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welcome to hooligan mag

issue four Celebrate the work and the talent of your peers and artists around the world. We're dedicated to bringing you a monthly webzine that showcases the authentic hard-working entrepreneurs and artists that inspire us every day. TO ALL THE HARDWORKING ARTISTS, THANK YOU. and a very special thanks to korri lacalamita for this incredible piece.


#4 hooligan mag 6 NO ZODIAC 10 BUNNY MIELE ILLUSTRATIONS 18 the HAUNTED MIKE gaertner 22 SARAH JO 24 HEALTHY LIVING COLUMN 32 escaping loneliness series


our team


by lanre adetola 36 this i believe 40 the journey of an indpendent artist 44 our top 10 favorite music festivals 54 spilled ink

How did you come together as a band? We started in 2009 as a joke in a garage, and things eventually just started getting more serious; we started playing some shows and recording some stuff… and that was a really long time ago, five years ago now, and now we’re here.

What’s the Chicago scene like? The local scene’s great right now. We’ve got a bunch of bands coming up- No Regrets, Mal Intent, Bitter Thoughts. We’ve been seeing more and more kids coming out to shows in the past couple of years, and we’re looking forward to all these younger bands coming out and putting Chicago back on the map. Everybody’s supporting each other and doing what’s best, everybody’s going to shows all the time for all of our friends. We are running low on venues, though, that’s the downfall of everything. It’s very select when it comes to venues for bands to play, because we really have three at the most.

What makes your band different than others? How would you describe your sound? We are a metal band with metal and hardcore influences. We all love hardcore but have our own metal influences come in to make everything we do a little bit different. We have different elements of death metal, slam, and then lots of hardcore is what we’ve all grown up on, and lots of old school death metal.

NO ZODI What was it like to establish yourself in the scene? Establishing ourselves took a really long time and it wasn’t really that easy for us. We got noticed because of the [violent, to say the least] “Chaos Reigns” music video and it gave us a bad rep in the beginning. People thought we were doing everything for shock value, but really, it’s what we felt when we were making the music and the video. When we write, we think, “How can we visualize this so other people see it the way we’re thinking it?” The music’s one thing, but you also need that visual aspect. You have heavy music that, to most people, would sound like violent, noisy horror. The music video was like a short horror movie, and that’s what brought us up. It was tough getting recognition in the Chicago scene as well. A lot of kids weren’t really into the more metal style, and a lot of them still aren’t. It’s just starting to come around now, honestly. But then, with all the tours we did on the West Coast and in Europe and on some of the East Coast, too- everyone always shows us tons of love and respect, especially when we go out there. It’s nice to finally start getting some recognition for all the hard work.

Tell us a little about the upcoming tour you’ll be doing. We’re doing a two-week European tour this summer, covering some new spots for us. It’s with our friend in Unit 731, from Pennsylvania, and our friends in Nothing To Regret, from Darmstadt, Germany. We’re playing some pretty huge fests, like Ieper Fest in Belgium. It’s the top European festival- like This Is Hardcore is to the US- and a dream of ours. We’re all pretty excited. Gorilla Biscuits, Crowbar, Converge, and Cold World are all playing. It’s going to be out of control.

IAC When we write, we think, “How can we visualize this so other people see it the way we’re thinking it?”

for more no zodiac -

What can people expect from you guys during a live show? We’re fast, loud, and heavy. In Europe, we’re going to be playing a lot of new stuff because we’re writing a new album right now. It’s going really, really well, and we’re all excited to see what comes of it. It’s definitely going to top the last album, even with some of us being relatively new.

If you could play with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Pantera, Led Zeppelin, Cannibal Corpse, Slayer, Metallica in 1985, Sepultura with Max Cavalera, Dimmu Borgir with Nick Barker, and Cradle of Filth.

What’s your favorite venue to play? My favorite local venue is Reggie’s, but if I had to pick for second, Cobra Lounge. It’s a good venue, all our friends come out to it all the time. My all-time favorite is Aladdin Jr.’s in Pomona, California.

Felker, guitar My two favorite venues to play are definitely the Beat Kitchen and Reggie’s.

Eric, drums I’d have to agree with Eric. The Beat Kitchen and Reggie’s are two of the best places we play here, sound-wise and as far as personnel goes.

Grubby, bass Top two for me would be Q Bar in the southwest suburbs and the Beat Kitchen.

Chris, guitar I’ve never played a show with No Zodiac, but I’d much rather be in a basement than any big venue; mainly our friend Mau’s.

Connor, vocals Who are some of your biggest influences? Despised Icon, abominable putridity, All Out War, Slayer, and then some other black metal stuff, but I don’t incorporate that too much. – Chris Dying Fetus, Disembodied, and Slipknot. – Connor Devourment, Disembodied, Visceral Disgorge, Abnormality, Abnormity, King Diamond, and Behemoth. – Felker Suffocation, Skinless, Devourment, All Out War, Behemoth, and a lot of old school death metal like Dismember, Obituary, and Bolt Thrower. – Grubby Sepultura, Behemoth, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Pantera, and old school Metallica. – Eric

What is your advice to any band trying to make it in their scene? Learn your instrument. Keep a level head. Never get a fucking ego. Never mix your professional life with your personal life. Don’t be afraid to tour. Remember that local shows and Facebook can only do so much. Be ready to work your ass off and be poor for a while.

