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EDITOR S IT’S BEEN A YEAR
since we put out our first issue. A lot has changed in Brooklyn, but it’s all kind of the same. When this started we had our own space in the boonies of Greenpoint, shortly thereafter, that place was taken from us by a shitty landlord and a shady eviction. We had to rebuild from that point and now we’ve grown more than I could have ever anticipated. We’re back to doing big, fun shows but this time in some of my favorite venues around town as opposed to our own venue. We have our own studio/ office/headquarters space off the Morgan stop. We used to print 1,000 copies, but that wasn’t enough so now we’re onto 2,000 copies. The state of art and music in Brooklyn currently is the best it’s been since I’ve been here. Everyone I know is at the top of their game right now. Live shows are more fun than they’ve ever been. Bushwick Open Studios was a treasure trove of talent that I’d not been exposed to yet both visually and musically.
LETTER This issue is such an eclectic mix of everything I’m into right now. From the chip tuned pop-punk of Anamanaguchi to the amazing new Big Star documentary all the way down to the weird comics that Alex and Kramer from Lunchbox make. When putting this issue together I figured if we’re going to make a one year anniversary issue then we should go a bit nuts with it, I think we succeeded in going nuts. The problem is, now that we’ve taken it to this level, I can’t see it dropping back down to anything less than this. Here is issue six, it’s been a long time coming from concept to what you hold in your hand right now. I hope you dig it as much as I do. If you think it sucks, keep that to yourself because you’re wrong.
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TEAM ISSUE 6 1ST ANNIVERSARY
EDITOR IN CHIEF/
PHOTOGRAPHER ASSOCIATE EDITOR/TITLES/ILLUSTRATOR LAYOUT DESIGN ILLUSTRATOR/PIXEL ART WRITERS
BRANDON JOHNSON DANIELLE LEE KEVIN LI JILLIAN BILLARD ASHLEY CANINO ILEANA LITTLE LEAH LOVECAT ANDREW ALEXANDER PRIETO GWEN RODGERSON MATT KRAMER ELLIE FALLON
CONTACT email@example.com facebook.com/gigawattsmag instagram @gigwattsmag 2
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contents ART ALEX DINSMORE & MATT KRAMER
BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME
DEAD SEXY SHEILA
LOST BOY ?
ISLAND IN THE SUN
mens fashion womens fashion
BROOKLYN EXCHANGE PROGRAM POLAROIDS
1.21 GIGAWATTS MIXTAPE & STUFF WE’RE LISTENING TO
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Alex Dinsmore & Matt Kramer
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BIG STAR: Nothing Can Hurt Me the documentary
"The challenge for us is to bring in some of the uninitiated."
Those are the words of Drew DeNicola, Brooklyn-based director of the new documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, but also a thought shared amongst many Big Star fans. Big Star was a band that didn’t receive the recognition they deserved until decades after the group disbanded, and even now Big Star is a band with a cult following of mostly musicians and hardcore music fans. #1 Record was released in the spring of 1972 on Ardent Records and by 1974 the
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band had broken up after recording but before the release of THIRD/Sister Lovers. The original Big Star lineup consisted of frontman Alex Chilton, guitarist Chris Bell, bassist Andy Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens, but by the time they recorded THIRD/Sister Lovers only Chilton and Stephens remained. DeNicola along with co-director Olivia Mori and producer Danielle McCarthy are attempting to tell the story of a band that the world overlooked. The project originally began in 2007 when McCarthy along with her brother and a friend shot some DV footage, then the project went stagnant until 2009 when DeNicola met McCarthy who was looking to raise money to finish the film. A
Kickstarter followed and that allowed the small crew leave Brooklyn and head down to Memphis to shoot for a couple months. The filmmakers’ challenge was to tell a story about a band that has had such a huge impact on so many people, but wasn’t really around for that long. As far as film goes, there wasn’t much source material to work with from the 1970s. "Ardent had 20 minutes of 16mm of the band rehearsing and recording and then we got a few things here and there but not much," said DeNicola, but they found a solution, "We supplemented this with some motion graphics sequences but really just leaned on the immense collection of photography from the many
friends and family members. And the quality was really high because so many of these friends were good photographers— some professional and not just William Eggleston." Another challenge facing the filmmakers, it wasn’t always easy to get people that were involved with the band and in Memphis at the time to get involved in the film. "There was a certain amount of skepticism—I believe I heard the term "carpetbagger" a few times. But the main issue was that this story was way more personal than any of us realized. And the pain was still palpable for many. Alex had just passed and he hadn’t left everyone on the best terms--he could be a cantankerous motherfucker. And Chris Bell’s death affected everyone in a very deep way." Before Chilton’s passing in the spring of 2010, DeNicola and McCarthy met up with him after a show in New Jersey. They talked over a round of drinks and whenever DeNicola tried to bring up the documentary in conversation he was met with Chilton’s answer of, "it’s not the sort of thing that I’m inclined to do."
