Unplugged J u ly 2 0 1 3
INside: - preview of warped tour coverage - interview with ace of spades production manager thomas gutches - all hail ‘yeezus’? -part two to autumn sky spotlight - what’s your favorite venue? - more album reviews
Letter from the staff:
the sound of friends
ummer brings about many different events and expectations for people all over the world: new music, old friends, hot days, cool nights and everlasting memories. It’s almost impossible to go into the fall without at least one story about that one night in the middle of July – you remember. That night by the pool at that one chick’s party? Yeah, that night, and many other summer nights like it, surrounded by people with the hum of a familiar tune in the background. It’s hard to forget that song; but sometimes, it seems harder to forget that one chick. Two issues ago at Unplugged, my friend and colleague Alisha Kirby wrote about how certain songs and music can be closely associated with memories and major events of one’s personal life. Her letter struck a note with me, but for me personally, it’s difficult to associate music with certain memories; not because I don’t have certain memories, but because my mind keeps thinking about the people in the memories, not the event itself. That said, what I’ve found happening recently is that when I hear a song, I think of a certain someone; or likewise, when I think of someone, a song gets stuck in my head. It’s as though everyone has a theme song, as lame as that might sound. But it’s true; it’s why I smile when I listen to Steam Powered Giraffe’s “Honeybee,” thinking about a wonderful lady who loves that song, or it’s why I have to skip City & Colour’s “Hello, I’m in Delaware,” unless I’m in the mood to remind myself of that certain someone I fell hard for and the broken heart that followed. I know I’m not the only one who does this. Everyone has a song or two that reminds them of a crush, a best friend, a crazy ex or even a family member. Sometimes, as people grow and change, the connotations to a song can change from negative to positive or vice versa. And as summer looms forward, one can count on making memories with new and old faces, and with each face comes a song – a song that belongs to that person only.
Cody Alexander Copy Editor
Top 5 Albums On Repeat The Hurry And The Harm City & Colour
Wolf Tyler, the Creator
two …To The Beat of a Dead Horse
Untitled 2 EP Hodgy Beats
Four Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
Five Murder by Death
Table of contents
Drop the needle again Alisha shares her two favorite 10-inch vinyls from her collection PG
MY SCENE MY MUSIC 10 National contributors and fans talk
And the record rolls on
Warped Tour goodies
about their favorite venues in their area
Scottish John talks about the connection of music and a band when jamming out PG
behind the scenes 17 We go behind the scenes of Ace Of
Check out a small preview of what’s to come throughout the month PG
Spades, Sacramento’s most popular venue, and get to know production manager Thomas Gutches
Part two of the feature on the talented artist who continues to amaze, Autumn Sky PG
3OH!3’s “Omens,” Jimmy Eat World’s “Damage,” Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” and many more
Editors in chief
Steven Condemarin alisha kirby
Josh Jurss daniel Romandia Ian La Tondre (columnist)
dikembe 12 Gainesville, FL indie/emo favorites shed
Cody Alexander Robert Aguilar Megan Houchin
Photographers Allen Dubnikov
Contributors Kendra beltran Thomas nassiff
light on “Broad Shoulders”
What does it mean to be an independent artist? Alisha talks to a local artist from the band Missive, as well as an artist from across the pond
1417 R street sacramento aceofspadessac.com
Tickets Available @ Dimple records, The Beat, Armadillo (Davis) Online: AceOfSpadesSac.com By Phone: 1.877.GND.CTRL OR 916.443.9202
07/06 STEEL PULSE 07/12 APPARATIONS @ THE BOARDWALK
MOUTH OF SERPENTS, BETWEEN REALMS, FALLUJAH, AWAITING THE APOCALYPSE & DECIPHER
07/12 CELLY CEL THA REAL MCCOY, WRITERS BLOCK,
NEF, JR J, GUNJI, NASH AND UNSEEN, FREDDIE BO & RICHARD THE ROCKSTAR
07/12 SCORPION CHILD @ BLUE LAMP (21+)
HORSENECK, DEATH VALLEY HIGH & ARMED FOR APOCALYPSE
07/13 TOO $HORT LIL BIT, SUAVE DEBONAIRE, BABNIT, WHO RIDE, KNOX & K-OTTIC
07/19 ARDEN PARK ROOTS THRIVE, SIMPLE CREATION, ISLAND OF BLACK & WHITE & THEY WENT GHOST
07/21 EMBLEM 3 & MKTO 07/22 BLACK FLAG & GOOD FOR YOU 07/25 TRAPT DEDVOLT & OVERWATCH 07/26 SUMMER FEST 2013: WE THE KINGS T. MILLS, THE READY SET & HEADLINES
07/27 Y&T END OF DAYS & RESTRAYNED 07/30 ALEX GOOT
@ THE BOARDWALK
SAM TSUI, KING THE KID & AGAINST THE CURRENT
07/30 FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS HUNTER HUNTED & THE COLOURIST 07/31 BUBBA SPARXXX @ THE BOARDWALK
CHARLIE MUSCLE & RETRO GANG
own nearly 300 records. Only six of these 300 are 10-inch. That’s 2 percent! Practically nothing. Yet a few of my 10-inch records are some of my favorite or coolest-looking records. It was tough choosing just two (I’m still thinking of ways to include the others in later issues), but here they are. And here’s to hoping more EPs will be pressed on 10-inch vinyl in the future.
