ISSUE NINE | NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013
SOUNDS | VISIONS | WORDS | VOICES
ANIAETLEPROGRAMMEUR PHILIP WAKEHAM LIQUID GREY SCOTT KID ANDREW ASHLEY ALICE AND THE GLASS LAKE ARMAND DELUXE BLOCKHOUSE BAY KHALED DAJANIE INDYWOOD FILMS
SOUNDS | VISIONS | WORDS | VOICES
The Artist D MANAGING EDITOR
TAKING US HIGHER
Paula Frank CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Ann Marie Papanagnostou
ALICE AND THE GLASS LAKE
Doug Seymour MARKETING & PROMOTIONS
Felicia C. Waters
Serena Butler WEB DEVELOPMENT
THE EXPERIMENTAL SOUNDSCAPES OF
Rene Trejo, Jr. EDITORIAL
Christine Blythe Simone Brown Serena Butler Kathy Creighton Paula Frank Marguerite O’Connell Derek O’Neal Mark Sharpley Annie Shove Felicia C. Waters
PHILIP WAKEHAM LIQUID GREY MOLDING LIFE INTO ART
PANDORA’S BOX OF DARKNESS
UNMASKING THE MAGIC
DESIRE AND TEMPTATION KHALED DAJANI
COVER IMAGE: SCOOTER LAFORGE photographed by WALT CESSNA www.waltcessna.tumblr.com © 2012-2013 Fourculture Magazine Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. 2 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE NINE
ANDREW WORKING GIRL ASHLEY
MACHINE’S EYE VIEW OF...
RULES THE WORLD
MOVE YOURSELF TO DANCE
INDYWOOD FILMS NIGHTMARES FULFILLING DREAMS
SCOTT KID SOUL SEARCHING AND SOLITARY
‘BOND SOMETHING BOND’
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who we are 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.
SYLVIE HILL Sylvie Hill is known in Canada’s Capital City for writing a provocative life/culture column called “Shotgun” in Ottawa’s hip arts/entertainment newspaper weekly. Print dies, she goes on-line contributing about bands, books and babes. She’s a spoken-word poet and author of Hoxton Square Circles: Starfucking tales of sexless one-night stands. Find her at www.sylviehill.com and @SylvieHill. She was harmed verbally in the making of the Blockhouse Bay article. Side effects include: sudden fascination for coupons.
PAULA FRANK Writer, painter, music lover, dreamer; Paula’s ever-changing 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?
MARGUERITE O’CONNELL Writer, attorney, wife, and mother of three boys in a bicultural interfaith family, Marguerite isn’t one to shy away from a challenge or decline an adventure. A semester in London studying art history and Shakespeare sparked her life-long passion for music and all things art and law school sharpened her natural abilities for research and communicating. Hoping to show her boys how it’s done, Marguerite has set out to use the things she’s good at, to communicate about the subjects that fuel her passions. For the reader, that might mean interviews with awesome indie artists one month and reviews of their latest works the next. For Marguerite it means lots of words, art, solitude and coffee. And happiness.
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. ADAM D Adam is approximately one half of Photostat Machine. They are a synthpop duo hailing from York, England. When not working on devastatingly handsome pop tunes with his creative other half, @nik_krudeshaw, you can find him hunkered over a cup of coffee. He likes to smile but isn’t that fond of talking about himself in the third person. “So I’ll stop there,” he added. PAUL B. BLUES Paul B Blues is one half of the duo who host one of the most listened to Blues shows on the internet, The Blues Connection on OnAirTunes.com. His mantra is “Blues music is a healer” and he thrives on promoting the artists who are making strides in the genre. If you need some healing of the soul, then tune into The Blues Connection. Be prepared to lose yourself in the ultimate Blues listening experience and enjoy the ride. 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.
DEREK O’NEAL “You have to hear this song” is a phrase you’ll often hear from Derek. His fierce music obsession began at a young age, an age when playlists were captured on cassette off the radio with TLC and Soul Asylum in heavy rotation. As a writer, Derek has been sharing his stories since he was old enough to hold a pencil, which is a big deal since he really dislikes pencils. Derek now educates the masses with a combination of things he loves most: music and writing. Today, you can find Derek scouring the web for fresh sounds that both inspire and entertain. Sometimes he takes breaks for coffee and sleep. 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. DOUG SEYMOUR Doug Seymour is a featured photographer with Paste, Pollstar, Billboard and now Fourculture. Over the past several years, his work has graced sixteen magazine covers, dozens of album & DVD covers, tour posters, countless published photos and even a book cover. He has also been the recipient of four Independent Music Awards for his photography. In his spare time, Doug is an avid collector of rare vinyl LP’s (and loves to get them autographed too). MARK SHARPLEY English writer Mark Sharpley brings a view from the other side of the Atlantic. A former bass player and drummer, he now concentrates on giving his two cents on all things musical. A huge lifelong fan of The Smiths, anything to do with them will always be a biased affair but don’t worry, he doesn’t come equipped with a Morrissey style quiff...
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.
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.
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.
FELICIA C. WATERS Born and raised in NYC, she began her lifelong love affair with music the moment she first heard T Rex. Throughout her life music has always been there...the steadfast friend with no judgment, always accepting. It nourishes, it angers, it heals and it makes you feel embraced. It is a part of her just as a limb or a lung. If she can bring any of those feelings to people through her writing, not only does she feel she’s done her job she feels like she’s given them a gift.
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Have you ever felt so disgustingly weighed down by the world that you could spit? I’m one of those people who deals with the world on a daily basis. I see immense amounts of pain in people’s eyes. I get an immense amount of pain conveyed to me by people. It’s like working with the homeless or the terminally ill, but finding out that everybody is like that on some level.
rt, to me, is the splash of color against a very crusty old bloody canvas. Everybody is sad and in great pain. Art creates happiness as it creates thought outside of the usual. I am a very secluded creature and sometimes lose my way. When you’re walking along alone you tend to forget why you came. Then I watch something that someone created or I listen to something. I read the books of fellow authors and it’s like a flash bang of happiness. Peace is not love or euphoria, art is. Creativity outside of their box is perfection. It’s the only reason I feel fulfilled or that my presence on this planet in this scientifically constructed body is going to be worth it. We helped add a stepping stone with more art. That is all of us doing a million different things. I am filled with joy and the pleasure of being alive in this world when I see the mind of Scooter LaForge spilled out on canvas, the rhythmic mutations of Aniaetleprogrammeur or the world through Andrew Ashley’s eyes. That’s because it’s part of me on display by others which gives me great joy that I’m not alone. It makes me hope that we (the artists, the thinkers, the freaks) will keep burning through with our visions. It doesn’t matter if my vision prevailed, the vision of other likeminded artists will. It’s one of my highest hopes that somebody 300 years from now will understand us. The world is nothing but a grayscale pit filled with echoing drivel – to me. I’m starting to see in black and white. If it’s the norm then it’s dull. It’s drivel. It’s bullshit. What’s more invigorating is that the only color I’m seeing is when I look at artistic creation. It’s making the colors more vivid! The other day I saw the most amazing flowers. They were some kind of yellow orange brick color but the longer I looked at them they started swirling. I stared and stared, I wasn’t even on drugs! It was a statement to me. The visuals were speaking and moving because the majorities are not doing anything. No one is doing anything out there except the artists of the world. The creators are still creating while the masses ba-ah-ah. The underground world of art is a hood of fabulous people whether it be brotherhood, sisterhood or a mix. I’ve never felt tied to many until I found artists. Then you know who is in the trenches with you. Then you can tell who will really hold your hand. The Artist D | @theArtistD
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BY PAUL A FR A NK
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Welcome to the world of the glass lake; inspiration, beauty, peace, and music brought to us by Alice & The Glass Lake. With subtle power, Alice & The Glass Lake create music that is grounded by nature, inspired by dreams, and mixed up with futuristic electronics and visuals. To step into the world of Alice & The Glass Lake is to find yourself in a new world of color and vision. Will you take that step?
Your songs are both strong and yet vulnerable. How do you strike that balance between the two? Do you ever have trouble dipping into that well of emotion? I can’t say I’ve ever had trouble dipping into emotion. For me it’s been more about learning how to interpret it. I’ve always recognized vulnerability but struggled for a long time with learning how to accept it-- insecurity, grief, confusion— before turning it into self-awareness. Songwriting helped with that. When did the need for making music first strike you? How did you then go about setting that into action? I’ve always been compelled to sing since I was very small. I played many instruments and was always drawn to music, but I didn’t start making music of my own until recently, after I started writing towards the end of college, and then just got swept up in it. It was never a matter of “I’m going to do music.” It just happened that way. With your music, you manage to draw people into your world of the Glass Lake. Tell us what “the Glass Lake” means to you and how does it feel when the listeners enter that world with you? The Glass Lake is a place for me to escape into my imagination. Sometimes ISSUE NINE
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Your new EP is entitled Evolution. What does the title mean to you and what evolutions have you had to go through to get to where you are now? The Evolution represents the number of layers I’ve had to try on and shed as a musician in order to uncover what I want to put out into the world. In the end, it became more about an experience rather than a specific message or genre. We are evolving all of the time…as humans and artists. It’s Your music, while electronic, certainly re- important to recognize and accept our lives flects a more ambient and natural sound. as a constant work in progress. Growing up as a Wisconsin native and being a lover of biology and nature, how The video for your single “Higher” is do you keep the connection to that part very cool. What inspired the concept of yourself and bring it to the music now for the video? Were any other concepts that you are living in Brooklyn? thrown out before landing on the finWhat I find so inspiring about the city ished product? is how different and yet similar it is to naThe concept for “Higher” was brought to ture. Both are raw and primal in their own me by Ida Rodriguez Joglar, a director/aniways. My travel between the woods and mator/editor living in NYC. Having been introBrooklyn keeps my inspiration fresh. It duced through a friend, she came to a show makes me think about how my behav- of mine in the city and knew exactly what she ior changes in both places and it makes wanted for the video. The rest fell into place me more aware of the world around me. within a week. It was one of those serendipiThe electronic and organic mix in my music tous experiences where, despite having just is a way for me to tap into that duality and met, I trusted her vision and the world of her still respect where I come from. video matched my song beautifully. there is far more possibility for adventure inside my head so when I’m in nature or feeling inspired by something enough to write about it, I enter a space where pictures tell the story. In other words, if a picture is worth a thousand words, I guess a song can be worth a thousand images. For listeners, I just want them to access that imaginative space and experience the music in their own way.
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Did you have the freedom to move how you wanted to when filming or did you have some direction on how you needed to move to incorporate the graphics? There was a movement coach there to warm me up and help out with what best translated on camera, but after that they just let me do my thing. Ida created the graphics around my movement. You recently got to hear your song “Coming Down” played on the MTV show Catfish. How does it feel to have your song played to the masses on television? Considering I don’t have cable…Haha. I didn’t actually get to see it first hand, but several friends sent me video clips taken with their phones. What was most fun was my mother’s reaction. She got really excited and called me screaming when the song came on. Will we get an Alice and the Glass Lake LP any time soon? What’s next for you in your career? I am writing and recording the LP right now for a 2014 release. I am stoked about the new material and how the latest evolution is unfolding. Mostly I am just very grateful to be making more music.
The Fabulous D Show OPINION. SURREALISM. EXTRATERRESTRIALISM.
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BY DER EK O’NE A L
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Aniaetleprogrammeur (AELP) is an electro three-piece based in Berlin, Germany that consists of Hanri Gabriel (vocals, guitars, synthesizers, direction), Tata Christiane (synthesizers, machines), and Valquire Veljkovic (synthesizers, bass, lights). The band originally formed in Paris in 2005 and independently released their debut album — Die Kir(s)che auf dem Kopf [which translates roughly to “The Church (Cherry) on the Head”] — in 2009, which was rereleased in 2011 on their new record label, Force Royale Records under Pale Music International. Released in 2012, the band’s sophomore album, The Friendly Expectations of the Stars, combines ambient instrumentals with punk elements and an infusion of filtered vocals. The album is a cinematic voyage inspired by darkness, and accompanied by self-directed videos that illustrate the band’s imaginary world. It creates experimental soundscapes with noise and distortion, mixed with piano, guitars, layered beats and electronic synthesizers, plus the often disjointed vocals of Hanri Gabriel, which can be described as an instrument on their own. Their music has been described as unclassifiable, though others have defined them as dirty electro rock, electro punk, cyber punk, electro clash, psychedelic electro, industrial electro, and no-wave, which according to the trio, “is a kind of deconstructed new-wave; you could say post new-wave.” The band’s second album can be abrasive and spooky at times with sound and vocals alike, but offers a unique style of electro that is melded with elements of several genres. In November, Aniaetleprogrammeur will be digitally releasing a full length remix album of The Friendly Expectations of the Stars that will feature remixes by aMinus, Electrosexual, La Chatte, Noblesse Oblige, ODXT, Osica, TUSK, Valquire Veljkovic, Velvet Condom, and Yasmin Gate. Fourculture spoke with the band about their creative endeavors and what is ahead for Aniaetleprogrammeur.
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Aniaetleprogrammeur is quite the mouthful, but broken down is Ania et le Programmeur, which translates from French to English as Ania and the Programmer. Ania might refer to an orchid, a moth, or the Polish spelling of the name Anya, though the moth seems the most appropriate considering the cover artwork of your most recent album, The Friendly Expectations of the Stars, featuring a skull with moth wings. What does the band name actually mean? GABRIEL: There’s no a literal meaning behind that name, although people often take it as the description of a thing, asking us who is who. I would say it represents a bridge between opposite and mirrored things, like abstract and concrete. The Friendly Expectations of the Stars album artwork shows a spaceship made out of bones; a technologic object made out of something biologic. This is a good illustration of what I could imagine about the name. VALQUIRE: As with many names, there is a certain poetry in the reading that is revealed by each reader in a different way. I couldn’t explain the direct meaning of it, also because I joined in later, but I never really worried about it. I felt confident with the rhythm of the words and the picture it created for me. Genre-wise, AELP has been described as dirty electro-rock, electro-punk, cyber-punk, electro- clash, psychedelicelectro, industrial-electro, and no-wave. How would you categorize yourselves? VALQUIRE: That’s a tough one. I’d really like to leave the category up to others. I think the more we work on our universe, the more we could say we define a genre for
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each song seperately. I’d be happy to see a good description for it but I won’t spend too much time on finding a box for our work. GABRIEL: We are probably all of them at the same time then. We play a lot of venues and festivals with bands from different genres and the adequate roots of our music merge in phase with the circumstances. I like the idea of no genre though. We write songs, and we built an identity based on the freedom of going in any direction we want if it serves the purpose of telling stories. I also like to think of a band making music like a director makes movies, thinking of which tools and language I will use to write my story. I’m into trap music and stuff right now if it helps. As a creative powerhouse involved in not only music, but fashion design (under the brand Tata Christiane), video production, photography, and graphic design, was it music that brought you guys together or another of your artistic endeavors? JULIE: Gabriel and I have known each other since we were little. We always did things together. The first thing I remember was building an rc plane. Gabriel was starting to make new songs on the side and I was doing some clothing and costume design. He asked me to join his music project because we knew we could be here for each other. We started the band in Paris in 2005 and then founded the label Tata Christiane in 2007. Later, we met Valquire in Berlin and found out we had similar expectations in the way of working things we wanted to do. GABRIEL: What brought us together was our level of friendship and trust but we also complimented each other. We work as
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a team and the three of us each bring our own knowledge. There are things I am bad at, others I am good with, and the other way around, so each of us accept the tasks that have to be done. But skills are useless without a good relationship as a group. I knew we could work well together as nothing is ever a problem between us. We know we can count on each other. VALQUIRE: You can come together as business partners, sharing a similar profession or as friends. We came together as friends and realized that we can trust and inspire each other. I think our profession was helpful in that. Of course we came together with a huge intersection of topics, such as music interests. For me personally, I founded and left quite a few bands before I finally found a home in Aniaetleprogrammeur. It is a constant sharing and inspiration. AELP originally formed in Paris, France in 2005 and is now based in Berlin. What prompted the move to Germany? JULIE: We started the band in Paris, often playing in clubs and bars there. In 2006, one of my friends invited us to play at a party he hosted. The evening was a real move in the right direction. We played on a techno sound system. It was a great experience. We decided immediately to come back the next month to do a residence there for a few weeks. We were practicing every night then (what we could not do in Paris), and discovered the city and people there. Gradually we expanded our trips to Berlin. GABRIEL: As Julie mentioned, we came for few gigs and we jumped first into the techno and electro scene here. We found the appropriate venues and environment for developing our sound and aesthetic.
