YAK + THIRD MAN RECORDS JESSE HUGHES WARREN ELLIS MANKIND THE WANDS NEW CANDYS MAN MADE
Jacket XHAN ZHOU Jewelry VINTAGE
MUSIC 8 10 16 18 36 66 86 92 94
JESSE HUGHES MANKIND MICHELLE CABLE NEW CANDYS WARREN ELLIS YAK THE WANDS GORDON RAPHAEL MAN MADE
FASHION 24 JEROEN TEERLINCK 76 ERIK ANDERSSON 100 VAL BIRD
SPECIAL FEATURE 56
THIRD MAN RECORDS
MASTHEAD EDITORS-IN-CHEIF Tina de la Celle & Julian de la Celle
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Julian de la Celle, Ashley Roth Kate Stockburger, Nate Rogers FASHION EDITOR Dana Boulos ART DIRECTORS Tina de la Celle & Julian de la Celle CREATIVE CONSULTANT Keith Ewing EVENT COORDINATOR Ashley Lee CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Al de Perez, Portia Hunt, Tassili Calatroni Nuria Rius, Michel Widenius, David Bean Mote Siabel Aoki, Chapman Baehler Coley Brown, Courtney Davidson, Mary Ware Cambridge Jones, Juan Pont Lezica Joshua Cobos, Ruby James
SPECIAL THANKS Lucia Silva, Maria Papadopulou, Yusuke Marioka Giovanni Verardi, Beatrice Papa, Lucia Giacomin Gorjan Lauseger, Elva Ahlbin, James Hawkins Jason Hart, James Oldham, Camile Augarde Peter Kure, Mattias, Ben Blackwell, Ben Swank, Jennifer Ballantyne, Femtopia, Paperleaf
ZIPPING DOWN with...
“BOOTS ELECTRIC” HUGHES Photography Chapman Baehler
How was your birthday? It was badass, the show too. I don’t drink, dude, so I’m watching you guys just as much as you’re watching me and I remember everything. So, how would you describe EODM? The sound of Little Richard bent over a chair getting butt fucked by George Clinton and The Stones and Chuck Berry at the balls. There you have it, folks. What would 20-year-old Jesse say to you now? ‘You fool! You were supposed to be the next Ronald Reagan!’ No, I would much rather tell 20-year-old Jesse which lottery tickets to buy that would be much cooler. How long have you been playing for? 11 years, as long as Eagles of Death Metal have been around. When did you and Josh meet? 1979. We met playing soccer; AYSO soccer, to be exact. Does he play live with you guys, or just in the studio? He joins the stage with us sometimes, but why the fuck would I ever want to share the stage with that dude? People wouldn’t look at me! I mean, your Boots Electric. Bingo, and that’s why I won’t share the stage with him. If you ever get to go to a Queens of the Stone Age show you will notice that I’m not in his fucking band either. When I start playing with Queens, he can come on the road with me.
Words Julian de la Celle
Who’re you listening to right now? Dwight Twilley Band, D.I., Black Flag, I’ve been listening to a lot of Roberta Flack, she’s amazing. I also love Puccini’s Turandot, it’s an opera, but it’s that epic movement. I’m starting to develop an affinity for such music. One of my birthday presents was that three-string guitar kit that you can make at Third Man. It’s awesome. I like Jack. I like what he does, he’s an interesting dude. You and the band seem very close. I genuinely love every member of my band. We’re a family. We live together, we travel around the world together and that means everything to me, you know? What was the first record you ever bought? Kiss -- Destroyer. My dad took me to that tour too, but it wasn’t until the punk rock movement that I was so inspired to actually pick up a guitar. Tell us a story. Okay. Once upon a time there was a dude named Boots Electric. He was this guy’s favorite rocker. He invited Boots Electric to his house and he stole all of his money and his television. The end. Is there anything else you want to tell the people? Yes. Global warming is logic. Go to church. Throw a bikini in there somewhere and you got it made.
MANKIND Photography Al de Perez
Words Ashley Roth
MANKIND’s budding catalogue is addicting. “Blood Sugar” is pugnacious and raw, echoing Seattle’s legendary angst. “Mutually Wild” embodies a garage rock energy, with blips of melodies reminiscent of 1960s mod-pop. “Mary’s Heart” is dark and gothic, with a familiar poetic timbre. Listening and watching is restricted to Internet playlists and YouTube videos at this time. That will soon change.
“ We don’t do interviews;
we do conversations.
Their music is brilliant, as is their conversation.
MANKIND is…. Arthur Onion, Fredrik Diffner, Oliver Boson, and Alex Ceci. Arthur recalls their introduction: “We met 2003 (I think) and became friends immediately. I was thirteen, Alex and Oliver were twelve, and Fredrik was fourteen. We talked a lot about equality, altruism and death. And even more about sex, drugs, and music. In early 2004, the band was starting to take place. We used to skip class so we could jam for hours. I’d like to think that’s what many people like about us; we are being honest. We’re still in that garage.” They’re also in a wartime bunker, beginning the process that will culminate with their first full-length album. In the bunker they create without the structure or pressure of an actual recording studio. Their songs come from fun or spontaneity or moments of inspiration (during our conversation they created a song inspired by the sound of a child’s toy). In the fall they’ll begin the official recording, arriving with refined songs that came from moments of unrestrained creativity. Try to suppress the gnawing anticipation for the album.
MANKIND is Swedish. To the Trump-loving American, Swedish is a flimsy pancake at IHOP (“We want to go to IHOP!” they joked). In academia, Sweden is the country that remained neutral during the world wars. This provokes dry chuckling from the band. Neutrality is a front, they intimate. The country is either being actively ignorant or acquiescing to everyone for a profit. Neither association applies to MANKIND. Arthur tells me his Sweden, “det svenska svårmodet.” Google translates the phrase to “the Swedish gloom.” It’s a portrayal cultivated throughout Swedish art, visualized in the noir films of Ingmar Bergman. “Plenty of writers and musician claim to be inspired by Scandinavian nature—the high mountains, the ocean, the fjords and the endless forests. But I’d like to think our music is more influenced by the rainy urban nights of neon signs and cheap Thai food. Our music is fueled by existentialism in general. The alienation is everywhere. From the newly divorced, middle-aged mother looking for an apartment with a dishwasher to Syrian children running barefoot in the mud and the blood on the streets of Damascus. “
MANKIND is cerebral The band’s name incites puns of the clever and cheesy variety. That isn’t an accident. “The name is the nihilistic humor of our teenage minds. Is it a beautiful band name meaning we are all one, mankind, like in the teachings of Buddha? Or is it political satire, four white male bodies from a rich western country representing our species? Or did we steal the word from the song ‘What Keeps Mankind Alive?’ as an homage to Bertolt Brecht?” MANKIND deviates from the stereotype of a vapid rock star. Bring up any NPR topic to the band and it will bloom into insightful dialogue. Much of our Skyped conversation strayed from music. We talked about the connection between America’s Black Lives Matter movement and racism in Europe. Arthur told me of a time he was in France, where the police carded non-white citizens. He, a white visitor, coasted past them. It was infuriating and a reminder of privilege. “We know we are just four white guys calling ourselves MANKIND!” We talked about idyllic Sweden, the good-intention laws based around animal welfare. Even as supporters of animal activism themselves, they don’t accept this at face-value. “It’s not completely a good thing. They have these laws for Swedish dairy farms, but it makes the milk more expensive and people buy the cheaper milk imported from countries that don’t have regulations for the animals. Swedish economy suffers. And it isn’t good for the cows either.”
MANKIND loves animals. Most members are vegan. A couple are freegan-dumpster divers occasionally, still adhering to vegetarianism in this practice. They’re playing fewer shows while they work on the album, but on September 5th they played Djurrättsalliansen 10 år (which means Animal Rights Alliance 10 years old) by Djurrättsalliansen at KLUBB DÖD (Club Dead). “We’re in it for the vegan buffet!” they quipped. On a serious note, they added, ”If someone asks us to play a show for animals, of course we are going to do it.” Animal activism is a personal priority. It definitely influences their art, but everything around them is influential. “I’m not interested in duality in art. I’d rather work with everything else, like the fantastic feeling of biting into a deep fried aubergine or the fact that life on earth is about to end if we keep on worshiping growth and consumption. We are pretty liberal and know to respect no laws but the laws of physics. But you have to draw the line somewhere. People treat veganism as a complex topic connected to a lot of issues when it’s the other way around - eating meat is the complex topic. It doesn’t matter why you go vegan, I really don’t care. If it’s for the environment, for your own health, for the starving, or for the animals. It’s just so much easier to not eat meat than to eat meat. I’ve never heard a good argument for eating dead animals. It’s not a big thing for us.” Where do Stockholm vegans eat? “Femtopia have some mean vegan waffles and coffee. Lao Wai is a fantastic Sichuan restaurant. They can take about ten people so it’s very small, but the food is wonderful.”
Homer forgot to tell MANKIND… The Simpsons guided MANKIND through much of the English language. Somehow, Homer’s favorite delicacy was lost in translation. We bantered over the many versions of doughnuts, settling on the topic of Portland and Voodoo Doughnuts and promising them a trip there when they made it to the States. “I think we’d like Portland. It’s cold and rainy, right?” It is. They’ll love the vegan mecca--after the album is finished. Looks like we’ll all be stifling anticipation now.
MICHELLE CABLE Photography Coley Brown
How did you start Panache? I grew up in Eureka, CA, a town where everyone was a kind of a stoner and didn’t really do much else outside of that, but I was this kid that was bored and I liked to write so I started Panache as a Zine when I was 15 or16. I started interviewing bands that I loved, and that kind of grew into me promoting shows and putting on concerts and then eventually Panache became a full-fledged booking agency. I took it to SF and that’s where it grew more into an agency and then I moved to New York and it added a lot of validation to it when I ended up getting employees and other people to work for me so I could take on more acts. Now it’s pretty much a management company and a booking agency. I’ve kind of moved into doing a bunch of different things that I didn’t really expect it to evolve into. It’s exciting! I’m not sure if you knew this, but I also used to do this cruise called the Bruise Cruise. No, what is that? It was a Rock n Roll cruise and we took about 600 people from Miami to the Bahamas and back. We had bands like The Black Lips, Ty Segall, and Thee Oh Sees playing. We might do it again, it depends. It was fun though, for sure. Lot’s of interesting stories. So, for people who don’t know that much about what a booking agent does, what do you usually do on a daily basis? Well, a booking agent is typically the person that constructs what a band does on a live tour. My day to day is a lot of phone calls, e-mails and a lot of communicating with the band on what they want. A band might have a record out and they want to go on a three-week long tour and so I send them to, maybe, 19 cities in 21 days. Any time you walk into a show, now that I’ve been a booking agent for over a decade, everything about the concert you’re experiencing, whether it’s where it’s at or who’s on the bill is pretty much set in motion by a booking agent. The best parts of experiencing a band is seeing them live. That’s something that was a huge part of my upbringing and being a music fan. I feel like a booking agent and an artist relationship is one that is very important in this day in age. I manage and book people like Ty Segall and Mac DeMarco and so a lot of my day is talking to them about a bunch of different things.
Words Julian de la Celle
When did you end up meeting Mac and Ty? I remember meeting Ty when he was 21 in Austin on the street when he was touring with Thee Oh Sees. This was back when he used to tour by himself without any sort of band and he didn’t even have a guitar case for his guitar, he would just throw it in the back of Thee Oh Sees’ car. Then Goner Records, the label he was on at the time, wrote me and said that this kid needed a booking agent and I had a conversation with him and we ended up getting along so I booked his first tour for him. Slowly, over time, we got closer and it evolved from just being a booking agent to also being his manager. I also met Mac when he was about 21 through this intern/assistant we had and he would play these funny little demos for me and it was what became Rock n Roll Nightclub. He would play them all day long, the whole stereo would only be music from Canada and I kept going “what is this?” and he would say, “Oh, it’s my friend, this guy Mac, he lost his voice because he had bronchitis and recorded this singing really low.” He eventually introduced me to him and we had a very awkward conversation on the phone because I think he wasn’t too keen with working with a booking agency having had a bad experience in the past. But he was a fan of Ty and Thee Oh Sees and really into White Fence so when he released a record and came to The States he wanted me to book the tour. Both him and Ty were people that evolved from playing for 10 people to 100 people to 1000s of people. Then a year into working with Mac I became his manager. Those guys are like my boys; they’re very dear to my heart.
