PATTERN Magazine Fall 2021, Vol. 20

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VOLUME 20

FASHIONING A COMMUNITY.

c i s u m GOLDEN YEAR OSCAR AND GRAMMY WINNER TIARA THOMAS REFLECTS ON HER ACHIEVEMENTS

+ FEATURING DRAYCO MCCOY, VIVIEN GOLDMAN, RON MINER, WILDSTYLE, ERIC TOBIAS, PARIS COLBY, AND OTHERS




EDITOR’S LETTER

FALL? ALREADY? THE YEAR HAS FLOWN...LIKE A CAPE. BRING ON THE CAPES! And the cardigans, sweater vests, jackets, and boots. Fashion-wise and weather-wise, this is the time of year I live for. THE ARTISTS PROFILED IN THIS, PATTERN’S 20th VOLUME, LIVE FOR making music. From the studios and stages of Indianapolis and across this funky country, music seems to be banging on all cylinders, stepping out with the type of energy and confidence that can only come from being on the brink of destruction. Indy’s musicians, impresarios and fans continue to inspire with their tenacity. HIGHLIGHTS IN THESE PLUSH PAGES INCLUDE DAVID LINDQUIST’S interview with L.A.-based Indy native Tiara Thomas about her Grammy and Oscar wins, and her ongoing thirst for justice. I loved this shoot except for dealing with L.A.’s permitting process. Ha! Another reason to love Indy. HIGHLIGHT #2: A STORY ABOUT HEALING THROUGH SOUND. LET’S BE honest: pretty much everyone can benefit from some audio or visual art therapy, especially right now. While there will always be those midnight pints of ice cream, art and creative expression are the most productive and powerful forms of stress relief. On that note, stay tuned for a future announcement of PATTERN’s major new health-related partnership, set to make a major impact on this city. AS THE WEATHER TURNS, SO DO THE CHAPTERS IN PATTERN’S HISTORY. AFTER TWO AND A HALF YEARS, we bid goodbye to our HQ at 9th & Meridian Street. We’re forever grateful to Buckingham Companies for allowing our crew to camp out and create there. In November, we’re off to our new digs in the storied Stutz Building. Visit us!

MELODICALLY YOURS, P.O.

POLINA OSHEROV EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

PHOTO ©BENJAMIN BLEVINS

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FASHIONING A COMMUNITY

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS Michael Ault Alan Bacon Michelle Griffith Julie Heath Fred Lockett Lindsey Macyauski NaShara Mitchell Sara Savu Barry Wormser

SUBSCRIPTION

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EDITORIAL

Editor & Creative Director Polina Osherov Design Director Emeritus Kathy Davis Design Director Lindsay Hadley Design Creative Fellow Carrie Kelb Editorial Assistant Alexa Carr New York Editor Janette Beckman Copy Editors Jessie Hansell Lauren Manges Anne Laker Staff Photographer Jacob Moran

DESIGNERS

Francis Nwosu Polina Osherov Amy Elisabeth Spasoff Ted Somerville Kristen Triplett Aaron Vaughn

WRITERS Cory Cathcart Maya Skye Henderson Chad ‘Jamil’ Hudson Khaila King Anne Laker David Lindquist Euan Makepeace Jacob Moran Dawn Olsen Terri Procopio Sierra Vendervort Rick Wilkerson

WRITING INTERN Emily Wray

Grace Callahan Megan Gray John Ilang-Ilang Alex Pesak Julie Makepeace

PHOTOGRAPHERS

A.S. Told By: AR A.S. Told By: Full Circle Media Capture Studios Elese Bales Janette Beckman Esther Boston Aliza Brown Joseph Calvo Anna Powell Denton Chantal Dominique Diamond Dixon Khaila King Tyler Krippaehne Sandy Marisol Jes Nijjer PATTERN IS GRATEFUL TO THE FOLLOWING FUNDERS AND PARTNERS FOR THEIR SUPPORT:

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Circle City Industrial Complex, 1125 E. Brookside Ave, Indianapolis, Indiana Product Development | Cut & Sew | Industrial Sewing Classes

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CONTENTS PATTERN ISSUE NO. 20 patternindy.com

WORDS EDITOR’S LETTER, 2 CONTRIBUTORS, 8 Q+A ERIC TOBIAS, 20 VERSED IN COLOR, 24 ALLISON VICTORIA

SCOTTY APEX BOBBY DONNELLY BABY EBONY

INDUSTRY INSIDER: ROUND TABLE, 30 THE SOUND OF HEALING, 32 ART IDENTIFIED, 50

EMERSON VERNON FRESH DUZIT DRAYCO MCCOY

Q+A PARIS COLBY, 60 PERCTESSA, 64 RAMPING UP, 66 Q+A BRAIN TWINS, 82 RON MINER, 86 EMERGING SOUNDS, 90 RARE MYSTIK PAMÉ CLUB PLEX

THE PUNK PROFESSOR, 98 THE BLOOMINGTON ROOTS OF MODERN PUNK MUSIC, 104 REP YOUR SET, 116 DJ SPACE BUNZ JADA BELL THE WLDLFE HUCKLEBERRY FUNK OKARA IMANI UJUU PUBLIC UNIVERSAL FRIEND

OP-ED, 140

IMAGES TIARA THOMAS, 10 I’M WITH THE BAND, 36 HIP HOP IN NYC, 42 WILDSTYLE, 110 NATURAL THEORY, 128 THE SUMMIT, 138 ON THE COVER Tiara Thomas Photography by Joseph Calvo Style by Quela Renee Coat, Nathalia Gaviria Knit Bralette and Pants, Adiba Booties, Free Lance ON THIS PAGE Tiara Thomas Photography by Joseph Calvo Style by Quela Renee Kimono, Spotted Poodle Vintage Boots, Charles David

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JANETTE BECKMAN

CONTRIBUTORS

ANNA POWELL DENTON

SIERRA VANDERVORT CHAD "JAMIL" HUDSON

Drawn to the underground hip-hop scene, she moved to NYC in 1983 and photographed pioneers Run DMC, Slick Rick, Salt-N-Pepa, Grand Master Flash, LL Cool J and many more.

Anna Powell Denton is a photographer and filmmaker in Bloomington, IN. She works with both digital and film formats specializing in editorial portraiture and documentary photography.

Her work has been shown in galleries worldwide and is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, the Museum of the City of New York and the British National Portrait Gallery.

IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? Sierra is a music lover and freelance creative who travels full-time. She studied journalism and music at Indiana University before moving to New Orleans to immerse herself in the soul of music. Nowadays she teaches yoga & spirituality online in-between her writing. You can connect with her on Instagram @thelocalmystic. IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? “Cry to Me” by Solomon Burke. I’m nostalgic, dramatic, sensual, empathetic, and emotional. Plus Dirty Dancing, duh. WHAT'S THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO YOU'VE SEEN? I love the video for “Why” by Annie Lennox. It so soft and understated, but absolutely mesmerizing. I remember watching it when I was young thinking she was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen.

Robert Stillman's “As He Walked Into the Field” because it can accompany you at any time of day through any season WHAT'S THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO YOU'VE SEEN? Fleet Foxes — “Can I Believe You.”

www.annapowelldenton.com annapowelldenton

Chad “Jamil” Hudson is an eclectic artist with experience in wardrobe styling, modeling, and creative writing. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, and works as an Assistant Wardrobe Stylist. He has had the opportunity to work alongside artists such as Young Thug, Kid Cudi, Blueface, Cole Bennett of Lyrical Lemonade, and more. IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? “CHANCES” by KAYTRANADA. This song was my first choice because of its uplifting lyrics, it harps on carrying out lofty aspirations no matter how ridiculous they seem. After moving out to Los Angeles during the pandemic I consider myself a bit of a risk-taker. I am very grateful to still be here and see that it has been paying off.

https://thelocalmystic.com/blog/

WHAT'S THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO YOU'VE SEEN?

thelocalmystic

“Casio” by JUNGLE chadjamilhudson

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British-born photographer Janette Beckman began her career working for music magazines The Face and Melody Maker. She shot bands from The Clash to Boy George as well as three Police album covers

Beckman continues to chronicle sub-cultures of our generation and as well as working on shoots for clients such as Levis, Apple and Dior. She is represented by the Fahey Klein Gallery in Los Angeles. Her monograph ‘Rebels From Punk to Dior’ will be published in October 2021 IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? I love Curtis Mayfield's “Move on Up.” This song is an inspiration! an upbeat anthem of hope mixing soul and funk, Written and produced by Curtis Mayfield in 1970, it is about how to live your life to the best and follow your dreams. It is always on my playlist. WHAT'S THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO YOU'VE SEEN? I still love Michael Jackson's groundbreaking “Thriller.” It changed the game! www.janettebeckman.com janettephoto


ALEX PESAK

JOSEPH CALVO

QUELA RENEE

CORY CATHCART

Joseph is a portrait and fashion photographer based in Los Angeles, California. He aims to show the inherent qualities of a person that comprise their beauty, strength and ultimately their humanity.

IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane because it has an alluring soulfulness that is both approachable and complex. WHAT'S THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO YOU'VE SEEN? “This is America” by Childish Gambino www.calvophotography.com calvophotography

Alex Pesak, a free-spirited graphic designer, graduated from UIndy in 2018 with a design major and marketing minor. Alex played a very valuable role in the agency world until she quickly learned that she thrives by having the opportunity to work with clients of many different backgrounds. In May of 2021, Alex went solely on her own and AP The Creative was born. Since then, she has worked with numerous individuals and companies, building meaningful relationships with each and every one. If she’s not networking with strangers at the Speakeasy, she’s out antique shopping for her humble abode.

Spending time learning about artists and creatives in Indianapolis is why I love living here. I am a freelance writer and graduated from IUPUI with a Bachelor’s in Journalism last year. Traveling is important to me and heavily influences how and why I write. I love exploring both nature and cities. Staying active, music, and art keep me grounded. IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? “Lauren” by Men I Trust. I love all of their music. I’d be this specific song because the lyrics speak to the part of me that craves travel for inspiration.

“Woman” by Kesha. The lyrics alone speak for themselves. I’ve been chasing a paycheck since the age of 15, I don’t rely on men to bring me happiness, and I live for a good night out with my girls. Being raised by a badass mother and supportive father, I hope to continue to influence strong women for generations to come.

Quela studied Merchandise and Marketing at FIDM in Los Angeles, CA. When she is not restoring antique clothing or putting together looks she is riding horses and flying planes. IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? “L'appuntamento” by Ornella Vanoni because my life is filled with images of a never ending stroll through little Italian streets filled with romance, beauty, and individuality. WHAT'S THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO YOU'VE SEEN? Beyoncé, “Black is King” visual album.

WHAT'S THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO YOU'VE SEEN? “MOOD 4 EVA” by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Childish Gambino, and Oimou Sangaré. Cultural appreciation is prevalent throughout the entire video. It feels as if they are introducing us to their roots, their people, their fashion and even their struggles. The entire video is just so beautiful.

www.quelareneestylist.com www.spottedpoodle.com quelarenee

www.apthecreative.com apthecreative

WHAT'S THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO YOU'VE SEEN? “Sober” By Childish Gambino.

corycathcart_ 9


COAT NATHALIA GAVIRIA, RING SHY SIREN

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GRAMMY AND OSCAR WINNER REFLECTS ON HER ACHIEVEMENTS

WORDS BY DAVID LINDQUIST PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOSEPH CALVO STYLE BY QUELA RENEE DESIGN BY CARRIE KELB

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When Indianapolis native Tiara Thomas won a Grammy Award for cowriting the 2020 Song of the Year “I Can’t Breathe,” she considered it an upset. The protest anthem recorded by H.E.R. prevailed in a category that included chart-topping hits by Taylor Swift and Post Malone. When Thomas won an Academy Award six weeks later, she found the experience difficult to believe. “I walk by my Oscar every day and I think, ‘Why do I have an Oscar in my house?’ ” says Thomas, a Lawrence North High School alum and a 2012 graduate of Ball State University. Thomas won her Oscar by co-writing the song “Fight for You” for the film Judas and the Black Messiah. Similar to “I Can’t Breathe,” H.E.R. sang and co-wrote “Fight for You” with Thomas and Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II. Thomas has fought for herself during a music career of progress and setbacks. She enjoyed an early brush with fame when “Bad,” her collaboration with rapper Wale, reached No. 21 on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart. Unfortunately, separate record deals Thomas signed with Wale and producer Rico Love didn’t work out. Now she has a Grammy, an Oscar, and renewed interest in her work as an R&B singer.

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SHOULDER PADS NATHALIA GAVIRIA, BLAZER AND PANT SUIT BAR III, RING SHY SIREN, SHOES CHARLES DAVID

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David Lindquist: The songs that won the Grammy and the Academy Award are not breezy, lightweight tunes. Did that make it especially gratifying to have “I Can’t Breathe” and “Fight for You” recognized at the highest level? Tiara Thomas: That was crazy. I knew “I Can’t Breathe” was a great song, and I felt really good after we wrote it. H.E.R. and I wrote it on FaceTime, actually. I was out looking for a new apartment when she texted me, “Hey, let’s jump on a call today.” We were just talking on FaceTime and we started writing this song. The George Floyd situation was going on, plus Breonna Taylor. Everyone was just so frustrated, so it felt good to be able to get out some feelings about it. I really didn’t think that much else about it after we got off the phone. I remember texting her about a week later asking, “Did you ever get a chance to record that song?” She probably was busy and didn’t hit me back, but it came out about a week after that. I thought, “Oh, cool.” I loved the way the production turned out. Then I found out we were nominated for a Grammy, and that was crazy because it’s probably the least popular song in the category as far as streams go. I think it was the most important song in the category.

I think it was the most important song in the category. DL: “I Can’t Breathe” was released on Juneteenth 2020. One year later, do you think we’re seeing progress with equity and equality in the United States? TT: That’s a tough question because I think we need more time to see. I know they are trying to do police reform and those types of things. That’s appreciated, and I think it’s a lot of small steps that lead to the big change. I think we have to see. We saw a lot of major corporations speaking up last year about equality. We have to see if they’re sticking to what they’re saying long term or just jumping on the bandwagon of, “Oh, yeah, equality for everyone.” I will say that things like “I Can’t Breathe” winning Song of the Year is definitely one of those steps that lead to change. Our voice is being recognized.

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COAT NATHALIA GAVIRIA, KNIT BRALETTE AND PANTS ADIBA

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LEFT VEST AND PANT SET SPOTTED POODLE VINTAGE, RING SHY SIREN; RIGHT JACKET NATHALIA GAVIRIA, PANTS NATHALIA GAVIRIA, BOOTIES CHARLES DAVID, RING SHY SIREN; PG. 19 BLAZER 0TT

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DL: Two of my favorite films of 2020 were Judas and the Black Messiah and The Trial of the Chicago 7, which had some overlap in telling Fred Hampton’s story. How did you approach the challenge of creating a timeless song, “Fight for You,” for Judas and the Black Messiah? TT: For Judas and the Black Messiah, I was already working on finishing up H.E.R.’s album in Los Angeles. We were going to the studio every day. One morning my publisher, Walter Jones, told me H.E.R. had to write a song for this movie coming out called Judas and the Black Messiah. I didn’t know anything about the movie, but I thought the title was so cool. I knew it was going to be a powerful film about Black history. I was definitely down to do it. So I just went to the studio like any other day that week, and H.E.R., cosongwriter D’Mile and I watched the movie in the studio. It wasn’t the finished cut, but I was so moved by the story. Obviously, I know about the Black Panthers, but I did not know the story of Fred Hampton. I was upset after the movie. I feel like there’s so much African American history that’s kind of hidden. It’s not mainstream news, so I was happy someone told that story and everyone would finally know the story of Fred Hampton – just showing the long history of the police and how they treated Black people for so many years. We wanted to write a song that sounded like it came from the time. We didn’t really get that many notes on what the song should be. Director Shaka King just said they didn’t want it to be a sad song, like ending on a sad note. After watching the movie, we sat in the studio and listened to some Curtis Mayfield and some Marvin Gaye to get a feel for that percussion and those bass lines. We wanted to channel that feeling on the track. From there, H.E.R. and I sat down and did what we always do: we just sit down and go line for line for line. It happens pretty quickly. Once the track is created, I think the lyrics come pretty easily. DL: I’m sure songwriting circumstances vary, but do you typically have a specialty of words or music when you collaborate? TT: It just depends. For “I Can’t Breathe,” I specifically remember H.E.R. playing these chords on the guitar and I said, “I like those chords.” We actually started writing these verses, and she started singing, “I can’t breathe,” just like she does in the song. I said, “That’s it. That’s the hook.” I thought it was simple and perfect. I got goosebumps when she started singing that. Sometimes we go into the booth and mumble melodies. She’ll mumble some melodies and we’ll pick out the ones we like. Sometimes I’ll mumble a melody and she’ll say, “OK, I like that melody.” Then we write words to the mumbles. DL: I’ve seen reports that new Tiara Thomas music is on the way. What can you share about that? TT: I’ve been working on my project for a while, like a couple of years now. I have songs that are going to be on my project that I recorded almost two years ago. That’s what happens. That happens with a lot of artists. I get in and out of my zone, then jump into other people’s zones. I was working on H.E.R.’s album for a while. Now I’m working on my own stuff. It’s a work in progress. I do have a lot of new music I’m excited about. It’s interesting because I wrote these very conscious songs with H.E.R., and that’s not normally the type of music I make. Although I do put a lot of thought into my lyrics, I did feel like it was really special to be able to make a song that spoke for the people. It felt good for me to be able to switch up and do something like that. DL: Do you think any of that is bleeding into what you’re working on? TT: Yes, in ways. I write so many different types of music– songs that people won’t probably hear. I’ll be at the house

writing a country song. It’s definitely inspiring to know I can write songs about a lot of different things. DL: In one of your recent tweets, you advise people to “go where you’re valued, celebrated, loved, and appreciated.” Is this a lesson learned through your experiences in the music industry? TT: I think so. In this industry, it sometimes feels like everybody wants something from somebody. Maybe people don’t see your full worth or your full potential. Really, it’s just about believing in yourself and sticking with your team. My team has been rocking with me for about eight years, through all kinds of ups and downs. I wasn’t popping at all, and nobody was saying anything about me. After the Wale “Bad” situation, I signed a record deal that I ended up not being pleased with. Things kind of went downhill from there. I stuck with my team, and it’s people who believe in you and push you to keep going. I feel it’s kind of hard to find your group in this industry. It's a little bit like high school, but one hundred times worse. DL: From my perspective, you seemed prepared to take on the world when I met you as a student at Ball State. When you look back at that time as a college student, how do you summarize your musical journey? TT: When I was younger, before I even started teaching myself to play guitar, I said, “I’m going to win a Grammy.” I didn’t know how. I wasn’t even making music at the time. I just thought, “I love music so much.”

When I was younger, before I even started teaching myself to play guitar, I said, “I’m going to win a Grammy.” I wanted to do it because of the way artists I listened to made me feel. I’d go around Craig Middle School in sixth grade with a guitar I didn’t know how to play, but I’d say, “I’m going to win a Grammy.” That dream always stayed with me. I like thinking about college because I was really having fun with music. I didn’t have any expectations. I’m a girl from Indiana. I didn’t think, “Oh, what do people think about me?” until “Bad” came out and all these random strangers say stuff about you. Everything was so carefree when I was in college. I had fun posting covers to YouTube from my dorm room. I just knew, “I’m good at this. I sing and play guitar. I like to write songs. I’m going to make something out of myself with this.” I always felt confident. Although I went through things in the industry that were extremely discouraging, I always still felt confident. I wouldn’t leave my bed for two weeks because I was depressed, but I’d still be sitting in my bed like, “I’m so dope.” I knew I had the talent. . ✂

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ERIC TOBIAS. TECH ENTREPRENEUR. MUSIC LOVER. CO-OWNER OF THE VOGUE. WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY POLINA OSHEROV A tech and music-loving entrepreneur from a young age, Eric Tobias credits the band Counting Crows as one of the big reasons he got into both tech and music. Enamored with the band as a student in high school, he got into trading bootleg music, which led him into coding, and then to a storied career in tech with multiple startups and successful exits. Currently a partner and an investor at High Alpha, Tobias is also a relatively new co-owner of the iconic The Vogue performance venue. I sat down with him to chat about his vision for The Vogue, how the Indianapolis music scene can recover more quickly post-pandemic, and why lugging porta potties is something this well-heeled investor and business man doesn’t mind one tiny bit. POLINA OSHEROV: Can you reflect a little bit on your journey as a music lover and now a music industry professional? Any surprises? ERIC TOBIAS: When you’re not in the music business, there’s this dreamy fantasy that you’re just hanging out with artists all day... PO: It’s sex, drugs, and rock and roll, right? ET: Exactly! [laughter] So the surprise was in how it actually works. Touring is basically an equivalent of a traveling circus, where the musicians roll in bleary-eyed and have no clue what city they’re in. Being a musician is a grind just like any job: some days you love it, some days you hate it. The other surprise was the economics of the music business. Nobody makes any money off music anymore, including the artist. That might sound like a gross overstatement, but not really. One percent of the artists make money, and ninety-nine percent

are just grinding for the art. Venues like The Vogue don’t make any money from music. In fact, it’s a huge expense. That’s been both surprising and disheartening.

