ISSUE ONE | JULY/AUGUST 2012
CALLING ALL ARTISTS
CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS JO HAMILTON HANS HAVERON OLGA NUNES RAFF SHERIDAN BASSES JULY/AUGUST
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what is CALLING ALL ARTISTS
Art, music, literature, and compelling societal views that live outside of the box: these are the four pillars of culture that create the world we live in. Fourculture seeks to bring to the light artists of all mediums. Your contributions to the magazine and the universe are the fuel that brings the movement to life as we reach out around the globe. Calling all artists as we join in support of those who are creating the culture of tomorrow.
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let’s chat Send correspondence to email@example.com
The Artist D
Carlos Nuñez Rene Trejo, Jr.
Christine Blythe Serena Butler Kathy Creighton Paula Frank Annie Shove
CALLING ALL ARTISTS
Ann Marie Papanagnostou
© 2012 Fourculture Magazine | Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Rene Trejo, Jr. ART
Ann Marie Papanagnostou Kara Estes
what’s inside RAFF, Soul Electric.................................................................. 6 Hans Haveron........................................................................ 12 A New Model for Rock: Calling All Astronauts..................... 20 Sheridan Basses: The Art Behind the Music........................ 26 Bright Light Bright Light.......................................................... 34 Lola Jayne: shit fuck piss, T on C......................................... 40
The Artist D, The Internet’s First Superstar.......................... 42 Frank Cotolo: The Happiness Ontogeny.............................. 48 Jo Hamilton, Music from Thin Air.......................................... 50 Olga Nunes........................................................................... 54 Becky Cannons: Step Up & Get Out.................................... 60 my four....................................................................................62
COVER: PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRISTA HOLKA ART DIRECTION BY ALUN DAVIES
THE ARTIST D The Artist D has been performing online since the mid 1990’s; a relic from the cam show age before social networking was a network, advocate for the rights of the underground, author, painter, columnist, raconteur, provocateur and host of The Fabulous D Show, a radio show broadcast weekly for anybody with a brain in their head. Catering to the freaks, geeks and black sheep of society, he makes the extraterrestrials of culture feel right at home on planet Earth.
SERENA BUTLER Serena “Rena” Butler marches to the beat of a Linn LM-1 Drum Computer. Currently, she remains in a virtual time warp looking to hit that day where replicating a DeLorean time machine becomes reality. Sadly, it has yet to occur; she remains in the current year here to bring you the latest noise making waves in the four pillars of culture. When not working on the magic behind these pages you can find her rummaging the local independent record shops for CDs and vinyl, trying to get past the second level in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker game for Sega Genesis, or mastering The Force just from watching the Star Wars trilogy.
BECKIE CANNONS Beckie Cannons is the founder of Transtastic.com and a Trustee at Sparkle, the largest National Transgender Celebration in the world. Apart from that, Beckie is just a go-lucky, party-girl who enjoys going out, having a great time, and spreading the fun of being a "tranny." And she loves being a "tranny!"
FRANK COTOLO Known for his comedic acumen, Cotolo has made his living as a writer and a performer all of his life and during the lives of others. He is the author of the novel License To Skill and has co-authored its screenplay version, Molotov Memoirs, a collection of short stories, The Complete and Unabridged History of Japan, an epic novel, and a serious novella, Sweet Shepherd. Cotolo, born in Brooklyn in 1950, has worked in broadcasting, film, theater, music and television.
KATHY CREIGHTON Kathy Creighton, a.k.a. Mama Kath, is on a magical mystery tour of current fine, literary, and performance art and wants to bring you along for the ride. How? Besides watching, reading and listening, Kathy sits down with these creators and discusses everything from what insprires 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.
PAULA FRANK Writer, painter, music lover, dreamer; Paula’s everchanging Pisces spirit rolls with whatever the tides bring her. Constantly in pursuit of the beauty of art in all its forms, she pours her love for human connections into everything she does, be it writing fiction, interviewing her favorite musicians and artists, painting an emotion, or sharing time with the people she loves. This small town girl has great big dreams and strives to make them reality. She is thrilled to offer them to you, the readers and fellow dreamers. After all, what good are dreams with no one to share them?
ANN MARIE PAPANAGNOSTOU Ann Marie likes to make things pretty. This award-winning designer loves to lose herself in the creative process and is psyched to work alongside amazing individuals who fuel her artistic fire . . . and tolerate her fierce coffee addiction. She is most content with a beverage in one hand and a mouse in the other.
Artists, musicians & writers . . . we want to hear from you
CALLING ALL ARTISTS
usic, art, and writing have always been my passions. As a child I spent hours with the headphones over my ears singing along to my mother’s albums. In junior high, when I was failing a class (historyyuck), my parents punished me by taking away my stereo until my grade came up. It was a fate worse than death and I’d rather have been beaten with a thousand bone-tipped whips. In high school I plunged myself into dance team and spent endless hours making mixtapes of unusual new music I had “discovered” for my friends while reading any book I could get my hands on. College came and I double minored in English and Art. I can barely remember my own birthday but I can still sing lyrics from songs released in 1982. That was me, and I often remember feeling very strange and out of place among my peers because I would rather discuss a new piece of art I’d seen or a new band I’d heard than the recent football game our team won or the weather. Over the years, I came to embrace that difference. After all, aren’t the passions we hold in our hearts what make us “us”? With the onset of the internet, I found others like me-people who held the same things and ideas dear to themselves. There are creative communities of people everywhere, each feeding into the next as they bring their unique brands of art, whatever that art may be, to the world. Fourculture magazine is one of those communities. We are music lovers. We are art appreciaters. We are readers, writers, and speakers. Our shared passions have brought us together as we share the things that inspire and move us with you. We strive to bring the art and inspiration of our culture to the world. For our premier issue, we’ve gotten together music from the US to the UK, along with gorgeous artwork and writings from some fabulous authors. Check out the music and listen while you read the interesting viewpoints of our featured interviews and peruse our “My four” section which gives you an inside look at our feature’s favorite things. As we bring you this premier issue of fourculture magazine and take our first steps on this journey, we invite you to walk beside us. Spread the word, submit your own works and ideas, speak what is within you. In sharing our own passions, we hope to ignite yours. Calling all artists!
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BY SEREN A BUTLER
Sometimes great talent can be born in the most unique of places, even behind a fish n’ chip shop in Scotland. This story doesn’t end with a mess of malt vinegar on the floor; not even close as London-based, Scotland-born Raff has emerged on the music scene in an explosive way. Among his accomplishments are contributing to the soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto and opening up for big named acts from Lilly Allen to Marlena Shaw. Today, he’s ready to let the world know who he is. With his debut EP, Soul Electric, released in August of last year, he has only begun and continues lighting up electro loving souls across the globe one by one. With the debut title track “Soul Electric” and free cover songs along the way, Raff satisfies our appetite for one of a kind Motown-like vocals. Don’t spill your tartar sauce when you find out the electro power source of the soulful Raff.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY A R HARVEY (C) 2011 HTTP://ARHARVEY.COM STYLING: ALEXIS KNOX MAKEUP: MARCIO ABRAAO STYLING ASSISTANT: KATHRYN DUNCAN
Your break out EP, Soul Electric, brings together a unique harmony of soul and electro pop; a pairing that is only recently becoming more prominent in the world’s airwaves. What was the inspiration in creating such a unique sounding EP? It kind of happened by accident. I met the producer because my PC broke! I googled someone to come fix it. They came over, we chatted, and he recommended his producer mate. I got in touch and we hit it off. Originally, he was going to do some production on some straight soul stuff that I was writing. Then he suggested that I feature on his new Dead Love Junkies album, which then led to us becoming a duo. The EP was the fruit of that labour. Whoever I work with, I tend to bring a strong soul element to the table. It’s just in me. It’s what comes out when I sing and write. It was really exciting for me though to have these other elements in the mix to inspire my writing. I’m really happy with what we created.
You’ve done a few cover songs from the likes of Beyoncé and Rihanna. Have you ever considered releasing a cover as a single? I love cover versions. I’m a little obsessed with finding them and discovering new mash-ups too! It’s always hard though as immediately people compare it to the original, so I think it’s important to try and put your own stamp on it…your own interpretation. I’ve always included a cover in my live shows because I think that when you’re showcasing yourself to an audience where the majority of people have never heard you before it gives them a reference point – a bit of familiarity – and they can understand you as an artist a little better and because it’s fun! It’s funny that you ask because well watch this space! Is there an artist you’d like to perform with? Urgh! There are so many: Stevie Wonder ultimately, for his brilliance; Beyoncé for her powerful vocal and energy (she can saaaaang!); Robyn (I’m obsessed with her last release). I think we’d make something great together. Finally Beth Ditto (she’s just EPIC). I’d love to rock out on stage with her and in the studio too. I could go on and on and on so I’ll stop there. There are many singers that are no longer with us too that I would have loved to sing with. Maybe we’ll start a choir in heaven! I’m not too sure about this hologram of the dead thing! It negates the premise of an artist. You go and see someone live so that you can see the sweat on their brow, the emotion in their eyes, and make a connection not watch a cartoon. But then I guess watching cartoons is fun too.