bunny miele’s

shaking the seasonal blues

a step by step guide (FOR MORE OF BUNNY’S WORK

How did you first establish yourself as an artist? To be honest, I guess I haven’t established myself as an artist. In the broad sense, people see me as one, sure, but I don’t think I fit the mold properly. I just enjoy drawing, and I only enjoy it because it passes the time nicely. It got me by in school, so I wouldn’t get in trouble for falling asleep, and it has just sort of progressed on its own. A real “artist” has a lot of emotion and feeling behind his/her work, while I just draw for the sake of doing it, because there’s not much else to do. Though it does clear my head, I will say that. I just think “artist” is a very touchy word, so I don’t use it on myself.

filtering my drawings and the little monsters I create into something I’m just as passionate about is just obvious to me.

interview by becca biggs

A lot of your artwork, namely your illustrations, seems to have dark undertones. Where do you find your inspiration? I really like the look of old horror film posters. I actually like them more than the movies themselves. How they’re portrayed and executed by the illustrator gives a great sense of wonder to the film. It’s the closed curtain before the show, if you know what I mean. I don’t think I really reflect how much they inspire me through my work, though I do look at them quite often, and you’d be surprised at how many I have saved on my computer for reference. Other than that, I find a lot of inspiration from the Tales from the Crypt comic books, along with the Creepy series as well. I find the same sense of wonder in their covers as I do movie posters. Recently, I’ve also been looking back on my old Magic: The Gathering card collection. You’d be surprised at how many amazing creatures and ghouls are brought to life on those tiny cards. Flipping through those for a few minutes before drawing really gets my imagination going.

I know you recently started a skateboarding and apparel line, too! What sparked the idea for that? Yeah! The Haunted officially dropped around October last year. It was a weird start for sure. I didn’t anticipate it correctly, and there were a few let downs, and a few pick-me-ups in the process. When starting something like this, you really don’t know the way it’s going to be accepted or how people will react. Once you’ve taken the first step and you’ve gotten it out there, the idea of the company grows more and more in your head, and soon it encompasses almost every second of your day. With that being said, I told myself that I didn’t want to subject it towards just clothing. Of course, that got me thinking more, and I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I want The Haunted to primarily be a skateboard and apparel line. I’ve been skating for almost ten years now, and filtering my drawings and the little monsters I create into something I’m just as passionate about is just obvious to me. I woke up one morning and asked myself: Why hadn’t I thought of it before? Every time I grab a new skateboard, to me, the graphic is always the most important part. I’m a visual guy, obviously, and I think a lot of skateboarders out there really care what’s on the bottom of their deck before it gets scratched up. I think in the long run, it defines who they are as an individual. In reality, that’s what skateboarding is. Individuality. So what motivated me? Skateboarding, and everything else the sport represents. The clothing that’s worn while doing it, and the artists behind every skateboard I’ve owned. It’s collective, I suppose. Though the very first and main reason why I started any of this is because I wasn’t going to let my drawings and practice go to waste. I drew all throughout high school in my math/history/science classes, and if I wasn’t going to walk away with knowledge of what they tried to teach me, I sure as hell wasn’t going to waste away what I spent my time in those classes doing.

Do you have anything exciting in the works for The Haunted? Definitely! I’ve been keeping a ton to myself lately, and even though it has already been hinted towards (if you’re following my Instagram or Twitter) that I’m working on skateboards, I don’t think I’ve outright said it until now. Skateboards will most likely be up for preorders within the next month or so. No doubt before summer. I’m working out kinks in printing right now. Along with those, I’ve got plenty of shirt and hat designs coming in for the summer. Bro tanks, pocket tees, baseball tees, 5 panels, snapbacks… You name it, I’m trying to do it this summer. It’ll be exciting!


Be fearless. There is no wrong way to make art or be an artist. For every person who may criticize you, there are ten more people who will tell you how talented you are. Thrive on the positive energy.

sarah jo for more sarah jo

Your songs seem to resemble an event that has taken a place in your life, whether it was a relationship, an incident with yourself, or dealing with life in general. Where exactly does your inspiration come from? I began songwriting as a way of processing experiences I couldn’t otherwise find the words for. Writing in a journal or talking to a friend often isn’t enough; the story doesn’t feel complete until I start sharing it through music. When I write, I want to go back to that important place or time that is fueling my creativity. Sometimes I am writing to vent, to rejoice, to reminisce, or to find closure. In that space, I am free to share anything and everything, and that’s inspirational in itself.

What are your favorite things to write about? I love to incorporate specific memories that are burned into my mind, and metaphors that only I, and whomever I share the meaning with, would truly understand. If a line from a song instantly brings to mind the sensations I had in the moment I’m describing, or if I sing a song and I feel like I’m sharing a really special secret with the listener, I know I’m doing it right.

Who are your biggest influences in music? My biggest influences are female group/musicians like Laura Marling, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, and Waxahatchee. My music veers toward the more folky sound of someone like Laura Marling, but listening to how creative women narrate their stories across all genres is inspiring and empowering for me.

How about in life? My biggest influences in life are the things that ground me- nature, animals, beautiful words, and my loved ones.

You’re a philosophy major. Who is one of your favorite philosophers? Do they impact your life and how you write music at all? This is a hard question to answer! I am in love with the art of philosophy itself; I find great purpose in studying the brilliant minds that have answered, and are continuing to answer, the biggest questions in life. I want to be able to articulate my own ideas and theories, specifically on animal welfare related issues, and use my mastery of reason (which I hope to develop!) to support them.

Why did you decide to name your album “Strange Bird”? Growing up, my mother has always told me I was a “strange bird,” mostly when I’d do something odd or say something unexpected. It ended up as a fond nickname.