Drop The Needle Again
by Alisha Kirby
The Early November - "For All of This:" Ultra Clear with Aqua and Baby Pink Splatter/ 200 Maybe it’s just the nostalgia talking, but this is easily my favorite release by The Early November, and since getting this record I don’t think I’ve listened to the album on my iPod more than two or three times. This pressing sounds fantastic, it looks great and it was worth anxiously hitting the refresh button waiting for the pre-order to go up. My only complaint: no lyric sheet or liner notes.
& fun. - "The Ghost You Are To Me:" Gold Gear Shaped/ 2000 Many great purchases were made on Record Store Day 2012, but this remains one of the better ones. There are acoustic versions of “We Are Young,” “Carry On” and “Why Am I The One,” as well as the album version of the latter. The record is solid. While I won’t actually try, I feel it’d hold up as a decent Frisbee. I wish it had come with a download code, but even without it I’d buy this one again.
And The Record Rolls On the jamming theory
haven’t the slightest idea how to begin this article. I guess that it fits within the topic of discussion though. It’s almost ironic, like that Alanis Morissette song. Jesus, when was the last time you heard an Alanis Morissette reference? Anyway, here’s what I’m going to ramble about: jamming. No, it literally has nothing to do with actual jam. I’m talking about improvisation between musicians, the communication between different players and singers. Hell, sometimes it’s just a communication with you and your instrument. I’m impressed with a number of talented cats that jam it solo and keep you on the edge of your seat. But before I get into all that jazz (see what I did there?) I’ll just keep it between the members. Now here’s the thing that you have to understand off the bat, I’m going to try to relay this without sounding ridiculously cliché. Nothing’s worst than that a-hole musician who says cliché music things. To be honest, I’ve probably been that guy a lot, but I’m cool with it, because I’m a
bass player. On the real though, this is where it can get a little cheesy: music is a language. Between the rhythm, the melodies, the theory, scales, and time signatures, there’s so much to know. Then you get into the chords, chord changes, and chord progressions; there’s even so much more than what I’m saying, but I’m going to leave it there. You get the idea. Even when you have all that knowledge though, there’s another sort of communication. One I find a little more important: it’s the emotional communication; all of those good vibes and feels. You don’t love a Johnny Cash record because you hear “Ring of Fire” and go “Oh, it’s D, G and then C! That’s why I love this song!” No, you idiot, you love it because Johnny Cash is cool and puts such a badass emphasis and feel on that song (fun fact: he didn’t actually write that song). There’s a relationship you develop jamming with people. It’s almost a weird in-depth look into the person. I know that can sound crazy, but it makes sense
to musicians (in my opinion at least). That’s one of the reasons why so many great bands can develop such great friendships and become family. Now obviously there are things like touring and being together all the time and other aspects, and of course tons of bands break up for various reasons including not liking members and blah blah blah, but you get what I’m trying to say. Those jams create bonds. A big part of connecting with bandmates or jam friends is that ability to lock in with each other on that musical level. And when I say music is a language, I don’t mean just keys or chords, or even just emotion and vibes. It’s that ability to communicate with the other people you’re playing with without saying a single word. There are these magical moments of just pure “How did we all know to go there, right then, at that perfect moment?” and afterwards you just laugh. You just laugh your ass off because you have no idea what just happened, but it was so cool. It was so unexpected and the only thing you can
YOU HAVE TO LET THE
Jams are living breathing entities that you just have to let come alive and surface” do is laugh. You laugh because you’re happy. Take bands like The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Phish, Red Hot Chili Peppers; all connoisseurs of the jam persuasion. That’s pretty much the way they all wrote/write songs; jamming them out. Again, there are exceptions. You listen to “Under The Bridge” and realize ,“Well, John Frusciante
probably didn’t come out with that first try,” (actually, if you read “Scar Tissue,” you know he didn’t, but still, a beautiful piece nonetheless). You watch these bands live though, or even listen to their live recordings or taped concerts, and they just flow, man! Like the live Zeppelin CD “The Song Remains The Same;” on disc two, the first track is a half-hour annihilation of “Dazed and Confused.” You listen to it and you’re like, “Dear Lord, people are so high at this concert, this would’ve ruled. It’s got so much natural energy!” Jams are living, breathing entities that you just have to let come alive and surface. It’s like sex. There’s a level of chemistry and comfort. A good jam is like a good woman. If you’re too timid and unconfident, taking too long, and are afraid to dive in, it won’t be enjoyable. If you’re too fast on the trigger
and don’t let it climb naturally, then it comes off frustrated and nervous. You have to just let the energy take over and be confident in your abilities, dynamically pushing and pulling, giving peaks and valleys, making it unexpected, interesting, and just right. The cool thing about something like music is it’s such a versatile art. You can have these jams and you can have these perfectly written symphonies, and a lot in between. That’s what was cool about bands like Phish and The Grateful Dead. They had these combinations, where on the album you had this fouror five-minute song but then you listen to a live recording and there’s fifteen minutes of stuff jammed in between, but they know when to get back to those actual written parts. And it was seamless, it was natural, like they had almost the whole jam prewritten but you knew they didn’t; every
Swing on over to our website to check out some more cool stuff! concert was different. It’s why The Grateful Dead had the following they had. Why do you think there were so many Dead-Heads? Every night was a new show, and fans could just travel around in their own little society and enjoy while new things were created in the moment, an unexpected journey that could lead in so many different directions. How cool is that? With Peace and Love, Scottish John Scottishjohn.unplugged@ gmail.com
Warped tour goodies
We spoke to bassist Matt Goddard and drummer Derrick Frost about the band’s growth in sound, the band’s friendship and the induction of Thomas Erak, their pre-show rituals and what it feels like being Warped Tour veterans.
