ISSUE SEVEN | JULY/AUGUST 2013
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Behind the Camera: An Interview with Iain Reid of Beanotown Photography Lรกnre Project Dirty The Controversy Imaginary War Gravitysays_i Eliza Jaye Carved Lies Hearts Fail Mike Hinc
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The Artist D MANAGING EDITOR
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Ann Marie Papanagnostou EDITORIAL
Christine Blythe Simone Brown Serena Butler Kathy Creighton Paula Frank Derek O’Neal Annie Shove WEB DEVELOPMENT
Rene Trejo, Jr. ART
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. Calling all artists as we join in support of those who are creating the culture of tomorrow.
Ann Marie Papanagnostou
let’s get connected
Send correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org
Artists, musicians & writers . . . we want to hear from you
SOUNDS | VISIONS | WORDS | VOICES
www.fourculture.com © 2012-2013 Fourculture Magazine | Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
LĂ NRE: Singing for Change.........................6 Pop Superheroes to the Max: PROJECT DIRTY.......................................10 Causing a Stir: THE CONTROVERSY.........18 IMAGINARY WAR: Industrial Soundscapes with a Pop Flair......26 Behind the Camera: An Interview with IAIN REID.........................36 GRAVITYSAYS_I An Experience, a Concept and a Journey.... 54 ELIZA JAYE: Powerful Images and Strong Emotion.........62 DARYA TEESEWELL: John Robert-Hall.......................................70 CARVED LIES: Massive Electronic Sound..........................72 HEARTS FAIL: The Next Chapter................79 FRANK COTOLO: The Rise of the Somnambulist Mathematicians.............82 MIKE HINC: From Terror to Wonderment.....84 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.
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© 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.
Happy Anniversary and Thank You
appy Anniversary and welcome to issue 7 of Fourculture. One year ago we began this journey and what a ride it has been. What began as an idea between a few like-minded friends and artists has become a phenomenon reaching thousands of readers, like you, worldwide. As we continue to grow and change, our passions have remained the same. We strive to bring the underground to light; musicians who move, artists who inspire, writers who create, and opinions that make you question. In a world driven by the stream of media, Fourculture brings you those moving against the tide and by doing so are changing the stream itself. People are no longer content to follow status quo. More and more, individuality and the decision to be yourself is being celebrated rather than dismissed. We couldn’t be happier to see this and we are humbled and honored to be a part of this flux. This issue of Fourculture celebrates individuality, humanity, and the power within each of us as we follow our dreams. Eliza Jaye and Lánre bring the voices of their homelands and girl power to their different forms of music. Imaginary War and The Controversy show us what true collaboration within a group can accomplish. Project Dirty, Carved Lies, Gravitysays_i and Hearts Fail prove that hard work and dedication to one’s craft can make dreams come true. Iain Reid shows us humanity with his photos while Mike Hinc brings the world of imagination and emotion to life. As always, our columnists Charlie Demos, Darya Teesewell, and Frank Cotolo enlighten and entertain. We can’t release this issue without saying thank you. Thank you to those who supported this idea and stood behind us. We couldn’t have begun this without you. Thank you to all of our features. You are our inspiration and what keeps us going. We mean it when we say welcome to the family, for that is what you have become to us. Thank you to our readers. You have spread the word, offered encouragement, supported our features, and continue to be our megaphone to the world. Each time you get excited to find a new favorite in our pages or on the website, we are reminded why we are here and doing what we do. Art is important. It always has been and always will be. The joy of creation in all its forms is worth being celebrated. It is what Fourculture has stood for and always will. Here’s to our first year! The celebration continues . . .
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Singing for Change BY PAUL A FR A NK
รกnre is on a journey of discovery. Luckily for us, she is taking the world with her as she brings her acoustic, soulful music to venues and events across the world. Her debut album Pen Voyage Chapter One: Singing for Change was released in 2011 and is an incredible look at a woman embracing herself, her heritage, and her life, each as something to cherish. Enter this musical story and discover your own journey as we present Lรกnre.
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You speak in your story about your first public performance singing on the radio at eight. When was the first time you thought that music is what you wanted to do with your life? I was that kid that never knew what it was I wanted to do. However, I knew for sure what I did not want to do, so for me, it’s been a journey of finding out and discovering that music is one of the things I would love to be doing for a very long time. You were born in UK, but spent most of your growing years in Nigeria. Do you feel that you could have learned to embrace your heritage to such a great extent without that experience of living within it? I left Stoke-On-Trent when I was four years old and went on a holiday to Nigeria. The thing, though, is that the holiday lasted 20 years and it definitely informs the way I write. I’m not sure I would be the artist I am today without those years spent in Nigeria.
“I think music is a tool that can be used to contribute towards change and help others.” Goziam Okogwu, who was also part of GK REAL, because of his vast experience with producing live albums. I wanted a live feel to it and wanted it to feel intimate as well. It was a different experience from recording with the band where I had to be concerned only about my harmony on a song. This time around it was me and my guitar accompanied by amazing musicians like Femi Temowo, Troy Miller, and Pedro Segundo. I feel blessed by that experience. I am always writing so I plan to have an EP out by the end of the year.
What do you think would be different about what you do now had you not had that experience? I don’t know really. I guess that’s what makes life beautiful, right? Once you make a choice (or in my case) a choice is made for you, you are not given the privilege of taking a peep into the life or journey that could have been. All you know is that the path you now walk is what is Your song “Beautiful” speaks volumes about the issue many and I am very proud of my experiences. women have in seeing their own beauty. What was the inspiration Have you always enjoyed journaling and storytelling or is that for writing this song? something that came along with music? “Beautiful” is a song I describe as a lullaby to my younger self, so if I I have always enjoyed journaling, storytelling in my head or on pa- had a chance to go back in time to speak to my younger self that’s what per. I also like reading. Getting lost in a good book is like the most I’ll tell her. You are beautiful; your brown eyes, your hair, soft as wool, is gorgeous. You don’t need to be like anyone else. I think every little girl amazing experience ever! Music came along later. should be told that every day. The world of music really opened up to you when you became a part of GK Real, a touring gospel music collective. How did you To me, one of the most powerful songs on the album is “Wishful make the move from that to going it alone with just you and your Thinking.” Can you tell us more about this song? guitar? I have had a few people say that to me and it’s amazing to me really. It’s a song about looking back in regret at what could have and Yes, it did. And working and touring with GK REAL for close to eight years was not only eye opening and a learning experience, it felt like should have been. Wishing you made a different choice but it’s too late doing what you love with family members. Going solo was never in the to undo the choice you’ve made. I think a lot of people feel that way in books for me until I lost my dad. I felt like I had to do something that different areas of their lives. would make him proud. It’s not that he wasn’t always proud of me, but I felt I had to take a step in a new direction and not be afraid, so I decided You recently opened yourself to doing living room sessions for anyone that wanted to invite you into their home to play. What to learn to play the guitar. interested you in doing such intimate gigs? What did you come What did your experience with GK Real teach you about being in away with from the experience? the music business? I liked the idea of going into people’s living spaces and playing music to their family and friends. They get to ask questions about any of As an artist, be prepared to put the work in. Be aware of the business side of music but don’t lose yourself in the madness of it all. The the songs. What I took away from the experience is that the gap bechallenge will always be finding the balance between maintaining your tween the stage and the audience no longer exists. It was a beautifully intimate experience which was what I wanted. love for the art and what needs to be done to be “successful.” You do performances for many charities supporting many different causes. Is it important to you to use your talents for benefiting others? Which causes are closest to your heart? I think music is a tool that can be used to contribute towards change and help others. I wrote a song for a charity organization that brings awareness to Alzheimer’s disease and I plan to release the song as a Your first album, Pen Voyage Chapter One: Singing for Change, single in a few months. was released in 2011. The album has a very intimate feel to it. What was the experience like for you to create the album? Will we Where can we see you and what do you have coming in the future? see another one soon? I always update my website with dates as they get confirmed www. I was playing most of the songs on the album at different ven- lanreworld.com I have some festivals lined up and in June I’ll be playing ues and gigs before I actually started to record them. I worked with at Ronnie Scotts. How important are your background in gospel and your beliefs to what you do now? I have sung in choirs for years and there’s something about gospel music that inspires and gives a sense of hope. I try to bring that into my music as well.
http://lanreworld.wordpress.com/ ISSUE SEVEN
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POP SUPERHEROES TO THE MAX:
BY SER EN A BUTLER PHOTOG R A PHS BY A A RO N PAUSTI A N
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n a world where bad guys of the music industry are continually putting bad music on the air, a pair of superheroes named Project Dirty are saving the day with their own brand of pure pop music never heard in the modern era. The team is made up of Rhett Fisher and Micah Faulkner. Rhett’s voice has the power to make music listeners fall in love with pop music again. Micah backs him up with his trusty guitar and together they bring the flavor back to the music lover by bringing real instrumentation back to pop. Off to a successful start, our heroes haven’t always had it so easy. Prior to their acquiring of their powers as Project Dirty, the heroes were then known as Manic Mind. Manic Mind did their own touring and even had the honor to open up for the boys of N’Sync, all while being signed to a record label that was dissolving below their feet. The heroes of Project Dirty would be left with no deal and no idea where to go next. It took 4 years for them to reform as Project Dirty in order to fight the industry by doing it all on their own. Now, Project Dirty is dominating the worldwide web. The LA based duo and their legion of fans have joined together to promote their music, indie style. They can be heard in many places, including on SiriusXM channel 3’s 20on20 where their single “Knockout” is in heavy rotation thanks to their new found hero, Sirius VP Kid Kelly. Their latest single “Name in the Sky” is giving the music lovers of the world the hope they needed for a new pop reboot. We had a chance to talk to these pop superheroes to see how they do it all on their own, how they started, and how they save the world with their music. From here on out the days will safe from bad pop music thanks to Project Dirty!
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Let’s start with the beginning of Project Dirty. You guys were originally called Manic Mind. First of all, what prompted the name change? Where did the name Manic Mind come from? How did you guys end up naming yourselves Project Dirty? When we first started writing music together, our good friend JC Chasez’s manager at the time took interest in our music. Before we knew it, we went from recording a demo at a friend’s studio to recording an alternative/rock album at a million dollar studio in L.A. The name Manic Mind came from the feeling of chaos that surrounded us at the time. After an insane whirlwind of recording/performing and traveling as Manic Mind, the label dissolved and our distribution fell apart. We took a short hiatus, regrouped and changed our sound. The name Project Dirty came from the nickname Dirty that Rhett, Micah, and our good friend Brian Hammers have called each other for years. Your latest single, “Name in the Sky” expresses a drive to reach the top. What do you feel is feeding your drive to see your name in the sky? What do you feel it takes to reach that pinnacle moment? First and foremost, the love for the music we create and the dream to be able to share it with the world is why we keep doing what we are doing. For us, it’s not about reaching a pinnacle moment. It’s about growing as artists and experiencing the journey. Our latest single “Name In the Sky” was written out of a desire to see this dream come to fruition and also to inspire others not to give up. For anyone who’s seen Brian Hammer’s directorial work, it’s a lot of exposure of behind-the-scenes to get into depth on what it takes to make music/film/etc. What was it like working with him on the “Name in the Sky” video? What drew you to him? Why show that behind the scenes footage? We have known Brian Hammers for the last 10 years. He has been one of our closest friends and supporters. He worked on our first music video when we were known as Manic Mind and he continues to shoot/direct/edit all of our current projects including our music videos for “Rollercoaster,” “Till the World Ends,” and “Name In the Sky.” We like to show behind the scenes footage because it allows people to get to know us better. Plus, we have always loved to watch behind-the-scenes footage of artists that have inspired us. The most distinguishing aspect of Project Dirty is that you guys aren’t dependent upon the sounds of computer-generated music. What was the reason behind keeping that true instrumentation in your music? Is there any band or artist that had inspired that direction? Our music has always been guitar driven. ISSUE SEVEN
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Even though our sound has changed throughout the years, we never want to sacrifice that. We wouldn’t say there is a specific artist that inspires our direction. It’s a mixture of our individual musical tastes. Rhett comes from a more pop background and Micah’s rock inspiration makes for a dynamic mix that has defined our sound.
all on your own vs. being signed? Are there any misconceptions that you had coming into the DIY recording music that have been completely proven wrong? What kind of advice would you give those who want to DIY their music? The most rewarding part of doing this ourselves is having complete creative control over our music. We haven’t had any misconceptions about DIY recording, but for people that are on that path we would say to put in the hours learning the technology (Logic/Pro Tools/etc.). And don’t forget to check the final mix in your car before you release it!