How would you describe your style? Probably half urban and half boho-femme. I love wearing dresses and layering, but there is nothing like sporting some combat boots, skinny jeans, and a beanie either.

What is some advice you can give to aspiring musicians? Face the adventure of making music with a confident yet humble mindset, and show your genuine self. If people see you have an earnest heart and love for what you do, you will find love and support. Cultivate the music community!


freshmen and their food The Freshman 15 is real. There, I said it. Like many young students about to embark on the journey that is university or college, I believed it to be a myth, an urban legend, or at least something that only happened to other people. But I was wrong. Almost everyone I know, myself included, gained some variation of that alliterative devil, and most of us didn’t even notice it was happening until our favorite pair of vintage high-waisted jeans suddenly refused to cooperate. So how did we let this happen? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that, at first, I was perplexed at this mysterious and unwanted expansion of myself. I’m an unusually health-conscious person; I eat tons of fruits and veggies, and most of meals are home-cooked, seeing as I still live at home with my parents. I’d been following pretty much all the hip-yet-mainstream rules for healthy eating: Limit your white carbs, swap regular milk for almond, stock up on Greek yogurt, and eat fresh, raw foods as often as possible. So where did the weight come from? The answer lies in the social side of school. Looking back on my freshman year, I can’t recall a single outing or event with my new-found university chums that didn’t involve the consumption of some sort of, well, crap. Because what else was there to do? Going to school in the core of downtown Toronto, we found ourselves surrounded by every kind of food we could ever imagine. Three hour break between lectures? Sure, let’s go to the Urban Eatery for a too-big food court lunch. Cancelled class? We’ll end up walking down Queen Street looking for the best place to get a massive sandwich. But it’s not just daytime downtown eats that are the culprits: The biggest threat to the figures of freshmen everywhere has got to be the countless late-night adventures that are a staple of the college and university scene. A Friday night drinking at the campus or your favourite bar usually leads to, let’s be honest, 3 AM McDonald’s or frozen pizza in your dorm...and there are a lot these kinds of nights. They’re inevitable, they’re part of the modern young adult’s social scene. But pile the calories from the fast food and late night snacks on top of the beer and liquor that got you there, and what do you find yourself with? Pants that don’t fit and an empty wallet. Now, I’m not here to tell you not to indulge in that Big Mac when your drunken self tells you it’s all you really want in life. I’m here to advise you that those late night antics and Friday and Saturday night calorie crazes will be a little more worth it if you do what you can to eat healthily during the other two thirds of the week. Skip the hash browns and bacon in the cafeteria for breakfast, and pick yourself up an immersion blender and whip up an all-fruit smoothie before your early class (it’ll help keep you awake during that endless lecture). Prep your meals ahead of time to avoid running to the food court when you’re starving at 4 o’clock. Chances are, you’re 18, 19, 20 years old. You’re in the prime of your life. It sounds cheesy, but you really will never be as young as you are today (these are the hottest years of your life!). Keep parting- keep having fun- and keep eating foods that make your taste buds smile, but do it all in moderation. Maybe this weekend, when the evening is coming to a close in the wee hours of the morning, after a wild night with your favorite people, you’ll pass on the grease and deep-fried goodness. Maybe. A few pounds here and there never hurt nobody, so let’s keep it that way: Just a few pounds.


katie l

lafond I want to be able to feel every word I write. If I write about my skin buzzing, I want to feel my skin buzz. In turn, I want anyone who takes the time to listen closely to the lyrics to be able to feel their skin buzzing.

Your lyrics are so beautiful and raw. What is your main focus when writing? Whenever I write lyrics, I get really into a very simple state of mind. I want to be able to feel every word I write. If I write about my skin buzzing, I want to feel my skin buzz. In turn, I want anyone who takes the time to listen closely to the lyrics to be able to feel their skin buzzing. I know this sounds silly, but I picture my words carving into my veins from the inside. They’re permanent, and every pump of blood grazes over them. I want to make every word I say matter. I don’t want someone listening to my music and wasting their time. By listening, they’ve given me the opportunity to speak. So my words should matter. Do you focus more on getting a message across or telling a story in your music? A lot of my music is an emotional release for me. As I’ve gotten old, I’ve become very passive and completely unable to let out some of my feelings. Through my music, I am able to say all of the words that I was too scared to say. So, I guess I focus on trying to let out a certain cooped up emotion.

How has music impacted you as a person? Music has completely taken over my life. I would not have met half of my friends, come to adore half of my love interests, or been able to travel all over America. It’s just so funny that if I had not picked up a microphone, I would be living a completely different life. I would probably be wearing Ugg boots and North Faces in Madison. Or something way worse. Who knows.

Cold is filled with tons of emotion. Do you think it’s important to have that kind of passion and emotion when writing music? I’m no longer scared of people seeing who I really am. I don’t mind people seeing my scared side, my sad side, my sexy side. I just don’t mind. Showing this emotion, making people be able to see me broken down, was really hard for me but it helped me realize who I am and why I’m playing music. Being passionate is being honest. While writing music or creating any kind of art, we should just speak straight truth, hoping to have someone on the listening end hear it and be like, “Wow, I’ve felt that, too.”

Where does your inspiration come from? I think my biggest inspiration comes from being in silence, bear with me here. I adore the sounds that come along with nothingness. Hearing my brain buzz with the million thoughts that I’ve numbed throughout the day by the noise going on in the world. When I’m in absolute silence, I can focus on small things. Like the peach fuzz on my knuckles, or little freckles on my shoulders, or the way his skin looks when morning light hits him. I take what my brain creates in that silence, and I try to mimic it with my words and songs.