Do you remember the first record you ever bought? Hmm, the first CD I bought was this band from the 90s called Sponge. The first vinyl was probably The Kinks or something. But I was really into Brit Pop, like, Pulp. That changed my world, for sure. I lived in a very small town of about 10,000 people. So the stuff I ended up hearing was stuff that people put on mix tapes or weird bands that came to town. What’s in store for this next year? Well, definitely the expansion to Australia, we’re bringing Mac and Thee Oh Sees over there as well. But we’re expanding, getting a new agent and taking on new acts. Lot’s of traveling, as usual!
IL QUARTETTO ITALIANO
NEW CANDYS Photography Al de Perez
Words Julian de la Celle
ew Candys frontman Fernando Nuti spoke to us from his apartment in Venice, Italy only a stones throw away from the famous Rialto Bridge. As an artist, Fernando is rarely satisfied with a finished product.
[On their first album] It’s funny that you told me you were listening to Stars Reach the Abyss because, to me, that record...I hear all the little mistakes that we had made. I think last time I listened to it was a couple years ago.”
Now, fresh off a recent EU/UK tour, as well as having played one of England’s coolest festivals Secret Garden Party, they’ll be playing a string of shows in Italy as well as Fuzz Club Festival this month.
The band formed in 2008, but after 6 months, Fernando moved to London. Realizing it wasn’t the place for him, he moved back to Italy in 2009 and the band were together again. “I knew Diego, our guitarist. The other two guys were just picked up for the band, but now we’re friends! Diego and I actually played in the same football team. I played til I was 18 then I said ‘Stop, I wanna play music.’ I was into Nirvana, he was into Oasis and we kind of found ourselves in the middle.” Fernando began playing music at 16 with an acoustic, but didn’t like the sound or feel of it. “After two years I bought the electric one, it was easier, less painful and the sound was better. With the electric guitar you can’t hear your mistakes!” When he isn’t playing shows or working on music, he takes pictures on analog and instant cameras and works on the art for the band; posters and artwork for albums and tours. He cites Mia Darren as an inspiration. “She was an experimental movie director. One of the first filmmakers ever. She started with silent movies and there’s a really, really nice movie called Mashes of the Afternoon, you should check it out.”
“ [On Nirvana] I put the CD on and I remember just stopping and going ‘Whoa.’ That changed everything. The power of music.
A question I’m always curious about is if the band records onto tape or digital. New Candys records mostly on digital because tape can be pretty pricey. “We would like to use tape but it’s too expensive and usually when we go to the studio we don’t have a lot of money left by the end of it.” They do, however, prefer vintage equipment, with the exception of new amplifiers. From the 7 or so guitars Fernando owns, they all range from the year 1967-1974. “I have a Vox Gran Prix, it’s gold. But I’m fixing a Fender Coronado, so that one will be mine soon.” His favorite pedal is The Back Talk by Danelectro, a reverse-delay. “The graphic is amazing and the sound is really good. Then the other guy uses the Interstellar from Death by Audio.” I asked Fernando what his first record was. “Oh, yeah, it was Nevermind. I was in school and one of my mates was like ‘Have you ever heard of Nirvana, with the baby on the cover?’ and I was like ‘Yeah, maybe, my father has that record!’ I went back home and started on my homework. I put the CD on and I remember just stopping and going ‘Whoa.’ That changed everything. The power of music. And I didn’t know Kurt Cobain was dead or anything. I just opened up the CD, and there’s a very blurry picture of Kurt flipping someone off. It wasn’t a hype thing, I didn’t even know they were famous.”
“ I think that every band should stop if they recognize another bands song in their own.
Fernando and I spoke for a while about our favorite live shows and who stuck out the most. Funny enough, we’d seen the same bands. “The Warlocks. I think in the last 5 years my favorite live shows have been them. I saw BJM and they’re great. Dandy Warhols too. Also BRMC touring with their album Howl, I saw them in 2005. That show was really great. But, The Warlocks would have to be my favorite.” When listening to New Candys there’s definitely a nod to BRMC and BJM, but they still manage to add their own sound in the mix. “There’s also The Velvet Underground, we always listen to them. And Syd Barrett, the main symbol of English psychedelia!” Sometimes it can be hard for a band to break away from just being a clone of someone they’re inspired by, but Fernando tries his best to make sure that doesn’t happen. “Sometimes I stop and I say ‘no that part sounds too much like Black Angels, let’s change it.’ I don’t want to sound too similar to other bands, but obviously you have an influence. I think the last record was influenced a lot by A Place to Bury Strangers and The Raveonettes, actually. The first one was maybe more Black Angels and BJM. But I think that every band should stop if they recognize another bands song in their own.” Fernando’s currently reading A Secret Liverpool: In Search of the La’s, a book about the life of La’s singer Lee Mavers. “He’s become one of my heroes. I’m fascinated by him and by the way he described the writing process in music. He used to say that music comes from another dimension and you just catch the song, that you’re a medium. It comes from your soul and the musician is like an alien. For this reason he didn’t want to play digital and stuff. He used to play acoustically, didn’t want a lot of microphones, and they sound like The Beatles to me.” Here’s what we have to look forward to from New Candys: “In November we will play the Fuzz Club festival in London, that’ll be great, and in May of next year we’re touring Europe again and the goal will be to release something that year.” We’re ready for you, New Candys.
Pants CHEAP MONDAY Gilet TOM REBL Jacket YOHI YAMAMOTO Shirt TOM REBL Hat VINTAGE Sunglasses VINTAGE
BODY L A NGUAGE JEROEN TEERLINCK Photography Tassili Calatroni Photographer Assistant Giovanni Verardi Styling Beatrice Papa Hair & Makeup Lucia Giacomin Agency Ulla Models
Trousers BALMAIN Jacket SAINT LAURENT Coat KRIZIA Hat BORSALINO
Trousers BALMAIN Jacket SAINT LAURENT Coat KRIZIA Shoes TOM REBL Hat BORSALINO
Trousers H&M Gilet COSTUME NATIONAL Turtleneck COSTUME NATIONAL Jacket VINTAGE Boots ZARA Sunglasses TOM FORD Necklace GIVENCHY
How did you get your start in modeling and what was your first job? It was April 2011, and I was walking in the main shopping street in Amsterdam, and out of the blue a lady grabbed my arm and asked if I was a model, which I wasn’t. She asked me if I wanted to become one and of course I said yes! From there it all went really quick! My first job was a cover shoot for this famous theatre in Amsterdam. They release their magazines every 3 months and they wanted to shoot all the 4 covers for the next year with me and some other people. It was really fun to do! What was the first agency you signed with? My first agency was Republic from Amsterdam but it didn’t work out that well. It wasn’t my time, I think. A year later I got signed with Ulla Models, also from Amsterdam, and in my first season with them I walked exclusively for Prada. What is your favorite part of modeling? My answer is not going to be really original, I think, but working every time on a different location is something I really like. You have the possibility to meet so many different people from all different countries. What is your favorite city for fashion week? New York City, of course. I just did New York for the first time last July, it was an experience I will not forget. It seems like a lot of female models are friends and hang out together, is it the same with the men? Is there a group of you that are close friends? To be honest I have the feeling it’s the other way around. From my experience, a lot of girls aren’t very nice to each other. Most of the time the guys are more laid back and more chill with each other. A couple of guys I’ve met throughout this job became really good friends.
Trousers BALMAIN Scarf COSTUME NATIONAL Jacket COSTUME NATIONAL Shirt LEVIS
What would you do if you were not modeling? I would definitely do theatre, acting or work for television. It must be super competitive, how do you stand out from the competition? To be honest I don’t feel it like that and I decided to not waste my energy on competition or being jealous if some guys are working more than I do. At the end of the day it is the casting director or the designer who is making the decision. If they like my look, they will book me anyway! You’re Dutch right? What brought you to Milan? I’m half Dutch and half Belgium, but I grew up in the Netherlands. Last year I came to be on stay in Milan for a month, but I met a nice girl and did everything to fly back to Milan all the time. At some point I didn’t want to leave anymore so I stayed. We are now living together, but besides that I’m in love with the culture, the food and the country. Anything coming up you want to tell us about? I would love to but I gotta keep it secret ;) Do you listen to music? Favorite band? Favorite live show? Yes I do! My favorite music is from The Child Of Lov. It’s a mix between soul, funk and R&B. Besides that I listen to Rock n Roll. I’m a big fan of Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, The Beatles, Prince, George Benson, Michael Jackson and so on! What is the first record you ever bought? Prince - Purple Rain What do you like to do for fun? I like to read books, with a preference to real stories. When the story you’re reading is a real it makes it more exiting for me. I really like soccer as well, both to watch and to play myself.
Trousers COSTUME NATIONAL Poncho VINTAGE HERMES Hat SAINT LAURENT Gilet H&M
Shirt ZARA BASIC Blazer VIVIENNE WESTWOOD Pants VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
BEHIND THE MAN
WARREN ELLIS Photography Mote Siabel Aoki
Why music? For me, I think from an early age I always found that listening to music was a great way to escape the real world. There was David Bowie and Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, these were the bands that I grew up with. Then punk rock sort of came along. Lou Reed came out to Australia and things weren’t the same after that. He had this bleached hair and he was shooting up on stage. He did this interview and it was so amazing, it was like Satan had come to town and everyone just went crazy for him; I guess it was like when Elvis wiggled his hips. Music was a key thing to get into growing up; there wasn’t internet, there wasn’t YouTube… No Spotify. No, nothing like that, so your record shop was where you learned your stuff. There was a guy in there that would tell you stuff and go “you like that? Listen to this.” What was your first record? My first record was probably TNT by AC/DC. My brother first got Paranoid by Black Sabbath; it was the first album that really came into the house that one of us had purchased. Then I just started playing the accordion; I found one at a rubbage dump when I was 8 or 9 and taught myself how to play that, then my teacher taught me some tunes and I responded to it well. My dad played guitar all the time, he taught himself how to play because he loved Hank Williams. Hank Williams is great. Hank Williams is so great that it’s kind of unbelievable. My dad had every record of his on 78 and all the Drifter stuff. He saved up at this lousy job he had working in a factory making screwdriver handles and he’d buy one every couple of weeks from a bicycle shop that stocked ‘em up the back.
Words Julian de la Celle
My dad had written a lot of songs as a teenager that were very heavily modeled on Hank Williams and then one day he had a family and his dream kind of escaped him but he’d always sit around playing these songs when we were kids. Someone came around the school and asked who’d like to learn the violin and I thought “Why not?” It was mainly because all the girls in the class put their hand up! My parents were always happy if one of us wanted to learn an instrument. They got me a violin and I started playing it. My dad gave me a book on bluegrass violin and I learned how to play Orange Blossom Special by Johnny Cash. My teacher told me to apply for a music scholarship so I went in and played that song and I got it! I wasn’t interested in classical music, but I didn’t really want to stop playing because if I did I would lose the scholarship and I’d be out, it was a strange thing. Then when I was 23 somebody asked me to come play in a band and my brother gave me a guitar pick up and sorta stuck it on the violin with a rubber band and then we played that night in a pub in Australia. The next week my brother gave me a distortion pedal. What pedal? It was an Ibanez Sonic distortion, a lime green one. It was an amazing pedal and when we first toured America, someone stood on it and pushed all the knobs in and it stopped working. I tried to replace it but I could never find one that sounded like that. I’d played guitar a little bit and was in a band as a kid playing Black Sabbath and stuff with it.