With Chilton’s death in spring of 2010, Andy Hummel passing away four months after and Chris Bell having passed away in 1974, it left the filmmakers with a lack of resources. "Alex Chilton was gone. But we instead used some wonderful audio interviews that were perhaps even better than what we would have gotten from him on camera. The informal narrator I had in mind was legendary Memphis musician and producer, Jim Dickinson who played with everyone from The Stones to Aretha Franklin, to Spiritualized." But despite not having most of the band available, their label/studio, Ardent, stepped up to help out the filmmakers fill in the gaps. It also provided the filmmakers a place for the whole story to revolve around. "This scene of kids were given this incredible access to one of the most advanced recording studios in the Mid-South—there would never have been a Big Star without Ardent. We in turn were given that same treatment. I was there every day shooting. We pulled the original master tapes out, played the mellotron, the Hi-Watt amp,
Chris Bell’s Gibson 330. Ardent is one of the few studios out there that has held on to all the vintage equipment. And when it came time to look for photos, old records, track sheets, there were multiple trunks of stuff to sift through." Now that Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is finished, DeNicola plans to take some time off from documentary filmmaking to collect himself. "I was really privileged to have this opportunity but it was pretty overwhelming. Documentaries take a long time to make. I do have another project I started back in 2005 about black radio DJs from the 50’s and 60’s. It’s the story of how they brought black culture to the mainstream and used their power in the Civil Rights struggle—another behemoth project." Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is out in theatres this summer, more specifically at the IFC Center here in New York.
words by danny krug
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES
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titles top two bushes, hollow bush bottom puddle bush, little tree, three bushes
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Val Ocampo words by preston ossman
Val Ocampo, originally from Lowville, NY, was formally trained in design at Pratt and SAIC. Presently, however, Ocampo spends the majority of his free time and energy dedicated to painting in his Bushwick studio. Although it sounds impossibly romantic, Ocampo began painting in 2009 after meeting a girl. He would watch her paint for hours, compelling him to pick the brush up for himself. Although her practice influenced his regimen as a painter, his evolving technique differs from her more formal style. He describes his work as contemporary figural painting, drawing influence from late 19th and early 20th century impressionism. Nevertheless, his work departs from this movement in terms of both technique and the subject matter. Ocampo uses timeless visual language to create work riddled with equal parts mystery, romance, and astute cultural critique. His technique is just as gestural as it is structural and refined, creating an exciting juxtaposition. Ocampo is unhindered by the conventions of academia, but works within a tradition of figurative painters. He is currently working on a series of paintings involving bushes. check out more artwork at valocampo.com
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words by andrew alexander prieto photography by danny krug
seat and it’s hard to wonder why it’s never happened before. The band immediately became a personal outlet for the frontman as the band vividly, and quite naturally fell into their crowd-pleasing sound.
othing sang out the fact that punk is dead better than this years MET exhibit: Chaos to Couture. The city scene crawls with imitators. Unauthentic teens living off their parents wealthgoing out of their way to dress and act out their personal impressions of what it means to be punk; while coming home to beautiful Williamsburg apartments laced in expensive decor, the commercialized snapshot of a movement that based itself in the reality suck, the quandary of the outcast. This is not true of all, though those who would more closely embody the ideals of the punk movement in the modern age scoff at the label- to them punk never had a name except to those who could not fully understand it. Heeney is not punk. It’s not hardcore. It’s not shitgaze or any of the other Bandcamp tags boasted. What it is, is Mark Fletcher and Max Kagan getting naked and screaming at you while Scott Andrews and John Spencer hold it down as the band’s rhythm section. It’s like the guy who goes to the top of the mountain to curse out all the people in his life he’s too chickenshit to tell off, except on stage. And, on stage is on stage, because apart from the satirical ‘New York City’ there isn’t any other way to identify with them digitally. Sitting outside of one of their most recent shows, the Gigawatts Issue 5 Release Party, the band described their music as "a desperate stab at humanity. . . with an alcoholic influence." There’s a true
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desperation that comes across with their deeply rooted fears of not being good enough, at anything. Fortunately for them it’s this inner struggle that drives passion into their music and fuels them with the fire to keep playing. You can sum up their live performance in two words. They rock. And I don’t mean "they rock" in the way people say the Foo Fighters rock. I mean it in the way that GG Allin rocked. Dynamically the band is the brainchild of firstly Kagan, secondly Fletcher. It’s the first time Max has been put in the driver’s
The name Heeney comes from Sean Heaney who receives extreme praise from the band along side the entire Shea Stadium crew, most specifically, Adam Reich, who’s been described by Fletcher as a mentor and older brother. "I don’t think I’d still be making music if Adam hadn’t been a part of my life." said Fletcher in a phone conversation. The venue has always played a large roll in his history as a musician; from hosting his nowextinct monthly party, Personality Crisis, to having a firm hand in the refinement of the band SHAPES. They’ve recently finished their EPwhich will come out sometime this summer. Tracks will include: Wretched Process, New York City, and My Poor Rotten Lungs. Keep an eye out as well for their upcoming full length, Colorado.