ET: It’s so simple, but I’ve actually been surprised by how many times I offer people free tickets, and they don’t show.

PO: Do you think this will ever be profitable, or will this always be a passion project? If anybody can figure out how to make this cash flow, it’d be you, right?

PO: I’ve heard the same from Josh Baker.

ET: Well, we’re trying. [chuckle] I do believe that instead of huge music festivals and the Deer Creeks [now called Ruoff Music Center] of the world that the smaller venues, like The Vogues, are going to flourish actually. PO: The Vogue has been around for quite a few decades, which means that there are a lot of people out there, who are older, with amazing memories of concerts they attended at The Vogue. What’s it been like trying to re-engage those individuals? ET: I think that’s another thing that’s been surprising, how much people care about this place. I had no idea! I’m in the tech world doing a lot of cool things, but no one wants to talk about that. They all want to know about The Vogue! Pre-pandemic, we were on this amazing path of getting people back into the venue that hadn’t been in a long time, and that’s just starting back up again. PO: What can we do next as a city to support music venues and the music industry? ET: Go to shows! It is hard to find the time, but that’s the number one thing that everyone can do. When I talk to agents and they’re considering, ‘Do we go to Cincinnati, or do we go to Chicago, or do we go to Indy?’ They ultimately book shows in the cities where they can get the biggest crowds.

ET: Speaking of Josh! I have so much admiration for that guy. He has worked his tail off to build music in the city. And in the pandemic, he was an unsung hero. He pulled the whole industry together. Kept venues talking, kept people’s spirits up. He’s an amazing guy. Every city, every industry needs someone like that. PO: Shout out to Josh Baker! ET: Yeah! Do you know why Silicon Valley is so famous and successful? It’s because companies and individuals work together there unlike any other ecosystem. They share ideas, they share talent, they share resources, and the collective whole rises. That collaborative spirit is so important, especially right now. You asked what the city can do to support the music scene here. Well, let’s start by not viewing each other as foes or competitors. We’re just all trying to get to the same place. PO: We mights still working our way out of the scarcity mentality. For a long time, culture and the arts, especially smaller entities and solopreneurs, have been underrepresented and underfunded here. I think the pandemic changed that, especially in the music, food, and non-profit art spaces, which is really exciting to see. But this is just the beginning. There is still so much work to be done educating our community to better understand the value and impact of creators and the creative economy, and how to support them.

PO: Simple but powerful. 21


THAT COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT IS SO IMPORTANT, ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW. YOU ASKED WHAT THE CITY CAN DO TO SUPPORT THE MUSIC SCENE HERE. WELL, LET’S START BY NOT VIEWING EACH OTHER AS FOES OR COMPETITORS. WE’RE JUST ALL TRYING TO GET TO THE SAME PLACE.

ET: The key is that you have to plant a flag and focus on the long haul, riding out those ups and downs. You can’t get lost in the weeds of today. You need to have a vision and a mission, and that’s what you have to be focused on. If you do that, eventually your efforts will pay dividends. PO: Focus on the big picture, right? ET: Yeah. Not sure who said this, but it was this: “Start with the press release and work backwards,” or put another way, “What is the story to be written?” PO: Speaking of the long haul, based on my research of other markets where creatives and artists are thriving, the creative economy needs a committed champion in the private sector. For example, Sweetwater is having a significant impact on the economy of Fort Wayne. Any ideas about who could be the Salesforce of the creative economy here in Indy? ET: We definitely believe in the creator economy at High Alpha, and our portfolio of companies reflects that. Whether it’s Mandolin for music or Castiron for chefs, we’re harnessing tech to support creators. We think there’s a lot of big opportunities in that space, and we hope to be part of that. But you’re right, there needs to be the Salesforce or the Lilly equivalent for the culture and arts to really thrive here. PO: What mindset makes for a successful entrepreneur? ET: Working on creating the Counting Crows website twenty-five years after I fell in love with that band as a kid was a really cool, full circle moment for me. And there are two takeaways: one, I never gave up on following my passions. Sometimes that road was very unclear, but I just kept going. And two, I’ve embraced being a life-long learner. If you marry those two things, passion for something and this constant quest for learning and never settling, the rest takes care of itself. It really does. PO: Here’s a question for you, somewhat philosophical. Is it passion or is it curiosity at the outset? For me, I feel like the things I’ve pursued that I am now passionate about started as curiosities - PATTERN being one such thing. ET: That’s a good question. What I experienced, with live music at least, is a feeling of being comfortable in my own skin in a way that I don’t experience in any other realm of my life. I just feel a peace wash over me that I don’t get in any other place. We’ve done this summer series called Rock the Ruins. I’m over there literally moving porta potties,

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and I love the entire experience. Why is that? Because I’m with my people, and that makes all the difference. PO: Did you feel that way 30 years ago? Did you know who your people were then? ET: No. I didn’t. PO: This is a part of a bigger conversation for me. Because I work with so many college students who are just lost. And I think that they hear this, “Follow your passions,” sentiment a lot, but they don’t know what their passions are and they feel like they’re missing out or are somehow deficient because it feels like everyone else has their passion figured out. What I tell them is, “Follow your curiosity.” If something’s piqued your interest just go down that road. Because you might discover a whole new world. Or you might decide it’s not for you, but that’s okay too. You’re not wasting time, you’re exploring the possibilities. ET: You’re right, curiosity’s really important. I also believe there has to be a spark, an attraction as well. You can be really curious. But unless there’s a, ‘Man, that felt good. I want more of that,’ it’s hard to continue to be curious, especially when you run into challenges. PO: So when you started coding in order to get better at bootlegging... [laughter] I mean, was it a means to an end or were you actually excited about coding? ET: I was! Coding is a perfect blend of art and science for me. So what I love about tech, and specifically the web, is you have this visual UI element that is driven by ones and zeros. And the blend of that was really fascinating. The whole process of having it in my mind how I wanted something to look, then the pain of getting it to actually do that. Getting over that hump. That was just amazing to me. So yes, I was curious but it was combined with that high that kept me going. PO: What one thing are you looking forward to in the next few months, other than a nice long vacation? ET: I’m really looking forward to the first really kick ass show at The Vogue and our whole team working here together. We’ve had some incredible shows outdoors this summer, but there’s nothing like a show here. And we’ve got some great ones coming. There’s something for everyone. I’m especially excited about seeing the Psychedelic Furs, Ruston Kelly, and Houndmouth. For more information about The Vogue and a list of upcoming events, visit THEVOGUE.COM. ✂


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W E ’ V E G OT YO U R M A R K E T I N G M I X TA P E

1. Strategic Planning 2. Earned Media 3. Video Development 4. Paid Digital 5. Grassroots Marketing 6. Organic Social 7. Content Marketing 8. Crisis Communications 9. Media Buying 10. Creative Development 11. Proprietary Measurement 12. Influencer Campaigns

bohlsengroup.com

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The intersection of color and music is emotion. One visual and the other aural, the link between the two is the emotion they provoke. We challenged four artists to write a verse about a color of their choosing, perform it, and be photographed on said color to convey this relationship between colors and music. WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACOB MORAN DESIGN BY ALEX PESAK

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Allison Victoria’s talents go beyond her effortless yet distinctive vocal ability. She is a self-taught guitarist, piano player, and songwriter grown in our very own backyard. The versatility of this Indy native can be found in her style, with sounds ranging from soul, hiphop and R&B to folk, gospel, pop and jazz. The rawness, authenticity, and intentionality behind Victoria’s music is easily transferred off the stage, as she grounds herself in what she believes is her divine purpose. Her mission is to use her art in a way that heals and resonates with her audience, spreading love one song at a time. IG @ALLISONVICTORIAAA 26

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Scotty Apex is a rising artist and songwriter originally from Shelbyville, Indiana. After developing his sound in Indianapolis, Apex relocated to Los Angeles. Apex captures a range of energies through his use of lyricism and experimentation with sound and instrumentation. From the paindriven vulnerability of his lyrics to the bright atmospheric melodies captured in each song, his music perfectly marries all of the sounds of his childhood influences together in a way that creates a genre of its own. IG @SCOTTY.APEX 27


Hailing from St. Louis, Bobby Donnelly is a singer, songwriter and guitarist with a sound that beautifully fuses blues, folk, and rock. Originally a classical violinist, Donnelly relocated to Indianapolis to study at Butler University. As a natural talent in the world of sound, Donnelly has been focused on producing meaningful and engaging music. You will find him in the studio with his hands on a new project set to be released in 2022. IG @BOBBY.DONNELLY 28

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Hip hop artist Baby Ebony is known to captivate audiences with the intricate lyricism and engineering found in his music. Making a name for himself as an Indy native, he has been featured in multiple blogs and has performed in festivals such as Chreece. As a signed artist to 2600, an independent record label, Ebony places emphasis on honing his craft whilst perfecting his image and brand. His signature tied bandana can be easily spotted in the crowd. He is also a member of the rap duo known as Switchblades. IG @BVBYEBONY 29


INDUSTRY INSIDER

ROUND TABLE

WORDS BY EUAN MAKEPEACE PHOTOGRAPH BY JACOB MORAN

RECORDING

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COMPANY Opened in Broad Ripple last year, Round Table Recording Company (RTRC) is Indianapolis’ newest music studio complex, and it is already flourishing. Having recently been featured on the cover of Mix Magazine, RTRC is staking its claim as a world-class recording space with its high-end studio design, equipment, and studio personnel. It was on a trip to Nashville in 2015 that co-founders Travis ‘Kold Kut’ Moore and Tim Walker, along with Chief Engineer and Producer Corey Miller, dreamt up the idea of opening their own recording studio. “Opening my own studio has been a lifelong dream,” says Moore. “I knew I couldn’t do this business with just anyone and needed somebody that I trusted that knew the business side. Tim was that person.” For Moore and Miller, this meant stepping away from the roles they’d wrought at other recording studios around Indianapolis since the early stages of the millennium, roles that led them to working alongside a plethora of internationally recognized artists. That list includes DMX, Queens of the Stone Ages, and The LOX, as well as producing music for TV shows such as NBC’s The Voice, Pawn Stars, and the WWE. Moore and Miller have also long involved themselves in nurturing local music talent– Moore by launching and teaching at the Azmyth School of Music Technology at Azmyth Recording Studios in Indianapolis, and Miller has taught and mentored students at IUPUI and Butler University respectively. For Walker, RTRC was the next step in his odyssey out of the financial industry and into music. “In 2014, my wife took a job in Indianapolis,” says Walker. “So, I sold my business – faster than I expected – to move here with her and had some time on my hands. I told my wife, ‘I’d like to learn to record music.” Following the sale and the move to Indianapolis, Walker enrolled in classes at Azmyth taught by Moore and has since written music for TV. He’s earned placement on local, national, and international spots, including MTV’s Catfish: the Show. Located on the west side of the Broad Ripple neighborhood in Indianapolis, the creative tenor that encapsulates Broad Ripple and its convenient location made it a fit for the vision that Moore, Miller, and Walker held for RTRC. The studio complex has three studios. Each one fitted with the finest audio and recording equipment, such as the Audient Heritage Edition ASP8024 console and sprawling Ocean Way main monitors. The complex also features a writers’ lounge/piano room, kitchen/musician lounge, classrooms, and a conference room. The classrooms mark the commitment RTRC has to its goals of nurturing local talent and developing Indianapolis as a hub for music. “People think of a recording studio as somewhere people just come and record. Our true passion is the writing and the creative part,” says Walker. “Our number one goal is to break a couple of artists on the national stage and demonstrate that we have the talent to do it homegrown.” With all the early success and the momentum going into the other programs RTRC has planned, it would be easy for the studio to run with a big ego. That is not the case. A studio hallmarked by its emphasis on staying grounded and focusing on community, RTRC seeks to collaborate with people who have had boots on the ground for some time. “We don’t know all the help we need,” says Walker. “We don’t profess to know everything, and we will talk to anybody if there’s something we can do that’s to the benefit of the community,” he concludes. ✂

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LEARNING TO CREATE SPACE FOR HEALING WITH WELLNESS EXPERT AND SOUND HEALER, CHARLIE REDD.

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WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KHAILA KING MAKEUP BY GIUSEPPE DICLARO HAIR BY JASMINE HOWARD STYLE BY TAYLOR FELDER SET DESIGN BY KAYLEE WILLIAMSON DESIGN BY CARRIE KELB

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Khaila King: What is sound healing and how exactly can sound affect the body? How would you break it down to somebody that has never been introduced to the concept? Charlie Redd: Sound healing means different things to different people. For me, sound healing is using different organic sounds, tones and vibrations in order to offer spaciousness and some relief. When I say organic, I mean not as structured or methodical as music, although sound and music are very intricately connected. When I say space and relief, that can be really broad. It can be just relaxation relief or more specific. Some sounds, vibrations, and tones are helpful for people with different inflammatory things happening in their joints, and some sounds can be helpful for people experiencing tinnitus. KK: How long have you been in practice, and how were you introduced to it? CR: I come from a very musical family. My mom was playing CDs and Hooked on Phonics to her belly while I was in there cooking. In high school, I actually played three instruments and participated in multiple bands. Music and sound have always been deeply important to me. I was recently diagnosed as neurodivergent, and with that my perception of time is different than a lot of peoples’. I am realizing now for most of my life, I’ve been using music and sound to tell time. In regard to sound healing and wellness, around 2014 I started working at a place that sold crystal singing bowls. I was able to play them all the time. I ended up getting some of my own, then I started playing other healing instruments like Himalayan bowls, and chimes. I have several yoga certifications and I would practice integrating sound with yoga asana poses and in meditation. I used singing bowls to help orient myself and to deepen my other practices, and it just grew from there. KK: What would you say is the biggest misconception that you find that a lot people have about sound healing? CR: That it’s supposed to transport people to some other place that’s of the devil. Everything that we do and experience has to do with sound. It’s not “woowoo,” it’s science. I often tell people, especially when I do group sound baths, the sounds that are around us are also a part of this experience. Silence has a sound, silence sounds different in different places, right? The echoes that are happening in a room are a part of the experience and using our awareness of sound can be a reminder for us to breathe and take up the space that we need in whatever surroundings we’re in. I think some of the biggest myths about sound healing are that people have to have some kind of simulated environment to be able to practice it, or they need to have a seven chakra singing bowl set to be able to make sure it hits all the different chakras, otherwise, they’re going to be unbalanced and unwell. That kind of thinking isn’t helpful, because most of this work has to do with the care and intention that is behind it. There’s no formula to it.

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KK: Some neo soul and R&B artists, such as Erykah Badu or Jhené Aiko, have used instruments such as singing bowls as an element in producing their music. What significance do you think this plays in how people view the practice and how the practice aligns with popular culture, more specifically Black culture, because I see it a lot more with Black artists? CR: Blackness is always going to be counterculture, because dominant culture is based on whiteness so understanding and knowing that means anything that we do is going to be different. In a lot of ways Black artists approach their craft with the mindset of “I’m gonna do what I want to do as best as I can with the resources I have.” Also, more people are really trying to find a way to just generally make life manageable, because there’s a lot of reasons why we feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Having different sounds in different songs make sound healing potentially more accessible to a broader audience which is what Erykah Badu has done. However, with Jhené diving into sound healing more, I think it’s cool, but also I really have a problem with when things get mainstreamed, because it causes capitalism to sink its teeth into it and suck the life out of it. It also makes the tools of the practice less accessible to those who have been sharing things authentically. I’m not gonna go too far down that rabbit hole, but I do love when artists like Jhené use the practice in a very strategic and intentional way, as opposed to as an accessory. KK: Is sound healing as effective as a recording as it is when experiencing it in person? CR: Sound healing is really better in person and in real time, because you can feel the vibrations in the floors and the waves bouncing off of the walls and then back to you. The sound isn’t just coming to your ears, it’s coming to and through your entire body and then bouncing back to the source again. There’s no way to fully encapsulate the dynamics of sound in a recording. When I listen to sound healing recordings, it’s because I am seeking information, but not necessarily the experience. However, as a creative, I do like to play around with layering different sounds or using different instruments. I also understand the purpose of making the experience accessible to people who are not able to come out in person, but it’s important to know that all of that range doesn’t necessarily show up in a recording.

clear. They can also sound more dissonant and reflective in melancholy. The bowls can also be made infused with other crystals and that can change the tones and qualities of them. Tibetan (or Himalayan) bowls are brass. They are hammered to shift the tones to be closer to certain notes. Also, since they’re made out of metal, they have a really dynamic sound. So that means they have a lot of overtones, and undertones and they’re not as clear as crystal bowls. KK: Back in February I went to a group sound bath. I wanted to try something different and for some reason, I could not for the life of me unwind or unfold. Why is stillness so uncomfortable sometimes? CR: Sound baths are another form of meditation. It’s a practice. Your body has to get used to stillness, mentally and physically. That takes time. Also, we live in a world that is very, very driven by our sympathetic nervous system, which is where our go, go, go mindset stems from. It takes a lot to untrain your brain to be able to be present. Regular practice makes it a lot easier, so it’s a muscle that you have to keep exercising. KK: What should everyone know about sound healing? CR: That it’s for everybody. There is no formula, there is no special tool. It is a practice truly for everyone. All sound healing does is try to remind people that it’s okay for there to be space, because it can be really scary. We’re used to the mindset of “I should always be doing something, I should always be thinking something.” Space is the key for us becoming more grounded, and being the best versions of ourselves, because that’s where we get to choose ourselves. ✂

KK: Let’s talk about the bowls themselves. When most people think about healing and wellness in relation to sound, singing bowls are the first to come to mind because they’ve become so popularized. Can you discuss the nature of the bowls and some other instruments that could be used that we might not think about? CR: Crystal singing bowls are made out of quartz because quartz is pretty durable and holds a resonance in a certain way. I’m pretty sure California is where most of them are made. They have different shapes and sizes to allow for a sound that is more crystalline. Crystalline sounds tend to feel more ethereal, spacious and

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NCY) T AGE IS T R ) CA THETI IST AGENCY IE SHARP IFT S E A ( T N THR R CH AN A W R Y O C O I B T T M P P NA EU THE COB BY JA OETER (AES HAIR & MAK T) LOCATION Y H P EN GRA CHR DER PHOTO Y MACKIE S TAYLOR FEL L MANAGEM B E T STYLE ASSISTAN ODELZ MOD G M N STYLI BRAYLEN (L L: MODE

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Band t-shirts have been around since the mid60s, although the trend of branding oneself with a musician’s name began as early as 1940s. One of music’s most potent totems, a tee emblazoned with the name of your favorite band signals allegiance, and confers a proud sense of belonging. In Indianapolis, the vintage band tee trend is as popular as anywhere else, with dozens of online resellers, and a handful of stores keeping stylish music lovers on their toes, regularly scouring the racks for that one epic tee find. We hit one of Indy’s most popular brick and mortar stops for vintage tees - Naptown Thrift - and discovered some great finds!