What were you called? Paranoid. We played one show. But then another friend told me “you should really get your own amplifier.” So that was how I started playing electric violin; it was an acoustic with a pick up on it. I’ve always stayed like that. That was where I suddenly found myself playing music that I liked, but with the instrument that I had. Certainly around the time that I met Mick and Jim and we formed The Dirty Three, it finally felt like I hit a point where I could play a type of music with the energy of the stuff I was listening to. I would listen to music all the time, all night. On the headphones or on the speakers, my parents were kind of all right like that. It’s always good to have creative parents. Yeah, my dad really wanted more for me, I think that’s what most people want, they want more for their kids than them, and for them it was important for us to get an education. I grew up in a really working class suburb in Ballaret and it was a very rough town, like…Mad Max is fictional, but it could be based around there. That’s why Australians do that type of film really well, because there is that kind of nervous energy, suburban kind of anger, and there really was in the 70s, it was quite impressive, really stark and full of frustration and racism and violence. I certainly came from the lighter side, but my parents really wanted to push us to get out of there. When I met Mick and Jim it all kind of clicked and we really enjoyed playing. We went and played a gig for 3 hours on about 5 ideas and just made them really long. Then we kept playing and eventually left Australia in ’95 and I never went back to there. Really? Not to live. Well, I didn’t and Jim didn’t, but Mick returned there. But we toured for several years and in ’95 I started playing with The Bad Seeds. Since then things have just developed as it’s gone along and I’ve tried to just stay in the game. So you have both bands going at the same time? Yeah, I’ve never really been in any other bands, other than Grinderman, but that’s guys from The Bad Seeds. Then there’s the scores I do with Nick so I keep it within a smallish group and that’s just been what works. You find people you connect with and that’s a really precious thing. Having played with similar people through a bunch of years I like to take risks with them. I guess I never felt particularly suited to be a session player, I tried to do a few things and you just knew straight away when it wasn’t appropriate. This year, I decided to do a few different things, throwing yourself into unknown areas now feels to be more like a way of getting out of your comfort zones.
Is that always your goal? Well, it is, but you know I think when I was younger it felt like you were already in such an uncomfortable zone and you had this energy and you’re trying to move with that. I remember trying to do a soundtrack for a film in the 90s and not realizing how much focus was needed for that. The music needs to do something to what’s going on but a lot of stuff is done to image and I’ve never worked like that, I still haven’t, I wouldn’t know how to. When we got this film it became known very quickly that we couldn’t do it, so we said “look, we’re gonna play for a couple days, we’ll give you a couple hours of music and you work out what you wanna do with it, if that’s any good.” So we just made up a bunch of pieces in there and he ended up using it for most of the film. What was the film called? It was called Praise, an Australian film. Then I didn’t do anything else with film stuff until The Proposition and that was the first time I’d sat down in the studio to try to do a score and that was with Nick and Jim and Marty on the bass. I do remember the time I did that first one and that there was no way that anyone was going to tell me what to do. We approached it with “this is what we’re gonna do and if you don’t like it, then fuck it.” I noticed it’s a different thing with me now, but if I feel something that’s threatening like that I kind of go “okay, try and do it.” Those things I used to find intimidating are also attractive now. Do you ever have goals when you make an album? Yeah, totally. We’ve had stuff like “okay, let’s make this one where we play as quite as the drums.” I’ve had soundtracks where I go “okay, I’m only playing the synthesizer, that’s it.” And you kind of change it, but it’s a starting point, and that’s good even if you don’t stick with it because it’s always good to have a goal. For working, I like to have a goal because after a while just sitting there doing stuff gets a bit…I like having something to work towards. You used to write music for theatre groups, right? Yeah, I’ve done a bunch of that. I’ve done some with an Icelandic guy with Nick, we did Faust and Metamorphosis, and I remember doing it for a Sam Shepard play Savage Love, we did some music for that live. In my early 20s we did a couple little productions and I really enjoyed it. Just playing music live and making it up on the side of the stage. It was in a warehouse one time, like, little art happenings. I had this thing when I first moved to Melbourne and I used to like playing the violin and improvising to paintings. I did it for an exhibition and someone happened to be there and asked if I’d like to do it for their theatre piece. I said sure and went along and did that and then someone saw that and said “hey wanna come and do it for us?” It was all a word of mouth thing. When I started playing music in bands I didn’t really know if it was for a month or a year or whatever, but I knew for the first time in my life that I was doing the right thing. Before I kept asking myself “what am I doing?” over and over, then I started playing and I noticed I wasn’t asking it anymore.
How did Grinderman form? We were really enjoying ourselves playing shows as a smaller group and doing a quitter show with Nick and so we thought we’d try to see what we could do in the studio. We just went in there to see what would happen. We wanted to make something enjoyable. I’ve never really looked at music for fun; I always had a certain type of work relationship to it too. Even in the early days I saw it as doing the job and the responsibility of it. With Dirty Three, we arrived in America in the mid 90s and we got a booking agent in Chicago and they would hand you a bunch of dates and you just had to work out how to get there and we kinda did and made these shows. There was a certain sense of responsibility that you had, even though we were so out of it and fucked up, we’d still always get there. There was something strong driving us because it was so exciting to be doing it. Fabulous times.
Who’re you listening to now? I’m a bit terrible like that, I mean, I really love that last Gil Scott-Heron album, that was his last record before he died. I really liked Kanye West’s album Yeezus, I thought that was phenomenal, like something had really arrived there. There was something wild about it. I have a hard time trying to get my head around the kind of young Rock n Roll but that’s no fault of theirs, that’s my thing because I’m a 50 year old guy now and I’m looking for something else. Listening to new stuff is harder and harder for me now. I mean, I hear a lot of stuff from the kids. I really like Skrillix, I think he’s really great. I’m still really happy to just sit and put soundtracks on. I still love listening to Lou Reed… Yeah, you’re the one that turned me on to White Light White Heat. Well, there you go! At least I got one thing right. Honestly, I think you’re better off asking young people who’s worth their salt because I think it’s just normal that you lose touch with stuff. I probably watch more new films than I do listen to new records, to be honest. I like the kind of hour and a half, two hours that takes me somewhere else, it’s pure escapism. I’m probably going to do it more. Finally, what else do you have coming up? Well, this Mustang film will be out in America soon. It’s fabulously directed by Deniz Gamze Erguven. I did the music for that one. I have a couple of other films on the way. Then hopefully at some point we’ll get a new Bad Seeds record and hopefully a new Dirty Three record too.
NASHVILLE Photography Courtney Davidson
Words Ashley Roth
Admit it. You judged Nashville—thought it was all barbecue feasting and cowboy hat wearing and slow drawls. Sure, it used to be cool—back in Johnny’s day. But, now? You didn’t want to be inundated in manufactured pop-country. Then you heard everyone talking about Nashville. You knew at least one person moving there. Maybe there was more to Nashville than kitschy honky-tonk and artery-clogging meals? As an LA transplant myself, I can assure you that there is much more. There’s culinary evolution in Nashville—restaurants focused on local and artisan, even a thriving vegan scene. The best raw restaurant is in Nashville. Seriously. The best. I could tell you that you won’t hear much country in the hip areas—unless someone is purposefully playing up nostalgia and throwing on some Patsy or Hank. On vinyl, of course. Otherwise, you’ll hear it all. East Nashville even hosts a monthly Goth club at the East Room—and it’s always packed. I could go on with the Nashville I see, but I’m going to let these locals tell you their Nashville. It ain’t all spurs and rhinestones and stains on white t-shirts.
MANUEL Photography Cambridge Jones
So how did you begin? Well, I came out of a vagina…then I began. I didn’t know too much about me until a few months later. What made you want to be a designer? I don’t know if I am a designer, but you know…I was 7 years old, I had no idea of anything. I’m 82, can you imagine, 75 years ago! One thing that I do remember though when I started to write my autobiography was that when I was born I was already 9 months old. When I was 7, my brother looked at me and says ‘what’re you doing looking so pretty, why don’t you help me make some pants?’ I challenged him and I said ‘yeah, why don’t I.’ So as it happened I sat at a sewing machine and I’m still sitting there now. It was more of a calling than a dream, or all this other bullshit I could make up. I started with pants, then I went to shirts, to coats, to prom dresses. I became more of an entrepreneur; I cut and design everything that I do today. I do one-of-a-kind; I never do anything twice…except love. I’ve gotten my love a lot of times. How did you end up doing the Rat Pack? Well, I didn’t know any of those guys; I didn’t even know they existed. Those were the very early 50s and we were all young and I knew Glen Miller and Tom Dorsey and then this Rat Pack shit, I never heard of fucking Frank Sinatra, I could care less about that. Then I started making monkey suits which is what they wore; great money, Las Vegas, they introduced me to Las Vegas. Somehow I was lucky enough that they made me their friend. Then, with Dean Martin, he always had a drink but he never drank. They made their lives with looks and images. I learned my imaging from that, from knowing that you could pretend to be something that you were not. How about Elvis? I did the gold lama suit for Elvis, I did the comeback in 1968 and I did the jumpsuit for Las Vegas International Hotel. I met him at the beginning of his career. Colonel Parker met me at a bar and says I’ve got a kid worth a million dollars, but I’d heard that before. He just happened to be one of the lucky ones. But I’ll tell you how I met him. This guy was with this kid at the front of the store and then he goes ‘hey kid, get your guitar out of the trunk of my Cadillac and sing a song for this gentleman that’s going to make your clothes from now on.’
Words Julian de la Celle
I can’t remember the song, but I remember the way he moved. So many people at the same time, so many were kids. Waylon was kind of the same age as Johnny. But don’t forget that they were Troubadours, they were Rockabillies. You need to understand that they were not “Johnny Cash: The Man in Black” they were kids trying to make it. That’s why everything turned out so okay for them because they were personalities. I always tell the new artists ‘you need to have balls to have an image.’ If you don’t make that image, forget it. That’s why when you see a shadow of Elvis, you know it’s Elvis. You see a shadow of Johnny Cash, you see it. How long have you been in Nashville? I’ve been here for 27 years now. First it was Hollywood and the movies that I did, about 89 according to this story. I was just hired to make wardrobes. I dressed the principles in the movie and I got to read the script. Sergio Leone screamed at me when I told him ‘this isn’t the right wardrobe for Clint Eastwood.’ He screamed at me, offended me. He says ‘I have stages built and you need to leave, I’m not gonna risk my movie with your ideas.’ And I said ‘Listen, you don’t even know my idea. I’m just telling you this wardrobe you brought to me is not worth the shit.’ He thought I was going to ruin his movie and I told him ‘you can take your movie and stick it up your ass.’ Clint looked at me and asked what was wrong. I told him I didn’t think the wardrobe was going to cut it, I knew he was a different type of guy. In these movies he was the man from Nowhere. He couldn’t be a Texas cowboy, he couldn’t he a Colorado cowboy, that’s not it. He looked at Sergio and said ‘if Manuel doesn’t make my wardrobe, I don’t want to be in your movie.’ Then Sergio goes ‘oh sir, how long is it going to take you?’ You could see the asshole coming out of his mouth. Clint understood me. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t of done those movies. To me, it was to build a character. Marlon [Brando] says to me one time ‘so what are you going to put on me?’ And I said ‘Marlon, just let me do my work. You don’t have to agree with it, you’re an actor, man, you wear it.’ And he did, in many movies. He loved me. Same with John Taylor, John McIntire, all of those guys. So many people. They were all real actors.