ing into clubs and feeling how the music can be perceived. On the other hand, I like listening to folk music to hear how the text is brought into the music. I could give the names of my favorites and it would probably have nothing to do with what we actually make. Let’s just say I prefer to observe how things are made rather than the result. Conceptually, The Friendly Expectations of the Stars is said to be loosely based on the star’s prediction of the impending apocalypse. What have the stars revealed to the band? What does the future have in store for AELP, considering that the world is still around? JULIE: Fortunately, the world has not been swallowed yet but the album scored for us, I think, a kind of end of an era. For this album we wanted to create a world that was very cinematographic, very atmospheric, a kind of journey of dreams and nightmares. Strangely, we then woke up with new desires. The past no longer mattered. VALQUIRE: The stars have revealed that we are well on track with what we want to do, managing to set the focus right. The future is always unknown. We can only
guess. I won’t dare guess though. We aim for straight and great changes in all our fields of work. I’m happy if we can make some of our changes come true and create the leaps we want and need. GABRIEL: The title was not related to that world ending thing to me. I always tell the others that this title is just like watching the sky at night — walking around and being excited with the plans for the next days to come. We always feel like we’re in progress and the things we do today already belong to the past because we already have something new in mind. Right now we’re working on a new story you can find no further than at www.autist.tv. What kind of environment sets the mood for songwriting and how would you describe your working relationship? GABRIEL: I like working late at night and in the early morning at the studio or putting ideas down on paper or on the computer at home and in cafés. A main part of The Friendly Expectations of the Stars was done while hanging around at night with headphones, figuring out how things should
You have been described as “the bastard child of Einstuerzende Neubauten and Atari Teenage Riot” – which bands would you consider to have influenced your sound? Which bands would you consider your favorites? VALQUIRE: I have to say that I don’t see a direct influence. The project is pretty much blooming from the inside rather than referring to the outside. It is hard sometimes to think about what could be a direct influence and name it. I’m definitely, as a musician, influenced by tons of music. I appreciate any kind from jazz to pop, grindcore, hiphop. etc. if it is unique, new and refreshing. You should see my music library. Randomly skipping through it can get really nasty! GABRIEL: I discovered the names of many bands as people montioned them as our influences. My main inspiration comes from the way the things are done. I like goISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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be, and what had its place in the soundtrack we wanted to create. Our working relationship is different for every song, for both live and recording. I sometimes come with all parts written to be played. I leave it open other times and we see what happens together, but we always make final decisions that are comfortable for all of us in a natural way. There have been a handful of music videos produced for the new album (all directed by the band’s very own Valquire Veljkovic) including “Low Passion,” “Out of Me,” and “Project 21.” What are the inspirations behind the music videos? Is the construction a collaborative effort? JULIE: “ “Low Passion” was basically a fashion video for Tata Christiane by Valquire featuring a song by Aniaetleprogrammeur. It 20 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUENINE SEVEN
is a love song. I had the idea to make a video where the characters would be wearing wedding dresses. This idea is also a result of a limited edition collection “99 Robes de Bal.” This video also echoes an installation I made for Halloween in collaboration with another designer called “Danza Macabra.” It’s a kind of dance of the dead, a ceremony without any object. Empty space. Gabriel did a really spacy soundtrack and DJ set. In the center of a ballroom we placed three wedding dresses on chairs. One by one, the people had started to try on the wedding dress and took pictures of themself. Boys and girls alike. It is the idea of hijacking a fashion item that’s such a big part of a ceremony in our society and then bringing on its desecration in the dimension of celebration. There is
also a grunge size clothing, the idea of playing together, of sharing, of intimacy. The video was made in a week with Valquire traveling with a huge bag full of vintage wedding dresses from one friend’s apartment to another. There was a great deal of improvisation, intimacy and sharing. Their feelings about the fact that each are wearing a wedding dress in the video is not a trivial matter. “Project 21” come totally from Valquire. “Out of Me” was an experiment we shot in just one day in Marseille with Valquire. VALQUIRE: It is definitely a collaborative effort. Internally, we are constantly talking about our own interpretation of songs and moods. That’s a very big part of our outcome. In my works regarding the photography for Tata Christiane, we work very
closely together on the concepts. I think each of us can throw in an idea and then it will be worked out. Other publications have insinuated that the band planned to make music videos for the entire album. Is this true? JULIE: This was true but, unfortunately, there was not enough time until now to finish up all the videos that we had in mind collectively or individually. VALQUIRE: We shot more material for videos than we have shown. At some point we realized that the material wasn’t appropriate for some of the songs and we decided to focus on other important parts of the band, the live experience for example. Sometimes,
under high pressure circumstances you VALQUIRE: I very much love the album have to decide where to shift the energies. because of the movie soundtrack aspect, listening from beginning to end. My fav track What are the chances that “Moldy” will depends on my mood, just like I prefer a scene make it to the screen? better in one movie or another. Also there are GABRIEL: The “Moldy” video was shot songs that I absolutely love to play live. I think a while ago but it’s not edited yet. If our some of my feelings for a favorite song on the schedule allows, we’ll do it for sure. Right album come from the fact that I love to play now we are focusing on new material, it live! If, for example, at a show people go nuts on “Timetravel” I will be absolutely in a sounds and videos. “Timetravel” mood in the following days. VALQUIRE: Let’s summon the ghosts of the future. Of all your artistic endeavors – and The band recently remixed “Mata Hari” though you may love them all – which by Noblesse Oblige and Valquire direct- would be your personal favorites: mued the official and extended music video sic, fashion, film, photography, graphic for the song. How did AELP get involved design, or perhaps something else? with Noblesse Oblige? Are there any JULIE: It’s hard to say. I like how they more collaborations on the horizon, mu- complement one another, the way that these sically or otherwise? practices have to mix directly and indirectly. VALQUIRE: They’re good friends of When I have to present a collection for a ours. I was happy when they asked me to fashion show and Gabriel has composed do the video and they were so open minded the music for it, everything makes sense to to let me do a remake of the video for our me. Even when working on a video for Tata we are working together on music and video remix, released recently. with Valquire and Gabriel. Nevertheless, I GABRIEL: Since “Mata Hari,” we did find that in each of the disciplines it is both an a few remixes for other bands and artists, individual and unique approach. In creative They should be released in the near future. process for each activity there is no mixing. It On the other hand, we have around 10 re- is only occasional that these practices intermixes of The Friendly Expectations of the sect and influence each other. Stars songs that will be out in November in GABRIEL: What I like the most is workdigital. Noblesse Oblige is one of the artists ing with the others for making things hapwho did a remix for “Low Passion,” a song pen for both music and fashion. I consider of ours, so it is somehow like exchanging visions. I like making remixes as it keeps both as complementary in the way we bring me open to fields of production and other it to life. But music stays special. It is a part of my daily life since I was young when I genres I want to deal with. started early with classical formation. If you each identified with just one song VALQUIRE: I’m through and through a from the new album, which would it be visual guy. I love photography and film and and why? Does that song also happen I adore the music to be the soundtrack for it. to be your favorite or does another track hold that title? I feel that I was Alexander the Great in a GABRIEL: I could explain why each past life. Do you each believe in reincarof them would be my favorite, but today I nation? If so, what was one of your past would say “Project 21” as it contains materi- incarnations? al recorded in many different places, states, JULIE: I never thought in that way about and times. It somehow brings me back to all reincarnation. In this sense I do not think those moments and moods. The vocals and I’m fundamentally a believer. I am much the ending with the piano and the dog were more familiar with the world of fiction, with recorded in Paris, the street sounds were feelings, with dreams. I like reading novels recorded in New York a while ago, some by Proust, Giono, Cendrars, Gustave Le other parts in Italy and Berlin. It’s all put to- Rouge, John Irving, Ian Fleming, for examgether like a diary. I wanted that album like ple. I love fiction. a one hour song. GABRIEL: I‘ve been told I must have JULIE: On my side I adore “Moldy” for been a sister, as no one can touch my its wild side and deconstruction, the staging knees. Does that make sense? I‘ve been of the piece, and its decadence. I also really pretty much into those reality, quantum like “Affliction and Great Change.” It’s more physics topics, etc... I would have to think than one, because I like it when things are hard about incarnation somehow first. in dialogue with each other, a little bit like VALQUIRE: A squirrel going nuts. the scenes of a movie.
Molding Life into Art BY A NN M A R I E PA PA N AGNOSTOU
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“Art is fundamental to human existence.” These are the words of sculptor Philip Wakeham, and he lives true to this philosophy. Beginning with connections to real life, Philip uses the process of lost wax casting to create his beautiful works of art. His process brings life to art and art back to life. Fourculture invites you to enjoy the artistry and words of Philip Wakeham.
You’ve created numerous sculptures in bronze, cast iron and pewter, each one more unique and dynamic than the next. Which do you look back at with most pride? That’s a hard question, but favorites include “The seahorse covered cup,” “Finding love is harder for some,” and “Hannah as Neffetiti with buildings.” Sculpting can be a long, grueling process. How does your work come to life? Can you explain your creative process? I am unusual among sculptors in that I do all of my own casting rather than just making a clay original then sending it to a foundry. This gives me huge creative freedom as I use the casting process as an integral part of creating my work. So although I start by modeling usually from life in clay, I then alter and change the waxes before casting. This means that each piece I make is an original, so instead of working in editions I work in series and versions, each
piece being a unique work in its own right. . The whole process is long and difficult but the short version is this: 1. Make the original in clay, usually from life. 2. Moulding. This is making a flexible rubber mold from the original. 3. Cast in wax. 4. Modify and change waxes. This is where the creative elements happen. 5. Sprueing 6. Investing. This is where the mold the bronze will be poured into is made. 7. De-waxing. This is where the wax original is melted out or ‘lost.’ 8. Bronze pour. 9. Devesting -breaking of the mold to reveal the cast bronze. 10. Chasing/welding. This, again, is often another creative step were they pieces are assembled. 11. Finally, patination where color is added.
This whole process from start to finish takes around 10 days depending on size and complexity Your belief is that art is a primary activity of humans. When did you come to realize this? What brought this concept to life for you? There is historical evidence for art going back 72,000 years and there are figurative sculptures dating to 35,000 years ago. We’ve been making art ever since. All children make art from as soon as they can hold a crayon. Sadly, there is a cultural idea that art is an add on to ‘real life’ and entertainment but trivial. This is quite wrong. It is absolutely fundamental to us. It’s a huge part of what makes us human and is every bit as important as verbal language. It’s also absolutely everywhere in all societies. All humans value art. They only appear not to when it is broken up into categories of high and low, kitsch etc, etc, but those are just social & language based ideas. ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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“All humans value art. They only appear not to when it is broken up into categories of high and low, kitsch, etc.” Is your background in art? Can you tell us about your journey from a beginner to your current level of craftsmanship? My father was a ceramics teacher and maker of sculptural vase forms so I grew up around these. I had a love of making things as a child, but machines more than ‘art.’ I certainly wasn’t considered ‘artistic’ and was not allowed to take art in school as it wasn’t felt I could pass an exam in it. But since I had a learning disability, that meant I had no chance to express myself in academic subjects so I ended up at art school studying 3d design. This is where I really started to use metal. After university I was without direction, but at this time I discovered my love of drawing the human face. It was a genuine epiphany. I found myself, largely through chance, working with a pewter smith Tom Neal. Pewter, with its low melting point, allowed me to experiment and play with casting in a way that would be suicidal with bronze. This is where I taught myself lost wax casting using my kitchen oven. I then, through the worshipful company of pewters, got a place on a bronze casting course at the Royal Academy of Art. This was the last step opening the door to my current work. What inspires you? Are there other artists that you look to for inspiration? Film is one of the main sources of inspiration as well as Japanese, 15th century portraits and contemporary wood carvers, particularly Bruno Wolpoth. What obstacles do you face in creating and exhibiting your work? I think I am the main obstacle!
What is a typical day in the studio like? My studio days are cyclic following the casting process. I actually live in my studio, so my day starts at 6.30 with yoga & meditation. Ha! I know how that sounds but I suffered my whole life with ADHD only diagnosed 5 years ago. The morning is essential to settle my mind. After breakfast I make a start on whatever needs doing. The majority of my time
is spent with the foundry side as that is so did spend quite a lot of time dancing around time-consuming. But the best days are when the studio to Macklemore and Ryan this I have a model here as thatâ€™s all day creating summer. new work plus some good conversation. Where do you want to go next with your What do you like to listen to while sculpt- art? ing? Do you have a specific soundtrack Simply to realize my vision more comto set the mood? pletely and finding better opportunities to I used to listen to music all the time. show my work. These days, Iâ€™m more likely to be listing to a dharma talk or working in silence, although I
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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.
Give it a listen: www.onairtunes.com/fcradio
PANDORA’S BOX OF DARKNESS BY PRO DUCER M A R K
Based in Norway, Liquid Grey is a dark goth-rock musician who draws on aspects from his personal beliefs and love of music spanning many genres and decades. With a new album, Arsenic Dreams, just around the corner, we find that Liquid Grey raises the bar on his new works and invites some familiar faces from the Euro scene to support his developing sound. Reaching deep into his Pandora’s box of darkness, this album is sure to bring him some new dark friends as well as surprise and raise a few eyebrows from his existing fans.
This is the second album from Liquid Grey and it’s obvious from the very start of the first track that this is the Liquid Grey style with a far more aggressive rock orientated sound. What has changed for you since the first album? A lot of things have changed since the first album. Actually everything has changed! I bought a couple of new guitars that I haven’t put down in the last year and a half. That refueled my passion for guitar playing, which resulted in playing much more on a daily basis and writing more every day. The flow of ideas was stronger than ever and that added extra edge to the overall guitar oriented sound. I also bought a guitar effects processor that I like and got a bit more involved in the whole process of recording things. I wrote and used only the newest and best ideas that I had and took time to record the guitars, the vocals, etc in a more efficient way. To my ears, this album is quite solid and delivers a lot of punch, which was my intention from the beginning. With Grey Matter, I was just scratching the surface. With the new album, Arsenic Dreams, I am making a deep cut. This time I draw blood. Is there anything in particular that has inspired this? It’s clear from listening to the album that there are others who have been brought in to make contributions. Has this had an effect on the sound or were they brought in to help create it? I am in a different place today both on a personal level and as an artist so I was exactly that; inspired to write, to play, to sing in a way that manifests my passion for this part of my journey. Bringing other people on board was something that came naturally since I could easily see the places where specific people could do what they do best resulting in very strong performances. All the people who graced the album with their presence are there for a good reason and these are people that I like for what they do in their own projects.
Letting others contribute to your music can often be a risky venture, but the backing vocals in various songs work brilliantly. How much freedom did you give people to experiment? All my guests got 100% freedom to do what they wanted, to really add what they felt like playing or singing. Total artistic freedom is the way to go when you are working with other artists who are both experienced and talented. I would not have it any other way either. In any kind of relationship or collaboration, all parties involved should be there in freedom and with mutual love for what they are doing. Anything else would not have been good enough and I do not do things that I do not find inspiring. Nikolas Perlepe (Ritual of Odds, Dimlight, Sorrowful Angels) played a spooky guitar riff and a noise rhythm guitar on “5 Minutes” which sounds haunting, while Dee M Kruger (Descendants of Cain, The Pressure Cell) shared the lead vocals with me on “Dance Alone” and also did some amazing backing vocals which made the track even darker and more intense. Sanna Salou (Dimlight) added her multi-layered backing vocals to “Blazing Star” which gives an almost ethereal quality and dimension to the track. Constantin Stellakis (Breakdown) played an inspired solo on “Poison Days” which is followed by my guitar solo adding a climax to this song. He also did some very melodic backing vocals that ring out in the choruses. I hope that all the guests had a good time doing this. I know that I did!
With this album, I got the green light very early on when Jorg heard the first rough mixes and saw the suggested title and album artwork. When it came to discussing the various options and suggestions we had regarding the mixing and mastering of my album, it was Jorg who finally brought Tom O’Conell into the picture. I was thrilled at the possibility of working with him. I am so happy that it materialized and Tom got to do the album with us.
Do you think this album could potentially open doors for a wider audience? With wild guitar solos and driving riffs, you’ve made a conscious move on this new album to be free with your playing. Why this album and not Grey Matter, the previous album? With my previous album, I was laying down the foundation and therefore I gave it a more “old school” treatment in order to show the roots of gothic rock. As an artist, I am aware of a certain lineage if you will, but the new album brings everything into 2013 where the musical genres have expanded much more. Arsenic Dreams is where I break free from any kind of previous limitations and take dark music a bit further by letting my other influences find their way into the mix. I just let it come out unfiltered through my voice, my guitar, or my lyrics without making any conscious effort to do anything other than be who I am, a mixture of ingredients. The only conscious effort that I made was to try to interfere as little as possible with the feel and the performance Your label, Echozone, seems to have had of each song and just give it my best shot more of a direct input into this album. and I think it shows. I hope that the listenWhat effect has this had on the way you ers will pick up on that and enjoy this album. have worked on recording this album? Actually, Echozone had a much more There is almost a running theme of payhands-on approach to the first album. The ing tribute to some of your influences label boss, Jorg Tochtenhagen, produced from the past. Which bands and musithe album and suggested a few changes cians would you say have influenced here and there, but always with my approv- you the most in your music? al. A few different sounds and alternate voI am not nostalgic about the past, but cal takes worked very well for that album. I am where I stand today because I am ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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another link in this chain of artists that have come before me and artists that will come after me where we all contribute our small bits and the next one picks some of these up and mixes them with their own ideas and ingredients. This has been going on for ages. I have a long list of people and bands that have influenced me. In a way, I carry their tradition in me. From master to apprentice who becomes the new master and teaches the next apprentice, the endless circle. I have solid rock roots starting from 36 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUENINE SEVEN
music of the 60’s and early 70’s like Hendrix, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and then punk rock from Iggy Pop to Sex Pistols and The Clash to the post punk and early gothic bands like Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, The Mission, The Cult to the music of the late 80’s early 90’s Danzig, Fields of the Nephilim, Type O Negative, Tiamat, Opeth, Moonspell, Die Krupps, and Rammstein. Lots of metal and industrial bands from old school Iron Maiden and Motorhead to Celtic Frost,
Metallica, and Samael to today’s bands like Gojira, Deathstars, and 69 Chambers to name only a few, which is very difficult. I like any kind of music with good guitars in it and dark tendencies. Happy pop music leaves me cold and indifferent. Tom O’Connell (ex-Garden Of Delight guitarist and Producer of All Hallows Eve, The House Of Usher, and Traumtaenzer) has produced and mixed the Arsenic Dreams album. What new di-
the music by applying a little bit of his magic sicians which can make this a thrilling live on my tracks. experience, but I need to find the right management that can deal with the heavy task With producers, backing vocals, and of doing this the right way while keeping the other participants within various tracks, costs down so that the friends of my music what is the thing that excites you the can get to see the show at a low priced tickmost about Arsenic Dreams compared et in an okay venue with okay sound, etc. with other work you’ve done? Otherwise, it is not worth it. These days, This is an album that I can listen to from there are people out there playing for beer the first to the last track without thinking, money and bands that climb the stage with “Oh no, I could have done so much better a laptop and two guys pretending to be muthere.” Flaws will always exist and that does sicians. Some of the Euro festivals this year not bother me as long as I have done my demonstrated these sad facts beyond any best and have managed to capture the raw doubt and this is not the way that I roll. If I energy that was floating about during the do something, I do it well or leave it alone. I making of each song. I can hear the excite- am not into ripping the fans off. ment and the passion behind every word I sing and every riff or every solo that comes Do you have anything planned to blasting out of the speakers. Also, it is the promote the album? first album that I have co-produced and this The upcoming Liquid Grey album, Arseis a big step for me. When I made the deci- nic Dreams, will be released in March 2014. sion to go solo as Liquid Grey a few years The first single from the album called “Love ago, I did it in order to escape the medioc- Under Will” will be available at the end of rity and lack of enthusiasm I was exposed the year as a limited edition EP including to by playing in bands with people that had extra non-album versions and remixes. nothing to offer except their recycled bore- The official video clip for “Love Under Will” dom. I made it my purpose to never settle will see the light of day at the beginning of for less ever again and I continue in the October. There will be some more exciting same spirit with my new album. news to announce soon. Other than that I have decided to be much more visible this “Love Under Will” and “Night Calling” time instead of hiding in the shadows, so are good examples of tracks on the expect surprises! album that, for me, stand out as ones most likely to receive the most attention. For those who have no knowledge of Do you have a specific audience in mind Liquid Grey and the world that you have for this album? around you, how would you introduce Anyone with blood in their veins and a your music and your world to someone passion for dark music with attitude and a new? critical stance against the “music biz” should If you feel that there is an animal inside be the right audience, although my music you that wants to come out and play, if you belongs to anyone who feels connected to it feel the lust and the passion for life instead for their own reasons. I just hope that I can for crappy romantic films and music, if indidisappoint the snobs, the vinyl purists, the vidualism and ecstasy is your vision then I nostalgia junkies, and all of those who feel will be more than happy to provide you with obliged to keep buying records by bands the soundtrack. Just listen to my new album that sound exactly like older bands like the Arsenic Dreams really loudly. Sisters of Mercy or Fields of the Nephilim and we have seen plenty of those copy bands in the last years. As Liquid Grey, I have no interest in perpetuating the same old recipes. If I was into self-punishment, I would still play guitar for some of the old bands that I was in, some of them continue mensions has this brought to the Liquid to this day, I think. Grey sound? I am thrilled that Tom did the mixing and You have a long history of playing live mastering on the album. I have been a fan in many different bands and countries in of his work and this was a dream come true. the past. Do you have any plans for takClick here to listen He is a great producer. If you listen to his last ing Liquid Grey on tour? project, All Hallows Eve, you will hear this Although I am perfectly happy where to The Artist D’s kind of aura, this kind of dimension that is I am at the moment, I know that there are evident on the whole album and I think that many people out there who would like to see interview with he brought a bit of this to Arsenic Dreams me live. Therefore I have already thought Liquid Grey as well. His idea was not to change my re- about it. I know that I can bring a great band cordings in any way, but only to bring forth with me consisting of only very good mu-
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U N M A S K I N G
T H E
M A G I C
BY SER EN A BUTLER
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or many of us, magic can come in different forms. You have your traditional magic with the
likes of Harry Houdini and Lance Burton perfecting the craft. There’s your fabled magic with your favorites Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy laying down stories of mystifying acts for centuries. It’s safe to say the art of magic comes in many forms. Today, we unmask the magician behind a more tangible magic; a magic for the ears. The currently Budapest based music producer, remixer and radio presenter, Armand Deluxe, has had his hand over the music industry for years. In 2013, Armand would take a hold of that wand and cast his spell over the ears of listeners worldwide. With a number of web smash hits under his belt this year, next year is only bound to be bigger and better for the musical magician with the numerous projects he has in store. We had the chance to chat with Armand Deluxe to find out what exactly the future has in store for him. This time, Fourculture got to pull the rabbit out of the hat.