Many solo artists began their careers as part of a duo or group as you did as part of Dead Love Junkies. Is it easier to release music as a solo artist vs. duo? How does the dynamic differ? It’s so completely different. I’ve been fortunate to have always worked with very talented full live bands, so I’ve learned that side of the craft by gigging lots. It’s exciting to work with a band on a live show and developing songs and ideas that way. But ultimately the final decision lies with me as a solo artist whereas in a duo, for example, you no longer have that power. You have to share your toys! Which isn’t always easy! HA! But it’s also better in some ways as you have someone else to lean on and bounce ideas around with. As a self-promoted, self-managed artist what techniques have It was fun being part of a band, but ultimately I prefer being solo. I you used to get your music out there? What would you say has like to be in the driving seat. Oh no! That makes me sound terrible. offered the best form of promotion and why? Oh well, step aside! Determination, conviction, passion and relentless self-belief are the main tools I’ve used! Hahaha! It’s exhausting and continually Your first single, “Soul Electric,” has a gorgeous music video trying, but then I step out on stage, grab the mic, and remember that really encompasses the feel of the song and makes the why it is that I put myself through this. I think that the main thing listener want to get up and dance. Who came up with the con- is to have a presence in every way. I’ve gigged non-stop for the cept for the video? Are there any future plans for videos you past 6 or 7 years. You never know who’s in the crowd listening and watching and where it can lead. It also exposes your music to new could kindly divulge? Thank you! The director, Scott Altman, was great to work with. ears as well as helping you learn your craft. Other than that, I don’t It was his baby. We kind of found each other through friends. I think that there is one single perfect tool. It’s about hard work and checked out his work and loved it. It was scary when he told me making sure that your music is the best that it can be and says what that he wanted to do something completely different from his past you want it to about you as an artist. projects. I had to put my full trust in him, which was easy when I saw how passionate he was about it. We talked a lot about the track Can you take us back to that moment when you realized that and the meaning behind the lyric and then went through different you first heard your music played on BBC Radio 2? What images and styles. I got my beautiful friend, Sophie Kelly, on board words of wisdom could you give aspiring musicians who long to bust some sexy moves and we went and had some fun in a big for that dream? old warehouse in East London! I loved the whole process and it Moments like that are always humbling for me and I’m fortuwas exciting to express the song in another medium. I’m actually nate enough to have had a few of them. They’re exhilarating and just back from Paris where I shot a video for a duet I recorded with overwhelming but exhausting at the same time! I equate it to doing a friend of mine, Ciar Ri. It’s going to be completely different from a triathlon. You train and prepare then do the first punishing leg of the Soul Electric video! the race using all of your energy and then you realize that you have another leg then another. There’s always another level to reach. It’s Your vocals are featured in the global phenomenon video maintaining that momentum and continuing to build upon it which game “Grand Theft Auto-Liberty City Stories.” How do you is draining and I guess separates the wheat from the chaff. The feel that working with the video game industry can help an art- advice I would give? Don’t do it if you don’t love it with every ounce ist like yourself? What have you learned from this experience of your being because it’s that love that will help you get through difficult times. Also, believe in your talent. If you don’t, why should that you’ve brought to the recording studio? It was a few years ago now, but it was a huge amount of fun. anyone else? But there’s a fine line between arrogance and confiIt’s been crazy finding all these fan-made videos on YouTube for dence. Always be humble. Ok, lecture over. Now go be amazing! the songs. There’s a lot of love out there, which is so amazing and humbling. I think that it’s a great platform for sharing music and if Your biography states you were once quite shy. How did you can be lucky enough to have your own music on them then you overcome your shyness in regards to performing? What even better. It’s such a loyal and captive audience. For me, I just advice could you give our readers on how to break out of that shell? sang what they told me! It was an education in many ways. I had to sing in various styles to University helped me to gain some confidence, but then I think suit the particular song or advert. It was always very over-the-top, but it the turning point came when I became a singing waiter in a sushi was a good way of exploring my voice and what I could do with it. restaurant! We had to sing every 20 minutes. It was much fun. I
used to sing everything from Britney Spears to Ricky Martin and everything in between. I remember one night being pinned to a pillar by a group of women while I was singing “She Bangs.” It was quite the education. Hahaha! Unfortunately, the only way to learn is by doing. Get out there and perform. I would say that you should try and be as prepared as you can: rehearse, know your voice, and be comfortable in your own skin. Be you. What was the first album you ever bought? The last one? Oh I’m rubbish with this question! I can’t really remember the first one, but I do remember going with my mum and buying NOW 18 on double vinyl. It’s a compilation album. They’re on number 81 now, which shows how old I am! Hahaha. I remember being obsessed with En Vogue ‘Funky Divas’ too. I still love that album. The last album I bought was Love Songs – A Time You May Embrace by a friend of mine, Krystle Warren. Her voice just melts me! It’s carries such emotion. I was lucky enough to do backing vocals for a couple of her London shows last year. Love her. As a Scotsman, do you own a kilt? Do you ever wear it? Can you answer the age-old question of what’s underneath? Do you know what? I’ve never worn one! I guess I stuck with my Italian side and went with the pasta! It’s on my list of things to do though…honest. I do like them. I really like the tweed ones you can get. I’m sure you can get leather and PVC ones too, but we won’t get into to that! What’s underneath? Well the next time you meet a Scotsman in a kilt, ask him to show you. Or get him to stand over an air vent!!! How would you describe yourself? Right now? I’m hungry! I’ve not had breakfast yet. I guess I would say that I was compassionate. I get that from mamma. I’m creative. I love all aspects of the creative process and most outlets too. I love to draw. I find it so therapeutic. I’ve recently started lifedrawing classes, which are fun. I’ve also styled a few photo shoots as well as taken the pictures too. I just love to create. I’m very determined, which can get exhausting sometimes, but I wouldn’t still be doing this lark if I wasn’t. I’m just generally great! Hahahaha. I jest. Word on the street is you’re now working with a producer in Sweden for some new material and some videos as well. When does the world get to hear the new stuff? What kind of sounds are you toying with for the new material? Well I ended last year on a low. I was flailing. I’m not going to lie! I wasn’t sure what the next move was for me. Then I remembered that I had a couple of songs that I’d worked on with Swedish producer, Björn Nyberg. So I decided to put a FREE EP together because I’m nice like that! We’re working on a couple of new tracks too. It’s quite different from the last EP, which I like. It’s more break beat, electronica, lounge, whatever that means. He uses a lot of live instruments in his production, which I love. I just wrapped the video for one of the tracks in Paris, which was fun, and I’ll hopefully be filming some other stuff for the other tracks. I’m aiming to get it out June or July. I’m also excited about another project I’m working on which is with German producers Miami Posh. This one is pure, unadulterated dance-floor house. I like to mix it up! I’ll be performing this material as well as my last EP at electro-pop festival Poptronik in Sitges in September too which I can’t wait for. There’s plenty going on to keep me out of mischief…or in mischief. Keep checking out my site for details. I just want to say a BIG thank you for your support and congratulations on the new venture. I wish you guys every success.
check out Raff’s
BY K ATH Y CREIG HTO N
PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMAIS VU | http://thejamaisvu.com/
ans Haveron left his home in Texas ten years ago to seek his fortune. Armed with a skateboard and some spray paint, he set out to make his own mark, literally, within his artistic family. This was not an easy challenge. Haveron, the oldest of six, is the grandson of Glenn Bahm, Houston based fine artist, painter, and head of the Houston Arts Society for over fifteen years. His parents are painters Bill Haveron and Jerolyn Bahm-Colombik. Arriving in L.A., along with his personal style of graffiti tags, Hans kept life and limb together with modeling, carpentry, film production and photography. He also brought his signature airbrushed make-up designs. When he teamed up with the vaudeville cirque troupe Lucent Dossier, they adopted the look and continue to use it today. Haveron called on his talents as an illustrator/ fashion designer and his experience in film to work on more than one movie, including Disney’s “Enchanted.” Hans is a regular at Lightning In A Bottle and Burning Man, where he shares his art. He does live painting, sometimes collaborating with John Park and other artists. He has shared walls at gallery shows with various artists. On December 9th, 2011, Haveron had a solo show titled “Black Diamond” at C.A.V.E. gallery in Venice, CA. It would be the combination of Lightning In A Bottle and the paintings for the C.A.V.E. show that would result in a huge career milestone for him: a mural at Facebook headquarters.
How did the C.A.V.E show go? I saw a few positive comments of Facebook. There was a huge turn out for the opening. I sold pretty well on the first night. The whole show was in grayscale (thus the Black Diamond name), which people loved! It was different from the standard color textured mainstream of most current artists. I decided to do the whole show in this style because of the tremendous success of one of my L.I.B. live paintings. What sparked the offer of the Facebook wall? The Lightning In A Paint Can painting went to the highest bidder for $8,020.00, and the new owner is the man who made Farmville and MafiaWars by Zynga Games, which is a partner with Facebook. A friend of his was also bidding on the same painting. Even though he didn’t win, he still was interested in my work. He found me online and contacted me about more paintings available in this style. I was sold out of everything at that time. I made him a new painting on canvas, rolled it up (as I do for large paintings that I have to fly to clients) and flew to SF to stretch and frame the 7’ x 5’ piece. I ended up staying the night and having a great connection with the client, Jonathan Matus. He informed me that he had attended Harvard with Mark Zuckerberg and now worked higher up at Facebook HQ. They were moving the location and thought I would be a good addition to the walls at the new facility in Menlo Park, along with the likes of David Choe ( the artist who took the stock option and made $200 million). Wow! I was thrilled! He showed my work to Zuckerberg and he was into it! They emailed me a ticket a couple of weeks later. I ended up starting that Friday evening before the weekend,
which by chance was the 8th birthday of Facebook. Eight is a reoccurring number in my life, which means “the infinite,” all things showing me that I am on the right track in my life’s work. It served as a sign to me when I got into creating “Motherboard.” Motherboard, to me, gives the “face” to Facebook and I'm sure I get the inspiration for the work but tell me in your own words. The pressure was on. I had no idea what I was going to paint. It was making me sick to my stomach. I wanted this to be the perfect mural for Facebook. All I knew is that they wanted the grayscale style and a kind of cyber punk/Blade Runner feel. After days of stressing on it, I decided to do it like I approach most of my murals — on the spot. No design, only faith. I knew that they liked the large feminine face of the L.I.B. piece, so I started there. That was day one. I went to my hotel that night and studied what I had done. I didn’t like the helmet I had painted so I decided to paint over it and make something new around her head. At that moment “network” flashed in my head and so did the visual of it. The next day I painted a network. This is when the “Motherboard” concept was born. What mediums were used? I only had about 25 hours to paint a 30’x10’ mural. I decided to go with the fastest medium, airbrush with brush cut ins. The space you were given, is it a regular office area? Lounge? Shop/tech area? They gave me a great wall, ground level in Building #16, Zuck’s building!
Reaction from Facebook employees? It worked! Everyone at Facebook was stoked! So will you be doing more painting for Facebook? Yes, there are many things on the horizon with Facebook. They want to bring me and John Park up next for one of our collab murals for future events and other projects which I cannot discuss. Needless to say it was a great start to my year. What were you using your laptop for while painting “Motherboard?” I had my laptop out to listen to music. But thankfully my dear friend Eric Weitz got me a ®Jawbone audiobox...so no more fuzz. Was there any special homage to Chicago in all the Sears towers in the bottom border of the mural? As for the buildings below, they are no buildings in particular. I just made them up as I went along. I only had Saturday and Sunday to paint this thing while everyone was gone for the weekend. Back to the source of this project, Lightning In A Bottle and it’s charity project, “Lightning in a Paintcan.” Please explain your role in LIP and DoArt Foundation. I began to work with the Do Art Foundation and Lightning in a Paint Can a few years ago. I always work with Carmen Zella , the Main Curator. We basically go out in the woods where Lightning in a Bottle is held and paint as much as we can for the weekend. At the end all art goes into a silent bidding process. The Foundation has supported Sonic Muze, which provides resources (equipment and money) to schools. Among the all giving back you do, do you ever work with kids? How else do you support arts in schools or extracurricular programs for children? They work with helping kids get art supplies as well as much, much more for the children of the world. I love working with kids myself and do what I can to help. We always have fun and I've donated over $5,000 to charities over the last year. More will be coming this year with proceeds from the Sepia’s Key pendant sales.
