â€” Subbacultcha quarterly music magazine Issue 11, Spring 2018
New Music for New People
Subbacultcha is an independent Amsterdambased platform devoted to new music. We unearth the best emerging artists and bring â€˜em to alternative stages near you. We make this unruly magazine to let you in on all you need to know. Become a member for â‚Ź8 a month and always get into our weekly shows for free. Come hang out. subbacultcha.nl/join
WED 7 MAR / Location: De School
LAUREL HALO Muziekgebouw aan de Ring
FRI 16 MAR / Location: Nationale Opera & Ballet
PAN DAIJING + TORUS Opera Forward Festival
WED 4 APR / Location: Bimhuis
JOSHUA ABRAMS & NATURAL INFORMATION SOCIETY FRI 13 APR
SUGAI KEN + YASUO SUGIBAYASHI Lullabies for Insomniacs label night
WED 25 APR
DNK ENSEMBLE + KONZERT MINIMAL Michael Pisaroâ€™s Tombstones - DNK Days
TUE 29 MAY
HAILU MERGIA SAT 23 + SUN 24 JUN
STRANGE SOUNDS FROM BEYOND
A GET-TOGETHER OF POP AND ELECTRONICS
tickets MUZIEKGEBOUW.NL /THERESTISNOISE
â€” Chynna shot by Yael Malka in New York, USA read more about Chynna on p. 26 05
Dear reader, It’s spring 2018 and there’s a lot going on. Sequins are back, Instagram stories have us hooked and a detrimental political climate have got even the least engaged of us to open our eyes. With big questions on our mind, it can be easy to overlook the details, the small moments that tell all; a crack in the wall as a measure of time passed, a photographed chair as an emblem of change, a glimmer of future’s bright. We all find comfort in strange places and agency in small acts. In Issue 11, we asked some of our favourite artists to share where they find theirs. We find out how Laurel Halo uses writing to focus her monkey mind, how Hungarian choirs inspire Sassy 009 and discover how Detroit lets loose at karaoke nights. Beyond the noise of it all, we think we’re on to something. Understanding subtleties of music language, carrying parabolic crystals or taking in your surroundings – the devil is in the detail, honey. Keep your eye on it. 07
Interview by Jack Dolan Photos by Dani Dabney
Interview by Carolina Calgaro Photos by Julia Feige
Interview by Julia Yudelman Photos by Andreas BjĂ¸rseth
Interview by Layla Mahmood Photos by Nick Sethi 22
DJing for the dance that is a film by Carly Blair
Interview by Derek Robertson Photos by Laura McCluskey
by Brittany McGillivray 55
Chynna Interview by Zofia Ciechowska Photos by Yael Malka
Click Click Club 57
26 About Last Night
Interview by Callum McLean Photos by Sylvie Weber
Colophon Subbacultcha quarterly music magazine Issue 11, Spring 2018 Front cover: Laurel Halo shot by Sylvie Weber in Berlin, Germany Publishers: Leon Caren and Bas Morsch
— Subbacultcha quarterly music magazine Issue 11, Spring 2018
Editor in chief: Roxy Merrell Art director: Tjade Bouma Copy editor: Brittany McGillivray Advertising and partnerships: Loes Verputten (firstname.lastname@example.org) Contributing writers: Carly Blair Carolina Calgaro Zofia Ciechowska Layla Mahmood Brittany McGillivray Callum McLean Derek Robertson Julia Yudelman Contributing photographers: Andreas Bjørseth Dani Dabney Julia Feige Yael Malka Laura McCluskey Annabel van Royen Nick Sethi Sylvie Weber Contributing illustrator: Sander Abbema Printer: Damen Drukkers Werkendam, The Netherlands
Subbacultcha Team Shows and bookings: Robert Lalkens Online editor: Maija Jussila Design: Lin Ven Production and finance: Anne-Nynke Knol Interns: Henry Buckley, Carolina Calgaro, Björt Dánialsdóttir, Daniel Ibarbo, Lucile Tommasi Thank you: Evelyn Andoh, Lucy Barker, Nienke Bernard, Hanna Blom, Alette Boogman, Alex Christodoulou, Jason Clark, Izzy Cotton, Daniel Encisco, Alena Ethembabaoglu, Marlene Fally, FotoLabKiekie, GEWA, Veronica Gonzalez, Martine Haanschoten, Faith Hardman, Annemijn Von Holtz, Karolina Howorko, Ilias Karakasidis, Jan van der Kleijn, Patrick van der Klugt, Gábor Kuncevics, Loulou Kuster, Gido Lahuis, Jente Lammerts, Yennhi Le, Crys Leung, Grace Lott, Cissy Lott-Lavigna, Alyssa MacGregor, Cecilia Orozco Martinez, Isabel Milano, Laura Vargas Mora, Phyllis Noster, Isza Parchini, Sandra Zegarra Patow, Randy Schoemaker, Monika Simon, Kaitlyn Smeeth, Flavien Tridel, Sheona Turnbull, Jan Vervecken, Daphne Verweij, Vicky De Visser, Bonnie van Vugt, Katharina Wahl, Laurien Winckels, Milah van Zuilen Subbacultcha office: Dr. Jan van Breemenstraat 3 1056 AB Amsterdam Netherlands Contact: email@example.com © photographers, artists, authors, Subbacultcha quarterly magazine, Amsterdam, March 2018
17 + 18 + 19 August 2018
Biddinghuizen | The Netherlands
Kasper De Vos
DE BRAKKE GROND
A rolling stone gathers no moss 9 APR
Nes 45, Amsterdam
RECOMMENDATIONS Recent finds from our editorial team
Amen Dunes Freedom
Iconic portraits made from deflated balloons. Our favourites: Nutella, Call Me By Your Name and The Queen of England.
Just when you started to forget the spell of Damon McMahon’s wavering vocals and heady categorydefying sound, Amen Dunes returns. Ever hypnotic, but with an upbeat quality, his latest single ‘Blue Rose’ echoes and builds with propulsive percussion, enrapturing your senses. Imbued with raw emotion and talk of ‘religious music’, the prelude to Amen Dunes’ fifth studio album, Freedom, leaves us aching for more. Out 30 March, 2018 via Sacred.