THE TIP Photography Juan Pont Lezica
Words Ashley Roth
When you thought Nashville you never imagined the Tip— flashy and energetic and reminiscent of the 1980s Sunset Strip. The Tip plays loud and often--to their devout following (many of which of shrieking, dancing girls). Their Nashville is more head banging than pickin’ parlor. Introduce yourselves: Ricky Dover Jr: The Tip is a four-piece Rock ‘n Roll band from Nashville, Tennessee. Our brand of rock specializes in the glam rock of the 1970s and ‘80s. We also love the blues. We incorporate several blues numbers in our set to stretch our musical palettes. The band started loosely in the fall of 2013, but really came to fruition in spring of 2014 with the addition of our bassist Drew Uldrich. I started jamming with the Carl brothers (Benny and Dixie) in late 2013, purely for fun, but once the jam would stop, we’d all look up and laugh at how great it sounded. This band started as friends first, it just so happened that everyone was a badass on their instrument. Then one day our bassist Drew, who had a rehearsal space directly across the hall from us, knocked on the door and asked if we needed a bassist. Dixie quickly replied asking, “How long is your hair?” Drew then let his long blonde hair down, to Dixie’s response “He’s IN!” We just got back from a three week East Coast / Mid West tour in support of our eleven song self-titled debut album (NashTray Productions). As a follow up to our 4-song Killin’ It Wasted EP (released Oct ‘14), we moved forward musically to add a wider variety of sounds on the new record. We wanted to make a solid, action packed album that is fun and exciting from start to finish. Now that we’re back from the road, we’ve got a lot of local Nashville shows coming up and in talks with new management who is securing us with prime booking agents and labels to help push us further. The last tour was great to revisit the markets we hit while on our Nov ‘14 tour with Hammered Satin (LA, Burger Records), but now we seek to hit the West Coast and spend at least a week in Southern California area by the end of the year.
Which Tip song is collectively viewed by the band as their favorite? Benny Carl: “Welcome To The Night” and “Outta Control” [seem] to be crowd favorites. RD: We have music videos for the songs “Welcome To The Night” and “Outta Control.” It’s great to have people already singing along with us. Our next single may be “All I Need”, a song Benny wrote back in High School. It has a lot of harmonica and slide guitar, which I feel is a strong point for our band standing out in sea of loud guitar rock bands. What was your initial impression of Nashville in a musical sense? BC: The level of talent here is definitely high. Nothing we can’t handle though. We are badass. RD: In Nashville, you can be a good musician—and then go to another city, and you’re great. Any night of the week you can find someone playing out somewhere that you’ve never seen before that will absolutely blow your mind. Rather than [that being] an endless challenge, I’d like to use it a motivation to become a better musician—to explore within yourself to create something unique, so you’re that person on stage blowing minds. What are your thoughts on “old” Nashville versus the “new” Nashville? BC: We probably would have preferred the old Nashville—when Broadway was all peep shows, drug dealers, and true honky tonks. RD: [Nashville] is growing at an incredible rate. Even traveling on the road for a few weeks, you come back and there’s some new buildings, studios, bars, venues popping up all the time. This town has a great music scene. Where if you book a show, you’ll most likely have a good crowd of responsive people happy to hear new original music - which is a rarity as compared to other cities. What are some of your favorite local bands? BC: Blackfoot Gypsies and Thelma and the Sleaze are two of our fave bands to play with. What are your favorite local venues? BC: Basement East is our favorite to play, they treat us well and a great stage. RD: Basement East might have to take the cake on this one. Grimey, Dean and everyone there did a great setting up this brand new venue. We were happy to headline the grand opening. East Nashville needed a proper rock venue that wasn’t a dingy dive bar.
How accurate is the outside perception of Nashville? BC: It varies... There is definitely the bro-country-pop bullshit happening. If you look hard enough you can find the good stuff. RD: Well, most of us wear shoes... haha! Nashville definitely has its share of pop-country superstars running around and such, but it’s not all country. There’s a growing network of bands in various styles that are getting better all the time. In this band, we play rock and roll, yes, but we also love fishing, water skiing and camping. We catch catfish out of the local waters, fry ‘em up, and have a great time. Mixing rock and roll with water sports is what we’re all about! And that’s the basis of our new music video we’re in shooting a few weeks! Do you think living in Nashville has affected your musician-self ? How so? RD: Prior moving to Nashville I just wanted to be a great guitarist, but since moving here I’ve found you have to be a great musician. So being proficient not at just one instrument, but multiple different instruments is the only way to get ahead. You have to be a well-rounded musician/producer/engineer/etc, not just a singular guitarist. What are the advantages to being a musician in Nashville? RD: The cost of living in Nashville (right now), is much less than that of New York or LA. With all of the crossover between those cities I feel there’s similar opportunities, but at a fraction of the cost. You can be a bigger fish in a smaller pond in Nashville. How does the Tip fit into Nashville’s current scene? RD: The music scene here unfortunately can be a little divided and rather clique-y socially. Bands may do well at one venue where all there friends go, but will not do well at another venue that might be deemed “uncool”. A lot bands play the same show over and over again, just at a different venue. I wish there was more mixing between all the different scenes. The divide is fairly geographic as well. The East Nashville scene is way different from the Music Row scene, which is different from the Broadway scene, which is different from the Bluebird scene, etc. The Tip seems to stick out of this divide landscape because we haven’t found many bands like us. We have tons of friends in great bands but we have a musical style and aesthetic that is quite different from all the other Nashville bands. We stick out like sore thumbs, musically and visually. What’s the most rock and roll thing about Nashville? Dixie Carl: The Tip is the most rock and roll thing about Nashville. What would most surprise outsiders about Nashville? RD: Nashville is still a small town. It has big city opportunities, but slims right down once you start playing out on the scene. Everybody knows everybody, and they all have what they think is the next hit song in their back pocket. What’s your favorite Nashville neighborhood? RD: We mostly hang in East Nashville. Its cheap—good bars and venues and such. Definitely getting better--as it has its rough spots--but it’s a fun place to party and you don’t feel bad when you get wild and trash the place.
RANCH GHOST Photography Joshua Cobos
Words Ashley Roth
A Nashville band that fuses psychedelic and garage rock and punk rock--that’s Ranch Ghost. They’ve experienced a strange, successful journey with Bonnaroo and an upcoming show with JEFF the Brotherhood. Soon, they’ll release their first “real” album (it’s only been seven inches and singles until this point) and a song that nobody has ever heard before. Introduce yourself: We just formed a band. Really, really accidentally. None of us were musically inclined; we were just music nerds. (Well, two of us were. Maybe the other two were just bored). We just curated this sound..it’s just expression. A lot of people write songs and they’re stories—but [ours] is more of an emphasis on expression, expressing some type of feeling in a song—rather than just telling a story and that being attractive and appealing. I think we might have been moderately successful in doing that. People will come up to us and say, ‘I don’t what that was, but I felt something!’ Our sound is entrancing, but not too weird. We want people to be able to relate to it, not just to the super music nerds that have perfect pitch and can tell you what that note was—but people like us. Which, hopefully, is a lot of people
Which Ranch Ghost song is the band’s collective favorite? The new song. Always. What was your first impression of Nashville? I thought it was interesting and eclectic. First impression was when I was fourteen and my brother was going to Lucy’s Record Shop. You know, Mary Mancini? She’s now a political activist—running for the House, I think? Well, she founded Lucy’s. In, like, ’92 or ’93. It was this super, incredible punk store and venue. My brother would go to these shows and come back and tell me. I had this incredible, mystical view of what Nashville was. And then whenever I actually became old enough to start getting into the city myself and digging around—the scene at that point, the scene was punk and super hard. A very expressive form of music has always been made by the people tapping in here. There’s some kind of grit here, that is specific to [Nashville]. What are your thoughts on “new” Nashville versus “old” Nashville? It was easier to stay connected to people in old Nashville. The communities were more close knit. [They expand] when new people come to town and those people befriend new people. It was way more simple. It was such a simple town. Everybody knew everybody—you couldn’t do something without somebody in your network of people knowing what you were in to. Old Nashville was much more quaint. You didn’t have modern architecture anywhere—and then within, literally, six years it was everywhere. I remember when The Velocity was being built—that was one of the first really progressive architectural designs in Nashville. Nashville was really enamored by it. I like that it’s changed; I’m embracing it. What’s your favorite local band? Will Mann. He’s a songwriter and he has a band—but they don’t have a name right now. So, all I can tell you is that he is incredible. He’s one of the best songwriters that are around right now. There’s another band in town called Sunseeker—that’s a really, really good band. They’re super young dudes making music that doesn’t sound like it’s coming from really young people. I’ve always really enjoyed the Paperhead. I really like Promised Land’s sound. All of those people I definitely admire. What’s your favorite local venue? I really, really have enjoyed the first (and only time) we played the Basement East. It’s the perfect size and capacity for what this town needed. They pay attention to the sound. All of the sound people there are incredible; they aren’t assholes and they’re super excited about all of the bands that are playing. My other favorite venue would have to be..the “old” Basement. It’s more intimate—and you can still be really loud. It’s really vibe-y there. We have played a lot of venues, but those are the ones I’ve felt the most connected with. How accurate is the outside perception of Nashville? I don’t know—I feel like it’s pretty straightforward. What you see is what you’re getting. It’s a super-duper hip town right now. There’s a lot of young people moving here. There’s a lot of supply and demand for things happening. I think that it’s pretty easy to tag this town when you come here—to see what it’s about. It’s definitely about music.
Has Nashville affected your musician-self ? I don’t know. I think it’s still hard for me to deem myself as a “musician,” honestly. I don’t know music really well—theory, anyway. I’m more of a performer. I mean, I can take sounds and make notes, and make them make sense. But in jamming with a band—if they ask me to play B-minor, I still struggle. I mean I couldn’t tell you what that looked like on a guitar. What are the advantages of being a Nashville musician? It’s a hub for industry—so there’s definitely industry opportunities. If you’re really smart and really social you can make friends with people that can do a lot of things for you in the music industry—and not even realize you’re doing it. It’s a gateway. Being around so many people that are incredible musicians will make you better. Hanging out with those people and watching them do it is pretty incredible. Some of the greatest musicians—many unknown—live here. What are the disadvantages of being a Nashville musician? It’s completely saturated. For you to stand out in this town is a feat of its own, to feel like you have your own identity in this town as a musician. [The other is] keeping your sound a secret. If someone else is a better musician, they may do it better than you. How does Ranch Ghost fit into Nashville’s music scene? I think [Ranch Ghost] fits in a little bit crooked. We’re like the snaggletooth. A lot of the scenes we’re associated with grew up together—it can be hard for us to break in.We wanted to be a part of the stuff we thought was really cool, so we went to shows. Ben Todd actually found us. He was our biggest advocate. He kinda put us on the map as far as the garage and punk rock scene, for sure. We’ve been able to do some things—and I’m not even sure how we’ve done it, honestly. What’s the most Rock and Roll thing about Nashville? Leather jackets—that, and snapback hats. What would surprise non-residents most about Nashville? I think, honestly, most people wouldn’t think about how easy it is to become a part of a music scene here. There’s so many things going on. It’s incredibly easy to be a musician here. Really. If you honestly try and make it a job, it isn’t that hard. You could get a publishing deal and write songs for somebody if you wanted to do it. I remember the first time I told my parents after dropping out of pharmacy school that I was going to write poetry and sing songs— and they thought that was the craziest thing ever. They were like, “Do you know the chances of you being able to do that?” It was discouraging, for sure. And I thought about it, but then I started meeting people. It’s just a matter of doing it. It’s like anything—devote yourself to doing something, learn about it, do your research. You can do that shit. You may not be the supernatural-superstar of the generation—there’s tons of blue-collar musicians around here. What is your favorite Nashville neighborhood? My favorite neighborhood is definitely the Woodbine area. There’s so much diversity over there; It’s got a lot of opportunity for many different people to congregate. There’s tons of music being made over there. There’s tons of musicians living over there. It’s much less expensive than the East side or the West side of town. I like the West side of town, too. The East side is a dense pocket of super-gentrified things.