Hans Haveron is an incredible artist and a truly beautiful person. He is generous to a fault and works hard, not only at his own craft, but in encouraging, mentoring and inspiring others. There are many places to find out more about Hans, his studio, Lightning In A Bottle, DoArt Foundation and the key pendants. Here are just a few of the sites you should visit: http://www.haveronstudios.com http://www.hanshaveronstudios.bigcartel.com http://www.facebook.com/pages/Haveron-Studios/324598325396 http://www.facebook.com/pages/Artists-John-Park-Hans-Haveron-Painting-Collaborations/163425213710140 www.myspace.com/hanshaveron http://lightninginabottle.org/ http://www.doartfoundation.org/
check out Hans’
A NEW MODEL FOR ROCK
BY K ATH Y CREIG HTO N PHOTOGRAPHS BY NEIL McCARTY
Hailing from London, Calling All Astronauts are an electro-punk force to watch for. The band was founded by JJ Browning (guitars, formerly of Caffeine), and David B (vocals and programming) of US:UK after a random meeting at a Fulham petrol station. After establishing their vision, they added Croatian-born Kristi Bury on bass. Calling All Astronauts fits an up and coming new model for rock that involves bringing in more electronically engineered elements. Loop tracks, metal and punk style guitars define this band's composition and arrangement signature. Add lyrics that are culturally, socially and politically charged, a nod to punk influence, and they are unique in their own right. There is a lot of dark power behind this music and yet you still want to dance to it.
How did Calling All Astronauts come about? How long has this line-up been together? David: JJ and I bumped into each other about 18 months ago. We were old friends from when I managed his old band, Caffeine, and we just decided to see what we could come up with. We put it to Kristi and she was well up for it, and we’ve never looked back. Many current electronica or electronic-inspired alternative rock artists are admitting to their throwing back to or reconnecting with the 80’s. What were your feelings about that music when it was current? Does 80’s music bear the same stigma in the UK as it does in the U.S.? David: People only need to listen to us to hear that we are inspired by traditional alternative rock acts. We’ve kind of taken bits from NIN, Killing Joke, PIL, Sisters of Mercy, Pop Will Eat Itself, Psychedelic Furs, and Joy Division etc. and tried to mash it all together, having the vibe of that era but making it sound modern. Cheese 80’s like Duran Duran or Wham has just the same stigma here as it does over there, but proper alternative 80’s is still considered cool. As a former member of the punk pioneers Caffeine, guitarist JJ toured with AFI. What was his impression of the band? What other artists inspire you? JJ: Yeah, we were touring with AFI and The Offspring at the same time. They were all very cool guys, I’m inspired by good music, whoever makes it. Have some big guitar hooks and catchy melodies, and they’ve got me. Have you all always shared a love of industrial, techno and punk? How did you get to this point musically? David: We’ve always been into the same kind of scene, but isn’t that what you do in life? You don’t hang out with people that you have nothing in common with musically or politically. You mention there are a lot of political influences in Calling All Astronauts. Care to share your feelings on the riots in England? On the American Occupy movement? David: Whilst we don’t condone the riots, and it has to be said that there were a lot of people out there profiteering, it’s the underlying current of a society of haves and never will haves that is the problem. A large percentage of a whole generation has nothing to aspire to. When The Pistols sang “No Future, No Future for you” I doubt they realized just how prophetic they were. It all started going wrong in the UK when Thatcher (who was probably the most evil woman in the world at the time) sold off public
housing, which in itself was fine. However the money raised from selling the properties, rather than being ploughed back into public housing was used to bank roll tax cuts for her friends and supporters. She also privatized all the nationalized industries, the effect of which is plain for anyone to see every time they open their gas or electricity bill. The Greed society that has been the effect of consecutive right wing governments, and I’m including Tony B-Liar’s “New Labour” in that, has in the long term destroyed the very fabric of the society they purported to be trying to benefit. I’m right behind the occupy America movement. It is time people took to the street and said “enough is enough.” It was ace seeing NOFX playing at one of them.
“They see band X having a hit with one type of music so they try to make music like Band X rather than doing what they want to do. Hence, we now have like a million “indie” bands that sound like some sort of composit that falls somewhere between Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons.”
screaming “help, me” down the phone. One of them now answers the phone to me with the words “Production helpline, please enter your credit card now.”
What are your thoughts on the current state of music? What would you like to see changed? David: We are all told that the music industry is in difficulty. Isn’t that just because they force feed us crap? They try to dictate what people should listen to rather than release records that people want to listen to, plus bands all jump onto bandwagons. They see band X having a hit with one type of music so they try to make music like Band X rather than doing what they want to do. Hence, we now have like a million “indie” bands that sound like some sort of composit U.S. alternative rockers seem to do very that falls somewhere between Fleet Foxes well in the UK. Any thoughts as to why? and Mumford & Sons. What is your band’s reception like in your homeland? The rest of Europe? Who are your current musical obsesDavid: Why, now isn’t that the sions? £1,000,000 question? I think there was a David: I’m getting very into the new time when all you needed to be was Ameri- school dubstep. I like Rednek a lot. It’s all can to get press here. However you have very punk rock and I think that’s what I like to bear in mind that there are 4 times as about it. many people in the US, so there should be 4 times as many bands. Plus, it’s easier in If you had to name one thing as the prothe US for alternative rock bands to sign to verbial glue that holds you together as a major labels than it is in the UK and have band, what would you say it is? the machinery behind them that signing for David: It’s very clichéd, but we are like a major provides. family. Well, Kristi and I used to be married, Things are building very nicely for us here. It’s all very organic. We do all our own so we are family. hahaha recording, producing, mixing, press, radio, just about everything. The really gratifying You bring a lot of intensity to your live thing is when somebody writes about us, or shows? Is that a product of the intensity plays our songs on the radio. They do it be- of your music in general or are you all cause they like us and not because they are pretty intense people in general? What doing a favour for a PR or a plugger. We’ve do you enjoy most about playing live vs. had loads of radio shows worldwide getting the recording and production process? behind us. If I’m honest it makes me feel reDavid: The message in our music is ally humble that people will give over 3 or so very intense, so I think that comes over in minutes of their life to us. our live shows. Plus there always seems to be a fight as to whether the machines are You’ve spent twelve months creating louder than the guitars live, and I think evyour debut album “Post Modern Con- eryone just keeps turning up, until ears start spiracy.” Did taking a year to make the bleeding. The advantage of playing live is record have any positive or negative ef- that you find out instantly if people like your songs. I love that. fects on the group? JJ: It only has a negative effect when Any possibility of touring in the U.S. in David runs out of biscuits in the Studio. David: We are family and we all just the near future? JJ: I toured the US a few times with Cafwant to make the best records we can with feine. We played the Bamboozle Festival the limited resources we have. several times. I have some great memories David, you’ve been doing a lot of the re- of playing over there and I hope that we can mixing and production for your album. get over there soon. What has that process been like? David: It’s been a massive learning If you could send one message for everycurve for me. I’ve taught myself to engi- one on earth to hear, what would it be? JJ: Get the kettle on. neer/produce by a mixture of trial and erDavid: Treat other people the way you’d ror; watching videos on YouTube and ringing several producer mates of mine and like them to treat you.
check out CAA’s
the art behind the music BY PAU L A FR A N K
veryone thinks of music as an art, but what about the art behind the music? Luke Sheridan of Sheridan basses is one of those artists. Using master craftsmanship, Luke Sheridan creates instruments of both functionality and beauty. The passion for his craft shows in each piece he puts together and for anyone looking, Sheridan Basses is the place to go. The “man behind the music” took some time out of his busy schedule to fill us in on his process and what’s next for Sheridan Basses.
How did you get into making bass guitars? I built my first bass in high school woodshop back in the ‘80s. That was the spark. It wasn’t until 15 years later that I decided to try again. I made a five-string using a wood called goncalo alves and padouk, a very nice combination. And that basically got me going again. Your guitars are each unique and beautiful works of art. What goes into the process of making one? First consideration is style of instrument, and that dictates what woods I’ll use. For semi-acoustic instruments with piezo pickups, I like to go with sound boards that have great tone and a unique look. Redwood has provided me with some interesting combinations of these two qualities. Solidbody basses and guitars get the same treatment, and there is room to experiment. I like to go with very unique boards. My favorites are burls, whether walnut, buckeye, maple. Lots of options. Mother Nature never delivers the same thing twice. I design in a variety of drawing programs, but most recently I’ve been using products from Vectric. This allows for an easy transition from concept, straight through to generating g-code, which is a language that drives the CNC machine. Once I’m at that stage, the computer guides the cutter and gives me the basic shape, whether it’s a body, neck or other component. The CNC is a great tool that makes things identical from build to build. After those initial cuts are made, the final shaping is all done using a variety of hand tools. The finish plays a big part in how the instrument sounds, feels and is protected. I offer oil and wax, nitrocellulose and poly. I leave that decision up to the customer as tastes vary. How do you go about fitting the right bass and its look to the right customer? Have you ever had a time when you just couldn’t create what you or the customer was looking for? I like to go the extra mile to craft the instrument to exactly what the customer is looking for. Tommy Dowd of Buried in Blue needed a guitar that had to have acoustic output, as well as midi and magnetic pickups. And it had to have the ability to have all outputs active at the same time. That was a fun build. The first time I heard it live, I was blown away. Tom had the piezos going through the PA, the midi channel was mapped to keyboards and the magnetics were sent out to his guitar amp. It was a wall of sound. When creating the look of your basses, do you find you have to let the wood lead you or can you mold it into what you want it to look like? The wood plays a part, yes, but no so much. The design is the foundation, but the wood does have its say. I’m of the camp that I wont let a slight imperfection in the wood prohibit me from using it. Each piece is unique, and if there happens to be a blemish that gets uncovered midway through the process, I’ll use it as long as it doesn’t affect the integrity of he instrument. I recently was surfacing a piece of spalted maple and noticed two odd-shaped marks. I thought nothing of it, as spalted maple has all kinds of inclusions. But when I ran it through the thickness sander, those two marks suddenly revealed themselves to be bullets. The tree had grown back over them. Pretty cool. That will make it into an instrument.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LISA SHARKEN
\Why should people choose your basses over others? People should choose an instrument based on their needs and budget. If I can meet those requirements, I’d hope they choose my instruments. You show at many different guitar conventions. What is this experience like? Is it important for someone in a business like yours to be in the public eye in that way? The shows are very cool, with lots and lots of exposure. It gets folks trying the guitars and gets them talking, which is the most important thing. The community is great with lots of friendly and enthusiastic people involved. Besides creating your guitars, do you have any other passions? What takes up your free time? I’m a full-time journalist. That and family takes the bulk of my time. The guitars will be a full-time deal someday! Who are your favorite bass players of all time? The ones that stay in the pocket. If you could pick anyone to play one of your instruments, who would it be, and what would the guitar look like? Well, I build three different bass designs at the moment, and am working on a second design for the guitars. One of those, of course would be what I’d like someone to play. I’d rather have the player choose me than the reverse.