Ambient music by S-Town’s John B. McLemore Back in 2003, John B. McLemore, the subject of podcast S-Town, made an ambient album remixing the work of painter and musician Tor Lundvall. Nine years later, he sent the brooding project to Lundvall, with whom he began an email correspondence. Today, 15 years later, Dais Records has released the now-deceased McLemore’s mix digitally, entitled Witness Marks. His notes on the project read: ‘a very long attention span is a prerequisite’. torlundvall.bandcamp.com
Follow the spiritual journey of quirky ninety-yearold atheist Lucky. Confronted with his own mortality after a sudden collapse in his desert-town home, he seeks out meaning to fill the void. Besides boasting the since-deceased Harry Dean Stanton’s role of a lifetime, Lucky features an exciting reversal of roles; actor-turn-director John Carroll Lynch debuts by directing filmmaker David Lynch.
RECOMMENDATIONS Recent finds from our editorial team
Ans’ Alien View-Master
Venturing out into the weird parts of YouTube, we discovered Ans Hoornweg and her extraterrestrial adventures. Documenting her many astral & physical journeys to Laborax, a faraway planet, and beyond, Ans’ book can be ordered online now. It comes with an accompanying View-Master featuring 56 trance-induced paper maché manifestations of celestial beings up close in 3D. The book itself is in Dutch, but the slides transcend any (human) language.
Yes. It’s true. People only love you when you’re leaving. That time we had a progressive liberal with exquisite taste in music and literature as president of the United States seems like a distant dream already. We really thought we’d turned a corner, right? But then we turned a few more, and now we’re back to square one. As a consolation, try reading some of Obama’s favourite books of 2017. We just finished reading The Power (by Naomi Alderman) and Exit West (by Mohsin Hamid), both thoroughly amazing.
RIMON - Grace
WePresent WeTransfer has launched a brand new platform called WePresent, dedicated to unexpected stories about creative minds. Delve into the internal worlds of designers, artists and photographers through words, images and the platform’s podcast audiovisual.
RIMON is a fresh face on the scene – and her first track and accompanying video, ‘Grace’ is getting her noticed. Delve into her soulful, ‘70s inspired world in the VHS music video featuring shimmer curtains and friends with serious moves. This Amsterdam by-way-of-East Africa artist is one to keep your eyes on.
RECOMMENDATIONS Recent finds from our editorial team
Stefan Tcherepnin - The Mad Masters
Something Raw The exciting performing arts festival returns to Amsterdam. Confrontational, genre-defying young artists take the stage at Frascati & Brakke grond to give you a taste if what’s coming. somethingraw.nl
After the opening of his exhibition in Stedelijk, Stefan came down to our very own venue s105 for a little after-party, and played some weird and wonderful live music. So the next day we went down to Stedelijk to check out his exhibition, and it’s a real treat. Besides taking note of the awesome monsters, allow yourself some time to explore his immersive universe. Tcherepnin’s exhibition is on in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam until 3 June. stedelijk.nl
Two Girls One Pizza
‘Check again we’re on the guest list’. Internet trolling at its best (and by Canadians! Who whudda thought)
Friends Make Books Make your bookshelf dreams a reality with the print-on-demand, small-edition publications by the collaborative platform Friends Make Books. friendsmakebooks.com
Karel (now online!) The internet just got that bit better. Now featuring Karel on SoundCloud and Instagram. @karel__________ soundcloud.com/karelkarelkarelkarel
RECOMMENDATIONS Recent finds from our editorial team
Jan Hoek & Bobbin Case Boda Boda Madness
We are out of office
‘A Japanese can of milky tea from a vending machine’ riso prints for sale! We’re out of office is two Utrecht-based designers who make quirky, graphic prints based on Japanese products. Go to their Etsy to find beautiful prints and pins. Inspired by the fantastically-themed motorcycle taxis of Nairobi, fashion designer Bobbin Case and artist Jan Hoek present their collaborative project Boda Boda Madness. The Ugandan-Kenyan designer and Dutch artist created dazzling outfits to match the bikes of seven drivers: Mad Max Driver, Machette, Vibze, Ghost Rider, Red Devil, Lion and The Rasta Driver. See these creations in Melkweg Expo (until 25 March), or spot them in the wild in Nairobi – where they run free. melkweg.nl
Naomi Alderman The Power
The coolest photos of people from the past.
What would the world look like if girls felt more empowered? In a creative take by novelist and gaming columnist Naomi Alderman, she sketches out an answer to this contemporary query. Girls worldwide are waking up with The Power – electrical zaps that can hurt and even kill people. As the awakening and mastery of this weapon spreads, a shift takes place; women take control. Heavily endorsing this electrifying read.
History Cool Kids
NEW MUSIC introducing you to fresh artists we admire
Interview by Carolina Calgaro Photos shot by Julia Feige in Berlin, Germany
Lisa Klinkhammer and Johannes Badura are a new Berlinbased band called Bad Hammer. After taking shape in Neukölln, the duo are ready to leave their initial chapter behind them, nailing it shut with a debut EP. Don’t get fooled by the name – Bad Hammer is an ‘adult only pop-rock’ duo combining synths, guitars and Lisa’s dreamy voice, echoing an idyllic world. We met one morning for what turned out to be their first interview and talked about music and how good it is to just have fun. 20
‘Lisa came with her synth, I took out some guitars, and we just made music.’ When was the first time you met and decided to make music together? Johannes: I met Lisa through a friend. It was 2015 and she just moved to Berlin from Düsseldorf. We talked once and decided to jam together. We didn’t have a rehearsal studio, so we just met at my house. Not knowing each other was a challenge, but it also helped us to focus on what was important at the time: playing together.
