicians. Next, they begin to acknowledge the melodic music followed by processing lyrics. They’re singing along to songs they’ve never heard before. Delhi 2 Dublin has gained a room full of new fans before finishing the first song. Now the energy level of the band registers. These guys and gal are also moving, not only to play fiddle, drums, sitar and dohl but jumping, dancing, and clapping. They are all over the stage and in the pit with the crowd. Everything ramps up another notch. This will continue through the entire length of Delhi 2 Dublin’s set. Neither band nor audience loses momentum. Even ballads, with slower beats, still maintain the synergy. When the set ends there is disappointment or even an actual bit of sadness. When first sent to D2D’s site to listen to their music after reading their style, there was trepidation. Mixing genres can work if done right but this was just one of the most eclectic mashups out there. Then to further learn that Delhi 2 Dublin started as a one-shot thing for a Vancouver, BC Celtic festival, fear was rising. Vocalist Sanjay tells the story of being a Bhungra musician who was acquainted with Turan. “T”, ISSUE SIX

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when wearing his DJ hat, spins underground electronica and Asian electronic tracks. He is also a trained tabla player. The management of the festival invited him on board with the caveat that it was a Celtic festival. He protested that he had no idea where to find Celtic electronica to which the response was, “Well then make it”. Turan started mastering some beats and then called in other musicians to help flesh out the tracks. The collaborations were mainly free-writing. Dancers and fiddlers were added to round out the show. During the fifteen-minute performance, Delhi 2 Dublin was aware that the crowd seemed to be having a good time. The response was positive but they were not expecting what came next. Requests started coming in from local venues around Vancouver asking them to perform. Their popularity grew quickly. Looking back, they are well aware of how incredibly fortunate they were to have been in the right place at the right time. Sanjay says sometimes they feel a little guilty when they look at other musicians struggling to “make it” in the industry. But they also agree that if they had planned this and tried to contrive it, it would not be what it is today. This is a band that had to be completely organic from the start or it would have failed. The continued growth of their success had a lot to do with their location, starting in BC. The scene there is very laid back and fluid. People don’t over-analyze music. “It’s dance music? Play it. Ok, let’s dance”. Coming over the border into the U.S. Pacific Northwest and then progressing south into Nor Cal, Delhi 2 Dublin found a very similar atmosphere and attitude. They didn’t have to “prove” themselves as a dance band. They would go on stage, play and people would just start moving. They were easily accepted and did a lot of touring in that area. Getting more into the internationality of the band’s music, what about other Irish/Celtic instruments coming into the mix in the future seeing as the only current one is the fiddle? Sanjay loves the pennywhistle but they haven’t tried that yet. They do have some backing tracks that include bagpipes but so far they have only been used in live performances not on any of their recorded songs. The band is limited by the abilities of the members as far as adding instruments and styles from other cultures. They do have West African influences that Andrew adds in guitar lines. He is heavily influenced by African music and played in an African band at one time. They have also used some African percussion instruments on previous songs. In regards to their songs and the current album, discussion confirmed that Delhi 2 Dublin’s songwriting process involves the whole band. They usually start with a beat. Someone will feel the inspiration and start building on it, then

more start contributing till they get to the final product. With the new album, Turn Up the Stereo, they took a good hard look at themselves and at the band. First, they wanted to be able to better recreate a recorded song live with less dependence on backing tracks. There is more instrumental music this time around. Second was admitting their weaknesses. In this case, actual songwriting. They brought in experienced songwriters and sessions were real learning experiences. D2D definitely feel that the new songs are stronger for it. Another thing that has strengthened them as live performers is having planned set lists. According to Sanjay, although jamming was fun, knowing what you’re going to be doing before you hit the stage results in more confidence and allows the band to relax more. This is not to say that every time anyone goes to a D2D show they will hear the exact same set. They have more than one and change them up on average of every four months. Between adding a new remix or just plain getting bored with the last one, they do switch it up. If you went to see them, say, at three different tour stops over a 6-8 month tour you would experience three different shows. They will still jam occasionally but that is usually because of a guest performer. Otherwise, their goal is to slay the set every night and to slay it harder than the last one. Most people, when first delving into artists that have sparked their interest, or some time later if they become a fan, have one or two songs that really stand out. While researching this article, “S.O.S.” from the band’s 2010 LP Planet Electric, first grabbed on with the reggae beat. This was actually the base inspiration for Sanjay in writing the song in one marathon session. He loves reggae so the beat pulled him in. He then started writing from personal experience and observation. He says that the song is definitely spiritual in nature as are many of their songs. They have dipped their toes into politics with the song “Revolution” on Turn Up the Stereo but it’s not a pond they tend to swim in. They are more spiritually and socially inspired. In closing, I asked the question of the “perfect line-up” for a tour. Tossed on the table-either Street Light Manifesto or Less Than Jake, Yellowcard and Dropkick Murphys with Delhi 2 Dublin seen as a kind of mortar to hold the lineup together. Sanjay liked it, especially when put in the context of Delhi 2 Dublin being part of the Warped Tour family. It’s definitely not an offer he’d turn down, but for just a regular tour, his perfect bill would include Manu Chao, Asian Dub Foundation, Bomba Estereo and Vulcan Beatbox. Sanjay does emphasize that he doesn’t expect to headline this tour. He’d be perfectly happy with Delhi 2 Dublin being the opening act.

www.delhi2dublin.com

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Power and Fragility by Paula Frank

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n describing the music of London-based band The Mouth of Ghosts, only one word can be used. That word is transcendent. Formed in 2011 by guitarist Simon Langford and bassist Marco Italia, it wasn’t long before they found the perfect voice for their project in Alla Seydalieva. Adding Phil Page on drums and Valerie Deniz on vocals and synth rounded out their mix and The Mouth of Ghosts was born. Their music is both hauntingingly soft and powerfully strong, creating a mix that is both accessible and provocative. With comparisons to everything from Portishead to Bjork, The Mouth of Ghosts transcends expectations, giving the listener a completely new atmospheric experience. Gaining attention with the title track “When the Sun Sets” and the EP that followed, The Mouth of Ghosts is only beginning. Fourculture spoke with Valerie about the band’s journey.

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What started as Simon, Marco, and an idea in 2011 has continued to grow into the lineup that is now The Mouth of Ghosts. What ultimately brought the current lineup together? How have you melded together as a band now that you have been working together awhile? The band started out as a bedroom project with Simon writing some songs with a singer, just as a personal project. After ten songs or so were written, he started looking for people to join a band and to play live. Marco had just moved to England from Italy and was looking for a band to join. Alla was studying music at a local college and was the perfect fit for the vocalist. Phil and I are the most recent members, but we’ve been in this lineup for a while now and I don’t think it will ever change. Each member brings a lot to the band. The Music that Simon initially wrote definitely helped with defining our sound, but now each of us brings something unique to the sound. We played a lot of gigs recently and it helped us to find the right direction for the songs and see what works better when we play all together. Your sound has been described as everything from semi-Goth to trip-hop fusion to ethereal and dreamy. How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before? Exactly as you just did. I would say to take a pen and some paper. Draw a triangle that goes from Semi-Gothy pop, to Trip-hop, then to Ethereal/Dreamy. Put a dot right in the middle of it that says “The Mouth of Ghosts.” You have quite melodic and distinct bass lines, something that is rare and wonderful to find. How do you build the actual soundscape of one of your songs? Do you find that you sort of go through the same process each time or is it different for each situation?

I think that has to do with the fact that the bass lines are mostly written by a guitarist!! What was great in the first EP is that the songs were there and Simon spent a lot of time searching for sounds to go with them. For the second EP, we worked a bit differently. Alla and Simon have been working together on new songs and I’ve written two of the songs that will be there as well. The vocals never seem to out power the music behind them or vice versa. Rather, you have struck the perfect blend between both. How difficult is it to walk that line and find that balance? Alla has a fantastic voice and this ability to sing with a very subtle and what could seem to be a fragile voice in the verses, then straight on to a strong powerful voice in the choruses. The key is that it is all perfectly controlled and you’ll rarely find a note left somewhere by mistake. That is also the signature of our band so we always try to make sure that we keep that balance when we play all together. You released your 5 track EP, When the Sun Sets, on your website and only released the title track as a single elsewhere at first. What was your ultimate goal in releasing your music this way? What can we expect with your upcoming EP? It just seemed the easiest way to release something initially. We’ve built up a bit of an online fan-base, and I guess we could have released it other than on our website, but there’s so much being released on iTunes and Spotify every day that there didn’t seem much point at first so we tried to keep it a bit more exclusive. The new EP will be released at all outlets on day one though. The new EP will be in a similar vein to our first release but with more evolution. There will be four tracks (Wrong, Winter Song, Right on Time and You Will Go.) The tender parts will be softer, and the louder parts more driving. We think there will be a lot of variety and moods/feelings packed into those four songs! ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

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You have made a couple of incredible videos by yourselves using an iPhone and some editing software. What was that process like? It was a lot of time standing in our rehearsal studio with a couple of lights and a fan! You basically have to have a general idea of the video you want to make, take your iPhone, and action! The real fun starts when you start putting the images together and the possibilities are immense! We spent a lot of time trying to understand the video software in the beginning, but once you’ve understood the process, it can be pretty easy; it just takes a loooot of time. It would be great to have a video made by someone whose job it is so that we could focus more on our job which is making music.

social networks to promote ourselves as they would. Unless the record label offers a service that we can’t access ourselves, there aren’t really any benefits in being signed to that label. Who has the best fashion sense in the band? How about the worst? We’re all pretty fashionable… in our own styles. No one’s really eccentric in a fashion way. Maybe it’s something we need to work on in the future?!

Who spends the most time getting ready before a show? Who gets the most nervous? Getting ready, it’s definitely the girls. Nervous, probably the girls too, haha. I drink a shot of tequila before and after most gigs. It’s beIn the not so distant past and the birth of MTV, video was the ulti- coming a tradition! Simon has this thing where he loves everything mate for getting bands noticed. With the onset of internet down- about the gig, the preparation, the sound check, etc., but hates the loading, YouTube, and the slow death of the video channels, what actual gig itself, so maybe it’s him that’s the most nervous. importance do you think video holds for fledgling bands these days? When you’re a new band, people hardly last till the 2nd verse of Do you have any good luck rituals you perform as a band? the track unless you give them something to watch. Videos are still Not really, apart from my tequila drinking. We could do with some important as are images, pictures. People always like to know how the though, as our drummer Phil has a habit of injuring himself before or artists look and websites like YouTube make it so much easier and after gigs. accessible. In fact, a lot of people listen to music on YouTube which is an upside and a downside because they don’t need to buy it to listen to What was the first thing each of you said when you found out you it. Like any social networking, any way of getting closer to your fans is were getting airplay on BBC Radio? important and making a video is definitely one of them. Hahaha I don’t remember exactly but we were all really amazed. It’s one of the best things that can happen to a band. We’ve been lucky You recently decided to part ways with your record company, Red to have been played several times across a number of different shows Dragon Records. What are the benefits of being independent? and getting on the BBC Introducing end of 2012 ‘best of’ show was We were very happy and we learned a lot with Red Dragon Re- amazing! cords. It also gave us more time to focus on the music and gigs. But, the fact is that we have built a great social and professional network Where can we see more of you this year? ourselves. The main benefit of being on our own is that we keep our Hopefully a bit everywhere, on stage, on the net, and obviously, copyrights to ourselves I guess, but I’m going to lie if I say that we’re on iTunes, Spotify, etc.! We’re mostly playing around London at the not interested in getting signed again. The downside for independent moment but we’d love to go further afield and get to play overseas record labels is that, as a band, we have access and we use the same someday soon.

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ANYTHING BUT STUPID... By Serena Butler

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ife is full of stupid things; dropping your phone in the toilet, not reading Fourculture Magazine, sexualized fast food commercials, and paying over five dollars for a cup of coffee. We’re all guilty of many, many, stupid things. When it comes down to it, everyone is stupid in their own way. Take for example Aussie Brendan Maclean; he wrote about the stupid people.

Brendan Maclean is an artist who seems to know no limits to where the world will take him next. In 2007 he had begun working as a radio announcer at Sydney Australia’s Triple J after an interview which celebrated the unsigned artist competition entitled Unearthed. From what Aussies tell us here at Fourculture he is quite well known through his work at Triple J. That popularity lead him to reach into his own talents and pull out an amazing EP released in 2010 called White Canvas. After being opening act for artists such as Kate Miller-Hindke and Darren Hayes in 2011, the year of 2013 became his year of domination. Earlier this year, Brendan embarked on his first crowd funding campaign through the site Pozible and ended with a more than successful amount of $21,174 (Australian dollars) to embark on the production of his first full length album. Luckily, we’ve had the chance to pick the brain of Brendan Maclean and find out what makes his brain tick. We get the low down on his latest single “Stupid”, what the future holds for him, and so much more. If by the end of this interview you do not find yourself loving Brendan as much as we do, you indeed might be more stupid than the items listed above. 18 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SIX


by paula frank


Your new album is tentatively scheduled to be released in August of this year. How can you describe the vibe of the record in comparison to your prior releases? What can we expect? The music feels more like me. My last record was so timid and really didn’t take too many chances — there certainly were some good moments on it. I still love playing “Beat Me To It,” but really the album will have a fire within its belly. It will be pop, that’s for sure, but I come from a folk background so the songs will still have purpose. Think Lily Allen mixed with Daniel Johns. For the new album, you took to the interwebs and joined the crowd funding craze. How has crowd funding impacted your development of this album? What was that striking moment that made you think crowd funding would be a good idea for you? Honestly I put off crowd funding for months. I still believe a project needs really clear direction and proof of product before an artist should even consider crowd funding, otherwise you are just wasting people’s time and money. For me that came after I made the mistake of recording nine songs in a week. I sunk all my cash into it and came out with demo quality recordings. It cost me $8000 to learn the lesson that maybe you should record a single with a studio before you go trying to record the whole album. I knew I had a strong audience and I knew that people were excited by the idea of me doing a Pozible campaign, but we completed it so much faster than I could have ever anticipated.

Being a DIY musician can be difficult for many of the up-andcomers and it seems like you’ve nailed it down quite well. What is the most rewarding part of doing it all by yourself? What have you learned from it that maybe these quick-to-fame artists (Idol/XFactor) wouldn’t understand? Would you do it differently if you had a do-over? Well, for one, I don’t have to make up some sob-story about my cat dying to win votes. Those competitions are about as authentic as wrestling. They are so far from reality it’s not funny. But, you know, it’s tough going at it alone. You make so many mistakes that a manager could have cleared up for you but you also build up a true fan base, people who have been there watching you struggle at the small gigs, people who have seen you fail. There is a great sense of a “team” when I talk to the people who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, each time I get a great support slot or when “Stupid” got picked up overseas. It felt like I really deserved it — and that’s empowering.