SHIRT, VINTAGE ‘BILLY JOEL’ 1986 PANTS, STANDARD CLOTH BOOTS, DR. MARTENS 37


SHIRT, VINTAGE ‘VAN HALEN’ 1988 JEAN SHORTS, VINTAGE TOMMY HILFIGER *NAPTOWN THRIFT BLACK JACKET, URBAN OUTFITTERS 38

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SHIRT, VINTAGE ‘THE CURE’ 1987 BLACK JEANS, H&M SHOES, NIKE AIR FORCE 1 39


SHIRT, VINTAGE ‘SMASHING PUMPKINS’ 2000 JACKET, URBAN OUTFITTERS BLACK JEANS, H&M SHOES, NIKE AIR FORCE 1

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SHIRT, VINTAGE HOUSE OF PAIN 1992 GREEN PANTS, DICKIES BOOTS, KARL LAGERFELD 41


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OUR NEW YORK EDITOR, JANETTE BECKMAN WAS ON THE SCENE THIS SUMMER TO CAPTURE A CELEBRATION OF HIP HOP, RECONNECTING WITH MR. BIGGS, SLICK RICK, AND MORE.

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August 16 at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, the Universal Hip Hop Museum hosted ‘It’s Time for Hip Hop in NYC,’ the first of four free concerts designed to celebrate the city’s resilience: from pandemic epicenter, back to cultural epicenter, where it belongs! Hip hop was born in the Bronx in 1973 and the Universal Museum of Hip Hop is due to open in Mott Haven in 2024, so it was only right that the first concert be held there. The performers were strictly old-school like the GOAT headliners Slick Rick and KRS-One, and legends Busy Bee, DJ Hollywood, the Fantastic Five, the Furious 5 featuring Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Nice & Smooth, PopMaster Fabel, Soul Sonic Force, T La Rock, and more. The thousands who scored free tickets to the concert skewed toward...those who remember all the songs when they first came out. As for me, I wanted to capture the scene. Headliner Slick Rick hit the stage wearing turquoise matching shorts, top, sneakers and eye patch with his signature Africa gold and diamond chain. He had the ladies screaming and singing along to every song. And the crowd lost it when Melle Mel took off his shirt to show his six pack—still fit at age 60. The backstage scene was 100% pure hip hop history: Sal Abbatiello who ran the South Bronx hip hop club Disco Fever where Run DMC performed their first show...twins Kieth and Kevin Smith, members of the first breakdancing crew, The B-boys...Coke La Rock, credited as the first MC in hip hop history...and the graffiti artists Tats Cru were hanging out, painting murals for the crowd to pose in front of. A beautiful day in the Bronx!

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FEATURED ARTISTS BUSY BEE CL SMOOTH DJ HOLLYWOOD DJ KEVIE KEV ANTASTIC FIVE FURIOUS 5 FEATURING GRANDMASTER MELLE MEL AND SCORPIO GRAND WIZZARD THEODORE JOESKI LOVE KID CAPRI NICE & SMOOTH POPMASTER FABEL SOUL SONIC FORCE T LA ROCK 46

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ORCHARD BEACH IN THE BRONX 08.16.21

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ella fitzgerald

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M DRAY cC C O oy

l is po t na 1s ia f 2 o nd r I e on fo g nt h t in pa . ai w he ies ed. ne i n t c i t e n p do r ic e us hap re ist e’ m W reg ry dy a tu to n lre ce s a N O I t’

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I L A N G - I L A N G

J O H N

BY

D ES I G N

Du F R E S zit H

M O RA N JAC O B BY P H OTO G RA P H Y A N D WO R D S


I have never wanted to be myself more than right now.

EMERSON

Vernon 00 51


n o n r Ve EM

You recently stopped going by Wolfi and chose to use your given name Emerson Vernon instead. What prompted this change?

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EV: Yeah, it was a really big decision. I’ve garnered a pretty significant following under the Wolfi persona so moving past that is a little scary. But I have been writing this new album, and I feel like it is some of the best music that I have created. That being the case, I don’t want it to be attached to something I’m not. Starting out in music I wanted to be anything but myself. I didn’t know myself. I used Wolfi as a scapegoat to get me through stuff.

S ER

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One day, it hit me that no one had called me Emerson in a while and that felt very weird. There came a point last year where I felt like I said everything that I needed to say as Wolfi. I’m now writing about the life I want and not the life that I have, and the music I’m pairing with that has me very excited. It just felt like something I had to do. I want to be myself now and that is truly freeing.


Do you feel like you lost yourself?

EV

That’s a good question. Yeah, I would say I did. But the thing is, I am glad that I did. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I have never wanted to be myself more than right now.

JM: When I run into an artist like you who makes almost every aspect of their music by themselves, I am left in awe. Recording, writing, and playing the instruments—you do it all. What is the payoff like when you know you did it all yourself? EV: Obviously, the royalties. You get to keep more money from your music. But ultimately, it’s the creative freedom that you have. When it’s just you, there is no one to blame. You can’t blame the engineer for a shitty mix. If something goes wrong, I want it to be on me. I do sometimes call upon instrumentalists to do some work with me. There are certain instruments that I can’t play as well as others. But it’s very rewarding when it’s all said and done, and you can look at a project and know that you created this yourself from scratch. JM: I’ve got to talk about your cover of “Kids” by MGMT. The way you use every aspect of the guitar to play that song is so creative. You’re tapping, slapping, and flicking different areas of the instrument. How did that process even come about?

EV: My only expectation is perfection. When it comes to genre or instrumentation, I just record whatever I am into at the time. When I first started to produce, I was doing a lot of EDM. I really love all kinds of genres. It’s hard for me to limit my creative voice to a genre because there are certain powers within each one. I want to harness and bring as many of those powers together to make something new. I want the world to know you don’t have to put yourself in a box; you can change yourself without notice. JM: “Medication” is a deeply personal song when really diving into the lyrics. Specifically a part where you say “I could go to the doctor, beg to be a zombie, turn him into a monster and disappoint somebody.” What a haunting, relatable message. How vulnerable did you have to be while writing a song like “Medication?” EV: Not at all. I’ve always thought that music is the answer. Obviously, I wrote that song when I was really sad. People more often than not just want to be heard. So if I’m feeling anxious or depressed about something, I can just record it. Then when someone hears that, it makes me and the listener feel less alone. There is a beautiful therapy in that. Personally, I don’t want to be medicated. I want to face my fears, not learn to live with them. Not to say there aren’t people who need to be medicated because there are, and there is a place for medicine when it comes to mental health. Music, creating it and being in it has always been my answer for everything.

EV: First of all, I didn’t write that cover. I found a phenomenal guitarist on YouTube who did that and I just learned how to do it as well. It’s kind of like my party trick that I know will get the crowd excited. It took me years to get that down. It’s called extended technique playing. Essentially, just using the guitar in new ways—ones it wasn’t necessarily made for. It requires specific tuning and other weird tactics. I’m hoping to make some original songs with extended technique in the near future.

The album is a story and has a cohesive narrative. I think it will be very powerful.

JM: It may be too early to tell, but how do you think you’ll sound as Emerson Vernon verses music released under Wolfi?

JM: Being a producer at local staple Stone Tree Studios for years, can you give us a couple artists you’ve worked with that really wowed you?

EV: I have been studying musical themes, movie soundtracks. I modeled the track list after the hero’s journey. It’s used a lot in literature to write stories. The Odyssey, Lord of the Rings, and so on. It’s like a formula. I wanted to apply that to my music. The album is a story and has a cohesive narrative. I think it will be very powerful. My delivery is also a lot different. My voice is deeper now because I’m singing more from my chest. There’s going to be a clear distinction that this is an Emerson Vernon project and not a Wolfi project.

EV: Jeremiah Stokes. That’s my guy. We’ve been buddies for a while. I engineered his last project. I remember him writing all the songs on the spot. Which is crazy because he has some truly incredible bars with a ton of intricacies. I’ve recorded plenty of great guys, but I’m just going to leave it at him because he’s so damn talented.

JM: Do you think that living in Indianapolis has impacted your sound?

EV: I don’t think you can create music without emotion. They’re directly linked. I feel like my best music is made when I have some emotions I need to get out or things I need to say to someone. So I express those emotions in my songs. Sometimes you can’t say what you want to say to someone, so it’s easier to write it in a song and get your catharsis that way.

EV: Without a doubt. The other artists here have influenced me so much. While I was engineering at Stone Tree Studios, I heard so many different artists’ stories and deliveries on the mic and would have them do different things here and there. I eventually started incorporating some of the things I saw others doing into my own stuff. Recording other artists really showed me what it took to be a great artist on the mic. I think without that experience of being able to be around so many of the greats here in the city, I as an artist would not be what I am today.

IG: @akawolfi

JM: I love the lack of expectations I have when I listen to a song of yours. I really am not expecting to hear a certain sound but more so excited to hear a new side of Emerson. Do you place the same lack of expectations on yourself when making music?

JM: Music is highly emotional, and can result in physical reactions to those emotions. How tied is emotion to music creation from an artist standpoint?

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Jacob Moran: You’ve got a lot going on! What do you have in the works that you’re really passionate about?

FD

Fresh Duzit: Man, I’m trying to become the Master P of Naptown. I want to show people that I am a business person. Building a brand and a legacy here. I had to get out of the rap scene for a minute to focus on the business side of things. That’s why I started Off The Wop. I literally just came up with that name out of nowhere and ran with it. I trademarked it and started making merch. I want to build a reputable brand for the city and build an empire. JM: I want to get an inside perspective on your ideal environment for creating music. Give us the general vibe of a session with Fresh Duzit.

FD: I need an environment where everyone is interacting with each other, where everyone is there to create something dope. There has got to be a good blend of seriousness and playfulness. We are here to make hits, but it’s got to be a fun vibe too with no limits on creativity. We may be in the studio making songs, and then we’ll take a break and think of a cartoon show we could make. The environment just needs to be creative. Let’s just create and see what happens. JM: I have heard you describe yourself not as a rapper or producer, but as a playmaker. I believe that term applies to people who are all around good at many things and can set it off at any time. What is your idea of a playmaker? FD: A playmaker is someone who makes shit happen. Someone who is going to get shit done. A lot of people say

I need an environment where everyone is interacting with each other; where everyone is there to create something dope.

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it they can do it, but do they? A playmaker never folds. They get through every obstacle and make stuff happen. It’s like being on a basketball team. You have to have playmakers. That’s where I got the term from. A playmaker will always pull through and get it done. JM: Do you think being a playmaker is something you are born with or can you learn to be one? FD: It’s got to be in you. You can learn from other playmakers, but you gotta know how to execute. When you get an idea you want to bring to the table you have to know how to present it and convey it and make other people believe in it. You gotta make other people believe in the play as much as you do to become a playmaker.

Camelot, but you’ve produced for so many other top-tier talent in the rap game. From Teejayx6, Blocboy JB, and YK Toon. Do you produce with specific artists in mind or do you just do it and see who likes it? FD: I just create what I want. When people hit me up for beats, I just send them a whole pack and they pick what they want. If it ain’t that, I like to make beats from scratch with an artist in the studio. Literally make some shit from thin air. To make a beat while the artist’s vocals are on the same screen is my shit ‘cause I can tweak stuff in the moment, right then and there. Some of the best hits are made when the producer and artist are in the same space just creating.

JM: We obviously know about the platinum selling record 55


I am Indianapolis to the fullest and this year I have been leaning into that heavy.

JM: Is it easier to rap on your own beats or is it just like rapping on someone else’s beat?

a wide reaching brand.

FD

FD: It’s a brand, label, lifestyle, and enterprise. We got an animation company and movie production company. We’re a record label. A clothing brand. We’re trying to expand to everything. We’re trying to become the cultural hub in Indianapolis. I want people to drive through Indianapolis and see Off The Wop billboards and know that we’re really doing shit here in the city, for the city. Something for the city to be proud of. I want Off The Wop to be an automatic association when you think of Indianapolis. We’ve got a lot of dope shit on the way so stay tuned.

FD: Man, I got so many songs of me on other people’s beats that are hits. I don’t even care that I didn’t make the beat. I actually started rapping before I started producing. During that time, I just got tired of finding beats on YouTube and SoundCloud. I figured I may as well just start making my own beats. You know, if you can’t afford a Zaytoven beat, what are you going to do? Make your own. Over time I just started rapping on my own beats and really started to create my own sound. I know what type of beats I want, but that doesn’t mean I only rap on my own beats. I can rap on anything. JM: While you can’t have one without the other, rapping and producing are two separate skill sets. How are they different in your mind?

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JM: I respect and love how much you rep for our city. There are so many talented people who are born here and leave for bigger markets and it makes it hard for us to gain any sort of recognition on a national level for artistry here. You seem genuinely proud to be from Indianapolis.

FD: I definitely blend the two skills together when doing either one. I stack my voice like a beat when I rap. A lot of people can’t do that because you have to have a developed sound for it to work. I treat ad-libs like a hi-hat on the beat. The lead is the melody. Being able to have that knowledge of beat making helps out when rapping on beats.

FD: I’m very proud to be from Indianapolis, man. We don’t have a lot of representation. I mean we are starting to get there, but I wanna do it in a major way. I could keep going as an artist and make money and get national recognition, but I wanna be known for being from Indy and putting Indy on. I want to brand myself from the city in such a way that I want people to think maybe I am an Indycar driver or Pacer. I am Indianapolis to the fullest, and this year. I have been leaning into that heavy.

JM: We briefly touched on Off The Wop, but can you give us a breakdown of what it all encompasses? It seems like

JM: Looking back at an unprecedented year, you put out multiple projects. Off the Wop, Untxmed, and F is for

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Fahrenheit. It doesn’t seem like the pandemic slowed you down creatively. What was it like creating all that music in the tumultuous year we had? FD: It sped me up. I felt like Batman Beyond. I felt like a superhero. I was grinding at work everyday. Everyone tried to figure out what to do with no shows. Me? I just stayed in the studio. If I’m not getting quality venues to book me, then cool. Stay in the studio and work. And that’s what I did all year. Between being locked in the studio and making business plans for my brand, I had one of my most productive years last year. I planned to expand and made all of the moves to do that. JM: What does success look like to you? FD: Success is being able to do whatever the hell you want and knowing you don’t have anything to worry about in terms of what you are trying to accomplish. If you don’t have worries about your grind then you’re successful. If you have worries about your goals then you gotta learn how to fix those real quick so you can get back to what matters, and that’s putting the work in so that you can be successful. Hesitation never helps when trying to achieve your goals.


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DM: That’s a huge part. People can pressure you to do some stuff you don’t want to in the studio. It’s bad enough that you have to do what the beat tells you to do. Some people need that critique but not me. Let me do me. JM: I see you, personally, as one of the pioneers of the rap scene here. Mainly because you were one of the premier artists I had ever seen live. If you had to describe the rap scene here to a newcomer who knows nothing about it, what would you say to them? DM: Independent. Everyone here is doing their own thing. It’s a mixed bag, but you can always pull something out that’s unique. There is no template or example but there is something for everyone, and I think that is a good thing. For a while, people were asking if there was an Indianapolis sound that people should conform to. I don’t think there ever should or will be. That’s beautiful to me. You can go to a Chreece and hear fifty different sounds. You run into so many personalities and songs. Every piece of hip hop is here in Indianapolis.

Jacob Moran: I don’t know if you remember this, but I first met you at Sirius Blvck’s Nightcrawler release show. You’d just gotten off stage and were in the crowd right next to me, and I introduced myself to you. You then performed “Untitled on Purpose” with Sirius, and you actually matched his stage presence. Your music is very centered around energy. Do you feel like that helps you have the dynamic stage performance that you do?

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Drayco McCoy: I like to think when I make music, I make it for scenarios. I work out, so I got shit I listen to when doing that. I got certain shit I listen to when I’m in the car. I like things that sound good on stage, music that is really loud. I’m not into emotional music but if I make a record that is, I want it to be played day, night, in the car, or at the crib. I don’t want to make an emotional record for people to cry to. I say that everything is built with a purpose. So the songs I’m up there performing were made for that exact purpose. If I can’t perform it, I won’t drop it. JM: Bleeding Out with Drayco McCoy, your podcast, is named that because of the intensity and stage presence of Indy artists when they perform. Bleeding out on the stage, being their most vulnerable for the crowd. Does this same feeling translate to the both or is performing a whole different art than recording? DM: The vulnerability is more apparent on stage than in the booth. But think about it like this: What makes you vulnerable? I think giving something you’ve made to the world is wild. It’s very difficult for a lot of people. So as far as being vulnerable, that feeling is absolutely present in both situations. The content doesn’t even need to be vulnerable, though. I could make a simple bullshit ass song, but it’s gonna take the same amount of heart. Same amount of soul. I don’t like when people try to write songs that feel like work didn’t go into it. So, the feeling translates pretty fluidly. JM: Speaking of your podcast, I was impressed with your hosting abilities. I love when I hear an artist and get an

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impression of them, and then that impression is changed when I see a whole other side of that artist. We know that the podcast sheds a light on all of the great people in the city, but what have you learned from doing it? DM: I was hoping that would be the result. I don’t know what people think of me, and I try not to get hung up on it. People think a lot of random shit about me. Whatever anybody’s perception of me is, it feels good for me to show the world who Drayco is as a person. If you don’t mind me asking what were your perceptions of me before you listened to the podcast? JM: Well, your music has an approachable aggression feel to it, and so when I heard the podcast, that aggression completely dropped. You seem so calm and cool on the podcast so it altered my perception of you. DM: Fuck yeah. I love that. I like your mention of approachable aggression. When making the podcast, I was thinking about how I could still be me without turning myself into a media guy. I also didn’t just want to be a hip-hop interviewer ‘cause I wanted it to be expansive. I want to talk to people who came from nothing and inspire others. I didn’t want it to feel like my music, but I wanted to still be me. JM: I heard on your podcast that you don’t like recording in a professional studio setting and that you prefer recording in home setups. Can you explain why? DM: I’ve always had a crazy schedule. So the times I want to record, I just can’t schedule them with a studio. I’ve been recording myself since I started making music. It’s very peaceful for me. I love the ability of being able to do three songs during a free hour that I have during the day. I record whatever the fuck I feel like. I have never recorded in an actual studio and probably never will. It just isn’t the environment for me creatively. JM: Do you think having that freedom to record whenever you want allows you to try some stuff you otherwise wouldn’t?

JM: Your music has an energy in which it seems like you just go in the booth and just rap your ass off. Are there times where you want to be more lyrical and calm as opposed to the high energy Drayco we know? DM: It really just depends on the beats. I have this tape called Skull Collecta and that’s a tape that has a little bit of a different energy than what people are used to. That tape is very lyrical in my eyes. I honestly got bars and am super lyrical, but not everyone wants to hear that. I don’t even want to hear that if it aint on a certain type of beat. Like why are you rapping so fast? Ease up on the theatrics, tell a story. That is what I do a lot on Skull Collecta. But again, I like to make songs that I can perform, and those more lyrical calm joints don’t always translate to shows. JM: All of the mixtapes and albums you’ve released have such great artwork. They almost look like covers of graphic novels with Drayco McCoy being the protagonist. Do you look at your albums as narratives of where you are in your life at that point or are you just making whatever the hell you want? DM: No, I just really like art. I’m an artist, and I used to read a lot of books as a child. Harry Potter was my shit. When you see Harry Potter on shelves the cover art is always different from what you remember. It changes all the time. So I take that approach to my album covers. I want it to be different every time but very artistic because I think there are three parts to a musical story: The production, the words, and the artwork. And in that artwork, you use certain colors to tell the story. Mudblood was dark blue, purple, and black. Skull Collecta was more of a maroon color. I feel like those colors lend themselves to the general energy of the tapes, and I want my cover art to give the listener a companion piece to the music. JM: “Tell someone you love them today” is your mantra, and I personally feel like it shows the duality of Drayco McCoy the artist and Drayco McCoy the person similarly to your podcast. Is there any story on why you started saying this to people? DM: It’s a sentence that will change someone’s face. People don’t say that shit to people. So when I say that to them, I can tell they actually consider doing it, and hopefully, they


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work your day job. You may pop off and get famous, and then a fan does something that makes you afraid to be around fans or do shows. There is the fear of failing, but after you conquer those fears, you may get introduced to new ones that are a whole other form of fear. But that is growth. Getting over old shit, finding new shit to get over. I say and do really whatever I want without fear of others thoughts, but there is a balance to that as well. I had a tape in stores called HOLDMYWHOLEDICK, but how long do you wanna be known as the guy on the cover of his tape holding his dick? So within those fears, you need to have a balance of not caring and being open to change. I want to be fearless but don’t want to be stupid.

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say it to someone that they care about that day. I can be a very angry person, but at my core, I am a very loving person. Spreading love and positivity is something I love to do, especially to strangers. We need to get used to that. People don’t say I love you enough and mean it. Hopefully when I tell someone that, they go home or go to work and they tell someone they love them and mean it. And who knows? Maybe it made that person’s day.