GENE “PAPPY” MERRITTS Photography Mary Ware
Words Ashley Roth
Pappy is the most quintessential Nashvillian on this list. He plays at tourist-attracting venues, Robert’s Western World and the Nashville Palace, three nights a week. His playing has shared the stage with legends like Patsy Cline and Tex Ritter. Pappy is what comes to mind when you think Nashville—and he doesn’t even play country (nor is he from Tennessee). He plays western swing. Still, he knows his Nashville. Introduce yourself: I originally started playing harmonica. I was about seven or eight, something like that. I would play it at school, at the PTA meetings. I was the entertainment! It was a schoolhouse with eight grades in one room, windows only on one side and on the other side were reflecting lanterns— kerosene lanterns. We didn’t have electricity. [After] I went to high school, and the war came along..I enlisted in the air force. I played some in the air force—in bands when we had time and when it was appropriate. I spent sixteen months in Korea. Came back to the states, to Texas where I came from. I played in some bands there. I met a fellow in Texas and we formed a little band and played around. We moved from various towns: Springfield, Massachusetts; Cleveland, Ohio; San Antonio, Texas; Corpus Christ, Texas; Denver, Colorado. I moved in 1962 on Webb Pierce’s recommendations. I told him I was trying to make a living making music and he said, “Well, you need to come to Nashville where the music is.” I finally moved in 1962 or ’63 to Nashville. I was lucky; I started working right away. I worked in a regular jobbing band around Nashville, and then I met a friend of mine who I played twin fiddles with in Massachusetts—he was a famous fiddle player named Benny Martin. He said, “I have a gig on a television show—I want you to play with me.” I went to work with him, playing twin fiddles on Country Junction, by the famous Eddie Hill from Memphis. I played with him for two years, on this television show, six days a week. I was working with other different bands and got a job teaching music in Donelson. I would teach music during the day and play with different bands on the weekends—with a six or seven piece (what you called a “pop” band). Pop bands played songs the big bands did years ago—hits like “Stardust” and “Moonlight in Vermont”—all that kind of stuff. It wasn’t country. I did that from 1963 until 1974, I think it was. At that time Opryland came along. I auditioned two years in a row, but I didn’t get it. I found out later they didn’t hire me because I was too old. They found out they couldn’t find enough pickers who could do it good enough—they asked me, and I gave it one more try. I auditioned and got the job right away. I stayed [at Opryland] from that day until twenty-four years later. I didn’t have to audition anymore. I did that until the park closed, in 1997. You could say I closed it down. That same year I went to work for Jesse Lee Jones, the owner of Robert’s Western World, for eleven years—with Jesse and Brazilbilly. I’ve been playing with a western swing band for fourteen years on Monday nights—Jon England and the Western Swingers. Jon England and the band are playing at the Nashville Palace on Friday and Saturday nights. I love playing. And I’ll keep playing as long as I’m able.
What is “Western Swing?” Western swing is good music. It’s got good chord changes, good substance, good feel to it. It’s happy music. The new music is for the young people, I understand. They like it--in my opinion--because it’s a whole lot easier to play. It’s only two or three chords--they get there, and hang there for the whole song. And you don’t hear no instrumentals anymore. On an album you used to hear at least two or three instrumentals. The music is so simple—almost anyone can play it. Now, some rock and roll I like. I like the Beatles. Our kinda music [western swing] is [like] the big bands, like Sinatra. We play it with strings instead of horns. (Pappy was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame on August 9th). Who has been your favorite musician to play with? That’s hard to pin down—I’ve had quite a few. I had a fellow, who is now deceased, that I played in the pop bands with. His name was Scoby Bill—he was originally from Murfreesboro. He was a great saxophone player. I played with five or six pop bands from 1963 to 1974—all but a few of us are now passed away. Jon England is one of my favorite players. Neil Stretcher is another one of my favorite players—a keyboard player. Tom McBride—I played with him at Opryland. I played with another steel guitar player—he’s dead now—the famous Curly Chalker. I also played with another guitar player—the greatest steel guitar player who ever lived—Buddy Emmons. Which of your songs is your favorite? “The Waltz for Sue Anne.” This is one of my favorites. [He wrote this song for his wife, who passed away in 2008]. What was your first impression of Nashville? When I first moved here, I went straight to the musicians union. I [wrote down] my name and a telephone number and all the instruments I played—and less than two weeks later I got a call from Red McEwan’s Orchestra. I auditioned for him on a Sunday and got the job. I played with him off and on until he disbanded in 1974. When I checked in at the union, [their] president looked at me through the window. He shook his head and said, “I don’t know. It’s pretty rough here—I hope you make it.” [But] in less than two weeks I had a job. What are your thoughts on “new” Nashville versus “old” Nashville? I’ve seen so many changes. I used to live in Hermitage--it was a one-land road from Hermitage to Donaldson. And now it’s four lanes. There’s a big new bridge instead of an old rusty one that’s painted. And they built a big bridge in Nashville, right as you go into Madison. You used to have to take the ferry. I used to work in Madison and I had to go past where I play now, to the Cumberland River, to take a ferry. It would take seven cars at a time. You had to go every morning to catch it and wait after work to take the ferry back. It’s progressed so much. I like old Nashville a little better musically. There’s still some good bands around; there’s a lot of good bands on Broadway. Almost all of them are pretty top notch. [New] music in general and the new recording stuff I don’t care about. They’re into country-rap. You know what I mean? You can’t knock success, though. They’re successful, and we’re not. There used to be big-name labels with good artists. Not anymore. You know why? Because technicians and computers and little machines—everyone makes their own records at home with home studios. They put out records just like we did. Everyone cuts their own. You don’t see eight or ten thousand dollars going to a record session when you can do it for 500.
What’s your favorite local band? Josh Hedley and the Honky Tonk Heros. He plays on Broadway after we do, on Monday nights. I don’t get around too much to hear some of the other bands. There’s a band next door [to Robert’s] that plays a different shift--Mike Oldham’s band. Then there’s a band that plays at the Palace. Larry Hamilton and the Palace Band. They play after we do on Friday and Saturdays. They play really good, authentic, classic country. I like Wendy Olkham’s band. Her husband plays bass in our band. What’s your favorite local venue? The Nashville Palace. It has a huge back room and a nice bar and good servers. And we play good music in there. My second favorite is Robert’s Western World. What is the outside perception of Nashville? I think they love it. They come to all the clubs and sites—and I think they love it. I’ve had people come to me from Norway and Sweden and England and say, “I came here five years ago to hear you play, and you’re as good as ever!” I hear that all the time. People come from everywhere, you name it. They all come, eventually, to Robert’s. The nicest people come from everywhere to Robert’s. They love the music and the clubs and the sites. Has Nashville affected your musician-self ? It’s helped me immensely. It’s kept me going. I’ve had good work all the time and got paid pretty good money most of the time. People are friendly and it’s a great place to live and work. What are the advantages of being a Nashville musician? There’s opportunity. They’re gonna tip you. If you’re a good band, a good player, and play in a good place people will come to see you. That will take care of the rest of it. What are the disadvantages of being a Nashville musician? Well, I can’t think of any real disadvantages. Maybe if you’re a beginner and just learning or starting to play, it’s kinda tough. Because they want somebody well known or well established. Eventually, you keep playing and fall into a band that’s semi-established or well-established and everything will take care of itself. What would surprise non-residents most about Nashville? Maybe all the different entertainment they would find. There’s work around different venues. Probably be surprised by so much entertainment and the friendly people. Which Nashville neighborhood is your favorite? Well, I would say this neighborhood [Brentwood]. It’s very subdued and very quiet. They say hi and wave to you. Nobody bothers anybody. They’re friendly. It’s just a good neighborhood. Nashville has cleaned up Broadway a lot. It used to be really bad. There [were] porn shops down there. They cleaned it up and made clubs out of them—and now people are playing in them. Now everybody comes to hear the music on Broadway.
THIRD MAN RECORDS Photography David Bean
Words Julian de la Celle
aking our way through the glass doors, we’re greeted by Ben Blackwell, or the psychedelic stooge as it says on the business card we were handed at the end of our chat. We’re given a tour of the vastly rich and aesthetically pleasing force that is Jack White’s Third Man Records.
We do live direct to vinyl acetate recordings and on the stage they make a racket, signal gets sent to the board, mixed live on the fly and sent to this 1955 Scully Wave and it’s recorded live.
Walking into Ben Blackwell’s office you might assume that he likes The Stooges based solely off the fact that a whole wall is dedicated to a giant photo of Iggy and his band, while another wall is home to Stooges knick knacks collected throughout the years. So it began.
We didn’t think it was going to be what it is now. We thought it was going to be a very low level, low impact record label.
Everything about this place screams creativity; from the full functioning black and white photo developing dark room, to colored vinyl trapped inside the floor of the beer garden mainly put in as a way to “fuck with record collectors.” Ben Blackwell is Jack White’s nephew, but started hanging out and working with The White Stripes when he was 15. “Every forward movement from then on I kind of just tagged along to the point of where it became time to start a record label. I had already started my own label when I was 20 and Jack had the idea for this place. The idea was originally just to reissue The White Stripes catalog. We didn’t think it was going to be what it is now. We thought it was going to be a very low level, low impact record label.” Before the building was a mecca for music and artistic creation, it used to be a video production company. “Someone told us a candy factory, but I never saw the place until after Jack had bought it. I saw it when none of the walls were up in any of the offices, it was just down to studs, and Jack said ‘What office do you want?’ and I went ‘uhhhh…I’ll take this footprint here, it looks alright.’ So, by default, I was the only person who ever got to pick their office just because I showed up,” he laughs. It was originally just one building but they bought a second, formally an auto body repair shop, and connected the two. Looking through the eyeholes on the silver “Third Man Live” door there’s a painting on the walls that creates a logo you can only see through this process. It began with two, Ben Blackwell and Ben Swank, but now they’ve got 27 full time employees. The first record put out by Third Man was the first 7-inch by The Dead Weather. “They kind of hi-jacked the label in a good way where the first year or so was their first year as a band. We opened the doors here in March of 2009 and by May of 2010 we released two Dead Weather albums and probably four or five Dead Weather 7-inch’s. That was kind of the kick off, you know, Jack’s playing drums in the band. Allison, Dean and LJ all coming from different spots as musicians. It’s a great way to start a label.” Something that is pretty unique about Third Man Records is that they record live shows in their blue room using a one-of-a-kind direct-to-acetate recording process. “Live records are usually good because it’s kind of low-impact. It’s not like a studio album where you have to write all new songs, you have to do a huge publicity campaign and make music videos, all of that. A live record you can kind of just put out there and it’ll sell what it’s gonna sell. No one’s going to mistake it for your studio album. I mean, we’ve done The Shins, Seasick Steve, The Melvins, Mudhoney, The Kills, we did Conan O’Brien, we’ve done Reggie Watts…I asked Ty Segall. He has an open invitation. He likes to say he’s my little brother.”
If you aren’t familiar with the Third Man Records Vault package, you should be. The Vault is a quarterly subscription service dedicated to releasing special and unreleased content. “It definitely keeps us busy. We’ve got archives of 100s of White Stripes live recordings that I just wanted to do once a month, very basic, simple, limited subscription. We started July 1st 2009 and now we’re going on over 6 years at this point with 26 packages. It feels like the mail never stops, you never get paused by it. You have to think about it in regards of no matter what you do someone will complain, so you’re just trying to keep complaints to a minimum, but also still interesting for us to work on. I would be interested in doing nothing but White Stripes live recordings because I know what exists out there and I know what assets there are for photos and flyers and all that stuff. But a lot of people wouldn’t be into that. We’re always trying to change it up.”