You’ve already opened for some big artists and done shows here and there. Now that your record is completed (by the time this interview is released) what changes can your fans expect out of your live shows? What would your dream show be like? Will you be attempting an international show in the future? Well, I still need to support Rufus Wainwright. But my show personally? ] I’m a sucker for the theatre and I wouldn’t mind developing a bit of action up on stage. Lighting, performance, backup For those who haven’t checked you out on YouTube, they’re dancers! I want it all. As for international shows, well, if the pull is there. First I think I missing out on something incredibly fabulous: ukulele and piano covers! How did you decide to pick up a ukulele and need to nail a few festivals. start playing? Will there be any covers on this new album or Your fashion sense is something quite unique, and some may will they stay on YouTube? I have such a soft spot for a good cover, and studio quality cov- even say you have a better sweater collection than Bill Cosby. ers were actually a reward in my Pozible! Who knows what the Do you think that a choice in fashion has an effect on your capeople will pick…hopefully Solange – Losing You. That’s my fa- reer in any way? What exactly inspires your fashion choices? I do love a good sweater. Menswear can be REALLY dull, so vourite cover in my set at the moment. As for why I play uke? Well, have you ever tried to carry a piano to a gig? There’s your answer. I like my sweaters because it’s my chance to spread a little colour around — just like my clip-on earrings too. It’s obviously all a For the $55 reward on your Pozible campaign you’re giving choice, but not one I think about too much. I’ve always loved being twenty generous fans the opportunity to make an appearance the boy with eyeliner on whilst also sporting a manly moustache. in your video for “Holy Shit”. What spoilers can you provide us Working with the genius Paul Mac (Silverchair, The Dissociaas the making of the video is in its infancy? I kind of put up this idea without realizing how shy some people tives) on this current project seems like a dream for many artmight be, despite their generosity. It’s a pretty simple idea, and ists out there. How did you come to work with Paul? What have without giving too much away each person will become a part of you learned from him that you would pass on to other budding the song. All will have their own individual role to play in building up artists? I wouldn’t pass on anything! Those are my secrets!! Well, maylayers. You’ll see what I mean… be I’d share a little – which is that you would be surprised how easy Your most recent video/single “Stupid” has been gaining momentum since day one of its release. Was there real life inspiration behind the song? What advice People seem to struggle with the idea would you give someone who has had that “Stupid” moment in which they have that a musician can have coherent fallen in love with their friend? Yeah — that little clip is going gangbusters. We’re all very proud of it making thoughts on a political topic, which is BuzzFeed and working its way around America. And, oh boy, yes, there certainly was an odd because they trust us to write about inspiration. I’ll just say this, if you fall in love with a comedian you WILL be used as material. And I suppose you can say the same much bigger issues like love and death. about turning down a musician for a date!


it is to ask for help in this business. I reached out to Paul on Twitter. off and on for about six years and for me it all started with doing Maybe I was being a bit of a smartarse, but lucky for me the man reviews on Unearthed, the unsigned music initiation Triple J runs. They noticed I had written a few hundred reviews and ask me to likes to laugh. come be interviewed by Zan Rowe. Two weeks later I had a job. Back in the day you showed your dance moves in the mu- Presenting is a skill, but it’s one of the best jobs in the world. You get sic video for Nikki Webster’s “24/7 (Crazy Bout Your Smile)” paid to share wonderful music with people. and in “Stupid” you shared some original moves! Have you taken any dance classes? When is the best time to dance in In May we’ll be able to see your awesomeness on the silver screen as Klipspringer in the Great Gatsby. Klipspringer is a bit Brendan’s world? There is no “best time to dance.” You should ALWAYS make of a shallow freeloader. Do you relate in any way to the character time to dance. Go on, slap on some ABBA right now and move that of Klipspringer? Are there any strange stories from the set you thing! Dance was actually the beginning for me in entertainment. I can share as well? Klipspringer is one of those guys that rocks up to your party, danced pretty seriously for about twelve years. Loved it. But dance is a profession that needs all of your time, seven days a week, and stays the night, eats all your cereal in the morning and then asks to when I fell in love with acting and music I just had to make a choice. crash a few more days — and as a musician, yeah, I can see myself a little in him, but hopefully I can shake the reputation soon! It Aside from your music, you’re pretty vocal in the blogosphere was a pretty magical time on set. I’d say my favourite day was when by tackling a wide array of topics from venue upkeep to mod- iOTA and I stole a golf buggy and went whizzing around the Fox ern day bigotry. Is there a self-benefit that you find with being Studio lots for a few hours. But truly, every day had an incredible so vocal and open on the web? What topics do you find the story. I’m such a fan of Baz so I just was hypnotized watching him direct the lush, glorious scenes. most challenging to discuss? Why? There are benefits but also it can detract from the music. People seem to struggle with the idea that a musician can have coherent So, you’re addicted to Pokémon Cards? If you were a Pokémon thoughts on a political topic, which is odd because they trust us to trainer what family would you specialize in? (Electric/fossil/ write about much bigger issues like love and death. I’m always up fire/etc) What would be your first Pokémon that you attempt to for a good rumble on topics like education, gender equality, same- catch? Why that Pokémon in particular? OMG don’t even talk about my Pokemon addiction. And it’s not sex marriage — you know, the usual emotively-driven lefty stuff. as if I think about this all the time at all but OBVIOUSLY I’d work For those outside of Oz you’ve done weekly broadcasts for with Psychic Pokemon because we could totally connect telepathithe radio station Triple J. How would you describe your broad- cally. Also I’d catch an Abra because they’re ADORABLE. Okay, casts to the international? Having been in the position as both we’re never speaking about this again. artist and interviewer, what is the more challenging of the two? How did you get involved with presenting on Triple J? Triple J is a truly exceptional youth station. I’ve worked there


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Sara Jackson-Holman by Paula Frank

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From her classical pianist past to her current soulful pop, Sara Jackson-Holman has discovered herself as an artist. Electro synths curtsy to classic arrangement and then dance together as Sara’s stunning lyrics and vocals soar. Her newest album, Cardiology, gives the listener a heartfelt and profound view of love and loss, beauty and heartbreak. How did you go from playing classical piano to pop to writing your own songs? It was kind of a natural transition. My mom had told me when I was in high school that she thought I should write songs. I kind of brushed it off at the time, but a few years later I was playing around with a sort of Chopin-esque progression on the piano and wrote “Maybe Something’s Wrong.” I think the indie folk music I was listening to at the time influenced and inspired me quite a bit to take that step and write something. How do you go about bringing the drama of classical music into the songs you write? That much is pretty intuitive. The foundation of classical music is there and deeply ingrained in my entire perception of music so I think I’m just predisposed to incorporate the dark and dramatic sounds. Writing something happy and light is more of a challenge for me. Do you feel that beginning to write songs opened up a new form of expression for you? Absolutely. I love people, but feel I can be shy so I love that music speaks for me in a way I couldn’t otherwise. What was the difference in expressing yourself simply through playing and moving to lyrical expression? It became much more personal. Instead of interpreting someone else’s composition, I was able to interpret my own feelings and communicate those instead. They’re so different and I love them both, but I particularly love the ownership of playing my own songs. It feels more direct. Television shows have featured your songs. For example, “Into the Blue” on Castles, “Come by Fire” on Grey’s Anatomy, and most recently on Bones. What does it feel like to hear your songs being played on TV? Strange and awesome!

opportunities for my music to be placed and heard by people all over the world. I don’t know about shocked. Excited? Definitely, but mostly I’m just grateful. It’s amazing, and I think I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to work on music. I also have a good team of people around me who support and believe in me and help in getting songs placed on television shows or getting my records produced and manufactured and out into the world or whatever possible. You’ve been performing piano since you were quite young. What went through your head the first time you had to perform and actually play AND sing your own songs? Umm... “People are smiling at me!” It’s WAY less stressful than performing classical music! With Cardiology, you got much more into the production process. What was that like? Fun and empowering. I had no idea about any of it the first time around, so I sat in the studio wide-eyed, watching my producer Skyler Norwood’s every move. It made me write songs completely differently. I produced demos of nearly all my songs at home on Garage Band. So I had pretty formed ideas of the songs going into the studio this time around whereas last time I brought in just the song itself. Cardiology is a much more personal album than your first. What made you finally cross that bridge into writing more from your personal experiences? Really just more personal experiences and I have even more to write about now for the next album!

Did you ever worry that perhaps some of your songs were too personal and wouldn’t resonate with the listener as well as something more generic? How important is that personal connection? Is that something you feel is missing from current pop music? Were you shocked by your fairly sudden Not really. I mean, what I worry about a success? little more is forcing a listener to take my perI’m honestly just really grateful for the spective of a song. I want a song to be its own 26 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SIX

thing and I want my audience to interpret it as individually as they possibly can. I want them to hear a song and think about themselves, the love of their life, their ex-girl/boyfriend, their mother or brother, friend or aunt or whoever, but not me. Some of the songs were written specifically for my late grandfather, but my hope for those songs is that the feelings I had were universal. With current pop music, I think yes and no. I’m a big fan of pop music and yeah I feel like sometimes a song is so shiny it doesn’t have much soul, but there are a lot of good songs I identify with too. I could go on forever about all of it because I feel like there’s also the point of having too much personal connection where you know so much about the artist and their lives that, to me, it kind of interferes with the


music. Like, I wouldn’t be able to take one of forming, I tend to lean more in that direction. Your last video was “For Albert” in which you their songs and personalize it because it’s so My day-to-day sense of style is pretty varied. got to live out your mermaid fantasies. Now I don’t think I own yoga pants, but my go-to you’re working on “Freight Train.” Can you attached to that artist and their experience. store outfit would probably be a black dress, tell us anything about the upcoming video? Everyone always asks what you want the lis- tights, boots, and a sweater because I think all It’s very personal and very simple. tener to take from your album. I want to know, of those things are the easiest, most comfortable things in the world. what did YOU take away from the album? You’re back in the studio! So what’s coming up for you? A lot! I learned so much about writing, about production, and about myself as an artist. I can’t Who are your style icons? I’m recording a couple new songs hopeI can’t really think of a particular person. May- fully putting out an EP or something later this wait to apply those lessons to my next album. be Nicole Richie. I always love what she wears. summer! For now, I’m just going to be playing I’m going to ask you a fashion question and writing as often as I possibly can! since most of the pictures, your album covers, and your videos have a very dreamy quality. Are you always that sort of girly, dreamy girl or are you ever caught shopwww.sarajacksonholman.com ping in yoga pants? I do love the flowy, drapy things. For perISSUE SIX

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Dirty, raw and a brutally lust-filled vision is Walt Cessna’s gift to the universe. As I look at his massive portfolio of photography and read his book Fukt 2 Start With I was longing to ask him the questions everyone should want to know the answers to. Thankfully this amazing artist is as candid as his work and he was willing to answer my interrogation after his recent resurrection. I played Truth or Dare with Walt Cessna. You are a provocateur by simply being yourself. This life you live is deemed by a lot of people to be outrageous and scandalous. Do you feel outrageous and scandalous? Not really. I’ve always been visually distracted and the actual act of creating fresh images, be they of myself or other subjects, has always been appealing to me. I guess in a certain way I do like to push people’s buttons, but it mostly stems from my inability to censor or filter myself. The more honest I am in my writing and the more I’m willing to expose in my photographs the greater the reward. Being a social media based artist, I’ve never felt shy about pushing things to the furthest degree, so if that means talking about my past as an addict/hooker/drug dealer or taking photographs that are rather sexually explicit, well, ultimately it allows me to fully tell my story and express myself in a way that people seem to relate to. The visuals you provide us in your work ooze with sexuality and what I would call an artistic raw fabulousness. What is your opinion of the images you create? What are you conveying to the viewer? The two things I strive for in every portrait are to try and convey a sense of vulnerability from the subject and that the light is as transcendental as possible. I need to have some sort of connection or attraction towards whom I’m photographing or the im-

age tends to come off as flat. After working in the fashion industry for over 20 years I consciously made a decision to try and alleviate any trace of artifice or styling. I rarely work with hair & make-up artists and most of my subjects usually style themselves, sometimes with a little help or direction from me. Do you share many intimate sexual moments with the people you photograph? That is, other than the intimacy of photographing and sharing in that moment to begin with. I’ve only been involved with a few of my models and one, Will, was my boyfriend on & off for 5 years. We literally lived our life through pictures, the reality at times a lie. I think the reason I’m able to create a strong sense of sexual tension with my photographs is specifically because I’m not crossing that line and trying to fuck around. A typical shoot can take 2 or 3 hours and often about half way through, the actual photo session evolves into a very laid back hang out session, where more often than not stories and sometimes secrets are shared and a bond is created. That’s why I end up shooting some people several times over the course of years. A friendship is formed and we begin a visual dialogue where each shoot allows us to break down boundaries further & further until we get to a particularly raw moment where all the elements simply fall into place. ISSUE SIX

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How do you choose the people you photograph or do they choose you? Is there any hesitation shown during a session or do most people just let down their guard when working with you? I was a fashion photographer for The Village Voice & Interview back in the 80’s & 90’s so I often worked with a mix of real people & models. Since I stopped working in fashion and started taking portraits I find myself often shooting friends and aquaintances from my life and people who catch my attention on-line. Fbook has been an insanely rich resource for subjects, but unfortunately it also mean the chances of other artists wanting to work with your models is inevitable. The chances that you’ll find a special subject that only appear in your work are next to slim. That’s the double edged sword of the internet. Unlike print media where only a limited number of copies are printed and you have to actually go out and buy them, once something appears on-line and starts getting re-blogged it can go viral and instead of only being seen by a few it spreads like wildfire. The immediacy is almost unprecedented in terms of its impact.

Known predominantly for your photography, you have recently released a book of short stories and broken word, Fukt 2 Start With. Many of your fans may be surprised that you are also a fantastic writer. What finally brought this book upon the public after 10 years? I wrote the book between 1992 - 2003. During that time I moved over 20 times between NYC, Pennsylvania, San Francisco & Los Angeles. I gave up taking pictures and after, losing a very well paying job as an editor at Ray Gun Publishing, I ended up hooking and selling drugs for 5 years. The latter part inspired many of the final stories in the book, but once I finished writing it I simply buried the 700 page tome in a box that I stored in my mother’s garage in Florida. I didn’t even think to send it to a publisher. I was just happy I finished it, literally typing the entire thing with one finger. During the late mid 00’s and the advent of social media I started to post some of the stories on MySpace & later on Fbook where they caught the attention of the editor of The New York Optimist and he started posting them alongside my photographs. They ISSUE SIX

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got a lot of attention, some good, some bad, but at least I knew I was getting a response and people were actually reading them. Then out of the blue an independent publisher called me up one day and said he’d like to publish my book. I was skeptical. I had just gotten out of an 18 day coma, beaten up my BF in a black-out and subsequently broke up, was close to getting evicted from my apartment and my family life was in complete turmoil. I basically said to him that if he was kidding I’d hunt him down and take his first born child. The next morning a contract came via Fed Ex and a year later FUKT was published. You've recently been in rehab and it sounded like a hell of a road to not only a physical recovery but quite the birth of a new 34 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SIX


awareness within your resurrection. What was the biggest revelation? That sober people can be just as fukt up as when they were using, if not more so. I have a hard time with the whole God & cult of AA thing, plus I’d be lying if I said I was never gonna get stoned again. My problem has always been depression & PTSD. Alcohol was how I would numb myself. So after going through intensive therapy for four months I can see how drinking just isn’t an option and being a sad or happy non-drinker is completely up to me. I make the final choice whether or not to pick up a drink, just like I keep it correct or be a miserable fucker. It is what it is. I got a lot of flack from some people for being so open & vocal about being an addict & going to rehab. But there were even more positive responses

from people going through it with a loved one or themselves asking me for advice or just offering support. Frankly at times it was overwhelming. I got letters, books, gifts from complete strangers. It really helped me get through the whole thing and not feel so alone. Addiction touches everyone, everywhere. It isn’t choosy. Being an artist myself I certainly understand the need for drugs, alcohol and more to fuel our fires. There are many reasons why it’s a staple in the artist’s diet. Why do you think so much of it was required for you in your life? I was in an enormous amount of pain and disruption emotionally from things that happened in my childhood. I was introduced to drugs & alcohol at 13, ironically the same

age when I started working on 7th Avenue as an assistant designer. I entered my teens enmeshed in a very adult world where everything was offered or available to me and being an extremely curious kid I indulged and took advantage every chance I could. I know when I achieve sobriety I am terrified by the artistic block it sometimes has on me. Where are you on this now after rehab? Pot has been something that has figured into my creative process since I’m 18 and, to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to find inspiration and a creative spark while I was in rehab and started drawing, collaging & taking photos sober for the first time in my life. I had a camera snuck into me at the ISSUE SIX

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I got a lot of flack from some people for being so open & vocal about being an addict & going to rehab. But there were even more positive responses from people going through it with a loved one or themselves asking me for advice or just offering support. halfway point of rehab and started taking portraits of a dude I was kind of in a short lived romance with. It was definitely conducive to my recovery. I’m an artist and once I was detoxed and no longer weak the need to create was immediate and one of the things that helped keep me sane. While you look amazingly ageless you have been around for quite some time (a good thing) and have clearly come through many underground scenes. From hustling to the Party Monster era and the wonderful world of zines. Do you wish things were more like they used to be or are you loving the way they are now? I basically take things one day at a time, especially now. I don’t live in the past or regret it. I look at everything as a blessing because good or bad, whatever happens in your life shapes who you become. It’s up to you to know what to do with it and lately I’ve learned to trust my instincts more. I’m glad I started going to clubs at 13 and had a very adult life at a young age. It’s helped me to appreciate youth as I get older and not be afraid to continue to enjoy the things I’ve always liked rather than conform to somebody’s perceived notion of what’s appropriate at what age. I will always be a pierced, inked, jeans & t-shirt guy. I don’t really go out to clubs anymore but I’m definitely not ready to crawl into a hole & die. I've always been obsessed with the true zine and that’s why FOURCULTURE Magazine was born. I felt the zine was dead in the whitewashing and normalization of the internet in the beginning of this century. Now I see people starting to customize ISSUE SIX

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The obsession with perfection & flawlessness grows wearisome. It’s why I don’t use Photoshop. I like the irregularities, the quirks.