check out Luke’s
6 | The FOX Spot (f/ Sophia Segal and Alo Moniz, hosted by Bolo Cutefox) - The Haunted Hot Spot 13 | Pre-AnthroCon Furry Spectacular 20 | Free “Fur” All 27 | FourCulture Night (NEW Theme) (f/ The Artist D! & Paula Frank)
4 | Born in the USA (NEW Theme) - Songs about the USA, and dedicated to our servicemen 11 | DJ’s Choice Night (f/ Frank Cotolo) 18 | EXTREME Hot Spot Radio 25 | Name’s the Same (NEW Theme) (f/ Calling All Astronauts) Songs w/ exactly the same name, that are completely different
1 | Free for All 8 | A Witch's Brew (NEW Theme)
Songs about magic, witches, gods and mythic creatures) f/ Mary Cabot-Butler, proprietress of Ostara
15 | The Fabulous Hot Spot Radio Show -
f/ The Artist D! and Vanilla Child, hosts of The Fabulous D Show
22 | Chained Melodies 29 | Skyler’s Birthday Vacation Week
Fourculture seeks to bring to the light artists of all mediums. Your contributions fall under these four pillars and are the fuel that brings the movement to life as we reach out around the globe. We’re calling on you, an artist, to join is support of this movement by contributing to this amazing collaboration of artists creating the culture of tomorrow.
• A sample of your artwork • A brief bio (4-5 sentences) and headshot • Artwork: photographs of your work at 300 dpi. JPG, EPS or PDF are accepted. • A brief description of the work submitted (medium, size, inspiration)
• An original work, any genre, 1500 words or less • A brief bio (4-5 sentence) and headshot • No photographs or clip art should be in any of the files unless the visuals are a part of the piece and used to help the piece achieve its intended effect. This work should be free of copyright. • Upon publication, Fourculture claims First Rights; after publication, all rights revert to the author, with the understanding that Fourculture will receive credit if the piece is published elsewhere.
• A sample of your music (mp3, link) • An EPK or website link (MySpace, YouTube, .com) • Upon notification of acceptance, we will accept photographs of the musician/band at 300 dpi. JPG, EPS or PDF accepted.
Submit all work to firstname.lastname@example.org
CALLING ALL ARTISTS
Sometimes you need not invent something as complicated as a special kind of glue to be considered as talented or genius. That is certainly true for Welsh-born, London-based artist Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas). Ready to take the world by storm after a successful support slot on tour with Ellie Goulding and remixes that have dominated the blogosphere including songs from the likes of Darren Hayes and Kelis, Bright Light Bright Light now brings to you his 90s-inspired electro dance pop influenced debut full length album, Make Me Believe in Hope. Bright Light Bright Light hit the scene with the lead track from the album entitled Love Part II in 2010. It was quickly equated to “Kylie class” euphoric pop. That was only a sign of things to come. With his debut album, due out in the US in June, you can expect a pop treasure that brings your yearnings for 90s sounds with a foot in the future to an end. So really, no need to thermoset your resin and mix in your epoxide after it cools. It’s not that complicated to get stuck on Bright Light Bright Light like glue.
BY SEREN A BUTLER PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTA HOLKA ART DIRECTION BY: ALUN DAVIES
“Make Me Believe in Hope” is the title of your debut full length album. How did you come up with the title? Do you feel it’s a concept you’ve lived or seen yourself? I came up with it when I'd decided what I wanted to make an album about — how connections with people and places change how you feel about yourself. Like, how one person can tease out different parts of your personality, or how your surroundings can make you feel more or less optimistic. I like the idea of "hope," both as a positive — something good will come — and as a friend said, as something that's quite negative — hoping, implying that you believe something won't happen but you really want it to. All the things that make hope more or less important really fascinate me. Definitely the places I've lived have had a huge effect on my outlook, and the people I've met have truly shaped me. You seem to have approached your album with an inspired sound which brings a sense of nostalgia to the children of the late 80’s — early 90’s. How would you say the sound of the late 80’s — early 90’s impacted the development of the album? I grew up listening, as you do, to whatever my parents listened to, but when I got a little radio for my room I started listening to dance stations, pop stations, and indie shows, and it was then that I realised how exciting and challenging music could be. So the first time I heard a Morales remix or a Bjork
track for example, they were so far removed from my parents' catalogue that it really struck a chord with me. I loved all the big dance tracks with huge vocals and great melodies, so I guess that love prompted me to want to make something that could work alongside those songs. I don't want to sound LIKE them, but I did want to capture some of that energy and passion that made the tracks so infectious. Most of your music follows a bit of a storyline behind every song, which differentiates it from most of today’s popular dance pop music. What was the catalyst in wanting to write your music in such a manner? Do you feel that your literary studies have assisted you in any way during the songwriting process? I don't know if there was a catalyst to that, really. I've always made music because I've been writing about something, so there's just always been a story. I love film and I love reading, and it's always the narrative or the storyline that carries me along, so I didn't really consider making music that wasn't following some sort of story, I guess. I'm more of a raconteur too. Not all of the songs are about me; “Grace” and “Moves” are about things that happened to close friends of mine. You had the chance to work with a menagerie of artist and producers for this album, including with the amazingly talented Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters. In fact, you wrote ‘Cry at
Films’ after seeing a Depeche Mode show with him in NYC. How did the idea of working with Del on this come about? How did you develop the song itself with him? Del and I hung out in NYC, and talked a lot about music, what we loved and what we wanted to make, so on the plane home I produced the rough demo of “Cry At Films” and sent it to him when I got back, and he really liked it. After a few months he mentioned that track again, and as I wanted it to be on the first UK single, I asked if he would do some BVs; he said yes, and then added the big guitar riff in the middle 8. It was so amazing to get the parts from someone from one of my favourite bands! Then after we recorded the duet version for the “Blueprints” EP, I loved it so much we made the full album version a duet too. Like all the relationships with the artists/ producers on the record, it felt like quite an organic joining of forces. You’ve mentioned that you “found your sound” with the help of producer Boom Bip (Mogwai, M83, Neon Neon). How did that working relationship with Boom Bip happen? How exactly did he assist in that process of defining the sound of Bright Light Bright Light? I was making acoustic guitar driven music before starting BLBL but I really wanted to do something electronic, so I had a handful of demos, including “Disco Moment” and “How To Make A Heart.” He's one of my favourite musicians, so
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTA HOLKA ART DIRECTION BY ALUN DAVIES
we contacted him about collaborating, sent him my demos and he really liked them. That was the point where I thought "OK, I'm on the right lines, maybe," and I started to build my confidence when it came to production. It's amazing what an email can bring about! After that, working with Andy Chatterley and Jon Shave was amazing and really helped refine the sound.
or two instrumental tracks, which have been the biggest challenge as I tend to bounce off the lead vocals, but they were a fun challenge. I've done quite a few recently . . . one for a band called Still Flyin', the Gotye one obviously, and a few that should be coming out soon. You started off writing music with your acoustic guitar. Will we be hearing an acoustic guitar based song aside from your “Blueprints” EP coming out later this year? What about in live shows? “Debris” on the album is played on my acoustic guitar, even though I tend to play it on piano these days. It's weird. I kind of downed my guitar in favour of the piano for this record, but I really miss it. Some of the new stuff I'm working on is bringing guitar back into the mix so it'll make an appearance somewhere down the line, even if not on stage.
What is the story behind the video for “Waiting for the Feeling?” How did the concept come about? What is up with the glittery football (soccer ball for Americans) and rugby ball? The concept was Alun Davies'. He was the long-term collaborator for the visuals for BLBL. The waiting room scene references Beetlejuice, one of my other favourite films, and I really like the idea of sport, the passing of balls, and the contact nature of rugby playing around with the idea of human connection, and how forceful or how distant What can the world expect from live these connections can be. shows coming out of your debut full length album? How do you want Aside from your own music, you’re BrightLightx2 fans feeling leaving known for throwing out some remixes their first show? here and there, including the Gotye I want them to leave feeling like worldwide smash “Somebody That I they've got to understand the songs a Used to Know.” How did you get into little better, and kind of like they've just remixing? Are there any songs you’re been to their favourite 90’s house party. currently working to remix now that My favourite thing about playing live is you can give us a little peek into? how much energy a band can inject into What artist have you found the most the music, so it's important to me that the difficult to put your spin on? audience feels part of it. For me, the best I first got into it when a friend of mine, part of making music is taking it to venSam Isaac, asked me and my friend ues and meeting people when I play, so James Yuill to remix one of his singles how it connects in a venue is really imporback in 2008. It was the first one I tried tant. It's obviously difficult to take a proper and it worked out well, so I just started stage production around at the moment experimenting by doing remixes off my budget wise, but we'll be doing what we own back, and then I started to get asked can to make it something special. to remix people. I've had to remix one
Besides playing your own music you have done quite a few DJ gigs. If we were to go to one of your DJ gigs (mainly for our non UK readers) what could we expect a BrightLightx2 DJ gig to be like? Can you tell us a bit about your “Comfortable Shoes” night? Is this more than just a one-off night or can we expect more “Comfortable Shoes”-style nights out of you? In my DJ sets I play all the music that's influenced my sound, like Depeche Mode, Bjork, Erasure, lots of 80’s/90’s Italo House, some mashups that I've made . . . basically I go mad with my favourite songs. “Comfortable Shoes” is a new night, it's our first on 31st May. I'm running it with Jen Long from BBC Radio 1. We decided to start a gay indie disco: in East London most of the nights I go to have a pop/electro focus, so we're starting a night to play our favourite less pop, more guitar driven bands. For the last year I've also been running “Another Night” (www.anothernightclub.co.uk), a 90’s only night where another friend from South Wales, David Oh, and I play our favourite 90’s tunes. Pop, R&B, club, handbag, house . . . and we've had some guest DJs like Richard X and Sarah from Dubstar. DJing is SO much fun, and it's become such an integral part of my music life. I love it! The sound of the 80’s is making a really big resurgence in international airwaves. With your really 90’s influenced sound, do you think the 90’s sound has a chance to make a comeback? And other than yourself, who do you think is pioneering that sound in the 21st century? Oh Christ, in the UK EVERYTHING sounds like the 90’s at the moment. Calvin Harris has been a huge pioneer of bringing back 90’s vibes. Lots of artists have channelled that organ bass sound that Livin Joy and Robin S were so famed for and indie bands are sounding grungier and grungier, so it seems everywhere I turn I'm practically in the 90’s again! Which, obviously, I am totally ok with :) If you could kidnap one character from the 90’s (either film or television) and make them your pet or eternal slave, who would it be and why? Dark! Umm . . . maybe Binx, the cat from Hocus Pocus? I've always wanted a cat that could talk. And there would always be the possibility of him turning back into a quite hot guy one day too.
check out Rodâ€™s
Lola Jayne brings an unusual blend of muse and artist, doctor and patient, fairytale princess and wicked witch. Lola emanates vintage Las Vegas and has traveled the road of realism. Her prerogative is shared with the world through her poetry and prose. Lola currently resides in the northwest continuing an ongoing search for the keys to the space ship.