Lisa: It’s a combination of our surnames... J: At first, we just used it because it sounded stupid, but we actually started to like it. I think we were both interested in the non-clear image that the name creates. It doesn’t say much about our sound. Some people have come to our shows and been like: ‘I thought I bought a ticket to something else!’ L: People assume Bad Hammer’s a heavy metal or pro-rock band – there’s actually an Austrian metal band called Bäd Hammer – and then we come on stage with our synths, all dressed up, and that creates confusion. We think it’s funny, and other people think it’s funny too. Is Berlin an important part of your creative process? L: In Düsseldorf, there’s electronic and experimental music playing most of the time. When I moved to Berlin I could
J: Neukölln is a very lively neighborhood. People think of Berlin as the city of techno and electro music, but whatever sound you could imagine takes place here. In the ‘Forever’ video you guys are on a rollercoaster. Why did you choose to film it in that location?
When was the first time you called yourself Bad Hammer? And why did you chose this name?
just step out of my front door and go to a cool pop concert.
J: In May, there’s a small fair located in a park in Neukölln. We liked the idea of doing it there and just having fun. There’s an ultimate nostalgia about these fairs. They make you think about your past but also about what entertainment has become. Entertainment has changed a lot, but these fairs are still the same. In a way, I see some connections with our own music: we definitely have nostalgic sides and a fascination with the good old days. Music can take people to a place where they normally don’t hang out.
— Bad Hammer play Klub 470, Goethe-Institut on 6 April. Show free for members.
NEW MUSIC introducing you to fresh artists we admire
Interview by Layla Mahmood Instagram photos shot by Nick Sethi in New York, USA
‘This year is all about life checklists,’ Ian tells me, from his Brooklyn home. During our conversation, he says with an element of sass: ‘I’m trying to stay busy in 2018. Checkin’ the list. Checkin’ it twice.’ And busy he is. Not only is he a musician, but also a creative consultant for the legendary fashion label Hood By Air; has a new project with fashion brand Helmut Lang; and is a prominent feature of GHE20G0TH1K, a nonconformist subculture that has influenced the mainstream. 22
‘Just like in life, nobody wants to be in a fucking box.’
He is a proud Brooklyn native, with Trinidadian and African American roots. This colourful background no doubt informs his music and artistic expression. He says to me, with a tinge of sardonic laughter: ‘my mother is a pentecostal preacher and my father is a long dreaded Rastafarian from Trinidad, so I’m like, fucked up in the head.’ We laugh, but this duality of cultures has likely only made his music that much richer.
His mixtape Love Champion reflects this mixture of ‘newness’ and church influence. Ian’s singing displays faint undertones of gospel, but he transcends the style through his excessive use of autotune; particularly in the song ‘Freak U Down.’ Auto-tune has had some negative flack in the past, but Ian celebrates it for enhancing his already melodic voice, and not merely ‘correcting’ it. Regarding musical influences, he says: ‘there are definitely genre statements in my music but I really try to make sure that all are represented in some way, shape or form.’ ‘It’s just better when you’re able to collect all genres from
Thematically, Ian tapers through various topics, ranging from sex positivity, love and God – all expressed within an ethos of ‘genderless music’ that does not ascribe to, or reinforce, any particular sexuality or gender. The music video and lyrics of ‘24/7’ adhere to this fluid notion, displaying Ian hanging out in his Brooklyn neighborhood, dressed in masculine jeans and heels, with an image of him pole dancing in a traditionally feminine manner. His auto-tune voice, contrary to the visual signifiers, sings: ‘and that pussy is so amazing. Got me thinking you’re the one.’
Duality plays a consistent role in Ian’s music. His church background, coupled with an embrace of all things new and modern, has created a truly unique sound. He says: ‘I grew up in church. My whole family is in the church. So that’s where music started for me.’ Growing up as a choir boy, he essentially had free music and singing lessons, learning to play the piano and the organ. ‘My mother, my aunt, my grandparents, everybody sings, everybody plays. A holiday is like a concert in my house.’
one song to me. Just like in life, nobody wants to be in a fucking box.’
When I ask him about his own sexuality in regard to this ethos, he muses: ‘I think it really is just about love. I do define myself as a male, yes. But sexually I don’t define myself in some sort of category. I don’t limit myself to anything.’ Ian’s album, scheduled to come out later this year, will unquestionably encompass this limitless exploration of sound, and we couldn’t be more excited.
— SHUGGA SEXTAPE : VOLUME 1 coming soon.
NEW MUSIC introducing you to fresh artists we admire
Interview by Derek Robertson Photos shot by Laura McCluskey in London, UK
Lauren Auder’s kaleidoscopic mishmash of styles is the product of growing up with the world at his fingertips and a refusal to heed boundaries; the internet has given him the freedom – and confidence – to be whomever he wants. Since finishing high school, he’s been crafting moody, enigmatic soundscapes littered with personal anecdotes, a dark twisted fantasy for millenial pop omnivores. Two years on, he’s ready to confront the world on his own terms. 24
‘I do believe in the progress of humanity, but I’m very conscious of how we constantly return to fucking up.’ What does the new record sound like? It’s pulling from the same places as before: experimental, hip-hop, and very ‘noise’ and ambient influenced. But there are more baroque pop and classical influences infused into it. You’re a fan of dark art – not just music. Very apt for these troubled times.
The internet is a big part of those troubles. What do you think of the democratisation of the internet and music, especially SoundCloud and Spotify? There are upsides and downsides. I wouldn’t be where I am without them, though they pose their own inconveniences. There’s pressure to always be doing something, and it’s more difficult to get to the top because there’s so much competition; anyone could be the next big pop star. But you can use the internet as a viable tool to make a real, lasting career. Some artists who consistently make great, acclaimed music struggle to make that jump to mainstream acceptance and a real career. Certain things don’t speak to as many people, and that’s fine. There’s a place
for interesting artists to find their way into mainstream music and the internet helps with that, but a lot less people go into music with the expectation of becoming rich and famous these days. Many new artists completely reject boundaries, whether that’s genre, sexuality, or identity. Is that the effect of growing up in the social media age? Growing up in this space there’s a conscious effort to not be defined by labels in any domain of your life. The internet has helped because you have constant exposure to whatever you want, whenever you want it. And once you are exposed to all these things, you develop a taste for them, and it’s too limiting to box yourself in.
It’s an inevitable part of humanity; there’s always dark stuff going on, and there’s this eternal recurrence of us fucking up. When you look into history you realize it’s melting pot of shit things and beautiful things together, but I’m focused on thinking about how to cope with that and see the beauty in things.