What do you want your fans to feel or experience when they hear the new music? Do you feel this new music that you all have been making has shown any growth as artists? We try to make music that fans can relate to and hopefully be inspired by in some way. Absolutely, with every new song we record we Micah, you are the guitar master behind the feel we are constantly growing. band. What influenced you into the guitar in the first place? Can you tell us a little bit Reading your bio, you guys opened up for about your first guitar and songs you’ve N’Sync back in the day. What are some learned? Do you happen to have a dream things that you’ve learned opening up for guitar as well? established or major artists that you carry The first guitar I owned was inherited from with you to this day? Are there any lessons my cousin. It was a Fender Stratocaster that that you’ve applied to your own shows? resembled the one from the movie “Wayne’s Years ago as Manic Mind, our first gig was World.” One of my best friends, Brent Clayton, opening for N’Sync’s charity “Challenge for the taught me the opening riff to Metallica’s “One.” Children” in Miami in front of 8,000 people. To From there, I became obsessed with learning as say that we were nervous is an understate- many Metallica songs as I could, but it wasn’t ment. As we started playing more shows, we until I heard the Smashing Pumpkins album learned that the more we played the better we Siamese Dream that I was inspired to write my got and having the right sound person is al- own music. My current dream guitar would be ways a plus. Playing with such established art- any Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster. ists through the years has definitely made us more confident on stage as well. So, it has to be asked. Rhett: As your time spent as the Titanium Power Ranger, did In the 11 years that you guys have been you think David Guetta and Sia made your together, you have established an interna- theme song? Would you consider covering tional following with radio airplay. What is it? Can you tell us any horror stories from the biggest difference in getting your music the set? Nothing is off limits here! out back then vs. now? Yes, I’d like to believe that I inspired Back in the day, we were at the mercy of David Guetta and Sia to write the hit song. labels and investors and really had no idea LOL. I wish! We never considered covering how everything worked. Now through social that song. It’s way too much pressure. Havmedia outlets (Twitter being our number one ing been the Titanium Power Ranger, I think source for getting our music out there), we are we will leave that song alone. As for horror stoin total control of our careers. It’s much easier ries from the set, the one that comes to mind to reach fans now than it was 10 years ago. is when the pink ranger and I were practicing Nowadays, you don’t need a distribution deal stunts for a scene and she fell into a pit and broke her ankle. I carried her to my car and or a label to get your music out there. drove her to the hospital. I stayed with her there Many artists have different ways of brain- all night and the next morning at 6am I had to storming songs. How would you describe shoot. That was a rough day. your writing and production process if we were flies on the wall? Is there ever any If you had to set up a team of three bad assbutting heads in a brotherly way? es each to protect yourself in a bar fight, We usually start with a guitar riff that Mi- who would it be and why? cah comes up with and Rhett builds the proFor Micah it would be Walter White from duction around it. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of Breaking Bad, Rick from The Walking Dead, butting heads. We both respect what the other and Brody from Homeland. They are my favoris good at. If a song isn’t coming together or ite characters from my three favorite shows. clicking right away, we move on to another idea. For Rhett it would be my alter ego Ryan Mitchell from Power Rangers, Gary Busey, and As a formerly signed band, what has be- Chuck Norris because he’s 800 years old and come the most rewarding aspect of doing it will still kick your ass.
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CAUSING A STIR
ISSUE SEVEN | www.fourculture.com BY SER EN A BUTLER
he word “controversy” is defined as a dispute, especially a public one, between sides holding opposing views. Music is a very controversial business; from the likes of the Federal Communications Commission and the Parent Music Resource Center a lot of musicians today have to worry about their every move. Whether it is a wardrobe malfunction during the super bowl or saying a naughty word on their album, artists always have to watch out to prevent causing controversy. This time, we have a little controversy of a different kind. We’re talking about European born, Los Angeles based band The Controversy. Starting off as a little solo project by vocalist Laura Vall, she would go into the studio to record Real. As she was looking for that special guitar sound, she happened to meet her future musical partner Thomas Hjorth and the rest would now become history. The debut release of Real would gain a positive following which culminated in 2012 being a very special year for the band. They would pick up awards from several different outlets including Artist of the Year at the Artists in Music Awards. The Controversy isn’t at all controversial to those that listen to them. Everyone can agree that they’re going to reach the top. Go ahead and look this way PMRC. Don’t turn your head FCC. We had the lovely chance to have a chat with Laura on her work with Thomas, what’s going on for them in 2013, and many other goodies that even the most bashful music fan won’t turn away from. There’s only one controversy here. That’s The Controversy.
You two come off as almost musical soul mates. How did you two meet? What was the catalyst that brought you together? Thank you! We met through music actually. Our first album Real started up as my solo project. I needed someone to play guitar on the album and someone recommended Thomas. He recorded the guitars for "Little Star" and I loved the sound. It was exactly what I had in mind. I was blown away so I contacted Thomas to ask him to record the rest. Little by little Thomas got more involved and started not only recording guitars but helping in the production and with songwriting. We ended up co-producing the album and now we are co-writing, co-producing and even producing other artists together. “So Low” is one of the most visually stunning videos I’ve seen released this year. It was directed by independent filmmaker Amin Matalqa. It seems prior to meeting Amin Matalqa that you had a concept already set. How did you settle on the concept of a girl and an imaginary 20 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SEVEN
monster friend? Did your vision match that of Amin’s? Were there any concepts prior to the final that you’d care to share? Thank you! We had an idea of what we wanted the video to represent but Amin was the one who came up with the imaginary friend idea. He wanted the video to portray the loss of innocence and wanted to add some magic to the story. Then between all of us, the storyline started to take form. We went to The Jim Henson Co. to ask for their help creating the monster and they liked the idea. We put together an amazing team of professionals and made it happen! It was a great experience.
amazing that indie artists, award shows and creators in every field can use it to fund their projects and ideas. It's a lot of work and something to take seriously since you have a lot of people giving you donations who trust in you. Crowd sourcing was what made the "So Low" “So Low” came to life via crowd sourcing. music video a reality and we are really grateful After experiencing major money spending about that. events in your career, including making a video and producing an album, how do Speaking of awards, you have had quite a you feel about the advancing popularity of few accomplishments in the award arena crowd sourcing? How about the impact it for the debut album. If you put yourself has had on indie award shows? into an award committee’s shoes, what We are big fans of crowd sourcing. We made Real the award winning album it was don't think it is something you can abuse. It in 2012? How did you feel after those wins might be just a once in a lifetime thing, but it's being so early in your careers?
you doing differently now? Not much! We are still an independent band that is fighting to get heard and still don't have a budget. We have more support now. We have management in Spain (where I'm from) and we just released “Neon Sign” under their label, Zyon Records, which is going to help us with the distribution. It's hard to do things independently, especially without budget, but we are finding ways around it. We are lucky to have people believing in us and The You acknowledged that you two had a bit Controversy who are willing to help out. And of stubbornness in putting Real together we'll keep on working on it! which included having no budget, label, or crowd funding. What were your greatest Your latest single, “Neon Sign,” seems to lessons from that experience? What are be about finally seeing the negative asWe were really happy and gladly surprised that Real had the success in the award shows that it had. We had just released the album and had no idea how the audience would react to it. Real is a very honest album, we just wanted to create a product we would be proud of. I guess the judges appreciated the honesty, attention to detail, and hard work and rewarded us for it. It was a very nice pat on the back for us to keep on fighting.
pects of a loved one or close friend. How do you want the listeners to react to the theme of the song? "Neon Sign" is about having something in front of your eyes for a long time without being able to see it. One day, for some reason or another, you wake up and realize what was really going on. It can be interpreted in many ways, not only with relationships but with life events as well. With that said, we don't want to direct the listeners’ reaction in any way. We encourage them to listen to the song and feel it the way they want to. One of the more unique aspects of your work so far is that you’ve already done ISSUE SEVEN
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work on a video game entitled “Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine.” Can you tell us a little bit about how you got involved with that? Are you gamers yourselves? Will there be more video game collaborations in the future? The song for "Monaco" came about as a collaboration with the composer Austin Wintory. We met Austin through Amin Matalqa, the filmmaker, who directed our video for "So Low." We wrote a song for the closing credits of Amin's newest movie "Strangely In Love" which Austin was scoring. He based his score on our song and we became good friends. While he was working on Amin's movie, he also started working on "Monaco." He asked us if we wanted to collaborate on the ending credits song as well, so I wrote the lyrics and sang on the song. We would love to do more video game music, it's an amazing world we would gladly be involved with. You have collaborated with Sony as one of their featured indie artists; can you tell us a little bit what that was like? How do independent artists like yourselves hook up with Sony? Did you guys get any free Sony stuff that you can tell us about? That was a great experience as well! A Sony representative contacted us asking if we wanted to be involved in this indie artist feature they had in some of their stores in several major US cities like Los Angeles. They wanted indie artists in those cities to sponsor two of their products. In exchange they would promote our band and our songs in their stores. They gave us those two products — the Sony X headphones and the Sony Cyber-shot camera. Pretty good deal :)
It's all about fear and not feeling comfortable with something new really. Heterosexual people didn't know gay people or didn't want to mix with them because they were afraid. Gay people didn't want to say they were gay because they were afraid of being left out, judged or discriminated. This situation seems to be changing slowly and now there's more acceptance and respect towards the LGBT community. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks like this yet and there's a lot to be done. This is like women's rights or the black community’s rights. In a few years we'll look back and think how it was possible that we were so close-minded about this even in the 2000's...Hopefully real sex orientation equality comes very soon. For us, social issues are something that's important because we care about it. We are all in this world together and we should finally learn to love and respect one another. We think artists have a little bit of a voice on pushing the envelope about social and political issues because they can reach out to an audience. The bigger the artist's audience, the louder the artist’s voice is. We are a little indie band still, but following the principle of honesty in our music, we need to express what we feel regarding social and political issues.