40 www.fourculture.com | JULY/AUGUST
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| www.fourculture.com 41
THE INTERNETâ€™S FIRST SUPERSTAR BY PAU L A FR A N K
A creature of many talents, The Artist D has become the spokesperson for the underground, the black sheep, and those misunderstood in society. D remains an enigma, a star from the internet age before the world took over, and one that has lasted when so many have left it behind. From small town misfit, to internet superstar, to author, to painter, to radio host, D takes creativity to a new level. Having embarked on journeys in almost every genre, D now heads into new territory at the helm of fourculture magazine itself. Throughout it all, D remains simply fabulous, giving voice to the culture of us all.
You’re known as “The internet’s first superstar.” Why do you feel you hold that that title? The answer is staying power. I had the unique privilege in the 1990’s to be one of the general public to be on the Internet before the hordes of society got online. Back then it was just beginning to morph from this place for super geeks and hackers to a place that was a little more user friendly for others. I was young enough to have no life and old enough to begin building my own domain to showcase who I was. We had “camwhores” back then who were very popular, but nobody ever crossed over to television, to the “real” world of celebrity. I intended to get there. I was different than the camwhores. I was Chris Crocker and Jeffree Star before they probably were old enough to be on the Internet. The difference being in my day “no one got online” and in their day it was becoming dead common. The difference between me and the other Internet superstars I grew up with is I didn’t give up. My dearest friends shut down their sites and rolled up the carpets when people like Chris and Jeffree came around. I may not have been the first, but I was one of the first and one of the only who actually stayed. I’m still here on your Internet! Find me one artist from 1995 with a personal site who is still doing it today. Find them because I don’t believe they exist anywhere and because it’s probably an old friend I’d like to say hello to. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of going from small town misfit to the fabulous Artist D? You have to be a misfit if you’re going to grow up to be fabulous. Adding the small town into the mix makes it all the more challenging. A glamour-minded child stuck in a small town wants nothing more than to get out and be appreciated in The Big City, especially after growing up not appreciated by the people and society surrounding me. It’s a driving force to be something more. Not only did I know how I wanted to present myself and who I wanted to become, but also I knew I had to get people to witness it all because it would change their lives. I knew the Artist D would change their life for the better. I am fabulous and I spend the rest of my time getting everyone to pay attention to that fact because it’s an important template. You have often had to split yourself into one person “by day” and quite another “by night.” Some would completely understand this while others would say you are not being true to your entire self. Do you ever feel like separate people living separate lives or have you learned to assimilate all of “what” you are into “who” you are? Culture gives people living double or triple lives such a bad name. Growing up
I was Chris Crocker and Jeffree Star before they probably were old enough to be on the Internet. watching all of the old school talk shows they would guilt these sorts of people into such shame over it. As I grew I created my own life with many different levels and learned there is absolutely nothing wrong with split personalities. You can’t help mix a little bit of who you are at night with who you are during the day, but the culture we live in does not allow us to be ourselves. Everyone has to tone it down or completely be something they aren’t to get along in this ridiculous world. It’s true that it’s wrong for us to stifle ourselves just to fit in, but on planet Earth it is status quo.
host a talk show. It would get very boring to me. I love variety and every time I try a different level of art I adore the challenge to succeed in it.
You’re paintings are quite powerful. What inspires you to create in this way? My paintings are channeled through a part of me that is rarely accessible. I have to channel a very unique place within myself to paint anything meaningful. If my paintings are powerful I can only imagine it is because they are so very far and few between. I go years at a time without touching the canvas. It sits on the easel in my living room and What do you think of gender rules in gen- stares at me blankly until suddenly I know eral? What do you hope to accomplish exactly what goes there. by remaining simply “D”? Gender rules are bullshit. It is the society You’ve published several books, includand culture that have made gender too im- ing collections of poetry as well as your portant. I think the research of people like Al- “life so far” story. What prompted the leap fred Kinsey, along with simple logic, proves from internet star to author? Which of your there are very few people with black and published works is your favorite? Why? white gender (and sexuality). No one is one Before any other medium, I was a writer. way or the other on anything. Everybody is Drawing and writing is the one thing that a little bit of everything since we come from came to me naturally. That is, as far as what a little bit of everything. I did from birth and kept on doing. In grade Gender is perhaps one of the silliest school, I was light years ahead in English things we get hung up on and I can say that class. Writing projects were the only easy without demeaning the transgender com- A+s I could get. I loved writing short stories munity. The need to transition is still valid in and then as a teenager it morphed to poetry. a gender fluid world. There are still people When I started my journey on the Interwho were born with the overpowering desire net, I had blogs and wanted desperately to and need to be the opposite gender. How- be noticed most for the things I wrote about. ever, there are others who wouldn’t care at It was always my goal to write books and all about their gender if society didn’t care. I was thrilled when self-publishing became We could walk around dressed the way we more readily available to do my own thing. want, talking the way we want and acting our I never tried to send my work to a big New own way, no matter what our bits and pieces York publisher. I had no time for that game dictated. We’d feel fine because we’d have and why bother when I could do it myself? been able to be ourselves. I remain “D” to Most artists (especially writers) will tell be androgynous and I will always love that you their latest book is the best and all othpeople call me by him, her, and it. ers before it were garbage. I think similarly and would recommend my latest book In “Camwhore,” painter, radio show host, Bed With Myself among any others. fourculture’s mastermind, photographer, and author to name a few; you have cov- What does writing give to you personally ered almost every avenue of creative ex- that some of your other artistic endeavpression that one could think of. What ors don’t? Does each have its own little drives you to continue evolving yourself niche to fulfill? and your self-expression? It’s a much lengthier form of expression. It’s both a desire to create more and a I believe writing is artistic thoughtfulness on challenge to go in directions I have not yet a maximum level. It takes the most time. gone. I never back down from the fear of Each type of art I do does have its own niche embarrassing myself in order to better my because some people only read, some only creations. I don’t know if I could be just one gawk, and others just listen. If I didn’t do it all kind of artist. I couldn’t just sit around and I may miss an important audience. write books. I couldn’t just paint or model or
You’ve traveled many places and met many people in this magical journey of your life. Which have influenced you the most to become what you are today? The places take a back seat to the people. Each person or group of people I encounter during my artistic career have influenced my existence enormously. The places only give a beautiful backdrop to the most amazing magical moments ever. You’re radio show “The Fabulous D Show” is said to be the radio show for anyone with a brain in their head and covers many varied topics. How do you decide what you want to discuss and what do you want people to take away with them after listening to your show? Whatever fascinates me immensely are usually topics due to them all being important for people to know. Also if I come across any details about the culture that are blatantly obvious yet people don’t know about them. We don’t call it unearthing the underground for nothing. I want people to take with them each week that there is no reason to not be them-
selves. I want them to realize all rules are ri- What new journeys do you see in the diculous hindrances and must be overcome. future for The Artist D? I also want them to stop wasting their time. More travel and more of those magical moments! I have been so busy solidifying Who have been some of your favorite my show and projects that I’ve been trapped guests on the show? Have you had any in one place. It’s time to step out again and nightmares you wish you could have start meeting more fabulous creatures just skipped? Who would be some of around the globe. I also want another book your dream guests? to flow from me, but that is something that DJ Poppy Cox, Barbie Satin and Jessie just happens with no planning. Kitty are my top favorite guests. Of course there are plenty of others joining us more How would you describe yourself in 5 regularly who I would not want to be with- words? out. I’ve come to learn that any nightmare Fabulous rebel to the core. guests usually don’t show up to be interviewed or flake out before it. I can’t think of one guest thus far who has been a disappointment. My first dream guest is John www.theartistd.com Cameron Mitchell. How do you find time for it all? Is it about having time or making time? We’ll never find time. There will never be enough. It’s like motivation or any other invisible pots of gold people are looking for. If you want the time you have to make it and then take it.