Are you optimistic about the future, when your generation will be in charge? We go through these cycles and things change. They get better; they get worse. I do believe in the progress of humanity, but I’m very conscious of how we constantly return to fucking up.
— Lauren Auder’s debut EP Who Carry’s You will be out March 16th via True Panther Sounds
Chynna Interview by Zofia Ciechowska Photos shot by Yael Malka in New York, USA
Journal-writer-turned-rapper Chynna Rogers is just a regular girl who likes burgers, burritos and BBQ ribs. If you met at a party, she wouldn’t tell you she made music unless you really pried. Every so often, the West Philadelphian’s serious, wry demeanour is rippled by bursts of youthful enthusiasm for hopping on planes to unknown places, her loyalty to Panic! At The Disco, and chain-ordering junk food to her apartment in Chinatown, Manhattan. Chynna’s latest EP, music 2 die 2 hails a fresh return for the 23-yearold since her 2016 Ninety mixtape and even earlier releases Glen Coco and Selfie, which first set people’s rap radars on red alert for this irresistibly cool emcee. Straight outta high school vibes have long been shaken off. In their place appear Chynna’s biting spoken lines and woozy beats, reflecting a brewing anger and a coming to terms with the aftermath of death, depression and drugs that has passed through her life. In between tour lags, she’s back in her usual Williamsburg studio recording new material, commenting that the EP was a snapshot of past emotions. Her headspace now is more focused on connecting with her fans, producing new music and expressing herself through visual projects, inspired by directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Terry Gilliam.
You’re in between tour lags. How’s it been and what’s up next? I did a US tour recently and met a lot of college students. I like meeting people who don’t do what I do, people who are going to do political science, architecture or law. That’s cool. Europe’s next. I lived in London for short periods of time, but I’ve not been to 80% of the other places I am going to. I’m just excited to eat all the food and travel, man. I’m excited to meet my fans and grateful for them too of course; I’m satisfied with whoever comes to my shows. I’m really excited to just get out there. I’m just going to take a lot of money, not a lot of baggage, go crazy and just buy a ton of stuff there. I’ll roll through JFK customs with mad baggage full of stuff from the places I’ve never been to. I’ve never been to Finland or Greece, for instance. I might just get all my stuff in Greece.
Travelling and eating, eh? I just looove to eat. I eat out a lot! Actually no, I order my food on Postmates and eat it at home. I had these BBQ ribs the other day, so good. I also eat a lot of Mexican food, especially burritos. And I love this place in New York called the Meatball Shop. It’s the best! I’m also really into eating a lot of burgers. I haven’t had anything marginally healthy recently. Switching gears now, what are the core elements of your musical identity? How did you end up rapping? I have always enjoyed writing. It was the intro to all of this from a young age. I would write books on my desktop. I’d get five chapters in, but I just didn’t have the willpower to keep on going. Music was the second thing I loved the most. So, why don’t I write a story in 4 mins rather than 400 pages? It was the only real outlet I had. I was not open about what was going on in general, I can be pretty secretive. My music was supposed to be like a journal, I started it without knowing what would happen, didn’t expect a career from it, but here I am doing just that. Music 2 die 2 shows a departure from the past tracks that you’ve put out as singles and mixtapes. Tell me more about the themes running through your latest EP. It was a little more experimental than anything. I have been consistent in the things that I want to talk about in my music, but this one might be a bit more depressing. In the last year, shit just got darker for me. In general, I have a different perspective now than when I started out. Coming out of high school, everything felt exciting, I felt grown, and then life starting going super fast. It was an immediate change. As drugs came into my life, as death took friends and family, as relationships came into my life, you’d hear that in my music. The thing with this release is that a
lot of these songs are older and people think that they’re about now, but actually my music now is totally different. I’m recording more things right now that I didn’t get to when I was on tour. The goal is to stay productive. Out of the other directions that you get pulled in creatively, which do you like most? Besides music making in the studio, the best part is making the videos. I’m working on one right now and can’t wait to go out to Europe and shoot some cool scenes that no one’s ever seen. I’m going to take advantage of the sights if nothing else. The last two that I did were based on films that had a big effect on my music that came out that time: The Birds by Hitchcock and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Terry Gilliam. I’m very inspired by those directors’ visions. I think that artists don’t put that level of effort into their videos anymore, not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t have the budgets. People of my generation or even younger kids, they also don’t have those director references anymore. As for music, I’d love to collaborate with Young Dolph or Uzi. And emo bands. Ok wait, you listen to emo bands? DO I LISTEN TO EMO BANDS? You’re going to get me started. There’s a lot: Panic! At The Disco, Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Underoath. I would have to do a collaboration with Panic at the Disco if they asked me. I have my loyalty to the kingdom. I never got into the emo look though. I mean, I wanted to, but you can’t do that in the hood. That get-up won’t pass.
‘My music was supposed to be like a journal, I started it without knowing what would happen, didn’t expect a career from it, but here I am doing just that.’
Anything else you want to share? I don’t think I’m that interesting. I’m pretty regular. You can tell them that. — Chynna plays Paradiso on 8 March. Show free for members. Her latest EP music 2 die 2, was released September, 2017 on Honeymoon. soundcloud.com/chynnarogers
Electronic auteur on music therapy, avant-gardism and aunties
Laurel Halo Interview by Callum McLean Photos shot by Sylvie Weber in Berlin, Germany
Tinkling percussion, aloof vocals, rattles of sub bass, dial tones. Laurel Halo is one of the rare cases where the cliché rings true: she sounds like everything and nothing all at once. As much a scholar of the avantgarde as of dub and techno (her native Ann Arbor a stone’s throw from Detroit), her music is awash with tricky reference points, but still fizzes with originality. Her lyrics burst mysteriously with ideas, mix32
ing the mundane and the evocative with an occult sort of logic. And then on Halo’s third album, 2017’s Dust, something clicked. Easily her masterwork, it painted a portrait from abstract shapes, sketching a character that was elusively touching — at points in soft strokes, at others, razor-edged. Eager for answers, we catch up with this brainiac bass poet to trace the personality behind the process.