This year you really light a fire under the Armand Deluxe brand. How do you plan to rev it up in 2014? Any little things you have lined up that you can let us in on? Firstly, HELLO! Secondly, thank you for taking the time to interview me; it means a lot and I think this is the first ever interview I have given in 10 years! The smoke machine and strobe lights have certainly been turned up this year on the Deluxe Dancefloor, that is for sure! It has been a strange kind of year, I was going to give up music actually at the start of this year, but life always takes those unexpected turns and here I am, almost at the end of a rather amazing roller coaster ride of a year! As for 2014, I am one of those people that generally floats with the wind, so quite frankly, musically, I could end up anywhere. But don’t worry, I won’t be going rock anytime soon... Not that there is anything wrong with rock, but I am just a disco fuck-bunny at heart! A bit of Motown ‘mixed-up' could be something I would like to try! There is that ‘diva’ track I have kept hinting about lately, I am sure you will bring that up a bit later. I am also working with a girl group called Concrete Rose, managed by Lee from Steps, which is funny, but the track is HUGE and the vocal demo I have
been working with is amazing. It’s definitely quite remember, I got this ‘demo’ sent to my a track that is gonna fill a hole that Girls inbox for SIRPAUL and I was just blown Aloud left. Stay tuned for that! away! Nothing like I had heard before, nothing like I was expecting, the quality, the style, One of your biggest endeavors this year the vibe, the mood, the sex, it captured perwas taking on some new material with fectly what I had in my head, without even Fourculture favorite SIRPAUL. How did knowing it. I was seriously impressed. That you two end up “meeting”? What do you song turned out to be Touch Me. find is the most difficult aspect of working It was the most easy of processes I with someone who is overseas from you? have ever had the privilege of embarkHmmm...good question! We ended up ing on. He just gets me, no questions, no meeting by chance, or fate. Fate is probably hesitations, no wrong moves. It’s just what I more like it. I was at a dead end with mu- have in my head EVERY time. We are like sic, no singers, no song-writers, no hope... the husband and husband of music, the really stuck in a corner! I had this track that Sonny and Cher, the Pet Shop Boys, we I made on New Year’s morning of this year just gel perfectly. Before I digress anymore, and I was like, this is really good, consid- it was so easy working overseas. The only ering I made it at first still drunk, then pro- drawback being we can’t just get in a studio gressing with an epic hangover. Something when we feel like it and churn out an album about it struck something in my boom box of of tunes in a session! I am sure if we could, a heart and I just knew that something was we would! One thing we did just come up going to happen with it, I just had no idea with, over the space of a weekend, was a what! I put out a tweet asking for singers or brand new track called Digital Love and we songwriters, and after about an hour, this released it on 11.12.13...that’s the 12th of @SIRPAUL tweet arrived. I was like, ‘SIR- October for people not working with that PAUL - MAJOR EGO ALERT!’ - he doesn’t date system! It’s a BIG electro club song. I know that bit! Anyway, he said he can sing, wanted to make a track that Britney would he can write and would like to have a go. I even be jealous of, and thanks to my musiwas like ‘ok...we shall see where this goes’. cal husband, SIRPAUL, we have done just About 2 weeks later, could be earlier, I can’t that! #DigitalLove!
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Recently you’ve teased the public with your collaboration with Sadako Pointer (Johnson) best known as the newest member of the Pointer Sisters and granddaughter of Ruth Pointer. How did you get involved with Sadako’s music? What can you tell us about the production of the song? Actually, I never mentioned the name Sadako Pointer anywhere, but, since it now seems to be common knowledge or you have an insider working for you, I might as well say that yes, I am working with Sadako on a new track! First time I have actually said it, so it’s cementing it now, huh! After seeing her in an interview I just emailed her on the off chance, and I thought, wow, that is a sexy Pointer! So like I do with most artists I emailed her, asking if she wants to make a song. I sent no demo, ideas or anything, just the promise of a good, fun disco-romp. She was surprisingly open to the idea and that was that! The track is called Come’N Get It, and is actually written by me and my ‘musical husband’ SIRPAUL! It’s sexy, it’s fun, it’s a bit weird. It’s catchy and it’s going to be AMAZING! I think that very early next year it will be out! So, stay tuned for that! Many DJs have their own way of remixing music. What is the signature sound to a true Armand Deluxe remix? How long does your remixing process take? How do you decide what you’re going to remix outside what you’re commissioned for? Signature tune...hmmmm, repetitive. I like a song that gets stuck in, no foreplay needed. I just wanna get on the dance floor
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and shake it! So something that is quite high energy, lots of high-pitched squeaks and noises here and there and maybe a slight 90's sound to it. Something that doesn’t sound like it was made when you heard it for the first time! That would be my sound in a nutshell. In late July/early August you ended your run as host for Radio Pink’s show In Disco We Trust. Do you think you may enter the presentation spectrum again? Why or why not? I loved In Disco We Trust! It was such an honour to work with Radio PINK on this trademark name of mine and actually turn it into a radio show. The producers used to get worried when I was on the air, a bottle of champagne in one hand, a filthy vocabulary in the other, and a deck full of pop! It was a recipe for disco disaster, really. It was great fun! Every Friday night, broadcasting around the world, to gays, straights and all those inbetween, getting ready for a big weekend! It was a shame to end it, but I felt that I had to now focus solely on my music, and I still believe it was the right decision. I used to be a presenter in the UK until about 2002 when I finally moved to Budapest and gave it up, so it was wonderful to get back into it here. I will be doing it again one day, you can count on it! It’s my favourite place in the world, behind a microphone. I guess it’s the entertainer in me.
Oooh. Um. Fuck, that is a hard question. I am just going to have to go with my heart over coolness on this one! The Village People or The Weather Girls need to come back. In fact, let’s just put them all together in a studio and see what happens! If I could create a supergroup, I would love to put together my own group — a bit like Alcazar, but more fabulous. Bigger disco balls, bigger sequins, and shit like that! That would be quite an amazing project. I would try and rope in the Pet Shop Boys to produce some tracks for them too.
You’ve been living in Budapest, Hungary for some time now. What brought you to Budapest from London in the first place? For those who’ve never had the chance to experience the country, what’s the music scene like there? I moved here because my mother is Hungarian and fled as a baby during the 1956 revolution, when the Russians marched in and took the liberties of men, children and women...history repeating itself, I see. Anyway, she moved back about 12 years ago and I visited her here and fell in love with the city. A year later, I moved here! It’s been the most amazing decade of my life! The musical scene here is amazing — lots of creativity, lots of individuality. It’s okay to be creative here. People embrace it! Creativity is in the blood of Hungarians. Did you know that 20th Century Fox was created by a Hungarian? The streets are Being the most knowledgeable in the always full of Hollywood film crews, so it’s genre of disco, if you could bring one quite common to find a celeb strolling about, disco group back for world domination taking it all in. OR create a disco super group, who would it be and why? Earlier this year you had the chance to cover the Eurovision song contest. What do you think it takes to win Eurovision? You’ve also mentioned your own aspirations for entering the contest. Any idea of how you plan to go about that? A winning song would be something simple and catchy. A message of love usually does well, but I think hands down that someone with a good catchy beat, a great, easy-to-sing-along to chorus, a strong vocal and a simple performance will always win! Entering myself is a lifetime goal, and it will happen. I have about four songs ready to go and have contacted the BBC already to put my hat into the ring. I managed to get the email of the show’s producer from someone at the EBU. I think they would get in trouble for sharing it with me, but I was very persuasive! We shall see how that goes, one day for sure. Mark my words, it will happen and when it does, it will be a big pop gay dance tune, so don’t worry! I am Armand Deluxe after all, I can’t let my fans or the Eurovision fans down. It’s too big an opportunity to go with a shit boring song!
I could not create and so perhaps it’s my way of letting someone in? I am no psychologist, I just love being touched there! Oh and you can tickle my back for hours. That is heaven. Outside of your musical career, you have another job as a Senior Art Director at one of the world’s largest advertising agency networks. How has your advertising work helped you in your own creative endeavours? It has taught me that any idea is a good idea. Just fine tune it, perfect it, make it thought provoking. Involve the consumer and make them fall in love with the brand. That simple thought translates into anything that needs to be sold, whether it be a product, or music — it’s all relatable! Also, being a Senior Art Director has made sure that I only put out hot artwork for my musical career! I could talk a load of bollocks about Pop and Art, but I will leave that to that other woman who seems to know a lot about Art Pop haha. I don’t wanna sound reductive!
Your largest release so far was this summer’s “One Love” featuring SIRPAUL. Some may say this is one of the best equality anthems of 2013. What does it mean to you to produce a song with such a deep meaning behind it? This is actually a very simple story. I had a track that wasn’t finished, but I loved the sound of it, so I sent it to SIRPAUL and he sent back a finished version! Yes, from just a few bars! I made the track based on his vocal structure and “One Love” was born. We knew straight away it was meant to be a gay anthem. We didn’t go out to create one, but it just felt right. Both being firm believers in equality, for men who like cock and women who like boob — sorry, I am just bored with the LGBT terms, aren’t you? We shouldn’t be categorized — so we decided to make a statement and say that “One Love” is about anyone who wants to love someone and wants to be loved back by that person. There is nothing wrong with that and it’s about time the world celebrated
You had the experience of redesigning the Procter & Gamble offices in Budapest. How in the world did that come about? Do you see any future in interior design after that experience? I have a great relationship with P&G. They have been my main client for the past 10 years or so, and we heard they wanted to redesign the main offices here in Budapest, so I said we can do that. It was very branded, so it wasn’t as fun as it sounds, but it’s something nice for the trophy cabiit instead of hating it. Straight people love net. I did include the word ‘cunt’ into the debeing ‘individual’ and doing what they want, sign — of course, I never told them and I so what’s the difference? I know my answer hope they never found it! It’s our little secret! is not very PC. I don’t want to offend anyone with my comments, but I just say it as I see You are a creative triple threat with your it. We are all different. We are all equal. We ability to make, produce and market are all human and we all live on this beauti- music. For those who want to take that and do it on their own, what advice ful planet together, as one — so live with it! leap would you give them? So “One Love”, for people who love! It’s out Just go for it. Even if it seems like you now, so go and buy it! (Shameless plug!) are out of your depth, you will soon resurOne of your more provocative works is face and find yourself floating again! My another collaboration with SIRPAUL, mother always taught me to just do it, don’t be scared or be scared, but embrace “Touch Me.” For a very hot piece of eye ever that fear turn it into a fierce fighting candy as yourself, what would you say machine. and You fail when you give up! would be the place to touch on you in It’s advice I hadonly to swallow back in order to turn you on? Why? (A question the beginning of the year, butmyself I am so glad I ripped right from the lyrics!) never gave up music. Music is my heart, my I can happily say that my ‘hotspot’ is my world, my air, my sex, my eyes, my alcohol, head; anyone starts touching it and I just get my passion. I will keep it going, long after goosebumps all over and would completely I finally have that Billboard no.1 and hopeand utterly hand over my body to that per- fully will remain firmly with my feet on the son! As for why, maybe because my head ground. If not, I give you permission to slap is the most important part of me. Without it, me back to reality if things go tits-up! ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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Khaled Daja BY PAUL A FR A NK
Are you into temptation? What is it that you most desire? The music of Khaled Dajani searches deep into the soul and asks these very questions. The album, Luci, explores temptation in a way like no other. Part poetry, part rock, part fusion and all smothered in talent, this 11 song concept album is a unique mix of style and lyricism. Taking influences from Spanish, middleeastern, folk, and rock music, Khaled Dajani creates something intriguing and powerful with Luci, including a conversation with the devil himself. Tempted yet? I couldn’t help myself and just had to hear from the artist behind the music. The talent and the artistry that you’re showing on this are absolutely amazing and what you are doing is incredible. How did you get started playing guitar? I feel like everything I do in music is just a happy accident. I am self-taught. One of my best friends here got a guitar for Christmas and I immediately became obsessed with it. I learned chords here and there and found it just looked good and started with it. You learn chords as you go along from learning other people’s songs. I kind of picked up some things here and there and I feel like eventually what I ended up doing is just putting my fingers in random spaces and just trying to form some chords. If something sticks or if I hear something a certain way I just continue to follow it and hope for the best. I’ve found a lot of things that I can’t play immediately. It’s just a matter of doing it over and over again until I can play it. Then I have to do it over and over again while I’m playing and singing it so I can hear those two things at the same time. So like I said, I think it’s all just one big happy accident. And that’s incredible because to listen to you it sounds like you would have been almost classically trained in the way you play. I wish! I could do a lot more if I was. Did you listen to a lot of more classical guitar or Spanish guitar to try and learn some of those things then? Yeah. I love flamenco music so that’s something that I listen to often. I also love classical music, but I grew up on a lot of metal. There’s a lot of metal that has maybe some classical elements. They have extended instrumentals and different time signatures and different rhythms and so on and so forth. It’s just something that I guess my ear grasped on to. I also love just listening to plain guitar music so I think it just kind of caught on that way. 46 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUENINE SEVEN
You can hear all of those influences in your music which is great because it brings in an interesting mix. There’s the Middle Eastern influence and Spanish influence in there. There’s also American folk and the hard rock sound in so it does create such a great mix. Does that mix kind of come just from your own mix of personal heritage, coming from Palestine, or have you always had a bigger world view? Are you influenced by more in the world than just your immediate surroundings? Where does that all come from? That’s a good question. I’ve been fortunate enough to do a bunch of traveling that’s taken me to a lot of places with a lot of good music but I’m also very fortunate to have parents that absolutely love music. My dad would play Abba and the Beatles all the time. My mom would play anything from Arabic music to gypsy things. It was just around me for so long that you couldn’t avoid it. A lot of Arabic music is not the pop music, but the folk music is very…I’ll say its complex. It has a lot of different rhythms and scales and modes. Listening to a lot of that growing up has had its effect. But then a bunch of my friends were listening Nirvana, Metallica, Pantera, and of course being a kid, I immediately would forget and listen to what my friends were listening to. You just want to jump around every time you hear Rage Against the Machine. I think the older I got, the more I got introduced to music. For example, I listened to R&B as a kid but I didn’t really “listen” to it until recently where I’ve been listening to a lot of gospel meets R&B things like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Then I stopped listening to as much hard rock, which for a long time I was obsessed with. Tool, Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down — those bands are just incredible. Now I find myself listening to a wide mix of things. I think I’m just kind of always hungry to hear new things.