check out D’s
The Happiness Ontogeny BY FRANK COTOLO
oney doesn’t buy happiness. Grandparents and gurus have said this through the ages. But who listened? Not me. A friend of mine once said, “People don’t take this happiness stuff seriously. They think it’s poor conversation.” That afternoon he purchased an Audi Q5 3.2 Premium Plus, which included a 3.2L V-6 270HP engine, six-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, automatic air conditioning, 19-inch aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, among the features. This costly coupe made him very happy. I understood that, since I was happier than I had been in years just to be a passenger in it. If the adage is true and money does little or nothing to make people happy, what works better to provide a stream of elation? A recent study suggested having sex could be just as satisfying as earning money. The study revealed that boosting the frequency of sex from once a month to once a week brings as much happiness as an extra $50,000 a year. Using that formula, I calculated what it would take to make me happy. In a 52-week year, I figured I could be satisfied to the tune of $260,000 if I had sex five times a week. That being true, I could feel like a millionaire if I had sex 20 times a week because that rate would be equal to making $1,040, 000 annually. After I thought it over, I realized that I could amortize by having group sex. Instead of having sex 20 times a week, I could have it 20 times with multiple partners in one or two sessions in a weekend. This would earn me extra time during the weekdays to ponder my million-dollar-like happiness and do other things, like my laundry. Happiness enthusiasts emphasize they could harness the power of happiness even without adding sex to the equation. This is a globally recognized claim, though it could never be as popular as my group-sex plan. Bhutan, a small Buddhist nation in the Himalayas, plans to introduce an array of “happiness indicators” into its lifestyle through diet in order to harness the power of happiness. So far, though, more than half of the nation’s population has made plans to move to Scandinavia. Chinese restaurants around the world are promising to make gems of happy inspiration exclusive in fortune cookies, even though there is an increasing international demand that more happiness can be obtained if the cookie itself tasted better. Skeptics question whether any of these
suggestions are going to piness in a most uncomfortSwami Rivah was jovial, yet he became genuinely ignite happiness. able style, as I recognized it. “That’s why we are skeptics,” I said, “I’ve read all the somber at times. He laughed and then he cried said one skeptic. “If we bemumbo jumbo, in your books and then sometimes he just gazed into thin air and others, about peace of lieved anything would work, would that be skeptical? I I have practiced mediand moved his mouth subtly, like a ventriloquist. mind. don’t think so.” tation and I once went to a After a stone-kicking contest we had during a The study of happiness Halloween party in a Krishalso attracts neuroscientists, costume. But still, windstorm, I decided to come right out and ask namurti sociologists and members of I long for things and people the road company of Jersey to play a role in making Swami Rivah a pivotal question. Boys. me happy. Nothing makes Economists sometimes sense with the exception of collaborate but psycholoneurotransmitters, and they those same people said they had been givgists believe that happiness are becoming expensive. “ without money is something solely for “our en to reading the works of Jean-Paul Sartre “Come again, I wasn’t listening. Somedaily. patients.” times I am given to such a load of altruism, By the 1990s, studies show, happiness compassion, inner peace, inner freedom But other members of academia wonder if this is any stimulus at all for happiness began to emerge enormously in the United and inner strength that it resembles AttenStates and other wealthy nations. in modern times. tion Deficiency Disorder.” “We’re just so many times richer than “I think whoever coined the term ‘disThat was the beginning of a week in mal’ was an unhappy person,” said Nick our grandparents were that we can afford the Himalayan region with Ricard—who inPapakonstantinou, a prominent psycholo- to think, ‘Do we actually need more money sisted I call him “Ricky.” On the third day gist whose name is yet to be pronounced now?’” said a distant relative of oil tycoon J. he introduced me to Swami Rivah. Ricky Paul Getty in a 1995 interview published in said this particular guru was “more my correctly by anyone. Papakonstantinou’s quote gave me Miniature Donkey Talk magazine. style.” I knew Ricky was right about that During my research I discovered the when I went to Swami Rivah’s home and great pause. The pause was so profound that I fell into a deep depression over the biggest promoters of happiness are the he popped out of a doorway in blackface, next month. It became so serious that when empiricists, who condemn misery and sui- doing an Al Jolson impression. I laughed. someone stole my identity over the internet cides. I sought to talk personally to one of Swami Rivah and I were together the them. I was happy to get an audience with a rest of the week and I admit that it was a they returned it within 24 hours. But then I had a flash of self-importance major force in this philosophical tribe, Mat- happy few days. Swami Rivah was jotieu Ricard. when I read a quote by Enrico Marcelli. vial, yet he became somber at times. He At almost 70, Ricard, a Frenchman who laughed and then he cried and then someProfessor Marcelli is a Harvard researcher who earned his doctorate from became a Buddhist monk, is an author and times he just gazed into thin air and moved USC. He said, “Happiness among Ameri- holds a doctorate in cellular genetics. The his mouth subtly, like a ventriloquist. After can adults peaks at age 51 — earlier than British press labeled him “The Happiest a stone-kicking contest we had during a Man in the World.” many other researchers had believed.” windstorm, I decided to come right out and I had to visit him in the Himalayas, the ask Swami Rivah a pivotal question. In 2011 I completed my 61st year of life. When I read Marcelli’s quote I thought back place he calls home. It took most of my sav“What is happiness?” I said, solemnly. to when I turned 51. If what Marcelli wrote ings, but I got there and when I did, he was Swami Rivah looked deeply into my had any significance, it stood to reason that wearing a yellow-and-burgundy robe, just eyes. After a few endless beats, he put his I should have already lost a decade of hap- like a monk in the movies. I talked with him hand on my shoulder, squeezed lightly and about my problem while we drank tea. piness, having peaked in 2001. smiled. “That is Tetley tea,” I said, reading the This was a blend of good and bad “You’ve been away for such a long news. It was good because it explained my label hanging from the teabag string. time,” he said. “You never thought you “Oui,” Ricard said. “You would rather would miss it so. Somehow I feel your love bouts with discontent. It was bad because it meant my happiness levels were on the have Lipton?” is real and near you I want to be.” “No, no,” I fired back. “I don’t like Lipton. wane and weren’t going to increase any “Huh?” I like Tetley and I like it strong.” time soon. “The birds are singing, it is song time,” Ricard put another teabag into my hot he continued. “The banjos strumming soft I decided to do more research. Available data revealed that from 1946 water and smiled. and low. I know you are yearning.” “You had brain-wave measurements to 1970 the average citizen younger than There was a long silence as I felt an 51 became more than 60% richer, but there and scans and the doctors identified a lot of ineffable explanation for everything. Then I was no evidence that it made them hap- activity in the parts associated with positive put my hand on his shoulder. pier. In late 1947, about 42% of Americans emotions.” I said, “Swami, how I love you, how I “Oui.” surveyed said they were “very happy,” even love you, my dear old Swami.” “So is happiness chemical? Or can it be though they were making less money and It has been a few months since I saw assumingly having less sex (at least with stimulated?” Swami Rivah. I feel happier now, even “Sugar?” other people). though I do not have a lot of money or a lot “Sugar can bring happiness?” By 1969, a similar poll found the veryof sex. I realize nothing specific or in bulk “Do you want sugar in your Tetley?” happy crowd diminishing. Only 43% of brings happiness to a person. I studied the look on his face. Ricard had Americans declared themselves “very hapI realize that misery is the new happipy.” Things became worse by 1970, when a settling countenance. He reeked of hap- ness. Please check out other works by Frank: License To Skill and Molotov Memoirs http://cotolochronicles.blogspot.com/
A M I LT O N BY PAU L A FR A N K
Jo Hamilton is a Scottish-born, UK-based singer/songwriter who creates a visual and auditory sensation with her music. Joâ€™s music echoes her somewhat nomadic background as it ranges from quiet and introspective to powerful and moving. Itâ€™s a sound that reaches beyond the ears and into the mind and heart. Her latest album release, Gown, caused a stir as she introduced the world to an ethereal symphony created from thin air. Using a new instrument called the air piano, Jo Hamilton shows where technology and innovation can take the future of music, and we look forward to what the future brings for this inventive musician.
How did you first hear about the airpiano and what drew you to such an instrument? I came across Omer Yosha playing his prototype airpiano online whilst looking dreamily for a new instrument to play live on stage with the band. It looked so unobtrusive and simple with no distractions and I thought it might suit what I was doing with its neverending sound palette.
How have things changed for you with the overwhelming response to the album? I can’t say anything has changed, actually. All the responses inspire me to go and write some more. To be able to communicate directly with people on social media sites is a joy. The songs on Gown have many different soundscapes and feelings. What did working with the talented Jon Cotton bring into the mix? We played with all the tracks and put them in what we thought was a good order to listen to. Jon is very encouraging to work with. I find that I make the painting (soundscape), then he makes it 3D, so you can walk into it.
What kind of challenges did you have in learning how to play it and figuring out all that it could do? The main challenges were with learning Mainstage, which is the music programme I use to trigger the sounds. After that, it was a case of figuring the best places to put each note for ease of performance, like a dance routine, and then the muscle memory for remembering the movements since there is no tactile feedback un- My favorite songs on the album are “Pick Me Up” and “Lialike most instruments. thac.” Do you have a favorite song from the album? What is your favorite song to perform live? Can you tell us a little bit about how the airpiano works? I’m glad to hear you have some favourites. The songs are all so The airpiano is connected by USB to a computer which gener- different emotively and in vocal style, so I can’t say I have a favouates the sounds. It has eight infrared light sensors across it hori- rite. I enjoy singing all the different flavours. zontally and each sensor has three vertical layers in space above it which makes a virtual matrix of 24 keys in the air. You trigger sound You created some short films to go along with the release of by placing your hand at one of the 24 trigger points, and vertical Gown that served as not only EPKs for the album release, but sets of three points can be combined to form continuous faders. also as extensions of the album as a whole. What led you to create these films? How do you see this sort of technology changing things in the We were originally making an EPK (electronic press kit) and exfuture? perimented with collaborations with film makers. Eventually it was The airpiano has already advanced somewhat since I first saw it suggested that I carry a camera around with me and film things online. You can now trigger videos and lights on stage. I see it as an through my eyes, and the films just developed naturally from there. extension to what’s already here, however, all of these tools simply We’ll definitely do similar projects in the future. We’ve been seeing help remove the barriers between imagination and sound. the films as extensions to the music. You’ve had the opportunity to present the airpiano at Apple You have a great mix of traditional singing/songwriting and stores to demonstrate what it can do. What has that experi- incorporating new computer technologies. What is your creence been like? ation process like? It’s been fun to be part of the airpiano’s journey. Thank you. The process varies greatly. I like to keep all the doors open. You grew up living in many different places around the globe. How do you think having such a nomadic existence has af- I discovered another Jo Hamilton who creates crochet art. Do fected you? you crochet? What do you like to do in your down time? It was a privilege to have experienced so many different cultures Yes, I’ve seen her. I was inspired by her wool display actually, from such a young age. Memories are a powerful music making tool. so I have done similarly with my own wool collection. I do enjoy crocheting, and knitting too. You are now based in Birmingham. What is it about the city that you find inspiring that made you want to stay? What music do you enjoy listening to when you’re not making I appreciate how laid back Birmingham is, and what a great your own? place for incubating ideas it is. I don’t tend to listen to much music, to be honest. Some Italian arias were my most recent dabble. What is your favorite setting to create in? Anywhere with minimal human distraction. I’m dreaming of a What does the future have in store for you? beach in Jamaica next... Well, who knows. However, I’m working on new material at the moment, and we have a tour coming up in the autumn, so there’s You’ve been compared to Bjork, Imogen Heap and Joni Mitch- lots to do! ell. Do you ever see the resemblance to yourself? Is it flattering or do you think each artist should be judged on their own merits without preconceived notions? Comparisons confused me until I realised that they are purely a tool to give people who have not heard me before some sort of board to spring off and inspire them to take a chance and take a listen. It’s very difficult to reach new people without using comparisons.
check out Joâ€™s
With her soulful voice and storytelling prowess, Olga Nunes creates an atmosphere that is both heartfelt and moving. This DIY singer/songwriter from San Francisco has created a musical world that will enchant. Her newest presentation, Lamp, is a collaborative effort between Olga’s imagination and the realities of her fans. It is a journey that you won’t want to miss.