Can you tell us what to expect from The Controversy this year? Is there a bit of an evolution of The Controversy on the horizon? Any details on the upcoming new music you could kindly share? Yes! We will be releasing a full length album by the end of the year where “Neon Sign” will be included. The sound of the new album is more similar to “Neon Sign” than Real, an evolution of our sound and vision and the urge to keep on You have displayed quite prominently pushing the envelope. Stay tuned! throughout your work that you are clear supporters of LGBTQ rights. This even If you could compare your band mate to a culminated with an award. With the cur- piece of origami, how would you describe rent events of LGBT equality advancing each other and why? in the US, what do you feel is the catalyst Thomas is the most talented, kind and spurring the landslide of laws supporting loving person I know. He's also a perfectionist, equality? How essential is it for artists to a really hard worker and a very artsy and visutake a stand on social issues? al person. For me, he would be a very detailed We feel that society is more and more beautifully crafted piece of origami art in black conscious about social issues as the time and white, maybe a touch of grey or dark red goes by. Slowly, someone’s sexual orienta- (Thomas doesn't like bright colors!). Laura is very intelligent, caring and a tion is becoming a non-taboo subject and good observer. She is very inspiring to work gays and lesbians can start to express their sexuality in public without being judged. It with and always blows me away with her seems like more and more people are start- voice. The origami would probably be red ing to open their minds and accept people because of her Spanish passion and shaped who might feel differently than themselves. as a beautiful songbird with an edge.
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Mirror, Mother, Miracle: Healing Body, Mind, and Soul Through Medicinal Marijuana BY CH A R LI E DEM OS
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t’s no secret to anyone who knows me personally or professionally that I have anorexia. I have struggled with this disease my entire adult life and address this struggle to my audiences and in my music. I believe there are some things in life that need to be kept private and others that need to be put on the table. There is much healing and empowerment in the truth. Upon completion of a six-month rehabilitation program at Mount Sinai hospital in 2008, my doctor suggested I take Prozac to alleviate the depression and sexual dysfunction that comes (to certain individuals) with anorexia. To say that this suggestion was not helpful would be an understatement. Rather, it made things much worse. Aside from the physical side effects, which included extreme heart burn and acid reflux, the medication induced paranoia, extreme mood swings, lethargy, and a complete distrust of other people. Needless to say, I stopped taking Prozac on my own and sought out homeopathic alternatives such as yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy. A few years later, while at an annual physical, I complained to my doctor that I was suffering from depression and felt as I though I was backsliding into behavioral patterns of anorexia. He prescribed Wellbutrin and advised me to “stop taking it and call him right away if I felt weird”. Two days later, out of nowhere, I felt the urge to take my own life. Get in the tub, let the water run a bit and then drop in the hair dryer. Again this thought line was the antithesis of who I am; I have never contemplated suicide before. I was huddled in my bathroom on the phone with an extremely patient and compassionate pharmacist from Duane Reade who kept me calm until my parents drove up to be with me. The doctor was unreachable. It was the weekend so why should he pick up? There is no “silver bullet cure” for an eating disorder. You simply learn to manage it over your lifetime. So it comes as no surprise that I backslid into behavioral patterns and mindsets of anorexia. It is an elusive disorder that plays on emotions and kinesthetics. “Oh, I feel so sexy, but I’m starving. PANIC! I shouldn’t be starving! I’m too thin. I’m a skeleton. But wait, if I eat what I really want to eat when I want to eat it, I’ll be fat and won’t work in the entertainment business. I won’t be attractive. I won’t find a mate. Society won’t find me suitable. But I’m not suitable as a starving, wasting away mess. I don’t hate fat people, I hate thin people, I hate myself.” That is an example of typical mind chatter, which is constant. Out of all of the therapies that I have tried, (both homeo- and aliopathic), the strongest, most potent healing tool I have discovered for this disorder has been marijuana, the Green Goddess who removes the chatter of the ego and in its silence supplants laughter, love, and happiness. No, this is not going to be my love
I stood in front of the mirror crying rivers, staring into my own eyes, saying “You are beautiful. It was all a hoax, all lies. This is reality. You are beautiful as is, always have been, and always will be. And that’s power.” letter to Mary Jane (that’s between me and my lady...wink wink). It is a first person account of my experience with a life-threatening disease and the true medicine of the earth that elevated me to a state of deep, permanent healing. Most people would classify marijuana as a “mind altering drug.” Marijuana destroys illusions and brings human beings back to reality. So yeah, it can “alter your mind” to wake the fuck up. I have had brilliantly clear revelations about my life: who I am and how I interact with others, what I need to cling to, and what needs to be released. I have been able to rewire thought patterns on eating and sustain a healthy weight. At my lowest point I weighed 128 lbs. I have maintained a weight of 165170 lbs with some fluctuation upwards but now am only weighed when I’m having my annual physical. I no longer experience extreme feelings of disgust, guilt, fear, or self-hatred about snacking or eating more than “I think I should” and actually enjoy junk food. I’m a donut lover! Who knew? The prime example of marijuana’s permanent healing power is the fact any knowledge or revelation remains in my physical and spiritual frame long after I have come down off the high. One perfect example is this: While high for one of the very first times, I stumbled into my full length mirror in my bathroom. I could not believe how beautiful I was. I wasn’t just looking at my body. I could feel my soul’s essence, the higher self that transcends the body. I stood in front of the mirror crying rivers, staring into my own eyes, saying “You are beautiful. It was all a hoax, all lies. This is real-
ity. You are beautiful as is, always have been, and always will be. And that’s power.” It was a life-changing experience which brought about a positive transformation. Additionally I have luminous bouts of creativity, amazing conversations, deep bonding experiences with friends, and unbelievable sex. Any of this sound bad to you? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Unshackling of the mind is a freedom we all yearn for. It is the freedom that is our birthright as citizens of this planet. It’s the same freedom the government tells us we have while continuing to spoon-feed us lethal chemical cocktails, thinly veiled experiments tantamount to animal testing. Without completely derailing the topic of this article into my extreme disdain for psychiatry, I will interject one factoid: Leon Eisenberg, the “creator” of the mental illness “ADHD” on his deathbed admitted it was a “prime example of a fictitious disease”. He made it up. Literally. While medical professionals are hard at work making up illnesses and selling them to their trusting patients, the pharmaceutical industry is synthesizing lethal concoctions to administer, many of which share the same chemical compounds as methamphetamine and heroin. Corporations playing God make money off of people’s pain and confusion. Nixon and Reagan sensationalized the slogan “The War on Drugs”. Can we take the “war”to the doorsteps of the pharmaceutical industry? These are the real chemicals and drug lords that need to be locked up, disbanded and destroyed. I stand firm in my belief that marijuana should be legalized without regulation and that it should be the first prescription given for a myriad of illnesses including but not limited to all “psychological disorders”, as well as general physical pain. Over 600 doctors support a medical marijuana program in the state of New York and yet Mayor Bloomberg calls medical marijuana “the biggest hoax of all time”, stonewalling any attempts towards a more “Colorado-like” New York. This is the same man whose “important” government platforms include the limitation and regulation of the consumption of sugary soft drinks. Since as early as 1619, there have been aggressive restrictions on the sale and use of marijuana in the United States. Threatening the stronghold of power our government has on its citizens to such an extreme degree, the United States began to refer to it as a “poison” in the early 1900s. I need not make a summation statement on these facts. It’s obvious. You have read it and will interpret accordingly. However, I cannot write about my views on marijuana without driving home the fact that this plant is in nature. It has been on earth long before us and will most likely be long after. You can go hiking in certain parts of the world and find it. You don’t need to augment or hybridize it to make it better or more effective (although debate may ensue over hybridization with certain marijuana aficionados). ISSUE SEVEN | www.fourculture.com 25
PH OTO G R A PH BY L AU R A Z A L E N G A
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INDUSTRIAL SOUNDSCAPES WITH A POP FLAIR BY PAUL A FR A NK PHOTOG R A PHS BY L AUR A Z A LENGA | HT TP: // L AU R A Z A LENGA .D E / EN / JENS A HNER | HT TP: // W W W. J ENSA H N ER .CO M / ISSUE SEVEN
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PH OTO G R A PH BY L AU R A Z A L E N G A
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rock band vibe, synthesizer textures, loads of melody, and lyrics reflecting the scope of human emotion: these are the driving factors behind Imaginary War, this synth/pop band from Germany. With many years between them in the music industry, Joki Schaller (vocals), Roman Geiselhart (guitar), Martin Pierzchala (machines), and Axel Kunz (drums) knew what they wanted to create and how they wanted to get there. While keeping machines and synth as an integral part of their sound, Imaginary War still manage to keep it real with soulful guitar sounds and live drums as part of their sound. What they create is much more than a sound, it is an experience. Step into the experience of Imaginary War!
When introducing you to our readers on our website, I referred to the music of Imaginary War as 1980 meets 2020, giving honor to the past while still catapulting your sound to the future. Do you feel this is a valid description? How have you managed to bring the sounds of the past into your music and keep them relevant to today’s music? Axel: Thank you. That sounds quite fitting. Obviously, we are influenced by sounds and bands, which are referred to as “80s music.” The interesting thing about this decade was that synthesizers and drum machines had their first big recognition in pop music. As it was possible with the technique, everyone used them. The stoic and sometimes pretty simple beats and sounds fascinate us. In a time where you can create literally every sound with a laptop, it’s sometimes good to have some restrictions. Old machines can be a good inspiration here. Many of our songs are based on a tiny piece of synthesizer sound and there is definitely some nerdy approach to that especially from our songwriter, Joki, and our machine guy, Martin. Another point is minimalism. As the first drum machines were not too advanced, bands were forced to minimalism. That’s what also inspires us. Our music sometimes is close to being overloaded with sounds, but this is more a question of details. Overall, we do not think too much about what is past, what is future, ISSUE SEVEN
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and where we put which sound. In the end, we listener, it is not in our hands. This is always want to write good songs. about connection between the listener and us. Connection is of course mostly made with the Too often, digital music is made for the singer. Here you first decide if you like a band dance floor with little or no attention paid or not. The voice and words is what makes you to bringing emotion or dynamics into the cry, not the synthesizer. mix. Yet, you guys manage to create quite Speaking of soundscapes, we love if they emotional soundscapes. How do you consist of tiny pieces and many different layers manage it? building up walls and are eventually slowly elAxel: I think we have a pretty classic rock evated by a massive bass line. This is how we band approach. That means we write songs want to create the goose bump moments. You and lyrics just as any other band, maybe even asked how we managed to create emotional like some singer/songwriters sometimes. As soundscapes? Well, in the end we don’t know this is no pop project or dance floor thing cre- because you decide if this is emotional for you. ated for some singles, it all starts with emotion, We can just do our best and hope it does somethe emotion in a sound, a melody, or a line of thing for you while listening. Joki: There are a lot of virtual synths, words. The song decides what happens with the arrangement so we range from dance which offer already finished and moving soundsongs to even rock songs and pretty sad, dark scapes. When I’m searching or designing a synthpad, I usually don’t have access to them. slow songs. Dynamics are important. We always keep an eye on the details My way is to design it by myself. I love to sit because that can make the difference when hours and hours in front of a synth and program you are listening to the song alone with your small steps in a sequencer or manipulate all headphones in a dark room. In the end if there those small components of the machine. With is something happening emotionally in the this method, I have full control of what’s hap30 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SEVEN
pening and can change the sound to “dramatic” or “even more dramatic.” What has been the greatest reaction to your music that you have received so far? Axel: That ranges from “I want to dance to it all the time” over to “This video really scares me. I cannot sleep anymore” to “I listen to the album over and over and still find new things that make it better for me.” The greatest reactions are always the very personal ones where people tell you how a song or line really touched them in a certain situation. That is always surreal and keeps us going. Other than that, it is pretty astonishing that people at our shows are so into the music. You know we are pretty new out there and mostly face people in the crowd that don’t know us very well. They always are there for one hour and really absorb the music even if we have pretty slow passages and things. For a band at the beginning of its way, this is really encouraging. Joki: When I’m showing someone our music or the videos, the best reaction I can receive is silence and big eyes. This is exactly what I sometimes feel when I’m composing.