One may expect a toned down version in reality, but Adam Kane’s interview answers read just like the @LIL_KIDS_ feed, with a few more characters. All caps and full of unexpected twists on the banal, the personality before fans feels to be the right combination of sincere and ridiculous. On stage, bare-chested, sweating, chugging a cheap beer Lil Kids delivers rhymes that are self-conscious and relatable. Even when rapping about the grandiose and far from reality, the lyrics always nod at the truth of being a 20-something white, indie rapper from Virginia.
GOOGLE "LIL KIDS" and you will
find a slew of buzzy articles fixated on Adam Kane’s young age and strangeness, a link to the psychedelic video for "Coitus Interruptus" off of his blogosphere favorite Young Hercules EP, and a chart breaking down Lil Wayne’s family tree (bonus!). The online snapshot of the artist is a little weird, but the internet tends to force an image.
On his latest mixtape, Dead Ass, Adam Kane approaches the common aspirations of hip hop elite (bedding hot women with fat asses on the regular in most songs) and common folk problems (STDs in “Floozy”). The duality pervades all of his output and the consistency prompts a question…How much of Lil Kids is Adam Kane and vice versa? "The name fits like an Isotoner glove—the same kind my grandma still wears,” he says. “I’m slowly becoming more Lil Kids and less myself. Lil Kids is the real me. Adam Kane is who society forces me to be.” The identity shift is apparent in how Lil Kids material comes about. When collaborating with producer Lopato (Nick Adams) on prior releases, Adam would
freestyle and write over prepared beats. Nick has noticed how the process for the pair has evolved. “Now we record more instruments and that’s led to [Adam] taking a more active role in some of the beats. A few [of the songs on Dead Ass], like “Strawberry Coffin” and “Overloaded”, he basically wrote and recorded and then I mixed it. What hasn’t changed are the trueto-form, straight up sample beats that we still like to have.” Changing working relationship aside, Lil Kids is often taken to refer to Adam and Nick as a duo. Lopato beats undoubtedly anchor Lil Kids daydream lyrics and build out the duality of hip hop and hipster. Adam sees the dynamic between the two as…magical: we both have opposite pieces to the golden amulet that when assembled creates a gummi pyramid the size of the marianas trench and shoots lazers[sic] everywhere and blasts psy trance.” Whatever other worldly energy fuels the two to create the unique sound of Lil Kids, they have much more material on hand and are likely to drop another mixtape in 2013. A true tour is an if possible,”but local shows are definite.
words by ashley canino photography by danny krug
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words by jillian billard photography by danny krug
L unchbox is Brooklyn’s self-proclaimed "shit-rock band." However, this genre, despite its endearing hilarity—doesn’t do them much justice. My first exposure to Lunchbox was at a gig at The Flat. The band’s sound is highly unique—an intense fusion of noise-rock-poetry. And this is no mistake—because singer Matt Kramer is as much writer as musician. He writes poetry and fiction along with the tunes, but prefers writing music for its affect and inherent completion, whereas fiction is open-ended. Lunchbox is composed of five members, all Skidmore grads: Matt Kramer on vocals, Mattie Siegal on drums, Dave Susman and Alex Dinsmore on guitar, and Jake Considine on bass. Matt, Dave, and Alex started playing together about five years ago while they were at school. It was then that they came up with the name Lunchbox. "We don’t really know how we came up with the name," says Matt, "but we liked it and it stuck." Matt
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originally played bass, and Dave and Alex played guitar. Though he’s switched to vocals since Jake joined the band, he still writes the tunes by first laying down a bass line and vocals, and filling in over that. After graduating they all moved to New York for one reason or another—and met up by chance. The original trio added Jake and Mattie once they started jamming in Brooklyn. "We wanted a girl drummer,"says Matt, "but that’s not the reason we chose Mattie. She just happens to be a girl." And I can firmly attest to the fact that she rocks mega hard on the drums. More recently the band has been creating music with more "noise-rock-pop" vibes. Their influences include Ty Segall, the Velvet Underground, Fiery Furnaces, The Black Lips, Daniel Johnston, Pixies and Sonic Youth. They’ve started recording some tunes, three of which are finished, so look out for them as they come out. The band recently hit up South by Southwest with friends Sharkmuffin, Hippy and Haybaby. They also played a sick show in Harrisonburg with the band Surfing. Since their travels they’ve been playing shows every weekend.