We trekked out on June 22 to this year’s Mountain View date of Warped Tour. We caught a few sets including one from our previous “Must-See” article, Go Radio, in which vocalist/pianist Jason Lancaster performed flawlessly. Chiodos showed off their fresh energy; Craig Owens was charismatic as ever, Thomas Erak is a good fit as a new guitarist, and the new song they’ve been playing is killer. We also checked out the Acoustic Basement, where artists played intimate versions of their songs under a hot and crowded tent. Stay tuned at sacunplugged.com for photos from the tour and interviews with:
We caught up with Weiss about the possibility of a future Kickstarter campaign, a behind the scenes look at her music video, “Making It Up,” as well as the first single off her album, “Say What You Mean,” and her upcoming split with Jenny Owens Young.
We’re everywhere! Follow us so you don’t miss out! sacunplugged.com facebook.com /sacunplugged twitter.com /sacunplugged 08.unplugged.JULY.2013
Three of the four siblings that make up Echosmith describe what it’s like to be the youngest band on the tour, as well as their future plans for live shows, and their love of surfing and hanging out.
Guitarist Nick Hamm and vocalist Mat Kerekes told us about the band’s childhood origins, their new album, “Youth,” and their “responsible” and “boring” day-to-day lives during the tour (which includes sleeping, working out, and skating).
My Scene, My Music
Kendra Beltran Los Angeles, CA Founder of Golden Mixtape goldenmixtape.com
Josh Jurss Chicago, IL Neck Deep Media writer
Eric Delgado Abbeville, SC Eric Delgado is a selfproclaimed aging rocker. As a ‘90s kid, his blood runs green from Teenage Ninja Turtles, Snick and Surge. You can follow him at www.blessyerheart.com
What’s your favorite local venue and why? When I sat down and went over every venue I’ve frequented since I moved to LA for school back in 2005, I came up with a Tshirt-covered hole in the wall and a parking lot. Two, I know – I cheated. The Roxy and the Troubadour are wonderful, tiny places that offer intimacy, but they’re often overrun by the typical “LA types;” a guy who knows a guy who stands in the back with an attitude, a drink in one hand, a girl in the other. Both care more about being seen at the show than the actual show. That’s the reason Chain Reaction will always reign supreme when it comes to catching a show in my neck of the woods; it’s void of all that. Yeah, I’ve seen roaches
climb out from under the shirts that pollute the walls, but what it lacks in cleanliness it makes up for in everything else. Now, a parking lot; one of the best things about the place I call home is that “Jimmy Kimmel Live” tapes here. Where else could you see everyone from Usher to Incubus play for free? Nowhere. Artists booked to do an outdoor performance on “Kimmel” play at least five songs, unless they’re P!nk and Ricky Martin and think they’re too good for that and only play two. So if you want to experience a real show, I’d say Chain Reaction’s your best bet, and if you don’t want to pay for big name acts, Jimmy’s got your back.
The Triple Rock Social Club is one of the best venues of all time. It’s intimate and promotes up-and-coming bands along with established national acts. The venue is owned by Dillinger Four guitarist Erik Funk and his wife Gretchen. The Triple Rock is actually two connected buildings. One is a long, short black brick structure, and the other is slightly taller and built of red brick. The stage is down a short and wide set of stairs to your left as you walk in. The bar has a solid selection of craft beers along with all kinds of hard liquors and other beers you’d expect from any other bar. Through a set of doors in the back corner, you’ll get to the restaurant portion of the venue, which serves up some of the best
bar food in Minneapolis, including a large selection of vegan and vegetarian foods for your friends who are too punk for meat (it’s actually really good). The venue has also been dropped in some tunes. Motion City Soundtrack’s “Better Open The Door” mentions the Triple Rock (“Liz likes to liquor up my thoughts from the CC Club to The Triple Rock”), NOFX has a song titled “Seeing Double at The Triple Rock,” and Jeff Rosenstock wrote the song “King of Minneapolis” parts I, II, III and IV about a night at the venue. There’s a certain something about the Triple Rock that makes it special, and I find myself hoping every show I want to see in Minneapolis will take place there.
As an artist on tour in the late ‘90s, I cannot describe walking into a venue and seeing the memorabilia from all the bands that cut their teeth on that stage before me. It was an amazing time due to the existence of a healthy symbiotic relationship between venues, bands and a local community that supported music discovery. Then DJs and covers bands became big and music halls couldn’t compete. Operating a venue that is a mix between a labor of love and business has to be challenging. Geoffrey Cannada, co-owner of The WPBR Radio-Room located in Greenville, S.C., is working hard to reestablish the connection between community, venue and bands. Values that define the Radio-
Room include the appreciation of variety in genres of music, positive atmosphere (eager to embrace newcomers), diverse crowds (not cornered into one band) and a spectacular staff (zero turnover). It is working. The music scene in Greenville is blossoming. Bands of all musical spectrums are mutually supporting each other, the audience is increasing, and the best part is that music patrons no longer have to listen to “acoustic guitar humping pricks” covering songs deemed ironic (Beg For Sleep), and musicians no longer have to be that “acoustic guitar prick” to have a measure of success. I thank the Radio-Room for that. Best venue in Upstate S.C. hands down.