You all come from very different musical backgrounds. How do you make it work together as a band? Axel: Well, we all played in or still play in metal or punk bands. It’s right that our backgrounds differ a lot, which is getting even broader over time. All four of us are experienced enough to know that a band where everyone always wants to fully enforce his musical idea will not work. You have to put your ego behind the bigger idea of the band. The good thing in our sound is that we have many diverse parts and roles and the band is created in a way that every one of us can bring his biggest musical strengths. On the other hand, we all somehow have new roles we did not have in other bands before. That’s a challenging and exciting learning process and we still have to find our way as a band together. Early on, you caught the attention of Hans Derer. How did that relationship help to get you to the next level? Axel: The contact was made through a friend and Hans was immediately into our re-
cord. Our sound probably rings some bells, as he was involved in the first Depeche Mode promotions in Germany and supported other bands of the time. Hans is a 24-hour music person and has energy for three. He got us all the structures we needed quickly, like a label and publishing. He helped us to promote our debut record so we had the chance to start with a proper record and everything right from the first day. You have some very emotionally charged lyrics and tackle some heavy subjects. Do both of you have a hand in the song creation? How much is autobiographical and how much is simple observation of the human condition? Axel: Joki mainly writes our songs. I’m involved in the lyrics and we all add ideas to our parts and details. Once Joki has written a song, it goes through the band to shape the final piece. Joki: To answer that, I’d like to quote Morrissey: “I’ve had my face dragged in fifteen miles of shit.” Yes, most of the lyrics are au-
tobiographical, but sometimes I don’t know at which point it switches to a concept. I also have the basic orientation to have a question and search for an answer, which I want to share with the listener. You recently became part of the Angry Mob family and are breaking through into the US market. What opportunities do you see in the US that are more difficult in Europe? Axel: We did not think much about the US because we are pretty busy with building something in Europe and feel that we are not at the stage yet to think about other parts of the world. The Angry Mob guys approached us and are digging our record. They are experts in getting music to soundtracks and TV and saw a potential in our songs. We are of course excited about that opportunity and trust what they are offering us. It would be great to hear one of our songs in a movie actually. This will also be a good test to see how the US is reacting to us. What we have heard so far is that they like the European touch they hear in our songs and sounds. The name Kraftwerk always comes up ISSUE SEVEN
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“A lot has changed in my life over the last four years and so has my music. I’m growing with my music and so the music grows.”
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if you have a synthesizer and are from Germany. Although we are far away from those roots, it is interesting how this heritage is still important. Joki, you have been in the music business on the other end of things as well as a remix artist and producer. How did your music career develop into what is now Imaginary War? What are the most important lessons you have learned that have helped you in the creation of Imaginary War? Joki: In 2007, when the split of my old band was in sight (which happened in 2009), I wondered what I wanted to do and what to reach. I was fed up with loud distorted guitars, blasting drums, and screaming and growling the whole time. I experimented with different sounds from clean and acoustic guitars and of course synthesizers. At this point, I had no idea what an OSC, LFO, or ADSR was. The first “songs” were more “collected ideas” and had no song structure. Then something moved me to what is now Imaginary War. It was the peace I made with the old band and the point when I involved the other three members of Imaginary war. They pushed me to write more. A lot has changed in my life over the last four years and so has my music. I’m growing with my music and so the music grows too. The most important thing I learned in the creation was that pressure isn’t a helpful tool in creativity. Perhaps in sports it can push you, but in music it’s impossible to feel what goes on deep inside yourself when you’re stressed. So I have weeks where I’m doing almost nothing and then there is a day where I have three ideas and I don’t know which one to record first. Your live performances are just as large and powerful as your studio music. How do prepare for live gigs and what do you enjoy most about performing live? Axel: It took a while to set up the complex technical live setting we needed. It involves three different computers and a flawless system bringing together electronic sounds, guitars and drums in a harmonic way. This is running well now so we can concentrate on the performance. The challenge is to play close to perfect together with the machines, which show no justice in terms of timing, but still have room for individuality and variation. The moment we manage to move free above the machines and still harmonize with the whole system is what we enjoy a lot. Playing live is certainly the reason why we have a band. There is nothing that compares to sharing your songs with people and seeing what happens between you, the song, and the listener. We also enjoy developing the sounds in different locations. Sometimes that ISSUE SEVEN
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sounds bigger than we could imagine in studio. It’s great to make the ground shake a bit. You’re even doing live web gigs! How important is it to you to utilize the internet tools we have now to reach people? Axel: As much as we enjoy playing live, it is hard to get proper shows if you are building up a band. On the other side, we already have some dedicated listeners around the world. Those two facts brought us to the idea to do a web concert, which was pretty new and exciting. With the help of many friends that brought cameras and stuff, it ran well and we will definitely do that again now that we know how it works. Nothing works for a band without the internet. As many other bands, we use all the social media a lot and it is great especially if you are building something from scratch with a small budget. You see every single fan coming to the shows and you can stay in contact. Of course every band has those opportunities and the digital noise we all experience is getting bigger and bigger. We don’t want to bother anyone or tweet something every minute. I think this has to be balanced and in the end people decide if they like your stuff or not, regardless of how many Facebook messages you sent them. All we can do is put our songs out there and ask you to tell your friends. The machines are at work again! Can we count on new music this year? Axel: Yes, the machines are running at full steam. We plan to release a record early next year. Many songs are already written and about to be developed further. In the meantime, we hope to release some more remixes and maybe even another video. If each of you could pick one song on the album that best describes you, which song would you pick and why? Joki: This is a really, really difficult question as I’d like to chose every song. For me, it’s a mixture of “Embrace,” “Hotel bizarre,” and “Love overdose.” I wrote the songs and lyrics so they all are partially me. Axel: Well, I pick “Embrace” just because I contributed the lyrics and what could describe me better? No, I also like the slightly dramatic style. Not that I’m a dramatic person in general, but in music I like it. Roman: “Embrace.” When I first listened to the song, I was in the US and it blew me away. Furthermore, playing this song live is just massive.
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Behind the Camera: an Interview with Iain Reid BY A NN M A R I E PA PA N AG NOSTO U ISSUE SEVEN
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ith a camera by his side and music chiming through his earphones, Iain Reid documents life. With a click, he manages to capture the emotion and energy of the colorful, proud and the downtrodden. For just a moment, you are drawn into the image experiencing life through someone elseâ€™s eyes. Combine that magic with a dynamic composition or landscape and you have an amazing image. This is what draws me to Iain Reidâ€™s work. As Beanotown Photography, Iain is enjoying his journey behind the camera. In this issue, we are honored to share the journey with him.
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A Bottle of Whiskey “A wild night, women and Cadillacs out on the street having fun... I had a fight with a bottle of whiskey last night and the bottle of whisky won” Lyrics by: Frankie Miller
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Where are you right now? What are you doing today? Right now I’m at home in sunny Wimbledon, South West London. Last night I photographed Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall as part of his 50th Anniversary tour, so I’ll be editing the images from the show. If time permits, I’ll go to Brick Lane with the hope of some new street photography images. When I think of Beanotown Photography, I think of vibrant colors, dynamic compositions and interesting subjects. Did you have any formal training in photography or is your work simply a result of what you like? No, no formal training. I just jumped straight in and wouldn’t change that. In many ways that is the enjoyable part — making mistakes. I like having the freedom to learn and the freedom to set out your preferences without any restrictions or guidelines. That said, on the first day of experimenting with the camera in Soho, I had Quentin Tarantino walk past me, stop, and pose for the camera! I had set it up incorrectly and got nothing but a blur! I’m enjoying the ride so far! Your photography focuses on a wide range of subjects: landscapes, travel destinations, musicians, candid street scenes and the abstract. Is there a particular area that appeals to you most? What draws you to a subject or scene that makes you want to point and shoot? I’ll always lean towards people and street scenes. The building or landscape will be there tomorrow but that split second expression, emotion or scene will never be recaptured. London’s diversity is a perfect backdrop for that. The draw varies from the mood of the day, the music I’m listening to, a particular song or a memory, or simply having a hunch for who or what will look good in print. Occasionally I’ll pick a London tube stop at random and just go there and see what develops. Some of your street photography is emotionally intense. How do you find your subjects? Generally, I’ll visit four main locations for street photography, plug in the headphones and just observe. Most of the time a particular look jumps out or I’ll set up with a particular backdrop and work stationary. Unless I want a portrait, ISSUE SEVEN
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I’ll tend to keep unnoticed so the scene is natural. However, a number of images work well when the person looks directly into the camera. Each individual’s reaction is different and the eyes make the shot. Much of your portfolio features amazing images of live performances from the likes of Stereophonics, Florence and the Machine and the Kaiser Chiefs while images on your Flickr page are supported by song lyrics. What do you think is the unique connection between music and photography? The connection is hugely important for me personally. As touched on, I usually shoot listening to music. Sometimes the song will drive the image and sometimes I will look to put lyrics to a particular image to give the viewer an insight into what I see or am trying to portray. I also love shooting live music. There is so much energy and emotion in live performances that so many people can relate to. Your Twitter bio simply states “photography is my diary.” Is there a particular image or experience you’re most proud of? Can you describe how the image came about? It changes daily! Image wise, there is one I call a simple twist of fate, which was the song I was listening to at the time. There is a strong connection between the image and song lyrics. It was taken in St. James Park in London and it was used on the posters and marketing material for my first exhibition. As an experience, it has to be shooting as an in-house photographer at The Royal Albert Hall. After such a short period of shooting live photography, to be involved with such a stunning venue is always a pleasurable experience... and, of course, making the front cover of Fourculture!
“Gambling man rolls the dice, working man pays the bills It's still fat and easy up on bankers hill Up on bankers hill the party's going strong Down here below we're shackled and drawn What's a poor boy to do but keep singing this song I woke up this morning shackled and drawn” Lyrics by: Bruce Springsteen www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN SEVEN
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“I started out on burgundy But soon hit the stronger stuff Everybody said they’d stand behind me When the game got rough But the joke was on me There was nobody even there to call my bluff I’m going back to New York City I do believe I’ve had enough” Lyrics by: Bob Dylan ISSUE SEVEN
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What was your first camera? What equipment helps you capture images today? How important is Photoshop or other imaging software? My first purchased camera was a Canon 50D with an 18-200mm lens. It looked after me and the range of the lens allowed me to cover various genres of photography without having to spend any more money. That said, my first experience was with my father’s East German 1970 Praktica 35mm film camera, which I have in my collection but have yet to venture into film photography. It is, however, something I want to take on. I am on the “for Photoshop” side of the fence. It allows more creativity which is always a good thing. I will sometimes purposely take an image knowing what I want to do with it in Photoshop and it allows for another dimension of creative work. Who or what is Iain Reid’s muse? London, People, Life — capturing day to day scenes from all walks of life in London is neverending and always rewarding. You never see the same person twice! If you could go back in time and learn something that would have made your career as a photographer easier, what would it be? I would have jumped into photography sooner for a start! I guess, getting my images seen by others rather than having them sit on a hard drive is something I was late in doing...however, it gives me a huge back catalogue of imagery to fall back on. If you could be invisible for one day with your camera, what would you do? Tough one! When watching movies, I have often thought a particular scene or image would make a great photograph, so being able to get in close whilst scenes are acted and capturing them unobserved would work for me.