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Spreading love and positivity is something I love to do, especially to strangers. We need to get used to that. People don’t say I love you enough and mean it.

JM: As a closing statement, I want to use your mantra and have you tell someone you love them. It can be anyone or anything. DM: Awww. My daughters and my mama. I love y’all! ✂

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PARIS COLBY. SEAMSTRESS. VISUAL ARTIST. CREATOR OF BROKEN NEEDLES. WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KHAILA KING Clean and abstract. These are two words that you don’t traditionally find together, but they perfectly capture the intricate, yet intentional, stitchwork found in the designs of Indy-based streetwear brand Broken Needles. The brand itself was birthed in the midst of the pandemic by self-taught seamstress and local creative Paris Colby. As the winner of PATTERN’s first SUMMIT competition judged by industry experts TJ Walker and Vic LLoyd, Paris’s eye for design and ethical sourcing is one that is sure to leave a mark on this city and beyond. This is just the beginning. KHAILA KING: How and when were you introduced to your craft? PARIS COLBY: The first hands-on experience I had making any type of clothing was in middle school. I took a textiles class, and I had a teacher named Miss McCormick. She was very critical. We had to make pillows and shirts and I would, like, half-do projects, because I was just a kid. I wasn’t thinking of it as a long-term career; I took the class because I thought it would be fun. But I definitely remember making a shirt one time and she loved the shirt. She put it on display, and I thought, “Okay, this is kind of cool. I really like this.” KK: How did that evolve into the brand Broken Needles? PC: Broken Needles is definitely a new passion. Even though I’ve always been interested in making things and felt that I needed to be creating to have some sort of purpose, it’s crazy because after middle school, I didn’t do anything for a long time. The pandemic revived that interest. I started making things again

and people were vibing with what I was making. And Broken Needles was born. It’s been so cool. Sharing my passion with other people motivates me to do more things. But also being an artist sharing my stuff with the world allows me to be vulnerable in a way. KK: Where did you learn all your skills? PC: I’m completely self-taught and graduated from YouTube university. (laughs) It started with, “I bet I can do that.” Then I’d do it and be like, “Cool, how much further can I push this?!” It grew from there. KK: How do you think being self-taught affects your artistry and your brand? PC: I feel like it’s more intentional and it’s more personal, because essentially this is a product of all the years that I’ve been learning and teaching myself things. With my work, being that I am self-taught, I also have really high expectations for myself. I don’t want to half-ass any projects. I always want to make my next product my best product. KK: How would you describe your aesthetic? PC: I like to create things that are timeless. They could be from the future. They could be from the past. You’re not going to know because you’re right here, right now with me in this real-life experience. KK: Congrats again on being PATTERN’s inaugural Summit winner this year! Can you describe what that experience was like and the creative process of putting a body of work together with the intention to showcase it? PC: That was my first fashion show, and it was such a great experience! Everybody was so freaking awesome and supportive. At the start with TJ [Walker] and Vic [Lloyd] there, I was so nervous. I didn’t know how it was

going to go down. Then it was showtime. The energy was wild. I loved it. After my models did the final walk, I was like, “Yeah, we killed it!” I was really hoping I’d win, and then they announced Broken Needles! I cried a little bit, I ain’t gonna lie. It felt so good, and I am really thankful for the opportunity because it’s only up from here. As far as the creative process, with my collection for the show I had to figure out how I could take a bunch of the pieces that I already had and make them cohesive. That collection was almost like a timeline of things that I created, from the first piece which was the green army reconstructive pants to the more complex pieces such as the grip pants, which were completely built from scratch and sourced from a local antique shop. I try to do something that inspires me daily and push myself to sit down and work on drawings or sketches. KK: When the judges were asking you questions, you stressed sustainability and upcycling. I’m noticing that this is an ongoing conversation in the industry right now. What sparked your interest in creating an eco-conscious brand? In what ways do you think your brand contributes to waste reduction? PC: As humans we have to work with the world, rather than against it, for it to work with us. We can’t keep creating more waste with systems like fast fashion. My approach is how can I take things that already exist and recreate them to fit my vision? That’s how I create, because it only takes a little bit more effort to source sustainably, to source locally, and to put back into small business. It’s a part of our jobs to give something back and this is how I give back. KK: One thing that I really appreciate about your brand is that it has a recognizable visual identity. It’s cohesive, 61


AS HUMANS WE HAVE TO WORK WITH THE WORLD, RATHER THAN AGAINST IT, FOR IT TO WORK WITH US. WE CAN’T KEEP CREATING MORE WASTE WITH SYSTEMS LIKE FAST FASHION. MY APPROACH IS HOW CAN I TAKE THINGS THAT ALREADY EXIST AND RECREATE THEM TO FIT MY VISION.

authentic, and intentional. Can you describe your approach? PC: I put a lot of thought into everything, but I like to do things simply and to use the tools that I have at my disposal. I don’t have a professional camera, or special tools, but I work with things that I have whether it be some plants around my house or a plain background to take pictures on. From my website, to my Instagram, and even to my personal page, it’s all one message. I reflect my brand and my brand reflects me because really it’s just my personal style and personal tastes. KK: What inspires your personal tastes? PC: I get inspiration from a lot of different brands. Junya Wantanabe, Issey Miyake, anything involving Pharrell [Williams], Nigo, Human Made, Bape. And then there are certain eras. I really love the seventies a lot just because they have some really cool pants, and I love pants. I think that’s my favorite article of clothing. A lot of the Y2K stuff is really dope. I’m really into oversized clothing, and I like boxy cuts and symmetry. A lot of my pieces are perfectly symmetrical, just because I love symmetry so much. It’s so satisfying. KK: What’s been your experience with the Indy fashion community? Have you done any collaborations? PC: A lot of people are really supportive and like what I do. Even before Broken Needles was Broken Needles, CP [Cahmelan Porter] of Komafi was like, “Yo, I like what you do, make me some pants!” He’s definitely one of my inspirations especially with what he’s doing with Cargo Streetwear. We need more cultural spaces like that in Indiana. I also did some work for Saint Avenue and for Four20Three65 on hand stitched jackets. I’m always down to work with other brands and collaborate. I’m actually working on a collaboration right now with one of my friends in California. Eventually I want bigger collabs with brands like Carhartt or Levi’s. I’m manifesting that.

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KK: Where did the name Broken Needles come from? PC: I was making a tote bag - this was before I knew about the different needles on the sewing machine–I was trying to sew through these super thick belt loops and the needle kept breaking. I broke four needles. I kept thinking “What am I doing wrong here?” then at some point, I was like “Hmm, broken needles.... Let me write that one down.” (laughs) KK: Any plans to relocate? PC: I like LA. It’s kind of superficial, but I really think that there’s a lot of meaningful connections that I can make if I live somewhere like that versus Indiana. Having said that, if I go to LA it’ll be because it’s warm, and I don’t really like winter that much. I feel like it makes me sad to be cold, and I don’t like being cold. I do love that I can do what I’m doing anywhere. I’m not tied down to a place. There’s opportunity anywhere you look for it including Indiana. Opportunities are going to come to me, because I’m constantly asking myself “what can I do here? What can I build here?” If you can’t do it here, you can’t do it anywhere. KK: What’s next for Broken Needles? PC: I’ve sold a lot of stuff, and things that I’ve created have traveled farther than me. That’s super dope. Having my items on different continents is very satisfying. Long-term, I’m trying to grow this into a sixfigure business and make this crazy big. Right now, though, I’m working on a new collection for fall. I’m really excited about it. I have been sourcing the past few months and I think I’ve got a good amount of stuff so that I can start making a bunch of new things. I’m at an important turning point right now and It’s time to get all my ideas out. I can use current momentum to grow into something bigger. ✂


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PERCTESSA MUSICAL CREATIVITY IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES

WORDS BY MAYA SKYE HENDERSON PHOTOGRAPH BY POLINA OSHEROV MAKEUP BY GIUSEPPE DICLARO STYLE BY SARIAH BOROM

Percbuddy and Cuntessa—aka Moses Kaufmann, 17, and Contessa, 19—are releasing their album of alt-pop nightclub anthems called Club Perctessa this September. But just a year ago, they were complete strangers—two teenagers from the midwest turning to the internet during the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. “[We] met on this obscure, mostly dead, website that functioned like Myspace, but during quarantine it had this renaissance that flooded a bunch of kids to the site, Contessa and I met [on the site] through mutual friends, and we connected really fast,” Moses says. Contessa concurs, “We became besties instantly.” The two shared a love of experimental pop music. Prior to meeting, they had begun releasing their own individual works on streaming services. On their upcoming collaboration, Moses says, “It kind of started as a joke. Perctessa album when?” “Moses sent me a beat one day, and I think he was expecting me to tell him my opinion. Instead, I sent him back some verses,” Contessa adds. “And then it stopped being a joke. We made the whole album over the course of 2020 and 2021, all remotely.” I became part of Club Perctessa a few months ago when Moses asked me for help make a music video while Contessa was away from her native Illinois for the weekend to do their PATTERN photo shoot. This would be the first time Moses and Contessa would meet in person. Contessa picked me up in her car, initially blasting Britney Spears, “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” before giving Club Perctessa the spotlight. The combination of the Percbuddy signature

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cynical—and often criminal—persona: “Left my homie dead in a ditch/I’m a p*ssy a** b*tch/It’s no wonder they don’t want me” to Cuntessa’s hyper-feminine, domineering: “Hello kitty b*tch printed all on my shoe shoe/Ballerina b*tch way I dance in a tutu/I do what I want and I don’t think it through through” struck me as creating this dynamic fire-and-ice combination that worked so seamlessly against the techno beat and wide-ranging synths.

way out of the store, a cashier—a young man about our age—called to Moses and asked, “Are you Percbuddy?”

I imagined Club Perctessa as a nightclub of the future. I saw cyberpunk women in impossibly tall heels walking down spiral staircases, partygoers lounging in VR headgear, illicit business going down behind bouncers in the bathroom, the futuristic, lonely, and heartbroken losing themselves in the music and the night. The scene was imagined, but it made sense in the context of the internet where Moses and Contessa from the Midwest became Percbuddy and Cuntessa, underground pop stars.

As I filmed Moses and Contessa around town, capturing them in pink sunglasses, lip-singing lyrics about falling in love at the club in the Keystone Mall, the air of the surreal followed.

When I asked the duo about their influences for Club Perctessa’s uniquely extravagant sound, Moses replied, “I’ve always been inspired by the sounds of Dubstep, Hard-style, EDM, House, and Rap. You hear a lot of that influence in my other projects, but Contessa opened my eyes to a lot of other inspiration.” Contessa would later text me to confirm that she was really adamant about introducing Moses to legendary divas: Kesha, Britney Spears, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj, and Madonna—“My ‘inspo’ is pretty much any confident female.” On a quick stop to Goodwill to rake the selection in full glam for our shopping-spree themed video, the two experienced an unexpected brush with stardom; on our

Moses smiled and modestly replied, “Yeah.” Contessa and Moses shared a polite exchange with the cashier and collected their items, but as we turned, the two musicians had a hard time containing their excited laughter. “Oh my god. I can’t believe that just happened.”

“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Contessa gleefully confessed as we drove around town. “This is so cool. I’m so grateful.” There was something powerful about the internet connection manifesting into a full-length EP and a feature in PATTERN. Moving online during COVID-19 was a disappointment for many, but far from despair, Moses and Contessa found a special source of inspiration during these digital times of an increasingly dystopian nature. And even as news of a Delta variant means you might have yet to hear their music in the dark crowded rooms it was intended for, Perctessa isn’t letting that get in their way. “There’s so many other great songs we have in the vault. This is only the start.” Moses laughed and turned to me like he thought of something cool to say, “This is just Club Perctessa’s opening night.” ✂


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PHOTOGRAPHED BY ESTHER BOSTON REGION 7 INDIANAPOLIS Chromatic Collective is an art gallery, supply store, and communal space in Broad Ripple that focuses mainly on graffiti. ERICA PARKER opened Chromatic with her fiancé, Rafael Caro, with the goals of helping educate the public on the difference between vandalism and graffiti and giving established and emerging artists alike a place to practice and share their work. “Part of the mission is to be available to emerging artists and help them navigate this world,” says Parker. Parker is an artist who is enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and providing a space for artists in Indianapolis. She knows there is talent in the city and wants to show the world what kind of people are here and what they care about. Art is the medium for that. Indianapolis is home to a

great number of artists specializing in painting, illustration, and graffiti. Chromatic is an entity that cherishes artists and wants to see them succeed. “What I hope that we’re doing right now is inspiring other groups to do the same thing,” she says. Parker and Caro, along with a small team of artists, run Chromatic. They play host to art shows, organize Graffiti Jams, and sell niche art supplies for graffiti painting. On special weekends, they host live painting, graffiti art shows, and live music featuring local DJs. “It’s like our clubhouse.” After attending Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI and studying different mediums, Parker partook in the Indiana Arts Commission On-Ramp Program. This is where she learned how to take all of

her knowledge and passion and transform it into a tangible business with a clear mission. “I learned a lot about how to organize that [entrepreneurial] spirit in a way that makes sense to myself and to people outside the art world.” Indianapolis could be a place where multiple organizations and entities are working together to uplift the art community. Parker is dedicated to promoting this idea and educating on the beautiful art form that graffiti is. Indianapolis has many blank walls, and Parker believes they should be covered with graffiti. It shows travelers and bypassers what Indianapolis is made of. “Indy is going to be painted one wall at a time, there’s enough room for everybody,” she says.

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After growing up in rural Indiana, illustrator and painter REBECCA STOCKERT finds a deep connection with nature. “There’s kind of a storytelling aspect in nature – the countryside, the woods, and the animals,” she says. “I find something spiritual about nature in the Midwest.” That connection with nature is combined with a deep appreciation of Gene Stratton-Porter. Stockert is inspired by the native Hoosier’s writings and philosophies, which is reflected in her own art. Following an art degree in ceramics from the University of St. Francis, she went on to complete a master of arts in painting with a concentration in printmaking. Stockert’s art career began in the not-for-profit world, where she served as a gallery director and ran educational programs for Artlink in Fort Wayne. She then taught art history at Ivy Tech and is now the director of retail operations for Women of the World. In 2017, she launched her own business, Cat People Press, creating greeting cards, stickers, and magnets targeted to feline lovers. The most popular is the Pop Cat

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collection, which includes a series of famous paintings with cats, such as the Mona Lisa with cats, Van Gogh, Frieda Kahlo, and Picasso. “My work is influenced by pop culture and it’s very rich in color,” she says. “We’re so inundated by marketing and that really impacts my work visually. My work is quirky and also has some dark humor to it.” One of Stockert’s artist residencies was in Rome City, Indiana, at a Gene Stratton-Porter historic home. Her admiration for StrattonPorter served as the basis for her project through the On-Ramp program. Since 2017, she has been making watercolor illustrations based on the author’s poems. The idea was to create a book proposal to submit to publishers. She found that the greatest aspects of the program were the connections that were made. “With classes like that, the best things you can take away from them are the relationships,” she says. “There were about 30 people in my cohort, and getting to know them, the people in the Indiana Arts Commission, and other artists around the state was a great way to build relationships with people and network.”

Stockert hopes other artists will explore On-Ramp. “I encourage everyone to go through the On-Ramp program,” she says. “I love the Indiana Arts Commission. They do great work for artists in the state and they’ve been offering really useful, hands-on programs.”

”I FIND SOMETHING SPIRITUAL ABOUT NATURE IN THE MIDWEST.”


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WORDS BY EMILY WRAY PHOTOGRAPHED BY A.S. TOLD BY: AR REGION 3, INDIANAPOLIS The modern artist will certainly encounter roadblocks that separate them from the pursuit of art as a full-time job, and EMILY GUERRERO has had her fair share of bumps on that path. Yet, it’s hard to see Guerrero as anything but a professional artist after encountering her colorful visual works or one of her live storytelling presentations, all celebrating her elders and cultural traditions. Her artistry comes from decades of hard work and from dedicating her life to sharing the stories of the Mexica, the indigenous group who served as the rulers of the Aztec in the Valley of Mexico. As a descendant of the Mexica, this is her life’s mission, one that she’s held within for as long as she can remember. Guerrero grew up in Chicago and was able to spend time as a young adult visiting the Art Institute of Chicago. She was immersed in incredible visual works, but noted an absence of a certain type of artistic perspective. “I was seeing European art,

early American art and everybody but what looked like me,” Guerrero explains. “So I kept looking for that part of the arts and realized that I had to become it.” She was accepted into Columbia School of the Arts to pursue further training in her field. But because her family was unable to financially support her in this endeavor, she wasn’t able to attend. This didn’t stop Guerrero. She devoted her time to research and storytelling in other forms. She volunteered at schools, museums, and community centers as a diversity and inclusiveness social advocate and helped to organize local events celebrating Latinx art and traditions. Coming back to art was always a goal of hers, and today she pursues it full-time. The folk artist has created ofrendas for businesses and community centers in Fort Wayne, where she currently resides. She continues to present local workshops and events celebrating the traditions of her elders through her business, Mexica Arts.

As an artist who has dedicated her life to connecting her community with resources and programming, Guerrero has felt served by the On-Ramp program in a similar way. She met face-toface with a circle of creators from across the state of Indiana and was reassured that, in the oftensolitary career of an artist, there were many other Hoosiers experiencing the same ups and downs that she was. “The program is an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the language of who we are with others like us, so we realize that we’re not alone in that arena,” she muses. .

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Growing up on a farm, KENYA FERRAND-OTT has always had a strong bond with animals. “People think animals aren’t like us, and they don’t have their own culture,” she says. “But the society is there. It’s just different.” Her connection with animals is reflected in her paintings and drawings, where she uses her talent as an artist to raise awareness of zoos and wildlife. After graduating from Murray State University, Ferrand-Ott started her career as a graphic designer. In 2008, when companies consolidated graphic design and copywriting departments, job hunting became more of a challenge for someone with dyslexia. “It’s hard for me to express myself in a way everyone else does. I may spell things incorrectly, and people don’t take me seriously until they see my paintings and drawings. Growing up on a farm, it’s easier for me to express myself through body language.” Her love of animals and interest in their behavior led her to research scientific papers on LGBTQ in wildlife. “It is found in nature,”

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she says. “That’s coming from someone who has spent a lot of time around animals.” She took part in a Pride event at the Athens Gallery in Crawfordsville. She designed t-shirts with the aim of raising animal awareness, promoting the support of zoos and focusing on human rights issues. One of Ferrand-Ott’s paintings is currently on display at the Indiana Courthouse, and she is completing pet portraits and coloring pages with a percentage of sales being donated to animal shelters. Feeling that animals helped her when she was young, she is encouraging others to enjoy nature and wildlife. With the goal of painting and illustrating full-time, Ferrand-Ott found the biggest asset of the On-Ramp program was the ability to interact and connect with other artists – especially from a business perspective. “College taught me how to paint, but it didn’t teach me the business-side of being an artist,” she says. “Bringing in working artists to talk to and brainstorm with was invaluable.”

“COLLEGE TAUGHT ME HOW TO PAINT, BUT IT DIDN’T TEACH ME THE BUSINESS-SIDE OF BEING AN ARTIST.”


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SAM WORDS BY TERRI PROCOPIO PHOTOGRAPHED BY CAPTURE STUDIOS REGION 1, GARY A strong civic culture that can be overlooked – that is how community-organizer SAM LOVE describes Gary, Indiana. The passion he has for the city has grown into several arts-based undertakings, including a series of community poetry projects. “We found all these historic poems in the archives from pretty much every period in the city’s history and I thought, let’s get these out there,” he says. Love then utilized a technique called exquisite corpse to help create a collective poem, which was then stenciled and spray painted on various buildings across the city. Beginning his professional career in teaching, Love was a history instructor at a Chicago college for fifteen years. Today, he combines his historical knowledge with writing skills to produce narrative nonfiction works about the Calumet region. He also inspires local poets and considers the art form a good way for people to articulate and express

themselves. “We led a group of kids on a downtown walk and collected lines of poems from them that were really good,” he says. “Over the weekend, we put the entire poem on an old, abandoned building across the street from their school. We didn’t tell the kids and when they came to school on Monday, we took pictures of them getting off the bus and seeing their poem. That was really awesome.” Love continues to be involved with the On-Ramp program, now coaching fellows through their projects, including working with a participant on an Indiana Humanities Council-sponsored video called Calumet: The Region’s River. The program helped him to learn more about the comprehensive business aspect of his work and to develop a strategy. “On-Ramp opened my eyes to so many things and better opportunities have come my way. I’ve been more assertive about grabbing some things and saying no to others.”