It’s funny because I’m kind of musically illiterate when it comes to all the new music that’s out there. I kind of get into these little pockets of just listening to certain bands but I might say the short answer I guess is my family and friends growing up might have had a big influence on what I listen to now. I’m going to say part of it is nurture, you know, where I come from and my ear kind of got trained towards. Now it’s just a matter that I want to be the best musician I can be. I want to be able to write all kinds of songs and remain very versatile in what I do. I just try to extend my musical talent as much as I can. When you started creating your own music, how did you think of bringing all those influences together? What was your ultimate goal in bringing all those influences into creating the kind of music you’re playing now? I think it’s just something that sort of happened. I’d be just sitting around and playing guitar and then all of a sudden I would think, “Oooh, this song sounds kind of Spanish. Let me see if I can expand on this,” or, “This sound is very Arabic. Let me expand on this.” Sometimes I just write something that’s still very rock and roll I love rock and roll. The ultimate goal for me while I’m doing all this is knowing that when I find these things on the guitar then it becomes a new tool in my toolbox. Now I can come to this place and create this kind of feeling if I need to, if it calls for it. My one approach to writing in general is it’s all about creating a mood. It’s all about creating an experience. I want to be able to take the ear and the mind to a very specific moment in time or a very specific place. Music has that power. You hear the Spanish sounds and you’re going to immediately think of Spain or anything Latin. If you hear the middle-eastern sounds you’re going to immediately think of the desert. You’re going to think of dancers or the sun. So finding these things on the guitar allows me to say “This is how I feel right now. Let me see how I can translate this into music at this point.” Recently I’ve been finding a bunch of random blues chords so this is a new tool in my toolbox in case I want to create this mood later down the road. I know where to find it now. You’ve been out playing live and you have guys that you play with. Did you have any trouble in finding people with that same vision, with that same tone, to be able to back what you’re doing and become part of a band? You know, I was out here in New York for a long time. I was going about just play-
ing by myself for a couple of years. When I recorded this album, Gil, who plays bass with us right now, was the studio manager there. He sat in on a bunch of sessions. One day after the album was done and I was up there with Jason a guy who produced the album who’s brilliant. He came up to me and he asked how it was going with the new CD. I told him it was going well. He asked if I had found a band to play with and when I said no he asked, “Do you want one?” It kind of just happened from there. He asked what I wanted and I immediately thought I need a bass player and he said
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he knew of a drummer who plays with us right now. Over time we spent two or three months looking for another guitar player, a keyboard player, or guitar player, and we found Manuel on Craig’s list actually. Gil was the one that found them and he spent quite a bit of time and quite the attention to find the right person. I think it was just a matter of time and place to come together for this to happen. It’s not really easy to always find someone that’s going to see eye to eye with what you want to do but these guys have the backgrounds. They have the talent and they
have the vision, so I was very lucky to find people who enjoyed the music enough and just love to play and the stars aligned. I want to go into the album, Luci, released in January. It seems that Luci was kind of a dream of yours to create. How long were you actually working on the concept of the album and the music before you could finally see it produced? It was quite the journey. Luci was a couple years in the making. One of the songs on there, “Motions of the Dancers,” is a way older song I wrote a long time ago
but it just seemed like it fit this theme that we were going after. Pretty early what happened was I sat down and started writing a bunch of music and we had a lot of songs to choose from. We saw a reoccurring them which was temptation. It kept coming up and I just kind of continued to follow that and I just wanted to be honest and thought if this is what’s on your mind go with it and hope for the best. So there were a lot of writing sessions, a lot of failed songs, a lot of successful songs, and finally it just made sense. It all seemed to flow together really nicely and it all seemed to tell a vivid story. The other reason we chose these songs is that when you listen to the album, not everything is the same. There’s no song on the album that will sound like another one. There are certain chords and feelings that you feel but none of them sound the same. That’s why the songs work and it’s not always easy to conquer. There are some songs that write themselves and then there are songs that take forever. You go over the feelings of every song and then the feeling of the whole album together. You just keep going over it and you say, “Ok, this song works. This doesn’t. These lyrics work. These don’t.” When we went to do the album, I sat down with Jason to do the preproduction and he and I had a talk about how I approach these songs and what the vision was. He’d ask me again for every song, “What’s the vision? What do you hear? What instrumentation? What do you see?” and then he would figure out some arrangements. We wrote some arrangements together and he wrote some on his own. It just sort of started taking on a life of its own. At that point you realize that now it’s completely out of my control. Now the songs are out there and have to realize themselves. This is something I’ve always wanted to do and this is why this was very dear to me. I’ve always wanted to be able to go into the studio with no time or financial restrictions and say these songs really need to come to life on their own beyond me and beyond anyone else. It starts, somehow, with me but it’s not really me. It’s not really just mine. It has to evolve on its own. When you make that choice and you accept that and you start working with another person who is extremely talented you see these things really soar and really become vivid. It was a dream come true and to be able to let go and just do it was incredible. You ended up with this kind of theme of temptation throughout the whole album so I have to ask a question what is your biggest temptation? Wow…man. (laughs) Biggest temptation…I guess I can’t really help myself with
this. I want to be the best that I can be with everything. I want to know that anything I attempt to do I can master. I want to know that I have complete control over all of my life, which I know I don’t. I know that it’s a silly thing to think about, but even though I’m not classically trained, I want to be the best musician I can be and I want to have complete freedom and hopefully not hurt anyone in the process of trying to achieve that freedom. Basically, I want to just design my world the way I see fit, the way I think would make me happy, everyone around me happy, and you know what I think would be for the greatest good. It’s a really tough question. (laughs) I’m gonna just stick with that right now.
to be a part of TED. I thought it was a long shot for it to happen. I was just looking around for events and I saw they were having it so I emailed and asked if they would consider having the opportunity of having music and they said yes! They told me about the theme of their TED and I said I thought the song would work really well. I had played the song so many times but I remember that day I just couldn’t sleep because I was so excited. I actually hadn’t met the dancers and I hadn’t seen their dance but it was really incredible to know that there was a different world happening behind me while I was performing. I was just excited to see the results, myself, on the video because I knew they were shooting it and you get to see other peoples creativity I want to go into a couple of the songs and their interpretation of something that I on the album. As I listen to the title track, helped channel and it was very cool. It was “Luci,” it seems that it’s an outward por- a very cool experience. trayal of a very inner struggle. Yes, I’m going to say that’s very accurate. And you know, as one listens to Luci it really is art in music. There is so much Where did that song come from? What musicality to the songs on the album the influenced that song? What brought that lyricism of the album is incredible. As song about? you said earlier, each song is different Musically, I have no idea, but I’ve al- but they each portray a feeling. Have you ways liked songs where it seems like ever thought of bringing in more multithere’s a conversation happening. I read a dimensionality to that in any way with art lot of poetry when I was younger that played or dance or a short film or any of those out that way. It was a thing I’ve always been kinds of things? intrigued by. I liked the writing style so I felt Absolutely! Forever I’ve had this video what better way than to tell a story about concept for “Motions of the Dancers” as this struggle that’s impersonated and the animation but I haven’t been able to make best example I could think of at the time it come to life yet. One of the visions we was the devil. The devil embodies tempta- had for this album was every song was tion. I’m not religious by any means but it supposed to have a video, an animation just seemed like I could take this very cliché specifically, because we want to push the example and make it my own and make boundaries of art too. With animation you it somewhat different. Then it was just a can kind of invent up a world. You have a lot question of me being honest with myself of flexibility. I can draw up a character and and asking myself what my temptations it doesn’t necessarily have to abide by the are. What is it that I feel right now? When laws of gravity, whereas if I had to do that I wrote that song I wasn’t feeling happy or in real life I’m not going to have the budget optimistic about some things in my life and I to pull that off. kind of just wrote out what I felt in that song. We also wanted to do a post card lookMusically, it kind of just happened. Lyrically, ing like piece of art for every song on the conversations are always good. They help album. For example, for “A Mad World” we you and it helps to bounce ideas off people had this idea of these two people sitting on so I was just bouncing ideas off paper. the moon as if they were sunbathing on a beach, like one of those old-timey post cards In taking one of the lyrics from the song, where it’s like “Hey, travel to the moon!” You does desire always win? see planet earth from a distance you see That hasn’t failed me yet so that seems nuclear bombs going off and all that kind of to be the case. crap flying around. For “Lazy River” it would be something similar. It would be a post “Motion of the Dancers” is another in- card and it would be night time and you’d credible song, and I saw that you actual- see like this really pretty windy river going ly got to perform that on TED with Kelly down and there’s palm trees, bushes and Donovan and dancers. How awesome all kinds of cool wild life happening on the is that? How did that feel getting to per- side of it. You can see the moon and stars. I form that and to see the dance actually like to think that I could expand it and evencoming to life? tually have the images of those post cards Oh yeah it was really cool. I was thrilled move a little bit where you would actually ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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sure. We thought some cities would react to us better than most, but overall we were surprised everywhere we went. We had an extremely supportive audience. They listened to us. They took some stickers, tshirts, and CD’s with them and they really enjoyed it. When we talked you could tell they were really listening and they appreciated the fact that it was so different. They would ask us what the influences are, what countries, where are we all from, and it was really cool. I was really happy that we were able to connect with people because sometimes you worry about if this going to be so out there. Is it something people will be able to connect to? Not everyone has the same background that we do, so it’s a thought that goes in your head. At the end of the day, you just do what you do and hope that people connect with it and in our case they did and I’m just very thankful for that. see the water moving or you could see the bombs going off on Earth. On “Luci” we had a really cool idea for a music video for that one and we actually thought it would be very cool to have what we like to call a “temptation style party.” People would come in we serve them certain food and drink that fits the night. Then the song gets performed and we would get two actors actually acting it out in front of you, acting out the dialog and every single scene. That was just a few of the ideas we’ve had whether it was music videos or just paintings or someone just acting it out dancing it out. We would love to do all of that stuff. Well, it would all fit so well with the album! I did see the video for “Mad World” which was cool. It actually reminded a little bit of The Wall from Pink Floyd honestly. The insignias and characters in it gave me a little flash back to some of that imagery. How did you come up with the concept for the video and how did you get to work with Nolan James on it? The concept was really from a conversation. The director, Ruthie, and Nolan have been friends. They’ve been working together for a while but the initial conversation I had was with Ruthie. She listened to the song and said this is how I kind of feel when I listen to it. I had my ideas and so we started bouncing ideas off of each other. Then we actually started talking to Nolan and we settled on animation style, settled on some imagery that we wanted. He started drawing up some frames and we had a couple of our vision meetings and just kind of went from there. We knew that we wanted something that was a little out there, so that’s the
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whole chicken head and all that kind of stuff. We knew that we didn’t necessarily want it to be final because there’s supposed to be two other videos that come out and they’re all supposed to tie in together. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to make that happen so there was this big grand vision that there’s still an apostrophe next to. We just kept bouncing ideas off each other and it just kind of settled that way. Cool, well it turned out great! I love it and I hope we can get more eventually! Thanks! To switch gears here a little bit, you’ve been out on the road, playing a lot it looks like. How do you enjoy the live experience? Is that something that you really enjoy? This is the best I can describe it; when you’re on stage and playing music, music doesn’t stop for anybody. That’s life happening right there. There’s no looking back. There’s no looking forward. All you have to do is play that note in the right place every time and it just makes you feel alive. It’s great to be able to, as many times as you play a song, simply because of the setting you’re in and the people who are there with you, all those energies together make a unique moment every single time and it’s very thrilling. It’s very rewarding and it feels like you get to realize a song over and over again and it’s just an amazing experience. And with your different sound, how has the reaction been from the new people coming to see your show for the first time? It’s actually been great! We weren’t
What question do you want people asking themselves after they listen to the album or see the show and they’re kind of digesting it all? What questions are you hoping that people will ask themselves from listening to you? I’ve never thought about that. I don’t know that I really wanted people to question something. I just think that whenever they listen to the songs, if they connect to the songs, they’ve already asked pretty much the same questions I’ve asked myself. I think that we all have very similar paths to each other. I’m sure that everyone that’s listening to us has gone through those times or else they wouldn’t be connecting to the songs as much. It’s not so much that I want them walking away asking a question, but it’s just more or less the feeling that there’s someone that you can connect with and they can connect with you. This is how we feel as well. This is what we love to do and we’re just happy that you love listening to it. And ultimately that’s what it’s all about anyway isn’t it; that connection and showing that we’re not all alone in this. We’re all together. Exactly. That’s absolutely true. So what’s coming up for you? What plans do you have in the works? Right now we have shows through the end of the year. We have a couple of big shows coming up so we’re going to stay focused on that. We have some songs that are already in the works and we need to do a lot more writing. Hopefully next year there will be another album and there will be more touring. Just keep on listening keep on playing!
BY TH E A RTI ST D
He’s an amazing artist and human living in a technicolored world with rainbows, fabulous filth, Popeye and guys who can suck their own cock. It’s not SpongeBob, it’s the life and times of Scooter LaForge! The Artist D takes a trip inside Scooter’s brain and loved every minute of it. Your art is all over the web, in the shops and on people. You are an artistic explosion…or is that artistic orgasm? I can’t figure out which. Me neither. I mean who knows what’s going on. It all seems to have happened over night. It’s a whirlwind. A tornado. It’s all a big tornado. People have no idea until they see your art but it’s a colorful meltdown of imagery and stories. Looking at you from a glance I think the first question that people like me ask is where does this amazing vision come from? I have a library of tons of images in my head. I always have my whole life. They’re stored in my head. It can be a screen shot from a cartoon, a porno mag, a sidewalk drawing or a Rembrandt painting. It’s everything! I get inspired by everything and I’m a totally visual person. I have millions of images stored in my brain and they just come out of me constantly. What drives it out of you or does it all come naturally? It’s pretty much in my DNA. It runs in my blood. Since I was a kid! Both my parents are artistic. I think I got their genes because my two sisters aren’t at all artistic! I feel like I got all the art genes from my parents.
That’s funny, because I used to get beat up in high school and junior high. I really got bullied a lot. I was your total classic gay harassed person. Text book beat up, shoved, they would write “LaFag” on my locker door. I’ve always been visually interesting. In high school I looked crazier, a lot like you! But now all these people from high school are writing to me and they are really supportive. They tell me they’re so proud. They send me green chili as that’s grown in New Mexico. They send me dolls, toys and letters! Most people are stoked about what I do. Do you get messages from people who beat you up? Yeah! Believe it or not. I have got messages from people who had bullied me. They say stuff like, “Rock and roll, we’re so proud of you!” And I’m just thinking…well, I don’t go there. Things have changed. Kids are mean to each other. I’ll never forget. But I guess for whatever reason we grow up and it’s OK. I’m really a happy person now so it’s a different time. I think the way we grew up made me push myself harder. I didn’t have the revenge thing of “I’m gonna show them!” But I’ve always done what I loved. This is what I wanted to do and I’ve never wanted to do anything else. Now things are finally starting to happen for me where I can be that artist and become … a legend!
Speaking of your childhood and your upbringing, you were born and raised in Las Cruces New Mexico? It’s a very small town in the southwest of New Mexico. Born and raised there. It’s beautiful and you’d love to visit but The Artist D might get bored after a few days.
You’ve mentioned that you really are a happy person which I am finding out tonight. To be honest I didn’t expect you to be quite so upbeat! Not quite this happy! You’re very daddy-like in your photos so I was expecting a more serious persona. Oh no! I’m not serious at all. We could totally like have a Kiki and be girlfriends. What do the people of Las Cruces think We’ll have slumber parties and watch of Scooter Laforge now? Grease. We’ll put makeup on you! PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS PETER
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Cartoons are like my sleeping pill. They make me feel safe. They make me feel… You can paint anything on me. That’s how I roll! I’m not a serious daddy person. I kick it with the girls. I know how to have fun!
Have you always created in this fashion? Some people start off painting boring shit. Did you get a boring start or has your art always been out there? Since I was six I was always a crazy painter. Always the same type of stuff. I knew who I wanted to be from the start. I moved to San Francisco to live my life as an artist after growing up in Las Cruces. I got in a lot of trouble in San Francisco. I got involved in some major hardcore drug scenes. It was really my coming of age. I draw a lot of inspiration from those times. They were really dark.
Because of not doing too many interviews people really are left up to their own interpretation. Do you do the same with your artwork? I don’t do a lot of interviews. I like to keep people guessing. Especially with the paintings. I don’t really talk about the paintings. I let the viewers get their own ideas. It’s best. Sometimes people tell me stories about my paintings and their stories are way better than why I painted it. So I’m just How did you end up in New York City? going to shut my mouth and let them think I always wanted to move to New York. that’s what it’s about. My mom got me The Andy Warhol Diaries 58 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUENINE SEVEN
when I was ten years old. I read the whole thing cover to cover and I wanted to move to New York so bad! I lived in San Francisco for about seven years and one day I woke up saying “I’m moving!” I was living in a really bad part of town and I thought I really don’t want to wake up twenty years to find myself in the same place. I didn’t want to be in that area forever. I had to take a chance. I moved about a month after the 9/11 attack. Twelve years later here I am, sitting in my apartment in New York. The label of “Pop Art” is somewhat going into the mainstream now with Gaga’s “Art Pop.” To me Pop Art felt a bit more sacred before. How do you feel about more people kind of catching on to the whole movement or culture? I’m a painter and when I think of pop art I think of Andy Warhol screen printing. I hand paint everything. I think my work is hands on. I do call it pop art because I use culture phenomena but layered on top of Dutch classicisms, Rembrandt, abstract expressionists. It’s all layers. Cartoons! I’m inspired by cartoons. Pop is one layer of the stuff I do. And I just met Lady Gaga and I love Lady Gaga and I love her album. I’m a big fan. I’m not a hater. Are you? No, actually I’m not! I do like her. I’m not a hater. I get what she’s doing. I understand people’s frustration towards her. Really on most levels I know what’s going on there. It is pretty fabulous if you can stand back and observe it without this scrutiny… I mean we have to remember the girl is 24 years old! I was at an art auction and she’s sitting behind me. I’m thinking she’s just a girl! She’s a kid! I love her. I need to go on record and say that I love her. I love Madonna too! I know everyone says Lady Gaga copies Madonna but Madonna copies everyone. I don’t get why people say that about Lady Gaga. Madonna copied so much. What is your fascination with cartoons? Cartoons are like my sleeping pill. They make me feel safe. They make me feel… I watch them every night before I go to bed. They put me to sleep. I love the colors and drawings of vintage cartoons. It’s one thing that stuck with me since I was a kid. I collected old comics and cartoons. I screen cap and do use a lot of them in my paintings. I love the way they look. Visually cartoons sooth me. What’s your favorite cartoon? I’d have to say Popeye! The old version of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Space Ghost is one of my all time favorites. Stuff like Speed Racer. Late 70’s, early 80’ stuff like She-ra and He-man!