hen I was a kid every spring break my mom would take me on vacation. We would always go to one of those all inclusive resorts down in the caribbean where I’d sit by the pool all day and fill my belly with infinite virgin daiquiris at the swim up pool bar. We weren’t rich by any means, but mother always believed we deserved a break from our ho hum lives in Maine and no matter what the cost every spring I would find myself at one of this over the top insulated resorts in Caribbean, in Costa Rica, or the Dominican Republic. The first trip we went on was to DR and probably not too far away from my protected beach paradise another Grand Resort was beginning to form. Andrés M. Pichardo, lead singer of the synth sensation Grand Resort, was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. From an early age Andrés always had a passion for music and by eighteen he knew there was only one place for his passion to develop. In 2009 Andrés moved from DR to the States, starting his search in Boston,
Mass. He spent a few years in Boston but as many of us know, the Boston scene, like the city, is spread out and hard to find. It was about two years before Andrés found the players in the Boston scene when his first released song was picked up by Boston music magazine the Phoenix. "I spent from September 2009 until to February 2012 and to be honest I wasn’t an outcast but I didn’t make any friends. It wasn’t ‘til the end, a month before I moved, I released my first song, and the Phoenix picked up on it and that’s when I started meeting people". . . Over the three years Andrés never really got into the scene but he did find some similar souls who joined Andrés to form his first American band. In February 2012 Andrés made the trip that many American bands make, and headed to New York City. Over the past year, Grand Resort has solidified themselves as a true Brooklyn band, playing all over Brooklyn and recently gardening the attention of blogs and music magazines. Andrés is the heart and soul of Grand Resort writing all
the songs and delivering the lead vocals. After putting out a bunch of EPs the sound has matured and the concept is sorta changing. "It’s not different, it’s a little more keyboard based. It’s still the essence," says Andrés, "but it’s just a different way of writing songs and incoparating the synth sounds. The older songs were written on guitars so it was basically guitar based songs and the new songs are more synth driven. It’s still pretty poppy but now there’s a darkness and the guitars are more in the background." This summer Andrés is headed back to the Dominican Republic where he has rented out a music studio for 5 days. There he will tap into the peace and tranquility of his home, and tap back into that power that once inspired him to come to America to start a band. He plans on using the five days to develop his next album. In the meantime, Grand Resort is releasing a five song EP titled Memory Loss, look for that this summer. words by matt kramer photography by danny krug
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ead Sexy Sheila’s persona can be summed up pretty well in a cartoon show the band came up with a while ago based on their lives. Scott Lechner, who plays guitar and sings, was a floating acid guru, Troy Odell, on bass and vox, was the mad scientist, and drummer ET was the Andrew WK prototype, party monster guy. They each fit the part perfectly, and they each add their own personal skills and charisma to this Bushwick-based psych-punk group that anyone who likes grunge, punk, and good music should be listening to. Loud, raw, and primal are words that come to mind when listening to Dead Sexy Sheila. The band talks about the importance of having fun, and how they are not about big labels or "making it." "None of the bands I like are terribly successful anyway," Scott says and Troy adds, "It’s really great in this band because there is none of that pressure, you know. It’s all shits and giggles. As soon as it becomes not fun, I think that’s when you probably suck." In live shows,
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they are "always looking to do something different and weird to stand out," aspiring to be "a little harder, a little faster, a little louder than everyone else." Dead Sexy Sheila are truly DIY, creating their own merchandise, booking their own shows, and functioning as their own managers. For their latest EP Death Bat Flies Again, which was released online in February, and more recently on cassette, they were recorded live by a friend in one day in a concrete, grungy, Brooklyn basement and spent little time in the studio. The EP is a fun, genre-shifting listen, with gems like "C’Mon Baby, Do Drugs With Me," a slower, kind of sweet, song that will no doubt make you want to do drugs with the band, and the title track, which is a gritty, darker tune with fast bass and low-key singing that is reminiscent of both classic rock and early punk bands. The imagery in Dead Sexy Sheila’s songs tends to be more vivid and organic. "We’re essentially telling stories, but it’s almost
like stream of consciousness," Troy attests. Another important aspect for the band’s music-making is that they don’t just stick to one genre. Scott says, "Something that’s a real killer with bands is when the band has a sound when they release something and they feel like they have to stick with that sound, and then write songs that sound contrived." They talk about their wealth of different backgrounds, and the variety of songs in the EP, as well as in their new material (they are even working on a country song for the next release). Next up for Dead Sexy Sheila is an official release party for Death Bat Flies Again. In planning this, Troy says they are "dealing with the changing face of Bushwick while making it a blowout." They are talking about having the show at local stomping grounds, The Lone Wolf in Bushwick. words by gwen rodgerson photography by danny krug