Because of the program, Love was more prepared for times of uncertainty. “When COVID hit, I really do believe what I learned through On-Ramp helped me pause, collect, and think about the next steps,” he says. “They did a survey of participants, and we felt we fared better during this time because of the strategies we learned. I’m glad there are more of us at this level who now have this shared language and approach so we can hopefully get more work done.”

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Words and music are how Nigerian-born singer/songwriter IDRIS BUSARI found his voice. “I turned my poetry into songs, which came naturally to me and never stopped,” he says. “I thought the words could be felt, like they jumped out at me and wanted a voice of their own.” Busari creates music in the style of Afrofusion, which combines African elements such as language, drums and, instruments under the name Omogo Reloaded. After studying broadcasting and public relations at Goshen College, he released his first album, Afrofusion Volume 1, in 2008. For his latest release, Afrofusion Volume 3, Busari returned to his homeland of Nigeria to set up a studio at his father’s house, where he worked with a producer and a team of individuals. Concentrating on the theme of fatherhood, Busari’s most recent video project focused on this topic. “A lot of musicians, writers and artists talk emotionally and passionately about motherhood, but fewer works are dedicated to the subject of fatherhood,” he says. Busari collaborated with local businesses in the area to create the video, where he hopes to infuse a sense of community.

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The theme of community continues to flow through the project Busari is undertaking in the On-Ramp program. He is working on creating two musical videos incorporating the South Bend/Elkhart area while collaborating with local creative professionals. For Busari, On-Ramp helped him uncover a unique value proposition in order to effectively communicate his work. “Because of the skills I learned through On-Ramp, I now say my name is Idris, and I infuse richness into spaces and media,” he says. “The program helped me to articulate my project goal, which is to create two video projects that will also help to boost my brand.” Busari also hopes to transition his work into larger messaging. “My overall global goal is to bring visibility to people of color doing art because art from people of color is not really mainstream. My On-Ramp project will help me to achieve not only my creative goal, but also my global goal of bringing visibility to artists of color.”


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The metalwork on SUNDAY MAHAJA’S Instagram (@mahaja_arts) will transfix you. There are yard sculptures—including a “squirrel king” that doubles as a bird feeder—as well as intricate hibiscus trees and a sculpture inspired by the iconic photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. And then, there are the sandhill cranes. The birds’ wings are spread wide, as if preparing for flight, and the feathers look like, well, feathers. (And also knives.) “They’re actually made from metal used to make RVs,” says Mahaja, who lives in Goshen, Indiana and works at Goshen Community Schools. “We have a lot of RV factories here, so I was able to scrap these tiny strips and use them for the feathers.” Mahaja, who was born and raised in Nigeria, came to Goshen to play college basketball. His initial plan was to play professional basketball and use his art— mostly painting at the time—as a fallback plan. But during his senior year, Mahaja attended an art fair where there was a bicycle sculpture. “When I saw people’s reaction to it and how they were talking about it, I was like, ‘I want to do this.” After his own senior show and being accepted into a show at the Midwest Museum of American Art, Mahaja realized that sculpture, not painting, was “coming for him.” One of his latest projects is a family of giraffes, the largest of which is eight feet tall. It’s a piece he made for the 2021 ArtPrize, a renowned international art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Like his other pieces, Mahaja created the giraffes in his garage using materials from local scrap yards. He often displays completed projects in his yard, which attracts attention—and potential clients. That’s what’s nice about outdoor sculptures—they serve as a form of advertisement. “To be successful in any form of art, you need to advertise,” says Mahaja. “I’ve tried to spend some time taking photos and uploading them, but I am behind on my website.” Although Mahaja could update it himself, he’s considering hiring others to do the work he doesn’t have the capacity to complete. The realization that it’s okay to ask for assistance came from On-Ramp, an Indiana Arts Commission-run program that teaches entrepreneurship to artists. The program also encouraged Mahaja to reconsider his pricing and how to quantify the time he spends on a project. About finding—and accepting—his value as an artist. Mahaja ultimately wants to become a full-time artist, a regional art advocate. “I want to be big,” he says, laughing. And with a piece at this year’s ArtPrize, he may be well on his way.

“WE HAVE A LOT OF RV FACTORIES HERE, SO I WAS ABLE TO SCRAP THESE TINY STRIPS AND USE THEM FOR THE FEATHERS.”

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In an industry that calls for constant reinvention, TAHJ MULLINS is always searching for the next project to add to his increasingly innovative portfolio. The August On-Ramp participant is as multifaceted as they come; he’s an illustrator, animator, and published author, amongst other titles. The self-starter and accomplished creator takes each opportunity to expand his collection of work – something he’s been doing since the beginning of his career. The artist’s origins are found in his childhood in southern Indiana and his visits with family there. “I lived with my grandmother, and we would go to my greatgrandmother’s house all the time and see the trains pass by,” Mullins explains. “They would have graffiti on them, and that was the first thing that I saw that blew my mind as a kid.” From there, he discovered the world of animation and became fascinated with cartoons and comic books. Mullins found success in high school with a handful of art competitions and scholarships, but felt called to a different field entirely – music. As a singersongwriter, he created original cover art for his releases, and turned back to these designs when he decided to step back from music. Armed with an old iPad, Mullins began producing album art for friends and connections through the music industry, a pursuit that soon became a full-time job. Since then, the artist has collaborated with record labels like Sony Music and Cinematic Music Group to produce cover designs for up-and-comers in

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the industry. You’ll even find his work with animation in a three-part short film series for R&B artist Marzz, detailing her coming-out story and its effect on relationships with her family. Outside of music, Mullins is the author and illustrator of There’s a Moose on the Loose!, a children’s book published in 2020. The artist hopes to create an accompanying animation series for Azul, the titular blue moose. As his reach grows, Mullins is on the lookout for opportunities to expand his prowess in business and professional matters for upcoming projects. That’s where the On-Ramp program comes into play. With access to new resources, guest speakers, and the opportunity to experience new artistic perspectives across the board, the program is essential to the creative economy for Hoosier artists throughout the state. For an artist of Mullins’s caliber, the decision to attend was a no-brainer. For him, the chance to develop relationships with creators from varied fields across Indiana in a dedicated setting is invaluable. “I like to be around other artists that see things from a different view,” he divulges. “That’s going to help me sharpen my sword, insofar as how I view things.” To keep up with this artist’s ever-expanding portfolio, check out his Instagram (@wizardof_art). For those interested in finding a copy of There’s a Moose on the Loose!, you can find a section dedicated to Mullins and his stories at The New Albany Sugar Shoppe.

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WORDS BY DAWN OLSEN PHOTOGRAPHED BY AMY ELISABETH SPASOFF REGION 9, AURORA Growing up, ceramicist LEANN PRICE attended art fairs with her mother, a professional artist who specialized in textiles. At one such fair, Price—who was eight years old at the time—watched a potter work on his craft. And that was it. She knew what she wanted to do. Price signed up for classes at the Indianapolis Art Center and, once she got to Broad Ripple High School, took ceramic classes. In college, she studied art therapy and ceramics. “With my mother being an artist and my dad an amateur photographer, I always had access to art. But here in Lawrenceburg, a lot of people don’t have that same access, especially once they graduate high school.” Lawrenceburg, a 5,000-person town in southeastern Indiana, boasts a new civic park and historic downtown. But Price believes there’s something missing—access to public art. Price, who recently retired from her job as a

school counselor, makes functional pieces such as dinnerware, platters, vases, and urns. She also flirts with crocheting and jewelry making, and she started creating totem garden sculptures and hand-painted tilework about a year ago. Post-retirement, Price planned to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a full-time potter. But after attending both a community-focused arts conference and On-Ramp, the creative entrepreneur course through the Indiana Arts Commission, her goals shifted significantly. “The whole On-Ramp experience was incredible, but what really impacted me was the artists who came in and did panel discussions,” says Price. “They started talking about public artwork, and I decided I wanted to try to do something like that in Lawrenceburg.” Price contacted Tisha Linzy, the program director for the Dearborn County Jail Chemical Addictions Program (JCAP). Through early intervention and

treatment, JCAP helps change the lives of people who have struggled with chemical dependency. But once someone is released, there’s a sense of shame that may get in the way of recovery. That’s why Linzy, for a long time, had wanted to use art as a therapeutic process. Price suggested making a clay totem, for which each JCAP alumnus could create a piece or part. “I think they were surprised by what they could do,” she says. “Some of them had never touched clay before. It gave them a sense of confidence.” When the completed totem was unveiled in June 2021 at the Lawrenceburg Main Library, JCAP alumni were blown away by the support they received from the community. “I feel very strongly that every human has creative potential,” says Price. “For a lot of people, that potential is never tapped. Sometimes, the process of creating art is just as, or more important, than the final product.”

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As the artist behind the syndicated comic Rosebuds, DEE PARSON hopes to evoke a sense of enjoyment and ease through the characters he creates. This mission began when he was young and shared a drawing with a classmate. “I drew a comic that made a friend laugh so hard he fell out of his chair with tears running down his face,” he says. “The thing that really struck me at the time was I made someone happy by doing something I like to do. That has been my driving force—to make people happy.” Growing up in the only Black family in Elwood, Indiana, Parsons faced segregation and bullying and took an interest in comics as an outlet. Today, his work appears in newspapers and magazines, and he had a museum exhibit for Life with Kurami, a comic about a single mother facing self-doubt and anxiety in raising her infant daughter. Other

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projects include Pen and Ink about two artist sisters and Rosebuds, which focuses on sisters Rosa, Maria, and Marcella. He uses parts of his own life as influences for his work, including creating female characters. “My dad died when I was young, and I was raised by my mom with two sisters. It made it a lot easier to work from that perspective— the more sentimental and emotional side—because I’ve been raised around that sort of energy.” Through his comics, Parsons wants readers to sit back, enjoy the characters, follow their adventures, and not worry about the outside world and all its stresses. “I see myself as a rest stop,” he says. “My comics allow you to take a deep breath, rest a bit, and enjoy what you’re reading. When you see my comics or illustrations, you know you’re going to get a sense of warmth and comfort.”

Previously, Parsons had not had a feeling of community with other artists, but On-Ramp exposed him to a diverse group of creatives that exists across the state. In addition, he had the opportunity to interact and communicate with other businesses. Since On-Ramp, Rosebuds moved into syndication, and he has worked with a merchandising company to produce Plush Maria based on one of his characters. “On-Ramp allowed me to figure out what I want to do and how to do it,” he says. “My comics are the forefront of my work, but being able to do other freelance work has allowed me to grow my resume and build my brand.”


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“ON-RAMP LAYS IT ALL OUT FOR YOU, ENCOURAGING YOU TO BE AN ARTIST WHILE ALSO BEING IN THE BUSINESS OF WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU.” Giving up a salaried position in corporate America and pursuing a creative passion is a leap some people only dream of. But that is exactly what KORIE PICKETT— OR KP as she is more affectionately known—did in 2018 when she launched Queen Spirit Magazine. “There are so many rules and barriers that I’d end up getting frustrated,” said KP. “That’s when I started building the magazine digitally to give myself a space to play. I didn’t have to ask for permission; I could just do it.” KP started Queen Spirit Magazine intent on showcasing her aptitude for photography, design, and writing. With each release, she noticed a growing support for the online magazine and decided to publish in print in 2019. “It was a lot of networking to see if it made sense with the vision I had. It was really difficult,” said KP. “But the more that I poured myself into it, and the more that I printed, the more support that followed.”

Motivated to expand the mission of Queen Spirit Magazine beyond a vessel to showcase her own talent, KP began accepting submissions from other creatives. As a result, Queen Spirit Magazine became about community— providing a platform for other creatives. “I’m very community-centered,” said KP. “Anything that involves community I just pour myself into. I find that’s where every opportunity flows from.” It was while driving her friend, entertainer and member of the 2019 cohort Sanovia Garrett to On-Ramp that KP first learned about the initiative. After some consideration, she decided it sounded like what she needed to develop her vision and applied to be a member in 2020. “I recommend [On-Ramp] to everyone,” said KP. “As creatives, we need resources, and we don’t always realize they are readily available. On-Ramp lays it all out for you, encouraging you to be an artist while

also being in the business of what’s best for you.” Following On-Ramp, KP put Queen Spirit Magazine on hiatus, turning her full attention to writing her new book. Due to be published in June 2022, the book is set to exhibit a collection of KP’s freewriting. “I am using my On-Ramp fellowship to publish my own book of poetry,” said KP. “My goal is to use the revenue from the book sales and move it back into the zine.” Outside of writing her book while the magazine is on a pause, KP is working on securing the future of the publication. She has already established Queen Spirit Inc., a not-for-profit, determined to compensate future contributors to Queen Spirit Magazine. “The biggest goal is that there will be a team,” said KP. “My hopes are that I will be able to pay contributors to be a part of this process and make sure they can live sustainable lives.”

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SARAH If anyone could argue that art finds roots in matters of the heart, SARAH WOLFE could do it with ease. The visual artist contemplates the external anxieties that weigh on her and her viewers with eye-catching and incredibly detailed paintings and sculptures. She often features anatomical structures with vivid colors and distinct silhouettes. Her poignant collection draws the admirer in and gives them room for reflection – an act that Wolfe was called to when she began to consider returning to art after years in the tourism industry. Art has always been Wolfe’s first draw, and she traces her interest back to her childhood in rural America. “So many of [my] sculptural pieces refer back to my childhood on a farm, where you’d collect baskets of cicada shells or gather big

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branches and leaves,” the artist muses. “We’d do these things as children, and we don’t really know why.” Wolfe carried this habit on through private art lessons as a child, and pursued post-secondary education at Savannah College of Art and Design, but stepped back from professional artistic pursuits to embrace a more stable career in tourism. The mother of two owned and ran a farm-to-table restaurant in Princeton, Indiana, and hung her art there on occasion. But, she effectively put art on the back burner for a while until she felt called to return to more fulfilling work. She took the leap and had her first solo show in 2015. Wolfe attended On-Ramp this past May, and relished in the opportunity to experience a community of artists after a particularly isolating year. “The chance

to connect with other artists who were at so many stages of life and from so many different disciplines was like coming up from underwater,” she explains. The creation of an accessible and financially viable program is something to celebrate, and Wolfe took full advantage to build relationships with some of the most talented artists Indiana has to offer. She’ll even be showcasing her work among a group of other participants in the program in early 2022 with the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. In addition to this upcoming group show, Wolfe’s most recent solo show, Saying What No One is Thinking, began in early August and will run through the end of September in Vincennes.

WORDS BY EMILY WRAY PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANNA POWELL DENTON REGION 10, VINCENNES

“THE CHANCE TO CONNECT WITH OTHER ARTISTS WHO WERE AT SO MANY STAGES OF LIFE AND FROM SO MANY DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES WAS LIKE COMING UP FROM UNDERWATER.”


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WORDS BY CORY CATHCART PHOTOGRAPHED BY ESTHER BOSTON REGION 7, INDIANAPOLIS EVREN WILDER ELLIOT is a creative entrepreneur who combines theatre, movement exercise, and situations of oppression to help organizations and individuals face difficult situations in a confident way. They host workshops that are inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of The Oppressed to help trans folks be empowered in their bodies and to help organizations handle difficult problems surrounding diversity and inclusion. “I work to challenge communities to seek solutions, as well as their personhood, through imaginative play,” says Elliott. Elliott incorporates yoga in the workshops to help participants get comfortable and safe in their bodies. From start to finish, their work consists of helping people face hard situations that induce anxiety and fear in a safe space. The workshops are intended to teach through play and exercise. The audience gets involved through Elliott’s role as

“The Joker,” which is when they directly ask the audience questions about the conflict. “The goal is that we come up with many solutions, then it ends with no specific conclusion because we want people to leave feeling activated about finding a solution.” All that is needed for them to create a learning atmosphere are bodies and space. They host workshops at a few different locations. One being Caliban, a co-op through Irvington Vinyl and Books that is home to many creatives with an entrepreneurial spirit. “All of the work exists in the body. People are inherently playful and curious. All the tools are already there for me to delve into and to use with folks,” Elliott says. Identifying their creative self as “artistically minded and problem solving focused,” Elliott said the fiscal side of things was originally something

they didn’t necessarily want to think about. With the Indiana Arts Commission On-Ramp Program, they were able to look at the fiscal side of the work with ease. The On-Ramp program helped them look at money in a way that “feels more empowering than burdensome.” After traveling to different cities learning Boal’s Theatre of The Oppressed, their goal for the future is focused on sustainability of the work in Indianapolis. Elliott wants to provide others who are passionate about this work in Indianapolis and surrounding areas with the tools and knowledge to form a network in the city. Theatre of The Oppressed hosts international conferences all over the country. Elliott would love to see Indianapolis play host to this event, so anyone interested in this work can look close to home to find it.

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BRAINTWINS COMBINES FINE ART AND TECHNOLOGY TO BEND MINDS AND PUSH THE LIMITS OF MULTIMEDIA. WORDS BY POLINA OSHEROV ALL VISUALS PROVIDED BY THE BRAINTWINS POLINA OSHEROV: When did each of you start creating audio/visual content - and what or who were your early passions and influences? JESSICA DUNN: I started creating visual art since I was a kid. My mom and dad started drawing with me as soon as I could hold a crayon, and I started making comics when I was around 5 or 6. Animated movies and cartoons were my first major inspiration, especially Disney’s Fantasia. In high school, I started focusing more on painting and just doing video projects for fun. From there, I went to Herron [School of Art and Design] for Painting and Sculpture, and I started doing more animation, video, and performance art in addition to painting and creating interactive installations. Music has always been a passion of mine, but I only dabbled in guitar and piano as a kid. In my early 20s, I started messing around with synthesizers, loop pedals, and sequencers and eventually began playing experimental shows. Last July, I released my first solo audiovisual album called Sleep Metamorphosis under my moniker Eeeka.

JUSTIN SHIMP: My dad was a ceramist when I was a kid, and I actually remember a paint brush in my hand first, painting his test pottery with test glazes that he was formulating at the time. He always encouraged me, and I found an extreme comfort in creation. High School helped me find creativity in technology, and I got really into creating digital art and video editing. Music has always been huge for me, and I was definitely inspired by the pure creativity that I saw in music videos growing up. It was always a dream to do that one day. PO: How did you two meet, and why did you decide to work together? JS: We must have seen each other around at shows/ galleries in Indianapolis but started communicating online and met in person officially for the first time around 2011. Both of us had similar interests in music, art, and film, and we hit it off immediately. Our first collaborations were personal thank you notes for Joyful Noise Recordings that we put inside the Of Montreal cassette boxes. People really enjoyed them so we started working more with Joyful Noise and did our first animated promos and eventual music videos. From there, we started expanding our work to making more music videos and physical stages for local bands. Musical Family Tree was a huge part of our lives, so we really focused on supporting local musicians and labels. After a couple of years, we made BrainTwins official and we have been doing both experimental and commercial projects full time since then.

PO: How do you divide your creative responsibilities? Who is responsible for what? JS: Both of us share similar skills, and we like to alternate roles and responsibilities depending on the project. Jessica has more of a fine arts background with experience in building physical objects, traditional drawing/painting/animation, and design. Justin comes from a video production and technical background which usually lends itself to finding the current medium or technology for a particular project. Currently, we have either been taking on full projects individually when it makes sense, or we pass things off back and forth. JD: We always brainstorm together to start then divide the work as needed. To give you an idea of the process, let’s use a current documentary we are collaborating on as an example. Justin sent over quick storyboards with some hilarious sketches (he’s really great at sketching out character ideas.) Then I worked on refining the artwork to be closer to the final product’s look and feel. The client is happy with the artwork, so now we are in the process of animation where Justin focuses more on computer aided motion design in After Effects, and I am doing the frame by frame animation. The end product will really showcase both of our skills coming together for a cohesive, one-of-a-kind product for our client.

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PO: As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it software tools or other equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first tools/equipment? JS: Evolving along with technology is very important to us, so we are always on it when it comes to learning new software/techniques. Both of us had early experience with working in Adobe Photoshop (in addition to traditional media on paper), and we expanded from there. We are both proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite and continue to try out new experimental techniques in addition to using commercial tools.