Laurel Halo seems to have many faces. How do you explain the common thread or concept in what you do, for example to an aunt or someone totally outside your scene? It’s funny you mention my aunt; she lives in Manhattan and came to see me play at The Stone in New York several years ago, when what I was doing was still very much in its early stages. Synth washy, blown out – in my recollection fairly awful. You can imagine her discomfort – there were maybe 15 people including her, listening to fairly challenging and wild music. It was a hot, late summer evening with the usual sonic trappings and humidity right outside this cave-like, heavily air-conditioned space. She asked me afterwards the exact same question you’re asking now: ‘How would you describe this?’ Lacking a solid answer (as I also lack now) I called it ‘experimental electronic’ music. So from then on, for whatever reason, she dropped 34
the ‘experimental’ and just called what I do ‘electronic’. And then last summer, when I showed her footage from a show at the Boiler Room, she was shocked that I was doing a DJ set. To her that was ‘mainstream’, the antithesis of what she understood as ‘electronic’, even though I was only playing club tracks – electronic music. So in this sense I think these words mean nothing. I also find it interesting to listen to your DJ sets, to see where your kind of deconstructive approach works when put in a more functional, club setting. How do you usually set about curating your record box? DJing is a preferred outlet these days. Selecting takes a very long time. I still play tracks that I found three months to ten years ago. I find I’m mostly listening to drum and harmonic and mood palettes, as opposed to genres. I tend to avoid tracks that sound too idiomatic.
How does fun fit into your process of experimentation? I will quit making music if it ever stops being fun. We have been historically fed the patriarchal notion that the only music worthy of ‘serious’ consideration is dour, aggressive or po-faced. That fits very neatly into ‘classy’ modes of music production. A lot of my favourite artists and filmmakers employ humor or silliness in their work, which can – and this may come as a shock – also be dark, twisted, ashamed. There’s a breadth of expression in music that gets flattened by biased ears. You so desperately want to identify music as being of one sound, genre or scene, but to me these identity games are so dull. At the same time, I don’t want to say I’m above the rules – there are specific languages and visual narratives that exist. The vast majority of people listen to incredibly shit music, because they aren’t curious in learning the subtleties of musical language. And that’s fine, and my understanding is still in the bottom of the foothills of a vast series of mountaintops. I just try to make work that is pleasurable, surprising, or confronting to myself. Do you find more often that your work starts funny and gets weird, or vice versa? It depends, sometimes I start off with something dead strange and then work it to become more recognizable. Other times I do something more straight and then feel the compulsion to break the track a bit. Your music is pretty elusive to meanings and descriptions. How do you work through ideas of abstractness and concreteness when you’re writing and recording? I think Ursula K. Le Guin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching is a very useful starting point. The idea of music being ‘abstract’ and also a physical product to be sold. For me, music always needs to have a spiritual anchor, a sense of groundedness. It may not come off 36
to the listener, but when I’m listening back there has to be a grain of calm or quietude at the center, despite whatever sonic content is happening.
‘There’s a breadth of expression in music that gets flattened by biased ears.’ Reading reviews of Dust invariably gets quite academic, and you see a lot of what you might call over-interpretation. How do you feel about people trying to decode your lyrics? I guess I don’t really mind either way. The lyrics took ages for me to write. I put a lot of thought and care into them, to play with ambiguity and narrative, broken or lost structure. And yet I don’t even listen to lyrics when listening to other people’s music! You’ve said a lot about the positivity of the album, and recording/writing as a healing process. How do you work through your art as both expressive and as therapy? Writing music has always been a joyful process. It’s helped focus my monkey mind, or turn around negative words or thoughts, or transform the weight of our miserable setting, to build and aid in determination. The most important feedback that I get is when people tell me that my music helped them through rough patches, or difficult times with family or work or romantic relationships.
— Laurel Halo plays Muziekgebouw aan de Ring in Muzieklokaal on 7 March. Show free for members. Dust was released on HyperDub in June, 2017. soundcloud.com/laurelhalo
Hamtramck: where DIY-parties, techno-tourism and karaoke meet
Interview by Jack Dolan Photos shot by Dani Dabney in Hamtramck, USA 38
At the end of 2015, Daniel Benjamin, better known as Moon King, relocated from his hometown of Toronto to Hamtramck, a special little spot in the middle of Detroit. It wasn’t an obvious move. The obvious move would have been in the opposite direction; to Montreal where his label, Arbutus Records, and the majority of his musical peers are based. Thankfully for all of us it paid off. Benjamin’s music draws on obscure disco cuts and a love for karaoke nights. Over the past few years he’s also developed a delicate feel for the different environments he performs in. Without the move south of the border, these elements may never have surfaced in his music. We caught up with him to find out more about the inspiring neighbourhood he inhabits and how it has changed his sound.
You live in Hamtramck in Detroit. It’s a separate city, that’s technically not Detroit but it’s surrounded by Detroit. It has its own mayor and its own police. Are there a lot of people doing similar things to you there? I’ve met a lot of like-minded people who were interested in dance music, DIY-type parties and having this kind of positive environment. Not to sound egotistical, but I do feel like what I’m doing specifically is unique; at the same time it’s only because of all the people here. I’ve met so many talented DJs and artists living within a few blocks of me. The other thing is karaoke. People are just really good at karaoke here. A really good karaoke night becomes almost like a show here. What’s your karaoke number? Last night I did INXS ‘Never Tear Us Apart’. I’ve been doing that a lot the past few weeks. I’d say that’s my new go-to. I read somewhere that you were a big Bee Gees fan. That must make for good karaoke. I mean I wish I could do it but their voices are crazy. How do you sing like that? They sound like little gremlins or something. I’m a huge fan though, absolutely. Even though it’s literally the most obvious disco-related music, I do think some of those songs have great melodies and weirdly have aged better than a lot of disco. What do you do for fun around Hamtramck? Honestly, karaoke, DJs; a lot of the bars around here have turntables and people will just go and spin records any day of the week. The neighbourhood is also home to lots of Polish, Yemeni and Bengali communities, which are all pretty unique within Detroit, so the food is incredible.