Who are your biggest musical influences? Ughhhh, Amy Winehouse, 100%. She dripped passion. You could hear every ache in her music. I want people to hear my music and be able to feel it. I want them to see all of those sleepless nights I spent lying awake aching, I want them to feel the anger I felt when I found out I had been cheated, I want them to smile with me as I find peace. In some way, it’s my way of knowing that people understand and can relate to the bullshit I’ve been through. A reminder that I’m not alone. I think I may have answered the question deep inside of that ramble.

“Be genuine. Don’t become a genre. The worst thing you can do to yourself is claim a genre, or define your sound. Do everything that feels right. Scream into a microphone. Tell the truth. Kiss everyone.”

What is your ultimate goal as a musician? I think my ultimate goal is to just be comfortable but never content. I want to keep pushing myself farther, never getting used to the current stage I am in. Yet, at the same time, I never want to get to a point where I hate what I’m doing. So with music, I never want to hate a song I play. I never want to be uncomfortable or feel like I’m doing it for the wrong reasons. I want to continue to speak my words and have them mean something to the listener.

What are your future goals as a musician and in general? I have no clue what I am doing with my life. It’s terrifying and so invigorating at the same time. Right now, I’m obsessed with this moment that I’m in. So the future hasn’t been on my mind much.

When did you start making music? I started writing music as early as I can remember. I was always writing little ditties with my dad around my house. Simple songs. I got more serious about it when I was about 15. I started playing guitar and pulling the songs together.

How about artists in general? Again, kiss everyone. Tell the truth. Find what you’re scared of. Make out with it. Play in the mud, get dirt under your fingernails. Feel sad, don’t become sad. Slip into a dark time of life. Defeat the darkness (with swords). Cry about stuff that matters to you. Educate yourself. Obsess. Take time to yourself. Fall in love with your work.

Your voice is so authentic and beautiful and separates you from other solo singers/ song-writers. In your live performances, you have completely mastered the art of silencing an entire room and leaving them speechless. Have you been crafting your voice through performing or is it naturally that powerful? I’ve played so many coffee houses, loud restaurants, and noisy venues. I’ve played with hardcore bands, I’ve played where nobody can hear me. I know how a room of voices works. If I get quiet enough, people will feel awkward and feel the need to be quieter. I think I take advantage of those awkward quiet moments by letting my emotion control where I go next. I vibe really well off of a good audience. People are so chatty these days, always with their eyes phone their phones, always searching in their heads for something witty to say, always wanting to be the loudest, funniest person in the room. Silence is so rare. It makes my heart hum that I can cause silence if even for a moment. Everyone in that moment is in one place listening to the same lyrics, watching me basically break down on stage. Everyone shares that with me. I don’t know how it happens. But when it does, it humbles me so much. It makes me feel like someone finally understands the mess that is my mind, even if just for a moment.

for more katie lafond

lanre ade


Explanation for this series: The word escape can be defined as: to get away from something unpleasant or difficult or a place in which you are held or kept. It is very often that people associate loneliness with feelings of inward sadness, and perceive it to be dismal and even, to an extent, quite depressing. So as a result, people constantly seek different avenues in which they can “escape” loneliness (constantly seeking human companionship, excessive use of social media, etc) and all the despair that it entails. They feel “Trappe”d not only by the metaphorical confines they encounter but also their own mind *refer to image number 1*. However, it is also very often that people never truly escape these feelings of confinement or mental agony even in the company of others, or catch themselves feeling down suddenly because their feelings are catching up with them. And ultimately leave themselves asking “Y” *refer to image 2*. It is an obvious truth that until you confront an issue it will never go away. You can try and push it under the bus by surrounding yourself with others, however the prison bars, pain, and loneliness will always be there in the end. It is not until you “Express” yourself *see image 3* and come to a personal resolve with your emotions that you can truly “escape” your loneliness. I guess the overarching message of these three works is that out of embracing, as opposed to escaping negative loneliness, you develop a great intimacy with yourself, and end up never feeling lonely at all. Through mediums of self-expression like art, you can free yourself from the imprisonment of negative thoughts, and never truly feel lonely because you can enjoy the company and are in harmony with yourself.