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I love He-man. Well, actually I love Skeletor … I love Skeletor! Those guys were hot! I used to get really hot and bothered by Heman and all those guys. She-ra and Heman were really beautiful. I really still think so. They were well done. Some of your work includes a lot of homoerotism and gay porn. Which is intriguing to some and some others ask why go there? I would say that in my whole library of paintings 5% of it has some of my fantasies in it. I wouldn’t call it gay porn. I’ve only done a few hardcore gay paintings. The guy sucking his own dick gets reblogged all over the place. I’ve had to recreate it like seven times and I did that almost ten years ago! So, it’s a very small portion of the whole gamut of what I do. The reason people associate it with me is because those are the images that get reblogged the most. They garner the most attention because sex sells. It’s that one guy sucking his own dick! Well, unfortunately I don’t think a lot of people know about that kind of thing. You’re right. I don’t think they do. I’ve introduced it! I made it pop art. I brought it into the popular culture. But that’s it! That’s all I’ve done as far as gay homoerotic paintings. Very few. Even more amazing is your t-shirts now at Patricia Field in New York. Exclusively! Those kind of took off by a chance. I needed to make money. I called the store, just out of the blue and I asked if they’d like to sell my shirts. You don’t do that! Especially at Patricia Field where they will read you the filth! But they were open to it. They asked me to send them pictures and they took a look. They bought the collection! It’s a perfect home for these t-shirts. The sales people love them. The clientele love them. They do really well. Miley Cyrus just bought some. Lots of people bought them and have commissioned me to do some. Blondie, Deborah Harry, has a lot of pieces and I just did the official Blondie con-
cert t-shirt! It’ll be available during their tour.
I want to be in Sesame Street. I want to be with Oscar the Grouch and sing a song or paint something! Remember that man who used to paint numbers? I want to do that. Just be an artist on Sesame Street. That’s one of my dreams. I want to be on Pee Wee’s Playhouse. I want to create monsters for him. I want to have a show at the new museum here in New York. I want to have a lot of stuff. I want … I want to rule the world.
What do you think the world needs most, right now? Tolerance of everything that scares them or is seemingly different. People need to be tolerant and accepting of different cultures. Different lifestyles around the world! If you’re not used to gay people, get used to it and accept it. Just open yourself up and get used to the way other people live. The world needs to be more accepting to things Alright Madonna. that are different to them. Yay! I’m so glad you caught that. That’s What’s in Scooter’s crystal ball? What awesome! are your dreams for the future?
WWW.SCOOTERLAFORGE.COM MUNCH GALLERY: http://www.munchgallery.com/ PATRICIA FIELD: http://patriciafield.com/
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used to manage a store in Los Angeles that catered to Crossdressers and others interested in transforming their appearance from a masculine to feminine one. My boss, who lived back east, told me that he needed me to replace the manager of our sister store in Vegas while she went to a convention in another city. I was driving a series of wrecks, and he agreed to rent me a car for the time I was there. I traveled the igneous, surreal landscape twisting toward Sin City in air-conditioned, SUV style with music blasting on the CD player. As I drove thru the Zombie border town of Primm, I knew I was getting close. America loves Vegas; flesh, fantasy, risk, excitement, indulgence, and glamour awash in a sea of cash spewing from fertile slot machines. We’re sold nubile young girls in sparkling minis on the town, meeting hot, young, open-shirted guys in suits with perennial two-day growths of beard having freeze-frame slow-motion fun. They leave town filled with glittering, sexy memories and nary a case of Chlamydia. Las Vegas Boulevard swells with throngs of Joe and Jane Citizens, arriving by car, airplane and bus from every state and country of the world. Droning side streets are devoid of life for blocks, jammed with apocalyptic power stations to feed the jumbotrons, neon, air conditioning and promise of sex. I had been in Vegas one year earlier for a very low-budget convention, and stayed at one of the lonely casino/hotels strewn haphazardly away from the strip along minor arteries of the town. The average party animal I saw in that “hotel” was in a wheelchair equipped with oxygen mindlessly pulling levers like a Pavlovian rat amidst a cacophony of bells and sirens. I could swear the guy in back of me waiting to register that weekend was a serial killer jailed forty years earlier for murdering twenty nurses. I became a Vegas outlier. The manager of the Vegas store lived in one of the subdivisions of Tuscan style homes that were sprouting like buff-colored desert mushrooms in the spring of 2006. I stayed there with her for the first few days. She was gracious and generous to a fault, traits of a native Hawaian, which she was. She fed me like a queen and treated me to
BY DA RYA TEESE W ELL a full set of pink-and-white nails and purple toes. My not-so-secret secret agenda for this trip was the ability to live a female life 24/7 without retreating back to the armor of male privilege for the ten days I would be there. I was tall, skinny and hot, and Vegas, temperature wise in April, was not. When she left for the trip, I moved into an extended stay place on Boulder highway; Las Vegas purgatory. My neighbors were pale, flabby guys building a pipeline somewhere to the east and each seemed to drink a case of cheap beer every night. The second night there, I noticed a spurious charge on the Visa card I used to pay for my room. In Maryland, someone had paid their power bill with it. Stupid, traceable crime. I was in the other Vegas. The shop is in a slightly frayed area north and east of the Strip near the Village Square shopping center. I found a muchneeded AA meeting there. I was the only woman in the meeting, and trans at that, but the guys, all gay men, were welcoming and gracious. They were choreographers, dancers, waiters, electricians and cooks; the people who made Vegas run. Like me, they worked a lot of nights. I stepped out of a meeting there on Saturday and was instantly propositioned by a guy driving a Buick with faded paint and hangar antenna. “Hi, Babe! Lookin’ for a date?” He was missing two front teeth, the trademark of a Meth addict. I remembered at that moment that we were around the corner from the Las Vegas Lounge. The LVL is a trans bar with an atmosphere that is equal parts David Lynch film and Bukowski novel. It was ninety-nine percent about business being transacted. There literally was a traffic control lane for cars that only wished to stop briefly to pick up “friends”. The guy in the faded gold Le Sabre thought I was new in town, and hopefully building a clientele in the parking lot. I walked to my car with a smile, but I kept walking. “Kinda shy, are we? I like that!” I was making sure I didn’t speak to him. The last thing I wanted to be busted for in Vegas was soliciting. Sure enough, Le Sabre man took off, quickly just before the LVPD car pulled up. The officer rolled down his window, a hopeful sign. He had intense blue eyes, as all cops should.
“Afternoon, ma’am. Was that fellow a friend of yours?” I decided that honesty would be the easiest. “No sir. He just pulled up and started talking to me.” “On your way to the Lounge?” “No sir. I’m working across the street at a boutique. I was here for the twelve o’clock AA meeting.” He looked into my clear eyes and down at my casual jeans and nodded. “This shopping center gets rough after sundown. Be careful. Have a nice evening.” He had done his job and I went off to do mine. My presence in the shop was critical to my east coast boss due to the fact that there was also an event known as Diva Las Vegas happening concurrently. DLV was not a “convention” in the usual trans sense. No surgeons hustling for clients, seminars on voice training, formal balls and gushy workshops. It was a loosely organized ongoing party meant to be just plain fun, especially for crossdressers. For them, it really was about the clothes, makeup and lark of gadding about. They could do without most of the painful earnestness. I was a pretty good makeup artist for someone with no formal training. I truly loved seeing the inner woman come to life as I made my clients up and their reaction when I showed them their new selves at the end. I had a decent following in L.A., but there were lots of clients in Vegas who had never met me so I had to win them over which had been working extremely well. My two favorite clients on the trip were homemaker sisters from Calgary, Trina and Carrie, who wanted to be made up and dressed in showgirl outfits, which we just happened to have. They asked me dozens of questions, told me about their husbands and kids, and were over the moon when I gave them the photos of themselves beaming like two hotties in the chorus at the Riviera. We were all in love with each other by the end, and I’m betting their husbands ravished them that night. Crossdressing clients are a variable lot. A few just can’t relinquish control or stop playing Alpha Dog long enough to enjoy the experience. My last client that Saturday was like that. This guy wanted to examine and question every single stroke of the brush I did on his face. Art does not flow forth
this way. Some guys don’t have the bone structure or skin to blossom into a radiant flower, no matter how much base I trowel on. Even though I was being paid by the hour, being micromanaged by someone who goes about dressing up like woman as if they are still at the office or remodeling the back deck is a living hell. I sensed their misery and often wished I could rescue them, but since they wouldn’t come out to play, I couldn’t. I managed, at last, to get some fake eyelashes on this one and pick a lip color for her; as good as it was going to get. She settled up with me and tipped me a watery five bucks on $175 tab true to form. I began to close up when she asked where I was going. “Spotlight, I think. Just to check it out.” “Great. I’ll go there too. I’ll follow you over.” Really? I was tired and wanted to flirt with boys over a tonic water and lime. A hot, dark dry wind was blowing when I stepped outside. I began the ritual of locking the front gate and setting the alarm. It was past ninethirty. Having this cheap bitch follow me like a ball and chain was not what I had in mind that night. I would have much rather hung out with Trina and Carrie. It came to me-Vegas is Detroit, only with sequins instead of cars. I was a working stiff, and I wanted to hang with the other working stiffs in this surprisingly tough and conservative town. Miss wild-on-the-town behind me thought I was obligated to be part of her show and I wasn’t. I was like a drag queen working for Kenny Kerr; after “Cher” dips his face in Albolene, frees himself from his dancer’s panty and meets his boyfriend for drinks, he’s on his own time. I walked back to the car, revved up the air, and pulled out. The Spotlight was next to Village Square. I slowed down and watched my client pull into an open space in front, as I pulled slowly around the side and then floored it across the parking lot. I pulled out onto Karen Avenue. The girls were working the front of the Las Vegas Lounge like glittery, large chested birds. I passed them and turned left on Paradise. I lit up a cigarette, rolled down the window and let the night in. I was famished, I realized. I’d feel better after a number 46 at Pho So 1 and a few dances with the boys at Gipsy. All work and no play, you know. ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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SCOTT KID S O U L
S E A R C H I N G
BY PAUL A FR A NK PHOTOG R A PH Y BY DOUG SE Y M OUR
A N D
S O L I T A R Y
A while ago, we introduced you to the music of Scott Kid, the elusive second identity of Kelly Blatz. Musician, actor, poet, and filmmaker, Scott Kid is delving into creation with his heart and soul, unleashing himself to the world. This is music made because it has to be made, purely out of expression, the way music should be. We dug a little further into what makes Scott Kid tick and his latest album, Solitary Man. You have put out an epic four albums in two years! How have you managed to keep up the pace? To be honest, I can’t believe it’s already been two years. I feel as if we started this project just six months ago. When you say it like that, yea I guess it has been a lot of music in just two years. You know, it wasn’t something I was consciously trying to do in some sort of timetable. I do this project purely out of love and survival. Not survival in the hand to mouth sense, but emotional survival which I think is just as important. “Black Box” (the first of the four) was something I had to do. It wasn’t something that I just wanted to do. I was living up in Laurel Canyon in this house sort of shut out from everything and everyone. I just had my world sort of crumble in my fingers for the first time. For years I had been creating in various ways and working creatively, but there was always something missing, something I was reaching but could not quite touch. What was missing was the need. I was creating because I wanted to, but hadn’t reached that breaking point where it was a necessity, that point in which all of my favorite poets and authors and artists talk about. There is no way to reach this point consciously, it is something you have to come upon. I am going to quote Rilke here when he says “Try to raise the submerged sensations of that ample past; your personality will grow more firm, your solitude will widen and will become a dusky dwelling past which the noise of others goes by far away. And if out of this turning inward, out of this absorption into your own world verses com, then it will not occur to you to ask anyone whether they are good verses.” It could have been anything. It could have been poetry, or painting or writing. I just so happened to have built a studio at my house because I was in a band (that had just parted ways) so I figured that I would use music as the outlet that I needed to express by. Listen, this all sounds very pretentious and 80 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUENINE SEVEN
self-analyzing, but in its simplest form, I can say that if I didn’t have a way to release all of the shit that was raging inside me at that time, I would have crumbled inward. Out of that beginning of crumbling inward, songs came. That feeling, as any artist who has come upon it at some point, is addicting. Dammit, I am going to quote Rilke here again because I have to. “The artists experience lies so unbelievably close to the sexual, to its pain and pleasure, that the two phenomena are just really different forms of one and the same longing and bliss.” That’s what I am getting at, to finally answer your question. Once I felt that sensation (after Black Box), it became an addiction, much like sex, and I couldn’t stop writing, hence why so much music in two years. Plus I wasn’t signed to a label and no one was telling me what I could and couldn’t do so there was also that.
feel, if that makes sense. In this album, it would have to be “My Way Back.” If I strip away the music and leave just the words, it’s something my subconscious was trying to tell me. In “My Way Back”, the theme was survival, which has been a strong theme in my life these past couple of years. In “My Way Back” I say essentially that I keep getting lost time and time again, which will most likely never stop in my life time. But I keep finding my way back. I keep landing on my shoes. Because there ain’t no way in hell I am going to lose. When I say lose it’s not in a “success” or “money” or “power” sense. But there ain’t no way I am going to lose in this fight for survival. I was blessed to have the brilliant artist Emay on my track. He lent his voice to the end of the track, and his ending phrase was so beautiful and necessary. “The cycle isn’t vicious though, it’s an intrinsic flow, shaping me for principle, it’s kind of When did you first start working towards whimsical. Buried alive, and I did it with my recording music as Scott Kid? own shovel, but bound to turn around I’m I first began writing the stuff that even- digging out this cold tunnel.” tually became Scott Kid in June of 2011. I didn’t know it was going to become anything How do you relate to the title track? at all. I didn’t know that an album would When do you feel most like “a stranger take form, or if it would be something that I in a strange land”? would even let people listen to. I remember I am going to start out with a quote by just waking up every morning, drinking an Henry Miller, only because I think it is very ungodly amount of coffee, and putting my profound. I am sorry it is lengthy. hands on the keys. It was therapeutic. Then “Man, in the nineteenth century, began one day a song started forming and words to feel a loneliness which we do not know started coming and it became “The Heal- about. There has never been a loneliness ing”, which is the first song I wrote for the so great as the modern man feels. He has project and which is what the entire process been feeling it for a century now, and he has became; “The Healing”. been getting more and more lonely. More and more atomized. He’s been blown apart. Solitary Man is the newest Scott Kid of- He’s lost. He’s in a world where he has no fering. Do you have a favorite from the bearings. He’s on his own, as he never was album? before. In the past, he had tradition, he had It’s hard to be subjective about my own convention, he had God and church, he tracks, but there is always a song from each had an organized society. Today, all that is album that somehow sets itself apart from gone. Now it’s man naked before the world. the rest of the pack. I think it’s when it’s He can no longer look to anyone else for something I did not expect to express and help. That is what I think the desperate it is somehow me telling me how I really quality, and the excellent quality is about
â€œWhat I can say is that if I can contribute anything to young artists, is this great lesson that I have learned. To not let commerce put a lid on your creative voice. Commerce is wonderful if you can create freely.â€?