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PO: Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives?

PO: Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event, or collaboration in your career? Why does it feel special to you?

JD: We love collaborating with others and this is something we do more and more as we grow. Projects can get larger than ourselves sometimes, so we will collaborate with other visual artists, fabricators, programmers, etc. when we need extra hands on a project. As firm believers of getting as many artists as possible paid to do what they love and/or excel at, we will often hire on people when we can so we can all focus on what we do best.

JS: One of our major breakthroughs was the animated music video for Deerhoof’s Aye That’s Me. We had both been listening to Deerhoof for forever, and it was an absolute pleasure working with them and Joyful Noise Recordings on the video concept and execution. This was also a special collaboration on a wider level where we had made coloring pages for each frame of the animation, and we had a big coloring party at Joyful Noise Recordings where people came from all over Indiana and nearby states to color in some of the individual frames. It was so special seeing people of all ages and backgrounds having fun and getting creative with the coloring process. The end product is such a colorful celebration of collaboration.


Another big breakthrough work was the animated music video for the Boards of Canada remix of Good Friday by WHY?. It’s some of our best experimental work, we also love both of those artists (and had long before this project), and this song is just so iconic. Truly, it was such an honor and is still definitely one of our favorites. PO: There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? JD: For me, being truly inspired means I’m exploding with energy and passion for what I’m doing. I tend to work like an absolute wild woman and not rest until I’m done. I prefer no distractions (please don’t talk to

me while I’m working haha), and I absolutely loathe unnecessary meetings (if it can be said in an email, let’s do that). In general, the most important support to creativity for me is being able to get rest in between projects, travel when I can, and have free time to learn, play, and experiment. JS: I’m inspired by so many things. Life itself is inspiring. I don’t feel there is an ideal state or a state that won’t invite distractions at times. For me, it’s mostly about just rolling through each individual challenge that will inevitably present itself in a given moment. I constantly like to learn new things, and I think that opens me up to new potential possibilities and the creativity really starts flowing from there.

PO: What’s next for your creative practice? JS: What’s next for BrainTwins is working on more music videos, documentaries, and educational animations, and installations for exhibits (which definitely aligns with the work currently in our queue). Over the years, clients reach out to us more and more requesting our unique ideas and process instead of conforming to typical (often sterile) commercial art styles. We hope to continue to shine in what we do best, which is custom, one-of-a-kind, often more experimental animation and we hope to push the boundaries of animation even further. In addition to our collaborative work as BrainTwins, we both are focusing on our art as individuals, because as we get stronger and more developed as individual artists, our collaborations become stronger as a team. ✂

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MINER MAJOR

Ron

A CITY REMEMBERS LARGER-THAN-LIFE DEEJAY INDIANA JONES

TALENT. ADVOCATE. PLAYER. LOSS.

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INTRO BY JEFF MINER

RON “DEEJAY INDIANA JONES” MINER GREW UP IN HIS FAMILY’S ROLLER RINK IN THE 70S AND 80S. RINKS WERE THE CULTURAL VEHICLE IN THE ERA BEFORE THE WORLD WIDE WEB WAS BORN.

In the 80s he was learning to deejay and rap with “Beat Street’’ and “Breakin” on repeat on VHS. Studying the moves and the beats, he lived and breathed hip hop culture. After graduating from IUPUI, he made the jump to the Big Apple. Landed his first job at EMI working with D’Angelo, Beatnuts, Digable Planets, Wu Tang and Shades of Brooklyn. Ron was known as “Indiana” in the streets. He could walk anywhere in the Bronx without being messed with, which was unusual for the time. His disregard for color and his love for the genuine guided him to a successful career in this genre. “He was a real one” is a description I’ve heard many times over the past several months from his east coast crew. He returned to Indy in the late 90s with a vision of what our nightlife could become. He held small shows at the beginning. Had Common Sense come perform at Kilimanjaro’s (now the Jazz Kitchen). Opened for Public Enemy in Muncie and booked KRS-1. Soon Crush Entertainment became the name in hip hop throughout Indianapolis. Most of all early hip hop has ties to reggae music so it was no coincidence that Ron loved this music. He began Reggae Revolution at the Casba in 1997, providing a much needed spot in this small community for diversity to flourish. He held fundraisers every Thanksgiving and Christmas for Gleaners. Bringing people together was his calling and the number one “party motivator.” Most all the hip hop in Indy (the events themselves or the people purveying them) have some connection to him in one way or another. He would have never said that publicly but it’s true nonetheless.

RON WAS A LIGHTNING ROD OF CULTURE, LOVE AND REALNESS. IT SHOWED IN HIS FRIENDSHIPS, PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL. HE NEVER CARED ABOUT THE COLOR OF ANOTHER...JUST THAT THE HEART WAS IN THE RIGHT PLACE. AS A DEEJAY AND AS A MAN, HE KNEW IN HIS SOUL THAT MUSIC BROKE DOWN SOCIOECONOMIC BARRIERS TO UNIFY PEOPLE OF ALL BACKGROUNDS.

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It would be a massive understatement to say that Ron had an influence on me, and the same can be said for his influence on Indianapolis. He was one of the first people I met who could legitimately show me the way when I was learning how to DJ, as well as when I started organizing events and told him about the vision for ORANJE. Not only did he encourage me more than anyone, he put me in my place when I needed it. Countless people have a similar story when it comes to Ron. When I went to him and said I wanted to organize a ski and snowboard party with friends in Michigan, he said: “If we’re gonna do that, let’s take it out to Colorado and do some real shit.” So we booked an entire tour that lasted nearly a month (the 2006 ‘Hellow Snow’ tour). We may have bonded over that project more than anything we ever did together. When we came home from that tour, Ron essentially teed up my invitation to join the Mudkids, which to many is a hip hop group, but to me, to each of us, is an extraordinary brotherhood with everlasting memories both on and off-stage. Ron was our manager and advisor, our biggest supporter, biggest critic, and most sincere confidant. I can truly say I’ve never known anyone like Ron, and few people have impacted more lives than he did. I still think about him every day and will forever miss working, laughing and crying with him. The gratitude I have for those times we did share will live with me until I can join him again. —Ryan ‘DJ Helicon’ Hickey

WHAT MADE RON A GREAT AMBASSADOR FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS MUSIC SCENE? Ron was 317 24/7. He would talk to anyone anywhere about Indy Music. Ron was always thinking in the moment AND ten years ahead. A great ambassador and even better friend. —Jim Rawlinson He took his DJ name, Indiana Jones, with him around the world. He always repped his city everywhere he went. —Brian Presnell Authenticity. Longevity. Knowledge. Experience. The impact he had on others. He touched generations of people in Indianapolis and elsewhere. —Andrew Barber Ron championed his hometown artists and wanted them to succeed. If he had any kind of connection, he would, without fail, try to assist. —Scott Matelic Ron truly loved Indianapolis and it’s entertainment scene. He saw the massive potential that Indy had to be great and worked so hard to put it on the map. Not only that; he truly believed in the people that he worked with in the scene, which in my opinion made you want to work harder. He wanted to bring everyone together through music and culture. —DJ Big Baby Ron always hyped Indianapolis wherever he went. Even during the years he lived in New York he was always talking about Indy and lifting up the artists and DJs that made up the music scene. He was so proud of where he came from and would tell people that any chance he could. —Erin Polley

He was always repping Indy. I met him in NY and he was always plugging the artists and scene from day one. Always trying to get opportunities for his Indy people. —Bazooka Joe

FAVORITE MEMORY OF RON: Seeing him DJ parties while I was a young college student at Indiana University and then becoming friends with him years later. He seemed larger than life. —Andrew Barber Bringing him to the Music Cities Conference in Louisiana. He skipped basically all the seminars and spent the whole week networking. He was the biggest presence in every room he was in. —Jim Rawlinson Watching Ron play at The Casba for Reggae Revolution and him singing/gesticulating along with Barrington Levy “Here I Come (Broader Than Broadway)”. It was just him in his element there, being naturally expressive I remember it vividly. Literally hundreds of memories but just hearing Jones’ hearty laugh and his classic “AAAIIIIIIGGGHHHTT”. —Nick “MetroGnome” Saligoe My favorite memory of Ron is just how excited and happy he would always get to be around music AND people. Always. In the night life, it’s easy to become burnt out and jaded, but he never lost that passion. —Scott Matelic Ron brought Common to Indianapolis before he had really gotten big. He was staying at our house in Broad Ripple. We ended up freestyling with Common in our basement. It was a moment when you realized we were in the presence of someone who was going to be a big star. Once again Ron had made it happen! —Aaron Moore My 30th Birthday Ron and Gabby took me out on the town in the chicken limo and made me feel so special it was one of the best days of my life. —DJ Big Baby My favorite memory of Ron was seeing his reaction after he saw me perform for the first time. He put me on a college show that he was djing and told me that he had never seen me live yet, so I had to let him know. It was a great night! —Drayco McCoy

WHAT’S ONE THING RON TAUGHT YOU? Be kind to others. Spread love. Be a man of your word. —Andrew Barber Keep grinding, this city needs it! —Jason Cooper Ron always let me know that I was on the right track, and always encouraged me to trust myself and never give up. Some very simple lessons, sure, but sometimes its exactly what you need to hear when you hit a certain point, mentally. He knew what to say when it needed to be said. —Drayco McCoy

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PHOTO BY AARON VAUGHN DESIGN BY CARRIE KELB


MUSIC STARTS AS A SOUND, but then it evolves into a genre, a genre becomes a look, a look becomes a community and that community continues to develop a culture. The fabric of popular music in the U.S. is weaved together by the visual aesthetics, authentic sounds, and sheer creativity of vastly different subgenres and communities. From coast to coast, we cultivate new and interesting sounds that eventually grow large enough to have global influence. So, when someone asks what type of music do you listen

to or who’s in your top five, how do you respond? Are you open to the vast array of favorable genres that the US and beyond has to offer or do you melt into the sound of very niche genres and scenes hidden in the underground? PATTERN wants to know. We explored the West Coast, we tapped into the East Coast, and we dug into our very own backyard to find hidden musical treasures with scenes and communities that are emerging and adding more texture and vibrance to that fabric in every way. Here’s what we found.

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EA ST RARE MYSTIK PG COUNTY, MARYLAND • ALT RAP

WORDS BY KHAILA KING PHOTOGRAPHED BY DIAMOND DIXON Alternative can be defined in a plethora of ways: a counterculture, far from mainstream, abstract or uncanny, however when it comes to its relation to HipHop it is often considered a fusion of traditional rap with experimental sounds, melodies or other popular genres such as EDM, Rock, Metal, or Pop. We’ve also seen alternative hip hop aesthetics and visuals before with artists such as Busta Rhymes, Outkast and Missy Elliot, but what does alternative Hip Hop look like today in 2021? Well for starters, it’s pioneered by Black women and it’s hitting the ground running in the streets of Maryland with artists such as Rico Nasty, Nolly (OffDaMolly), Baby Kahlo, and PG county’s finest, Rare Mystik.

yet effortless way. After noticing a lack of what she wanted to see in the Alt Hip Hop scene from her peers, she decided to take her music career more seriously releasing singles such as “Eclipse” and “Pentacle.”

Sinister, cocky and playful are just a few words that capture the grit behind Rare Mystik’s lyricism and sound, a natural talent if I’ve ever seen one. The unique nature of the city that bred her carries over to her music and overall image.

And if there is one thing Mystik is not here for, it's gatekeeping, as one who believes that “alternative” can come in different packages.

“I'm just really proud of where I come from. We have our own individual subculture that is very distinct. It's our slang, our sound (GoGo), our sense of pride and even joanin. We have our own unique way of going on on each other. Definitely the fashion too. You can't be from PG County and not know how to dress,” Mystik says. Mystik fell in love with her craft while reciting the lyrics to one of her inspirations, Nicki Minaj. She realized that not only did she love the art of rap itself, but that she too had the gift of stringing words to a beat in an intentional

Knowing herself and taking the time to craft her own style and sound is what distinguishes her from the rest of the talents of Maryland. That same knowledge of self is what allows her to chant her rhymes, “with her whole chest,” and what gives her the ability to separate the true artists from the facades. Authenticity, crank and cockiness drives the high vibrational energy behind Big Mystik music, a name and stage presence derived from her spiritual journey and lifestyle.

“I don't believe in looking the same or clinging to one aesthetic. If I'm feeling like a baddie I'm gonna look like a baddie. If I feel like a rock star I'm gonna look like a rock star, etc. Alternative looks different to different people. Stop trying to tell somebody what the hell alternative is. Stop looking for reasons to invalidate whether someone is an alternative or not. That’s weird,” Mystik says. The Alt Hip Hop scene in Maryland is one to admire and with artists like Rare Mystik keeping us on the edge, it’s hard not to anticipate what’s next. Check out her latest project on Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

IG @RAREMYSTIK

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T WES PAMÉ LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA • NEO SOUL FUSION WORDS BY CHAD ‘JAMIL’ HUDSON PHOTOGRAPHED BY SANDY MARISOL

Los Angeles has remained a top-tier destination for artists due to its surplus of resources. Record labels, recording studios, and publishers help make it the best place for music. Song placements are another benefit for those who operate here. Artists have the opportunity to get their music played in advertisements and television shows through Sync Houses. Although these tools will not guarantee stardom, it certainly increases the odds. Though before selecting a place to begin a career, it is best to specify which industry. Like LA, New York is a popular music hub but it is more so for Broadway musicals rather than film and television. Those who choose LA tend to rave about its impact on artists. PAMÉ, an upcoming singer and songwriter, says the move has undoubtedly boosted her career. For those yet to experience her music, it involves infectious rhythms and unique melodies. As a member of the Afro-Latinx community, she grew up listening to Palo and Merengue music. The history of this style traces back to the days of European colonization and slave trading. Regions such as the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, and Central and South Americas make up the Afro-Latin sound. The music is often identifiable by its rhythms and percussion adapted from Moorish, African, and Caribbean cultures. The enslaved people of the U.S. were forbidden to use their instruments and practice other parts of their culture. Though in the Caribbean the people who were enslaved were given the freedom of using drums for recreation, communication, and entertainment. In an effort to create awareness and celebrate tradition the Los Angeles Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) annually presents the AfroLatinx Family Festival. The event typically lasts for two weeks, highlighting the voices and experiences of Afro-Latinx through conversations, performances, and presentations. Celia Cruz, a prominent figure of the community, was a popular artist of the 20th century. She still holds one

of the most impressive career achievements with over 70 albums and many awards. She serves as one of PAMÉ's lone inspirations for making music. Her crafty songwriting skills and genius melodies separated her from her peers. PAMÉ looks to follow in her footsteps and develop her skills to offer her listeners something new and refreshing. She attended the world-renowned Berklee College of Music to refine her abilities. The talented student body made by the best musicians across the world inspired her to perfect her craft. The first summer she sought out ways to improve and tested out of the introductory courses. Her prowess continued as she enrolled in one of the most strenuous programs the university had to offer. The coursework centered on contemporary writing and production. There she learned how to write for every instrument and the roles of each instrument. There were also lessons on writing music for commercials and film scoring. Though that sounds challenging enough, she started traveling weekly to New York to star in theatrical performances. As an ensemble member, she danced and sang every day without a track to back her. I asked her about her diligence and her response was her family. She shared multiple examples of her mother's dedication to making her dreams possible including spending countless hours working overtime to fund PAMÉ's college degree, and walking miles in a snowstorm for her first piano recital. As an Afro-Latina, she says it is important for those in her community to have a voice that supports them. Challenging pop-culture standards through advocacy is also one of her missions. I asked if there's anything else she could picture herself doing rather than music and her response was: "Music is the one thing that brings us all together. it doesn't matter where you're from or the language you speak, music is the one thing that exists in every part of the world."

IG @PAMM_ZAMM

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T S D E I W M CLUB PLEX

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA • HOUSE MUSIC

WORDS BY EUAN MAKEPEACE PHOTOGRAPHED BY AARON VAUGHN

There is an allure to events that are dubbed “pop-up.” The exclusivity of an event where the attendees are on a need-to-know basis generates hype for the people lucky enough to be on the list and from those that are itching to be added to it. But other times the pop-up format is chosen out of necessity rather than for its seducing mystique. It’s a solution to a lack of a foundation for an idea in its infancy. That is where Luke Miles and Club Plex, the DJ collective and dance party organizers, find themselves as they strive to establish a prominent dance club scene in Indianapolis. “As I started listening to more [dance music] and meeting more people, I found there weren’t any parties that had that sound, energy, or vibe unless I went out of town,” says Miles. Despite Indianapolis’s proximity to Chicago, the birthplace of house music in the 1980s,the genre has maintained a more understated role in Indianapolis’s musical landscape, and was kept pulsating by groups such as the Indy House Heads. But the globalization of a once underground genre has meant that the impact of house and dance music has led to a new generation taking up the music form and doing their thing with it. “I used to throw parties in 2016 and 2017 where we’d play a lot of dance music in Fountain Square,” says Miles. “That was Hakk.Haus, shoutout to Tom Mast, they were a lot of fun and the music we played there took ahold of me.” A few years on and Miles is still hosting events. Only this time with a crew around him. “It is a collaborative effort. It relies upon my drive, but the motor is more than just me,” says Miles. “I’ve been lucky to have my boy Alex Gonzales (gnz). He put in the same amount of work I did through the first phase. There was Austin Encinias (a.r.e), Leland G (DJ Lilo), Tom Mast and William Shaw (DJ Shaw Shank) too.”

“Through the second phase which we’re coming out of, Bria Nechelle (Space Bunz) and Assia Agave (Nirrti Azul) alongside Alex have been making things happen. That’s the core four right now,” says Miles. Despite the success that each event has seen through the pop-up format, Miles is working on finding Club Plex a permanent base. “I’d love a stable spot and if it has the capacity, we can start expanding more,” says Miles. “Really the stability will be a benefit and is not something we are averse to.” This is all a part of his goal to see the dance music scene in Indianapolis swell. “I want people to start things like this,” says Miles. “So people have places they can bounce between and catch different vibes. And just to get people producing music and making mixes because it’s not being done enough in Indiana.” The collective, made up of a mass of talent including those aforementioned, as well as D. Strange, DJ Slaphouse, MHR, DJ Littletown, DJ Modest and Duck Trash, also feature on WQRT 99.1 FM from 10 p.m. on Saturday nights. “The radio spot isn’t aimed at generating a reputation for Club Plex,” says Miles. “We just think it’s cool and we’re thankful that we have the ability to put something out on the airwaves that people can listen to at the press of a button.” While it remains to be seen if Club Plex will succeed in its goals to grow and to be able to accommodate swarms of partygoers. The support of the city and the people in it can drive that success. “What can people do to support it?” says Miles. “Know about it, be friends with someone that’s in it, pay money to come to it, and tell people about it when you leave. That’s what it comes down to. Just sharing shit.” ✂

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IG @CLUB.PLEX


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’PUNK PROFESSOR,’ U.K. MUSIC JOURNALIST, AUTHOR, AND ALL-AROUND COOL PERSON, VIVIEN GOLDMAN, WHOSE CLASSIC DEBUT SINGLE "LAUNDERETTE" TURNS 40 THIS YEAR, CHATS WITH LONG-TIME FRIEND AND ICONIC MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHER, JANETTE BECKMAN, ABOUT THE SEVENTIES U.K. PUNK SCENE, HANGING OUT WITH BOB MARLEY, TAKING STEVIE NICKS CLOTHES SHOPPING, AND RELEASING HER DEBUT ALBUM TITLED NEXT IS NOW.