What did YOU say? This is where we grab our favorite answers from Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr!
Tracy Johnson Novak Sacramento, CA “Harlows. It’s an intimate venue and the ticket prices are always reasonable. Plus, it’s not rare to run into the band eating at Red Rabbit next door before the show!”
Kellie Colvin Brooks (Opus 99 manager) Chesapeake, VA “The Iguana is a beautiful venue. They are still pretty new, so spread the word and let’s make it the best place to go in Hampton Roads. They have live music and comedy. Great staff too.”
Greg Fulleman (Rival Tides’ drummer) Los Angeles, CA “I love the Troubadour in Los Angeles/Santa Monica. The sound is great, staff is nice, it’s intimate and all the best bands play there.”
What is your favorite newer artist from your area? Hit us up on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #myscenemymusic and we’ll publish our favorite answers in next month’s issue! @sacunplugged fb.com/sacunplugged
utumn Sky once stood up Nick Miller from the Sacramento News & Review, the city’s largest alt-weekly newspaper, for an interview because she was up late the night before baking cookies. That’s all Miller wrote about her. That statement, and Sky’s overall pleasant demeanor, has garnered her a “Goody Two-Shoes” image. Yet, there’s always more to a musician than their image. “I think it was all the dresses,” said Sky about her “pure” image. When she first started, her siblings were still in elementary school, and Sky thought it was inappropriate to swear at shows in front of them. Now that her siblings have grown up, Sky says she has a “new power” with profanity and her live performances. She has a song titled “Hard Earned Money,” which she calls her “bad word song.” She recently played it at her latest Sacramento show. She is also a visual artist who uses her talent to create set pieces for some of her live performances. For a show at Harlow’s back in December of 2012, she asked her Facebook fans, “Why are you happy to be alive?” She then took every single answer she received and wrote them on paper feathers and hung them all throughout the venue. It’s her way to make it less about her and more about her fans, who recently decided that her music should be classified as “folk ‘n roll.” That description isn’t too far off. She has a soft, sweet voice that goes well with any folkrock song you can think of, but Sky knows how to diversify and change her sound and voice to be a little more rough to fit classic rock styles, too. It’s apparent after watching a live performance why Sky is one of the most popular musicians in Sacramento. She has an inviting sense about her that causes people to gravitate and listen to what she has to say. She’s worked hard on and off stage to get where she is, and she will continue working until she’s where she wants to be. It won’t be long until she is selling out shows all across the country. By Daniel Romandia
Go check out Autumn Sky’s Facebook to hear her music!
Long distance band
go to dikembe’s facebook and check out their ep “Chicago bowls” Dikembe learns to adapt to an unconventional recording situation
Story by Josh Jurss
he show tonight is in the basement of a DIY venue called The Shack. Like many other punk houses, you’re more likely to step on an empty bottle of beer here than the actual floor, and tonight, the basement will undoubtedly hold more bodies than it was ever designed to. Dikembe’s frontman, Steven Gray, is pretty excited. “Some of the venues we’ve played have been really cool DIY spaces,” he says. “On this tour, we’ve run into a couple of those. It’s nice to see that there are people in places in the country that are doing cool things, and we’re really happy to be a part of that.” Dikembe falls into the category of emo/indie rock. Their songs have many layers and intricate parts filled with notes that somehow don’t add up to complete and utter chaos. According to the members, their music is a bit different than their music scenes growing up. “Where [guitarist Ryan Willems] and I are from, there’s a real weird metalcore/hardcore scene,” Gray says. Drummer David Bell quickly follows, describing the South Florida music scene as a “smorgasbord of crap.” Only the newest member, bassist Randy Reddell, comes from a land of basement shows and punk rock royalty: New Jersey. The process of writing and recording their debut LP “Broad Shoulders” wasn’t as simple as with their first EP, “Chicago Bowls.” Gray had moved south to Orlando, leaving a band split in two cit-
ies. He would drive up to Gainesville, write a song with the band, lay down some tracks, then drive back and sit on what they had written. “It was written and recorded in the longest process of my whole life,” he remembers. “It was a couple months to lay everything down and an asinine amount of time to mix and remix.” The band had not practiced some of the songs together, so Bell would write drums during the recording process. “I would just play whatever came to mind and listen to what Steven’s guitar was doing,” he says. Once they layered another guitar, bass and vocals, Bell remembers it as being “overloaded with so many notes and craziness,” but without time to record anything again or trim it down, the guys left it there and hoped for the best. “I think ‘Broad Shoulders’ is an accurate representation of where we were at the time and what we wanted to sound like,” Gray says. “I’m really proud of it.” This won’t be the writing process on their next record, which is almost completely written. The band is looking at focusing on their next full length album upon returning home from this tour. “We’re trying to work on [and] play some of the newer songs [and] sprinkle them into the set so when we get back there, we don’t have that problem we had on ‘[Broad] Shoulders’ where we hadn’t played some of those songs together,” Gray says. “I think the songs on the new record are going to be much more flushed out. I’m really excited about that.”