words by leah lovecat photography by danny krug
RELATIVELY A NEWLY FORMED ACT, HONDURAS is made up of 4 gentleman, Patrick Phillips, Tyson Moore, Nicholas Atria and Josh Wehle. Influenced by Television, Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones, these boys are bringing rock and roll back to Brooklyn. No. Scratch that. They’re bringing rock and roll back. Period. They have a sort of old school mentality in the sense that it’s all about the music. With the ever diminishing attention span of today’s youth, Honduras hope to turn their eyes away from their smart phones and towards what’s happening right in front of them. "Our band is power, we approach every show as a competition", states frontman Patrick Phillips. While it seems most bands in the scene are all about the overindulgence of their music, Honduras make sure to keep their music more on the natural and organic side. Having already released an EP, Honduras already have plans to record again and to make their next better than their last. Having been a fan of their first release, it almost seems impossible for improvement
but I guess, as they say, there is always room for it. This time around, they’re looking to record a more raw sounding album, stripping everything down to the bare minimum. As far as song writing goes, Honduras’ songs are not meant for you to sit and decipher. It’s such a refreshing quality. Sure, some of their songs may have personal meaning but its not like you’re scratching your head as to what’s being presented. For the most part, its already right there in front of you. They have taken the guess work out of song listening. Patrick, Tyson, Nicholas and Josh have all made it very clear that this next piece of their puzzle is an important one. In their words "its all about catching a musical moment". Its a simple statement but it holds so much truth and weight. This is a band whose members aren’t starry eyed with the nightlife of the city. They’re just a few years older than their peers and that
extra bit of experience makes the difference. "We hate our jobs but we all have bills to pay" says Moore in a calm, cool tone. Sure, everyone hates their jobs but they use this to their advantage. Instead of wallowing around and complaining, they’re looking to change things. They use this as motivation to make their music better, to succeed in the industry they all love so much. Music is what they have. It’s what they eat, live and breathe and they’re all more than ready to give it their all.
& photography by danny krug
a cluttered room down in the basement of Big Snow, three of the four members of Lost Boy ? are huddled around an iPhone debating one of the most ridiculous and unrelated interview questions ever asked for this publication, "Blur or My Bloody Valentine?" Frontman and the aforementioned Lost Boy, Davey, is firmly in the Blur camp. Anyone who talks to Davey for longer than ten minutes would know this about him though. RJ is firmly on team MBV and has endless ammo to back up his decision. That leaves drummer, Matt Gaffney (referred to as just Gaffney from here on out) as the wild card. He goes with Blur in the end, but everyone agrees that this is generally a dumb comparison. It’s moments like this where its possible to see what makes Lost Boy ? work as well as it does. Lost Boy ? is the long time project and sometimes pseudonym of Davey Jones and started as a bedroom recording project similar to his idol, Daniel Johnston (who he got to play with at SXSW this year). Davey has succeeded in surrounding himself with a diverse and amazingly talented group of musicians with Ryan, Gaffney and RJ. Together they make music that is simultaneously fun, danceable and somewhat child-like on the surface while retaining meaning and a rarely seen level of musical cohesion amongst the members. Everyone in the band is seemingly having the time of their lives on stage no matter what venue
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they’re playing, what day of the week it is or whether they’re playing first or headlining. Lost Boy ? practices that Brooklyn musical "incest" that is a common theme in the scene here. Every single member in the band are in other bands including Le Rug, Baked, TOONS, Rumors and Leapling. Talking about the sharing of members Davey jokes "Hopefully we don’t become like Linkin Park and Stone Temple Pilots." Lost Boy ? is genuine. Every member has been doing this long enough that there’s no bullshit. Davey and the band believe in what they’re singing and playing. There are no egos, no outlandish demands, none of that. Lost Boy ? is the perfect example of Brooklyn DIY. Like every band, Lost Boy ?’s current plan is make record, shop record, tour record. To someone not involved in the Brooklyn scene, Lost Boy ? is that hidden gem that’s been around for what seems like forever. They’re not in the position that bands like The So So Glos are in right now, but they’re ready to be there. Lost Boy ? is writing as a band for the first time since the project’s inception with Davey demoing tracks and bringing them to the band to flesh out into full songs. The songs are there, some of Brooklyn’s best musicians are involved, expect Lost Boy ?’s next record to make a splash in the music scene both locally and everywhere else.