I do want to stress this though: I am not from Detroit at all and I would never claim to represent people here. There’s so much more to this place than I could ever possibly understand just from moving here from Canada. Even though Hamtramck is a bit separate, it shares all of Detroit’s problems – from things like the roads being fucked up to the school systems are completely underfunded. There are a million social issues that need to be addressed before people can come and be like ‘oh yeah, I heard Hamtramck was cool’ or whatever. I think people need to be careful of the way they interact with this city. There’s a lot of corporate and artistic interest, too. There’s opportunistic big corporations and then there’s this idea of techno-tourism which is mostly people from Europe or New York coming to check out Detroit because of dance music and that’s great, but it does feel pretty easy for people to bypass the people actually from here and not give them the respect they deserve. What kind of music are you listening to at the moment? I’m gonna look at my recently played songs now… This week: Was (Not Was), Patrick Cowley, Company B, International Music System, Psychic Mirrors from Miami which is actually new. I’ve been getting into a lot of old music and it’s been tough to find recent stuff that I’m into, but I like the Psychic Mirrors project a lot. My favourite DJ in Detroit is this guy Scott Zacharias who has a very freeform style of DJing. The first time I saw him at Movement Festival in 2015 was just around when I started doing the Moon King stuff, and I was directly inspired by some of the stuff that he was playing in that set specifically. Your music is dance music orientated but also definitely song driven. What’s the ideal scenario for you to perform in?
That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. The ideal is a very community-based DIY atmosphere. In Detroit, there’s a lot of physical space that you can use to make an environment that’s conducive to that. I used to throw parties in Toronto and we’d rent out a hall and set it up so that people have the freedom to do what they want. I’m happy to play this music wherever though, as long as people enjoy themselves and are good to each other at the shows. Do you play differently when you’re in different spaces? Yeah absolutely. Sometimes it can be more of a DJ type of thing. One of the things that I’m able to do regardless is bring a lot of energy. A lot of it is pressing buttons; it’s hard to make that into a physical show. I’ve always tried to be aware of that. Get people moving around don’t just hide behind your gear. How do you think your music has developed over the years? I think of music as being quite spatial. Some music is big and some music is small. Some music is meant for a very big room and previously I thought of Moon King as being big sounding. I thought it really worked when we were opening for somebody in some huge venue. Something kind of changed in the last couple of years and I’ve been more interested in the individual listening. If there’s twelve people in the room making sure it makes more of a difference to them than it does trying to just play for as many people as possible. Make more of an impact for less people.
— Moon King plays De Nieuwe Anita on 1 June. Show free for members. Hamtramck ’16 was released on Arbutus Records in August, 2017. soundcloud.com/moon_king
‘There are a million social issues that need to be addressed before people can come and be like ‘oh yeah, I heard Hamtramck was cool’ or whatever.’
Oslo-based trio on pop idols, folk influences and newfound friendships
Sassy 009 Interview by Julia Yudelman Photos shot by Andreas Bjørseth in Oslo, Norway Styling by Alva Brosten
As one of the freshest acts to join the Scandinavian electro-pop scene, Sassy 009 is the name currently on everyone’s lips. Johanna, Sunniva and Teodora have only been playing together for a year, but between releasing their breakout EP and rubbing shoulders with fellow pop-savants Smerz, the Norwegian newcomers have taken the underground by storm. The buzz is well-deserved. Moody dance tracks tell tales of intimate encounters while throbbing beats drive velveteen harmonies 46
and fierce atmospherics. Dig a little deeper and there’s reverberations of Chilean folk, Hungarian choirs, and French impressionism. The mélange is wonderfully intoxicating, and that’s to say nothing of their energetic friendship, itself a force to be reckoned with. A half hour spent with the uproarious trio reveals many truths. In Sassy 009’s world, laughter is the best medicine. Finishing each other’s sentences is par for the course. And above all, saxophone’s got nothing on flute. We dare you to keep up.
Let’s start with a few introductory words about you guys. Who is Sassy 009? Sunniva: Firstly we’re friends of friends, who became a band, and then became best friends. I have known Teodora since middle school. And you [to T + J] met each other in high school. We have pretty different musical backgrounds. I’ve been producing on my own just for fun... Johanna: I played classical in high school, and you [to T] were singing. Teodora: Folk songs, and some jazz, and some classical. Who’s the sassiest in the band? J: All three of us become quite sassy when we’re together. S: But I think the sassiest is one of you. J: Yeah, [to T] maybe your Serbian genes or my Latina blood [laughs]. S: [Laughs] We haven’t had a competition yet, but… T: But maybe we should hold it one day!
I love the flute in your songs. Do you think flute has a big role to play in electronic music now? What you’re doing with it is quite different. S: There’s been a lot of dance music with a flute when the beat drops. I think that’s the only reference I have in electronic music. T: There’s also been some sampling, but the way I’ve heard it, it’s mostly been used in one or two songs and not as an integrated part of the sound, as it is for us. Flute is one of the few tools that we have in the band, so we have to use it. It’s funny you mention saxophone, because I feel like sax has made a comeback lately. I like flute as an alternative, because saxophone is a bit… overdone. You know what I mean? All: [laughing] Yeahhhh! J: A lot of flutists are originally saxophonists. They play the flute like it was a saxophone, just to get up in the higher register, rather than use the flute for itself. It’s kind of a narrow thing to do – to not explore the flute, the colours of the tones, the register.
J: Flute is like, the main instrument in every traditional music in the world but still it’s often used as a secondary instrument elsewhere. My sound might be different because I come from a different place musically. I’m studying flute and classical music now, French impressionists influence me a lot, and of course I’m Chilean, so I listen to a lot of folk and traditional music of Latin America, which is mostly based on flute. And then you have a lot of great musicians playing the alto flute from Bossa Nova. I don’t listen to electronic music, so when I come into the universe that Sunniva makes, I probably have a different approach. And of course Teo has shown us a lot from the Balkans, which is also very influential. Like the Hungarian choirs where all the singers are equal. T: The soprano doesn’t have the lead. Rather the piece uses the whole choir. J: All the colours of the choir. T: So that’s what we like to talk about when we’re not playing music. J: Hungarian choirs!