World Wide Independent Artist
the internet has benefited indie musicians simply by giving them an outlet to release music, but has it changed what being an indie artist entails?
story by: Alisha Kirby
e all have that one friend who used W to be in a band and manages to feel nostalgic for the experience, while
simultaneously wishing he’d gone to college at the same time as his peers, right? Surely someone reading this has a similar friend. This person will always be pining for something; a dream he gave up on, or the success he’d hoped would just fall into his lap. He’ll always regret giving it up, not going out on another tour, or not having been content with living off of nothing and sleeping on strangers’ floors.
It’s a life that musicians across the world experience. There are bound to be some differences due to being across oceans and borders as well as language barriers, but there are far more similarities. When we go to shows, we pay, we watch some bands and we leave, never thinking twice about how those bands got to us in the first place. I spoke to some musicians about what it’s like to be an independent artist where they’re from. I found artists from different countries who play different genres, and who have different levels of experience.
Andrea Caccese, from Västerås, Sweden, is currently the mastermind behind experimental folk act Songs For The Sleepwalkers, as well as the guitarist/co-vocalist for the indie-pop duo I Used To Be A Sparrow. Paralleled to Caccese is Daryl Hudson, the guitarist/back-up vocalist for a melodic hardcore band, Missive, stationed in Sacramento, California. Hudson describes the band’s sound as “a cross between melodic hardcore and screamo music, [which tries] to incorporate traditional elements of hardcore with pretty sounding melodies.”
What it means to be “indie”
Everyone has a different interpretation of what being an independent artist entails. Do you have to be 100 percent DIY, or can you be signed to a small label that mostly just distributes your music? For Caccese it means taking on more than one job. “I am my own manager, graphic designer, booking agent, promoter, press agent, producer and recording engineer,” he says. Few musicians get recognition for putting in so much effort. “The majority of people are ‘consumer minded,”’ he explains. “If something is backed by a flashy promo campaign, a big sponsor, a big label, or simply gets on TV for 15 minutes, it suddenly acquires credibility in the eyes of a lot of people.” Not everyone feels that way though. “It doesn’t really matter to me who is signed or who is not,” says Hudson. “I’m sure when looking at major bands, like heavy hitters on the radio, there could be a sense of entitlement. But on the level we are at, we just want to be heard, make friends, and network a little bit. Having a label
doesn’t really say whether or not you’re a good band.” That’s not to say he doesn’t hope his band gets some attention from certain labels. “It would be a dream to get picked up by Topshelf because bands like Pianos Become the Teeth, Title Fight, and Tigers Jaw are some of my favorite bands, and the label seems to be well liked,” Hudson says. “I feel that once we have established a good presence and a fan base that says we are willing to go the distance, we’ll have a better chance of being signed.” Caccese took a different route with his band, I Used To Be A Sparrow. After releasing their first album with Paper Wings Music, their own imprint label, the good reception sparked the interest of a network of indie labels all around the world that helped distribute, manufacture and sell the band’s records in ways they couldn’t have done by themselves. IUTBAS recently released their second full-length album, “You Are An Empty Artist,” in a similar way.
The Internet: music, promotion and spam More than 120 countries have some form of access to the Internet. That means even the smallest bands have a good chance of finding someone who enjoys their music. They have the opportunity to discover a like-minded fan base, according to Caccese, who says that the chances of finding an audience who cares less about the hype and more about the substance are greater than ever. Hudson has seen first-hand how the Internet can connect those who they’d never meet with his band’s music. “I definitely feel that the Internet has helped our band grow into what we are today,” he says. “It’s pretty cool to see downloads from the U.K. to Korea and thinking people from other countries dig our music. The Internet has become so relevant to a band’s exposure.” However, a band can’t just throw a demo up on Bandcamp and cross their fingers. It takes time connecting with fans through any form of social media. Like most new things, a lot of exposure comes down to word of mouth. For Caccese, “Nothing must be underestimated. To me, a fan that shares your music on Twitter or
Facebook, a Tumblr blogger, or an established mag have the same value because if you can get into the heart of one new fan, it’s a new open door. I am all about updating as regularly as possible, but I am not willing to sacrifice my content.” That’s a sentiment shared by many musicians who use social media for personal use as well as to push their music. We’ve all seen the band that blast fans with nonsense and rehashed info while pleading for listens. Or bands that try the “if we get to ‘x’ amount of likes by whatever day, we’ll release a new song” technique. As a musician who is equally annoyed as the rest of us by these things, Hudson knows that “even though promoting is very important, I don’t want to shove our info and upcoming shows down people’s throats.” Once the promoting is in motion and the shows are booked, every band must hit the road, and every experience is bound to be a little different from the next, though there are a few glaring similarities. “We haven’t really done a full-on tour just yet, but we’ve had a mini-tour to Los Angeles with our friends from Indian Taker,” says
Hudson, who’s band has released only one EP so far. “The people who came to the shows were very nice and very talented. The draw backs to touring...were saving the money and being prepared.” Though the band lost money, Hudson sees it as a vacation with friends and a good learning experience. “Be sure to find places to stay at night and bring food with you on the trip because touring can get expensive,” he warns. Caccese, despite having more touring experience, echos many of the same highs and lows of being on the road. After many shorter runs and four full tours, trends of losing money and sleep, and adjusting to living in a cramped space with other people start to form. But there’s always a bright side. “Even the shittiest situations turn into great memories over time,” Caccese says. “It’s a humbling experience to tour at my level...[and] playing every night after all the traveling and all the things you have to do before the show make you a better musician.”