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their online presence again (à la Tumblr). Do you have hope for the future of truth and individuality on the Internet and in the world, especially artistically speaking? Blogging is the bastard stepchild of Zine culture and what gives me hope and makes it so interesting is the fact that this wide variety of people from all walks of life are creating content, writing about what they believe in and putting a very visual stamp on every facet of their lives. Sure a lot of it is objectified boredom masquerading sheer lunacy, but for every armload of drivel there’s a handful of absolute genius out there and a lot of it can be found on Tumblr, WordPress & Typepad. Becoming a blogger was such a natural step for me, but I avoided it for a long time. I didn’t even get on MySpace until 2007. But it only took me a very short time to start building an audience and once I moved the majority of my content to Fbook, it became a business and I was able

to establish an on-line presence that eventually led me into the world of gallery showings and actually attracting a base of collectors for my photography and readers for my book. If you’re using social media just to play games & jerk-off, you’re gonna be behind the biggest curve to change the way we do business and showcase our work in a century. Nothing will ever be the same. It will only get more intense, advanced and hyper virtual. In this culture of so many voices do you feel we have more to fear from the repressive “normals” than before? What should we really be afraid of? Becoming a society of avoidance. This complete disconnect from what’s actually happening in the real world to the on-line world that too many of us perceive as real. Some might call me a hypocrite because I’m such a social media based artist. I’ll even cop to being

a posting whore. But when I’m done with my on-line work I go back into real life time. I don’t have a smart phone constantly alerting me to status updates, e-mails or senseless Tweets. I rarely text. I like to talk to people. I want to make physical connections instead of web based only interactions. If the work of Walt Cessna could convey one thing to the future, what would it be? The obsession with perfection & flawlessness grows wearisome. It’s why I don’t use PhotoShop. I like the irregularities, the quirks. What makes someone unique? What sets someone apart from the perceived notion of beauty? I know it’s kind of old school, but I really miss when people didn’t need to be so done. I guess I’ll always gravitate toward the weird ones in the crowd. Well, not weird to me lol. To me they’re the correct ones. Very correct.

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Sounds,

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visions, words, and voices

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S

ounds, visions, words, and voices; these are the four pillars that Fourculture has been built on. The same could be said for visionary artist Sorne. The debut album, House of Stone, gives a compelling voice to a timeless story. Tribal and ethereal, the work of Sorne is unlike anything you’ve heard before. It captures the listeners fully, gathering them into the arms of the story through music, visuals, and performance art. The use of handmade instruments mixed with the spine-tingling voice and lyrics of Morgan Sorne make the artistic vision of Sorne truly unique. Joined on stage by dancers and drummers, the SORNE experience is one not to be missed. On the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sorne is set to reveal more of the story with his newest release, Ego Altar. Due to release in May, Morgan sat down and filled us in on the history of the story he has to tell now with Ego Altar, his art, his vision and more.

To get started, I want to talk about the story. You started it with the album House of Stone telling the story of 5 siblings and the killing of their father. Where did that story come from? What inspired it? In short, it was inspired by my mom and her brothers and sisters back when I was around 16 or 17 years old. In many ways I think and believe that any story, whether it’s a work of fiction, non-fiction, fantasy or whatever, comes from personal experience. I grew up loving story tellers like CS Lewis and Tolkien, poets like TS Elliot and film makers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Miyazaki and as a kid raised on the Disney movies, etc., so I think just the idea of telling a story always felt right. As a creative, it’s always been difficult for me to compartmentalize the art forms. I tend to see myself as a child of the creative spirit, where all of these things come naturally and I feel natural exercising those muscles. It was a matter of taking some personal experiences and relating to them through narrative, and through art and through music.

could be happening a thousand years from now, it could be happening right now, it could have happened 10,000 years ago. It’s this idea that it’s a parallel reality. The characters are each dealing with their own bag of issues and each character is living the same narrative at the same time chronologically. The idea was that you get to experience that story from each of these perspectives during the course of this time period. Through song and visual, the stories overlap and intersect almost like different plot points on a map to provide the trajectory or the dimensionality of this world. Of course I could really dig into it, but in short, it’s the story of these 5 siblings that come together after their father has been slain and we learn of the father through their voices. We learn of their conviction to come back and defend their house through their story and their song. This family is regarded by the outside world as a terror or a threat, like an Al-Qaeda or Hussein family. They have this reputation to the world as villains, and with this story it was always a point of interest to look at life, without passing judgment, through the eyes of the villain. What motivates them? What is it they What is the story about? are trying to achieve? Why are they trying The story, House of Stone, is one that to achieve it? ISSUE SIX

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All that being said, it’s the second son of the first born that begins this plan to rebuild their country, take back land that was taken from them and of course in so doing they bring about this chain of events that ultimately leads to the destruction of the house. How, then, did you develop that concept? The first record, House of Stone, was 13 songs from this collection that is ever growing and this record serves as an overture or perhaps a plotline for this story. The concept has been to then come back and continue to fill in the gaps with more material in a number of different ways. Initially I was thinking of releasing 5 shorter chapter EPs that one could collect and then plug into an iTunes library or something and have this incredibly long piece of music that sort of tells the story. But, in going forward it just felt like a nice idea to put out a second record and I think with the second album coming out I will do something more along those lines with the website and various social media networks to provide the rest of this material to people so that they can build these playlists or narratives with the music. I’ll provide various resources and have kind of an interactive, participatory element to the story telling. So, the story was inspired in your teens. You’ve completed House of Stone and have now completed the new continuation album, Ego Altar. I’m sure you’ve grown and changed in that time period. Has the story grown and changed with you or stayed fairly close to the original vision? What has remained the same are the basic narrative arc and also the basic qualities of these characters. What has evolved is the specifics of the nature of their characters. That’s been a beautiful thing. It’s like looking at a tree that is still a tree as it grows but it has all these new branches and new bark and new foliage that has come from life experience and travel. It’s an everchanging, ever-growing story and it continues to evolve and I think that’s what I like about doing the second album. Ego Altar is a collection of pieces that all serve as plot filler. I like the idea of keeping it open even to the point that there is someone out there who is inspired to write a piece about one of these characters and maybe that could be included. Yes, the story has grown and evolved. I tend to think that good art takes time and by allowing this thing to grow organically it has allowed for there to be some really beautiful points of development. If this was an overnight thing and had blown up in a matter of days, I don’t think it would have the chance to truly be enriched and informed by that kind of life experience.

For me, in the work that I’ve always really responded to, you can see that process where it’s taken the artist or the writer or the musician a lot of time to come to these places. With that being said, with the visual art pieces and the story and the music there are pieces that I started 4 years ago that I’m just letting marinate right now and there are pieces that are that inspirational bolt of lightning where you sit down and in 30 minutes pen it out. But, I think at the core, all of it has come from taking time with it and persevering and listening really.

He’s a Texas artist and his sons Bale and Buck are both musicians and artists. Terry has this project called Juarez that he started back in the 70’s or 80’s I think and it’s an ongoing thing where he’s been writing music and doing installations and short stage pieces. It was a really affirming thing to see that there was an artist who was kindered to me that had allowed Juarez to develop over the course of 30 or so years. House of Stone was actually one of 3 narratives that all pertain to this world and in terms of a vision it’s been my intention to realize all 3 of these stories when they’re ready to be realized. I started the first one when I was in high school. House of Stone was a middle piece and then there was a concluding piece to it that was set far into the future, past House of Stone. At this point, as I’m speaking with you now, I feel like this year and next I’m going to put it all out there and allow the space to be cleared for a clean slate and see what comes next. Music comes to me every moment. I always have melodies and it all feels like it’s for this right now.

Will you go further than Ego Altar and carry on with the story or do you feel like now you may take a turn and go a different direction? I’ll say this. I’m completely open to whatever presents itself. My feeling at this point is that I really have come to the place where I’m going to let this thing go on as long as it feels relevant and alive. In the meantime I may do things in the next few years that are completely new and different and completely unrelated to this. There’s an artist who’s a good friend of one of my mentors here in Florida. His name is Terry Allen. Is there any one of the siblings that you relate to more than any of the others on a personal level or are they all different pieces of you, or of each of us? Really, all of the above. I think initially, the first born was the one that I really related to the most. In fact, with this new album I have my mom, my brother Karl, my brother Stefan, and my sister Brianna all singing on songs for each of these characters. Ego Altar is all five siblings of the story. Each sibling has two songs and an a cappela piece. It just sort of came naturally to say “Hey, I’d love for you to sing.” As a family, we’re all musical. With these new pieces it just felt right to have them be a part of that and I see aspects of them in the work now, in these characters. But I think you said it. I think there’s a bit of me in each of these characters and it speaks to things that we all feel. It’s the idea that we’re all drawing water from the same well. In the story we see that each sibling has to come to terms with their actions, what’s happened, or what their circumstances have been. Was it intentional to give that moral to each of our stories then? You know, it’s hard for me to say that I’m trying to prove a point or make a statement as much as it’s just what I feel in my own life and what I’ve seen in my direct experience. It’s really important to me that I don’t’ want this work to come across as preachy or judgmental in any way. If there is one calling, maybe it’s that we reclaim our power, that we take responsibility for our own healing or our own enlightenment, wherever it


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“...a lot of the times it feels like an uphill battle. However, I think the big thing for me is having the ‘why’ answered. Why do I do what I do? I have that answer.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY Shayan Asgharnia


leads us, without making a call either way. That’s what I hope the work does is that it comes to you as the person experiencing it in the way that you’ve experienced life, similar to the way art might. The art that I really respond to is the stuff that’s full of life and power and yet it allows for me to fill in the blanks with my own life experience. As specific as some of this material is, I also hope that it inspires those who experience it to do the same thing. Everyone is so ingrained these days with reality television and social media where everyone is spewing what they had for supper last night and the act of simple storytelling seems somewhat lost. What’s it like for you to be an artist trying to tell this story? Is it a challenge? It is. In fact, a lot of the times it feels like an uphill battle. However, I think the big thing for me is having the “why” answered. Why do I do what I do? I have that answer. It’s been my family and close friends who have been unconditional in their love for the work and for me as a person and if it reached them and meant something to them then I’ve done my job. Beyond that I’m not even going to allow myself to be hindered by anything else. Of course, like any artist, you want your work to be received by as many people as possible. I’ve talked to one of my mentors about it a lot. His name is Jim Roche and his whole family are all incredible artists. I admired his fearlessness to be confrontational with his art. It seems to me that we’re very afraid of that confrontation and I think as a culture there’s a lot of disconnect and a lot of disconnectedness. Perhaps our obsession with reality TV and the social networking is a desperate desire to reconnect, but not knowing how to beyond these avenues that are provided. Or doing it in the ways I’m doing it might be too scary or too hard. But I feel like, again, if it were easy it just wouldn’t be worth it in the end. As a kid I played soccer for a long time and I wasn’t the best person on the team for sure. There was this one shot where I just kicked it and it went up in the air and the goalkeeper almost caught it, but then it fumbled out of his hands and the ball went in the goal and that shot felt so good. I remember as a kid thinking that it felt so good because it was so hard for me to get that ball in a goal, but when it did it meant the world to me. I think the best things in life, the suffering and the struggle, are a part of the beauty of the work in my opinion. The fact that I’ve had the response that I’ve had, especially in the last year, has been such a blessing, seeing it grow and spread. Every day I get emails from around the world, more and more, talking about how this work has helped them through a rough spot or inspired them to pick up the brush or the ISSUE SIX

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PHOTOGRAPH BY Shayan Asgharnia


pen or whatever it is that they feel called to a labor of love. Why can’t that be honored in this culture? I think it can. I think there’s do and that is the affirmation right there. a shift happening and you’re part of that Right. On a personal note, I can totally shift and what y’all are doing with Fourculunderstand that because that’s where ture is an affirmation of that for me. I’ve had we’re at with Fourculture. It’s a labor of many conversations with artists and musilove on our part that we do because we cians that I’ve played with on this point and were all tired of being fed what we were we’re all so hungry for it and we’re all doing supposed to be listening to and what we it because we love it. The crew that has were supposed to be looking at when worked with me over the last 2 years, the there was this great big underground videographers, the dancers, the musicians, world out there that held all these amaz- they’re not interested in making money off ing things and nobody was being told of this stuff. They’re interested in being a about it. That’s basically what it came part of something for the love of the creto and this group of us said enough’s ative enterprise. It’s so awesome. It’s what enough and that was our calling to give gets me excited when I know that I can conpeople like you a platform and to watch nect with my choreographer, Stephanie, that grow and to hear people say we love and she takes a piece and creates somewhat you do and you introduced us to thing new with it. Like the other night they that person…that’s what makes it for us. did this Kickstarter launch party in Austin. But you know what? There’s something I’m in Florida right now but we tuned in via there. More and more I want to see a shift Google chat and were so touched by the down to the local community across the people that were there supporting and seecountry on this point because you said it, ing this choreography that she put together

around my music. Just to see that happen was so awesome and it’s a testament to what you’re talking about. You also do a lot of the art to go along with the album and the story and of course there’s the performance side of things. Do you ever separate those different mediums or do they all end up intertwined for you anyway? The separation is usually the venue and how the venue responds. Right now I’m booking a tour and I try to find ways to bring in the visual aspect. If it’s an art show I’ll do local performances and find a way to adapt to that space and the same thing for a club venue or a theatre, allowing for the pieces to fall into place where they can in each environment. For me, the vision would be to do a presentation where the production is all there. For this run, right now I’m working with 2 artists. There’s a friend of mine out in California that is creating these 8 foot tall stage pieces that are blowups of


these drawings I’m using for the album art. She’s painting them and I have a video projectionist who’s going to do video mapping over them of various elements that pertain to each of these siblings. The idea there is that, when their songs are performed live, a projection of my face or I might have my dancers play the parts, but in any case they will sort of come to life during their songs. The idea is that these stage pieces will be able to be set up at just about any club. Of course, at this level, I’m keeping it simple, but I dream of a day when I’ll be able to spend half a million dollars on a lighting and effects budget to appropriately compliment the work so it would blow people away every time. A lot of the sounds on the album you created from things you put together. Was that a matter of necessity at the time or is it something you really like to do? Given an unlimited budget would you still incorporate some of those things into the sounds that you’re putting out? Absolutely! I think once again it comes down to this question of why. What’s the reason for using any instrument or any device in a piece? I always ask myself that question when I’m putting things together, even on an intuitive level. At one point I built a studio with a friend in Florida before I came to Texas and we had in there a really nice sound system and recording equipment and it’s all good and fine. But at the end of the day, you know there’s recordings from Harry Smith’s American folk anthology 50 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SIX

that hiss and crack and yet those songs kill you every time because they’re so powerful. Philosophically the idea here is that we should not be limited by anything. If we have a song to sing, we need to be true to that and articulate it the best way that we can and not get caught up in “I don’t have this preamp or this effects board or this or that.” So yes, it speaks to using what we have and making beauty out of it. Also, on a literal level if these people were making music with what they had around them it’s like the detritus of the American culture after it’s fallen apart, where the sounds you’re hearing are alien sounding in many ways. There might be some points of familiarity but there might also be some new sonic soundscapes. It’s inviting you as the listener to be taken to a new place. When we hear guitar and drums in a traditional sense we associate that with certain things, which is fine, but my interest with this work has been to take you on a journey. To take you out of that zone of comfort and familiarity into something new perhaps while coming back to some certain points of familiarity. Everything about your music and performance is very intentional. One can tell that a whole lot of thought goes into each part of what you do. As an artist who covers all these different art forms, do you think there should always be that intention behind art? Does the person painting the fruit still life still have inten-

tion and how do you compare that to the scope of something like Sorne? I think the short answer is, it’s all appropriate. When I approach art, it’s more or less just a reaction to something that I’m feeling. A lot of the time, you won’t be able to really talk about the work after making it and it will take years for you to come back and really confidently talk about what you’re making. Everything I do comes from the heart. It comes from this place of sincerity. All the attention to detail and everything speaks to the passion there. The same could be said for someone who just sits down and marks out a line. One thing I will say, with the figurative pieces I’ve done and with the drawings I’m doing for the art book for the album, I have a couple of key ideas in my mind that you could count on one hand, but then as the piece develops different things will come. It is very much about the stream of consciousness, so I think it depends on the artist and where you’re coming from with your art. The bottom line is perhaps the passion, the heart, the sincerity behind the works is what informs. The things that I love, especially when you look at model making or filmmaking or archeology is that you’re pulling back layers and you’re seeing worlds and worlds of information that at first you may not pick up on. But if you take the time with it, there’s a universe there. Even in nature you can take a simple leaf and it looks like a simple shape, but you get closer and closer and you see the veins and the fiber as it is beautifully intermingled and there’s a story


“on a literal level if these people were making music with what they had around them it’s like the detritus of the American culture after it’s fallen apart, where the sounds you’re hearing are alien sounding in many ways.”