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this modern age. The great challenge. Man has got to recognize himself, as somebody, as a being, something more than just what we call a human being, or go down, or perish. He has no other supports as it were. Nothing is holding him up. He is alone. Each one alone in the world. This is how I interpret it. The situation. The drama. There will never be again, a savior for man. We have had enough saviors. We’ve had an end of saviors. They have done all that is possible. They have shown man the way. Now, Man must find it for himself. On his own. He cannot be saved. He must save himself.” This quote struck me in the most profound way. Since I was a child, I always felt this loneliness that I could not express. I have a beautiful loving family, I have beautiful and loving friends, but I somehow found myself under the kitchen table or in a closet somewhere. To this day, that has not changed. I could be sitting in a room full of people and feel the most incredible loneliness. For years I felt hopeless about it. It became very destructive, and I would feel like I could not exist normally in the world. There is no other poet who captures the feeling most beautifully as Rainer Maria Rilke, who I am so utterly grateful for. I am not going to quote him again, but essentially what he got at was that if you are lonely, and you have this black feeling that you can’t rid yourself of, embrace that feeling. Embrace it because it is in those moments of sadness and being solitary, that you grow most deeply. I have learned to become okay with that feeling that I cannot rid myself of. Instead of resenting it, I feel grateful for it, and I find ways that I can express it into something that I can contribute. At the moment it’s music. Sometimes it is in acting. Sometimes it is in film. I want to explore all ways of expression “Particular Magic” is a particular favorite of mine. What came first, the lyrics or the tune? What was the inspiration behind the song? Usually the lyrics and the tune come simultaneously. As I am shaping the music, the melodies come, and as I am shaping the melodies, the words come. Sometimes it may be a central theme or phrase that starts to come out that will shape the entire song lyrically or vice versa. As far as inspiration goes, the first phrase that came to me was “Now I feel so alone, we can turn the ships around. In the sea overboard, we can turn the ships around. Around, ‘til everybody’s found.” I kept seeing this giant fleet of ships tearing through stormy waters towards something bigger or greater. I saw myself alone on these ships, when leaving the dock having such strong conviction and certainty, but when out alone in the middle of this storm feeling alone and having the
voice of doubt creeping in. Maybe we should go back and find all of the other selves that you threw overboard in order to lighten the load toward this greater unknown. In the chorus the phrase “There’s no Particular Magic baby, the only thing we have to learn, is our particular tragedies have the right to keep themselves a home.” Telling myself that there is no magic that can make things in the past disappear. Your own tragedies have the right to keep themselves a home inside of you, for they are the very things that shape you. You were already experienced in the music business as the lead for Capra. What did you learn from that experience, either good or bad, that you could bring to what you do now as Scott Kid? Let me start out by saying that I have nothing but complete and utter love for the experience that I had with Capra as well as the guys in the band. This is in hindsight of course. There were very dark times during the course of us that I could not get a perspective on or lesson from, which is the constant battle with the dark things in our lives. Capra started out as pure childlike expression. Five guys getting in a room together with no motive other than creating music and enjoying ourselves. It went on like this for years. We would play out every week and being on stage and the energy of playing with each other was so beautiful whether the music was good or not. That was the feeling that I loved and what made me love music as an expression so much. Inevitably, as these things do when you create out of love, people started to take notice. People who thought they could make money off of us started taking notice, which is also inevitable and completely okay. It’s what makes the world keep moving and artists being able to create and survive. But when that started happening, the dynamic in the band started to change. More and more our pure creativity was getting shut down. It has a very deep effect on you as an artist. You start to second guess yourself. You start writing by the book with the thoughts of “will the label like this” instead of “this is what I have to say.” When that switch is turned on, there is no going back, if you continue to stay in that realm. I got to a point where I started to resent music, not anybody or anything, but music itself. I knew that something had to be done, and not everybody felt the same way. So, as hard as it was, you get to a breaking point where you have to do what is best for yourself. So I decided to leave the band. That was in June 2011, where I started the answer of the first question. Alone in a house, with many words and songs and feelings pent up inside of me that weren’t being permitted to come out. When I did
find a place to express freely, it exploded. I feel like it has come full circle now. I feel like these last two years creating music under Scott Kid has made up for the two years in which I had so much to say but couldn›t. What I can say is that if I can contribute anything to young artists, is this great lesson that I have learned. To not let commerce put a lid on your creative voice. Commerce is wonderful if you can create freely. When you first began as Scott Kid, you mentioned that it was something you wanted to just do without pressure for money or success. Has that goal remained true throughout the creation of all four albums? Is it harder to stay true to that goal as an artist once fame and success come into the picture? I believe I answered a lot of this question with the last answer. What I can say is this: Nothing has changed. Over the past two years I have been approached by labels and publishers etc. for Scott Kid. It was never something that I wanted with this project. I have been through that, and I know what it feels like. I am saying this on a personal level. I am not saying this for everybody. It would not be the same project if money was involved. Even if someone approached me and said������������������������������������ “Here is the money, go create whatever you want”, there is always expectation involved, which subconsciously changes the way you create, whether we are aware of it or not. I am lucky enough to make a living doing something else, where I have been able to keep this completely as a free expression which is why I don’t sell the music. I put it out there initially because it makes the music immortal in a sense. It makes it exist in something concrete. That is what we all must strive to do, is to contribute something to the world in which we live in. Remaining rather anonymous in creating this music offered you, as you put it, “a certain protection over the music and why I did it.” Why, at the time, did you feel you needed that protection? How have things changed for you since then? At the time I felt I had completely sold myself out. I felt I had sabotaged everything I had ever loved. No one was there to teach me about being an artist. No one was there protecting me. I hadn’t come upon all of the realizations and lessons I have learned these past few years. I knew something was not right, but I could not pin it. When you are younger and on your own quest with no guidance, you have no other choice but to grab onto anything that presents itself to you. You are in the middle of the jungle fighting off tigers and snakes, trying to get to a certain paradise you have in your head beyond the trees, but you don’t know how. So you grab onto any branch or rope or ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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hand that is presented to you because you don’t want to fall. Scott Kid was a sort of protective suit that I found on the base of the jungle floor, where no tiger or snake or spider could touch me, because this suit made me invisible. I feel I have finally reached the end of the jungle, and I was finally able to take off that suit. But what do I see lying ahead just beyond this beautiful meadow of paradise? Another jungle. This time I have the confidence and faith and patience to know how to get to the other side. As someone who’s been both in the spotlight and behind it in the shadows, what are the best and worst of each? Would you change either experience in any way? It’s great that you use the word Shadows, because in order to make shadows, we need both the light and the dark. There is no other way. As a young artist you don’t know what you want. You know you want to create and that you love to create, as a constant. At first, you think that in order to be validated as an artist, that you need to be in the spotlight, which is completely natural. You feel that your success relies upon how many people know your work and who you are. These days we can say how many “YouTube hits” or “magazine covers” etc ,etc. You feel that if not many people know about you, or you’re not “famous”, then you’re not a very good artist. I guarantee you that every single day, one or more artists stop creating because they feel as if they are wasting their time, or they feel as if they have not “made it” yet. This is the problem with how things are today. I don’t want to be a cynic and say “problems problems with society today, and the recession and blah.” Not what I am getting at. I am saying that it is a tragedy that young artists are giving up so early and feel like they have to just get a stable job and go with the system. We would be graced with millions and millions more beautiful songs and paintings and words if people had the faith to endure. To me there is not much good about being in the spotlight. I battle with it every day. The very things that I love to do and make a living doing, are forced to be in the spotlight. Now some people crave it, and I am sure will condemn me for saying these things. But I love what I do. At the moment, I will not sacrifice what I do in order to stay in the shadows. I do not like the spotlight. I never have. That is my nature. But you see, my nature is also to express. With expression there comes a responsibility. It would be entirely self-indulgent to write poems and keep them in your drawer. I feel like it is our duty to share the things we express. To complete your question, I could be entirely happy working on a farm as an unknown 84 www.fourculture.com || ISSUE ISSUENINE SEVEN
being; just so long as I can read my poetry to my family at the dinner table at the end of the day. In this day and age when music is so closely tied to image, do you think the world places too much of the focus on the image part? How do you go about showing the image without losing the music? What is image? What does it mean? What significance does it have? People tell me time and time again, so called professional people, that image is everything. That is the trouble with how it is right now. People think more about how they are going to present themselves and their image, most of the time this is before they have even written a note of music. This is not everyone. I am just saying as to what I observe on an average, which I don’t observe too much at all. Again, I don’t want to sound like that guy, because I am not. But as a whole, we really need to start putting the emphasis back on the quality of the art and what is being said. I fear that the young generation is only being exposed to what is currently going on right now, and unless we keep the artists and poets from the past relevant, we are going to start to see a slow change in the quality of the work, which I think is the quiet elephant in the room that everybody sees the silhouette of but nobody wants to address. I think that there are people creating brilliant and influential work today, don’t get me wrong. But if we look at the whole, at planet earth from space, we will see on overall average of what our generation values today. I don’t believe I have an image. There are things that I see and colors and impressions that I see and hear within and around the music and what I want to express. I try to convey that feeling in the little artwork and pictures that I have (which is a very new thing). But it’s always and only trying to convey the feeling of the music, not an image. I have only done one photo shoot, and it may be the only one I ever do. The only reason I did it is because I felt it was kismet. A brilliant photographer by the name of Doug Seymour contacted me because the music spoke to him in a pure way. It wasn’t about him wanting to work with me. It was because the music spoke to him. We developed a friendship because of that, and over six months later, it just felt right that we do a shoot together to be able to have for certain features (like this one) that present themselves. He is the only one I have ever trusted in that he gets why I am doing this and he gets the feeling of what the project is about, which I feel like he captured beautifully. You see the pictures here. Doug is a true artist and if you haven’t checked out his work, you need to. I have no doubt he will be one of our generations
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“Like a child set free in a room of canvas and stages and paints and crayons and costumes, so I try to live now.” most treasured music photographers. This is because music bleeds from this guy. His love and appreciation for the art, as well as the art of photography is so pure. You can see it in his work. That is the kind of work I am interested in. Dali said “an artist is really no good unless he is possessed, or obsessed.” Doug is both. You play with light and dark, not only in your music, but also on your album covers, images you seem to like, etc. What do you find intriguing about playing with simple shades of black and white? If you had to put yourself on a personal spectrum between black on one end and white on the other, where would you land? Haha! Wow, I didn’t realize how great these questions were going to segue. Dammit, I guess I am that guy who annoys you at parties with his stupid quotes, but to quote on of my favorite filmmakers Jim Jarmusch, “Black and white tells the truth.” I guess in a way I see the world in black and white. As far as personal spectrum, I would say as extreme on the white as possible, and extreme on the black as possible. You have featured Agina Alvarez (The Voice) on your albums. How did you get involved with Agina? It was also a kismet situation. After writing certain songs on Black Box, I knew I heard a female voice on it. Not just any female voice, but a strong, powerful female voice. I had no idea where to turn. But on a whim I asked my uncle, who works with singers, if he knew anyone who would be right. He said right away “Agina.” I didn’t know her before that, but I called her up and sent her the tracks and asked if she would be interested and she said absolutely. She came over to the studio and when she opened her mouth I was beside myself. I did everything
in my power not to laugh or cry just so we could get through the session. She did everything in one take. It’s one thing hearing something in your head, it’s another thing hearing that and have it blow your mind. I am still so grateful to this day that she lends her incredible talent to my tracks. Cue is another regularly featured artist. When you feature another artist on your songs, do you enjoy the collaboration process? Do you feel it’s important to develop a longstanding relationship with the people you feature? How closely do they work on the music with you? Who would your dream collaboration be and why? Cue is another one of those raw talents. He has been a great friend of mine for years, and it started out as just that. We recorded White Noise at my friend James Earl’s studio, and every day there were incredible talents walking in and out of there, including the likes of Frank Ocean, who I think is brilliant. He was writing his debut album Channel Orange just downstairs while we were making White Noise upstairs...James and Cue are part of a group called Future 3, and they do some amazing and wild stuff. The third is this guy named Axl Foley, who is actually producing a ton of stuff for artists like Kendrick Lamar and Mac Miller who I think both have much to say, especially Kendrick Lamar. I absolutely enjoy the collaboration process. When collaboration works, it is so beautiful. I have been very lucky to have amazing collaboration experiences on this project; from Roger Romero, my partner in crime and producer, to Cue, and Agina, and James and Emay. They all do their stuff mostly in one take and kill it. I prefer first takes anyways. There’s always that freshness to it without over thinking. Once you find people you collaborate well with, you
don’t want to let them go. If there is a trust there, I usually always let the other artist do whatever they want. And there’s always a trust. I sometimes give them a template of what I hear, but I always say “change it all if you want and take it to wherever you want to go.” When that happens and the floodgates are open, magic happens. As far as dream collaborations go, I would say if I could bring Jack Kerouac back from the dead and have him do his bee bop jazz poetry on a track of mine, that would be bliss. Aside from music, you are also an established actor. What has your acting experience brought to your music? Are all musicians actors in some capacity? Like I said before, I think all forms of expression are the same to an extent. I have had very similar if not parallel experiences with acting as I did in music. I am talking of the whole spectrum, of collaboration, and purity, and truth, and freedom, and nonfreedom, and business and money and the jungle, etc. I don’t see acting as anything different. Like a child set free in a room of canvas and stages and paints and crayons and costumes, so I try to live now. Can we get a Scott Kid video sometime in the near future? We shall see. It depends if the right person comes along for the right reason. I have no need to make a music video at the moment. I get the release I need just recording and writing the music. I would much rather focus on making my own films, which I have just begun the process of; the next form of expression. If you were to write an autobiographical song about your life so far, what would the title be? Tiny Dancer.
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MACHINE’S-EYE VIEW OF...
FRONT MEN BY A DA M D
Before I start, I just want to say that this article only discusses people I have seen live. So before anyone says “but what about Mick Jagger/Bono/ Iggy Pop/Elton John/the name of my favourite live artist who you haven’t seen,” I’m not commenting on them because I can’t. Ok, so let’s try this.
y band, Photostat Machine, has never played live. We may or may not ever do so, but I have been thinking about what makes a great front man. Not so I can begin to dream about copying them, rather so I can think about performing from the audience perspective. This is not exactly the same as thinking about the best bands/concerts I have seen live. It's perfectly possible to be blown away by a gig without really noticing or thinking much of the front man. For the record, gigs I have seen that fall into this category include: Blur, Massive Attack, Beck, Fun Lovin' Criminals, De La Soul, Peter Gabriel, The The, 50 Cent, The Wedding Present, Blancmange, and OMD. All of these acts put on a great show and I wouldn't hesitate in going to see them again if the opportunity arises. There are also acts that seem to thrive on a lack of front man 'action.' Kraftwerk and Komputer, for example, stand stock-still. Yet the music moves you and the show works. Kraftwerk also uses a lot of visuals to support their shows. The Pet Shop Boys rely on this to a large extent, although Neil Tenant has added 'talking to the audience' to his repertoire of minimal movements and raised eyebrows. Madonna surrounded herself with a circus act. You sometimes forget who you came to see. This brings me to the people at the front that bring the gig to you. The ones who draw you in and keep you 'present.' For all the gigs I have been to, I have noticed a few main characteristics that go into making a great front man.
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1. THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Dancing. It's something many of us only do when we're drunk. That can be a problem. The image you have in your mind is usually not the one you would see in a mirror, or worse, on someone's camera. So how can someone who has to remember all the words to all their songs and possibly play an instrument at the same time also think about 'throwing shapes?' Well, we have the 'manic dancing puppet' approach, best encapsulated by Tim Booth of James. Tim Booth started off as a 'dancer' for the band. Basically, a distraction on stage usually flinging himself around on the periphery as though having a fit. He still dances like this, only now he's centre stage and singing. James' songs are particularly anthemic. They tend to rumble, build, and climax. This lends itself to someone who starts off almost still then slowly coming to life twitching then flailing arms and jerking his body like he's being machine-gunned. Tim Booth clearly gets drawn in by his own band's music and you can't help but feed off the energy. We also have the 'shimmy and shake' approach. I think Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode does this best. He is almost always on the move slithering like a snake, bending his sinewy body around the microphone stand, high-kicking and strutting like (I imagine) Mick Jagger, or particularly during “A Question Of Time,” holding the mic stand aloft and spinning at breakneck speed never falling over. Like Tim Booth, he gives the impression of someone who loves the music he is performing and simply can't stand still whilst delivering it. 2. THE WITTY BANTER: There are some people who aren't built for dancing or if they are, they tend not to bother. For these people, engaging with the audience in between songs is their skill. The two best proponents of this I have come across are both Northern Englishmen, like me. I am sure this is not a coincidence. There is Guy Garvey from Wigan's finest, Elbow. Here is a huge hulk of a man, always stooping down to sing into the mic, dishevelled in appearance, smoking and drinking, yet singing like a giant, homeless angel. In between songs, Guy shares his thoughts about the venue, the way the band is feeling (usually very happy and it shows) and how he likes the audience. He draws you in so that when another huge anthem begins all he has to say is “hands” and everyone raises their arms aloft palms up.
The other chief of the chat I have seen is Jarvis Cocker from Pulp. Here is a highly intelligent, opinionated, and genuinely funny man. All their songs are keenly observed tales of losers, lovers, and liars, all delivered with wit and charm making them people you can relate to, or root for, or even feel you know. In between songs, he asks questions, points out local idiosyncrasies (“I'm really happy to be here in Nottingham. You lot are the ones who like mushy peas and mint sauce, aren't you?”), and genuinely makes you laugh.
role. He has boundless enthusiasm, seems to love what he does, and makes you love it too. He can chat with the best of them. He can jump and twitch, get you singing along, and generally having a good time. The ultimate showman I have had the pleasure of seeing is Prince. He has an aura about him at the best of times. You're not actually convinced he'll even turn up until you see him. Never has someone so small seemed so large. The songs, of course, offer a non-stop barrage of hits. Each one reminding you just how versatile and lengthy his career has been, but he is so professional, 3. THE GENERATOR: so note-perfect, and just so...Prince. You just keep nudging your So if you can't dance and you can't tell jokes, what do you do? neighbour saying, “Look! It's Prince! He's... there!” Give off so much energy you seem to actually generate power. Chuck D of Public Enemy does this. He may be in his 50s, but that doesn't stop him from cavorting around literally bouncing off Flavor 5. IF ALL ELSE FAILS, BE WEIRD: Flav, skipping, bouncing, and waving his way through some of the Matt Bellamy from Muse seems to come across in interviews most political, hard hitting, and downright loud hip hop ever to be as marginally unhinged. A conspiracy theorist that makes you not performed. It's as though a whole school full of kindergarten kids only believe in aliens, but that he himself must be an alien. See him have possessed his body during recess, not naptime. play live and you get the same aura of 'joyful crazy.' He plays his However, Maxi Jazz from Faithless is the undisputed king of guitar like it is simultaneously his lover and a beast to be destroyed. this category. This lean not at all mean Buddhist machine turns He sings in multiple octaves, belting out impossibly high notes with up on stage in a slightly oversized suit and braces with no shirt a 'bark at the moon' delivery. The songs are made to be played at underneath. You know that by about the second or third number ear-shattering volume and he seems to spend the entire gig wresthe jacket will have come off, the braces hanging by his side as tling with his own sanity. By the end it's not entirely clear who won, he stares into the audience and arms outstretched implores you to but you know you have been entertained. jump along with him. It's impossible not to lose weight at a Faithless The marginal runner-up in this category is Julian Cope. He gig. They even make sure the gig is paced well so everyone (ex- once slashed his own stomach with a microphone lead whilst singcept Maxi himself) can get their breath back with a few quiet, slower ing the line “he spilled his guts all over the stage” (from “Reynard numbers before the jumping begins again. He also manages to The Fox”), an incident that led to his management banning him 'preach' love and messages of unity that are impossible to ignore from playing the song for a few years. He then 'mellowed' into a and not feel enriched by. In another context, it may feel corny. He leather clad rock god persona, replete with custom made microseems so genuine you can't help but smile and get goose bumps, phone stand that he could climb up and loom out over the audience especially during the massive “Insomnia.” during his 'St. Julian' phase. He has since sunk himself deep into his love of krautrock music and study of ley lines. However, my cousin saw him play a tiny gig a couple of years ago and reported 4. THE SHOWMAN: he was alive and well and still able to bang out the tunes with gusto There are some people who seem to have been born to per- and whimsy. So, what sort of front man should I be? I need the dancing form. Some of them may have grown into the role, but there are some true 'stars.' Maybe it is the fact that you never expect to be moves of Dave Gahan, the wit of Jarvis Cocker, the energy of Maxi so close to them that you can't ever be disappointed by their perfor- Jazz, the sheer star quality of Prince, and a touch of the Matt Belmance. Whatever it is, you know you are under their spell from start lamy craziness. Have I set my bar a little high? to finish. Chris Martin from Coldplay has definitely grown into this ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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MOVE YOURSELF TO DANCE
BLOCKHOUSE Dangerously divine indie disco dance ditties, served up with cinematic flair BY SY LV I E H I LL
usic lovers today are inundated with new tunes through the convenience of quick digital access where bands shoot to fame with a solitary single; to hell with the rest of the LP. But London, England’s electro-indie newcomers, Blockhouse Bay, pack their debut album Duality with hit after hit, deservedly earning a “you gotta hear this!” rating. They are at once reverent and innovative; the retro-tinged throwback of nostalgic dark pop, New Romantic, and 80’s synth takes flight throughout, as the group, looking ever forward, mixes in up-tempo keys-driven dance beats, supercharging the tracks with a futuristic feel. Some may call it “indietronica” – blending indie with electronic, pop and rock. It plays nicely with Madonna and Pet Shop Boys, and if you also like, NIN or Everything But The Girl while fitting audibly next to Sweden’s playlist of Kate Boy and Mike Snow. Still, as its own brand, Blockhouse Bay is brand new. It’s disco-noir intense, not downer. Uplifting, but never flighty. So far, Blockhouse Bay has concealed its identity, not unlike the mysterious Daft Punk in helmets. The face of the band’s lead man is Rhys Hughes, and by way of Blockhouse Bay’s twitter avatar, he’s a bulbous whiteoutline graffiti cartoon head wearing headphones. There is also the band’s logo on Facebook: a profile picture of the stenciled street-art deerhead in a hoodie. Asked whether Hughes is, in fact, a real deer? No, dear. Kiwi from New Zealand. Having lived 17 years in London though, the musician calls the UK home. In addition to geographic duality, there exists the two hues of Hughes: through song, one shade he presents is the serious, seductive and sensitive singer, while on @BlockhouseBay1, it’s another. There he’s the quirky curator of eclectic videos, defender of sharp-witted arseholes, and purveyor of music links stretching from light-pop goofy Poolside to brain-damaging Meshuggah. Fourculture caught up with Mr. Hughes in London.