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words by gwen rodgerson photographs by danny krug
ON CHAPPO’S RECENT TOUR O F T H E U N I T E D S TAT E S , guitarist and lead singer Alex Chappo’s eyeball was burned by battery acid that had leaked from his megaphone. Only days before, he’d been talking with someone at one of their shows in Austin, who had driven for quite awhile just to see the band, and it turned out the guy had a glass eye. He said it had been shot out when he was six and that it creeped a lot of people out. He took it out and Alex got to hold the glass eyeball. Fortunately Alex didn’t have to get a glass eyeball, but this event was certainly an omen. This story exemplifies CHAPPO’s strange psychedelia pretty well, which Alex describes as a "voyeur into a parallel universe and cats with bloody robot arms hanging from their mouths." Psych-rock band CHAPPO’s other members include David Feddock on guitar, Chris Olsen on keys, and Zac Colwell on drums. In songs like "Nomad" from debut Moonwater’s B-sides, Alex sings lyrics with strange, psychedelic imagery, over danceable, robotic beats, drawing the listener into CHAPPO’s constructed dream world, which is pretty characteristic of their music. CHAPPO’s songs are all based on a science fiction story in Alex’s mind. The new album for instance, is about a guy who’s traveling to a black hole that people
think might be able to communicate with a parallel world. The parallel world is erupted with giant volcanoes and the inhabitants are trying to figure out a way to salvage humanity. As the protagonist’s journey gets closer to the black hole, alone in his spaceship, time and his sense of reality gets weirder and weirder the further he gets away from home. I ask Alex how he translates such an elaborate concept into something so abstract as a song, and he explains how you have an idea and it explodes out in every direction and you take the pieces and try to put them back together and figure out the sequence. He says, "It’s not linear at all, everything’s happening at the same time and the story and the music all sort of twists itself together." Past records have included a story of a shape-shifter who falls in love with an underwater sea siren (that’s the second EP Plastique Universe II: Pisces Princess), while the first was about sci-fi bandits in outer space who wreak havoc on their doppelgangers. At one point the band mentions their role as "space cowboys," which is perfectly fitting about their songwriting, Alex says, "Everything’s a little subversive. If I hear something and it sounds a little like a pop song, you make the lyrics really weird and it makes it interesting." It’s pretty clear that CHAPPO’s songwriting is driven by a great
imagination, something that translates seamlessly into their live performances. I first saw CHAPPO last fall at 171 Lombardy for a Gigawatts party. What I remember from the show is a band whose lead singer was wearing angel wings and climbing on the rafters and I had pictures and an empty silver confetti shooter as proof of this extravagant performance the next day. After this experience, I was excited to see what CHAPPO had in store for yet another Gigawatts party, this time at 285 Kent. They didn’t disappoint, with intense colorful lightning (controlled by Alex from the stage), a reflective disk suspended from the ceiling on which images were projected, and plenty of confetti shot onto the floor. At the end of the show, the audience created a circle inside of which Alex chanted and passed around a giant dream-catcher. Alex says, "It makes a big difference when we’re in a small place and we can do our own thing and bring the audience into it." The band try to be as funky and DIY as they can get, and they are ambitious in that, believing their shows should be something that’s memorable, whether you liked it or not (like getting battery acid in your eye). While their recordings don’t disappoint either, CHAPPO are really something to catch live.