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Gravitys an experience,
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a concept and a journey
E.Patsialos, 2nd Simon Nikolaidos, 3d Thomas Siafakas and 4th Thanasis Issaris
BY PRODUCER MARK PHOTOGRAPHS BY E. PATSIALIOS, SIMON NIKOLAIDOS, THOMAS SIAFAKAS AND THANASIS ISSARIS ISSUE SEVEN
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What shelf do you put your copy of a Gravitysays_i release on? Answer, which ever one you like as this music fits many genres and appeals to many different ears. They could be quickly described as a rock band by some, or they could just as quickly be described as a new age orchestra by others. One thing is for sure, they have a unique sound, composition and writing style that sets them apart from most â€œbandsâ€? you will find out there. GravitySays_i could be described as an orchestra, a group and, even to a certain degree, a movement. Manos Paterakis and Nikos Retsos took the time to answer questions about where the band has been and where they are headed.
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The founders of Gravitysays_i are Manos Paterakis and Nikos Retsos. Was it a deliberate move to hunt down other players and bring them into the band or was it a natural progression as people came by? In the beginning, as we were starting our first album, The Roughest Sea, we were not considering creating a band. It was just the two of us experimenting with sounds. As the time passed the need for new sounds on a second album put us on a search for other players. We knew the other musicians from various projects, so we got together and created this line up in order to begin playing live. From what I know, the band was deliberately formed with a direction and a foundation already set in place. Has the addition of others and their input changed the original concept and writing? Our writing specified the requirements for the addition of particular instruments, not so much the musicians. But as time passed the new members of the band gave us opportunities to differentiate our sound. Doing so gave us the capability of creating much more elaborate arrangements as well as a more complex live performance. We are not a concept band, but we make concept albums. Coming from Greece, and with the countryâ€™s current social situation in mind, would the music be different if things at home were different? How has Greeceâ€™s economic situation changed Gravitysays_i? To be honest, our concept and sound was already in place before the crisis broke out in Greece. We had, for some reason, a feeling that something was wrong in our day to day life â€” not only in Greece but in the world in general. Thus, the concept of The Figures of Enormous Grey and the Patterns of Fraud was born. As far as how we have changed after the crisis, we face the same difficulties as any Greek today. The crisis, at least particularly in Greece, has produced more substantial results as far as art is concerned. We indeed take notice of worthwhile cultural efforts lately. Some such examples are bands like Misuse, No Clear Mind, Valerio Matola, Sundayman, Underwater Chess, Felizol and others. Gravitysays_i is a rather unusual name for a band (even though most are) but why that name? What is the meaning behind the name? Gravity is a strong word/concept for us. The phrase emerged by chance though, like there was an unconscious disposition to talk about the elusive essence of the universe. We also just like how the name sounds.
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Your use of modern technology is mixed with more traditional instruments, and some lesser known ones, like the santouri which is best known and played in Greece. Is there always a conscious effort to use traditional instruments? It is a conscious effort. The traditional instruments have a deeper and more multidimensional tone, quality, and frequency range to them. The emotion that the sound of these particular instruments stir in us is something that we want present in our music. I have described the band as more of an orchestra than a band. With all members both singing and playing, Gravitysays_i has a really massive sound at points. What is the full line up and what instruments are used? The band currently consists of six people — Lefteris, Nikos, Costas, Manos, Spyros and Akis. We each play multiple instruments and overlap roles. Lefteris plays bass and harp, which Nikos used to play. Nikos now plays drums and synths. Costas, who once only did vocals, now assists on drums and synths as well. Manos does vocals and he also plays the santouri and guitars. Spyros plays guitar and he also plays the cello, while the melodica is blown by Akis, who can also play guitar and sing. In addition to all of this we use a glockenspiel, a pocket piano and additional percussive instruments to be played by whoever can make it! Each song is more than the sum of its parts and a story is to be told in not just the music but also the lyrics. Is this a group vision? Does the writing always have to have a definite starting point and foundation built in before being passed to others? Yes, it is a group vision, at least at the moment. Our previous album, The Figures of Enormous Grey & The Patterns of Fraud and the album to follow share the same rationale. It is much more challenging for us to focus on a main theme or idea rather than making separate songs or instrumental pieces. Would it be wrong to describe Gravitysays_i as a “concept” group? Most people might find the writing styles similar to the likes of Pink Floyd, Yes and other prog-rock bands from the 70s. Is there an influence from that style of production? For now, Gravitysays_i makes concept albums. The influence by these bands is there, but it’s more in the way the music flows rather than tone (at least that’s what we think). We’re also influenced by other genres and trends of the eras we have traversed both as musicians and as listeners. Our influences include certainly Pink Floyd, along with Genesis, King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator, Mike Oldfiled (from this era), but also artists like Kate Bush, Manos 60 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUESEVEN SEVEN
Hadjidakis, Ennio Morricone, Pearl Jam, however, the sound on the new album will be Radiohead, Lena Platonos, as well as tradi- very different from The Figures of Enormous Grey & The Patterns of Fraud, given that the tional Greek music. theme of “Quantum unknown” has a more The latest release “Cry-Out” is taken from philosophical approach in its lyrics. Our music a future album release which contains will have a more experimental direction. all of the Gravitysays_i elements including a strong message. Is there an overall With a very healthy local following and fantastic location for concerts in Greece message for the next album? Indeed, the lyrics of “Cry-Out” predispose and surrounding areas, can we see some the concept of the coming album. For the overseas dates in the future? We are happy that people here in Greece time being, we’re not yet certain if the song will be included in our next step. We could have embraced what we are doing. We have say that “Cry-Out” bridges the sound be- been able to play in special places such as tween our previous work and next album… theaters and ancient castles, as well as the
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Athens Planetarium, which was probably our biggest dream. For now, we are in the process of booking some shows in London to happen mid to late August and we are always open to new proposals. For more, time will tell. Your last album focused its attention on social values and the individual. Is there anything for future releases of current writing taking place that current fans and new fans should pay attention too? At the moment we are working on new material, which we hope to have finished by the end of the year. For this album we are stepping away from social values and the
needs of the modern man. Instead, the music has more to do with the metaphysical and the acceptance of death â€” death that befalls in a liberating way. Finally, thank you for your time with this interview and also in giving us a look into what goes into the music. For a final question â€” if there was one goal or one ambition in the future for Gravitysays_i, what would it be? We thank you, Mark, for the interesting interview. Our goal is simple. It would be great for us to be able to make a living as the band and keep on creating music that we like.
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powerful images and strong emotion BY PAUL A FR A NK
From the clubs of Brighton via Australia comes Eliza Jaye. Creating a unique mix of blues, folk, and rock, Eliza Jaye brings a vast array of influences into her music. From classical violin training, to rock icons, to stories passed down for generations in the Australian bush, they have all taken their part in the music of Eliza Jaye. Her lyrics evoke powerful images and strong emotion which her voice and melodies reflect perfectly. Like her homeland, there is a beauty to Eliza Jayeâ€™s music that is uniquely her own. Her debut album, The Seed, is due out on July 26th and we got the privilege of having Eliza tell us all about it. 62 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE SEVEN
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In listing your influences you list everything from Patti Smith to AC/DC to The Velvet Underground and those are all very different. How do you take those who have influenced you and bring it into creating your own sound? It has taken a long time, actually, to come about with the sound that I like and to feel like it was a cohesive sound. Because I like so many different styles and so many different types of music, it did feel for a while like I was kind of channel clicking, switching between TV channels and it was a bit disjointed. Now I think that the thread that runs through my music is my voice and I’m quite happy with how things come together and how they fit next to each other with the different songs on the album. I take so many different types of influences and I use the bits that I like and it creates a never-ending inspiration. It just means that I’m not limited to a particular genre. I can work with whatever I’m feeling and bring it all together with my voice. You have a lot of that kind of 60’s-70’s vibe going on. Obviously you weren’t around then, so what sort of draws you to that time period? I really like song writing and that’s what would really draw me to something. First of all, it’s like when you hear a song you feel the energy of it and then as a writer myself, I look at it and I want to feel that it’s a complete, whole package in that the song isn’t lacking anything. I guess I just really like great song writing and great songs. It doesn’t necessarily have to come from any era. I do really like a lot of 70’s and 60’s stuff, but that’s when the pop song was really being created so there’s a lot to be drawn and learned from that period. You were trained as a classical violinist. How did you make the move from that classical world into the pop/rock/blues world that you’re in now? I started when I was 5. When I was about 12 or 13, I realized I could sing. That was just what I really wanted to do. I always loved violin, but I found singing came more naturally to me. So I picked up a guitar, started teaching myself guitar, and started songwriting from that point. I love the violin that I hear in a lot of the songs throughout the album. It seems like you kind of took a piece of yourself and made it a part of the sound that you’ve created. You don’t hear a classical violin. You gave it more of a blues feel. A big reason why the violin is on the album is because I wanted to write with my sister in mind. She’s the violinist on the album and I wanted to create an album with her. She continued playing violin and I became more of the singer/songwriter. She’s continued playing professionally in Sydney in bluegrass bands,
Irish bands, and orchestras. I particularly wanted to work with her because we always had a sort of musical telepathy. Having grown up together, I knew that anything I came up with she’d be able to compliment it with a really great violin lead part. In the music video for “Bella,” that’s me pretending to play to her actual playing. Although it’s not really pretending since I can actually play it. Ha ha! I would have actually had her playing in the video, but she had already gone back to Australia before I got a chance so that’s a shame. Speaking of that, what prompted your move from Australia to UK? Brighton is really close to London. UK and America are the epicenter of popular music and growing up in Australia, things emanate mostly from those two places. There was just
a lot more opportunity in the UK than there was in Australia, as far as I could tell at the time, although I haven’t lived there for a while now, so I’m not sure if that’s still correct. Brighton is like London on tea. It’s lovely to live here. London is big and sprawling and easy to get lost. Brighton is a bit more accessible. In developing the album, you worked with a lot of different musicians and you did a lot of live gigs to develop the songs and get the money for the album. So what was your album process like? It was quite a long process. I don’t have a label so it’s all self-funded. Paying for an album to be created is quite time consuming. It took about five years in the end. It was recorded in different stages so the first lot of recordings was like nine tracks recorded about ISSUE SEVEN
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five years ago. I went to Australia and came back and then we finished those recordings. At that point, I was working with a different drummer. I went away to Cornwall, did some more writing, and came back. That’s when we recorded “Big Tin Heart” and “Needs Must” with a different drummer. I wanted another track for the album so I went away, wrote another track, and I came back with “Fire” so that’s recorded with a different drummer and a different bass player. At that point, my sister was already back in Australia, so she wasn’t featured on the last three. Did you find it difficult to create the album then after having it take so long in the process? Was it difficult to put that album together as a whole since maybe you’re not as connected to the songs as you were five years ago? Actually I’m really pleased to say that I do feel connected still to all of the tracks. It is difficult not having any financial support in doing something like this. This is what I’m doing now. I’m writing a new album, but now I’m better set up. I have more contacts. Initially, it was quite difficult just because it’s not as cohesive. It would be really nice to formulate the entire album and visualize it and know all of the different details, work on it with people I love and respect, and come up with a whole unit. That’s what an album is about to me. It’s a body of work, rather than just creating a track here and a single there. It’s a body of work and to be able to come up with that in a time frame, maybe over a year, would be ideal. Then you’ve created this body of work and then you can give birth to it; release it to the world. That’s ideal, but things aren’t always ideal and you just have to do what you can. It certainly has been a really big learning experience. I’m really proud of it and I’m not sick of the songs. I’m still enjoying playing them and the new material that I’m writing now is complimenting it really well and it’s all evolving. It’s all really positive.