there. Personally I think any good art piece has that going for it regardless of how it was made or who made it. In your live performances, you almost seem to enter another world. How much of that is rehearsed and how much is just letting go and letting it move you? How do you cut that off at the end of the night? Letting go comes most to mind. I’ve been on the stage since I was 3 years old. My parents had me in things and they were performers themselves so it’s always been a very familiar territory. It’s almost second nature to get on stage and become something, become a character, embody an emotion, so I can thank them for that. My father has a fearlessness of that vulnerability, even in his day to day, and I inherited that. I think it has allowed for me to let go and focus in, and I know that’s sort of a contradictory thing there, but really it’s letting go of the inhibition and the apprehension and focusing in on key emotional states of being and then whatever comes from that comes. I’ve done a lot of stage acting so I have some of that to inform me, especially in terms of turning it on and turning it off, but it’s second nature in many ways for me to slip into these places. It’s funny because people seem surprised when they find out I’ve never done any kind of hallucinogenic drugs, but I’ve never had the need for it. A lot of people assume that when someone is doing this it’s because they’re high or tripping on something but for me it’s never been the case. ISSUE SIX

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It’s just this state of…I don’t even know what movies and I got the opportunity to go sailing. to call it, but for me it’s just shaking away Pretty much anything outdoor related I really the inhibitions and letting it all hang out really. enjoy. Also, I grew up as a kid loving to play Nintendo. These days I have no time, but if I So what do you do in your off time? If one did, I love playing the old platform games like looks at your videos and at your music, Mario Brothers and stuff. Really just spending one would think “He likes to sit out in the time with the people I care about and getting middle of the desert and listen to the earth to see what they’re doing. It’s been hard for me to even think about that since I’ve been so hum”. It’s funny that you say that because a immersed. lot of the House of Stone stuff was really inspired when I moved to Texas and saw Big Do you enjoy fiction or nonfiction and is Bend National Park. I went out there for an there really a difference? Not really. To me, fiction is just as rooted art show. The kids that you see on the first album cover were the art that came from that in reality as nonfiction. I’ll go back to Tolkien show. Jim had hooked me up with a gallery as an example. This is a guy writing a story out there and when I got out there the whole to get thru the reality of his experiences in the place just seemed to vibrate with this energy trenches of WW1 and watching the people and I’d never experienced anything quite like he loved around him dying. Or somebody it except where I grew up in Tallahassee. like Cormack McCarthy whose stories speak We’re out in the woods here and really con- so accurately to the state of the human connected to nature. It was so awe inspiring to be dition. Say what you will about it being dark, in this open space. It’s an ancient sea floor but I just love Cormack’s work. These are and it’s such an alien landscape and it really guys that have suffered. They’ve really faced inspired me as I was doing the work. That reality and used fiction as a means to work being said, I really like doing things outside. thru the reality. In terms of nonfiction, I really I like exploring. When I can I like to do things like a book called The Golden Braid. It was like rock climbing and reading, watching good a Pulitzer Prize winning piece a couple years

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back. It’s about the relationship of art, math, and science. There are a couple of pieces by Wasilla Kandinsky, a modern artist from the turn of the century and he wrote a piece called Concerning the Spiritual in Art and wrote a couple essays on art. Another piece that I really love is Walt Whitman’s Memoranda which is essentially his diary from the civil war where he’s writing about sitting with these guys in their final hours and watching the nurses and doctors singing Christmas carols in the medic ward, seeing Abe Lincoln walking around New York and things like that. There’s another book I love called Flash of the Spirit by Robert Farris Thompson. He is an anthropologist who wrote this piece tracing the roots of contemporary culture back through some distinct African tribes. I’m all over the place. I’ve got I think 6 books I think I’m working thru now. Sorne have just finished the first leg of the tour and will be working on releasing the new album, Ego Altar, very soon. Look for Sorne at upcoming festivals, on tour, and in all the usual places as the vision continues to unfold.


Opinion.

Surrealism.

Extraterrestrialism.

E v e r y S u n d ay From the Underground w w w. t h e f a b u l o u s d s h o w. c o m


sonic soundscapes

by Paula Frank Photography by Fi veTo M i dn i g ht | www.fivetomidnight.ca

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W

hen I hear the name Dead Red Velvet, I think of a heady drink; 2 shots of electronica, a shot of industrial, a couple ounces of caberet, and perhaps a touch of absinthe. It is a perfectly intoxicating mix, headed up by Toronto based producer/performer Karl Mohr. Karl’s flair for creating dramatic soundscapes leaves the listener thirsty for more as each layer tantalizes and teases you on to the next. Dead Red Velvet brings art and depth into every sip. Please, take a glass and taste Dead Red Velvet…if you dare.

The name Dead Red Velvet conjures up an image of both the beautifully soft and the macabre. How well do you think the name reflects the music? I started recording electronic music in 1987 surrounded by phenomenal names like Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Tackhead, Skinny Puppy, Age of Chance, Nitzer Ebb, and Shriekback. I just couldn’t arrive at a name for my project that I felt could encapsulate the totality of what I was doing. I was experimenting with many different genres. Fast-forward to 2010, some twenty-three years later (http://multibeatrecords.com/karlmohr-biography/) and I finally came to peace with the smooth moniker Dead Red Velvet. Later, to my horror, I discovered I had ripped off the number one goth rock song of all time. A hint: “bled red velvet lines, the black box...” But it was too late and too good. (The two runners up were Valkastrada and Situatsi.) I felt Dead Red Velvet described the output of my past, stood well for the aesthetic of my current release, Full Moon Film, and would continue to be a fitting name with my future musical plans. More specifically, it encapsulates all darkwave, art song, goth rock, Victorian aesthetic, cinematic feelings, age, timelessness, mortality, phenomenal clothing, poorly-tuned harpsichords, dust and so on. Your use of unique and interesting electro sounds is what really sets you apart. What draws you to a certain sound? Thank you for noticing. This is very important to me. The very fact that you can control how something sounds, manipulate pre-existing sounds, and synthesize unique sounds to me…this is the real magic: weaving imaginary patterns in the air. Writing lyrics and playing instruments and structuring songs are, for me, natural extensions of the main creative focus, which is deriving evocative, new, emotional atmospheres using a palette of bold, sonic development. I spend

an enormous amount of time on sound selection and refinements. Sometimes creating a particular sound serves a given purpose: “practical” sound design, but the real magic happens when you are tweaking, building, and layering and the bottom drops out and you can suddenly see for ten million miles into the next galaxy. That’s how you know you’ve accessed something really special. I’ll take as a random example the guitar-as-distant-Manchester-train-pass-by sounds in The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now.” You’ll never forget it when you hear that lonely bend for the first time and every time you hear it after that, you are transported. When putting a song together, how do you decide what types of sounds you will use? In terms of sonic planning, I do often decide what the tonal palette and mood will be before writing/recording. Many times, it is a specific exercise or experiment in tonal use, where I choose a dedicated palette to play with. For example, I’m currently attempting to collide minimal-house undercurrents with future-ragtime-old-time foreground elements. There is a cross-relationship along cultural and stylistic layers, but also tonal and arrangement layers as well. To really get the crosstalk happening, I have to have everything accessible and built from scratch, so I have full options to switch elements across the conceptual threshold. When a song is lyric-driven, sometimes the sounds become more arbitrary. Great sounds can also get in the way of other elements. It’s a balance. With dark lyrics and that electro sound, where do you draw inspiration from when creating new music? Who are you listening to yourself these days? Without sounding too self-indulgent, after 26 years of writing and recording, I often reference my own musical attempts and


“To me, ever ything from earlier times is better, even if it involved the bubonic plague. I don’t know if it’s maybe thinking it was simpler times and a longing for that or what..”


direction. It’s more like hunting for buried treasure except with music one can never perfectly find what one is looking for. The lyrics and music and sound design are all aiming at the same unreachable target and like searching for the Bermuda Triangle or the North Pole one can only really triangulate for probability. Often it is simply an aesthetic or emotional connection that guides. When I was young, I used to have old black and white photographs out while writing. I’d attempt to fall into them. Sometimes it’s old classic films that get me going. I was introduced to the atmospheric music of The Caretaker, which is very transporting. I’ve also been listening to the crazy cartoon jazz of Raymond Scott. It was all scored or “through-composed” which makes it sound strangely organized as jazz goes. I have a special affinity for Klute, the UK drum’n’bass hacker, but I like his down tempo material the best. My project work has led me to remix and produce with Johnny Hollow. I’m a huge fan. My audio player rotates Meat Beat Manifesto, Mt. Sims, Interpol, Rubén González. All the artists I’ve mentioned here are simultaneously feeding into my master plan towards a dark 58 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

expression that is musically rich, atmospheri- some of those pieces. I need to express the full human condition. To bring it into this dark cally alive, timeless and vitally poignant. and sinister world of Dead Red Velvet brings What draws you to some of these different a contrast that is interesting for me. I enjoy that clash. Most of my early experiments were time periods that you mentioned? I’m a Cancerian and we tend to look back. about crashing genres into each other and Nostalgia is important and looking back is im- bringing time periods together. I did Vivaldi’s portant. Vampires aren’t really interesting for Four Seasons with clashing drum beats and the gore aspect, but rather for the fact that that was a great and successful project. they live for hundreds upon hundreds of years and carry that past with them. To me, You’re well known for your exciting remixeverything from earlier times is better, even if es. What draws you to a song that makes it involved the bubonic plague. I don’t know you want to remix it? If offered a million if it’s maybe thinking it was simpler times and dollars, is there anyone’s music you would still refuse to remix? a longing for that or what. When the incoming remix isn’t a paid job, My favorite radio station is actually an old swing station that’s mostly listened to by when it’s my own motivation to work on it, usugeriatrics I suppose. Growing up I was drawn ally my impulse to reorganize someone else’s to classical and ragtime and all sorts of older material starts with a conceptual puzzle. The music. All of music looks back in many ways. real wow-factor comes in doing something Ragtime has the reputation of being perky that shouldn’t be possible or taking a turn one and over the top. Swing was all about get- would never expect; the challenge is in playing ting pumped up to go to war or trying to keep with expectations and pre-conceptions along things happy to forget the war. There’s a the length of the piece. Every song or track has its lifespan and beauty in that old music but you don’t always get a picture of the full human spectrum in needs and wants; it yearns to be most per-


fectly executed. Sometimes that translates to a song wanting re-arrangement or simply performing it differently. But when you hear in your mind’s ear how a track is going to rock so much heavier, how it will come into its own more properly, it’s difficult to just set that aside. Lately, I’m trying to convert those challenges into inspiration to write a new song in my own way. Why waste good inspiration on someone else’s material? The only million-dollar deal-breaker would be remixing an artist that would so negatively impact my own career that it would delimit my ability to work. A million dollars goes a long way. Because I apply my own style to everything I work on, I rarely need to worry about the end product. I typically don’t support thug/mafia/gang music, so for instance it would be quite difficult to remix gangster rap or music created by the current Prime Minister of Canada. What is your mixing process like? Do you hear the mix in your head and then put it into play or do you play first and fix it later? I try to mix as I go. Because I do music mastering work and mixing jobs, I have some tricks to stay mindful of the curves as I’m tracking. This way there’s less work to do later. Even tracking parts with attention to fine EQ work on the way in saves time. Every song is an orchestra of frequencies, and if one isn’t aware of what instruments are filling up and crisscrossing the territory of the bandwidth,

problems will certainly arise. On my last album, Full Moon Film, some of the songs like “Come Hither Moon” had hundreds of tracks. I believe there were 85 tracks of drums/percussion alone. I was attempting to create the most towering bombast of epic musical expression possible. I’ll never make a record that thick again. The scale of sonic orchestration possible with the current technology can easily overload our ability to properly apply those layers to our musical aims. Planning is always crucial to creative expression, but as the tools increase in complexity so too is the need for organization. No one is going to shuffle bits of concrete and metal around in the hopes of building an atomic energy plant. On the subject of The Krampus Ball, OnAirGigs, clubs, and festivals what type of energy do you bring to a live show that nobody else does? What do you like to look out and see going on in the audience? Do you take requests? There are definite aims in performance. The primary wish is to bring some sense of art and drama to the pop stage — I take my music very seriously (though some would say that a unique sense of humor underscores my work) and the walk-up to the microphone is with a great reverence. I like to work with classically trained performers and I like to get the classical sensibilities singing out strong and

proud. Often there are visual artists painting or drawing right on stage. As a secondary thrill, I’ve always attempted strange juxtapositions. I can’t help it. Some of my first appearances were punk rock performances at rave parties, or tribal dances at electroacoustic workshops. I couldn’t ever just fit the bill and do the normal thing. In many ways, working against the grain has been working against myself, but the main idea is always to introduce new ideas, concepts, and presentations that may not have ever before been considered. I’m definitely more of a seeker than a maintenance man. And it’s dancing that’s the thrill! When you see people grooving, or bopping, or rocking out uncontrollably, that’s how you know you’re doing something compelling. As for requests, I’ve done sit-down piano/ voice shows where there might have been a request or two, which I ignored. I really like to build a performance from top-to-tail. I’m fine to build set lists weeks or months in advance. In this regard, I’ve never had a problem at all with backing tracks. It’s a one-time adventure, custom-built for total enjoyment and hopefully a worthwhile experiment every time. How does your history in piano and composition play out in your work with Dead Red Velvet? Dead Red Velvet makes a conscious effort to be musical. The songs have chords, charts,

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and even full scores. I aim to bring the relief to the standard darkwave “hold down one note on an arpeggiator” squalor. If I can bring dynamics, sensitivity and melody (noble aims) to the genre, it makes me very happy. Essentially, I realize I need to fully transcend the genre. On Full Moon Film, the aim was to build a coherent record, and so the dark electronic, gothic, darkwave areas were a rough starting point. If I can be heavy and seething and poignant and also delicate, rich and intellectually robust all in one song, that speaks of a certain inherent musicality. We have the tools to do incredible things, all we need to do is unplug from the shit-plungers and open up our minds to what is possible. Part of what you do is also doing sound effects, scoring, etc. for IMAX films. You’ve also done soundtracks for a few films. How does what you do with cinema filter into your work as a musician? It’s a huge component. When I put out the album Full Moon Film, the idea was that it’s a soundtrack without a film. It’s highly charged and emotional and feels like a film. When I watch a film it’s all about entering this world of emotion. So when I write music, it’s very much about creating a visual in the imagination and evoking a mood. Where film is very linear from beginning to end, there’s an aspect of music that allows you to enter into a continuum of a shot. You can enter into the shot, into this space, and it’s infinite. I have done music for films as well and I love the idea of marrying music with images. What’s strange is that when I watch films, I often prefer when there isn’t any music. I like to focus on what the acting and the sound effects bring to the story rather than being distracted by the music. As a sound editor, there’s a lot of animosity towards the music in a film because it’s usually stamped all over the sound effects. You find yourself asking what the music is there for. It can be so manipulative, more so than even the manipulation of images in film because music turns the emotions in certain directions. In terms of the music being visual, it always has been for me. I have a rich history with ambient music and art music and it’s what I think music is for; to give you a release. The whole production should be a release from the doldrums and the boring aspects of real life. I was doing a video shoot last weekend and someone asked if it too overdramatic. Well, it’s always overdramatic. That’s what it’s all about. It’s specifically melodramatic. I think of these piano art songs and tone poems that would paint images through words. A lot of what I do is about that and heading more so in that direction. It all carries the same thread. Even though I’m presenting in all these different ways, it’s all about conjuring the emotional space in music. 60 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

“All Good Seasons” has to be one of my absolute faves. Why did it only make B sides for Full Moon Film? Did you ever have any reservations about making a statement such as that made with “All Good Seasons?” Should more artists sing their opinions in their music this way? Around 2005-2006, I was working with a young songwriter named Eric Reid. His project Best Friends With Wolves Club is very clever, poppy indie rock and recommended listening. We planned “All Good Seasons” to be a big, bold, declarative tune. But it just didn’t work for his record, so I bought him out, rewrote the lyrics, and took it to final. I had an absolute mandate to make an album that was at least somewhat genreconsistent. I’ve recorded dozens of albums, and I’ve always let them wander all over the map like wild boars. “All Good Seasons” is very strong and very positive, but in the end it was just too damn perky for Full Moon Film. The lyrics (http://www.deadredvelvet. com/karl-mohr-archives/downloads_public/lyrics/karl_mohr_all_good_seasons.pdf) really are about the dissolving of Canada: one empire giving way to another type of empire; being squeezed so hard you have nowhere to turn. I’ve always been a champion of the underdog. But I’m too sappy for politics and my political material is usually very dreadful. It takes a special type of person to do political art well. I absolutely believe more artists need to push themselves to be intelligent, articulate and make daring statements in their work. If ever there was a time for this, it is now. Some people argue that even through creating things of worth, artists embody a force of change for good, even without nailing a topic on the nose in any literal way. Often, your lyrics deal with the things that scare most people, vampires, rats, but as symbolism for real world things. Is this the stuff of your own nightmares or a way of putting to music what we are surrounded by in life? Don’t be misled! The song “Vermin“ is not at all to do with rats. It is a song about automobiles! Our protagonist on the bicycle is scanning for oncoming road rage for selfpreservation! It is a hyper-environmental epic cloaked in glib electro-scowl. And there have been more of these! “Vampire Car” is clearly a critique/celebration of the violence of automobiles. I have another song, “Eating Green Solar Cars,” which deals with leaving the grid. Some songwriters write happy-sounding songs that have darker undertones. Mine are usually the opposite. They sound dark at first listen, but have a message of hope, survival and perseverance on deeper levels. I do believe in balance. So much about life is embracing death, pain, hardship, and sadness. My music is a working through of

“Some songwriters write happy-sounding songs that have darker undertones. Mine are usually the opposite. They sound dark at first listen, but have a message of hope, sur vival and perseverance on deeper levels.”