Something that Third Man does very well is that they release records that a lot of people have never even heard of. From an LP reissue of Jon Wayne’s Texas Funeral to the plethora of reissues from blues record label Document Records. “Anything we do that we didn’t specifically initially create, that’s always the hope; that someone who might not know anything about it comes along and pays attention just because out name is on it.” That’s exactly what happened with the first Paramount Records box set, The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932, Volume 1. The massive 800-track package from 127 different blues artists took home two Grammy’s in 2014. “Those felt really, really great because working with Dean Blackwood at Revenant Records…it’s hard to find someone that has as much interest in a project as you do, so to find Dean really being a driving force behind all of that, it gets you excited. Like, you don’t want to be the one slacking off.” On Black Friday, November 27th, Third Man Record’s branch in Detroit will be open to the public. With anything big coming out of Third Man or Jack White in general, it’s been shrouded in mystery. Barricades went up earlier last month and a deal with Shinola before that, but not much more is known about it. “It’s coming along, pretty well. Since day one I think there was always a hope to have some sort of involvement with Detroit, some sort of presence there. It was just right time, right moment. Becoming aquatinted with the folks over at Shinola and that building where we’ll be set up, being able to purchase that, being co-owners of the building with them. This neighborhood was where a lot of the important cultural history in Detroit took place and only within a stones throw of this building. The first White Stripes shows were two blocks up the road, Cream magazine’s original offices were right there. You know, I went to school a block away at Wayne’s State, that’s not really important culturally, but I think of it,” he laughs. With the growing popularity and a new Third Man Records building, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more and more of Detroit in the coming years. “I hope people don’t ruin it,” says Blackwell. “I keep on having conversations about this and about going to any mid-size American city and seeing that change is happening. This buddy of mine from Sweden came into town and was like ‘Man, I love hipsters.’ And I asked him ‘what do you mean you love hipsters?’ He said ‘I used to go on tour when everything was anarchy and punk rock and squats, eating a bowl of fucking slush for dinner. Because of hipsters I can basically go to any city in the world and get an amazing cup of coffee, eat amazing food, go to a great bookstore, a great record store. Why wasn’t it like this 20 years ago, what’s the difference between then and now?’ And what I came upon was that I think there’s a point where the Gen Xers are hitting that age that they’ve at some point made the decision ‘You know what? I’m not going to be like my parents. I don’t want the big corporate job, I don’t want that stress, that responsibility. I just want to do something that I love.’ Apply that across the nation.”
Entering Ben Swanks office you see big posters and framed records as well as Polaroid photos of family and friends. This is a man that takes pride in being a driving force behind Third Man Records and he should feel proud of it. He is constantly working and making sure everything is running smoothly. I ask if I can set my recording device onto what appears to be a stuffed goat. “If you like, should I turn off the Miles Davis?” Ben Swank fell into the idea of Third Man Records from being old friends with Jack and Blackwell and having played together back in the day. “I was living in London for about 6 years and I was doing everything from promoting shows to booking pubs to teaching and doing some scouting work for labels. I’d stopped playing music and was just starting to figure out what a career would be like. I think I came to Nashville to visit Jack at one point or I went up to see Don Rickles, up in New York and Jack was saying that he was taking some time off and thought maybe he might want to start a physical label down in Nashville, but wouldn’t want to do it without me or Ben attached to it and would I be interested. The timing just seemed good, we talked about in September of 2008 and then I moved here two days before we opened in March of 2009, so the turn around was crazy! He talked about it and I was like ‘yeah, I mean, I’m interested!’ and then two weeks later he goes ‘Hey, I bought a building,” he laughs. “Then I was like ‘shit, this is real.’”
It’s interesting when you’re kind of pushed and have passion about something and care about it and start really realizing what’s important, it became very important to me very quickly.
It truly is an amazing place. You walk in and instantly feel the want and the need to create something, whether it be music, art, photography, anything. “We’re very proud of it. It’s interesting when you’re kind of pushed and have passion about something and care about it and start really realizing what’s important, it became very important to me very quickly. You’re working with people’s careers. Part of the reason I didn’t like working for labels in England was that I always felt I was beholden to somebody else’s budget. So, I would have a band that I had a lot of passion for that I knew could do well if they were given the right opportunities, and I hated being the bad guy that would then have to go to the band and say ‘sorry, we’re gonna yell at you for not selling enough records but we’re also not going to give you the tools you need to sell them.’” A lot of great new releases are coming out of Third Man in the next month, but one being a very special release by our cover band Yak. Their EP entitled “No” will be available at the shop on November 13th. “I told their manager James, we’ve known each other for a while, I said ‘this is amazing! I can’t believe you’ve sent me a British rock band that doesn’t suck!’ About once a week or every couple weeks, I try to get a little group together, whoever wants to that works here, to listen to some new releases we have upcoming and see video assets we have going on. I played everyone Yak and they were like ‘hold up!’ It really grabbed people. I think they’re quite special and Jack really loved it too, which is great. I would love to see them live.”
Aside from just putting out records, Third Man also does a film series and puts out literature on Third Man Books. “It’s all experimental cinema that we do once a month in the blue room, either on 16 mm for the older films or digital film for new stuff. Then we were seeing the crowds we were getting for these poetry readings we would do and so we kind of kicked off Third Man Books and we’ve done 3 or 4 books now, different books of poetry too. The label...it’s a brand if you have to use dirty words, but it’s really a lot more than that. I want to do things that really reflect the times we live in and I think the alternative music or alternative culture or whatever the hell you want to call it, I mean, what the fuck is alternative? There’s so much music that’s boring and dull and unchallenging and none of us feel like that in 2015. I want to be a label of our size that actually has an influence. I think it’s your job once you’re in a certain position.” Third Man broke a record or two with the “World’s Fastest Record” last year. It’s a goal for the guys and girls at Third Man to constantly one-up themselves for Record Store Day. This year they reissued the first ever Elvis recording and displayed the actual record that Jack had bought. “The World’s Fastest Record might go down as being our masterpiece in P.T. Barnum-esque publicity garnering and everything. That was kind of an idea that George Ingram, who does our mastering, came up with. Timing wise it all worked out perfectly because Jack was just about to start promoting Lazaretto and it turned into his first live show around that record. He came in at 7 am, had a crowd in the blue room. There was a million things going on at once! We were filming the whole thing live too. We rushed the masters over, they made mothers off it, they ran em, Jack brought back and delivered the first ones in just under 4 hours. It was preeetty cool! We were able to use our whole system in one place; the direct to acetate system, our connections to the local pressing plant, we were able to showcase that we just shot these pictures in house and designed the art and had it cut and printed out and handmade within four hours, we were able to show that we can do all of these things here at Third Man, which makes us special.” The record booth was yet another Record Store Day treat from 2013. For $15 you can record for up to 2 minutes on a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine. “That was crazy because we got it fixed up, we debuted it and Neil Young showed up on that day and decided to use it, sort of randomly, it wasn’t like a publicity stunt, he just wanted to show Jack his car. He got in and used it and liked it, and then came back and recorded a whole album in it. But, yeah the record booth, it was crazy because we already had this whole Coachella event booked out in Palm Springs at the Ace Hotel and then we had the record store event here and then also had this amazing opportunity to host Willie Nelson’s 80th birthday here and film it for CMJ and that was all in the same week, flying back and fourth between California and here and organizing all these huge events. My wife was 8 months pregnant at the time too, it was nuts! All my memories of that week are just complete chaos!”
We don’t have job titles for that very reason, we all kinda come up with jokey little things, but the philosophy behind that is so no one ever says ‘that’s not my job.’
In 2010, Third Man Records introduced The Rolling Record Store. “We had these dodgy contractors that didn’t do a very good job. They were way behind on schedule and half the things they said they were gonna do they didn’t do properly. We got it where it needed to be, but on that first trip they wanted to send one of the mechanics along and so me and this mechanic drove out there and this damn thing just had troubles the whole way. We’d pull into, like, a diesel mechanic and he’d be like ‘I don’t know what the fuck to do with this.’ Eventually we got it there after a 14-hour straight drive. I was exhausted and shattered and Jack was there and Seasick Steve, they were both going to play secret acoustic sets from the truck and I was just completely frazzled in that video, I introduce it and I look like complete and utter shit. I mean, you always do by the end of SXSW anyway, but this was the beginning…” Every year it’s gone to SXSW and it travels around the country. It’s been to both coasts multiple times. Last year, at South By they just plugged in bands from the truck; it’s got an 8 channel onboard PA on it and a DJ booth. As well as a shop, it’s a mobile entertainment unit. The way things are run at Third Man and the way their staff is treated is much different than your average record label. The approach is that they don’t hem anything in with tight structures or rules. They give each campaign what it needs, when it needs it. “If something seems like it isn’t working we’ll double down on it and we’ll work harder to make it work. It’s always been a thing for Jack that he wants it to feel like a creative space, he wants everyone that works here to feel creative, his favorite people here are people that, you know, maybe when they leave here they go home and they do their own screen printing or they go off and promote a show elsewhere those are great people to have working around here. We don’t have job titles for that very reason, we all kinda come up with jokey little things, but the philosophy behind that is so no one ever says ‘that’s not my job.’”
YAK Photography Al de Perez
Words Nate Rogers
As they creep stateside, Oli Burslem talks steering the ship of his three-piece rock ensemble, all with a little help from Elvis Presley and Jack White.
So far in the zoologically diverse world of rock and roll, we have Byrds, Rats, Monkees, Turtles, and one very glittery T. Rex, just to begin to call roll, but never a Yak. Long-haired howlers that they are, though, a defining musical representation has been overdue for some time now. Enter Oli Burlsem, the singer, guitarist, and sometimes keyboardist for the Yak trio out of London, who have spent the entirety of their brief existence building a reputation for blasting the doors off of venues, and for putting themselves firmly in line to save heavy rock in the process. All this and the band—which is rounded out by bassist Andy Jones and drummer Elliot Rawson—has yet to formally unleash more than a handful of songs. The most recent three, however, are the biggest and best ones yet, representing the No EP, which was produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey, championed by founding Jesus and Mary Chain member Douglas Hart (who directed the visual assault that is the video for “No”), and released unto the world by a smitten Third Man Records. In spite of the certifiable army behind him (or perhaps because of it), Burslem is, in true rock star fashion, driven by his own world, and his world alone. “I’m so wrapped up in my own shit right now,” he says, when prompted about contemporary bands that he feels akin to. “I do see a lot of music but it’s always a bit obscure, or, I don’t know...free jazz or something. I’m definitely not on any kind of scene really. I’m kind of bad at that stuff to be honest with you. I just keep myself...well, to myself.” The idea of Burslem being a homebody will be particularly strange to those who have seen the way that he can command a stage, often taking time in between destroying instruments to snarl like H.R. from Bad Brains in the middle of a fit, but tracks such as “Smile” do reveal a more gothic-nouveau persona in the style of Lux Interior or Iggy Pop that has a tendency to claw up on the recordings.
“[‘Smile’] was written at, like, six in the morning, and everyone else was asleep in the flat,” he explains. “So I just sung...quieter. “I lived with one guy,” he goes on, “and I liked him a lot. I just don’t speak. He had a go at me because I never told him what I’m doing. He’s like, ‘Oli, you had a gig last night.’ ‘Yeah, yeah.’ ‘Well, why didn’t you tell us?’ And I was like, ‘If you’re really interested in the band you’d know when we’re playing. I don’t need to tell you—it’s not like I’m having a birthday party!’ He’s like, ‘God, you’re fucking weird.’” Whether it’s for birthday parties, then, or for The Birthday Party—a self-admitted Yak influence—Burslem is as nice and enthusiastic as they come. It’s just that when it comes to his music, the twenty-sevenyear-old would prefer to leave formality at the door. “You see so many bands and it’s the same kind of set every night and it’s the same tempo,” he says. “It’s more like we didn’t have any ambition, but just wanted to get up there. I’d write some songs quick and we’d play them quickly and whatever they were, they kind of just were.”