has energy and is a completed work. I found for myself that being able to deliver something properly and have fully formulated ideas in order to record them and present them on an album is much better; to be able to have the opportunity to really explore the songs before you put them down vocally and dynamically. So that’s ideal for me, but I don’t think there is an ideal for musicians in general. Another thing that I noticed is that many of the songs tell some sort of a story. Do you see yourself as sort of a storyteller in your writing? There are so many different ways that I write. Sometimes it’s storytelling. Sometimes it’s just based on imagery and sometimes it’s very personal. I really like artists that tell a story. I love Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, artists that have a story that they’re singing about. I do really enjoy that, but then I enjoy other artists as well that are purely imagery based and suggestion and you know kind of like David Bowie or Lou Reed where they kind of paint a picture and use words instead of storytelling. I appreciate both styles and I think there’s a bit of both in what I do. Another thing is that you tend to bring out a very strong female voice in your music, that viewpoint of a strong woman. Is claiming that something that you intentionally bring to your music or is that just part of who you are? I think it’s something I do intend to bring into my music because it’s a very big part of who I am. I think it’s important to represent on a social level as well. I had artists like Patti Smith that spoke to me when I was growing up. I would hear them and I would feel inspired that women can be whoever they want to be. They can scream and they can be whoever they want to be. They don’t need to be what media tells them to be. There are so many fabricated pop acts that follow a formula of what women should be. I think it’s the same for men to a point, but I think that there are more leniencies for men. It’s really encouraging for women to look in the public forum and see that there are other women there as an example of liberty and not conforming to media and expectations. There’s just so much pressure on girls to look a certain way and identify a certain way. I just like people to feel liberated.
You did a lot of live performance to hone some of those songs in. Do you think that should be an essential part to someone in that creative process? For instance, a lot of bands go into a studio and those songs are never heard or unveiled until it’s completely done. You kind of did that differently where you performed the songs and then put them onto the album. You’ll be touring Europe and UK in support I really think it depends on the artist. I think of the album. a lot of people can go into a studio and be suI haven’t toured yet. I’m looking to be tourper creative and come up with something that ing Germany towards the end of the year and
looking to do Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin, but it’s still to be finalized. I’d love to make it to the states. I’d really love to do SXSW. That looks like a great party if nothing else. More recently I’ve been doing solo gigs and my friend built a stomp box for me. How does the stomp box work? A friend made it for me out of a piece of driftwood. He just drilled a hole into this piece of driftwood and made three different pickups and bits of denim and put it all together. It sounds like a kick drum going through the PA system and I’m finding that it’s working really well. I’m able to create much more dynamic in my set now because it’s just me. I can go really quiet or I can go really raucous. It’s working really well. How do you prepare for a live gig? Do you eat any weird foods or lick your guitar three times before you go on stage? Ha ha ha. Not really. I don’t have any ritualistic behavior. I always keep a big family sized block of 80% dark chocolate in my gig bag. It gives me a bit of a perk if I need one. It gets very late at night and you might have a beer or get to feeling lethargic or something so you just get into that very dark chocolate. I don’t really like eating much before I go on stage, so I’ll have a big lunch and then I won’t have any dinner and then it’s just dark chocolate. What do you think about when you’re all alone? I think about my family because they’re very far away from me. I do postulate on different musical ideas that I’m working on. I’ll often come up with some sort of musical idea or a lyric and I’ll record it straight into my mobile. It’s surprising how you just stop thinking about it and hours or days later you’ll come up with something that compliments it. I only really need two really good ideas that I like to get motivated and to start working and at that point it will all just pour out. What do you hope the next five years bring for you? I’d like to do some touring in Europe. I’d also like to tour America. In the next five years, I’d like to have made a couple of new albums. The next album I’m working on, I’d like to be able to pitch that for film and that sort of thing as well. I have been doing some work for advertising for EMI, so I’m developing that side of things as well at the moment. Just songwriting, not just for myself, but for other people as well.
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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
ONAIRTUNES.COM the ultimate music experience
We were in the back bar at 7969, a dark and sinuous cavern with plush black leather couches lit in harsh, mirrored reflection by tiny halogen spotlights illuminating a stage in the back of the narrow room.
s we walked in and sat at the tiny bar, a beautiful blond Latina TS was doing a slithery pole dance in a sleek, spare, silver jumpsuit to the thumping pulse of a house dance mix coming from the powerful sound system. I was escorting Heather on her first night out as a girl; she was dressed in a makeshift schoolgirl outfit, and she was really drunk. Occasionally she would find a dark place and do a “bump” of cocaine, which would make her semi-logical, if paranoid, for a moment before she would order another Crown Royal and Seven-up. I was her paid escort in the “bodyguard, look-out-for-her” sense of the word. I was making twenty-five of the fifty dollars an hour she was paying to my boss, the crack addict, at the store that catered to Crossdressers. I’d
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been sober for almost seven years, which was useful that evening, as it is most evenings. I’m six foot three, and I was wearing purple leather thigh-high boots with five inch heels; slutty but intimidating. Heather insisted on paying for everything with hundred-dollar bills from a huge wad she carried in a faux leather purse she had bought earlier in the day. I calculated that she must have had about $900 in twenties and small bills in change just from what she had peeled off that evening. She was having a marvelous “out-of-control” time, as she put it. She would come close to me and whisper confidences that were more or less linear depending on the cocaine-to-alcohol ratio raging through her at the moment. She was also being hit on by a guy named Scott we had met at the last bar who seemed determined to have sex with a virgin crossdresser at all costs. My job was to maintain some semblance of control and
make sure she hung on to her wad of hundreds which she insisted was over “Ten large”. There was an open seat at the bar, and a sturdy, neatly groomed man sat down next to me. He appeared to be in his late thirties, and caught my eye once or twice before commenting on my bracelet, ring and bead festooned wrists and hands: “Got enough jewelry on?” he said to me as he ordered a beer. I smiled sweetly and looked at him with a sidelong glance. “Just enough..” “Just enough, huh? Where are you from?” He asked. “From here.” “I mean originally...” “Here. I’m a Southern California girl...” He snorted. “Southern California. This place is full of hustlers, thieves and pimps. It’s all about the bank account. These Goddamn girls in this place, it’s all about the hustle, the car, the money, the con. Well they can’t buy
BY DA RYA TEESE W ELL
me.” His voice went up a notch in volume; “They can’t buy John Robert Hall. Nobody buys John Robert Hall…Jesus Christ is God’s Son and He died for our sins and I have integrity and nobody can buy John Robert Hall’s integrity!” He took a long drink of beer. “You look nice” he said. I held out my hand “I’m Darya….” He took it and asked; “Are you pierced?” It seemed unnecessary to ask him to introduce himself. “Just my ears” I replied “I’m probably going to pierce them one more time.” “No nipples or clit?” I couldn’t tell if he was disappointed or just establishing the facts. “These fucking girls..” he continued, as I made eye contact with a gorgeous Latina TS girl with cascading blonde hair. She was over 250 pounds, six feet tall, and a man was kissing her affectionately and insistently on her smooth and beautiful neck. She gave me the smile that we divas share. I smiled back. “These girls are just about the hustle, the con, the car, the bank account, the bullshit. They don’t want to be a wife, a lover, a real woman. I could give them a house and home, a life…a real woman’s life, but they want the fast lane bullshit. I make over $50,000 a year, but that’s not enough.” I nodded to John Robert Hall as he continued, although he needed no encouragement. Heather almost fell off her bar stool and was waving a hundred at Karen, the pretty Asian genetic girl who tended bar. I steadied her
slightly on the stool, as she ordered another Seven and Crown and a diet coke for me. Scott was trying to kiss Heather’s neck as she mumbled incoherently. “No, hell no, it’s not enough to have been in Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Iraqi freedom if I don’t drive a GODDAMNED PORSCHE or Lamborghini…” John Robert Hall slammed his beer down on the bar. “ No..It’s the hustle, the con, the bullshit, the house in Malibu. But they don’t buy me, in this Goddamned town, because Jesus Christ died for our sins. There is one God and John Robert Hall has integrity and they don’t buy my Goddamned integrity!” John Robert Hall took a long drink and then put his hand on my bare shoulder. “So are you shaved?” “All over” I replied, truthfully. “I shave down there. That’s the only place.” he said, again establishing the facts. The big Latina girl was now exposing the other side of her neck to her much shorter boyfriend as he rubbed his hands on her smooth and ample thighs. She looked like a sculpture of a Mayan Goddess, abundant and earthlike, in stark contrast to the tight–bellied working girls who streamed by her through the door. 7969 was always the most democratic of trans bars. It had once been a lesbian bar, then a true drag bar, but it had always been a place where women of color with workingclass roots held sway; if they caught a whiff of implied privilege or saw your white girl nose
headed upward, they’d either quickly make it clear how things worked there, or just ignored you, since you were beneath contempt. You’d better look good, too, which my little companion most certainly did not. Heather leaned into me and whispered “You’re great. You’re the greatest. You’re looking out for me, buddy” She had an annoying habit of referring to me as “he”, but she was new to this. I patted her hand. “Just take it easy sweetheart…I’m here…” I said. I was growing somewhat afraid I’d have to carry her out. “I’m getting out of here in six months” John Robert Hall said to me as I turned back to my fresh diet coke. I popped the maraschino cherry in my mouth. “I want to go back east, to Charlotte or Atlanta…” “I worked in Atlanta, once…” I volunteered. “Really? Up in Buckhead or where?” “I dunno…Peachtree something…every place in that town is named Peachtree….” I considered Atlanta a hot, humid, green Hell on earth, but I didn’t mention that. “It’s different there. I got to get out of this fucking town.” He left two dollars on the bar. “You’re a nice girl. Nice to meet you, and good luck.” John Robert Hall got up and walked away. There will never be any shortage of people who hate Los Angeles, who feel victimized and trapped in its soft and gaudy illusions. Money in L.A. flows like superheated lava; arbitrary and primal, it creates a cruel geography. www.divadarya.com
MASSIVE ELECTRONIC SOUND BY SER EN A BUTLER
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n today’s difficult business of music, many artists and bands alike have chosen to take it all upon themselves in order to make their dream a reality. From writing and producing, recording and promoting, they truly are the ones who are keeping the music industry fresh. They’ve taken the strong initiative to carve their own destiny. We here at fourculture love to feature those who take that step to do it alone. Composed of Bub (David I'Anson) and Jambo (David Jameson), these UK rockers of the band Carved Lies are quickly gaining the attention of many indie blogs and radio stations across the pond with their DIY ways. Sounding like the perfect mix of Rage Against the Machine and Nine Inch Nails, the guys released their debut Straight Jacket Funhouse in January of 2013. For these guys it may only be the beginning of the long creative road to success, but they certainly have a great start so far. We had a chance to talk with the guys of Carved Lies to see what keeps them so driven to reach the top, what the future holds for them, and even some things only fourculture could ever ask. For a band like Carved Lies, there is only one direction. Straight to the top.