‘I don’t listen to electronic music, so when I come into the universe that Sunniva makes, I probably have a different approach.’ You get lots of attention for singing about love and relationships. Why do you think that is? S: I think the EP kind of just happened, and some of the songs easily refer to love, even though it wasn’t the main mission with the song. For example, ‘Are You Leaving’ doesn’t have to be about a relationship, but it easily refers to that. And ‘Pretty Baby’ is not a typical love song. J: Did we make it as a love song? T: I don’t think we made any of the songs as like, ‘oh, let’s give people an alternative narrative to how to be in a relationship, or sing about a relationship, because that’s what the world needs right now’. It just ended up that way because it’s really easy to sing about love, and a lot of the lyrics were improvised as we made the song. Tell me more about your connection to Smerz. S: It started when I still just had some demos on SoundCloud with the same name, Sassy 009, and then Henriette sent a message from Smerz’s account asking if we were playing live shows. We weren’t at the time. S: We hadn’t really figured out the live approach yet. They asked if we would do a show with them, so we went to Denmark, played with them and became friends on that trip. T: They’ve been a real inspiration. When we were in Denmark it was really inspiring to see them do their own thing. 49
J: They’re in charge. They’re really in charge of their own careers. T: Yeah they’re boss ladies. J: And we were like, we also want to be boss ladies! [laughs]
‘I don’t think we made any of the songs as like, “let’s give people an alternative narrative to how to be in a relationship because that’s what the world needs right now”. It just ended up that way.’
very different ways. If you’re in one mood it’s like, Beyoncé, damn you’re right, and then other times, Solange is the right answer, so it depends on the situation. J: I couldn’t find it in my heart to choose. It’s like asking, who do you like better, your father or your mother? T: So yeah, that’s our final answer. J: It’s not appropriate!
Speaking of boss ladies, I’ve seen that you guys are quite well-versed in pop culture. Who do you prefer: Solange or Beyoncé? J: That is a question you should not ask! I’ve been discussing that question a lot actually: is that appropriate to ask someone? Because how can you choose between Beyoncé and Solange? T: It’s two different music genres. J: Yeah, two queens! T: And they stand for different things. S: Solange writes a lot of Beyoncé’s songs. T: They also have a very different approach to how to speak about the issues that concern them. You have Beyoncé, who uses a lot of symbolism. She’s this very strong woman who’s like, I’m in charge, this is how it’s going to be. And then Solange sort of withholds. She’s not a pure rage. She seems very quiet. They have the same message but it’s told in 50
— Sassy 009’s debut EP Do You Mind was released on Luft Recordings in November, 2017. soundcloud.com/sassy009
Point of view
DJing for the dance that is a film by Carly Blair illustration Sander Abbema After hearing over and over again how good Big Little Lies was, but finding myself a bit unmotivated to take on yet another series, one day I found myself on a flight which included the series in their inflight entertainment options. Having gone through the handful of good and/or pretentious movies I’d been meaning to watch, and with about an hour until landing, I decided to finally give it a shot. The moment I clicked PLAY, I was greeted with the familiar strums and ethereal crooning of Michael Kiwanuka’s ‘Cold Little Heart’, one of my absolute favourite songs from 2016, which backs the show’s opening credits. In an instant, I flipped from mostly indifferent to fully committed to watching the series. As it turns out, the woman who selected that song and the many other excellent tracks featured on Big Little Lies, Susan Jacobs, won the first ever Emmy for Music Supervision this past year. When I heard the news, I wasn’t surprised that Jacobs had won, but WAS surprised that it took the Emmys so long to recognize this most delicate of art forms. When I realized that the Academy also doesn’t give an Oscar for music supervision, I felt dumb for a moment, or rather guilty for never having protested, or even noticed, this gross injustice. So I decided to atone for my ignorance with this here paean. After all, many of my all-time favourite scenes have earned that lofty status largely due to the music that accompanies them. Who doesn’t find themselves grinning triumphantly when The Who’s ‘A Quick One While He’s Away’ rises to a crescendo as Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman undertake increasingly ruthless
acts of revenge upon one another in Rushmore? Who isn’t enchanted by Margot Tenenbaum as she descends the bus to meet Richie Tenenbaum to the tune of Nico’s ‘These Days’? Who wouldn’t name the scene in Club Silencio featuring Rebekah Del Rio’s stunning cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’ as Mulholland Drive’s pinnacle? And those who’ve seen Buffalo ‘66 would surely agree that the scene in which Christina Ricci suddenly starts tap dancing to the tune of King Crimson’s ‘Moonchild’ in the bowling alley offers a glimpse of the capacity for guileless love buried inside even the most damaged among us. Heck, even mediocre films have earned affection from me due solely to amazing songs. I remember seeing Vanilla Sky in the theater with my mother and nearly dislocating her shoulder as I pulled on her sweater and loud-whispered as only I can, ‘THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST SONGS FROM ONE OF THE GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME!!!’ as Radiohead’s ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ backed its surreal opening scene. In fact, I’ve found myself putting up with director Cameron Crowe’s schmaltz time and again in hopes of gobbling up just this sort of musical morsel. Such is the power of music to not only create the desired atmosphere, but also a bond. Since TV shows and films with excellent soundtracks are becoming not only more commonplace but also more daring in their selections, music supervision seems like a field that will only rise in prominence. Anyone else fantasizing about quitting their day job?