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words by ellie fallon photo by jay sprogell artwork by brandon elijah johnson
"TODAY I SAW A VERY WRINKLY MAN OUTSIDE CHEWING ON SOMETHING AND IT LOOKED EXHAUSTING BUT HE WAS REALLY INTO IT. THAT WAS VERY INSPIRING," said Nick Koenig, perhaps better known as Hot Sugar, a Manhattan-based musician, producer and Associative Music expert. Having been honing his craft since the age of thirteen, Koenig gives sampling a whole new meaning. "I like to record non-instrumental sounds and manipulate them until they sound like familiar instruments," he elaborates. The movement is referred to as Associative music, which is "a style of music that evokes those developed emotional and physical reactions to sound in tandem with the power of melody and rhythm," reads the Comic Sans-laden website written by Koenig himself. Basically, instead of taking from other artists, he records everyday noises and sounds that we wouldn’t normally view as means to make music, then distorts and manipulates them into more comprehensible compositions. Koenig spoke of his background with music as fairly meaningless until he started recording. He took piano lessons as a child, but didn’t really enjoy them or learn much outside of the repetitive and monotonous songs he’d play for months at a time. And in middle school, there was the hobby of guitar, complete with tabs aplenty, but "My life changed the first time I recorded something. It was like sound didn’t mean anything until it was captured and preserved," Koenig said. Ever since, he’s sampled a very eclectic mix of things ranging from a human skull cracking to a white rat (named Sarah Michelle Gellar, RIP) chewing on a Budweiser can
or scrambling across piano keys. Part of what is truly remarkable about Koenig’s music is its ability to introduce a process that’s unconventional and experimental, and transform it into sounds that are likeable and not so "avant-garde" as to mark them as unrelatable. Something about his instrumental tracks, particularly his demo "And the walls came tumbling down" is reminiscent of the passing of time with its bittersweet and haunting piano tone—and so it was asked: If you could be born in any century, when would it be? "Definitely the future. The past sucked. If we lived even less than a lifespan ago, half my friends wouldn’t be legally allowed to drink from the same water fountain as me (or way worse than that). Even now, half my friends aren’t allowed to get married to each other. All of my heroes throughout history have been persecuted by idiots in their society for reasons that sound absurd centuries later. Galileo was exiled and forbidden to leave his house (until death) just because he said the Earth revolved around the Sun. We keep learning new things and even though humanity will always include cowardly haters, the future is giving us more ammo to shut haters down. Also, the future will definitely include space travel and that will be exciting." This was followed by questioning his beliefs on astrology, as its semi-related to the early 2000s gif and galaxyridden state of his Tumblr and website, where he is steadfastly becoming a wellknown Internet persona:
"I feel like I can relate to the horoscope readings of every single sign, so that means either it’s all wrong or it’s all right (or it means I’m every person, always, all the time?). I like stars and moons though. I hope that when I die my body dust floats up into the sky and travels to different stars." Koenig’s latest EP, Midi Murder, which also serves as part three of his "MM" pentalogy, is the seven-song sneak preview of his debut LP. With it, he brings in an impressive lineup of rappers including Big Baby Gandhi, Heems, YC the Cynic, and Aaron Livingston. He shows his true associative nature on "Rat City" which features the, appropriately toned down and disguised heartbeat of the aforementioned pet rat (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as the drum beat. The song "Leverage", referred to as "brooding and cavernous" by MTV Hive, features the illustrious rosterof Kool A.D. of Das Racist, Children of the Night’s Nasty Nigel, Houston’s Fat Tony, and Lakutis of Greedhead. The LP should drop soon, but until then, give his other EPs a listen on Bandcamp. Also take in Hot Sugar’s parting words of wisdom on the magic formula to success: "Stop caring about success (either that or set hilariously attainable goals)".
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words by ileana little photographs by danny krug illustration by kevin li
LISTENING TO ANAMANAGUCHI FOR THE FIRST TIME IS QUITE THE EXPERIENCE.
Sure there are chiptune bands, like YMCK or Mad Kit, but Anamanaguchi goes beyond that. Anamanaguchi, a four-piece pop punk/ indie rock band, combines 8-bit and 16-bit sounds, with low technology and digital raw sounds from old NES games to make fun music that seeps into a plethora of genres. I first met them in SXSW and then at Newtown Radio about a month later. We decided to meet up later that evening for a photoshoot and interview. They were photographed against a white wall bordering Starbucks across from an SVA building. I spoke with them as they were taking turns in front of the camera. I began with Peter Berkman, the lead guitarist. We tested out my fancy recording equipment (my broken iPhone) with a simple question, "What’s your favorite fruit?" "Uh, definitely avocado. That’s a fruit, isn’t it?," he responded. It is and we were ready to get to the bottom of Anamanaguchi. Pete and James DeVito both grew up in Chappaqua, New York while Ary Warnaar and Luke Silas hail from Los Angeles. Pete talked about how not only video games were an integral part of his childhood, but also the internet. He describes his experience as "super hardcore" and explains that he