You guys haven’t always been an Electro/ Industrial rock band since the beginning. How did Carved Lies form on day one? What in the world prompted the sound change? Is there anyone in particular that has inspired your sound now? Carved Lies first started out doing alternative/funk but as we progressed, we knew we wanted to break away from the norm and try something very unique. When our drummer split last year, Bub started to make an alternative version of “Past The Earth” which was more movie soundtrack-like in its approach. We then ran with the idea of creating samples and using them with our sound and mashing it all up, giving you a massive electronic sound. The main influence towards our sound is movie soundtracks. Creating something story-based and atmospheric is much more rewarding. One song that stands out when listening to your album, for those who love a good interlude, is “Waves of Fire.” Why did you guys decide to put in an interlude? What
is the story behind the spoken word of “Waves of Fire”? Will we be hearing similar interludes in the future? The meaning behind 'Waves of Fire' is about someone that doesn't appreciate life and is trying to bargain with the devil. We have already created numerous interludes for our live shows, but you may get one on the next album. When someone looks at your lyrics, they almost come off as very diary like. Were there any personal experiences that you reflected on in order to write songs for Straight Jacket Funhouse? Who would you consider to be the brains behind the lyric writing and why? All songs written for SJFH are personal. Each song goes through the bad things that have happened in our lives. Over the past couple of years, we have battled with depression, mourned the death of loved ones, and dealt with completely messed up times. Rather than going to see a shrink, we channeled our energy into our songs. We both write songs together and combine all ideas. ISSUE SEVEN
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Having recorded Straight Jacket Funhouse at Bub’s home studio, what have you learned from the recording of this album that you would like to apply to the recording and release of the next album? Are there any additions to the studio that have occurred since the recording of this album? We have learnt a lot from SJFH after getting feedback from the public about our songs. On the next album, we will be doing more of the same but the tone is darker. We have been experimenting all the time with different ways of using sound and creating new samples for the next album Speaking of the next release, we hear you guys have nearly or over 20 songs already in store for the next album. What can your fans or soon to be fans expect out of this next album? Any new sounds you’re experimenting with that you’d care to share? What about a tentative release date? I can't really give too much away about the next album but yes, we have a load of new songs that have been written and a lot have been recorded. As I say, the tone is darker and is a continuation of SJFH with more weird samples. We're going further down the rabbit hole. The next album will be released next year but there will be a teaser at some point. I can't say much more.
We change our intros and interludes for each set of gigs just to keep things fresh. We WILL have you either bobbing your head, tapping your feet, or dancing uncontrollably. For those who look at your track listing you guys have a track entitled “Carved Lies.” How did you guys settle on the name Carved Lies? Did this come before or after the creation of the track? Is there a deeper meaning to the name than just two words put together? The name Carved Lies does have a hidden meaning overall. But basically it means that we are all just puppets on a string with emotion and have to deal with unfortunate mental and physical issues. Whether we like it or not, it's inevitable. It's a subtle nod to Pinocchio, Carved = from wood, Lies = well, you know. We picked the name of our band before the track was created. We just thought that this was the anthem of Straight Jacket Funhouse. For the art fans of the world, we’re quite impressed with the cover of the debut album with the match book. Who is the mastermind behind the artwork? Was there a concept that you guys bounced around for the cover or any failed covers that make you go “What the hell were we thinking?” The logo and album art was created by Reg Redman, a local tattooist and friend of ours. He sent over that design and we went with it straight away. We just thought it was brilliant and fit our band name. With it being the first album, we decided to use the logo, so that people could get used to it. The next album, due out next year, will have new art and looks fantastic.
Jambo, your face paint is giving me a Joker meets Sting (the wrestler) sort of vibe. Why in the world did you decide to perform in face makeup? Is there anyone who has inspired you to perform that way? Haha The paint started out as an idea for a music video but stuck with me. It goes with our music when doing live performances. The main inspiration behind it is art and I change it You guys are wrestling fans we see. Who for each show. Plus, there aren’t many bands would you like to see in a wrestling match (do not need to be wrestlers), what would doing that kind of thing. the stipulations be (I.e. no holds barred), For those who have not yet seen a Carved and why? Who do you think would win? Lies show in the UK or are bound by the Haha, that's me (Jambo). I watch it now borders of the ocean from seeing you guys and again. I used to be a die-hard fan when I live; what would you describe your shows was younger. If I was to pit anyone off in a wresto be like if you were in the shoes of a con- tling match, it would have to be The Legion Of cert-goer? Where do you hope your live Doom vs. anyone from any form of mainstream shows will go to in the future? How do you pop shit (Justin Bieber, One Direction, Nicki feel they will be evolving? Minaj...that sort of crap). The stipulation would Our shows are very unique. With us only be a barbed wire death match. LOD would win being a duo and heavily using samples, not and rid the television channels and radios of utmany bands are doing this at the moment. ter crap, it would be brutal.
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Art wears many faces and not all of them are beautiful or handsome. Not all its moods are bright, joyful or peaceful. Good art is always introspective and some muses are dark, raw, hurt, sad and angry. Hearts Fail is the external expression of this alternative music ‘verse.
dward Wagner and his currently solo project, are the products of those muses. Added to that darkness is a deep passion to create. Wagner’s art is just an integral part of his being that he must create so as not to meltdown or explode. Even with the comings and goings of various band members over the past ten years, most recently Michael Lampe and Suessie Asmodeus, Edward truly needs to write and compose to vent the post-punk muses that live inside him. In our conversation, Wagner explained that he is working from experiences gleaned over the past ten years. This thirty-four year old from San Antonio, didn’t really tap into his musical talents until college. Initially he started with instrumental creation. Being a poet, he then followed the next obvious step of setting his words with his musical pieces. Eventually he reached a point where he felt that his work needed more so he put together the band which would become Hearts Fail. Originally the group consisted of Wagner (vocals & guitar), Michael Lampe (bass), Ruben Verdin (drums), Roberto Medina (guitar) and Clint Kingsbery (keyboards). They began playing out and developed a following in the Texas scene. This was not an easy task when working in the darker genre of post-punk. Over the years, Hearts Fail audiences have ebbed and flowed. Texas has a small electronic and industrial music scene but not much in the way of post punk. In San Antonio there was a Joy Division cover band so Wagner’s band was able to share some of their base. Around the state most larger cities had some type of post-punk, goth style group so they all worked together booking shows. However, this didn’t necessarily carry over to Texas’ largest festival South by Southwest or spin off events specifically targeted at the darker sides of alternative rock, some of which
resulted in artists performing to almost empty houses. Hearts Fail did play Big Spill festival which included some bigger names such as The Sounds. Along with the lack of popularity of the genre, the other problem (as noted by many artists) is having labels and/or management that help artists get bookings. But none of this has swayed Wagner’s passion. Hearts Fail has had support from local college stations. San Antonio College has not only spun recordings of Hearts Fail live performances they also had them in the studio to perform a Joy Division cover. Members of the band have spent time with sound tech students helping them with honing their recording skills. Wagner has previously and continues to maintain social media presences. Some he has better luck with than others and he does understand their importance. As far as previous albums and EPs, Wagner says that their U.S. sales are high in New York and California, along with being popular in Europe. Wagner says it is nice to see sales of his music but it’s not the most important thing to him. In noting that he’s not a “hardsell” kind of guy he says that most of his co-workers don’t even know he’s a musician. Today, Edward is in the studio working hard on Hearts Fail’s new album, The Tower. Although it will include some 3.5 minute songs, most will be longer, more dense listens. Wagner descibes the record as dramatically heavy which will follow a theme. Hearts Fail has had one other definitive concept album entitled Dying Season — twelve tracks that tell the story of that version of the band, a difficult journey. They lost the lead guitarist, a founding member and a drummer and there were many rewrites and rerecordings before the album was completed. Since then the group has released mostly singles and EPs. Wagner is very happy to be doing a full length record this time. Presently he says the album is about 60% complete. and he is really enjoying writing and recording on his own like
he had at his beginning. Starting with “The Devil” he immersed himself into that creative process again. Experience and maturity has helped both in writing and recording. Wagner says his vocals are much better and his instrumental skills have improved. He says when he was younger he had a whole lot to say about a whole lot of things, but for The Tower he is able to focus on one theme and use all his words and sounds on it. He spoke about his wife and the fact that she comments on the joy he is experiencing with this record. He attributes that to being able to lay down a guitar line, add in some drums and play around with the keyboard lines. There’s no arguments or lack of compromise because it is him doing all of it. He also now has the creative space to take singles already done, go back and rework them again. Wagner would like to release the album July/August but feels it will probably see a September drop date based on his progress at the moment. Fourculture will be there for the next chapter.