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the darkness. For me, it is how I exorcise the demons and come through it to a positive end. A romp through my lyrics will surely leave a reader overloaded with symbolism. I love archetypes and playing rich imagery off romanticized circumstances. The goal is to be enriched, not to be sweetened. I have a tendency to go overboard, over-rich, and over-saturated. Is there ever a moment when you are not creating? Who is Karl Mohr when offstage? The truth is I wish I were far more generative than I’ve been in the last year. I’m generating lists and ideas and plans and enough lyrics and ideas to make me sick to my stomach, but lately I’ve been rendering projects for other people. Most of my stage appearances this year have been playing guitar with Ian Revell’s band Double Eyelid. As a freelance sound designer, I essentially work non-stop and mostly sixteen-hour days. I’m very driven to a fault. I’m slowly developing an audio relaxation program. A sort of one-on-one performance called Audio Therapy to relieve people from anxiety and stress. As I get older, I’d like to help people using my sound knowledge. Tell us about some of the other projects you have going on? What will we hear next from you? Aside from Dead Red Velvet and the Audio Therapy, there are two other projects. Blue Visions is my chill house project, and of course, being the most commercial, it has also been the most commercially successful. Spannhaken (ex-Droid Charge) is a hightempo digital sound-clash project with an emphasis on live DSP control. I’m really quite excited about the way new textures come together under your hands, quite automatically, and the game of keeping it all on the rails. The last Dead Red Velvet show we did featured a significant amount of Spannhaken material, so it could be that all roads lead to Spannhaken. I have hours of these mix sessions that I am slowly making available. So with all you have going on between sound editing and musical projects, I’m sure it overlaps. How do you cope? Switching can be absolutely dizzying for me. The overhead of having such a wide skill set can actually be sort of crippling. At some point, I need to stop trying to do everything and focus. What is your most guilty pleasure? It’s all guilt, all the time around here. Music is the only way out.

www.deadredvelvet.com

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Belatyr and Beyond:

by A lexandra O pped i sano

Husband and wife team, Thom and Kambrea Pratt, are not your ordinary couple. Together they transport readers to a fantastical, magical world in the comic series known as Shadowbinders. Updating twice weekly, the online series has become a sensation in and out of the Steampunk world. With compelling characters and enough fantasy for the die-hard sci-fi crowd, it is no wonder that Shadowbinders is a hit. We can’t wait to see where this imaginative duo take us next.

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For our readers who aren’t familiar with Shadowbinders, can you give a quick synopsis of the plot? The elevator pitch: Mia White was an ordinary high school girl with ordinary high school problems. Her life was changed the day she was given her grandfather’s mysterious journal and an unusual antique ring — one that transported her to the fantasy world of Belatyr. Now Mia finds herself in an extraordinary realm filled with airships, flying serpents, an evil plot and danger! But the biggest challenge to her patience is the handsome, talented, aloof (and downright infuriating) mage Crimson Rhen. After a few harrowing trips to Belatyr she is accepted and becomes part of the ragtag crew on Rhen’s airship The True North. How long have you been creating Shadowbinders? How did the concept come about? Thom: The comic is in its third year online. However, it’s been several years in the making. I had a story idea back in the mid-1990s called Shadowbinder (singular.) It was more of a sci-fi adventure, but had some of the elements used in the current strip like Winston and The True North. However, the options for self-publishing comics were pretty limited (and expensive) before the advent of the internet, and the story wasn’t coming together — so I shelved it. Kam had some ideas for a story of her own that involved a girl travelling from world to world, fantasy elements and romantic comedy. She wanted to use the name Shadowbinders as well as the airship from the original — The True North. While the story was being pieced together, we realized how well the elements from the original story fit with her new story. This is the version that’s online today.

Thom does the artwork and Kambrea writes. Did you fall into these roles from the start of developing Shadowbinders, or was it a longer process to determine who would do what? Thom: This is where it gets complicated. For the most part, Kam writes the script and I do the art. But we both hash out story details, Kam helps on colors and makes art suggestions, and I sometimes make dialog suggestions. Kam has been running social media, while I tend to deal with vendors and stuff. We each do whatever we need to do to get the comic out the door. What is it like producing a comic together? Are there ever any disagreements over storyline, characterization, or the way the concepts and characters are illustrated? Kam: Since we are married we work well together. There aren’t many disagreements as we work the story out together. (Although, sometimes Thom doesn’t read the script or listen and then I get a bit irritated). As far as character design and such, we are on the same page 99% of the time. Thom: Yeah, I think we work better together than a lot of people. We bounce ideas off each other all the time, which is sort of a system of checks and balances. I don’t think there have ever been any blowouts over anything in the comic. Who is your favorite character to write/illustrate and why? Kam: Rhen is a lot of fun to write. He is such a flawed character with tons of repressed issues. This will all come to light as the story progresses. I have to think about where he is right now, how much of his true self he wants to reveal, and how much of his “image” he needs to hold on to. ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

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I also like to write Mia because it’s interesting to think about how she would react being thrown into this crazy world with Rhen. Having to deal with two different worlds each with their own problems -- it would be a lot to handle. Mia is not going to be the same person at the end as she was at the beginning. It’s fun to help her progress. Thom: I like drawing Mia. She’s very expressive. Acacia is always fun to draw, too. Rhen’s costume is complicated, and sometimes I dread drawing his chain over. And over. And over again. What would you say the recurring themes are of Shadowbinders, and why is it important to you to incorporate these themes? Kam: Having a foot in two worlds is a recurring theme in the story... and our own life. We constantly straddle two worlds. By day we’re a pretty normal middle class American family living in the suburbs, but nights and weekends we do these comics that few people aside from family even know we do. Family. Bloodlines. Change. Color is important, and there’s a reason some of the characters are named after colors.

Thom: Unfortunately we don’t get out to many conventions. We’d like to remedy that, but we’ve been very busy. Do you find that most of your readers are already part of the steampunk community, or have there been instances where Shadowbinders has introduced some readers to steampunk? Thom: We honestly don’t know. It would be cool, though. Like Kam said, we consider our story “steampunk lite” and try to keep it as accessible to a general audience as possible.

On your website there’s a section for Mia’s (main character) journal entries. It seems like it’s becoming increasingly popular for producers of any kind of fiction (from comics to webseries to novels to television) to provide their audience with these types of “extras” that bring people further into the fictional world and provide more insight into characters. How do you feel providing content like this has helped engage your readers? Kam: We love our readers. They’re the best. I wanted to do the journal entries to try and give them a bit more insight into who Mia is and what How long have you been involved in the steampunk community or her family is like. They can learn more about what her history is. been interested in writing steampunk? We’re going to do something similar with Rhen eventually. But that Kam: I have loved the Victorian aesthetic for years. I didn’t really won’t be done in a “journal.” We’re currently working on that. Thom: There’s definitely more in the pipeline for this world. know too much about the steampunk movement until about eight years ago. I am always impressed by the amazing art, fashions, jewelry, etc You update twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays. How easy that the steampunk community comes up with. Beautiful work! We call our story “steampunk lite” because we know we are not is this pace to maintain? How long does it take to produce an fully steampunk. Our story is more of a “steam-fantasy” story, but we update? are very willing to take part in steampunk events and the community. I Thom: It varies, usually 6-10 hours total per page. We’ve got would love to do more. some new software that may speed things up. We’ve been hammered 68 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX


“Family. Bloodlines. Change. Color is important, and there’s a reason some of the characters are named after colors.” with some other obligations lately, so we pulled back a bit on the update schedule, but we intend to ramp it up again in the spring. Your social media sites look really active. Does it help you with your process to get such immediate feedback from and engagement with your readers? Kam: Yes. If nothing else it helps to keep us motivated. Knowing people are willing to be involved makes it completely worth it. It also helps to know what aspects of the story we may need to develop more or clarify. They also are great at catching any grammatical errors. Readers make great copy editors! Your comic is divided into chapters, and you’re currently on chapter 8. How long is each chapter? How far ahead is the overarching storyline planned? Kam: There is no set number of pages for a chapter. We do chapters more like a prose book. When it seems it would be the proper end of the segment, that is where we end it. Each book will have a varying number of chapters. The overarching storyline is planned out and has been from the beginning. We know the main story points and the ending. We do keep it loose because we like to be able to add to it. If one of us has a fun idea we like to be able to go with it. A lot of the in-between parts start out something like “You know what would be funny? If...” Currently in Chapter 8, it looks like Rhen wants to keep an eye on Mia and her ring to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, but he doesn’t seem to be quite honest (maybe not even to himself) about some of his true motivations for wanting her nearby. Can you give us a little hint on what’s next for Rhen and Mia? Kam: There is a lot in store for Rhen and Mia. War is going to start in the next few chapters, as Marek and his goons make a play for power and this will put the crew of The True North further into danger. We can’t rule out other people in their lives -- Chris for example. Then there was Rhen’s odd reaction to the name “Alex.” We also have an upcoming character named Leo who will have a crush on them both...so anything can happen! Thom: Wherever Rhen and Mia ultimately end up, it won’t be a straight line to get there. And we can’t guarantee that everyone will make it through to the end of the comic alive. (Did I just say that?!) www.shadowbinders.keenspot.com ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

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by darya teese w ell

I was standing in my purple thigh high boots near the front bar of the Parlour on Santa Monica Boulevard. It was 2005, probably. The bar was east of Fairfax near the area known as “Little Ukraine.” A new weekly club night known as Miss Kitty’s seemed worth checking out since I’d seen it advertised in L.A. Weekly and I’ve never needed an excuse to wear fishnet

M

y friends and I had been mourning the recent demise of two club nights in the city; Cherry in West Hollywood and Makeup, held at the venerable El Rey Theater. Cherry and Makeup offered glittery sexualized dancing, drinking and body contact in a mixed crowd fused within a matrix of killer sound. “Mixed” meant that it wasn’t dominated by a gay, lesbian, trans, older, younger or straight crowd. It was a refreshing contrast to the rigid Kabuki Theater of the trans bar scene where I had my roots. I was keeping to myself, a little shy in a new scene, and it gave me a chance to drink things in. Kitty’s already had a different attitude than her shiny predecessors. She was darker, kinkier, and closer to earth, with an unapologetic sneer on her painted lips. There was a whiff of Hashish in the Pheromone-heavy air where people handcuffed on X bars were having their bums paddled ecstatically red in the back room. The crowd was a mix of artsy downtowners, pierced psychobilly bar regulars in ducktails and dice tattoos, escorted by their Betty Page girlfriends with precise batwing eyeliner, red lips, and more tattoos and 70 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

piercings than their men. There were cool, haughty dommes, leather boys, club kids and a few people on leashes. Girls in yellow dynel wigs did an impromptu show of sorts in the window at the front of the club that had drapes hiding our bacchanal from the street. Over time, those shows would grow into a cottage industry for S&M enthusiasts and pros. At the bar, a girl was languidly posed on a bar stool having a conversation with the bartender. She wore a latex jumpsuit that was laced all the way up from her high-heeled feet to her abundant breasts, and the gaps between laces showed a lot of skin, especially since she was about twenty to thirty pounds heavier than your average Vogue model. She smiled at a passing man in leather and laughed. She had a gorgeous face and dark red lips, made more beautiful by the fact that she knew exactly how hot she was. I connected with her and the spirit of the club immediately. To be an insider at Kitty’s one had to be an outsider to the dreary, affluent hum of L.A.; money, cars, houses, pools and the frantic, gym-driven search for the perfect body. This glistening, raven-haired, pale-skinned earth goddess in latex was a subversive, a guerilla in the battle against the silky yammer

that was constantly bombarding people to buy shit to feel better after making them feel bad about themselves for how they looked, what they wore and where they lived. The fact that I was trans was irrelevant to the crowd at Kitty’s. If you were any kind of rebel you could hang. The party at Kitty’s went on for years, eventually finding a spacious new home at the Dragonfly a few miles West on Santa Monica Blvd. Miss Kitty, the hostess, was a foul-mouthed plus-sized instigator in Cheetah print ears who nurtured a loyal family of subversives and created indoor anarchy every Friday night. We were all a weekly fashion show of dreadlocks, makeup, costume, piercings and all forms of restraint and corsetry. The go-go boys and girls undulated indoors in pink faux-fur boots while S&M shows took place in other rings. At the peak, there were three DJ’s spinning in three rooms and one on the patio with porn projected overhead. You could sweat and touch to pounding industrial in room one and chill to classic darkwave on the patio that smelled like alcohol, cannabis and clove cigarettes. I met at least five friends for life there on damp, cool Hollywood nights. Our lives intertwine still. It was our turf and we magnanimously shared it with outsiders who came, got drunk, and left with an education in S&M, gender fluidity, body fluidity and the pride of the prideless. We seduced, corrupted and bewildered them, at least for a night or two. Many a college boy’s hand found its way to my thigh and set his Kinsey scale sliding. I had a gorgeously adorable female employee and friend who was utterly confused after I identified just which of my friends were born male and which were born female for her on the day after. There were celebrity sightings often. Alexis Arquette and Calpernia Addams were regulars and often part of the stage show. There were always gawkers who stuck out like a sore thumb. I told my friend Vena one night that the most popular costume for the evening was obviously “creepy little man.” I’m 6’5” in heels so it was my pleasure to sniff them away with a regal curse. The night would end at 1 or 2 with an L.A. street dog (wrapped in bacon) from the vendor who set up her charcoal grill right outside the exit, or we would end up at Toi, a legendary


Thai restaurant on Sunset open until at least 4. We’d eat dark red Cargo rice, rehydrate, and relive the night laughing over the sound system blaring entire albums by The Sweet, Clash, and Van Halen. No good thing lasts forever, especially a club: the palette is ephemeral by definition. Later we showed up on nights where the college boys had taken over. They poisoned the night with beer, banality and button-down shirts. They read about it in The Daily Bruin, and now were there for a goof. It felt weird to be “the attraction” when they stared at you as if you were a character walking around Disneyland. One of my last nights at Kitty’s there was a gaggle of cross dressers, looking expectant, lost, and clannish; like tourists from Paducah. It was a strange moment because I realized that I identified more as an anarchic citizen of Kitty’s than as a member of the Immutable Transgendered Sisterhood. No such thing anyway. Some trans people are bores and jerks, just as is true among the hoi polloi. Beholding two gorgeous women in purple dreadlocks, the fact that one was born male and the other female was irrelevant when you felt the thump of the bass and the promise of a single hedonistic night of weird promise. I felt little in common with the CD’s who were there. It was as if the CD tour bus had pulled up. I felt a little sad for some reason. I knew I wouldn’t be back for a while. Trans bars in the late nineties changed my life, but I’ve never stopped changing. Back then, I had discovered within my tired, beaten-down male drone self a fierce warrior queen; a rebel, a gender subversive, a sexual time bomb who sprayed Chanel on her wrists and the back of her neck to prepare for battle. The late nineties were a sweet time where no one saw much difference between a Drag Queen and a Crossdresser, and neither did we. In fact “Crossdresser” was a nicer title than “transvestite” back then and we were kind of proud of it. We hung out, got drunk and flirted with random men, women and each other. My sexuality flowered like some fabulous late-blooming desert plant. My world went from black and white to Technicolor. One night at the late, lamented Peanuts at 7969 Santa Monica Boulevard, I crossed about six different personal thresholds in a single evening, and you know what? I felt great. I’ve stopped getting drunk, but I still feel great. I no longer feel a need to define myself as anything. Screw definitions. They just start pointless arguments. There are trans people who want you desperately to understand them, and I’d be lying if I told you I’ve never felt that way. That said, as I grow older, I remember what a wise man once told a group of us. “In life, understanding is often the booby prize.” Don’t look for any glittery pink animated butterflies on my web page. In fact, who even has a web page, anymore? Here’s to outlaws, rebels and outliers, everywhere. www.divadarya.com