Stimming x Lambert
CATCH O.A. FATIMA YAMAHA, BICEP (DJ-SET), SNAKEHIPS
GOOSE + Digitalism
The Echo Collective
DiCE no. 8
FLUISTER: JULIEN MARCHAL + CHRISTINE OTT
Lisa Hannigan & The Colorist Orchestra
José González & The String Theory
Point of view
Witch, please by Brittany McGillivray illustration Sander Abbema ‘Do you want me to hex him?’ my friend asked, with neither bemusement nor irony. ‘It’s near the solstice — the perfect time’. I didn’t; my cynicism was stronger than any spell she could have conjured. What I wanted was a purposeful, thought out apology. That, and noticeable corrections in this guy’s behaviour. A sense that history wouldn’t repeat itself, time and again. Of course, willing someone to behave better is about as productive as stirring up dragonblood and bay leaves and hexing them to. So while I may have rejected my friend’s offer to draw on the occult in our quest for vengeance justice, the alternative — a private reconciliation; a #metoo Facebook status — left me restless and disempowered. Since that conversation, I’ve heard more and more women make similar comments: mentioning their crystals in passing; participating in mass spells against the Trump administration; purchasing keychains filled with healing water. One only has to look as far as the slew of witch-related hashtags (#magick, #witchesofinstagram) and New Age boutiques to see that a trend is abrew. The cynic in me still feels that this prevalence is another way that capitalism is coveting subcultures; the process through which the mainstream engulfs the periphery. But looking beyond Urban Outfitters’ amethyst crystals, I think this trend also points to something more generative and lasting.
From the 14th to 17th century, witches were blamed for men’s sexual transgressions and accused of forming anarchist societies (gatherings to heal and share knowledge). In other words, women (‘witches’) were persecuted for their sexuality and their power to mobilize. 400 years may have passed, but the narrative feels pretty familiar. We’re coming off the heels of #metoo and still grappling to understand how, and if, the turbulence will give way to stronger, safer societies. A ra(c/p)ist still holds the highest seat in office in the United States. The allegations keep coming both in Hollywood, and our personal, and more precarious, communities. Universities. Friend groups. Music scenes. The ripples are long-felt. To me, the timing makes sense. Women (and gender nonconforming individuals) are embracing modern magic at a time where the intended rules of logic and justice don’t seem to apply. In an age where the widespread oppression of women and trans individuals is at the forefront of our collective consciousness, where the Weinsteins and Spaceys and Afflecks and Trumps are only now collapsing under their house of cards, the reclaiming of feminine energy should be celebrated as one more thrust in an overdue reckoning. Crystals may not dismantle the patriarchy, but any tool to empower a womyn is worth its weight in quartz.
Click Click Club Subbacultcha through your eyes
â€” All s105 shows are sponsored by Jupiler. Thanks to FotoLabKiekie for developing our negatives. 05
Click Click Club
Click Click Club Subbacultcha through your eyes
07 The Click Click Club means future #tbt material by our members. We hand over a disposable camera at our shows and you show us what you see. The Click Click Club Sera Akyazıcı, Esther Alisson, Kendal Beynon, Kelvin Dijk, Elizaveta Federmesser, Margot Gabel, Maya Goodwill, Camilla Heath, Leah Heaton-Jones, Annemijn von Holtz, Michelle Janssen, Stewart Kelly, Lotte Koster, Hector Garcia Martin, Maxi Meissner, Anna Mynte, Lisa Poelen, Sarah Stone, Aglaya Tomasi Want to join our Click Click Club? Pick up a camera at the cash desk of one of our next shows or shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. 01. At the Man Duo show at s105 (De School)
02. At the FAKA show at Garage Noord 03. At the FAKA show at Garage Noord 04. At the Man Duo show at s105 (De School) 05. At the Eurosonic Day Party at Sign, Groningen 06. At the Lomboy show at Cinetol 07. At the Man Duo show at s105 (De School) 08. At the Smerz show at Muzieklokaal 09. At the FAKA show at Garage Noord 09
About last night
About Last Night We drop by a member’s place the morning after a show
Name: Thierno Deme Age: 25 Subbacultcha Member since: October 2016 Show: Bar None Day job: Barista Dream job: Renaissance Man
Today’s soundtrack? Jpegmafia - ‘Real Nega’. I feel like this song would make ODB proud. What Subbacultcha show are you looking forward to next?
How was the show last night? Interesting! I don’t think I’ve heard so many genres mixed together in a single club night. I was pretty hungover from the night before though. What went down? Give us your best new story (made last night).
The next one would be Chynna at Paradiso in March. Got any advice for the people? If you wanna avoid going to dope parties hungover don’t bite off more than you can chew. Anything else good to share?
We checked out some of the music but ended up discussing the whole Aziz Ansari scandal with a friend before we headed home.
Can’t think of anything clever at the moment so nope!
Get lucky? My hangover went away. How’s your head? Stable. What’s the best music to wake up to? My alarm for the past few years is a Captain Murphy (Flying Lotus) song called ‘Between Friends’ ft Earl Sweatshirt. What does today look like? A productive day. I got through the worst of my hangover last night :P
— Want to let us in on your ‘woke up like this’ situation after a Subbacultcha show? Email email@example.com to talk about last night. Text Roxy Merrell Photo shot by Annabel van Royen
Upcoming Shows Highlight: Bar None x Dance with Pride 14 April, OT301
Letâ€™s have a Kiki! Our friends at Bar None are teaming up with local heroes Dance With Pride to present a night built on nothing but hype and love. Come celebrate queer culture with an awesome array of sounds from across the cultural spectrum. Line-up is yet to be announced but trust us, itâ€™s gonna be fabulous! facebook.com/dancewithpride.fcbk @dancewithpride_insta 62
Upcoming Shows All shows free for members Sign up for â‚Ź8 a month at subbacultcha.nl
02 March Torben unit fka Max Graef Band
07 April Space Lady
Klub 470, Goethe-Institut
Laurel Halo + Fenna Fiction
Bar None x Dance with Pride
Grooms + Spirit Valley s105, De School
09 March SAUCE Magazine Release Party s105, De School
04 May Kedr Livanskiy Garage Noord
23 March DUDS + Sweat Tongue
De Nieuwe Anita
06 April Shameless/Limitless presents:
Klub 470, Goethe-Institut
De Nieuwe Anita
Free access to the best concerts and events. Join us for €8 a month. subbacultcha.nl
at the Dinner show at De Nieuwe Anita, shot by Subbacultcha’s Click Click Club
New Music for New People
Published on Feb 20, 2018
Published on Feb 20, 2018
Issue 11 of Subbacultcha quarterly music magazine featuring Bad Hammer, Ian Isiah, Lauren Auder, Chynna, Laurel Halo, Moon King, Sassy 009 a...