of being a musician
Daryl Hudson Hudson has been playing the guitar for seven years and has been in two bands: a simple, repetitive punk band called Black Mirage, and his current project, Missive. The latter has released one EP titled “Not a Minute Goes By,” which has seen more popularity in neighboring cities including Stockton, Calif., than in his hometown, Sacramento. “It feels like our music is more accepted there,” he says. “I truly like the crowds that come to our shows. It almost has a wholesome, family type of vibe. I’d say our music is relatively unnoticed in the eyes of the Sacramento area because pop-hardcore is so much more predominant.” Right now, Hudson works seven days a week rolling dough at Round Table Pizza. While he’s never seen music as an outlet to gain money, recording that music and heading out to play it for fans can be costly. Yet, even with options like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Hudson says he’d rather front the costs himself. “I personally wouldn’t use one because I’d feel like we’d have a certain standard to owe the fans that put in the money, and to me that seems like too much stress,” he explains. Even though it’s not for him, he doesn’t hate the idea. “If a band needs help to fund a release or gas money for
tour, by all means, a Kickstarter [campaign] is the way to go.” Though Hudson would rather take on the financial burden of recording and touring than rely on outside help, he has had to forfeit a number of comforts to do so. “The sacrifices I’ve made for the band have been significant. I’ve turned down promotions at my current job, I’ve tweaked my school schedule to better suit the needs of the band, and lost hours at work to play shows,” Hudson says. Living a life where you pour the majority of your earnings and time into something that doesn’t earn you a living is tough, but Hudson is OK with it for now. “Do I feel like the sacrifices were necessary? Yes. And do I feel like they were for the greater good? I don’t know. In the end, it leaves me conflicted at times. On one hand, I look at what I could have been doing instead of playing music, in which case I would probably have better grades in school and be better off financially,” he says. But gig-life does have its rewards. For Hudson, it’s “a bunch of memorable experiences that I can truly cherish until I’m old and have Alzheimer’s due to my shitty diet, or...the personal growth I’ve had with my bandmates and other friends in bands.” From left to right: Kyle Grewing, Daryl Hudson, JULY.2013.unplugged.15 Bakari Touray, Chris Walters, John Hill
The reality of being a musician Caccese has been in a number of bands who’s genres span from quiet, alt-folk to abrasive punk to alt-indie. He became seriously interested in music when he turned 13 and started listening to bands like Green Day and Blink-182, which he remembers as being “relatively easy to access for a kid in a musically-depressed Southern Italy landscape.” At the time, it was “considered as shocking as being high on crystal meth or something like that.” As he swayed more toward punk, he started studying the origins. “The genre acts as a magnet for a lot of different influences, from hardcore, to blues, to garage metal and electronics, or even free jazz,” he explains. “This led me to become interested in music in a more universal way, and I eventually spent a lot of nerdy hours tracking down music genres and their histories, from post-war blues to minimal and glitch. There’s so much music out there and so many dramatically different genres, I am still amazed.” It’s that diversity that Caccese implements into the rest of his day-to-day activities. Outside of music, he is a freelance writer and content creator. “I love the freedom in all I do and the variety of working with something creative,” he says. “On the other hand, this side job is as unstable as music, so I barely have enough money to pay my rent and I always come across like a slacker.” Things could always be worse, and for Caccese, worse means working a nine to five job. “Isn’t it a horror movie that most humans have to spend at least eight hours of their daily life doing something that they hate? I just can’t help but try hard to not to be a part of it.” Avoiding the norm hasn’t necessarily been easy though. “I moved away from home, from my friends and family and all I know,” he says. “I clashed with so many people that couldn’t understand why I had to make this choice. I dropped out of University and burned down a lot of bridges.” That’s the extent of his negative feelings though, as he quickly adds, “I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. I’ve done, seen and felt things most people my age could only dream about, and all under my terms. I’m really proud of it and I just wish I could be this young and optimistic forever.” The path Caccese has taken often leads to loneliness as well as unpredictable highs and lows, which tend to make him think twice, yet he is not willing to lighten the load he’s placed upon himself. “We all have doubts on things, no matter what we do... I just think I won’t be able to play [music] as a hobby, or something like that. I am simply too involved,” Caccese says. “I think making music is too important for me to be a hobby, it’s everything or nothing at all.”