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Before Blockhouse Bay, you played guitar and keyboards in London-based bands El Hula, The Thin Men, and Lotus Mason, headed by your producer, Blair Jollands, who credits you on KIWI FM (New Zealand) as being ‘the backbone’ from Day 1. With your new project being entirely your own, who did you choose to play in Blockhouse Bay? There have been some fantastic artists involved. Siggi Sigtrugysson produced the drums and plays keys. Idris Rahman played sax on “Worlds Apart.” Abby Holden sings on “Higher Ground” and “Waterworlds.” Sarah Wilson is the cello player on “Temple Garden.” Johnny Hillier and Andy Richardson play bass on a couple tracks. Blair Jollands on some BVs [backing vocals] and myself on guitar, bass, keys and vocals.
What’s it like being in charge? From the start, I knew I wanted Jollands to produce. As for leading, I have found there is more editing/shaping in a solo project than in a band. Most bands I've been involved with tend to have a couple of writers that bring nearly finished tracks to the practice room. There is something to be said in the feeling you get when creating from scratch, something’s that’s totally yours. I'm sure we all do this with different things and do it with pride. What put the click in your creativity to fuel you to branch off into a dancey route different than Jolands’s indie-rock universe? I was laid up at home for a few months and unable to play guitar so started writing on an old Juno with a TR 606, copying some really cheesy Casiotone dance beats.
My unsophisticated keyboard abilities seemed to fit the bill. It worked, so I wrote a few more songs. What are the songs about? I’m hearing lyrics about lies, fights, ceasefires, higher grounds, concealing, supernatural love, natural beauty in starlight, water, losing yourself in videos, escaping to where the freaks are in California, a movie ending and reality setting in, and a song about rocks and a psychiatric person. Who have you been hanging around?! Most of the lyrics I came up with on the spot without much thought process. When I hear a melody I record it to whatever device is handy. On playback, I find it’s been sung in a strange language with few discernable English words. I then go about filling in the gaps. My lyrics are a bit cheesy in places, and don’t relate to any particular ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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relationship. I don’t write words or poems then put them one sound but I knew I wanted to create a set of songs to music, I suppose that may be the correct way to do it. that people would want to dance to. I wasn’t looking for a sparse modern-electro sound, but rather a more classic, When do you know you are completely satisfied with full, dance/disco feel. your work? For me it’s important to have the musical idea in my Your voice reminds me of George Michael on “Waterhead before going into the studio. There are just too many worlds,” Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) on “California” options with modern software and I find I get sidetracked and Peter Murphy (ex-Bauhaus, solo) on “Worlds Apart.” very easily if I’m not already sure of a part. I wanted these Those vocalists you mention are in another league. songs to have the strongest choruses I could think of so This is my first time fronting a project vocally so it was just there were quite a few melody changes as I took them a case of seeing what came out! I have a similar range to home, had a listen, and wrote (hopefully) better parts. Michael’s and maybe once fancied myself leading a rock band. I can do a great Bowie warble impersonation and Composed before Daft Punk released Random Access usually have to force myself not to sing like that. Memories, your tracks “Waterworlds” and “Higher Ground” combine a similar synth-disco kick with curly- What would you consider your top three “80's” songs? twang 70s guitars, and futuristic auto-tune thrown in “Chinagirl / Let’s Dance” by David Bowie, “Welcome to for good measure, yes? the Jungle” by Guns and Roses and “Burning Down the The Niles Rodgers tracks did inspire me to put some House” by the Talking Heads. funky little licks on a few tracks. I’m a guitarist first and foremost. I didn’t listen to much electronic/dance music When Blockhouse Bay performs on stage, does Rhys before coming to London. Initially the album was going to Hughes move around a lot or is he stiff? be totally electronic but adding live instruments has made Everyone thinks they can dance, don’t they? There the songs much warmer. I’m not that influenced by any should be a respectable age to stop. Samba and the like
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is fine, you can keep doing that until you're 90. Dancing with the kids? I’m not so sure. It’s hard to sing and dance at the same time — try it. I can dance better than George Michael but less so than Prince. So, the two live performance options are the stripped-down, “no budget,” push play and sing along one or the “some investment” full band, laser- and strobe-light one. You appear very serious. Leonard Cohen has a quote about how serious people are often mistaken for being depressed. I don’t trust people that have big shit-eating grins all the time. What made you realize music is your path? Do you do this full-time? I do have a day job, my royalty checks don’t feed the cat. I have tried to write a song that would sound great in a car commercial...to help the cat. Music’s just always been a big part of my life and being involved in a creative process is important for my sanity. Why do you make music? It’s one part of my life that makes me, me. Do you think your songs are sexy? Yes, do you? [Is it getting hot in here?] Listen, readers want to know what you do with your Friday night! I stay at home and cut out coupons. What was your hair like before it was bald, which is a great look, by the way! Saying to someone that is bald that being bald is a “good look” is fucking ridiculous. There is no other look available. Do you dance? How? Throwing some shapes? Haven’t we covered the dance thing? Are you aware that your lyrics, which you’ve matched with the sounds that lift or sway, evoke corresponding actual physical reactions? Is that what music SHOULD do? If the combination of my lyrics and music are causing Actual Physical Reactions I would like people to know I have a good lawyer. Killer tunes so good they’re criminal? Who do you hope listens to your music? I can tell you who won’t be listening to it, that’s easier. The local teens in my neighborhood won’t be listening to Blockhouse Bay; fashionistas on the fringes of the London underground scene won’t be either. Maybe it’s music for the over 30’s? Where do I hope it gets played? What a daft question…anywhere and everywhere.
Modestly, Hughes adds: “This isn’t cutting-edge music. I haven’t re-invented the wheel or broken any musical boundaries.” Debatable. NBC chose “Borderline” for their hit-series Royal Pains to frame an unforgettable dance-club scene featuring an enigmatic rockstar (“Dancing With the Devil,” Season 4, Episode 11). And, two additional pre-released tracks racked up high praise on Soundcloud, likely owing to the majestic sonic backdrops in both. Take “One of Us,” for example, which features a dramatic Sergio Leone start. Laser synths, infectious beats and layered orchestral harmonies frame a big sound as lyrics corral crowds with the anthem-like “Come cn, come on, come on, is everybody all alone, running straight to the phone?” Next to that feverish number was the pre-released and popular “Supernatural,” a mysterious echo-textured dance track, not unlike “darkwave,” pioneered by Netherlands’ Xymox. Duality delivers some stadium-sized sounds, like with “Higher Ground”. It’s a monumental dance track with vocalist Abby Holden soaring on duet with Hughes who starts off: “I didn’t think you’d come tonight, I wanna take you to the morning light.” Holden also features on the highenergy “Waterworlds.” “Temple Garden” is a quieter number as strings swell up around an epic story about mysterious historic settlements, swirling into a haunting childlike choir chorus, closing with an emotional and sentimental outro “a long, long road, we’re never coming back again.” “Clover” has you back swaying new-wave style, as you might to VISAGE’s “Fade To Grey”. It’s then the jazzy “Accidental” where Hughes sings saucily to an audience who to dance their ennui over the edge: “It really makes no sense at all, another night watching videos.” A delicate sentimental number is “Worlds Apart”, awash in heavenly, hypnotic vocals and a sly sax framing this aural film noir of a lost traveller: “We remember you, you took the train down to hear the sound of the sea and tried not to fall apart.” Arresting breath-taking beauty of an arrangement in that gem. Entrancing percussive beats and thick synths take us toward the end with “Enough is Enough”. It goes from deep vox, in verse, breathy vocals and hush-breath samples, up to textured higher pitches for the dizzying chorus: “And when we’re outside, your beauty’s natural to you, and in the starlight, it takes you away.” The rocking rhythmic “California” with its trip-hop is devilish: “I’ll take you there tonight, West-Coast alibi,” will have you shouting ‘Take me!” Grounded in melodic hooks and soaring with unforgettable vocal harmonies, Blockhouse Bay soundtracks our lives along a possible theme of ‘recovery’ from the ups and downs of love, loneliness, boredom and history. Duality mines that underground, airs out the emotion, elevating both to higher ground, moving us to push on, to move — to get into our groove.
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INDYWOOD FILMS NIGHTMARES FULFILLING DREAMS BY PAUL A FR A NK
In the UK, one man is showing the world how to live your dream. AD Lane wanted to make a movie, but not just any movie. With no CGI effects and classic horror films for inspiration, AD Lane set out to make Invasion of the Not Quite Dead, a zombie flick to put the rest to shame. While the path has not been easy, AD Lane never gave up, creating Indywood films and literally losing sleep in twitter campaigns in order to raise funds to see the movie made. Now, seven years since the idea for the movie was born, AD Lane is seeing his dream come to fruition as filming has begun. Not only that, but Indywood has inspired and helped many others along the way to go after their dreams as well. Success? We think so!
First off, can you tell us a bit about your film Invasion of the Not Quite Dead? What’s so great about zombies? Invasion of the Not Quite Dead is a horror film that has been inspired by 50’s scifi b-movies and 70’s & 80’s classic horror movies, so for me being such a movie geek, this movie represents all that I love from my favourite genres. I wouldn’t say I was a big zombie fan, and I say that because I can only count a handful of actual zombie movies that I enjoy. The modern day postapocalyptic running zombie movie with poor CGI blood splatter is everything I hate from the genre, so my movie is going back to ye old traditional ROMERO zombie action; slow shuffling zombies, practical FX and gore. Our motto is that if we can’t do it on camera, we won’t be doing it in post, so anyone who loves traditional horror movies will get a real kick out of our film. A lot of people ask, “Why is yours different?”— well, that’s simple; our emphasis isn’t on zombies, it’s on something that occurs before. We call that the NOT QUITE DEAD. It’s our chance at bringing something new to the genre. What’s so great about zombies? Well, for me it’s the scariest genre, seeing people you love turn into cannibalistic monsters. If you get bit or scratched you will turn, so there is that fear for each character that if you let your guard down just for one second, you could be made into the undead. Zombies keep getting popular every few years due to a mainstream Hollywood movie, but what excites me is when a film comes along and takes the genre in a new direction, and that’s what we plan to do. You are a true “live your dreams” story. What prompted you to get started on chasing the dream to make your film in the first place? What would you want to tell others who have dreams they want to make reality? Wow, there is a long story to that, but rather than write an autobiography, I’ll try and nutshell it. In 2003/2004 I was severely ill for 11 months, in and out of hospital daily with excruciating pain, and because of being ill, I was on very high medication. It was 11 months of absolute hell and I vowed to myself if I survived it, I would stop at noth-
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ing to make my dreams a reality. My dream all my life has been to make feature length movies to be seen on the big screen. In 2004 I enlisted at the International Film School Of Wales and was mentored by the legendary Ken Russell. In my final year of university I began to put my dream into action. Over the summer of 2006, Invasion of the Not Quite Dead was born as was my dream and so was my new life obsession. My advice for anyone who is about to take the plunge into following their dreams would be to be prepared for one hell of a battle. It could take a while, you could lose friends and family, you could lose part of your sanity, but it’s about having hope and a strong belief in yourself. It’s about living each day to move yourself closer to the finish line. It’s about not giving up no matter how bad it gets or however many people tell you it’s not worth it. Chasing your dreams is one thing, but sticking it out till the end is the real battle, so my advice to anyone going for it is to just NOT give up. If you believe in yourself, others will and that’s half the battle. You’ve chosen to use the crowd-funding route to get your movie made. However, you’ve not chosen the typical funding platforms and have rather done it completely on your own via social media, Twitter specifically. What made you decide to go it completely on your own in this way? What has the greatest reward been for you in funding the film this way? Well, when I began in 2006/2007, I was well and truly ahead of the game, as in, I was too early for the crowd-funding party. I tried everything from 2006-2009 in regards to fundraising for my movie. During those years I attempted to crowd fund through my own site and promoted it through Myspace. With only a couple of hundred pounds raised, it really didn’t look good. In 2008, I was attacked, resulting in a broken bone to my back. For several months I was house bound. My confidence was shattered and my back wasn’t in good shape. My movie project looked to be in deep trouble. I found the courage in 2009 to have one last go. I set up a new website and a Twitter account. I reached out to fans with my story, and to my surprise they embraced it. Now this was still before the time of Kickstarter, Indiegogo & Sponsume, now the top fundraising plat-
forms. I was using my own site to crowd fund and Twitter to interact with the fans, and to do weekend no-sleep fundraisers, it really was incredible how my story of failure excited fans to help me become a success. Over the years I used the motto that sometimes you have to fail a LOT to succeed a little, and I’m just proud to stay focused and to not have given up. The greatest reward has been meeting the people in person who have backed my dreams. The first thing I do is jump on them with a big old bear hug. It’s the only legal way I can say thanks for being incredible! The longest you’ve gone without sleep for one of your Twitter funding campaigns has been 107 hours. Any strange sleep-deprived visions that will someday result in more movies made? How much coffee do you go through in a campaign? First off, no coffee or tea. I’m one of those freaks of nature that hates hot drinks unless it contains chocolate. My drink of choice is Pepsi or cherry Coke; that along with Pro-Plus would be my way of surviving the silly amounts of time I’d go without sleep. From 2010-2012, I did 20 no-sleep film fundraising campaigns ranging from 50
to 107 hours. Unfortunately, doing so really did damage my health throughout 2012, so I’ve had to call it a day on doing no sleep fundraisers. But I can say this: during my 107 hours, I did hallucinate blue horses at around the 66 hour mark. It completely freaked me out. I don’t think it was anything to do with me being at hour 66. I think it had more to do with the fact that I’d done a no-sleep fundraiser every month for a year and that’s what triggered off the hallucinations on my last big one. I can’t stress enough how silly I was to do so many, but when you get obsessed with making a film and you need a certain budget to do things a certain way, you will indeed do silly things, just like Robert Rodriguez doing human clinic trials to raise money for his first feature. It’s what we do for our art.
As of this summer we hit 7 years, but it’s not just me this affects. It also affects my family, my incredible wife Katie who has just supported the hell out of me -- and she really does keep pushing me forward. And as of seven months ago, I’m now a new first time daddy to a beautiful little Daisy, who I look at in awe every single day and the only thing that goes through my mind is that I can’t let this kid down. She is my everything and she needs to be proud of her daddy when she grows up. She needs to not have a father who quit when the going got too tough, so I’m in it for the long haul. I’m in it to the end; the bitter, bitter end. Has the wait been worth it? HELL YEAH, I wouldn’t change anything. The battle is what makes the man and I know that when I get to premiere night, I’ll be the proudest man on this planet. Mark my words, It has taken you several years to get to this I’ll be smiling for a long time. point. Were there ever times you felt like giving up? Has the wait been worth it? Contributors get several perks and get The truth is YES, hell YES. I’m not invin- to be named “producers” of the movie. cible, not even close. The sad truth is, the What has the response been so far from closer I get to completion the harder I find your contributors? it. I think that comes down to the fact that Over the years the response has been with each passing year, it’s another year incredible. When I originally began throwadded to the already huge amount of years ing out perks in exchange for donations, I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into it. it was me thinking, what would I (being a
huge film fan) like to have on offer if I were able to donate money to help make a movie happen? I just kept coming up with new and quirky ideas to excite film fans, like for example seeing their names in the credits, being a zombie for the day, doing a special audio commentary for the DVD, getting the chance to have an official prop from the set-it’s things like this, that excite the fans, and god bless all of them. They’ve stuck by me and this project for years. I keep everyone up to date via Twitter so people know that I’ve not for a second stopped work on the film, and they know we are now finally shooting, so it’s all about keeping everyone updated, even if the process is LONG. And with this film, the process has been mega-long. You’ve also given indie musicians a chance to be part of the soundtrack. How have you gone about setting the soundtrack to the film? I love this question. Much like the journey I’ve gone on with raising the budget and also meeting cast and crew, the same has happened with the soundtrack. I’ve been very fortunate to have become close friends with the band WHEATUS, who have done original music for our film. It’s through them ISSUE NINE
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we’ve met other incredibly talented indie musicians who we’ve asked if they’d like their music in our film. So far we’ve attached MC FRONTALOT, MATH THE BAND, ARMY OF FRESHMAN & GABRIELLE STERBENZ, along with the hugely talented David C. Hewitt who is attached to create an original movie score for INVASION and already he’s put a few ideas down. Even at this early stage I can say WOW, this score is going to be amazing.