While it’s easy to imagine this sort of approach being potentially dangerous for a band writing such charged-up music, the truth is that, to a degree, their creative process has been refining for over two decades. In contrast to Yak’s short official shelf-life (Rawson’s recent arrival from New Zealand was the final piece of the band’s puzzle), the friendship of Burslem and Jones dates back to just around when the two were learning to walk in the Midlands city of Wolverhampton. “Without sounding cheesy,” Burslem says, “it’s probably more than [fraternal]. We don’t speak a great deal. We kind of just sit in the band and stare at each other.” Burslem himself was “obsessed” with Elvis by the age of four (“He’s not real, kind of a cartoon, you know?”), and was curling his lip in the mirror before he could play the guitar—the latter of which being a skill that he picked up thanks to his older brother’s tendency to leave band gear behind. “I must have been around eleven or something [when I learned to play], but there’s a picture of me with a guitar when I was like four or five, just posing,” he laughs. “Some might say I’m still doing the same.” Jack White—who is arguably the closest thing that this generation will get to an Elvis Presley—begs to differ on that front, which explains why Third Man, his Willy Wonka Factory of a record label, quickly jumped on the opportunity to potentially lay their mitts on Yak’s in-development full-length debut.
“We’re trying to move a bit quicker on recording and writing now,” says Burslem, as if Yak have been moving at anything other than a breakneck speed so far. “This is something we’ve never had—the opportunity to do all this. We’ve kind of sat by the sidelines for some time. We’re just ready to give some people some shit.”
ERIK ANDERSSON Photography Michel Widenius
Styling Gorjan Lauseger
Hair & Makeup Elva Ahlbin
Jacket BLK DENIM Turtleneck CALVIN KLEIN Scarf SCOTCH & SODA Long shorts BACK Socks PAUL SMITH Shoes ACNE STUDIO
LIFE’S A DRAG
Turtleneck WOLFORD Pants ACNE STUDIO
Turtleneck Shirt J. LINDEBERG Scarf TIGER OF SWEDEN Scarf ANNA HOLTBLAD Trousers 2ND DAY
What made you decide to be a model? Truth is, I was scouted by another agency two years before my current agency scouted me, but I was 16 at the time and didn’t go for it. So when it happened again I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve never been interested in fashion, really, but they told me they were looking for long-haired guys, so I went with it. I was hung-over at a music festival in Sweden, had lost my shoes and was walking with plastic bags wrapped around my feet… It wasn’t really a decision I ever planned on making. But it happened. And now I’m talking to you about it. Strange, huh? What interests you about modeling? The job itself isn’t really something that interests me, it’s everything that comes with it that’s interesting. To travel is by far the best part about it, to see all these different places and different people. To also see how fashion differs from one place to another. What came first, modeling or music? Music. When were you first introduced to music? I’ve listened to music as long as I can remember, but I used to only listen to what came my way. You know, usually shit from the radio in the car. But my dad had a pretty decent vinyl collection and was a musician himself so I have him to thank for showing me good music. One day, when I was around 10 years old, he came home with a “best of” compilation album of Led Zeppelin and said “I’m gonna show you real music.” Zeppelin’s been my favorite band ever since. What band/musicians are you inspired by? Nobunny, The Shouting Matches, bob hund and Xena the warrior princess. Who are you listening to now? Right now I’m trying to catch up on all the good releases this fall. New albums from Eagles of Death Metal, The Dead Weather, Tame Impala and the Swedish group Dungen, for example. There seems to be a great music scene happening in Sweden right now, do you agree? Do you listen to any of them and are you friends? There’s a lot of different music coming out of Sweden. A lot of it’s good, but a lot of it’s real shit as well. A few of my favorite bands are from here though: bob hund (whose logo I have tattooed on my arm), Riddarna, Dungen for example. I’ve seen them all on different occasions. My band, Shitbaby Mammals, actually opened for bob hund in September this year.
How did Shitbaby Mammals meet? Where did the name come from? The band consists of me and my long time friend, Joakim Ejdeholm. We’ve been jamming and recording for the better part of a year. When we record we play all the instruments ourselves, but when we’re out playing we have three musicians (all of them friends from before) to back us up. We were struggling to come up with a band name, so eventually we just started coming up with names that had ”shit” in them. That’s all there is to it. I think it has a nice tone to it and that a lot of people will remember it cause it’s just… strange. Do you remember the first record you bought? Led Zeppelin II. That’s something you don’t forget. Who was the first band you went to see, and is there a concert that influenced you to begin playing yourself ? The first real concert I went to see was Paul McCartney with my dad and brother in Gothenburg, 2004. That was absolutely amazing. I’ve been playing drums since I was 10 and John Bonham inspired me to start playing, but whenever I go to a good concert it inspires me. The best and most inspiring concert I went to see was with the Swedish band I mentioned earlier, ’Riddarna’. I hadn’t heard of them, or any of their music for that matter, and they absolutely blew me away. I love that feeling, when you just stumble across something that’s like the best you ever heard. What is your writing process like? It usually starts with an idea of a riff or a body line, and two buddies in a rehearsal spot drinking a few beers and having a good time. We usually book the studio before the songs are even finished, which usually puts pressure on us - in a good way. When are you releasing the new record? Since we’re doing it all ourselves it’s kinda hard to tell. Digital release is late October, and we’ll also make a 7” vinyl of it which will be available late November if everything goes as planned. What’s the plan? The plans for the rest of the year are to play as much as possible in Sweden. We are also planning on doing yet another recording in December. So you’ll be hearing from us!
Turtleneck Dress WHYRED Coat GANT Trousers 2ND DAY
Top ACNE STUDIO Skirt MES DAMES Trousers ACNE STUDIO Socks HAPPY SOCKS Boots TIGER OF SWEDEN
Shirt GANT Scarf ETON Trousers ACNE STUDIO
Blazer TIGER OF SWEDEN Turtleneck Dress BACK Jeans CK JEANS
THE WANDS Words Kate Stockburger
Photography Al de Perez
[On their name The Wands] We didn’t have a lot of different stuff, it was just there. It wasn’t taken. Classic, basic. It looks good.
” You lie down, close your eyes, and listen intently. You start to visualize paisley-clad skeleton homesteaders, prismatic laser beams, fields of glowing wildflowers. And no, you’re not hallucinating; you’re listening to the The Wands, a psychedelic rock band from Copenhagen, Denmark. Their convoluted melodies are sure to induce altered states of consciousness, no illicit substances required.
Psychedelic song writing duo Christian Skibdal and Mads Gräs met about ten years ago now in this special kind of school in Denmark “like a boarding school.” It’s quite common for Danish kids to go to this type of “after school” when they have finished their primary education, but the experience is “heavy.” After starting to practice together at school, they went separate ways for a few years but then “we just, you know, met up, jammed and after 5 years or something we both moved to Copenhagen and started The Wands, which was the first serious project that either of us has done.” The band’s name appeared in a rather magical way. According to Christian, “it was just there. It wasn’t taken. Classic. Basic. It looks good.” They played their first show in 2012, at a friend’s house party in Copenhagen. “We have some good pictures from there,” says Mäds, “you can really see the relief and the joy that we were playing a show. We had been waiting for that for years.”
Their first album The Dawn was released in March of 2014 with the label Fuzz Club. They recorded the album in under a week; it was mixed, recorded and mastered in 10 days. “It was pretty….rough,” says Christian. […] “Did you record strictly with analog or…? Mäds: Yeah this one— Christian: It’s all analog-tape. M: Even the mixing! C: The mixing, yes, total analog. That’s awesome. C: It is awesome. It was great to try that, very expensive as well. But it’s cool it’s like doing it live. You have all these tracks running through a bunch of machines and you record to the tape player and that’s it. If you wanna do a mother mix, you have to start over. M: You can’t save it. That’s great, I prefer it much more that way. C: I think next time we’re gonna do it digital. Well, it’s a good to have put one out already that was completely analog. M: Yeah, exactly. C: It was really an important project for us. Did you do it all yourself, mixing and producing, etc? C: Produced it, I guess that’s safe to say, we didn’t mix it, but we were there.” […] Their influences range from classic 60s psychedelica to more contemporary neo-psych bands, such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Black Angels. “We listen to all kinds of music,” says Christian, “we probably started out with a lot more 60s stuff, but now its becoming much more free. Less focused on just one era.” At the time of the interview, George Harrison could be heard playing in the background, a “good Sunday record” according to Mäds.
This characteristic fuzzed out sound is intentionally crafted with choice instruments. The duo has a preference for analog and vintage gear, citing quality of sound as the selling point. “It looks better, it feels better, it sounds better. It’s nice when you have an instrument that has history, like, you have a guitar from the 60s, you don’t know where it’s been, it has all these bruises, ya know? There’s something mystic about it,” Christian revels. Mäds elaborates, “Yeah, a new instrument is actually just a piece of wood, you know? But when you play it, it becomes an instrument over time.” The resulting atmosphere of their music is one of feverish, substance-induced delusion, both in form and content. They directly reference out of body experiences in their song “The Door”, with the lyric “there’s a door in the floor, leave your body behind.” They emulate this state of consciousness; a stretching sitar seethes from a void, a reverberating drug-addled vibrato mingling with the dustiness of the snare drum. An eruption of harmonica evolves into a chaotic breakdown; I tumble into a chasm of melting guitar. The snaking sitar melody distorts and fades. I reminisce about a point that sometimes occurs during a magic mushrooms trip, when you’re coming down, and the visuals get darker, sometimes skeletal or demonic. Their track “Totem” evolves out of “The Dawn” opening with a hollow drumming. Distorted whistling, surging synths and distant rumblings ebb and flow to create the atmosphere of a twisted sacred ceremony. The track closes with a hauntingly terrifying synth-organ hybrid, conjuring images of your most feared demons in the last moment. Side note: be sure to check out their music video for The Dawn; the kaleidoscopic colour distortions will make you want to drop acid on a subway train.
What’s next for The Wands? When we spoke with them, they were “super hung over”, and rightfully so, they’re coming to the end of their European tour. Mäds is re-reading Herman Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf, and Christian just finished Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thomas. The “next frontier” is Australia, they are planning a tour there with some local musicians, and have signed with the Australian label Smack Face. Can we expect them to venture to the States? “Sooner or later,” they reply, “we’re waiting for an invitation.” They’re cooking up an EP, which they are planning to record after their upcoming tour. “We feel like an album was a lot. It’s cool just to write 4 songs and get it out there” Christian explains, as Mäds finishes his thought, “Show a new direction, build a bridge to the next album.” We can (hopefully) expect new music in the spring. I’m certainly hoping for another mind-expanding dose sooner rather than later. Lately I haven’t had the time for a proper shrooms trip, but when I do, The Wands are definitely on my playlist.
GORDON RAPHAEL Photography Ruby James
How did you get started? I basically learned how to record using tape recorders because I was very insecure about my own music and I didn’t want anybody watching me sing or make up lyrics. So I figured if I learned how to do it and no one was around I could probably make a break through and get somewhere. What were you recording with? I used a Teac 3043 or something like that which was a four-track tape recorder that ran on 1/4 inch tape and I found an infinite amount of things to do with it. You could bounce the tracks down and pile them up, it was super cool. First record you ever bought? A record called KJR All American Hits All American Stars. I started listening to this radio station in Seattle called KJR when I was 10 and there was this star DJ named Pat O’Day that compiled all the top number one’s of that year and the radio station put out their own 12” vinyl with this compilation. So, I got that and he signed it at a K-Mart in my hometown and that was the beginning of my record collection. How did you go about producing people? I was really working hard on my own music and playing in a bunch of bands and the 30th band I was in from Seattle was called Sky Cries Mary. We actually got a record deal; it was during the grunge era when every band in Seattle got a record deal. This was great, because all the other years I was struggling and I was just penniless and this was the first time I had money, like a $20 bill in my pocket every day, I could eat at restaurants and buy guitars. But still, I wanted to record my own music, I couldn’t stand the idea of listening to someone else’s music when my ideas were just filling my head. Well, a couple years later I moved to New York and my life savings basically disappeared in six months because of the prices. All my friends said well you had a good run in music, now you gotta get a job at Safeway. So right at that time a best friend of mine growing up told their band member to check me out. This girl named Pamela Laws came over to my studio and she heard my recordings and said “You think you could do that for my band?” And I said I could, but that I’d have to charge her about $25 a song. She goes “No, we’ll pay you more than that so don’t worry.” And basically that day I started my career of recording other bands. One thing led to another and band after band were coming down to record. That was 1999. A year later I met The Strokes.