The elitist DIY-er I am not like those people that act all “militant DIY.” That’s just bullshit to me. By “militant DIY,” I mean that being a DIY artist is a trend or even a rule in certain music scenes. I started out in music within the punk rock scene in Europe, and one of the things that made me get the hell out was that annoying elitist mindset where people get mad at you if you don’t do things a certain way, which is quite a paradox with punk. Some punk communities would ditch a band for things like signing with a label. Or some fans would call a band a sellout if they sold their music instead of giving it away for free, and other things that did not make a lot of sense to me; they keep you stuck inside that small circle of “snob in reverse”, if you know what I mean. This leads to a music scene stuck in a loop, with the same bands, same audiences and same ideas all over again. I’ve always done things my way and my goal is obviously to share my music and my ideas with as many people as possible without compromising who I am. Not being rich or famous and working with a DIY mindset is the best option I have got to achieve this. - Andrea Caccese
behind the scenes
THOMAS GUTCHES M
usic is a huge part of the Sacramento nightlife. From open mics to Concerts In The Park to a show at Ace Of Spades. We've all enjoyed a good show at Ace, but have you ever stopped to think about how it all gets put together? We recently had a chance to chat up Ace ringleader Thomas Gutches. by steven condemarin
Q: Okay so for starters: What do you do for The Artery Foundation and Ace of Spades? Thomas: I’m an Artist Manager at The Artery Foundation. And for Ace of Spades, I am the Production Manager. Q: How did you get into this business and how did it lead up to you being the production manager at Ace? I was a Tour Manager for one of Eric Rushing’s bands, which lead to me being a day-today manager while I was tour managing them. He, of course, is the CEO of The Artery Foundation, and when we were discussing me coming from Ohio to California to work in the offices and start managing artists full time, he informed me that he was going to open up a new venue called “Ace of Spades” around the same time I was moving. I eventually transitioned over to there due to my previous experiences in running shows in Ohio.
Q: On top of running Ace, you also manage almost a dozen bands including Woe, Is Me, Chunk! No Captain Chunk, and Handguns. How do you balance all this out? I literally do everything from my iPhone and my MacBook. Usually there is a lot of down time at Ace of Spades and I utilize that time by getting work from all of my other fields. There is a reason smart phones exist and this is one of them. I could be backstage dealing with an issue with an opening band and during that time, too, I could respond to an email that is time sensitive. If you know me well, you’ll notice I always have a Red Bull or iPhone in hand. Q: That sounds hectic. What do you do on your free time when you’re not at Ace? Any hobbies or crazy post-show or pre-show traditions? I rarely have free time, and both of those jobs occupy a lot of my time. Just because I am not at my office or at Ace doesn’t mean I am not work-
Check out the full interview at sacunplugged.com ing. If there isn’t a show and I get to have a night at home, our Australian partners are usually waking up and starting their day at that time. But since my jobs are usually 24/7, I cherish each time I have to simply just relax at home. [I’ll] watch a movie here and there, catch-up on DVR stuff, text/call friends from back home or I’ll go take a trip somewhere. I’m an avid traveler. Q: Is that so? What place has been your favorite to travel to? My favorite place overall, of course, is home (Columbus, Ohio). All of my family and friends are there and it’s seriously the most perfect city in the world. Everything from the culture to the people to the nightlife scene. So anytime I get an opportunity to go, I jump at it. I visit around six
times a year. Some of my other favorites, of course, are Los Angeles and New York City. Q: You must see HUNDREDS of performances a year, are there any that you were really stoked to see? Some of my favorite performances this year so far have been Sum 41, Down, Andrew McMahon, Testament, Meshuggah, Sevendust, The Joy Formidable, Tech N9ne, Machine Gun Kelly, Mushroomhead, Finch and Bret Michaels. Q: What makes you so passionate about this industry? What is the fuel that keeps you pushing through your 24 hour days? It’s fun for me. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you made someone’s dream come true or you played a role in getting them to where they need to be. I’m all about giving back to people. It’s very rewarding, too, at the end of the day because you are doing something that you love! Red Bull and coffee helps too.
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Jimmy eat world
The filterless band is at it again. Their latest album, “Omens,” is a fan pleaser but breaks their typical mold to show a side of them that is more than just beats and samples, and is more appealing to a bigger audience. 3OH!3 is known for being vulgar and this album is no different, except for a few diamonds hiding in the midst of all the sex, booze and partying that they love to talk about so much. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of intro tracks, but the Colorado duo did a great job at making a track that flows well with the rest of the album. After listening through some tracks that sound like the classic 3OH!3 that is loved by so many, the band threw in certain songwriting aspects I didn’t know they were capable of. Who knew they could sing, have a solid song structure, and have lyrics that are actually safe for work? This combination begins with “Make It Easy,” continues in “Youngblood,” and then spills into “Back To Life.” With lyrics like, “Let’s get out tonight/ You’ve got the fire/ I’ve got the fight,” 3OH!3 aims to be more light-hearted than their bad rap jokes, and they try to give that summer vibe, which they pull off well. Although they’re not showing any sign of putting a filter on themselves any time soon, this new side of 3OH!3 is something I’ll for sure be looking forward to in their next album.
Omar Rodríguez-López (At the DriveIn/ The Mars Volta) is an artist. Not only is he an artist, but a stubborn one. He is notoriously difficult to work with to the point where many refuse to altogether. When he has an idea for an album, song, or even note progression, it is hard to get him to change his mind. That is why his latest band, Bosnian Rainbows, is different. Rodríguez-López heads the band with Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes), Deantoni Parks (The Mars Volta) on drums, and Nicci Kasper on keyboard. The band formed shortly after Volta went on hiatus. Rodríguez-López decided to take the new project in a different direction, where his role is much more subtle than most of his previous projects. While the music is still layered and complex, it takes a backseat to Gender Bender’s vocals. Her voice is something to be praised; it’s forceful and demanding at times, while sweet and airy at others. The album as a whole is a nod to Bowie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and other danceable rock from the past forty years. The intricate combination of RodríguezLópez’s guitar, Parks’ percussion, and Kasper’s keyboard melodies staying behind Gender Bender’s voice can attest to that. Rodríguez-López learned to collaborate with his music. It’s a huge part of this album’s success. The fact that “Bosnian Rainbows” is a culmination of artists’ ideas and not just musicians playing whatever Rodríguez-López tells them to is what makes this band work.