looking log cabin was made from scratch over a period of 3 months, with my own bare hands. That, to me, is proper independent filmmaking. But as with a lot of areas, I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without the help of some absolutely incredible people, friends, family. I’ve had strangers offer to help me when things get too tough for me, and it’s just very inspiring to know that people really do want to see me succeed and will offer their free time to be a part of this project. It always blows me away, the Filming is set to finally continue this support I get from day to day. year, with post-production and release happening in 2014. What does it feel like You are working with Michele Mulkey to see that light at the end of the tunnel (Chronicles of Riddick, Seed of Chucky, getting brighter as you approach the fi- The Last Samurai and many more crednal stages? its) on the special make-up effects for With my current situation, being a full- Invasion of the Not Quite Dead. How did time dad three days a week having to work Michele become part of the project and evenings and weekends to cover the bills, how much support have you seen from it means I’m having to make INVASION the rest of the film-making community? around any free time I have. This has meant Michele is an absolute living legend. spending several months creating sets, do- She flew over for a two-day shoot just reing test shoots, castings, working with dif- cently. That’s 24 hours of traveling to be on ferent departments on things like special FX set here in England from the States, to do prosthetics and sound. All in all I’m a very a half-day make up on one of our INTRO hands-on filmmaker, so I’m about 80% of characters. She was incredible to work with the crew. I love every aspect of the filmmak- and an inspiration to me and the crew. We ing process. Sure, it means things take a lot really did feel like we’d arrived to have such longer, but I just love working each depart- a professional presence is nothing short of ment. For my first film I want to watch it on a miracle when you’re making a low budget the big screen and be truly proud of what horror film. Having someone like Michele we’ve created, and to know that the scary work her magic and who actually genuinely
believes in you and your vision, well, it’s just mind blowing. I will always be in her debt. We’ll be seeing Michele again early 2014 when she flies back over to do all our make up FX scenes, amd I can’t wait. In the mean time, the next few months will be taken up with shooting all our non make up FX scenes. We have received a LOT of support & love from other fellow independent artists, and we’ve even picked up a few celebrity supporters over the years, some of which have showed an interest in being in the movie. It’s a ‘watch this space’ on who we actually end up forcing to the INVASION set. What other fabulous people have you gotten an opportunity to work with through this project? I’d say that I’m genuinely excited to be working with everyone who I’m working with. I’m keeping my crew small, so it’s more of a close knit family shooting experience. These include Steve Davis, Gary Spate, Danny Allen, Stuart Lawson, my main actor, Frank Jakeman, who has been an absolute dream — he’s supported me and the project for four years now and has waited very patiently to play Sam Peterson. That’s a lot of phone calls from me to Frank saying, “FRANK, it’s not this year!” He’s an incredible bloke, him and his lovely lady Sharon. I’m also very excited to be working with our cast, including Zach Galligan of Gremlins fame, James Fisher, Holly Matthews, ISSUE NINE
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I’ve learned that I’m not invincible, that I can get very obsessive about certain areas, and that I shouldn’t take life too seriously, Unfortunately these elements can really make life tough and after a while you can feel as though your sanity is escaping you. Luckily for me, I have an incredible family that keep bringing me back when I feel as though I’m slightly losing the plot. From others, I’ve seen everything from how absolutely amazing people can be to the other end of the spectrum, where they can be absolutely horrible, nasty pieces of work. Working on a project like this can either bring out the best or worst in people, but I just distance myself from people who are out to harm the project, as a few have over the years.
Andrew Ellis, Warren Speed, Ashley Anderson, Lydia Kay, Ajay Nayyar; also, Eammon Holmes might be making a cameo. Many musical artists and even film-makers have been given a hard time over choosing crowd-funding in order to see their movies made their way. Have you received any negativity from the industry over your decision to see your movie made this way? Back in the early days I did, and that was more from the regular users of Twitter who just didn’t like me tweeting so much. I have heard on the grapevine, or the rumour mill, whatever the cool kids are calling it, that certain people from within the film industry are not fans of mine or fans of the way I’m using my own site and doing everything independent. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there that like to see people fail. Every now & again I’ll encounter such an internet troll, but luckily Twitter comes with a block button. It’s when you start to get death threat emails — that’s when it needs to be taken a little bit more seriously. But over all, I think that a lot of people are inspired by my project and by me not giving up, and that’s what I think about at night, not the negative people who want to see me fail. The only way I can fail is if I die and I have no plans 102 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE NINE
What would be your greatest hopes for Invasion of the Not Quite Dead as you see it wrap up? My biggest hope is for people to not say the words, “Wow, that dude spent eight years making that great turd of a movie!” I genuinely hope that people do enjoy what I’ve made and see something they like in the film. Obviously I’m not out there making a film to make sure I’m able to tick most fans like boxes. It’s not about that. It’s about being true to my vision and making the film on leaving this earth just yet. To me, com- that I want people to see. I know that won’t pleting the movie is 100% success; every- be to everyone’s liking, but even if people thing after that is a bonus. don’t like my movie, I hope they can be inspired by me and my no-quit attitude. Another important choice you have made for the film is to have absolutely What will the future then hold for AD no CGI effects. As your website says, Lane and Indywood films? “If it can’t be done for real, it won’t be As I make INVASION I’m also working done.” In this age of computer and CGI on a feature documentary on WHEATUS. effects, what made you decide to go oldIt’s called WHEATUS, YOU MIGHT DIE school and keep it real? and I’ve been the band for the last I’m not a fan of movies that choose to three years. It’sfollowing a documentary tells the do everything in post production. I can al- story of the band, and trust methat when I say ways tell instantly when there is a CGI ex- it’s an inspirational story. I’m also co-proplosion or cgi blood splatter; ok, sure, for an ducing with my best mate Steve Davis on independent filmmaker it opens up doors to his film Christmas Slay, shooting next year. make your movie bigger, but unfortunately when something isn’t done right I’d rather There are a few other features and also an it was done smaller. To me there is nothing online TV series we have in the works, so worse than watching cartoon blood spray it’s full steam ahead at INDYWOOD FILMS. about the place. It’s a pet hate and nearly There won’t be any stopping us once we every horror film is doing it, so when I read finish up on INVASION next year. about a movie doing it the old fashioned way, I get very excited. I know that people of Were there a monster takeover of the the same taste will be getting excited about world and a fight amongst them for domination, who do you think would INVASION for that same reason. ultimately win and why? I think if the movie THE MIST were to What have been some of the things you have learned about yourself through this happen, the creatures in that would win for project? About others? sure. We may as well say goodbye now!
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‘Bond, Something Bond’ BY FR A NK COTO LO
Though Ian Fleming’s character, James Bond, has defied time and age in the lucrative movie franchise, when fans of Fleming’s books left the secret agent in “The Man With The Golden Gun,” the final Fleming Bond novel, he was severely feeling the unfitness of his age. Were the character to follow a timeline equivalent to those of us who are not fictional, he would either be dead or around ninety-three-years-old. Let’s say he lives today, probably in a quaint English countryside villa or somewhere in the Bahamas where Fleming contrived all of the novels. Considering the storied bodily abuse to which Bond was a victim or purposely administered for immediate pleasures, it would be safe to say the retired 007 could have more than a touch of senility in 2013. So, all things being equal, here is a fictional interview with Ian Fleming’s legendary nonagenarian spy. 104 www.fourculture.com | ISSUE NINE
ME: It is a pleasure to be with you in your subtle home, Sir Bond. BOND: Was that sound you or me? ME: Sound? I was talking, sir. BOND: Yes, I was knighted. That was kept extremely quiet at the time, however, considering my clandestine status. I was a secret agent, after all, not a public one. ME: I recall reading, however, that if you were knighted, you would be honored publicly after retirement. That never transpired. BOND: Correct, as I recall. I declined sharing the public ceremony with Elmore John. ME: You mean El-ton John. BOND: Sure. Nothing personal, mind you. What he does in the privacy of his own home or in those corpulent outfits is not my business. So, I had them send my MBE Grand Cross star to my London flat but I misplaced it the night Honey Wilde and I reunited ME: You mean Honeychild Ryder from the Dr. No adventure? BOND: I do?
ME: Honey Wilde is the British Burlesque satirist. Honeychild Ryder was the girl you picked up in Crab Key. BOND: I never picked up crabs from Honey. ME: No, you said Honey Wilde, who is an adult performer. BOND: From where? ME: Great Britain. BOND: I wonder if I did her, too. ME: You saved the world from more than one catastrophe over the years and did so on a government salary. Did you ever feel you should have retired a wealthy man? BOND: I did it for God and country, you know. ME: A lesser man may have not taken such chances as you took with scurrilous villains. BOND: Let me tell you those villains were not so dangerous as the pulp novels portrayed them. ME: Can you explain that? BOND: They call them pulp novels because they… ME: No, I mean explain what you said about the villains. BOND: Let me tell you those villains were not so dangerous as the pulp novels portrayed them. ME: That is what I want you to explain, please, about the villains. Can you give us examples? BOND: Dr. No, as I recall, was a doctor of proctology. He knew more about rectums than anyone in the Caribbean. I think his craving for international mischief had a significant relationship to his attraction to the human anus. ME: So it was Freudian-motivated treachery? BOND: Whatever does that mean? All I know is he made up his name, you see? He called himself Julius. It was his father’s name. That bloke made a living mess of the kid, abused him, I think, or at least abused his anus; you see what I am getting at here? Was that sound you or me? ME: I didn’t hear anything. BOND: My decaying stomach could have generated that ugly sound. There is a residue, a stench that follows, do you notice? ME: Tell me about Auric Goldfinger. BOND: What the hell was that song they wrote for him in that awful movie? ME: Goldfinger? BOND: That’s whom you asked about, isn’t it? ME: Yes but that was the title of the song, the title of the novel and the name of the movie. BOND: It was fiction, all of it. That obese man had some serious emotional problems. Actually he was colorblind. He might as well have been called Bluefinger or Whitefinger …
ME: That’s fascinating. BOND: …or Chartreusefinger or Turquoisefinger … [breaks into laughter, spits something up and wipes it on his pants]. You know that Oriental servant he had, that Blowjob fellow. ME: You mean Oddjob? BOND: I’ll tell you what was an odd job; it was watching that rotund sumo-wrestlersized slave go down on Goldfinger in the backseat of that Rolls Royce he drove. ME: They had relations? BOND: Yes, they both had families but I meant that one of the servant’s duties was to give Goldfinger head. That’s where he got the nickname Blowjob. ME: I see. What about Mr. Big? BOND: That reminds me, goodness, whatever happened to Fearless Leader? ME: He wasn’t connected with your Mr. Big adventure; Fearless Leader was a cartoon character with Rocky the flying squirrel. BOND: Nonsense, he worked for the CIA. He was an agent and that Mr. Big bloke maimed the poor fellow. ME: You mean Felix Leiter? BOND: That’s whom I said, young man. ME: Leiter was with you right to the end, was he not? BOND: Was he not what? ME: Felix, the CIA agent. He was with you on many adventures. BOND: So was Felix Leiter. ME: May I bring up another subject? BOND: No, this is my interview so I remain the subject, all right? ME: Yes, so tell me which of the women you truly loved. BOND: I married Teresa, you know, because I loved her but I wonder if I loved Goldfinger’s pilot more. What was her name? ME: Pussy Galore. BOND: It was everywhere. ME: Yes, but you mean the gay woman, Pussy Galore. BOND: She wasn’t gay at all. She was rather sour, in fact. ME: I meant homosexual, Sir Bond. BOND: You are? ME: No. Pussy Galore was a lesbian. BOND: Full time. Women who like women can be especially amorous with men, you know? Pussy couldn’t believe what got into her. [laughs and coughs but there is no phlegm] ME: That’s funny. BOND: What’s funny? ME: Let me ask you something else.
BOND: Excuse me. I don’t know if you heard that sound but I imagine it may produce some violent odor that will permeate your nostril shortly. I never could correctly digest poached mackerel. ME: How do you feel when I mention the name of your archenemy, the man who murdered your wife Teresa, Ernst Stavro Blofeld? BOND: Who? ME: Blofeld. You do remember Blofeld? BOND: The Blofeld I knew had one first name. Everyone called him Blowford. Wait, I mean Blowtorch. Wait, I mean Blowhard. Yes, that was it, Blowhard. What a bastard. ME: You hunted him personally, caught him in Japan and killed him with your bare hands, correct? BOND: No, I strangled him. I hunted and killed Blowhard with my bare hands. Did I mention that? What a bastard. ME: Was he anything like he was portrayed in the books or the movies? BOND: Blowhard was always changing his look. He would be thin and then muscular, then sport long grey hair, then… ME: Not in the movies. BOND: I don’t know if he went to the movies but he changed his appearance everywhere else he went so he could not be identified as Blowhard. Is it hot in here? ME: No. BOND: Didn’t you want an interview? ME: That is what we are doing, Sir Bond. BOND: Yes, I was knighted. ME: I have so many questions and my time with you is running out. BOND: Young man, my time with me is running out. When shall we start the interview? ME: Can I ask you about M, the chief when you were on Her Majesty’s Secret Service? BOND: Wasn’t that a title of a book? Or a movie? Or both? ME: What about M? BOND: His name was longer, you know. We called him M to keep it short. He was not much for words, though he often used them to talk. ME: Sir Bond … BOND: Yes. But that is a title, not my name. My name is…my name is…Bond, something Bond… ME: Let me thank you for your service Commander Bond. BOND: That’s not it, my first name is not Commander, it’s… ME: James. BOND: Bond. James Bond. ME: Yes sir. BOND: Was that sound you or me? ISSUE NINE
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we asked our featured artists, musicians and thinkers about their four favorite things
K H A LED DA JA N I
SCO OTER L A FO RG E
Guitars are definitely one of them. I just love the sound of strings. I like that music can take you to a different world no matter where you are, no matter how you’re feeling. I understand that I’m a little biased but that’s probably going to be my first choice. My second choice is food. I know it’s kind of general, but the reason I like food, aside from the fact that it’s tasty and it makes me happy, is that you can tell a lot about a person through food. You go to any country and look at their food and see how they sit down and eat together as a family at social occasions and I think that you can tell a lot about the person. You can tell a lot about where they come from and where they’re going. I also think that it’s extremely creative in terms of preparing it and cooking it and putting the ingredients together. It’s a lot like music in a way. I love games because it’s like problem solving. I like to keep my brain somehow moving because I’m usually so out there, so many different things in mind. I can’t really keep focused on one thing so a game helps me zero in on one problem to solve it. I love walking. I love walking because when you’re walking, with a direction or without, it’s almost like a meditation in a way. If you walk side by side with a person, you can really have a conversation. You’re both taking the same path together you’re both going in the same direction and it creates a common balance. If you’re walking alone, it gives you that time to really reflect.
The Basquiat Bio Falling asleep listening to rain Having my back scratched Watching Orange is the New Black
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A LI CE A ND THE GL ASS L A K E The poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. This poem first enchanted me in 4th grade and I still have it memorized. My subscription to National Geographic. The pictures are always inspiring and I learn something new and awesome every month. The smell of campfire. It just reminds me of everything good. The moment in my process when things just click and my vision appears.
I NDY WO O D FI LM S My iPhone: Without it, I wouldn't be able to keep up with my Twitter addiction, nor would I have been able to crowd fund for several years, most of which was on the go… My favourite movie is BACK TO THE FUTURE. I suffered from being bullied a lot at school. It was that movie that gave me the courage to not take it any more on my last day of school. My family and friends: Without amazing people in your life, you will struggle to better yourself or have a reason to better yourself and, whilst not technically things, they have to be in my list. My favourite food is Nando’s Chicken, nothing more I need to say. Anyone who has had it will know all there is to know about why!
BLOCK HOUSE BAY Bikram yoga. Not the actual doing it but the feeling it gives me after. Japanese curry. Nice little place opened up down the road, love the udon noodles. Swimming in The Med. Something very special about that sea. Silence. Switching everything off for an couple of hours.
A N I A ETLEPROG R A M M EUR JULIE: At the moment I really like the book I’m reading, Le Mystérieux Docteur Cornelius by Gustave Le Rouge. I like also having a drink really late at night on a beach with Gabriel talking about all and nothing. I like my flatmate’s white cat who recently discovered he has an obsession with water. And an object, a kind of childlike bathrobe in polar blue and yellow that I often wear for my two boy partners... VALQUIRE: Tough call. My all time favs would be maybe my Contax G 35mm cam (its just an amazing cam) and that’s the only "thing" that I fav...all others are neither mine nor things...like nature and animals. If the question was "what most important item would you keep if you had to trash all stuff surrounding you?" I would keep the cam (and maybe a tshirt). Maybe I would check my bookshelf and would add some photobooks and Garp by Irving. I sometimes would like to get rid of everything but since I’m still creating things, I need good tools. GABRIEL: My familly and friends. That beach in south of France, my favorite place on earth, the one where I spent summers that left me so many sensorial memories. A computer, the one that allows me to write and compose things and use everyday for whatever tasks. My sport bag which I take everywhere. People often ask me what it contains, so now they'll know it contains all my favorites starting from number 5.
SCOT T K I D Almond Butter. I have an unhealthy obsession with raw crunchy almond butter. If I had to subsist on one thing for the rest of my life, it would be almond butter. I have been going through a jar a week for the last 6 years. My family dog. Her name is Baby Girl. She is my main girl for life. Just pure and utter love with no words spoken. Let me add my family to that, which the dog is no doubt a part of. I have the most incredible family, and feel entirely blessed to have been born to my mother and father. Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letter to a Young Poet. If you can’t tell, I am a fan. This is the most profound book on life I have ever read. A series of ten letters that have never captured life so simply and purely. The ocean. I have grown up in the ocean. My father carried me into the ocean when I was just a baby. My grandfathers ashes were scattered in the ocean, as will mine. I have the blessing of living by the ocean and make an effort to get in it once a day.
A R M A ND DELUX E Wet Concrete. MMMMMMMM! That needs no description! London evenings in October. Something about being at Canary Wharf or near the docks when the fog is falling, the muted lights warming up the darkness and hearing the fog horns blow, it’s just beautiful. My Sennheiser Headphones. The pair I have are old, but the bass is just still so delicious. My mum! My rock, my inspiration, my travelling partner and the only one that has truly believed in me from day zero!
A NDR E W ASHLE Y My wife - Never leave home without her! She is my heart, my muse, my love and my life. My images - The record of my comings and goings, and all the wondrous things I’ve found along my journey. My camera - Any one will do to help frame my thoughts and put the journey into focus. Travel - Anywhere, any time, any distance, I am ready to go.
ISSUE ISSUE SEVEN NINE
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SOUNDS | VISIONS | WORDS | VOICES
Blamo Toys The Neighbourhood Dessa The Hawk in Paris and more...