would stay up all night on message boards and websites when he was only 10. Pete and James went to high school together, but weren’t close friends until they were in the music technology program at New York University. James was playing a lot of garage-punk and dance-punk during this time, which was labeled as the dance-punk craze. They eventually started a band and soon befriended Ary who was in the same program as them. They wrap up the photo shoot and we all make our way to a bagel spot across the street. Pete grabs a drink and I move onto the others for a bit. Despite the fact that Ary and Luke are both from Los Angeles, they weren’t in the same social circles. Luke grew up in a variety of bands, "but also really enjoyed video games and the whole sound pallet of videogame hardware." He made his own electronic music in high school and was ecstatic when he discovered (through message boards and sharing music) that he could eventually make those sounds using hardware. Luke joined Anamanaguchi via a MySpace message between himself and Pete. They had played a show in LA and when they were invited to come back to the same show a year later, they didn’t have a drummer. Luke sent a message asking if he could give a shot at drumming in the band. He ended up
knowing the songs better than Pete did. They played the house show and the next night at Check Yo Ponytail with Men. They played a couple more shows together and convinced Luke to move to New York. The influences behind Anamanaguchi are extremely eclectic. Ary recalls his friend’s babysitter playing a Daft Punk album when he was 14. He was not only into dance music, but punk-metal and progressive rock as well. On Fridays he’d go to a rave and Saturday he’d go to a punk show. He says he always liked both worlds and feels that being in Anamanaguchi allows him "to maintain elements from each one to an extent." They consider their band as an "amalgamation of all of their influences that are just completely all over the place." Pete goes on about how he loves punk, dance, funk, soul, and classical music and how not being tied down to a specific genre is the most real way to express themselves. "By not tying yourself to a genre," he explains, "it allows yourself to to play with other people who are weird in their own ways." He mentions that Kitty Pride and Pictureplane are two artists who have a hold on this concept—"the only way to describe it [the music] is by saying the artist." Anamanaguchi just released their second album, Endless Fantasy, this May. The ISSU E 6
multi-genre, 22-track album took three years to record. Because they had set serious deadlines for the album, they spent their final days before SXSW mastering the record at all hours on very little sleep. To them, SXSW was like a vacation, but over the summer they’re going on tour "for realsies." The first leg of their tour was from May 16th to June 11th with Pictureplane and then Chrome Sparks. That tour traveled throughout Canada and the East Coast. After that they traveled to Korea for Ultra Music Festival with Perfume, a J-Pop girl group. They continue the tour in the US starting July 11th through the beginning of August with Kitty Pride. Along with the album (which was successfully recorded without help from any label), they launched a Kickstarter in order to fund their project to "make Endless Fantasy more than an album." Their goal of $50,000 was well surpassed within a week with the final amount raised coming in at over $275,000. "We’d rather have our fans be our record label than record labels be our record label," Ary explains in the Kickstarter video. Without the restrictions of a label, but the funds of one, they’ll be able to properly facilitate not only business needs, like public relations and marketing, but the creative aspects as well, like making awesome music videos, merchandise and collaborating with other producers and artists. Depending on how much money a backer donates, they’ll be compensated with a range of prizes from MP3 downloads to the album to a workshop on how to make chiptune music and more. As we wrap things up, I ask James who the two cameramen following them around are. They’ve been filming Anamanaguchi throughout the interview and photoshoot. All he knows is that they’re from a website called Polygon, that focuses on video games. We joke around about how they’re reality TV stars while the others mimic Rihanna’s ‘Live Your Life’ playing in the background. Anamanaguchi is definitely one of the most innovative and quirky bands out there today.
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SUMMER VIBES styling by amber simiriglia photography by danny krug model laurence
Alexander McQueen jacket American Rag t-shirt TOPMAN shorts
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Siv Stoldal jacket ONLY NY t-shirt GANT shorts
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styling by amber simiriglia photography by danny krug hair and makeup by christyna kay models kaleigh cohen & anna edwards
ON ANNA (left) Marissa Webb top and shorts Osklen shoes Verameat cuff ON KALEIGH (right) Suzanne Rae shirt and pants Osklen shoes Verameat ring
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ON KALEIGH (left) Osklen crop top and pants Verameat ring ON ANNA (right) Osklen tropical flower dress
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ON ANNA (left) Mara Hoffman shirt and pants Made Her Think skull necklace ON KALEIGH (right) Dhella jacket and shorts
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ON KALEIGH (left) Osklen dress Verameat necklace and cuff ON ANNA (right) Osklen leotard and shorts Verameat necklace
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BROOKLYN EXCHANGE PROGRAM Gigawatts, along with Boston-based music blog Allston Pudding, started up a new sh ow series called the Brooklyn Exchange Program. We take two bands from Brooklyn and two bands from Boston, then we put tog ether a show in each cit bands. Here are some y featuring all four polaroids from Dann yâ€™s trip up to Boston with ADVAETA and ba ck to Brooklyn with Isl and Twins.
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mixtape vol. 5 Listen online or download your free copy at gigawattsmag.com
Castle Face & Friends The Velvet Underground and Nico
shamp-poo - S/T
stuff we’re listening to Turnip King - Moon Landing?
Wyatt Blair - Banana Cream Dream
WANT YOUR BAND FEATURED IN 1.21 GIGS? WANNA SAY WHAT’S UP TO THE PEOPLE OF THE MAG? SHOOT US AN E-MAIL AT GIGAWATTSMAG@GMAIL.COM ADD US ON FACEBOOK.COM/GIGAWATTSMAG FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @GIGAWATTSMAG
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Issue Six of 1.21 Gigawatts features Anamanaguchi, Hot Sugar, CHAPPO, Lost Boy ? and more.