BY PAULA FRANK
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALLAN AMATO | WWW.ALLANAMATO.COM
PHOTOGRAPH BY JEREMY JAMES
Forcing yourself to let go and learn from your expe grow as an artist a lot more quickly than by tryin
You began your songwriting career after spending a summer alone in a cabin and then began a solo cross-country road trip. Why all the alone time? Should everyone try having some real alone time rather than staying so plugged in all the time? Ha! I think I'm the wrong person to ask that question to. I am never more than two feet from a connection to the internet. That being said, I do think that solitude is healthy for the mind. I fantasize about a day when I will disappear into a monastery and go silent for a while, literally silent. A fast to regain familiarity with one's own daydreams. My disappearance into the cabin was partially that, and partially licking my wounds after some particularly difficult personal experiences. There was a lot going on, but my idea at the time was to hole up in the middle of nowhere and become a writer. I think I am an alright writer, but I found writing fiction at the time to be particularly agonizing, so I started singing to distract myself and keep myself company. A friend overheard me and complimented me, and I realized that music was something I was capable of. I'd always wanted to sing, but didn't think I had it in me. Turntable.fm was huge boost to getting the word out about your music. Can you tell us how this came about? Do you think social media can now make or break a DIY artist’s career? How? I got invites to Turntable and tried the service in the first two weeks or so of launch. I became instantly addicted. I could share things I loved with other people and get feedback — but the real thrill, was being able to share my own music, and get people's take on it instantly. I think one of the reasons people were really engaged was the fact that I was one of the few musicians on the site in those first weeks. You can connect intimately with a group of strangers and listen to songs and discuss your feelings about them without the two things interrupting each other. Being able to share my own music in that setting was really rewarding. I think social media is now a sort of catch-all term for talking to people on the internet. Look at Pomplamoose. Julia Nunes, no relation, who just launched a Kickstarter to the tune of $77K, supported by the fan base she grew through posting YouTube videos. I just read about Daria Musk a few days ago, who launched her career by being the first musician to take advantage of Google+ Hangouts. She played a Hangout to 9000 people on her second day on Google+. I'm unsure that social media can break your career. I think the biggest thing that can break your career now is silence. With the increasing move towards non-label supported acts, the bonus falls on musicians do the legwork — reaching out to people and connecting. Silence is the thing that will kill you. Aside from music making, you also do some filmmaking as well. How did you end up getting involved in the “Boomdeyada” video for XKCD? Are you a math/tech geek yourself? I would say I'm not. I'd also probably be lying. I don't selfidentify as a geek, but I love XKCD, Doctor Who, Nerdfighters, Joss Whedon, TMBG…I mean, I like to think I'm a slippery girl that labels don't stick to very well, but I'm also a person who lives on the internet. I love comic books. I think I'm not really sure if that makes me a geek, because a lot of geek culture is basically mainstream now. Doctor Who, for example, is one of the top rated shows in the UK. So there's that. The Boomdeyada song came about when my friend Elaine Doyle and I were chatting while I was living in London. XKCD had
eriences can make you ng to perfect a single thing
done a spoof of the Discovery Channel's Boomdeyada commercial, and we thought, wouldn't it be neat if we recorded the XKCD lyrics to the tune of the original song? We made lists of people it would be fun to get involved and split it up. I asked friends Neil Gaiman and Cory Doctorow and she chased down Wil Wheaton. We just went down the list of people we thought wouldn't mind being silly with us. It was ridiculous. And very fun. About the same time, I recorded a scratch track of me singing the song for people to sing along with, for timing, and to get everything in the right key. An artist out of Israel named Noam Raby tracked me down, and asked if he could use the song in the animation he did of the same XKCD comic, and I said yes. So I ended up in two XKCD videos, sort of by accident. Minute Minute Month is a collection of minute long songs written and recorded 3 a week for a month. What was the benefit of recording songs in this way? Do you feel there’s something more honest in songs that are written and recorded quickly without the chance to rethink everything a million times? It was INFINITELY helpful. There's this great book called Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, that a friend gave me a few years ago. In it there's this great anecdote about a ceramics teacher who decides he will grade half his class on sheer quantity of clay pots produced, and the other half on the criteria of being able to create a single, perfect pot. At the end of the term, the perfect pot group had done a lot of theorizing, discussing, and intellectual triangulation of what made up the "perfect" pot, but hadn't produced any good work. The group that was graded on how MANY pots they had produced, had created lots of high-quality work. You learn by doing. Forcing yourself to let go and learn from your experiences can make you grow as an artist a lot more quickly than by trying to perfect a single thing. Having done it both ways, I’d love to sit and write fifty songs in rapid-fire. I think songs recorded quickly probably are a lot more honest, in spite of yourself. You’re moving too fast for censorship. I just learned Adele wrote 21 in only three months. That album feels very close to the bone, and personal, I think, as a result. How did you get involved with Neil Gaiman and Shipwrek in creating the songs for the Maps for the Open Road EP? How does working with insanely talented people such as these inspire you in your own work? I am lucky to have vastly talented friends of all stripes. I think I have a compulsion to rope friends into creating random things with me, and luckily, most of my friends share that same compulsion. We end up as sounding boards for each other. In Neil’s case, I sent him a dream and he sent me a song based on the dream. I added music and wrote some piano around it. With Shipwrek, he sent me some music and I wrote a song on top of it. Then I sent him a half-finished song, and he wrote some music underneath it. It often comes out of dialogue. The sort of “...what if?” line of questioning that makes you expand the realm of possibility. There’s no doubt that it’s inspiring to me, but I’d go a step farther and say it’s integral to how I work. Your new album, Lamp, weaves a fictional story about two characters, Lamp and Lux, who haven’t seen each other in years. You are doing this not only through the music on the album, but also through video and art. What made you decide to incorporate all these different art styles into the presentation of this album? I can’t help myself. It would probably be more sane to just do an album, but it’s hard for me not to see this whole universe of things attached to an idea. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it. I find myself falling down a lot of rabbit holes since starting this project, realizing that each of these pieces has an infinite number of steps attached to it. Still, I think we live in a world where it’s not enough to just re-
lease an album. I think creating this album as its own universe is have to learn the business end of it. You’re the one doing it all now. a way to give it context, and give it purchase. You’re connecting to That, and make good music — not necessarily in that order. this whole world through the songs, which I think has more emoI think the advantages to going label-free are pretty obvious, tional resonance. and there’s a lot of examples of artists that have recently untethered. Look at OK Go, or Amanda Palmer. Labels are really good at People can also become a part of the story of Lamp by send- releasing albums in the traditional fashion, but they don’t seem to ing in their own love letters they’ve received or written. How have caught up yet to what makes a career make sense now, so in are you using these letters? Have you received any that have a lot of ways, they serve as dead weight. been particularly touching to you? Yes, deeply. Some of the letters people have sent me have Songwriting, as a general rule, really has a lot to do with laying made me cry on the spot. They’re very raw, and honest, and most yourself bare for everyone to see and judge. While Lamp is were sent under the caveat of anonymity. A woman wrote to me, created around a fictional story, it still ultimately comes from telling me about how she and her brother found a cache of love you. How are you incorporating the storyline of Lamp and letters belonging to their parents. The last week of their mother’s Lux into the album while still remaining true and honest life they spent reading her old love letters to her, bringing her back to yourself? to lucidity for moments at a time. She sent me one of the letters, The great thing about Lamp, for me, is that it is a sort of concept and it was heart-breaking. She even included photographs of her album in reverse. I write the music, and then the story gets written parents. This letter, as well as many others, are being folded into around it, rather than vice versa. The music serves as a soundtrack the fictional love letters between Lamp and Lux. Sometimes they for a film that doesn’t exist yet. So the songs are still honest, and my own, are excerpted verbatim, and sometimes they are edited slightly and and the fictional characters end up using the songs as touchstones in their written as Lux’s own words. I loved the idea of asking people to be own story. The fiction is more or less a reaction to the music. part of the story, and making the fabric of these two fictional characters woven out of real love letters. I see in your bio that you have never had a lightsaber fight with May I ask why not? You are releasing this album one mp3 at a time until the entire a gnome. Because I only had a Nerf gun handy at the time. (Gnomes story is told and then releasing the physical Lamp album. I find hate Nerf guns.) this a very interesting way to release an album. Where did you come up with the idea to release this way? If you were a cartoon character, who would you be and why? It’s an awareness of how long the process of an album takes. Winters. I hope she counts. She’s a comic book character, If music is a dialogue, I didn’t want my end of the conversation to andJulie I’m going to stretch it. I always had a crush on Sam Kieth’s take years between speaking. I also think that we’re in an era where characters growing up as a kid. I thought she was sexy, and brave. people are used to things appearing instantly. We can create a song and put it online the same day. Putting your work out as you finish it Who would you absolutely love to collaborate with? is another way to involve people in the process. Royal de Luxe. They’re a theatre company out of France that creObviously, you would probably not have been allowed to do ates these ridiculously large mechanical puppets, things the size of all that you have done with this album were you under the buildings, and tell fairytales with them. I would love to write music for restrictions of a major label. What other advantages do you that kind of experience. The amount of magic in their whole aesthetic see to having your own power when it comes to your music? breaks my brain with wonderfulness. How have you managed to do it all yourself and what advice would you give to other young singer/songwriters looking to What is your latest obsession? get themselves “out there?” Instaprint. They’re these little doohickeys made by a company I’m still not super clear on what major labels contribute to artists called Breakfast that are on Kickstarter right now. You hang them today. On the one hand, you probably can’t create a Lady Gaga on the wall and they spit out photos from Instagram. So, you could without a major label, but on the other, could you create a Skrillex? be sitting in a cafe in Brooklyn, and getting photos printed out one at He’s on a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, and just cleaned up at the a time from Paris, as they’re being taken. I love it. I love tech that Grammys. Bassnectar seems to have the same amount of draw as makes the world a tinier, friendlier place. Also Japanese candy. an electronic artist, and doesn’t have a Grammy to his name. Is the Especially the bits covered in black sesame. difference talent, or is the difference having some people in your corner who understand what it takes to create an international act? What would you most like the readers to know about Olga I can’t really tell. Nunes? If you’re an artist who doesn’t want to be part of the giant suan eight-year-old pretending to be a grown-up. I perstar machine, most of the tools you need are already at your fin- haveI’ma secretly sort of sock-sponsorship from Sock Dreams, which I think gertips. You can hire management, a publicist, a booking agent, a supports this theory — I have more socks than just about anything web firm, the works — things you would have paid for out of pocket else at this point. I think one of the most important things to rememanyhow if you opted for the label route, they’re just sneakier about ber is your sense of play. it. The biggest thing to remember is in order to be a success you
http://olganunes.com/ check out Olga’s PHOTOGRAPH BY KYLE CASSIDY | WWW.KYLECASSIDY.COM
I am a moaner and I am a bitch. There, I’ve said it. It’s out. I moan about other drivers. I bitch about what people wear and what they look like. I’m sarcastic about other people’s achievements and negative about change. Basically, the nice and polite veneer I often show is very thin. But it can be great fun to have a moan and bitch — I have to admit it’s at someone else’s expense — but is there anything wrong with a bit of schadenfreude?