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Andra, first off, let me say that I am super exited to have this chance to ask you questions that have been in my head since I first heard your music. I became an instant fan within seconds of hearing you but in researching who you are and where your music comes from let’s just say it’s not an easy task. I had a comment from a listener once, who said “… she’s like a reclusive enigma, a secret angel hiding in the dark.” I liked this comment and thought it created an image of you which I find hard to disagree with. Would you consider yourself a reclusive or secretive person? There’s not much information about you out there. I enjoy solitude and silence. Silence is the composer’s canvas, really, so I spend a lot of time there. I’m definitely reclusive, but not anti-social or misanthropic. Most days, anyway. Generally speaking I’m a fairly private person, and I can be super selective about who I let into my inner-sanctum of self-revelation as it were. The irony is that I’m driven to remove veils, spiritually, personally, artistically. So it’s possible 74 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

that my future work will be more revealing, or re- of greatest intensity. But I also included prose from others, and even from other personal advealing in a less oblique way. We’ll see. ventures, that fit the project perfectly. Horses, Listening to tracks from Epic Lifestyle it for example, were one of the latter. sounds very personal, like a diary or journey. Was this something that was a long Most bands and musicians these days produce albums that are simply a collection of term project or a burst of inspiration? Epic Lifestyle did become a kind of record tracks recently written, but Epic Lifestyle to me of the rather dark, spiritual adventure I em- sounds like a deliberate collection, a specifibarked on right around the time I started pro- cally written project, almost like a concept. ducing it. When I say spiritual, I mean the kind Where was the starting point of this album? Epic Lifestyle unfolded organically. It of spirituality one experiences through carnal indulgence, through living fully in the body wasn’t intellectually deliberate, but perhaps it rather than eschewing one’s own humanity. was existentially deliberate. The concept runAs a devotee of the Goddess Hekate, I was, at ning through Epic Lifestyle is, if you will, Inanthe time, on a conscious quest to explore and na’s Descent. It’s really an Orphic tale of one’s excavate the darkness within myself, in oth- journey into the underworld, experienced and er people, and, of course, within culture and expressed viscerally. It’s about discovering society. That’s how it all started. Inspiration what is hidden in the dark – the monsters as came from the people I met along the way; well as the buried treasures, the lies we tell the stories we were living together, the stories ourselves and others, our beautiful, raw truths, they told me, the things I felt, the endings, the illusion vs. reality. So, it started with this quest, monsters, the transformations...all of it. Most at the beginning of which I was unabashedly of the songs just sprang out during the times enchanted with people who had an epic sense


of self. That is, people who outwardly projected their iconic or heroic inner selves, and who really believed these soul avatars represented their true natures. It was, at the time, really important to connect with people who had truly risen from the ashes once or twice. There were a few powerful but ephemeral connections along the way. The song “Inhale” spontaneously emerged from one of these encounters. First time I heard the album it sounded like a studio album that involved quite a lot of people, but I suspect it’s mainly you on your own. What input did others, if any, have in producing and recording the album? It’s mostly a solo work, but I had help and support, both moral and technical, from friends as well as other music professionals. The poet Ellen Zaks was a delicious discovery at the time. I came across her poem, The Forest, on her MySpace blog, and begged her to let me use it as the basis of a song. Happily, she consented, and, really, I think lyrically it’s the best song on the album. “The Evil Inside” was a collaborative piece with Dr. Ohm of Heavenly Creatures. I wrote the lyrics and melody and he did all the rest! I was also blessed to have Ken Marshall, who has worked with Skinny Puppy, the Deftones, and a host of other great bands, master the album. The CD art was created by Claudia Fasold, who is a musician herself and the art director at Hakuya One. http://www.

this direction first inspire your music? First of all, that’s an amazing compliment! Björk is a genius, and though I haven’t focused on her work a great deal, I’ll never forget the first time I heard her. I was driving late at night. Her song “Human Behaviour” flew through the radio, and I found it so electrifying that I had to pull over and just let it wash over me. Dark music, enormous music, industrial and ethereal, electronic and analogue, has never failed to get under my skin. It’s been a huge influence. The truth is that I’ve always written music in a lot of different styles, but I do favour intense, dark rhythms and melodies. So, this direction you speak of is inherent, almost part of my musical DNA. With Epic Lifestyle, I intentionally focused on merging ethereal and industrial as a single expression. Your collection of influences is a healthy and diverse range of musicians, from the likes of Dead Can Dance, Bauhaus, This Mortal Coil right through to Bach, Proko-

fiev, Debussy and even The Prodigy. Are you a studied musician with any kind of classical training or other background? Unfortunately, no, except for a futile early attempt by my grandmother to provide piano lessons. I’ve always preferred absorbing musical knowledge by osmosis, exploring music extensively, and apprehending it on a visceral level. For years I feared that formal music training would destroy my naïve, intuitive ability to create music. But I no longer think that’s true, and in fact I’ve recently begun studying music theory and notation. Pictures you publish of yourself often show you with a guitar, but is this your first choice of instrument? My first choice of instruments when I was a child was drums. But that wasn’t going to happen. So after a couple of years aggravating my piano teacher by playing Mozart pieces too slowly while holding down the sustain pedal, not to mention a few other musical misadven-

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One fact that struck me when trying to research you and your music was the statement “Andra Dare has been making music since she was old enough to make noise.” What are your first musical memories? I have this vivid memory of being, oh, six years old, wild, dishevelled, bursting with life. I was running around the universe of our small neighbourhood, belting out some song of my own devising in time to my footfalls and snapping low hanging branches off trees in perfect time as I passed. I felt enormous, like I owned the world with my voice. I’d tune in to ambient rhythms of nature, the city, body motion, manmade devices, and weave songs out of thin air. Big, echoing chambers were my favourite. They made my small voice seem vast and ethereal, and I’d get lost for hours immersed in these soundscapes. So, that’s what that statement refers to. But the bigger part of my early musical memory was the ceaseless voice Radio KAOS, the local station in the small California town I grew up in. They played everything from old MoTown to the electronic music just then emerging, and everything in-between. I was flooded with amazing music of every type imaginable and I loved it. Andra Dare is, to quote what another listener once said “... like a Gothic Björk.” The production and direction has that semi-industrial gothic dark angelic feel. When did ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

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that. It’s the most plausible explanation I’ve heard so far. Sometimes I joke that I’m a ferocious hare, because it’s true that I’m very sensitive and empathetic, and really dislike hurting others, but I will for the sake of truth or personal freedom. I dream and study and meditate, too. Like most, I’m just searching for meaning and striving to be a truer, more compassionate person along the way. The Goddess knows I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the compassion of others. But there are times when anger has saved my life, too. Reading Howard Philips Lovecraft and posting tracks labelled as “Cthulhu Pop”, are you inspired by classic authors and novels in your music or are things based on more personal experiences and thoughts? Yes, authors inspire me all of the time, and not just classical authors. The term Cthulhu Pop was a tongue in cheek reference to the call of the Cthulhu as a simile for the lure of a deceptive or illusory lover. I leave the rest to your imagination.

tures, my guardians took pity and bought me a guitar. Immediately I started writing songs, even before I knew how to tune the guitar. On stage I’ve performed with both electric and acoustic guitars, as well as midi gear, and I think my best songs are written when I’m playing guitar. With instrumentation in mind, how would you describe the writing and recording process for tracks? You know, almost any experience can (and usually does) instigate the writing of a song. Like so many artists, I write a lot more music than I’ll ever have the time or resources to produce. Very strong emotions and/or powerful epiphanies or fascinations motivate me to write. Songs can start as a spontaneous piece of prose, or with a melody or beat running through my head. But the one inviolable is that most of the music or lyrics have to pour out all at once. I have to catch the impulse like a firefly. For me, songs don’t stay still. At times whole songs or symphonies write themselves in my mind while I’m busy doing something completely mundane. That’s the writing part of it. Recording and producing can take a lot longer and, really, I’m not the best sound engineer by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of time is spent finding or creating just the right 76 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

sound samples, and fidgeting with EQ and arrangement. I think most producers will confess to spending half their lives tweaking audio settings. I’m no different. But I dream of giving over the technical part of production to a real sound engineer someday. You strike me as someone who reads, studies and dreams – a soft soul with a gentle touch, but attracted and fascinated by the darker side of life. This is what I get from listening to your music and with lyrics like “...as if promising to turn them into pretty things, into beautiful wings, all because of the ground.” (Horses / Epic Lifestyle) a track for me which I love, but where does your inspiration come from? I’m probably not as soft as the music on Epic Lifestyle makes me seem. Actually I’m passionate and often outspoken, even putting myself in harm’s way to confront situations or behaviours that strike me as wrong. In person, I’m imaginative, curious, and very playful. And perhaps not surprisingly, I’m enthralled by beauty and an endless truth seeker. I say endless because I still haven’t found “the truth”, and I’m not sure humans are yet capable of finding it. The mystic and film maker, Jodorowsky, thinks we can’t understand our own existence because we are still evolving. I like

With your love of literature and classic novels in mind if you could go back in time and create a novel based character for yourself which author would you pick and what kind of character would you give yourself? What a question! Okay. If I were to choose a story that somewhat resembles my current life, it might be a kind of romantic psychological thriller by an author who’s a cross between Shelley and Hawthorne. Ideally, the central characters, antagonist and protagonist alike, would end up realizing that mankind’s insistence on some imagined purity or perfection is the real tragic flaw marring their lives, and through this revelation, ultimate tragedy is averted. I would be an underdog heroine, more courageous, articulate and brilliant than I really am, and perfectly triumphant over my inner demons and the monstrous injustices of others, in the end. But why choose that? If I really could be the protagonist of any story, written by any classical author, why not choose a more benign author and a have a life quite different from the life I’ve known? For example, maybe I’d choose a non-sexist version of either Arthur Conan Doyle or Jules Verne. Perhaps one of these gents would be kind enough to re-create me as a brilliant, fiery heiress and inventor who can afford to indulge every creative whim, and who can go off on the most outlandish and far flung adventures merely to satisfy scientific or philosophical curiosity. If they were very good to me, they’d make me noble, generous, and exquisitely wellmannered, without being dull. My friends and enemies would all be ingenious and exciting, but good-hearted. At some point, they’d make sure I found unending love, and as a cherry on top, I’d discover some great universal secret that enables me to do great and lasting good in the world. Is that too much to ask?


Moving forward into the future to talk about the upcoming album, Fainting in Coils, would you say that you’re taking an even darker trip into your music with tracks like “A Very Fine Point”? Not necessarily. A Very Fine Point is a cathartic and real response to the once-again huge chasm that exists between the haves and have-nots of this world. It’s dark, but it’s a quiet revolutionary song, too, which is a bright thing. Fainting in Coils will be more delicate and ethereal, I think, but not darker. When it’s released, I hope you’ll tell me whether or not you agree. For fans and followers of your music what would you say that they can expect from Fainting In Coils compared with previous releases? It’s dreamier, and even a bit playful. The neoclassical influence is stronger; more piano and strings, fewer vocals. I think it’s more expressive, and musically better. But it’s hard to be objective about one’s own work. If Epic Lifestyle is about descent, in some ways Fainting in Coils is about languorously loitering in the underworld where, through confronting exaggerated shadows, one begins to see things as they really are. Sounds dark? Maybe. But darkness is relative. Lyrical surrealism is still present, and it’s full of hope and the appreciation of beauty in whatever form it takes.

In an effort to help listeners, followers and fans gain a better insight into your world, how would you best describe the average musical day in the life of Andra Dare? Every day is musical, even when I can’t spend time in the studio. But my best days are the days I get a lot of studio time. On days like that, I start off singing and playing guitar, usually singing renditions of other people’s songs – songs outside of my usual genres. I always keep a recording device nearby to capture new song ideas as they emerge. When new songs pour out, I don’t censor myself. It’s pure play and everything is permissible. Everything. Songs come in batches of 3 – 6. Jesus, like song litters. In the studio, I work on one or two different songs that are in production. I haven’t had access to my studio for about six months, but I do now, and I’m really looking forward to releasing more music soon.

With the (hopefully) imminent release of Fainting in Coils around the corner are there any specific tracks that you think fans of previous material should look out for? Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to releasing? There are several songs I’m excited about and really do hope fans of Epic Lifestyle will like them too. The titles aren’t set in stone, but some of the working titles to look out for are “Lucifera’s Garden,” “ Santa Sangre,” “Fukushima Mon Amore,” and “Lucide et Nue,” just On Epic Lifestyle there is collaboration on to name a few. “The Evil Inside” with French based Dark Dance Electronic band Heavenly Crea- I know that fans of your music and followtures. Are there any plans for future collabo- ers & listeners to our site and stations alrations with anyone, for example poet Ellen ways ask where they can hear more. Do Zaks whose work is featured in “Forest” or you have any future plans to publish unreleased or previously released tracks? possibly even further Dark Dance tracks? There are quite a few unheard tracks I inI’ve been working on several collaborative pieces with artists I admire greatly, The Whis- tend to publish, and musically they’re all over pers of Ghosts, Ivan Van Kult, and Martin Birke the map. In the past I recorded two albums, of Genre Peak. Also, I’ve been blessed with Cut, an acoustic album, and Mythshackles, permission to record my own version of God an energetic dark rock album. I vaguely plan Better by Øystein Furevik of The Dead Birds. I’ll to release these, someday, but there are so probably release one or two of these collabora- many new works in progress; Fainting in Coils, an Industrial EP as yet untitled, several singles tions before Fainting in Coils is finished.

“Every day is musical, even when I can’t spend time in the studio.” and collaborations, and others. I’m so much more impassioned about the new works that I’m sure to release these first. Finally, it’s been an absolute pleasure and privilege for me to have this opportunity to ask you these questions, but if you could stand in the shoes of a fan, what question would you most wish to ask Andra Dare? The pleasure is mutual! You’ve saved the hardest question for last, I see. If I were standing in the place of a fan, I’d probably ask myself this, “If you had only one chance to perform a single, short song, standing on a high precipice, with a megaphone powerful enough to be heard by every ear around the world, what would you sing about?” Ask me in another year, and I might give you a different answer, but just now I would say, “Open your mouth and make a terrible noise, a beautiful noise, a noise that is all your own. Don’t let anybody shut you up, or make you believe you are less than you are, even if that someone is yourself. You’ll never know who you are unless you can hear yourself!”

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by serena butler photographs by J ess Baumung

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hen you look up at night and the stars align in the bright sky, we all know that following the North Star will lead you home. We could say that looking north brings good things to the world; finding your way home and Santa’s North Pole. When we at Fourculture look to the north we find talent in a shining star from Prince Edward Island, Canada. His name is Tim Chaisson and his gravitational pull is mighty.

picked to be the musical director for the highly publicized visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the island. Entering 2013, Chaisson had already begun to blaze a trail to the top. From successful tours across Canada including playing at the festivities of the Winter Olympics and journeying to play large festivals in the land of Australia, the year would mark the release of his new album The Other Side. Already picking up a lot of attention in a very short time, the album Back in 2009, Tim Chaisson had broken into the The Other Side explores a personal perspective Canadian national atmosphere with his song on subjects like love and loss, isolation and ful“Broken Hearted Beat,” an album that displayed fillment, friendship and loneliness. The album a range of influences from the musical spectrum. is one that displays the multi-instrumentalist’s The album had everyone’s ears perking up quick- true talents in the art of making music. Like the ly, from the likes of the viewers of the MuchMo- brightest star in the sky, he is something to be reMusic countdown and awards from across the seen. Let’s take a look to see what makes this nation of Canada. On top of that, he would be star burn so brightly.