POLINA OSHEROV: How did you two meet? VIVIEN GOLDMAN: Although we didn’t know each other growing up, we are home girls, both from North West London. I was a features editor on a music weekly called Sounds. Some of the men there were extremely hostile to women contributors because they already sensed that their hold on the cockocracy of the rock biz could be threatened. I was proposing articles about female musicians who were probably the primordial women in rock features to my knowledge, certainly in the U.K. Meanwhile, most of the other writers would be saying, "Why should we cover women? Women don’t buy music. Women don’t make music."

jb+VG

Anyway, art lovers were very into Art Deco at the time, and in 1977, Janette breezed in with these photos of beautiful Art Deco buildings in Miami. They had great composition and color sense. I was like, "She knows what she’s doing.” Plus, I thought it was just gonna be great to have her around, so I packed her off to photograph Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the rest is history. JANETTE BECKMAN: I’d never photographed a band. I didn’t even have any pictures of musicians, but Vivien was like, "Oh, I like your work, go photograph Siouxsie and the Banshees tonight." I was like, "Oh shit. I’ve never photographed a band before, let alone live!” So I had to figure out how to do it. It was in this big venue called the Roundhouse. I did the pictures, then went to the little dark room I had in Covent Garden, round the corner from her office. I developed the film, made prints, went back the next day. "Look, I did this!" Vivien said, "Oh, these are great, go photograph another band." I don’t even remember what the next one was, but it just led to a good few years of a working relationship. Then, Viv and I left Sounds and both went to work for its rival, Melody Maker, where there was one other woman, Caroline Coon, working. Let’s put it this way: it was us and a bunch of blokes. VG: It was always like that. PO: Are there any benefits to being a rare female in that scene? VG: Some people definitely like having a woman interview them. Bob Marley liked it. A lot of his closest people were women. JB: Just mentioning Bob Marley. You know Vivien was Bob Marley’s first PR person. Is that right, Viv? VG: Yes, for just seven months. So when I became a full-time writer, he trusted me to go on the road and even stay at his big communal house in Kingston. And I got to write two books about him, most recently, The Book of Exodus. Netflix has an adaptation of it called Who Shot the Sheriff that you can see me in. I was so lucky; I worked closely with giants like Ornette Coleman, Bob [Marley], and Fela Kuti, the Nigerian revolutionary who created the Afrobeat sound. I am just finishing an art book on ’Fela’s Artist,’ Lemi Ghariokwu, who did most of his sleeves and set the trademark style. It is called The Afrobeat Artist and comes out later this year with Hat and Beard Books. Now I teach about them at NYU!

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n e e w t e b n o i t a s Conver

n a m k c e B e t t Jane me friend and her long-ti and colleague,

ka a n a m d l o G Vivien k Professor The pun

THE MO-DETTES RAMONA & KATE LONDON 1980 ©J BECKMAN 99


RAINCOATS, LONDON 1981 ©JANETTE BECKMAN

. s t s i t r a e l a m e f d e t a r e b i l "Punk much joy

t o n s a w e r e h t , l l i t n e But s h t k c a b s e i t r i h t r e h n i n a m o w y r for a t s u d n i c i s u m d e t a n i m o d e l a m e h t n i t a h w n o d e ere focus w s y u g e h t because " . y s s u p g n u o y ” , P Y " l l we might ca

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PO: What did you study in college? VG: I studied English and American literature. It was right around that chaotic era that spawned punk, and nobody knew what on earth they were going to do. We used to call life beyond university the Black Chaos, but one stumbles through. I started by answering an ad in a free magazine that they gave away in the subway for an editorial assistant at a magazine called Cassettes and Cartridges, which dates it somewhat. PO: And how did you pivot to performing? VG: We all sang in our family. I have two older sisters, and my father was a musician. I’ve only just now realized that coming from a fairly orthodox Jewish family is really different because you sing together all the time with all the praying after meals. So then people asked me to sing, starting with reggae background harmony for dub producer Adrian Sherwood and his New Age Steppers, where I sang with the Slits’ Ari-Up and Neneh Cherry; and then the Flying Lizards’ producer, David Cunningham. Then, I worked with people from Public Image Limited, The Raincoats and Robert Wyatt, making the Launderette/Private Armies 12” and had a duo with Eve Blouin in Paris in the early 1980s called Chantage. After that, I went into independent TV and just did a bit of songwriting for people like Massive Attack, ’til my renaissance in 2016 with the Resolutionary compilation, and now my first ever album Next Is Now produced by Youth of Killing Joke, The Orb, and Paul McCartney fame. It led to me performing now, for the first time. JB: When I first met Vivien, she was living in this area called Ladbroke Grove which probably is something like the Lower East Side-ish in this house that was like a punk commune. Everybody used to come in and out of there, all the bands. Vivien had this fun huge studio room with ash trays full of joints, books, and records everywhere, clothes, random things pinned to the walls. It was just kind of chaotic punk. I was living in a squat in Streatham, but it wasn’t quite like that ’cause that was far away and nobody came there, but everybody used to hang out and crash at Vivien’s place. PO: So in looking back on your punk chaos days, how did they shape you? VG: It was an arena in which women like me and Janette could be ourselves, with more of a community than before. It was very empowering when the women came in ’cause as Janette said before it was pretty much boystown. And then suddenly, there was a girly community with The Slits, The Raincoats, the Delta 5, the Mo-dettes. JB: The Au Pairs….

VG: And the girly reggae harmony Lover’s Rock scene. It was Britain’s first indigenous Black music, and it was spearheaded by people like the producer Dennis Bovell. I’m very honored that he edited my single “Saturday Afternoon.” He was just awarded a British OBE! JB: It is amazing to see that recognition being given to people who were really the sufferers of society in punk time – the first Black British generation. I loved those Rock Against Racism free concerts in the park. All these incredible punk bands playing, like Elvis Costello and X-Ray Spex, and the Jam playing with reggae bands like Misty In Roots, Aswad, and Steel Pulse. And the marches. In my neighborhood, white skinheads would regularly beat up Black people on the street. VG: That is the theme of my song “Private Armies” – voted one of the top feminist punk songs of all-time by Pitchfork magazine! "Vernon and Norman, just sat in their Mini, while the skinheads beat shit out of a person on the pavement.” Listeners then knew that Vernon and Norman would 99.9 percent be Black. JB: It was interesting though, Viv, because when you think about it, skinheads, even though they were racist, they danced to Black music; they danced to ska and it was quite a contradiction. PO: Both your fathers were in fashion. Is that right? VG: Both our fathers were in the shmatter trade. Back then, London was still a center of actual fashion manufacturing, and I was often in his factory off Tottenham Court Road, which was like a loft on Broadway. JB: And what did your dad make? VG: Whatever was in fashion. I had a fantastic Lurex t-shirt dress from his line. Totally cool. I’d wear it tonight if I could, with thin diagonal stripes of orange and yellow and green. JB: So you, Viv. VG: Those are the colors I wear now. When I had the duo Chantage in Paris with Eve Blouin, who is AfroParisian, we used to get our clothes made with the African fabric and tailors in Belleville. For this mini tour I did for Next Is Now, I had my top made by a great tailor in Jamaica called Dezzy. When people talk about mashing up genders in a garment, this does it, because the top is tailored and the bottom is kind of a semi-skirt. It’s nice ’cause it gives you something to grab and wave around when you’re dancing. JB: You are very good like that. Me, I’m still wearing exactly what I used to wear. T-shirt, Converse sneakers, and a pair of jeans, mostly Levi’s.

I don’t change, but Vivien is the mistress of going to some cheap store, finding some item, putting it together with something she’s had for twenty years, and looking amazing. And she is, honestly, a bit of a fashion icon. And I think that’s also a takeaway from the punk days, putting things together, making it up as you go along on no money. I think it’s a skill. She’s known for her shopping. Visitors will come to New York, and Vivien will take them shopping in Jackson Heights where she lives. VG: My Revenge of the She-Punks book starts off with me taking Patti Smith shopping in Portobello Road market. I used to take a lot of interviewees shopping, especially if they were women and into clothes. I also took Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac. Both her and Patti got some good stuff. PO: What’s the New York punk scene like now? JB: There is a huge punk scene here. My friend Destiny Mathar, she’s a young American-Mexican photographer who grew up on Avenue D, she’s put out a book of her photographs of New York’s Black punk scene. She’s been photographing it for seven years. She’s the same age as them, so she’s really in the cult, and it’s kind of an amazing scene that I had no idea was even happening. VG: Punk liberated female artists. But still, there was not much joy for a woman in her thirties back then in the male-dominated music industry because the guys were focused on what we might call "YP,” young pussy. That was all they understood as sellable. But now it’s a somewhat different time. People are more interested in hearing women’s voices, or I wouldn’t have gotten that book deal to write Revenge of the She-Punks. And I think maybe only somebody like Youth would have given me the opportunity to record my first ever album, because he loves women’s creativity. JB: I think Vivien is a unique phenomenon. She’s my friend, but she’s done so many different things and she’s a badass. She has no fear. She goes out on stage, she gets clothes made for her, and she knows where she’s going with this. To see a woman over 60, if you don’t mind me saying, Viv... VG: I don’t. JB: Out there on stage just fucking doing her thing, I think it’s... it’s rare. I mean, we’ve got Patti Smith, but she’s been doing it all along, but here pops up Vivien who’s been really known as a writer most of her life, and she’s a rock star. And I think it’s very inspiring for younger women. And men. She’s authentic, and she doesn’t fuck around. She’s pretty much just like, “This is what I am.” She’s a true punk in a way. She’s not trying to fit in. She’s walking her own walk. And that’s impressive. ✂

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WORDS BY SIERRA VANDERVORT VINTAGE SHOW FLYERS COURTESY OF RICK WILKERSON

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It’s 1976. The Ramones have just released their first studio album, and the Sex Pistols are still a basement nightclub band in Sheffield, England. Before punk rock seized American counterculture, the Gizmos had already recorded their first EP in their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. The protopunk band sent some of the initial shock waves of punk throughout Bloomington, inspiring young musicians across the city to join what would become a revolution in music. Soon, punk and new wave groups started popping up throughout Bloomington and Indianapolis. The Dancing Cigarettes, Moto X, Rosebloods, Walking Ruins, The Slammies, Pit Bulls on Crack, Dandelion Abortion, the Zero Boys — suddenly everyone was starting a punk band. “Most everyone was just happy to be part of something that was fun, rebellious, and socially satisfying,” says Indiana-music historian and eighties punk musician Rick Wilkerson. “Before punk, it wasn’t really possible to start playing in a band unless you were already an accomplished musician. Punk allowed that rule to be broken. All you needed was an instrument and desire.” Fast forward fifteen years and Green Day’s “Dookie” is charting the US Billboard charts. The Misfits are seen as one of the most crucially influential rock bands of all time. And Joy Division’s mere two albums have taken England completely by storm. Punk music had fully taken over. So what happens when the counterculture becomes mainstream? Many modern-day punk fans attest that real punk is dead, never to be resurrected. Meanwhile, Panic! At the Disco and Fall Out Boy made radio-friendly pop-punk that suddenly brought the genre out of dingy basements and into teenagers’ CD collections. It’s the music scene scuff that’s as old as time: Who’s a poseur? And who’s the real deal? Nowadays, punk is as broad and varied as any genre to come before it. Regardless of where it has ended up, punk music is rooted in a do-it-yourself mentality, low-budget options, and a general sense of dissatisfaction. This made Midwestern towns like Bloomington, Indiana, ideal breeding grounds for the blooming scene.

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Bob Richert, founder of the local, independent record label Gulcher Records, had an ear for the underground scene and started releasing 45s and EPs from artists around Bloomington and Indy in the mid-1970s. He decided to focus on Midwestern hardcore and new wave music after the Gizmos’ 1976 EP Muff Divin’ started getting national recognition. While the label has relocated to Orlando, Florida, its releases have been reviewed by popular entertainment platforms such as Rolling Stone, SPIN Magazine, and Pitchfork. With few local opportunities to play professionally, most Bloomington bands had to play in friends’ basements and bars to be heard. Eventually, more venues started popping up around town to accommodate the growing counterculture. Bullwinkle’s nightclub, which was located in the basement of the building where Serendipity is now, became associated with the punk and new wave scene in the early eighties, when longtime DJ Gary Indiana started booking shows upstairs, which soon became Second Story nightclub. Before he went on to play guitar for nationally acclaimed groups, including the Lemonheads, John Strohm was active in Bloomington’s punk scene in the eighties and has since chronicled his time in Bloomington in a series of blog posts for the Indy nonprofit, Musical Family Tree. “Those shows were life-changing,” he writes in his blog of the punk culture in Bloomington, which is often looked to as one of the most progressive in the country by musicians and fans. “I wanted to be a part of that world more than I’d ever wanted anything. … That became the singular, driving force in my life, which continued to be the focus for the next fifteen years.” Wilkerson started his punk career when he bought his very first Korg MS10 synthesizer. By early 1981, he and his band, Amoebas in Chaos, were performing at Bullwinkle’s alongside some of the peaking local punk bands of the time. It was a small but welcoming community, he says. “Everyone seemed to be glad to find kindred spirits,” Wilkerson says. “It was still a very small and marginalized subculture that was isolated from the mainstream.”

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With their multicolored mohawks, safety-pin piercings, and aggressive fronts, the punk kids of the eighties were a far stretch from the hippie counterculture of their parents. With the punk scene came a whole new world of invention and visual expression. Mike Whybark, who chronicled the eighties Bloomington punk scene for The Ryder, and still does on Musical Family Tree, says this helped make the punk experience more authentic and intimate. “It was all new, so it was explicitly cast outside of the mainstream marketing channels of American pop culture at the time,” he says. “It was disruptive and threatening to day-to-day political, behavioral, and sexual norms.” Thanks to previous musicians paving the way, others from around the state have been able to find their voices in the modern music scene in Bloomington. And the do-it-yourself mentality passed down by those before them has helped shape the scene’s character as well. Previous Indiana University student and musician, Tyler Dell, got involved in the local scene when a friend of his invited him to see his band, The Corbomite Maneuver, play at the Meat Lodge, a local house-show venue just east of campus. He was hooked instantly. “Bloomington’s punk scene is very diverse in sound without even including all of the touring acts we get,” Dell says. “The underground punk touring scene is still thriving - especially in college towns.” Not to be overlooked by their predecessors, the diverse group of musicians in the modern punk scene in Bloomington has also been flourishing. From the lo-fi hardcore of Laffing Gas and the indie lady power of Her Again to the pop-punk masters of High Dive and the trending folk-punk group Ghost Mice, it’s clear the lasting influence of punk has taken hold of Bloomington’s current music scene with more bands, more venues, and more fans than ever. As the face of punk has shifted so much over the decades, the efforts of its founders weren’t in vain. Nowadays, independent record labels are commonplace. Entire radio stations are dedicated to lo-fi music and innovations like Soundcloud and Spotify make it so anyone can become a published musician. Surely, it’s wildly more than even the most ambitious young punks could’ve dreamed. “What’s happened since then would have been unforeseen back then,” Wilkerson says. “We were just hoping to get fifty fans to a show or put out a little record.” ✂


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wilds WILDSTYLE PASCHALL IS A RECORD PRODUCER, PHOTOGRAPHER, AND ROLLER SKATER. AFTER PLAYING IN AN ORCHESTRA STARTING IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL, HE BEGAN MAKING BEATS USING THE PLAYSTATION MTV MUSIC GENERATOR GAME AFTER MEETING A LOCAL DJ AND PRODUCER AT THE ROLLER RINK.

Many years later as he was managing and producing hip hop artists, he felt that the passion and excitement of local hip hop shows wasn’t being adequately captured so he got a camera and began taking photos himself. He quickly discovered that he loved storytelling through photography. With encouragement and support from his friends Paschall began showing his work in places like the Tube Factory, Athenaeum, and Listen Hear. Most recently, his images have been showcased at the Indianapolis International Airport and Gallery 924. Here is a small taste of his work. IG: WILDSTYLEPRODUCER & ALL317HIPHOP

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WILDSTYLE PASCHALL PHOTOGRAPHED BY FRANCIS NWOSU DESIGN BY CARRIE KELB

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Cedric Thomas at the front of the Circle City Classic Parade column of roller skaters of the Naptown Skaters Alliance in 2016

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Maxie performing at 416 Wabash for his album release party in April 2019. Above: The artists who painted the Black Lives

Matter mural in Indianapolis pose for a picture after the first day of painting

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Protests in downtown Indianapolis over the police action shooting of Dreasjon Reed. Below: Indianapolis hip hop group Ghost Gun Summer performing at a show in Fountain Square.

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DJSpace Bunz How did you first discover your love of music? Church. I caught the holy ghost (laughs)! It was there that I learned how to dance and play the bass guitar. My great uncle was also a DJ (shoutout DJ Freak) and I don't think there was a time when music wasn't a huge part of life. I started collecting my own music in the second or third grade when HitClips came out. My prized clips were “Oops I Did It Again” by Britney Spears and the A*Teens remake of “Dancing Queen” by ABBA.

IG: @brianachele Photographed by Aliza Brown

How would you describe your sound? Soulful. I'm addicted to music that makes me feel good and I'm a simp for a funky bass line. What are some of your influences, and how have you incorporated them into your artistry? I'm influenced by gospel music, disco, funk, pop, nature, spirituality, film, and romance. My musical tastes are built on those sonic foundations and the other stuff informs me as a person, which influences the music. I romanticize everything, for better or worse, and want everyone to feel something when they hear my sets. What is your process for creating a song or a piece of music? I approach most sets, mixes, and other creative projects with a playful and experimental mindset by taking rules off the table. I like to study and I want to be informed, so I do a lot of research about whatever I'm working on before I execute. I will virtually dig for songs for days or weeks before a gig, watch documentaries, and read about the music I plan to play. I'm currently working on building my archive of music and music knowledge. What is one thing your listeners wouldn’t know about you from listening to your music? That my parents were pastors the majority of my life! What does your dream career as a musical artist look like? I would love to travel all over the world and DJ for people while sustaining myself. That sounds like heaven. Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music? I started playing the bass guitar when I was around 11 years old. The bass has heavily influenced the way I listen to music and what I consider good music. The bass is a superior instrument. I don't make the rules! Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event, or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? The first time I DJ’d in front of people was probably the biggest breakthrough performance of my career so far. Honestly anytime I play in front of people I overcome the voice in my head that tells me I can't, and any time I do that, it feels like a breakthrough.

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Jada Bell

IG: @jadamfbell Photographed by Khaila King

How did you first discover your love of music? I've just always loved music. As a kid, I got the solo at school to sing the little snowman song in the fourth grade. In fifth grade, I did the talent show. It was just second nature to me. Also, my dad's a rapper. It's just in my blood, basically. What are some of your influences, and how have you incorporated them into your artistry? I love Aaliyah, Juice WRLD, vintage Chris Brown, NBA Young Boy. In Indy, ameriKKKen for sure, and Jeremiah Stokes. Also Lil Roski. Hearing people from here make dope music is inspiring for sure. It makes me think, “Alright, I can do this too!”

What is one thing your listeners wouldn’t know about you from listening to your music? I love love. I believe in love. I'm a caring person. I love little kids. I know they're our future. I'm just passionate about the betterment of society. And also, every day, I critique myself and I watch myself. Like when I have a thought and it's a thought that I don't like, I always check myself. What does your dream career as a musical artist look like? My ultimate goal would just be to release the things that I want to release. That's it. That's all I want to do.

How would yåou describe your sound? It’s the most authentic version of myself. My sound is simply just Jada Bell, true to Jada. I'm often shocked sometimes when people tell me I sound like or I remind them of certain people. It's an honor for sure and I mean, I'm sure we get influences from other people subconsciously, but at the heart of my sound is me being true to myself. What is your process for creating a song or a piece of music? Having a good space mentally is number one, and then just hearing a beat and feeling it. The first time I hear a beat, whatever I say first or whatever melody that I give off is probably what the song will end up being. Just vibing and going from there, I pretty much freestyle then go back and make it better.

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Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music? I like studying how people use their voices, the type of adlibs they use, and the background singing. Paying attention to that has shaped the way I make music. Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event, or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When I performed at the Healer and was on the same ticket as some members of Pivot Gang was very profound for me. Shout out to them. Rest in peace SqueakPIVOT. The show happened in February and I had tweeted in October prior that my dream collaboration would be with Pivot Gang. To be on the ticket with two of those members, to meet them, to take pictures with them, to vibe with them, that kind of showed me like “Wow, if I really aim high, I can achieve as high as I aim.” That was really, really dope.


the Wldlfe

IG: @the_wldlfe Photographed by Tyler Krippaehne

How would you describe your sound? I consider my sound as freeform. I try to create new noises and sounds that may not be heard or fuse multiple genres and emotions into one song. This way my listeners can feel like they are on a constant journey through emotions and genres. What are some of your influences, and how have you incorporated them into your artistry? Jon Bellion, The 1975, John Mayer, The Story So Far, Journey. If it's good music, it is influential for us. What is your process for creating a song or a piece of music? Wake up, roll out of bed, sit in front of the speakers, and go for it! We want music to always be fun for us and so we try to keep ourselves from looking at it like math. What is one thing your listeners wouldn’t know about you from listening to your music? Probably all of our middle names. We don't talk about those much in our music. What does your dream career as a band look like? Selling out arenas all over the globe with my best friends. Doesn't get much better than that! Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music? Honestly, sampling tools. Being able to record anything on the spot from your phone and use it has made music more unique from record to record. Definitely a simple thing but we use them all the time. Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event, or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? I would say our most recent EP, "Repaint My Mind, 2021" is the project that best represents us as people and artists. When the pandemic took over, we split ways with our management, and really had to take The Wldlfe into our own hands. It gave us total ownership of the EP and made it the most rewarding project we've ever worked on. What's next for The Wldlfe? We are getting ready to release more music at the end of this year, playing some shows here and there this fall, and then have big plans to tour all of 2022. We're excited. Grind, don't stop.