this i b I believe in passion. I believe in the way passion evokes emotions, feelings, and ambition. I believe that the strongest and most successful person is also the most passionate, and I believe that the happiest people are the most fervent. I am a self-proclaimed writer with a short film in my portfolio, dozens of poems, and a stack of short stories. I am shamelessly obsessed with music, film, and literature. I spend too much money on vinyl and comic books, and I am dedicated to an online magazine that I started with a friend. I am a vile elitist, yet I still somehow manage to make friends. I am not ranting about myself because I am egotistical, but rather because my life reflects the amount of passion I have that has driven me through life. I have never allowed myself to simply exist, because if I had to live one way, it would be vigorously and passionately. Art was created to disrupt the average thinker’s mindset. I value art as one of the most important aspects in our lives. Art can be soup cans plastered on a white background, or a distorted painting of something that is incredibly difficult to understand. It can be a short haiku with a foggy meaning, or a long story with a clear one. Art is a photograph that depicts the sky at sunrise, or self-portrait that embodies loneliness. To live without art is to live a life without passion, spark, or excitement. My parents raised me to appreciate all forms of art, even if I dreaded going to sit at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre at age nine, waiting for A Midsummer Night’s Dream to begin, finding myself invested in a play I could barely understand two and a half hours in. It’s easy to not give art a chance, or to ignore things that require thought because it could be too difficult to understand or too mature for one’s taste, but I never allowed myself to give up. People rarely open their minds to things they are afraid of, and art terrifies most people; it makes them think outside of their average thoughts and venture off into various sub-thoughts and questions. I was the kind of person who thrived off of going deeper into my mind than I had to, and I found myself falling in love with the idea that people actually created things with meaning and a motive behind all of it. I found myself wanting to do the same, because I refused to let myself live a life where I couldn’t explore every end of the creative spectrum, I refused to live a dull life. I never realized that it was possible to devote so much of myself into so many things until I found myself constantly inundated with film, music, and literature. It was easy to dedicate my time to film, since I found solitude in writing. I began to create screenplays. Being a huge movie buff from an early age, analyzing Star Wars and Indiana Jones when I was eight years old, already dedicated to the art of film, I found myself constantly researching directors, finding new films, and creating treatments to potential films of my own. At that same time, I was also just as invested in music. I had grown up in a family where jazz music would be projected throughout the house, and the sounds of violins would constantly be coming from a stereo, while my brother and I practiced the guitar and the piano passionately for years. I had a love for music, and I carried my CD player around with me at all times, always with headphones around my neck, finding myself more at peace with music by my side. I did the same thing with literature, whether it was an en-

by becky yeker



Art terrifies most people; it makes them think outside of their average thoughts and venture off into various sub-thoughts,

tertaining mystery like The Da Vinci Code or stories from Sherlock Holmes, or if it was something thought-provoking like Siddhartha or Fahrenheit 451, or even satirical work from Bukowski or Vonnegut, I was always looking forward to reading. The combination of my love for fantasy and sci-fi, with their sophisticated levels of meaning, sparked my interest in comics and graphic novels, in which I found myself also passionately embedded. Passion was not something that quickly came about, it was a process of falling in love with something that was universal and making it my own. Passion is the reason professional athletes are where they are, the reason successful artists make it big, and why people that travel a lot are typically happy. Passion allows people to feel more than just contentment and complacency; passion allows people to do everything to their fullest potential. It allows people to genuinely live, not to simply exist, It gives people the opportunity to feel life from every angle, to absorb the beauty that life has to offer, and to experience things in their fullest form rather than merely liking things, but learning how to love them.

the journey of an charlotte

When I was 17 years old I left everything I had and knew to dedicate my life to my music. I said goodbye to my friends and family in Sweden, packed my life in a worn out bag, grabbed my guitar and bought a oneway ticket to London, determined to build a life for myself that I could be proud of. A life that actually made me excited to wake up every morning. I never dreamt about fame or praise, financial success or even material belongings. All I wanted was to live my life on my own terms, according to my own systems and values. Todayfive years, four albums, one single on the iTunes chart and years on the road later- I can proudly say that I have no commitments, no contracts and not a lot of belongings, but I am living the life I once dreamt for myself. I wake up every single morning with my heat beating from excitement, knowing that I will get to spend every second of my day doing what I love, on my own terms. I work 24/7, 365 days of the year, but if you asked me I would still say that I have not worked one single day of my life. It started when I was 16. I had never been into art or music, never been singing and didn’t really understand it. But then there are those moments when you stumble upon a song or poem in the second when you need it the most, and it just kind of fits somewhere inside your chest, like it was always meant to be there. Like you didn’t know that something was missing inside you until it’s suddenly there and it feels like you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. You might be in pain, be sad or worried, angry or alone, but that song or that writing makes it all feel right. From the very first moment I experienced this, when I discovered those songwriters and poets, I knew that I wanted to spend my life chasing that feeling. I wanted to chase the feeling of belonging and I wanted to create that feeling for someone else. So I practiced, determined and disciplined like an athlete, because I had a g-

independent artist eriksson

oal. I was on a mission and I had places to go. I read and learned everything I could find about vocal technique, the craft of writing, the music business. I studied old writers and artists, how they built their careers and how they got to where they are. I was obsessed and possessed by this feeling of being on a mission, and I knew I would leave Sweden as soon as I finished school. I didn’t tell anyone until I had my plane ticket in my hand. When I arrived in London I had no connections and didn’t know anything about how the music industry worked. All I knew was that feeling I got from finding that special song or poem, by someone I’d never met but still made me feel less alone, and that feeling carried me through every hard hurdle I encountered the coming years. All I knew and had was a dream and a desire, and that killed all the doubt and fear. I get a lot of letters and messages from young artists of all sorts- musicians, writers, dancers, actors- asking me how to start to build their careers, and my answer is simple: Just go. Go. Decide what you want, write it down, make a plan and stick to it no matter what. The world is huge and beautiful and life is way too strange and amazing to spend it doing tasks without a heart just to pay your rent. Learn by mistakes and see where it all can lead you. It will be hard and lonely, even painful from time to time, but everything will teach you something that you’ll be able to make use of in the future. I spent the first year in London learning, studying and observing everything. I read and wrote and wandered and made the most of every opportunity that came in my way. Not just musically, but also personally. I became a master at leaving my old identity at home and going out as the person I desired to become. By doing this, I met and connected with musicians, songwriters, managers and industry people, and I was thrown into this big huge alternate world where things never are as they seem. The first thing I learned was that I had two choices; I could either spend the next two to five years chas-

My answer is simple: just go. Go. Decide what you want, write it down, make a plan and stick to it - no matter what.