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The Other Side, your fourth self-released album, shows a really heavy element of country with a dash of folk and rock. Can you give us a little background on the production/recording of the album? What was the guiding influence in recording The Other Side? Well, going into this record I wanted the songwriting to be the focus with minimal production. I do a lot of solo touring with just my guitar and fiddle, and if a song can’t stand on its own in that setting, then there’s not much point going crazy with production. I worked with Colin Linden, who has produced so many amazing records…I loved the vibe and shape all of his records took on so I thought it’d be a great fit. I would basically send him songs as I wrote and demoed them at home, and when I reached about 25 or 26, we threw in a list of our favorite 11. We spent an afternoon the day before we started recording, decided what instruments we were going to throw on and went to it the next day. We recorded almost every instrument together, capturing a very organic feel, which was something I’ve never done before. I find a lot of bands dwell on making an album sound “perfect”, which sometimes can suck all the life out of a project and defeats the reason why you started playing music in the first place. Before making the record, I was listening to a lot of old James Taylor and Tom Petty records. It was really all about good songwriting. I took a lot of inspiration from these guys because their music never gets old. I want to look back in 30 years and be able to enjoy the songs, knowing I didn’t follow a certain musical trend to fit into what’s going on at the time. Your latest video for “Beat This Heart” has a very dramatic aspect to it. How did you come up with the idea or treatment for the video? How was it working with Serena Ryder through the project? Any over-the-top stories from the set you’d care to let us in on? When we decided we were going to make a music video for ‘Beat This Heart’, we shopped around looking for the right director. I met with a few different guys in Toronto, told them my take on the song, and they wrote up treatments of what they envisioned. I didn’t want anything over-the-top because it’s a pretty simple love-lost song. And when Ante Kovac (director) told me I’d be driving a ’69 Impala, I was sold! ; ) Working with Serena was a bit surreal for me because I’ve been a fan of hers for quite some time. If you see her perform, you’ll know why. When she came into the studio I was a bit intimidated, but she’s so sweet that it didn’t last too long. It was also a bonus having her come out to be in the video. Not too many over-the-top stories from the day of the shoot, but I got a kick out of the elderly man who owned the car I’m driving in the video. He rents his classic cars out for what80 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SIX

“I think the most unique aspect of playing festivals is getting to know other musicians, performing and interacting with people before or after the show. ” ever the function may be and he’s super anal (and rightfully so) about other people driving them. When we were shooting the scenes where I’m driving in the country, I was told not to go over 30 or 40 kilometers but I couldn’t help taking it a little faster…It was a beautiful day, I was driving an unbelievable car (with Serena Ryder in it) and my attention was also on singing and trying to look natural. Supposedly he was in the car behind me, telling the director how he wasn’t impressed with my “reckless” driving. I tried my best to slow down and eventually I did! Anyone who has seen you play live, or even seen a video on YouTube of a performance, will note that you’re a bit of a multiinstrumentalist. Exactly how many different instruments do you play? How did you take the time to learn so many different instruments? Hmm, well, when I play live I focus on guitar, fiddle and some mandolin…But I’ve played in a band before where I played bass, drums and keyboard as well. I’m the youngest of six siblings and my brothers, sister and father are musicians as well — one a drummer and bass player, the others guitar, fiddle, banjo, etc. so there were always instruments around my house. I started off with the fiddle but took a huge liking to the drums when I was about 11. My brother hated when I played them because he thought I’d wreck them, until we started playing music together. After that, I moved to guitar and bass and eventually started writing my own songs… Guitar is the most convenient instrument to write on (for me) so I’m usually seen with that. Also, growing up in my house we only had one TV channel and didn’t have any video games. When I look back, especially growing up in the country, I think maybe that had something to do with it…If I wasn’t playing music with my folks I was outside running around in the woods or playing sports with my cousins who lived on the same road (and there were a lot of them!). You have had a Celtic music background with your family and your Celtic band Kindle in the early 00’s. What was that like? How do you feel your time in Kindle shaped your current musical sound and journey?

The whole experience was pretty cool and allowed me to see how touring and the music business was from a young age. Kindle consisted of my two older brothers (drums, guitar) and three older cousins (mandolin, fiddle, piano). They started playing shows when I was around nine or ten and I couldn’t get enough of them. They were really refreshing in the music business at the time, combining Celtic music with rock and contemporary. They hired a bass player for a little while, and when he couldn’t commit to touring with them, my older brother asked what I thought about learning how to play the bass (when I was 13). I had been playing guitar for a few years at this point and was willing to play any instrument to get on stage with these guys. It definitely shaped my musical journey a lot because I toured with them, played tons of great shows (and tons of not so great shows), did the whole bar scene from the age of 14 to 18 with them and got to see the gritty side of it. When I started a solo career, I wanted to get to that same point and even surpass the success of what they accomplished, so I could continue to travel and make music. You recently came off your Australian tour over the New Year’s holiday, including playing a festival over there. What is the most unique aspect of playing festivals versus clubs? Is the vibe different from a festival/club in Canada versus internationally? What festival would you like to play the most in the future? I think the most unique aspect of playing festivals is getting to know other musicians, performing and interacting with people before or after the show. I just performed at the Woodford Folk Festival, which is the biggest folk festival in the country. I spent five days on site at the festival and didn’t leave (it was out in the woods). The experience was awesome because all of the musicians stayed on site so you had a chance to hang out, have some drinks and get to know them. Also, most of the people attending the festival stayed on site as well so there was a chance for everyone to interact in a laid-back setting. That’s pretty cool. The vibe all depends on the festival. I absolutely love folk festivals because the atmosphere is usually pretty calm, and there are tons of different styles of music. I’ve done a


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“I find a lot of bands dwell on making an album sound “perfect,” which sometimes can suck all the life out of a project and defeats the reason why you started playing music in the first place.” few in Australia and a bunch in Canada, and they are pretty similar because there’s something about Canada and Australia, so much alike (minus the weather of course). There’s a few festivals in Canada, I’d love to play. The Winnipeg Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival and Stan Rogers Folk Festival. Hopefully sometime soon! : ) In 2010 you had the opportunity to play the Vancouver Winter Olympics. How in the world did you get the chance to play the Olympics? What was the atmosphere like there? Did you have the chance to meet any Olympians at your show? It was amazing! Probably one of the most memorable weeks of my life. There was a pavilion centered around Atlantic Canada that basically felt like the east coast when you walked in — from the people to the food and beer. They had a few different east coast acts perform, and I was fortunate enough to be there with my band. The place was jammed (with an average of 400 people standing in line to get in) every night so you could imagine how wild it was. And east coasters like to party, play music and have fun. I didn’t get a chance to meet any Olympians, but we saw them walking around. The buzz was ridiculous. It was the place to be! What is your songwriting process like? Do you have any songwriting essentials or tips you could share with any aspiring musicians out there? My process is nothing out of the ordinary. I just sit down with a guitar and a bout of inspiration and go to it. I’ve been doing a lot of co-writing lately and I find it’s a great exercise. You can learn a lot from a great songwriter. As far as tips, I’d suggest writing as much as possible, listening to songwriters you look up to, and paying attention to what they’re doing. You may have had one of the most important duties of anyone in Canada, in being the Musical Director for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s (Prince William and Catherine) visit to Prince Edward Island in 2011. Can you tell us a little about the duties of that job? Does anything from 82 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SIX

that day stick out as something you may have done differently? It was pretty cool, for sure. Basically, I had to come up with a bunch of musical numbers and make sure it ran smoothly when Will and Kate came up to the stage we were performing on. The timing of sets, coordinating some Celtic music pieces, rehearsals, etc. A friend of mine who is a singer-songwriter from PEI was asked to sing the last song for them while they stood in front of the stage. She practiced her little speech a million times before she had to pluck away on the guitar and talk to them. Instead of saying Duke and Duchess, she said “I’d like to thank the Dooch…” and stopped because it very closely resembled the word “douche”. She tried to backtrack, especially because they were standing right in front of her and it was on national television. Will and Kate started laughing and she played it off cool. Pretty hilarious. Let me say congrats for your four East Coast Music Award nominations and seven nominations from Music PEI awards (hopefully wins too!). Speaking of the local area, what was the music of the east coast and PEI like for you growing up? Do any artists stand out for you as a PEI icon? How do you feel now having contributed to the musical culture of your homeland? The music of the east coast and PEI was very important to me growing up, especially because that’s pretty much all my parents played. I heard what was on the radio when it was on, but my Dad is such a supporter of Celtic and folk that he’d always have cassette tapes or CDs going. Some of my favorite artists are from the east coast. Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, The Rankin Family and Lennie Gallant are artists I grew up idolizing. Currently there are so many east coast bands doing great things all over the world. I’d like to think I contributed a bit because I try to incorporate a bit of my tradition into the sound I have. The fiddle is an instrument that not many young people have picked up to learn in the last number of years, not to say it’s dying out, but it’s not as common to come across fiddle players anymore. I play it

in pretty much every show I have to show folks a bit of the tradition on the east coast. I hope to encourage the younger generation to pick it up and carry it on so it doesn’t disappear. On your last trip to Australia, you livestreamed your concerts for your fans on the other side of the globe. How was that received by your fans globally? Will you be doing it again on your next tour? What was the best part of livestreaming these shows for your fans? It went over pretty well! I tried it twice and both times people were pleased to be sitting in the comfort of their own home and seeing a live concert on the other side of the world go down. I made it pretty casual, but it’s a neat way to connect with people all over. If I’m stationary on the road for a few days (which doesn’t usually happen), I’ll definitely do it again. The best part of the livestream for me was seeing the live chat afterwards. Even though everyone was in their own home, people were chatting and connecting with one another about the show. You have self-released all your albums so far. What is the most rewarding aspect of doing it on your own in lieu of going through a record company? What would you say is the hardest part of self-releasing? What advice would you provide those who would like to do it all on their own? This record is actually the first record I worked with an indie label on. The previous ones were all self-released. There’s definitely a lot to be said for working with a team behind you (a good team, that is) because there’s so much to be done! Having self-released in the past, you can sit at your computer 24 hours a day to make it work. It’s a lot of persistence and dedication when you’re on your own. My label in Toronto (Bumstead Productions) have been awesome so far and I don’t have any regrets to slipping over to the record label world : ) Is it true that Canadians are planning to take over the United States? If so, what classified information do you hold that can protect the Americans of Fourculture Magazine? I don’t think Canadians could ever take over the United States. Everyone is too nice here!

http://timchaisson.com


Jay B. Wilson Photography P h oto g r ap h y f ro m N e w Yo r k C i t y an d t h e Wo r l d

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or years I’ve been listening and playing bands like The Fields of The Nephilim, The Mission, All About Eve, This Burning Effigy, Adoration, NFD, Faith & The Muse and, of course, The Eden House to name but a few of the bands that you will find from that dark/goth scene. But not all may know that The Eden House is more than just a band – it’s collaboration, a gathering of musicians from all those bands you love with Stephen Carey & Tony Pettitt at its heart. Both Stephen and Tony were, and are, integral players of that entire scene and continue to dominate it with The Eden House. Placing the crown on the head of a long running and evolving genre, they bring not only the musical styles they created and honed over that time, but with guesting musicians & singers like Julianne Regan of All About Eve, Simon Hinkler of The Mission & Monica Richards of Faith & the Muse amongst the almost endless list of familiar faces, they also introduce some new talent as well. Stephen and Tony, with The Eden House and their latest release Half Life, have again created another album which fans of this genre will undoubtedly cherish and play for many years to come. I was delighted and privileged to get my chance to speak with Stephen and with Tony and talk to them at length about their past, their influences and the story behind The Eden House and their music.

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I want to give those new to The Eden House an introduction to your background. Your history is obviously the history of The Eden House and where it all started with bands like This Burning Effigy. Stephen: This Burning Effigy was a long time ago. Usually your first teenage band doesn’t often make it out of the rehearsal room, but Effigy did because we were the only slightly gothy dark band. We actually made it quite far, plus we were the only fuckers going. Effigy goes back to early 1991-92 and finished around 1999-2000. We had gigged at “The Garrage” in London with Julianne Regan from the Eve’s (All About Eve) who sang with us on 2 or 3 songs. We had Spear of Destiny supporting us and we sold it out, which back then was crazy.

This is why I wanted to mention This Burning Effigy. I find it was an important band at that time, especially coming out of Ireland. In order to back track The Eden House I feel you have to go that far back to find the true start. Stephen: The people who’ve heard it really, really like it. It was kind of a bizzare mix. Thinking about it now, one of the biggest differences with that first Effigy album was that it was kind of a mixture. I was listening to the Elizium album (Fields of the Nephilim) and a lot of Dead Can Dance. It’s kind of a mix of the two, that kind of droning, string thing and that eastern element from Dead Can Dance mixed in with the Neph’s Elizium kind of thing, was pretty much what we were going for. We got there in a hand-fisted kind of way. We were only kids and didn’t really know what we were doing.

ing with some loops, dub bass and weird guitars. Just doing it for fun. The whole idea of it was that there were no holds barred. For example on the first Eden House album, for the song “Iron in the Soul” we thought it needed a Massive Attack-like slow, menacing, rap kind of chant thing. Barbar Luck, a Jamaican reggae artist, came in and did that. There would be no limits, no genre limitations and you could do what you liked.

But it’s not just This Burning Effigy & Adoration. It’s the links you’ve got to so many other bands we play on our stations…bands like Vendemmian, Lahannya, NFD, Voices Of Masada, Rubicon...the list goes on! Stephen: It’s a bit bizzare because we’ve got Rob Laydon from Voices of Masada and his new band Red Sun Revival… he’s taking over on guitar. You’re right, there is definitely a very wide and varied crew that we’ve got with us.

I don’t think anyone in a million years would have guessed that a video game like Grand Theft Auto would have influenced The Eden House! Stephen: Yeah, you can get influenced by a computer game! And we did! We had a few drinks and a smoke and were playing this game and the soundtrack was getting into us. When writing the album it obviously played a part — certainly, for me anyway.

Whose idea was it to start bringing in different vocalists and players? Stephen: Initially, it was convenient because we didn’t want to start a band and get tied down. We wanted that freedom to be able to pick and choose, which I think served us well. Certainly now if we said Eden House was a band and certain people at the start were the singers we’d now be fucked because at this point either we’ve moved on or they’ve moved After This Burning Effigy you have Adora- on and the band as it once was would no longer be. The whole idea with The Eden House tion in more recent years… Stephen: Adoration was more a kind of… is that the line-up is always changing. what’s the word? It was essentially just writing songs for pure enjoyment. It was never really What would have been the time-scale of going to be a band. We did a few songs and the release of Smoke and Mirrors…from it looked like it was going somewhere so we when things started with yourself and decided to do an album. We put it out our- Tony playing with ideas, to the actual finselves and it was critically acclaimed by Ger- ished first album? Stephen: Christ! We started knocking man magazines. It was album of the month but, unfortunately, no one else paid attention! ideas around in about 2007. There was a massive gap of about 6 months when the Grand Adoration was still on the go at the same Theft Auto game came out and we did nothing but play that. Bizarrely, that game influtime as starting The Eden House? Stephen: Yeah, they overlapped by about enced a lot of the arrangements on Smoke and a year or two. The Adoration album was Mirrors. You may think that’s really strange but worked on from 2004-05, then up to about when we were playing the game we’d always 2008. It was a long process. We weren’t work- listen to the reggae stations you can play in ing with any kind of end game in mind, more the game. We’d think “wow, I love that song” like one night a week having a laugh and put- so we’d go and research them. Tony’s been listening to dub for years. ting some music together.

At some point, a decision must have been made though to say, “OK, The Eden House – let’s do it…” Stephen: That was about six months after Tony became involved. We were working on NFD and I, essentially, was still doing Adoration at the time but not involved in the song writing, so it was an opportunity for us to work together. It wasn’t in anyway designed to be an album. It was just us sitting around mess-

How is it that you can maintain The Eden House sound when songs are written and recorded over extended periods of time with large breaks between sessions? Steven: I think it’s just myself and Tony… we’ve got an almost naive approach to mixing and production but there are certain things we like that probably aren’t very fashionable. We like lots of reverb on the vocals and lots of chorus on the guitars. There’s a track on Half Life called “First Light” which is very reminiscent of ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

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much did the vocals on the rest of it as well as Queenie Moy who is an amazing soul singer — I mean, a fantastic soul singer who will be doing her song “Hunger.” It’ll be quite a bizarre night. Six or seven singers in the course of the evening sounds a bit crazy. Not to menIs there any deliberate ploy to have only tion we’ll definitely have Bob Loveday. He’s on female vocalists? session on the Geldof tour and it’s always a Stephen: I think the initial idea to have fe- pleasure to work with him – he’s crazy! male vocalists comes from my previous work with Julianne from the Eve’s. She promised There’s obviously no way that you take she’d do us a track, so we thought we’d start that line up on tour with you but are there off with that. Then we worked with Amand plans for further Eden House gigs? { Amandine Ferrari } who is an old friend of Stephen: You can have the one-offs mine and it all just seemed to happen natu- where you try to get everyone in, but we can rally. We’d worked obviously on NFD and take our own interpretation and go out and do Tony with Fields of The Nephilim and spent it live elsewhere. Yes, it will be slightly different so much time with male vocalists who essen- versions but I think they will be as good, if not tially growled and shouted a lot. We wanted to better. No doubt we will take that out live and do something different that didn’t rely on that play it more to other countries and other gigs. style of voice. It just developed like that. Once it established itself we thought it seemed to be You’ve also got the headline spot of this working. Admittedly, taking it out on tour was year’s Sacrosanct Festival in September. a different matter! Stephen: That’s an old friend of ours. He’s another guy who I met when I moved to How much input would you say others London,Dublin probably of the reasons I met all have toward the writing process? It’s not these bands at all.one I moved this pub called just a case of having multiple vocalists but the Devonshire Arms and hetowas living there also a vast amount of guest musicians… and knew everybody. He used to run a festival Stephen: Usually what happens is that called Sacrosanct which was a great. You’d Tony and I come up with the initial idea. We’ll have like a thousand people coming from have bass, drums and guitar, and then we’ll across the continent for it and then the thing approach people saying this is the skeleton of went tits up. He’s starting it again and he’s got an idea and a framework and ask if they’d like The Lorries {Red Lorry Yellow Lorry} playing to be involved. With Simon Hinkler from The with a lot of other bands, a couple of which I’ve Mission, we sent him a bunch of songs and mixed their bloody albums, so it’s a strange he sent us back 3 or 4 ideas. It was fantastic kind of evening. It’s going to be great. and melted in really well. It didn’t sound forced and he didn’t try and make it sound like The Do you have any idea how the album Half Mission. That’s pretty much how it works. Life will go down in the States? Stephen: When you look at our YouTube The list of people you’ve had involved statistics and all that kind of shit, America is with The Eden House over the years must our second biggest market. Normally for a UK simply be people you’ve bumped into goth or dark act it’s UK then Germany. For along the way during your career. us it’s UK then Stephen: Yeah, a lot of them are. There’s distant third. the States and Germany is a only about 3 or 4 people we’ve actually had to call or email. I think a lot of it’s because I moved from Dublin to London, it is pretty much the What about touring The Eden House in the centre of the music scene in England certainly. States? Stephen: Funnily enough, there’s a plan. There’s a four year gap between Smoke We’ve got some friends who are on the case and Mirrors and this new album, Half Life, and some things are happening, also possiwith a couple of smaller releases in be- bly a support with some other major acts but tween. Will you be taking this on tour after I can’t say much more. We need to bide our time and bite our tongue. the album launch in June? Stephen: Yes, the album launch in June and, apart from Monica, every singer on the So out of everything you have on your album is actually going to be at that gig. We’ve plate at the moment, The Eden House is got Lee Douglas from Anathema turning up the one that you’re holding close to your to sing her song “City of Goodbyes” (which heart the most? Tony: Well, yeah, we’ve just spent 4 years was actually written by Tony’s wife, Megan.) We’ve got another girl called Phoenix J who on this and you know it’s, well, it’s our baby! did the vocals on “First Light.” There’s also The other thing with this is that we’re already Jordon Reyne and Laura Bennett who pretty talking about how we’re going to approach The Specials — that slow ska, dubby kind of thing — but it’s got our stamp on it because of the treatment of the guitars and the way we mixed it. We take the things we like and put them through the lens of the sounds we like.