Jim Adkins needs some cheering up. “Damage,” the new Jimmy Eat World album, is a lyrical chronicle of lost love wrapped comfortably in the familiar crunch of distortion and intricacies expected from any Jimmy Eat World album. The ballads are overly melodramatic, the first track reels you in with some catchy riff or rhythm and the acoustic guitar is expertly used throughout the album. “Damage” fits in nicely with the rest of the band’s releases throughout the past 20 years. However, that’s all the record really does. “Damage” contains some good tunes and some bad tunes, but nothing truly stands out as exceptionally great or awful. That little something that made “Futures,” “Bleed American” and “Clarity” excellent is missing. Undoubtedly, the band has matured in the past decade and those records were released during a big surge of popularity for emo bands, but something is still missing from this album to make it truly great. That being said, there’s plenty for fans to enjoy on this release. The riffs and drive of the opening “Appreciation” will be... appreciated. Likewise, “How’d You Have Me” will pick up the pace and get fans singing along, while ballads like “Byebyelove” and “You Were Good” will be placed on high school break-up mix tapes. By no means is “Damage” a bad record. In fact, it’s quite good. Unfortunately, it’s easily forgettable and will fall into the unplayed gigabytes of music on your iPod until the day you hit shuffle and rediscover it.
By Steven Condemarin
By Daniel Romandia
By Josh Jurrs
ent reviews throughout the month!
“Everybody feel a way about K but at least y’all feel something.” This sums it up right here. Kanye West’s new record “Yeezus” has split fans like political issues split Americans. You either love it like it was your own child, or hate it like the metal community hates Miley Cyrus. Without a doubt in my mind, I can say I love this record to death. The team that is Mr. West and Rick Rubin is phenomenal, this album is just so, so Kanye. It’s like you walked into the bad neighborhood of Tron, with your posse of Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, Daft Punk, Chief Keef, and the angry, powerful rants of a passionate Rastafarian. The album is a short 40-minute, 10-track adventure that throws twists and turns the entire way through. There is not a record on the planet that sounds like this. It’s new age, angry, minimalistic, and filled with subtleties that trip you out (listen with headphones, trust me). It sticks to a huge hip-hop root though; there are tons of verses of just drums and West. Keeping things still full, but ready to accept whatever barreling progressions lay in next. This is Kanye. All hail Yeezus.
We all knew what to expect with this record: short, melodic punk songs that are aimed like missiles to target whatever part of the brain that stores those thousands of song lyrics. We got exactly that, but with a few extras. “Ordinary Silence” is the band’s strongest record as a whole (though each of their previous albums has at least one of their best songs). It flows better than anything they’ve released, it’s deviated slightly from their sound on “Even On the Worst Nights,” and the band has taken their strengths and ran with them. First of all, Maura Weaver’s vocals sound fantastic. There were glimpses of her vocal strength in tracks like “I’m Wearing the Device (Bridge, Water)” from the album “Even On the Worst Nights,” or “P.E.T. S.O.U.N.D.S.” from “Somewhere in Trinsic.” But on this record, she consistently knocks it out. On the other hand, Ryan Rockwell seems to have taken a small step back from focusing on vocals, although his have improved as well. Instead, the guitar parts he wrote for this album reach far above a lot of what he’s recorded on past albums. Highlights on the album include the opening, “Bad Parts,” the brief, anthem-like “Everything’s Eventual,” and the single, “Elevator Days.” Though the longest track, “You Look Like Springtime” (clocking in at a whole 3:39), and “C.C.S.” are solid too. Mixtapes writes happy music for sad people. If that’s something that interests you, then “Ordinary Silence” may be the perfect album for you.
For those who heard Rejjie Snow’s first two songs, released under the moniker Lecs Luther, they could not wait to hear the full mixtape, “Fish and Chips.” Well, according to the YouTube description for the music video for “Trumpets,” Luther got lazy and never put out the mixtape. Since then, he has changed his name to Rejjie Snow, a drug reference that he says no one understood for months, and has released his first official EP, “Rejovich,” and it is damn good. Rejjie Snow is a part of a new generation of beat poets emerging from the U.K. and Ireland. His beats on “Rejovich” are mostly driven by dark, slow piano samples backed with simple bass lines. The music is meant to relax, but the stories that are told on this release are different. Snow’s deep voice, laced with a hint of an Irish accent, tell strange stories about women, the Illuminati, and being utterly apathetic. His imagery is abstract and shows inspiration from MF DOOM and existential literature. Not many hip hop lyrics are reminiscent of Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphasis.” Snow compares humans to slugs and other insects and conjures up images of children standing in graves. “Rejovich” is strange, but in a very good way. It will be compared to Odd Future, but has more depth than that. Snow’s lyrics will seem “out there” to some, but they have a purpose beyond trying to piss off an older generation. He found out how to write lyrics that are truly his own.
By Ian La Tondre
By Alisha Kirby
By Daniel Romandia
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Published on Jul 1, 2013
In the 7th issue of Unplugged magazine: Copy editor Cody Alexander talks about his connection with music and the people around him; Alisha g...