ing the industry and try to convince a record label or a manager that my music was good enough. They would then force me to compromise my sound so that it suited them and their format, and if I was lucky enough I would be able to maybe reach a lot of people, but not have any control over how that happened. Or, I could take things in my own hands and make things happen myself, starting here and now this very second. I figured, why spend my time trying to convince those industry people with suits and bold heads in an office, when the people I care about are out there, waiting to be touched and reached this very second. Real people, living real lives, with feelings and emotions and troubles. So I decided to go independent. My old friends and family back home still laughed at me, called me a naive dreamer and waited for me to come back home and get a “real job.” But I was learning to take it as motivation and I was determined to prove them wrong. I recorded and produced my first EP all by myself in my crappy little room a bit outside of London. And I did it on zero budget. I still didn’t make any money from my art and I had learned to live on almost nothing. Now, a few years and several albums later, I can see how that was the most important thing this whole journey taught me. To build my safety and my home in other things than material belongings. I learned to build my home in my music. I learned how to feel content and safe with just a worn out bag, my guitar and a few friends. And that became everything I knew for the next years. By the time I’m writing this, I’m sitting by the River Spree in Berlin, Germany, where I’m living for a little while to create and release my second full-length album and my second book. I’ve had a few successes. Been played on major radio, toured, charted and gathered an amazingly beautiful fan base. But the most valuable thing I’ve learned during this whole journey is that these things are just the consequences of something else; the actual journey and blooming of a life. It’s not about the finished album, a static product or a published book. It’s about what these things can create for someone, inside someone, inside me. How I’m changing and what I’m experiencing while creating it, observing how they take on their own life once released and then learn to live with those pieces of art as a part of my identity. My mission as an artist is to create that album but then let that album co-

me come alive by having an impact inside someone else. Being an independent artist is hard. It’s work, all day every day. It’s insecurities and rejections. Strangers telling you that you’ll never be good enough. You need to learn business, marketing, budgeting, release schedules and PR strategies. I’ve fought my way through horrible management meetings and conversations with industry experts, telling me that if I just dressed a bit more mature, made my productions a bit more pop and maybe changed my name, I might have a chance. At the same time, you can’t lose sight of what matters, how to stay creative, how to always improve your craft. And most important for me, I need to stay true to my journey and wandering. Because that’s what this came to be. My home. My identity. The way I am living my life. There are days when I ask myself why I do this. When I just want to give up and take the first place home to Sweden and never put myself in a situation where I can be judged ever again. It would be so much easier. Not having to worry about how to afford food tomorrow, or how to stay inspired to write another song, or not having to worry about just simply staying happy. But then there is that feeling again. When you hear a song or read a poem and it just fits somewhere inside your chest and feels like everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. When I manage to reach that higher creative space and the song is written in less than five minutes, it just makes sense of everything, like my world is put into order. Or when I get a letter or message from someone I’ve never met, saying that my music or my writing has created that feeling for them, helped them or saved them. There is nothing to it. It makes my heart beat faster and my blood flow smoother and I’m willing to spend ten years in the storm for a few moments of that clarity and belonging. And that’s what art does to me. What music does to me. I had no idea where this journey would lead me when I stepped on that plane to London a few years ago, but it took me all over the world, lead me to beautiful views and wonderful people, and I am still on my way. It’s been hard, but it’s been beautiful, and I’m just getting started.

for more charlotte eriksson




SXSW IS NOT ONLY the largest week-long interactive film and music festival, it’s also the best festival in discovering new talent. With more than 2,200 official performers and bands playing in more than 100 venues, it offers a taste of everything.


On Memorial Day weekend, fans come together to enjoy a stacked line-up that ranges anywhere from indie rock to top singer/songwriters to hip hop and alternative rock. The festival features five stages, and with artists on the bill this year like The National, Queens of the Stone Age, HAIM, and Die Antwoord - it’s sure to be a weekend full of sweat and throwback jams, since Outkast is also featured as a top headliner this year.

photos by kyle johnson and sean pecknold





when?: last thursday in june where?: milwaukee, wi

Summerfest promotes itself as “The World’s Largest Music Festival” and it really is. With performances from over 700 bands, it stretches out over an 11 day time period and attracts anywhere from 800,000 to 1,000,000 a year. With local to mainstream artists, the festival gives chance of opportunity to independent artists and vendors. The best addition is that it’s completely affordable. Whether you want an 11 day pass for only $70 dollars, to a simple general admission pass for whichever day you prefer for only $16 dollars, they’re dedicated to making the attendee’s day at the fest worth while.

photos by griffin lotz, globetrotting stiletto, ilya s. savenok, robert altman

governors ball

when?: june 6th-8th where?: new york, ny

Produced by Founders Entertainment, an independent festival promotion company based in New York City, Governors Ball takes place on Randall’s Island. Aside from a weekend of kickass music, the fest features many popular NYC restaurants and food trucks,

as well as a variety of activities such as the pretty interesting Silent Disco, photo booths, and lawn games. With one of headliners last year being Kanye West, the festival made music fans ecstatic once again by adding The Strokes to the top of their once again jam-packed line-up.