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the next album. I was just explaining to someone the other day it’s not our main source of income so we can afford to just spend the time — we don’t have people breathing down our necks to get this thing finished so we can take our time doing it, getting it just how we like it. That’s one of the beauties of not being full time with it. For you, Tony, we have to go back to The Fields of The Nephilim…we’re going back now into the 80’s aren’t we? Tony: About that, early 80’s — our first release was in ‘84 “Burning The Fields” but previous to that Nod, Paul and I were in a band called Perfect Disaster for about 3 years. We played together a fair bit before we got Fields of The Nephilim together. I’ve been to many a Fields of The Nephilim gig and had plenty flour fights in the past. I know you guys pretty well from those days, but I want to give people the understanding that it’s not just a case of you being with The Fields of The Nephilim one day and then suddenly in The Eden House another… there’s a lot going on in between times. Tony: Absolutely.The whole Nephilim thing goes back from ‘84 to ‘91, and at the time we disbanded at our peak — which is always a good thing, I think. We didn’t really expect to be doing that at the time but it just sort of came upon us. It was just one of those things. I remember it well in NME and Melody Maker. There was an awful lot of “what!” Tony: I think we tried to keep a fairly dignified silence, if you know what I mean. Then the rest of us carried on in Rubicon for a couple of albums which at the time seemed like a good idea, but I’ve only just recently listened to some of that stuff again. Some of it’s really cool but people didn’t take to it at all because it was much more a sort of straight rocky stuff. At the time we didn’t want to go and just re-create Fields of The Nephilim, we’d kind of done that and it would have been a bit But you spent many years playing a lot silly, really. with Fields of the Nephilim! Tony: Yeah, we gigged our arses off man. I think you brought the two together with It started like a bunch of mates — from nothing NFD? and we got to sort of a good thing. It was Tony: NFD, for me at the time…I got back great. At theup time it felt like more than a band. to working with Carl (Carl McCoy Fields of The It was a really good scene and a really good Nephilim & Nefilim) again around ‘98 - ’99. We thing to be doing. It was finding somestarted doing some stuff together and played thing like that again with difficult the same sort of vibe about 4 festivals as well, but we just drifted really, to be honest. apart again. A lot of outside stuff was going on and I was in a funny sort of place. Simon It’s like one of those things that either hap(Simon Rippen, Nefilim) was the drummer pens or it doesn’t. who played on the Zoon album with Carl and Tony: Yeah, that’s it and doing the NFD he played gigs with us around the time and stuff it was definitely good fun and I was was in this other band, NFD, so I joined them – I just wanted to get out and gig and play. It definitely into it but I think me and Steve jamming together was sort of the beginnings of was good fun. 90 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX

The Eden House and that’s where I kind of found the vibe that I’d been missing for years, since Nephilim days really, working and writing with someone that we could really kick ideas between each other and it just felt really good you know. A lot of listeners are missing Fields of The Nephilim from years back and I always throw NFD and The Eden House at them. 100% of the time they’re delighted to have it. Tony: Well that’s cool, I mean Bob {Peter ‘Bob’ White NFD} has been busy writing the new NFD album for the past couple of years. It’s kind of Bob’s baby, really. He’s written all the stuff on it and I played some bass lines on it. I’ve got a finished song to whack the bass


Tony: Absolutely. It’s not like we’ve had a on but it’s been The Eden House that’s been record company breathing down our necks – taking all my time and effort, really. actually, saying that once we get to a point, This is the part that I wanted to try and again this album went out through Jungle get to, because although you’ve got The Records so once we get to a point when Eden House’s Half Life coming out in we say we’re nearly done, they start putting May, you’ve also got the new NFD album wheels in motion obviously for distribution and all of a sudden you’ve got a dead line which is coming out in June. Tony: Yeah that’s right, there’s the NFD actually good in some ways. The last couple stuff but I’ve also been out doing a few gigs of months of finishing this album was a bit of with the Neph’s again as well. I’m just about a nightmare because all of a sudden there to have a baby like next week with my wife was pressure that wasn’t there before and it so something’s got to give and — I think you was a bit telling on the way different people in the band reacted to that but we got it done so know — it’ll probably be NFD! that’s the main thing. We could have fiddled So all the work of The Eden House is a about forever and you can end up putting too many brush strokes on something and ruin it! labour of love rather than a necessity? But we’re pleased with what we’ve got!

Guys, you’ve given me a lot of time out of your busy schedule and I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to speak with me. Tony: No worries at all, thanks a lot and thanks for supporting us.

www.theedenhouse.com

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Doomsday Salt and By Frank Cotolo

I don’t think the world is going to end any time soon, but a wild and exciting undertaking made me realize this planet is lousy with people that live lifestyles based on any number of planet-ending threats.

I

t all began when a good friend of mine passed away suddenly, at least as quickly as it takes when falling 12,000 feet. Delaney (I am withholding his actual name despite his family’s request I publish it) was almost atop Longs Peak in Colorado when he lost his footing due to an appendicitis attack and fell. I attended his cremation, followed by a reading of his Last Will and Testament, which requested that I deliver his ashes to his brother’s home. I agreed, of course, but I had to cancel a trip to Railroad, Pennsylvania where I was set to speak on the great locomotive boiler explosion of 1912. Delaney’s will read that I would “be escorted to an undisclosed location” where his brother, Delaney (I am withholding his brother’s actual name despite requests from my family), would instruct me on a “disposal process.” So, off I went, blindfolded, at the hands of two men unknown to me but for their alliaceous odors. They sat me down and I heard the shattering sounds of giant blades. I shouted, “We’re 92 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SIX

going by helicopter?” A voice shouted back at the top of his lungs, “What makes you think that?” My stomach seemed never to leave the ground as I felt a rapid vertical acceleration. I must have passed out for a while, then felt a rapid vertical deceleration. I was taken out of the vehicle and walked along a dusty trail trying to establish my location with senses other than my sight. I heard a distant chirp of a Hooded Merganser, a rare bird common to Pennsylvania, but was confused when it was followed by a distant screech of a Wendigo, a mythical creature of the Algonquian peoples of New England. We walked for miles, through brushwood, bramble, coppice, and copse. The temperature fell, as did both of my guides at one point when what sounded like a pack of coyotes galloped before us. What seemed like another hour later, I was made to sit down in a chilly atmosphere where my blindfold was jerked from my face. I looked to see only one man at my side. “Weren’t there two of you?” I said.

“Yes but a pack of coyotes carried the other away.” In this dark, lantern-lighted confine of brick and mortar, entered Delaney’s brother, Delaney. He sat across from me, smiled and extended his hand, which I shook. “My brother would be so happy,” he said. “I would never think of dismissing Delaney’s post-life request,” I said. “I didn’t mean he would be happy that you brought his ashes here. I meant that he would be happy I completed the bunker. Look around. It’s a beauty, a rammed-earth house with mega-thick walls. It’s fire-resistant, bombresistant, avalanche-resistant and you-nameit-resistant. Uber safe down here.” “From what?” I said as my remaining guide laughed along with Delaney for a few minutes before coughing. “TEOTWAWKI,” Delaney said. “The Native American god of upper-case letters?” “Of course not. It means the end of the world as we know it, caused by a pandemic, global economic collapse, mega quake, nuclear war, electro-magnetic pulse storm, or a third term for Obama.” I was shocked. Delaney’s brother Delaney was a Doomsday Prepper, an ordinary American posturing himself for survival, convinced of a catastrophe so large that it would affect every living thing, as well as reduce all reason to lower one’s bad cholesterol. I handed Delaney the ashes of Delaney. “This is where the ashes belong,” he said. “Here where so many remaining humans will


Preppers be housed shortly.” “Shortly?” I said. “Do you know something I don’t know?” “Everything I know is something you don’t know, partner,” he fired back at me. “Like me; I am among the many true salt-of-the-earth people who will help rebuild our civilization once whatever disaster destroys everything.” “I guess that makes me a salt substitute?” “You make your jokes, but when you have to face the Golden Horde you will find that humor is no weapon against am A R ten or a seven-point sixty-two. You, my friend, are a Sheeple.” “Sheeple?” “A TEOTWAWKI denier. You don’t believe what will happen W T S H T F, when the Shumer will hit the fan.” “Shumer? Isn’t that supposed to be …?” Delaney interrupted, “Shumer means the same thing. It’s that congressman from New York, the liberal scumbag.” “Wait a minute Delaney, your older brother Delaney never thought the world would end in his lifetime. He hardly believed his life would end in his lifetime.” There was a cold silence and Delaney looked at me with snake eyes, blackened with hatred I had not seen since the television-executive meeting that cancelled “Arrested Development.” Indeed, Delaney was my dearest friend, an ally, and in many ways I was more a brother to Delaney than was Delaney. So how could I not know of Delaney’s belief in TEOTWAWKI? “I best be going now,” I said to Delaney as

his cold, hard stare bore into my skull. “You will be escorted back,” Delaney said. Just before the remaining guide put the blindfold back on my head I saw Delaney put the case of Delaney’s container of ashes on a shelf near to where he was sitting. The guide tied the blindfold and gently pushed me as Delaney said goodbye and “I’ll see you at The Crunch,” which was another term for TEOTWAWKI. When I sensed the open air I realized we were outside the bunker. That’s when I heard a thump and a tumble. As I turned my head quickly my blindfold was pulled off and there was my guide on the ground and his partner guide holding a large mallet. “I thought you were taken by a pack of coyotes,” I said, sure it was him from the alliaceous odor. “I’m a detective hired by the Delaney family. Delaney’s mother, Mrs. Delaney, and his father, Mr. Delaney, want the ashes back. We have more than a suspicion that Delaney cooked Delaney’s Will and Delaney did not want to have his ashes brought to the Delaney bunker. He used you because Delaney knew that Delaney was your closest friend and if anyone would do that for Delaney it would be you.” “I understand,” I said and I truly did, knowing the actual names of all involved. “I knew Delaney would never have gone along with Delaney.” “I’ll create a diversion with a Starlight, amplifying a low ambient light by one-hundredthousand times, blinding the inside of the bunker for as long as it takes to get Delaney’s

ashes container.” “Let me do it. I owe it to my old friend. I brought his remains here and I’ll get them back because Delaney was the true salt of the earth …” “Just get going,” the detective said as he stunned the bunker corridor with fulgent flashes of light. I ran back into the bunker using only my sense of touch to grab the container of ashes where I saw Delaney place it. I turned toward the breeze of the corridor and found my way outdoors where the detective had his Jeep engine revved up. He helped me into the passenger seat and off we went. It turned out we never left the state of Pennsylvania and we were back at the Delaney household in less than an hour. An effervescent Mr. and Mrs. Delaney and Delaney’s younger sister, Delaney, were waiting and thanked me profusely for my loyalty to Delaney. The following day I wrote a note to Delaney and had a young Chinaman deliver it to the bunker. I decided to write to Delaney using language from his sacred survival glossary. It read: “I have embarked on SERE [survival, evasion, resistance and escape] from your VPM [virtual private network] and honored the memory of my best friend. Let this be a lesson to you — that sheeple who need sheeple are the luckiest sheeple in the world; that same world A-W-K-I, as we know it.”

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we asked our featured artists, musicians and thinkers about their four favorite things

Tim Chaisson

My bed. Although I don’t sleep in it a whole lot, I look forward to it the most when getting home after a tour. My fiddle bow. Yes, that sounds odd, but it’s my grandfather’s bow that I use every show. I’ve yet to play a bow I like more. My Mac. I literally use this thing for everything from recording music, capturing ideas, listening to new music and, most recently, completing a FourCulture interview. My family. Might as well end with a sappy one… I come from a large one and nothing beats having a bunch of good folks in your life.

brendan maclean

Spaghetti Bolognese – because it’s only the most amazing meal ever created. Craig Thompson’s Blankets – The first graphic novel I ever read and three years on, still the best. Mini-Magnums – I’m not saying I eat one for breakfast everyday...but maybe I am saying that. Headphones – Praise the person who invented the ability to block out babies on public transport.

Sarah Jackson-Holman

Coffee. The smell, the feeling, the warmth, everything. Juniper trees. They grow all over the place in Bend, where I grew up. I love that they're such individuals, growing whichever way they want and they all look so different. They also smell amazing after it rains. Orpheus. My half persian kitty. He's so cuddly and sweet! The Godfather. It's just my favorite movie, there are a million reasons why.

Dead Red Velvet

HAKEN CONTINUUM FINGERBOARD. For a piano player to be able to play between the keys is really cosmic. ASTROLOGY. I love this idea that there is some mechanical reason for why we get along. I can be compulsive about guessing signs. EATING FOOD IN THE GROCERY STORE BEFORE PAYING FOR IT. It's a great place to have breakfast. I like to think of it as 'paying my stomach forward'. HUGGING PEOPLE WHO SAY I LOOK LIKE EWAN MCGREGOR. He's three months older than I am. The likeness is mentioned often enough that it has become a good excuse to hug strangers. I like putting weird rules up against the random grid of life to see what transpires. 94 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESIX SIX


Sorne

shadowbinders

Kam Family- Husband, kids, cats, and the rest of my family. Creating. I love to create whether it be art, crafts, stories, or dinner. Korean drama- I love that stuff. Anime too. Ghost hunting TV shows. Thom Ditto. Family is always #1. Drawing. Disney World. Cold pizza and Tabasco -- the breakfast of champions!

Anything that the filmmaker Miyazaki has made. His movies have such a magic to them and a lightness of being that I have rarely experienced with anything else in terms of a film experience. He’s been one of my biggest inspirations My drawing pad. It’s something I always have with me and it has everything from cutout snippets of pictures and words to drawings to lists to everything else. I have a shelf of them now. Video games: Whenever I do get a chance, I love playing the old Mario games and Mega man games on Nintendo. I have a Wii now and I’ve been able to download all the Nintendo and Super Nintendo games on it. Traveling to sacred places: That doesn’t necessarily mean a church or mosque, but could be somebody’s backyard, and even so far as different places on the planet. To go to those places that have meaning to someone or so many. I really respond to that so beautifully.

Walt Cessna Richard Avedon Diana Vreeland Russ Meyer David Wojnarowicz

the Mouth of Ghosts

Starbucks Coffee. Phil is obsessed Our Orange Sofa (in our rehearsal room) because it’s the best Voice Live 2. I almost cried when she smashed the screen last week! Tom Robinson because we love being played on BBC 6 and he’s given us a lot of exposure.

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coming to

CALLING ALL ARTISTS

Imaginary War Project Dirty Lanre The Controversy and more . . .

fourculture: issue 6  

A bimonthly magazine & blog bringing you art, music, literature & compelling societal views that live outside of the box

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