BY BEC K Y CA N NO NS
nless we identify our own issues, we’ll never be able to address them. I’ve identified I’m a moaner – I can deal with that. But, I’m also very positive and full of energy. I’ll help anyone (at least once) and really want to make this world a better place for everyone. Maybe, just maybe, I have a right to moan and bitch? Stop Moaning – Do You Have The Right? That leads to me to those people who I should really moan about but in reality make me so angry I don’t. Just like me, they moan, but I call them the “side-line moaners.” They’ve done nothing to have any perspective on what they are “moaning” about – and more importantly they are going to do nothing about what they are “moaning” about. Typically, they just moan about why they can’t or haven’t done or got something – due to bad luck, family, home-life, work, money, time, etc. Unfortunately, life is hard work. You have to make the effort to get new experiences. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. When I see someone driving a flashy car, dressing well, having fun, dancing amazingly, playing a musical instrument, enjoying nice food in a nice restaurant, or going out ‘dressed’ I always assume that they have done some hard work, made a big effort, and sacrifice was made for them being there and doing it (but I may still have a bitch about their nose or the alloys on their car). It Is a Journey – Not a Destination Nothing in life comes for free and you get out what you put in. You also make your own luck. You build your own confidence and you develop our own skills. Luck is when hard work meets opportunity – and you make both. I don’t play the lottery (OK, when there is a massive prize fund I do). It’s a “mugs game” because the chances of winning are stacked against you. Like I said, I don’t believe in pure luck! You create your own path. Without question people are dealt some bad cards in life. Being transgendered is one of them. Why the hell would anyone want to be like this? It’s what you do with it that counts. I’ve spent years dealing with my transgender issues. I’m still dealing with them. I’ve developed coping strategies to mask it, from simple denial to more elaborate mind-games
to convincing myself everything is normal. I’ve coped with having a family and bringing up children and dealing with my issues, somehow prioritising them all and somehow wading through all sorts of issues to be in a place where the ground is firmer. Being transgender is a journey, not a destination. If you’re on the transgender spectrum, from having a cross-dressing fetish to full gender dysphonia, you’re different and you need to understand and deal with it. You need to deal and accept it to get you to happiness, or at least to be content with your life. So why is being transgendered a journey? The reality is there is no destination. The destination is a state of mental wellbeing where your mental state is at one with your physical presence. An unrealistic, unachievable, utopia? Probably. And the problem is, the journey is not only a transgender journey – it’s your life journey. YOUR LIFE. The challenge is that the life journeys of other people are intertwined. The great thing about journeys is that you are in charge. It’s your ticket. Sometimes you maybe stay on the train to long. Sometimes you take a wrong turn. Sometimes you walk when you could be running, but it’s your journey, nobody else’s. Step Up – Take Difficult Choices “Choose your mood” is one of my favourite quotes. When you wake up in the morning to when you go to bed in the evening you control your mood. Your mood influences your choices and your energy levels. It also influences those around you. If you smile at someone it’s hard for them not to smile back. Try it. Take control, set goals, and make an effort. People find setting goals hard but our body does it all the time. We have to eat, breath, and sleep. If we don’t then our body sets them by default. Or someone else does, such as what time we have to get into work? Who the fuck sets that goal? They are being set and met all the time. Take control. I set myself some TG goals. Mine was to go out dressed before I was 30 (I was 27 at the time). I’d done it when I was 28, with hairy arms and legs and looking a right state (some would even say minger). So, I set a new goal to remove my body hair and go out and stay in my relationship and not be secretive about going out by the time I was
30! It took me 7 more years, but I got there. Sometimes it’s little steps and sometimes big steps, but never fail to take any steps, and never give up. Stepping up is hard. There are so many other priorities and risks, guilt and emotions. It’s a mine field but unless you step up and dare to tread and question you cannot make progress. You’re not in control of your plans or priorities. This is your life journey and if that sounds selfish, that’s because it is. Pursuing transgender goals are selfish, but you have to get over it. If you have to, do it. You may hurt someone else, but if you don’t you’ll surely hurt yourself and that, in the end, will hurt them too. Get Out — Try Your Best Getting out means so many things to so many people. It’s different for everyone and getting out happens in different stages and forms. It’s part of that life journey. Sometimes is just about telling a loved one or someone at work you have some transgender feelings. For others it’s about going out in public dressed to a bar, others shopping, and for others it’s about living entirely as their opposite birth gender. Whatever it means is a game changer, a bar raiser, and new chapter. It doesn’t happen without you wanting to, and it doesn’t happen without your effort. What’s important is that it happens within your control and with your very best effort. Some people don’t care what other people think of them. I get that, but that thinking comes with a certain naivety. Remember my moaning? My bitchiness? I’d rather be remembered for the right reason not the wrong ones and making an effort in your delivery is important. I generally don’t care what people think about me and what I do, but standards are important for my own self-worth. Knowing that I tried my best, that I made that extra effort, and that I learned more and experienced more to take me further on my journey is important. So, if you are one of those “side-line moaners” I hope you’re clear about how irritating I find you, and I hope this has helped you to make a little extra effort to step-up or quit moaning. And if you’re someone who is on that life journey to happiness, good on you as it’s people like you that inspire me to try and make that extra effort to add to our very special community. http://www.transtastic.com/
BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT
ESCENTRIC MOLECULES 02 - my favourite scent. People always ask what it is...it’s magic! And I never smell it on anyone else which is a bonus. One must always be unique!
SWEET MANHATTAN - my favourite drink. Love the whisky kick with the sweetness of the vermouth. It’s named after one of my favourite cities and you get a cherry at the end... what’s not to love?!
NYC - one of my favourite cities. It’s like my new play toy! I can’t wait to get back there this summer. I was even giving directions the last time I was there. Felt like a proper native!
BROADWAY MARKET my favourtie thing to do on a Saturday. It’s a wee market round the corner from my flat which sells delicious food, coffee, flowers, nik naks... everything! But it’s better early when it’s still quiet.
CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS
LUKE SHERIDAN SHERIDAN BASSES
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I like THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT I like THINGS THAT ARE UNDERAPPRECIATED
I like THE WOODS I like PEOPLE THAT GET IT
I love sitting in the garden on a summers evening following a barbeque, drinking beer and chatting about our favourite records, movies, etc.
The time I walked round Montparnasse Cemetary and stumbled across Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir’s grave, I think it’s the closest I’ve ever been to greatness.
I loved walking my dog Zoe. She was a 14 year old Polish Lowland Sheepdog who, sadly, passed away in April. We used to spend many hours in London parks. It was so easy to escape from everything, walking round in the open air, no matter the weather.
When people say “thank you.” And mean it.
KRISTEN WIIG, especially in the “Liza Minelli tried to turn off a lamp” or as Shonda/Vonda. I don't think I've ever laughed so much in my entire life as watching these. She's a genius. It could be beef!
“ROMY & MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION” — my favourite film. Me and my friends quote this ALL THE TIME. There is barely an occasion that can't have a quote applied to it from this film. I made my own Romy & Michele t-shirt and it makes me feel so, so happy.
70’S SKIWEAR — startling and amazing use of colour and textile. Love it. Perhaps worn while drinking an espresso martini. So fabulous.
“ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS” This TV series became such an obsession when I was a child. I love all the characters in it, and Joanna Lumley is out of control. Absolutely amazing.
We asked our featured artists, musicians and thinkers about their four favorite things.
1 THE ARTIST D
FOURCULTURE’S EXEC. EDITOR, RADIO SUPERSTAR
DIVINE - With the "I am Divine" movie coming out I've been channeling Harris Glenn Milstead (AKA Divine) more than ever. Divine was the epitome of everything we fabulous creatures should be. A man...or woman willing to die for art.
THE DOME - Stephen King's novel has absorbed me. It may be fiction but to me it's more proof old town life has dirty dark secrets just waiting to crop up at the moment of tragedy.
RICHARD DAWKINS His latest children's book should be required reading for every age on the planet. Let's scrap all of this delusional god business and get to the reality of the matter, god or no god we're all here to do more than bicker over fantasy.
FEMALE TO MALE PORN There is no hotter man than a transgender man! Recently interviewing James Darling on my show has further made me adore the female to male creature. Sexy and smart...I simply can't go on...
The focus, happiness, fluidity, discipline and pace of the people I’ve been working with recently. It makes life easy and inspiring.
NATURE, I have to be around good nature, trees, plants and flowers. The connection to the mother earth is vital for me to create art, as well as the cleaner air for thought.
SKATEBOARDING, keeps me healthy and also is a great way to get my mind off of the cruel world we live in.
FRIENDS, they keep me straight and my mind as well.
TRAVELING, helps with a clear perspective of the way us humans live, also helps me stay patient with others.
The beauty of the world I’ve been traveling through over the past few months. Under and over sea level it has been truly magical.
The ancient untouched rain forests of the South Island of New Zealand where you can follow Moa footprints to imagine what it was like when they were here and be followed by gorgeous Tomtits picking at the undergrowth you move as you walk.
Natural occurrences like earthquakes, volcanoes and glaciers. New Zealand is a great place to observe and experience all of these. We passed through Christchurch the other day and saw some of the devastation. Our security is illusory.
Favorite word: Mamihlapinatapei. Found through writer Jonathan Carroll, it is Yagan, and means: “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.”
Favorite smell: petrichor. It’s the smell of oils released from plants, after a rainstorm. Years ago I asked Beth (of Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumemaking fame) if it was possible to make perfume from the smell — apparently perfume makers have been trying for centuries to no avail.
Favorite possession I do not own yet: a time machine. Or a pony. Or a pony-timemachine.
Favorite thing-to-see-otherpeople-wearing-when-theywalk-down-the-street-that-Ifind-deeply-deeply-irresistible: bravery.
CALLING ALL ARTISTS