If you’re able to survive the Tennessee heat and four days of camping with limited shower access (or none at all), a possibly dead cell phone, and a festival that offers some of the largest variety of genres on one line-up, then this is a match for you. By attending Bonnaroo, there’s a pretty good chance you’re gonna see some strange and unforgettable things, but the music makes up for it. With artists like Elton John, Jack White, Phoenix, Arctic Monkeys, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Frank Ocean, Bonnaroo promises four joy-filled days of adrenaline and memorable moments with your friends. They also offer affordable payment plans when buying your pass.



when?: june 12th-15th where?: manchester, tn

Lollapalooza offers a weekend full of insane memories and unforgettable performances if done right. For a weekend pass, it usually always remains in the $200 price range but holds a strong reputation for being one of the most organized music festivals in the country. But don’t blink- Lollapalooza is one of the fastest selling music festivals right now. With tickets no longer available unless you are purchasing a travel package or platinum pass, the lucky attendees with regular general admission passes are sure to have a weekend to be remembered. If you’re one of the lucky ones, I suggest checking out sets from Lorde, Cage The Elephant, Lykke Li, Eminem, Kate Nash, and Phosphorescent.



when?: the 1st weekend in august where?: chicago, il

photos by matt radick


when?: may 24th where? howell, MI

Bled Fest is a small festival in Howell, Michigan located inside of an old high school. The fest brings together tons of bands ranging from emo to hardcore to skramz to pop punk creating an incredible line-up every single year. Bled Fest is associated with Fusion Shows and Run For Cover Records. The fest intrigues tons of young and passionate people willing to spend an entire day inside, sweating a lot, and going nuts for their favorite bands. There is a positive energy with lots of punk vibes and a good sense of community to continue a “dying� scene of energetic people willing to scream their hearts out.

Organized by Pitchfork Media, this festival offers much more than just the music. With food, beverages, art, and a record fair that is managed by CHIRP Radio, Pitchfork stands as a unique and respectable festival in every sense. With 3-day passes already sold out, and only day passes available for $60 dollars, the fest features one of it’s best lineups yet with artists like Beck, Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, Danny Brown, Slowdive, and Neutral Milk Hotel. I’d snag your favorite day pass now if I were you.

photos by roger krisby, songkick.combridget bennett, lee auerbach


when?: july where? chicago, il

photos by lucy hewett, katie hovland, sara bill


when?: september where?: chicago, il

Riotfest truly brought a solid line-up to music fans last year when they booked acts like Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, Violent Femmes, Blondie, DeVotchKa, The Replacements, Pixies, and Brand New. The curiosity stumbles across all of our minds as we anxiously await the line-up release for their 10 year anniversary taking place this September. With a festival that offers live music, a carnival, and a butter statue of John Stamos, this is definitely a 3 day weekend you may regret if you miss.

FEST is a festival in Gainesville, Florida that is filled with loads of modern bands in punk sub-genres. This year’s line-up is absolutely killer. Ranging from The Menzingers to Into It. Over It. to Dads to Pianos Become The Teeth… every single band that matters right now will be at FEST. The festival is from October 31st to November 2nd with non-stop food, music, positive energy, and good people. Every music fanatic will be making their way to Florida this year’s FEST.




spilled ink Spilled ink

spilled ink

spilled ink spilled ink

spilled ink

AN UNDESIRABLE ATTRACTION by Haley Winkle My anxiety is a love song, the music composed by the rattles of my restless bones that tap their sweet melody against the inner edge of my skin, ricocheting through each layer and smoothly coursing through my blood. My anxiety is a love song about the attraction between my rows of teeth as they hold each other close and never let go despite the rapid beats of the pulse around them that tries so hard to tear them apart. My anxiety is a love song sung from my breath to my hands in short breaths even though it tries so desperately to reach them while they shake. My anxiety is a love song and I am the radio, it plays on AM frequency to reach every receiver and like a nostalgic classic, it’s played between the newer songs that aim to be just as famous only to remind the ears that it still exists.

NO SHADY OF GRAY by Mahiza Daud And there was no set way to describe her, besides comparing her to heart churning things; For she was always a kaleidoscope of colours, And she never fell in between. She was the intensity of a hue, not the saturation of its tint. She was a shot of your favourite whiskey, Or the outburst of volcanic activity. On the brightest days, her happiness would flow like lava. Once the eclipse came round, she would sink like an abandoned ship. For she didn’t know the meaning to ‘in between.’ She was either floating in the galaxies Or sinking deep underneath.

TO LEARN HOW TO LEAN ON YOURSELF by Becky Yeker When you keep blaming yourself for every person that does not like you back, for every single person that refuses to give you the time of day, for every person that doesn’t care like you do. When you keep telling yourself that your worth is based off of the approval of the boy you’ve been crushing on, or the girl that has been on your mind the past four months, when you look at yourself in the mirror and you aren’t attracted to yourself, when you need to find someone else to be attracted to you, when everyone’s existence becomes something you need to lean on so you don’t fall, when you realize that people aren’t walls, they are like tables or chairs, if you continue to lean on them, they will move, they will fall over, and you will go down with them. When you start to see that you are the only person that is able to see your own beauty, whether it’s within you or whether it’s plastered across your face, as that smile that you can’t hold back. You are your own wall, you must learn how to lean on yourself. You are strong, you are self-reliant, you are independent, you will not let his lack of feelings for you bring you down, it is not your fault. You will not let her lack of commitment with you convince you that you aren’t worth it, you are worth so much more than her rejection, sometimes feelings don’t correspond, sometimes love is unrequited, and sometimes emotions or lack of them are impossible to tame.

I have found that love isn’t supposed to come easy, it isn’t important to be constantly looking for it. It’ll come eventually, I haven’t found it yet, but I am building myself. I am my own wall, I lean on myself, I have others to lean on, but I will not put my entire body weight on them, for I know they will fall, and I will fall with them.