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Huckleberry Funk IG: @huckfunk Photographed by Ted Somerville

How did you first discover your love of music? Each of our inspirations came at a different time and in different ways. Dura was playing classical piano by the age of eight Matt heard Nirvana for the first time and realized music was what he wanted to do. Dexter grew up mimicking artists like Usher and Neyo. Elias, like most guitar players, fell in love with blues guitar and Jimi Hendrix at an early age. Byron grew up listening to all styles of music with his older brother. How would you describe your sound? We describe our music and sound as gritty, alternative R&B. It's high energy, but rooted in really intimate and intentional moments. Playing and being so focused on live shows for so long, it actually took us a long time to figure out exactly what sound and energy we wanted to give to our fans from a recording standpoint. However, quarantine served as a great downtime to really fine-tune the music and make some great songs we think fit our vibe. What are some of your influences, and how have you incorporated them into your artistry? Andeson .Paak & the Free Nationals are a huge inspiration for our group. Their swag, the message in the songs, and the energy they bring to the R&B/hip-hop space is very on par with what we aim to do. Other artists include Marvin Gaye, Lucky Daye, and D'angelo. What is your process for creating a song or a piece of music? The process for this is always different. Each song came in it's own fashion. Songs like "Tequila" came from having a drunk conversation about women, whereas songs like "Girl With The Thigh Tattoo" came from goofing around in practice, and Dura going home and writing a hit.

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What is one thing your listeners wouldn’t know about you from listening to your music? We are all actually super goofy and weirdos at heart. We love to play Super Smash Bros. and talk about aliens and conspiracy theories. But we take our music and topics we talk about seriously. Also, the energy we bring to our recordings and the energy in our live shows are two different, yet highly potent, experiences we hope each listener enjoys in their own way.

What does your dream career as a musical artist look like? Touring internationally, selling out intimate venues where we can really feel the energy from the crowds who know our songs, know our energy is genuine, and are ready to reciprocate that. We also aim to score films, help boost careers of our talented close friends, and feature artists such as Daylo Raymonz. We want to bring a new sound and love for live music and bring full bands to the music scene that honestly just don’t seem to exist right now. Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music? We actually use pretty retro-style instruments in this band. We have a Yamaha DX7, Moog, Juno, and even a B3 Organ in our home studio. However, the abilities at our disposal from a mixing and mastering standpoint have helped us shape this sound we now can make sense of on record. Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event, or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? Two main moments stick out. The first being the fact that we secured a multiyear partnership with Newfields in making our own arrangement of the legendary song "This Christmas", written and performed originally by the great Donny Hathaway, for their Winterlights celebration — during the lockdown. It honestly still doesn't seem real and we’re just honored to be a part of something like this. The second is our last HI-FI show, July 9. When we moved here to Indy, right after joining the Battle of the Bands, we made it a goal to make the HI-FI our new homebase for shows because of how amazing a venue and team they have there. We've played multiple shows there since that first round performance at Battle of the Bands, however this past show at the HI-FI Annex really showed us we accomplished what we set out to do and couldn't feel any better about where that relationship is headed.


Alex Dura

Elias McDermott-Sipe

Matt McConahay

Byron Boler

Dexter Clardy

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Okara

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The moments where you feel, ‘I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be,' mean a lot. How did you first discover your love of music? I have memories of singing around my room, where I can't even remember how old I was. My dad sings. My mom is a musical person as well. The house was always full of music, and singing along was natural. I think I was just doing it and then I did it in front of people one time I was like, “Oooh.” That's pretty much it. How would you describe your sound? A blend of alternative R&B and jazz. What genre of music do you listen to that might surprise people? I really like scrunchie, grungy rap, kind of like cake cutting. I'm with the melody on top of the mad emo vibes, because I'm a moody bitch, so Kid Cudi’s rock album. It is lit! Also, I listen to a lot of instrumentals and classical music. I get off on it. I can build like day-to-day theme music off of classical. I could ride my bike to it and, oh my gosh, lovemaking to classical music. Talk about drama! You're welcome. (laughs) What are some of your influences, and how have you incorporated them into your artistry? Ella Fitzgerald and then vocal jazz queen, Sarah Vaughn. I adore the way she hears things and her voice — you want to talk about a rich tone that's really, really great! Also, Prince. He didn’t tell you how sexy something was, he showed you. It was in the music; it was in the way he said things. He could be as vague or as explicit as he wanted it to be, but you felt it from every aspect of the music. Classical music does influence me a lot, just the foundational mathematical musical choices being made are super dope. I like big orchestral instrumentation. I'm really trying to get in front of somebody’s orchestra.

What is your process for creating a song or a piece of music? Lyric forward and melody forward, that comes first. I'll write those down. I rarely hear music behind it. It's like I have to play around to bring the music out so then when I get together with musicians, I'm like, “This is what I imagined. Let's build on that.” What does your dream career as a musical artist look like? I want to become a successful multifaceted creative individual, who can exist in the creative realm in a way that feeds me and others. I’d like to travel to places like India and West Africa to learn their vocal traditions and then share my knowledge with others through blogging, podcasting, and workshops. Doing things that give context to music from different places and connect music from different places gives me life. I want to keep performing and developing deeper production and recording skills as well. Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?

IG: @okaraimani Photographed by Khaila King

Percussion really gets me going and really inspires me. I also love weird ways of playing stringed instruments. Anything that's experimental in the way you're applying music to an instrument or a tool is really inspiring to me. Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event, or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? The first time I was on stage outside of school was for one song with Bashiri Asad at the Jazz Kitchen. It was the summer before I started college and I sang “At Last.” It was epic. Getting up there made being a musical artist in Indy look so viable. Now circling back to performing at the Jazz Kitchen this summer, it was really emotional for me. The moments where you feel, “I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be,” mean a lot.

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Ujuu


IG: @ujuumusic Photographed by Jacob Moran How did you first discover your love of music?

What does your dream career as a musical artist look like?

My parents got me in private piano lessons starting at five years old so music has been a large part of my life since then. When I was younger I don't think I realized how important music would be to me, but around seventh grade I started to make life decisions around where I could pursue opportunities to better myself in my musical career. I was pretty much involved in an ensemble or private lessons six or seven days out of the week. Ever since then music is the only thing I could see myself doing long-term.

My dream career is a continuation of what I have already been building, which is my label and agency Solace Family and my artist moniker, Ujuu. I would love to be able to play shows as often as possible and utilize a lot of the connections I am building to help other artists grow and achieve their goals as well. Eventually I hope to travel the world because of my music and share my ideas and concepts with the world as I think I can help a lot of people out of down periods in their life.

How would you describe your sound? I consider my sound as freeform. I try to create new noises and sounds that may not be heard or fuse multiple genres and emotions into one song. This way my listeners can feel like they are on a constant journey through emotions and genres. What are some of your influences, and how have you incorporated them into your artistry? Some big influences are Flume, Anderson .Paak, Kaytranada, Liquid Stranger, Rome in Silver, Bonobo, and others. I think what resonates most with me isn't necessarily the style of each artist but the uniqueness that they've found within themselves and their brand. Outside of the music they make they all also have a keen eye for professional art that really draws listeners in before even hearing the music. What is your process for creating a song or a piece of music? My process varies from project to project but usually I start off with the drums. I hear what vibe and beats per minute I am generally going for in my head, try to beat box it, and then lay it down via the daw. Depending on the genre or vibe of the track I will usually add bass or melodies next so I can understand the general feeling of where it's going. From there I usually add FX and transitional noises in the empty spaces to help flow from one idea to the next and keep the energy going. If I'm working with a vocalist I try to leave a lot of space and headroom so that I can blendå ideas around the voice as that generally tends to be the focal point of most tracks. What is one thing your listeners wouldn’t know about you from listening to your music? I would say a large part of what helped me grow and level up was my many years in drumline. I performed in drumline for over ten years and taught drums in high schools and private lessons. I stepped away from drumline and education to pursue music production and I felt my original passion with music was playing instruments and coming up with my own ideas rather than spending my days teaching others.

Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music? Ableton was a huge game changer for me as it has all these new tools that I didn't know existed while traditionally studying music. Before I used to always start my ideas on a real piano and come up with a chord structure and follow suit with everything else. With Ableton I never know how I might start my project which is great for endless possibilities. Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event, or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? I think a breakthrough work for me would be “FTSU”s it was my first track where I worked with a real vocalist via my good friend Wreckno. Jordnmoody and I had been working on all these different styles of music for a month or two and decided to make something with Wreckno in mind. It showed me how a fun simple bouncy track can sometimes be more effective than a technical sound design forward thinking track. In the end what really matters is what gets the people moving and not so much showing off your technical skills. Not only did it teach me a lot about music but connected me with one of my favorite labels, Wakaan, as it has opened many doors and continues to do so. I may even have some big things in the works with said label so follow my socials and stay tuned!

GENRE:

m D E


Jody Friend IG: @_publicuniversalfriend Photographed by Jes Nijjer

How did you first discover your love of music? My love of music began in church growing up. Then from there I started to take all of the spiritual learnings of music and interpret everything else in the world around me through a spiritual kind of lens. As my relationship with the church shifted, the lens also shifted. As I started creating music on my own, I was coming at it from a perspective of spiritual depth and intention that was bigger than me and not just for the sake of creating art, but for creating art that would be a social statement as well as a personal statement. In a way that is what has spurred me on to keep making it and has become something that is so part of the fabric of who I am, that I can't stop. So it's like the love of it is something that is the driving force behind everything that I've created.

What are some of your influences, and how have you incorporated them into your artistry?

I started playing guitar when I was twelve, and then I released my first album when I was eighteen. I'm now twenty-nine. I was probably seventeen or eighteen when I was like yeah, this is what I want to do as much as I possibly can.

A lot of nineties music is what makes my heart sing. I was really into grunge in high school and into old folk songwriters, old blues, and rock. Now, I'm finding that there's a lot of influences that come from different forms of art, besides music: films, books, poetry, choreography, and fashion — everything all at once. I will say artists that focus on speaking truth in power and like being inclusive in the culture of their music are the ones most inspiring to me. There's also lot of punk music in the eighties and nineties that for me pioneered what it means to have a scene where queer people are welcome. Bands might not think about that, because they're just happy to play music, but every show we play is fostering an environment of inclusivity. Sometimes in between songs I'll give little talks, just to affirm where we are in Indianapolis and what we're doing. There can always be more representation, and there can always be more encouragement for people to express themselves. That is kind of the inspiration that is at the root of all of my writing: How can I create something that's going to bring people together.

What’s your creative process? Do you engineer and produce your own music?

What is your process for creating a song or a piece of music?

Most of the writing is me but there are also times when I will have, maybe eighty percent of the song done that I'll take to the band and they will either bring their own arrangements or lend their musicality to it, transforming it into something great.

Living a lot of life and being in touch with the core of my human experience but also exploring the fringes of it, pushing myself and documenting the ways that I experience community or romance or family or myself. It's really kind of like journaling. These songs are how I document much of my life, and they often come when I least expect them. I try to keep a regular practice of playing guitar or piano. A lot of times, it'll be a melody that will bring a thought to mind or a feeling. Sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes the music. There are songs that exist musically without any words and they're ten years old, and then there's lyrics that I can't find the right music for. So what ends up on the record are the lucky breaks when music and lyrics finally come together.

How long have you been making music?

All my music has been self-produced in one way or another. We've had some experiences with high-end studios. There's a lot that's just recorded at our houses, and also smaller studios. I like having the time to record music in a way that is more integrated into the season of life than just taking two weeks off and recording all at once, it brings a lot of color to the art itself. I like taking time to experiment and to find the right sound rather than creating on demand. How would you describe your sound? The elevator pitch is art rock with roots in punk and Appalachia. Some people describe it as indie rock. Sometimes it gets into heavier territory with big loud guitars, drums, fuzz, and noise. And sometimes we have songs that are just acoustic guitar and piano, or predominantly voice, and those will have this sweet tenderness that is the other side of the coin of some of our heavier stuff.

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What is one thing your listeners wouldn’t know about you from listening to your music? I write a lot about heartbreak, vulnerability, and looking for a bigger truth, so sometimes it's not really expressed that I do have joy in my life, and that I can be quite happy.

What does your dream career as a musical artist look like? We're pretty much already doing what I’ve dreamt of. We just want to do it on a bigger scale and involve more people. I used to think that if I could just go on tour, forever, I would be happy, but that dream has shifted and now it’s pretty clear that being in Indianapolis and investing in our community is what's going to be the most beneficial — which is surprising. We were in Los Angeles recently, and people would be asking us, “Why in the world are you in Indianapolis, when you can live anywhere?” And my response is always to say that Indianapolis is a place full of people who want to create beautiful art and want to do it together. Our scene is unique in that way. Have there been technologies or instruments, which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music? Not really. Most of my music has been made with traditional instruments, like guitar and piano, and I tend to shy away from electronic music because it doesn't feel as tactile to me. With our last album we used more drum machines, more samples and sound bites from silly old videos, but for the most part, I like to see how much I can do with traditional instruments. Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event, or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you?

We played at the HI-FI for the first time in May. And that was our first show back from lockdown. It was my first show since I came out, the first time wearing a dress on stage and having a flower crown and makeup and singing all these new songs with a new iteration of the band. It was special because for so long, I thought that if I were to come out, and if I were to write this music, and make the changes in my life that I would have had to make that I’d be rejected or made fun of. But when we got up and played that show it was so victorious and triumphant and people were there for it. It was magical. We’ve played a lot of shows this summer, and that's the one show that our band keeps coming back to as setting the standard. It made me hopeful that our community can play a role in supporting anyone that has something they're afraid to show to the world at risk of being ridiculed or not loved. When you're raw, and real, people will show up. That realization changed everything about how I make art.


GENRE:

k c o R Indie


natural theory PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHANTAL DOMINIQUE PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANTS DEVON MASON, KAYLEE ISENHART STYLE BY MACKIE SCHROETER (AESTHETIC ARTIST AGENCY) STYLE ASSISTANTS KATIE FREEMAN, ALEXA CARR HAIR BY DANI OGLESBY (THE ROCK ARTISTS, AESTHETIC ARTIST AGENCY) MAKEUP BY JON GREGORY (THE ROCK ARTISTS, AESTHETIC ARTIST AGENCY) MODELS EMMA P, LAUREN K, RILEY G (HEYMAN TALENT) DESIGN BY JULIE MAKEPEACE

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THE

SUMMIT Nationally celebrated streetwear OGs TJ Walker, of L.A.’s Cross Colours, and Vic Lloyd, of Chicago’s Fat Tiger Workshop, joined us to kickoff Indiana Fashion Week with the SUMMIT. Part interactive conversation, part design competition, this evening—hosted at Paradox—appealed to fashion enthusiasts and creative entrepreneurs alike. Following the conversation with TJ and Vic, we gave the packed house front row seats to a fashion show featuring designs by Broken Needles, Enigmas, Komäfi, and Shuē Clothing. TJ and Vic reviewed the collections and interviewed each of the designers, ultimately awarding the $1,000 prize to Paris Colby of Broken Needles. Shout out to Emcee Craftsman and DJ Just Nice. As always, Creative Fellows, interns, and volunteers made the event possible through their hard work. Thanks to everyone who made this evening such a success!

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HERE WE ARE IN LATE 2021. WEIRD TIMES, EH? BUT IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN, WELL, SOMETHING. THE FIRST HALF OF THE twentieth century was pockmarked by two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Spanish Flu. In the late fifties and early sixties, fallout shelters were constructed so a few could survive certain nuclear war. In the mid-to-late sixties, political assassinations and the Vietnam War’s heavy casualties affected everyone deeply. The seventies, with fuel shortages, Iranian hostages, Watergate, and sky-high interest rates, offered new flavors of depression. I could go on. IS TODAY WORSE? PERHAPS, BUT THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CLOUDS THAT DARKEN OUR SUNNY DAYS. MUSIC IS WHAT SOOTHES OUR SOUL, WHETHER IT BE ELVIS, JAMES BROWN, THE BEATLES, NIRVANA, OR The Weeknd. For me, the true joy is at the local level, where amazing musical artists are constantly emerging. You can see them perform in intimate venues for low ticket prices, be among the first to buy their recordings and merch, and spread the word. And in doing so, you help them keep going and growing. BONUS: YOU MAY END UP BEING ONE OF THE EARLY FANS OF THE NEXT ZERO BOYS, THE NEXT WES Montgomery, or the next Babyface, and you can say you “knew them when.” Regardless, you’ll have treasured memories of your ground-level discoveries and lasting satisfaction from supporting them when they needed it most. YOU WANT INDIANAPOLIS TO HAVE A VIBRANT MUSIC SCENE? IT’S ABOUT VOTING WITH YOUR FEET, VOICE, dollars, and passion for the talented people who are pushing boundaries, creating something new and special, and providing the great entertainment that we so desperately crave. IT’S NOT JUST THE MUSICIANS THAT NEED YOU. IT’S THE ENTIRE INFRASTRUCTURE. CLUBS AND VENUES SURVIVE because you buy tickets, drinks, and food. Record shops and labels stay afloat because you buy music from them. Instrument shops sell gear, instruction, and accessories, not just to current musicians but aspiring ones. If you ever had dreams of making your own music, how about today? Buy a guitar, a mixer, an amp, and find out how wonderful it can be to do your own thing. EVERY DOLLAR YOU PUT INTO LOCAL MUSIC IS MULTIPLIED MANY TIMES OVER, AND THAT PUTS FOOD ON the table of those you count on to keep you entertained. We’re fortunate that the pandemic hasn’t completely destroyed the music business infrastructure, but it needs you now more than ever. Closed shops, shuttered venues, canceled shows, and idle musicians are daggers in the heart of a music scene. STUDY THE HISTORY OF INDIANA MUSIC—SOMETHING NEAR AND DEAR TO ME—AND YOU LEARN THAT our best artists are constantly leaving for greener pastures. That’s because our scene has not given them the opportunities they can get elsewhere. YOU CAN CHANGE THAT, STARTING NOW. PLEASE DO.

RICK WILKERSON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INDIANA ENTERTAINMENT FOUNDATION

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Unheard Voices

Featured in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s 2021-22 Season This season, the ISO will focus on celebrating contemporary and historical composers whose works are often underrepresented in orchestras today. The featured composers will authentically represent their unique culture, exploring the human condition through the universal language of music. The ISO is committed to challenging the status quo and performing music from all backgrounds. Discover new favorites and join us for our full 2021-22 season. Kevin Day (b.1996) • Jennifer Higdon (b. 1962) • James P. Johnson (1894-1955) • Anna Clyne (b. 1980) • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1895-1978) Joseph Bologne (1745-1799) • Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) • Carlos Chávez (1887-1959) • José White Lafitte (1836-1918) Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) • Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) • Arturo Márquez (b. 1950) • William Grant Still (1895-1978) • Joel Thompson (b. 1988) Florence Price (1887-1953) • Lucia Ronchetti (b. 1963) • Toshio Hosokawa (b. 1955) Ida Moberg (1859-1947) Avner Dorman (b. 1975) • Reza Vali (b. 1952) • Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931) • Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate (b. 1968) Jessie Montgomery (b. 1981)

Visit IndianapolisSymphony.org to learn more about these composers and their featured performances.

COV3


Discover Your

#LOVEINDY Moment

MOMENT #1021

Taking in an encore under the stars at Garfield Park’s MacAllister Center.

As an influential resident, you are a top ambassador. Invite friends and family to our city. Share the love, because a thriving city benefits us all. COV4

For what to see, do, and eat, go to VisitIndy.com

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