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f o e s i R e Th t s i l u b m a n m s So n a i c i t a m e h t a M L K COTO N A R F BY
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Recent discoveries that the late, brilliant mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujam was correct about functions of arithmetic that came to him in dreams are not the only breakthroughs having to do with dreams and math. Since finding Ramanujam’s dream calculations spot on, more self-taught mathematicians have surfaced with solutions to problems in areas of arithmetic that have stumped intellectual giants for decades. Bik Ching, a Chinese boy working for a pest-control service in the south-central China city of Shenzhen, claims to have dreamed that the square root of a negative number, once considered an invented number, could be used in balancing a checkbook. “It happened during a nap he took,” Ching’s translator said, “just after spraying a mattress factory due to an infestation of bedbugs.” Days after Ching’s dream concept was proven, a Norwegian fifth-grade student woke up during a fit of night terrors and said to his parents, “The symplectic structure of mechanical systems…[screams] … like planets orbiting the sun…[wails]…doesn’t have enough momentum to pass through a pomegranate …” The parents of Sven Eksund wrote down what their son was saying and submitted it to the Norway Institute of Higher Mathematics, where noted physicist Petri Huntshammer quickly put the theory to the test. “It could not be more amazing to get this concept,” Petri said. “It took us three days of study, mostly because we had to import pomegranates to our lab in Namsos and delivery was delayed due to bad weather, but we were able to prove the child was correct. This has great implications to how we will look at the orbit of planets, as well as how well the pomegranate assists the health of the colon.” For reasons unknown, a rash of somnambulistic realizations from peculiar sources continue to be recognized by the greater mathematic community. Professor Ingrid Maypalm expressed excitement about the new atmosphere. “If this continues,” she said, “we could stop spending so much conscious time doing calculations and tiresome work with figures and not only catch up on the sleep that such work steals from us but come to masterful conclusions by doing so. “Just last week a teenager in Chloride, Arizona dreamed some remarkable things concerning Euclidean geometry. We don’t know why this is happening but we are monitoring
the subjects involved.” The study of whom have been called the “Somnambulist Mathematicians” concerns the state of the people involved when they fall to sleep. “One issue,” said Dr. Ned Creole of St. Edmond’s Monitors, a group of doctors that study dreams related to certain digested foods, “is the quality of food consumed by the subject before they engage in any level of sleep. We have found, for instance, that fruits may assist in dreaming of trigonometry messages expressing mathematic equations based on incomplete evidence. As well, we think that vegetarian beans that create a gaseous state in the stomach while sleeping may cause dreams of theta functions, especially the kinds of gaseous states that also produce loud sounds.” The current surge mimics the valuable math topics told to people by Ramanjuan when he was in a coma on his deathbed in 1920. His work during his life and while awake was nowhere near as powerful (he flunked our of two colleges). He was a poor child with no reason to be a candidate to set the world of math on fire but he did just that. “The new breed of Somnambulist Mathematicians,” Dr. Creole said, “is as nondescript in the world of math as was Ramanjuan. What is more astounding is there have only been two frauds so far.” Both of the youngsters revealed as phonies were suspicious from the onset since their theories were so outrageous they were knocked down in no time. The first claimed to have dreamed that Infinity was not a number because it would have too many zeroes; the second claimed to have dreamed that the value of “x” becomes increasingly larger when associated with pornography on the Internet. Dr. Creole and his team of six professors recently requested grants from a few foundations to further investigate the phenomena. Many they thought would be interested turned them down. They were shocked at one that decided to underwrite their research. “We were surprised to find out that the RVW Foundation thoroughly supported our plans and were making millions available for our use,” Dr. Creole said. The RVW Foundation was thought to be
fictitious, given its namesake, Rip Van Winkle, the lovable villager in Washington Irving’s iconic story, and the fact that no record of its granting was ever verified. “A spokesman for the foundation,” Dr. Creole said, “explained that Irving failed miserably in a business he owned while in England and was left without a job after he filed for bankruptcy. He had a dream as his career crumbled that altered the course of his life. The dream had to do with calculus.” Irving’s dream, according to the RVW archives, related to the role of the derivative as a local linear approximation to a map, which could change variables for multiple integrals. “Washington claimed he didn’t understand at first,” Dr. Creole said he was told, “But he took the dream as an omen that he should become a writer. Within the span of a year, Irving had written the classic tale of Rip Van Winkle. “Until the Ramanujam dream was confirmed to be correct, the RVW Foundation was reticent to back any specific researching. But now and especially with the surge of other dreaming math geniuses, if feels ready to commit.” Another theory has surfaced, however, since the RVW Foundation chose to support Dr. Creole’s research. Dr. Faith Untole, a psychologist specializing in dream study, feels that dreams about complex math that turn out to be correct may be a way of telling troubled individuals it is time to “do the math of their lives and change their life path.” “The Irving story of success based on a dream of advanced calculus,” Dr. Untole said, “may be more than a hint that the psyche of a person riled with failure is being given the formula, if you will, for success, though it may be in an area foreign to the person at the time of the dream. Symbolically, a complicated math problem that is solved in a dream may be a linear definition of that person’s dormant desires, like writing had been for Irving.” Dr. Untole said she would not be surprised if other documents surfaced that proved such dreams came to people that had altered their life paths after humongous failures, only to rebound with remarkable successes in areas unrelated to their ambitions. ISSUE SEVEN
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from terror to wonderment
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Mike Hinc is a man who has crossed over from the cult of consumerism and commodity to the artistic dreamscapes of what is now reality. Once working with Morrissey, The Smiths, Primal Scream and The Sisters of Mercy, he wanders down a long road. That road is smudged with colorful smears of paint that now makeup the canvases of his life. A fervent dreamer, I connected easily with Mike’s pieces as he alluringly jumps from terror to wonderment. By the end of this interview I believe you will too.
Tell me about the magic of being transient. Is that my phrase? I must watch my words. Transience is a state of being… universal, unasked for and, ironically, immutable. If there is a “magic” it’s in learning to survive and savour that condition, in embracing the ephemerality of existence itself. The point of transience is that you accept the finitude of existence. The magic of this is that as an artist you are freed from the restraints and entanglements of grandiose overarching theories. You ditch so much metaphysical baggage, and just Being then comes to the fore. My work lacks all grand ambition and seeks only to disclose small truths about being human — a condition from which I know of no escape. You once worked with The Smiths, Morrissey, and The Velvet Underground, but now you paint your dreams onto canvas. What took you from one to the other? I worked with both MoTucker and Nico from The Velvet Underground at different times, but never directly with The Velvet Underground. But yes, I worked with The
Smiths and Morrissey. How does that relate to my art work? How does my diet determine how I tie my shoe laces? Only very, very indirectly. I’m not being facetious. Did one thing affect the other? Maybe. Perhaps the short answer is that I just don’t know, and I’m comfortable with that. Not knowing is good. It leaves one open to persuasion, with room for development and space to expand. Knowing is terminal, limiting, excluding and not so very good at all. How is it possible to “know” anything when all is flux? Can an eye look at itself? And anyway, as Goethe said, if I knew myself I’d run away. Being in the trenches of musical culture and the cult of celebrity for so long certainly helped shape your outlook. Tell me one of the bigger realizations you’ve had looking back at the time? Ideas can change the world. Rough Trade and the independent record label movement it spearheaded shook up a lazy and nepotistic music industry. For a while they even threatened it. They opened the door for musicians like Morrissey and The ISSUE SEVEN
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Smiths who made some really great music which dignified and ennobled the normal and the inadequate at the height of Thatcherite swank and conspicuous consumption. That was a lesson learnt. Change the commercial context within which art is made and you can make an art with which to change the world. I have no doubt that the present art market could do with a bit of a shake. It’s a case of the blind buying the bland for the worst possible reasons. All too often the market promotes plagiarism and peddles mediocrity. Art is judged on philosophical content and not its aesthetic merits. Critics and artists are caught in a dangerous tango, a duet of metaphysical claptrap, and the buyer is left reaching for his copy of “Philosophy Made Simple.” I firmly believe that if a written explanation is necessary to access, understand or respond to a work, then it has stopped being art and become something else — illustrated philosophy. I didn’t have to look far through the body of your work to see that you share our feelings of underground culture and artistic life. In your opinion, what is the matter with people subscribed to normalcy, designer consumerism and addicted to the mainstream? In my opinion there is nothing wrong with people. They’re pretty much the same the world over, a mélange, some good and some bad. It’s the systems within which people and their thoughts are organized that are open to question and in need of change. I don’t understand what you mean by “underground culture.” It’s an elitist construct that failed in the sixties, along with the related concepts of an avant-garde and Modernism. By the same token, what do you mean by “normalcy”? We are all a part of the mainstream. It’s just a question of degree. How closely we try to identify with it. The last few years have shown our social and economic systems to be at best bogus and unfair, and at worst, fraudulent and undemocratic. Now thanks to the internet, everybody knows. Even those who don’t want to. Can art do anything to change this? Maybe, without meaning to. We shall see. I heard that you like to sleep a lot and therefore dream a lot. How important do you think dreams are to a person’s life? Dreaming is a revolutionary act. Dreams are the way we remake our world. Without dreams there is no future to work for. Without dreams we would all be condemned to an eternal present. If art can contain dreams, then art has served a purpose. Yes, dreams are important. ISSUE SEVEN
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What is your favorite place to go in your dreams? The next place, wherever that is. What do you most hope is conveyed to the viewer through your art and your colorful, seductive, gawky, interior worlds of vision? Nothing. I do not wish to convey anything at all through my art. It’s an open narrative. What the viewer sees is what the viewer sees. I make the windows. You tell me what you see. I’m happy if my gawky interior worlds leave you asking a question. Art that conveys hope is religion; art with a message is propaganda. Art that is open requires questions to be asked of it, and in the process of asking questions, the commodified is challenged. The inauthentic world retreats and the real world comes forward to be disclosed, to make a window for you to see through. That is my hope. I’m sure tons of people would die to ask you all sorts of questions about Morrissey. What is it that you find yourself telling people most about him? That I don’t talk about Morrissey. Whoever called him “the last great lyric poet in the era of late capitalism” just about said it all. How did you come to find your artistic style? Was it always there or something you had to perfect? I don’t think I have an artistic style. In my digital work I try to remake the refracted reality of the perfect postcard. “Weather still changeable, wish you were here.” Is that a style? Pictures with narratives, both platitudinous and profound, snatched from the frontline of the prosaic. And I paint what I see and that’s not always pretty. The dream writ large mediated dialectically with the reality I am in. My paint is too primitive to be called a style. More a struggle with isms. An aversion to style. An attempt to escape from quotation marks. An act of unlearning. Paint, not style. That’s the thing. Where are you headed and when will you get there? Nowhere fast. I struggle with the notion of utopia. There is no Santa Claus on the evening stage and time, like geography, leaves questions unanswered. To be where I am right now seems pretty good to me and to continue being seems alright too . . . call me dystopian but I think we’re all heading for the grave! Well, aren’t we?
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we asked our featured artists, musicians and thinkers about their four favorite things
LÁNRE Airports… I don’t even care if I’m not travelling anywhere, I just love airports. I am your girl for airport runs, I tell ya! Reading a good novel is like being lost in the author’s imagination. My mum used to buy me four novels a month when I was young to read and retell the stories to her… I loved it! A cup of tea makes everything better. It’s like you can face anything after you’ve had a cuppa. Nothing like live music. I love live music. I love to sit in a small café listening to someone strum away at a guitar telling stories with music.
MICAH: Guitars – obvious Platinum Grillz - Lil’ Wayne Porsches – Duh Seinfeld - Elaine Benes
RHETT: Chicken Wings – spicy Gold Chains - Mr. T Video Games - Nerds unite Fourculture Magazine – Respect
JAMBO: My bass - it is my way of letting every form of emotion run wild. Sitting in and watching movies - my love for movies are on par with music, my way of escaping.
IAIN REID / BEANOTOWN PHOTOGRAPHY Music – can’t function without it! Listening or playing. The smell after heavy rain or a thunderstorm – unsure why! Cooking – A daily stress buster. Spritz al Aperol – Venice in a glass
BUB: Edgar Allan Poe - inspiration for poems. Jim Morrison - same as above.
Cats. We both love cats. They have so much personality and attitude but, to the contrary of what people that don’t have cats think, they are also extremely loving, funny and loyal. Sushi. It’s our favorite food when we go out. So yummy!! Wine. Who doesn’t love a good glass of wine to end the day? Well, we do... And they say it’s good for you! Music. Obviously. Can’t live without it. It’s what makes the wheels turn, what moves our lives and what powers our dreams.
Apart from coffee being an all time four, these are our random picks: Joki: My garden chair - half a year ago I moved into nature, 15 minutes outside the city. Recognizing that I have a garden now, the garden chair is a very, very important thing right now to collect new impressions of how much relaxation I can stand. Axel: The feeling when a bass wave physically carries you away (nearly). Happens in techno clubs and on stage if the sound system is good. Roman: The forest! A childhood memory at its best. Martin: To play with the filter cutoff on a new synthesizer.
ELIZA JAYE The Australian bush. That’s my spiritual home and smells like home. I love hearing a new song I’ve not heard before that I’m just in love with. That happens not too frequently. There’s lots music I love, but sometimes you just hear a song and think, “Oh God, I wish I’d written that.” That’s really inspiring. I love my violin. It was made in 1803 and it’s a Mittenwald violin. It was made in Germany and you can tell it comes from this place because the varnish is all cracked kind of like the Australian desert. I love it when spring comes in UK and all the flowers start blossoming because that’s very different from Australia. Here you go through the deadest, most bleak awful winter, then the sun starts coming out, and you get all the spring bulbs coming up. It’s really bright and everyone comes out on the street, blinking in the bright sunlight, and looking happy.
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