NUMBER SEVEN by Brittany Williams There were the stairs, just outside of the apartment complex. I sat there with the day, listening to its complaints about the world. There were palm trees with trunks that looked like plates stacked on top of each other. There was the sky that looked like paper that had been erased with a bad eraser. There was a cold and barren feeling within me, throughout the sky, the wind too; it brushed up along my thigh and the trees just to bring chills and go on its way. There was my mother who was inside her apartment with her kids. I played double dutch with my thumbs and reminded myself over and over again “I don’t live here. I can’t live here. I don’t want to live here.” There was me walking inside with my only invitation being “make sure you shut my got damn door.” As if I... There was this one time I brought a girlfriend home. Heather Hughes: ginger, red freckles and hair and lips. Her warm hand held on tighter to mine as if to say “I’m sorry she speaks to you that way.” I in return gave her a “I should be use to this by now” squeeze.

There was still not enough furniture for her to have been living here for three years. She kept loads of decorating and D.I.Y. magazines in her room and bathrooms, though. There were lonely walls, unless you count the small thumb prints and nail holes for company. There were two red arm chairs with lumpy cushions, where frequent strangers would sit, spill shit and gossip. There was this one time when my mom was gossiping about the girl down the street who couldn’t find a man, and I wanted to say, “but isn’t that the reason all of us have different dads? Because you can’t find one either?” Instead I bit my toenails. There was a stain on the left arm of the armchair closest to the bar with no bar stools. There were ceiling fans loaded with dust. There was a stereo system that made the walls vibrate when the volume was turned up to its maximum. The 50 inch HDTV glistened and smiled as it hung on the wall like a trophy.

There was mud brown carpet. There were windows, big windows. There were three small rooms. There wasn’t much food. Well, there was food only at the beginning of the month when there was food stamps and money. There were food stamps being sold for money. There was stuff being bought that no one ever saw. Then there was this woman, my mother. There were seven children. There was the time when she was pregnant with seven, “I think I’m going to get an abortion.” she says. I told her if she did, I wouldn’t speak to her again. For number seven, the consequences of being his mother’s seed would not succeed until he began to try to understand life. There was no ‘I hate you’ disguised as ‘I love you’. Number seven was never to go without anything, including food because there was a breast. There was Seagram’s gin, her favorite. She’d inhale that poison. Dive in it, her swimming pool of oblivion and drunkenness. Staggering to nurse the screeching child and dissolve his anger. Hoping he’d fall asleep. And he would. Sucking and coddling his mother as she pumped her sticky gin breast milk into his O shaped hungry mouth. He sucked and sucked until, there he was numb.

There was number seven waking up in the midst of this intoxication. Waddling and warm, bloated cheeks and stomach. There was mother, smiling. There was number seven looking up at her, holding on to her and her breast and crying for more.

LETTERS FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA by Violet Brodeur 1. Bones have been evicted, their evitable pilgrimage a crude joke: they are not crutches or braces or band aids; when all is said and done, you will remain, incapably, you. Most often the mountains are silent, but on the cold four in the mornings when I am fighting with my breath for ballast, I swear I can hear them laughing. 2. I still think about you every day. You are the quiet mouth my eyes can’t keep themselves off of. I wonder how full your sink is and the secrets even the dishes won’t tell. Do bees hibernate? Can love? 3. Sometimes you rub my back and I wanted to let you know you make me feel sexier and more loved in that simple act than really anything right now. You are mother and mischief and I want to take that blonde head to places we can’t take back, throw pretty words at you and watch them stick. 4. You like me in all the wrong rooms. I take tantrums the way you take cigarettes: promises to quit; nothing to fill the holes with. Relapse. I am static, I am all snow. Don’t ask the person who loves you why they love you. You will never, ever get the answer you want to hear.

HEIRLOOMS by Joe James My father’s family has a tradition. The patriarch gives his carefree child the family heirlooms. I had the misfortune of being carefree. So one day, after he got remarried, he took me and his new wife to the shed in the back yard, pulled out several boxes, shoved the ones labeled “Anger” and “Hate” into my arms and the ones labeled “Sympathy” and “Love” into hers. He told me “they were my father’s before me and his father’s before him, and so on. Don’t lose them or you’ll shame our family name.” What family name? I was expected to have reverence for men I had never met and whom only meant old pictures and campfire stories to me. I was supposed to emote and pretend to believe these antiquated reasonings. No thought was given to my feelings. They weren’t important. These dead, abusive, and womanizing fathers of mine had the right of way. I was a poor pedestrian struck by a luxury car in a third world country. Despite the way I felt, I carried these cumbersome “heirlooms”, because I was beaten when I expressed my differing opinions and cried my voice away. I mean, I didn’t know how to say anything contradictory anymore. My will for my own wants had been crushed and when I tried to relearn how to express myself, the words would get caught in my throat and my father would just beat them right back into me. My mother’s family also has a tradition. The matriarch takes away everyone’s right to be angry and hate. I had the misfortune of being the child with my father’s anger and hate. The day I came home with my father’s things she took my rights and my will to express myself. Again, no thought was given to my feelings. Helpless and beat, my heart became a bomb, exploding with words of unheard passion and unknown grief. Now, I have a strong body from carrying these things around with me, but I have no soul. I’m callous and broken, unable to function. I don’t know how to say no. I let others tell me what I want. And the worst part is I have all this anger and hate built up over the course of generations, and no way to express it. My father certainly knew how to express it. I have the scars to prove that. I really need to find a vacant lot where I can dump these things and move on with my life.


hooligan mag #4  
hooligan mag #4