Words Julian de la Celle
How did you get aquatinted with them? Because even though I was producing other bands, I still had my own band. I moved to New York with a really awesome girl singer named Anna Mercedes. I met this promoter girl Kerry Black who said that she promoted really cool club nights and she could get our band on the bill. She said “Come see the band we’re promoting tonight, they’re called The Strokes, maybe they need a producer.” There were two bands on the bill, one was called Come On and I actually liked them better than The Strokes, but I went to both bands and gave them my card and said “Hey I have a studio about a block from here, I can make really cheap demos that sound good.” Come On sounded like The Beatles or something and The Strokes looked really good, but I wasn’t really drawn to their music as much, but they called me and the other band didn’t. It was somewhere during making the first demos for them I realized that they were a pretty interesting group. Any cool stories from that recording session? I think one of the best stories was during the making of the first EP. I had worked really hard for three days and we were at the end of the 3rd day, the end of my deal with them, and they were really being picky about what they wanted in the mix and how they wanted it and I was getting tired and I was really ready to go. I thought it sounded great, but we’re at the last song, let’s say Barely Legal or something, and when things were just about ready Julian pipes in from behind me and goes “Hey, will you do me a favor?” “What?” “Turn the voice up a little bit.” And I go “Julian, listen, I’ve already been mixing this for hours, this is where the voice should go, I’m sure of it.’”And he says “aw, I kind of expected you to say that, all you recording guys, you think you know it cause you’ve been doing it for years. Yeah, well, can you do me a favor? What’s the smallest number Pro Tools goes?” I told him 1/10 of a decibel. “Okay, turn up the lead vocal 1/10 of decibel.” And I put it up the smallest amount it can go and I press the button expecting to be able to say to him “See it’s not worth it.” But instead I instantly recognize that it sounds better. Then I have a dilemma on my hand, do I admit that he was right? Or do I lie and wreck their recording a little bit? And I say “Okay, you’re right, it stays a little louder.” From that point on I didn’t question him again.
MANMADE Photography Porta Hunt
Words Julian de la Celle
[On Portland, Oregon] Sometimes after you’ve been there a while, being English, you really want someone to be an asshole to you. Everyone’s on such a great level there, it’s a beautiful place, a place that really embraces nature.
I had a chat with Nile Marr over a Skype call on one of the few days he had off from his 35-date tour last month in the UK. With an EP out this month, an album on it’s way next year, and plans for a US tour, the now 23-year-old lead singer of Man Made is excited to push forward with new material, new tour dates and new experiences.
Before Man Made was a trio with Scott Strange on bass and Callum Rogers on drums, Nile used to play the songs he’d written on his own. “I wanted to learn how to be on stage and get used to audiences and to test the songs, really.” They hadn’t known each other long before forming the group; Scott and him got together through a mutual friend at a rehearsal studio in Manchester. “I sort of went in and was like ‘is there anyone who’s good, who’s band is kind of part time?’ And my friend put me onto Scott and we played together for about a year before we started even looking for anyone else.” Then, after a year of playing as a duo, Callum came on board. “Oddly enough, Scott had a photo that Callum was in the background of! It was blurry, we couldn’t see his face, we didn’t even know if he played an instrument. We thought ‘right, that guy looks like he knows who Nirvana are, that’s good enough.’ So, Scott invited him around and we asked him what songs he wanted to play and he chose the fast one; that was the right answer.” Contrary to what people may think, Man Made enjoy playing short sets. “Being a member of the audience and seeing a band you’ve never heard of before, I think it’s important to keep the set short. It’s asking a lot of an audience, and we do a great 30 minutes.” Nile told me of a Halloween party they’re throwing at a cool spot in Manchester this year. They work with art students to put on exhibitions so that they can show off their work. They also work with film students and showcase their films throughout the night. “We just hang out and play our set, we have our friends playing, we play a load of records. It’s for charity too, so it’s always good fun. We just try to make a scene where everyone can hang out. If you don’t want to listen to house music or something you can come see a band and chill.” As often as they can, they try to work with refugee charities. “Why else would you be a band?” says Nile “What else are you supposed to do?” When asked what the bands influences were he told me they’ve been listening to the new Kurt Vile single “Pretty Pimpin” in the van a lot, but the one’s on a constant loop would be Fugazi, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, and The Broken Social Scene. “For me, growing up, they were the ones I really studied as a teenager. Everything that Kevin Drew does has been so influential to me. I like that his songs aren’t very inward. I love that he writes songs and other people sing them. They write pretty songs and I like that. As a band, we all come from a punk rock background, but you’re not gonna see me coming out and just shouting, because I like melody and pretty songs.” Nile and I had a pretty long talk about the differences of recording to tape vs digital. His idea is that he tries to avoid inorganic experiences. “You listen to early Neil Young records and there’s a connection because at no point have you had a screen in the way. We don’t have a TV, me and the Man Made guys. We don’t like screens. We’re not one of these bands that are constantly trying to hop from one Wi-Fi spot to another. But at the same time I’m not a luditte. We’re doing an interview over Skype. I have a girlfriend who lives in Portland and without technology we couldn’t feel as close as we do. With records it’s the same. It’s about appropriate technologies. We’d love to record on tape and put it straight on vinyl and not have a screen in the way, but in reality we want people to hear our music, we want to get it out there and the way of doing that is recording at home, with technology, with a small studio set up and we can get a good sound quick.We still record playing all together. There aren’t a lot of over dubs; I don’t like putting anything out that we can’t perform live as a three piece. But, I could go on about this all day…the album’s called TV Broke My Brain for god sake.”
Technology is everywhere. Walking down the street, only a few are actually taking in the environment around them while the others are taking in their Instagram likes or Facebook notifications. At concerts the audience is no longer a human being watching musicians on stage, it’s a sea of iPhones and iPads trying to record every bit of the moment. “They’re taking a picture of somewhere they weren’t, you know. As soon as you have a screen it takes you out of the moment, you break the connection. We love playing small venues and if I’m talking to an audience I won’t use a microphone because there’s no need. It draws people in, and you’re all together. You’re not playing to heads and bodies, you’re not playing to consumers. You’re talking, in a room, to people. There is a physical connection when the sound waves that you are making go from your body and into someone else and are processed and understood. I think most people go their days without thinking about how technology is stopping them, not only from being able to interact on a person to person level, but that it’s shutting down a lot of organic experiences. Because it’s convenient. And I get it, I have a phone, I do e-mails. I just think it’s important from an artist’s point that people should be thinking about it.” After discussing the troubles of technology and a world without physical connection, we stumbled upon an idea. “The generation younger than us are never going to know a sense of connection to other people. I saw an advert when I was in America on TV that was shots of young children playing with iPads and the big tag line along with the uplifting, inspirational music was something like ‘Imagine when they grow up, what their technology is going to be like, how they’ll be communicating with each other’ and I was like ‘that’s horrifying!’ This company is taking pride in building technology for these babies being glued to screens and wanting to keep it that way. It’s weird. I think you’re going to lose a lot of imagination.” His first record was Bob Dylan’s Desire. The second, Beck’s Sea Change. “They were incredible. As a very young kid, that Bob Dylan album had so much story in it, so much imagination. I mean, track one is Hurricane. Even just with that, you’ve got this epic that is musically fantastic. It wasn’t until years later that I realized why I loved backwards music and loops, it was from Sea Change. Then, as a guitar player, when I first learned how to play I just wanted to be John Martin. It was so soulful and I’d never seen anyone do anything like that with an acoustic guitar, it just blew my mind. But, now, of course, I sound nothing like John Martin!” Nile told me about his favorite live show of all time: his first Modest Mouse show. “It changed my life. They opened with Ocean Breathes Salty and it was the last time for years they played that. It was one of my favorite songs. Overnight it changed what I wanted out of music, what I thought music could do. And then the years of growing up around Modest Mouse, those guys are family, I grew up around them, I was a kid around them. I learned about who I wanted to be as a person. I’ve seen Modest Mouse affect the weather. I’ve seen them play in the desert and them making an audience react and the audience reacting to them and it creating an actual storm.” Music and alcohol are most often paired together. To Nile, the two shouldn’t be. “I think alcohol is the wrong drug for music, it’s not sensitive, music is sensitive. You’ve then created an environment where kids can’t see bands. It’s shocking to think that those experiences will be denied to young kids because someone else wants to have a drink; it’s not something I can get behind. The most important musical experiences happen when you’re 13, 14, 15, 16. We try everything we can to make sure that if there are kids that wanna see us play we will make that happen, because I see no other option. I just don’t get it. In the past we’ve just gotten kids on stage with us, but we can only do that with a hand full of people we can’t invite everyone, but there are ways around it if the band is willing to work a little bit harder. To a kid that’s gotten off the bus from school to come and see you, it’s a really big deal. You’ve gotta respect that.”
V A L B I R D p r e m i u m m o d e l s p a r i s
h a i r : y u s u k e m o r i o k a u s i n g b u m b l e & b u m b l e
g r o o m i n g : m a r i a p a p a d o p o u l o u u s i n g p r e p + p r i m e
f a s h i o n e d i t o r : l u c i a s i l v a
p h o t o g r a p h y : n u r i a r i u s
D R I V E O N
Belt XANDER ZHOU Jacket APRIL77 Scarf VINTAGE Trousers MSMG Jewelry TOPMAN
Scarf APRIL77 Jacket XANDER ZHOU Trousers TOPMAN
Jacket APRIL77 Scarf VINTAGE Jewelry TOPMAN
What made you decide to be a model? Nothing in particular, it just happened. What interests you about modeling? Good clothes and the rare chance to take ‘em home with me after a shoot. What came first, modeling or music? Definitely music, sure thing, since I was a little kid. Modeling came after, when I was done with high school. When were you first introduced to music? When I was a little boy, I used to listen to my father’s old vinyl’s with some big ‘70s headphones, then my momma got me my first guitar, an electric one! Probably about 15 years ago. What musicians are you influenced by? I love Brian Jonestown Massacre, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, this list could carry on and on..... Who are you listening to now? Lou Reed, soothes my being. Tell us a bit about your music; the style, the genre, etc. Somehow, as years went by I learned I’m not fond of a genre, I listen to all sorts of stuff, electronic music too sometimes... but of course I’ve got my favorite ones, probably people I listed above might give a vague idea. Do you have a band or is it just you and your guitar? Do you play any other instruments? At the second, it’s just me and my guitars. I play some harmonica as well. Do you remember the first record you bought? First record I bought was Beggars Banquet by The Rolling Stones. Who was the first band you went to see, and is there a concert that influenced you to begin playing yourself ? If i remember correctly it was R.E.M. back in the day. What is your writing process like? There’s not a way I can describe that.... sometimes it just happened naturally, sometimes I push myself too, sometimes feels like I may be making a good nice piece of art, sometimes it’s just shit.
Jacket APRIL77 Jewelry VINTAGE Scarf VINTAGE
Shirt GUCCI Blazzer GUCCI Necklace TOPMAN Jewelry VINTAGE
Denim APRIL 77
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