â€” Subbacultcha quarterly music magazine Issue 05, Fall 2016 1
Dear reader, As our lives unfold ahead of us, plot twists keep us on our toes. Though it can feel rocky, it is the unknown that provokes. Like how everyone’s most hilarious festival stories always kick off at that moment when things start to go wrong – but classically end up better than you could’ve imagined. Or when a photo shoot doesn’t go through, and you realize Mykki Blanco’s Instagram is a selfie goldmine. Like our field trip to Groningen with Idiott Smith, all you can do is dive in head first, wash away the damage and bask in the splendour of a renewed spark… while small girls in big goggles gawk at your attempts and someone immortalizes the moment in a photograph. We’ve been going through changes, and we’re sure you have too. It’s the time for it, as bright summer dimly shimmers into fall. We’ve switched things up, now let’s find out what strange, unexpected treasures lie ahead. Follow us. Take the plunge!
For your consideration
Kero Kero Bonito
Interview by Callum McLean Photos by Trent McMinn
Interview by Zofia Ciechowska Photos by Richard Perez
Interview by Derek Robertson Photos by Kasia Zacharko
Interview by Jo-anna Kalinowska Photos by Olof Grind 20
Dinner as Father Yod? Why the hell not? by Carly Blair
Waterlelyck Interview by Maija Jussila Photos by Annabel van Royen 24
57 A Plausible Conversation With Mark Kozelek by Deva Rao
Interview by Zofia Ciechowska Instagram Photos by @_Mykki_
Move On Up!
by Leon Caren 61
Idiott Smith Text by Maija Jussila Photos by Isolde Woudstra 36
the Making of
22 â€“ 30 october www.ddw.nl
Colophon Subbacultcha We are an independent, Amsterdam-based music platform devoted to emerging artists. We organize progressive shows and make print publications. We are supported by our members, who for €8 a month, have first-hand access to everything we do. Sign up online and we’ll love you forever. For more information on what we’re all about see p. 62. subbacultcha.nl
Subbacultcha quarterly music magazine Issue 05, Fall 2016 (for Zara)
Programming: Keimpe Koldijk
Front cover: Princess Nokia shot by Richard Perez in New York, USA
Production: Yacine N’diaye Daphne Verweij
Back cover: Idiott Smith shot by Isolde Woudstra in Groningen, NL
Finance: Emma Schouwenaar
Editors in chief: Leon Caren and Bas Morsch Editor: Roxy Merrell Art director: Tjade Bouma Copy editor: Brittany McGillivray Advertising and partnerships: Loes Verputten (email@example.com) Contributing writers: Carly Blair Leon Caren Zofia Ciechowska Maija Jussila Jo-anna Kalinowksa Callum McLean Deva Rao Derek Robertson Contributing photographers: Wessel Baarda Mykki Blanco - Instagram Olof Grind Trent McMinn Richard Perez Annabel van Royen Isolde Woudstra Kasia Zacharko Printer: Drukkerij GEWADRUPO Arendonk, Belgium Distribution: Patrick van der Klugt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you: Jacques Henri Almond, Francesca Barban, Ida Blom, Alette Boogman, Jan Pier Brands, Robin Buskes, Pia Canales, Alex Christodoulou, Tom Coggins, Isabelle Cotton, Esther Crookbain, Irene de Gelder, Daniel Encisco, Patrick James Foetisch, Christopher Gabriel, Saar Gerssen, Wallis Grant, Martine Haanschoten, Camilla Heath, Guyrin Hiwat, Karolina Howorko, Arnout Hulskamp, Ilias Karakasidis, Bauke Karel, Lotte Koster, Niels Koster, Loulou Kuster, Robert Lalkens, Crys Leung, Luc Mastenbroek, Flora Nacer, Marlotte Nugteren, Melanie Otto, Alberto Pili, Lisa Poelen, Herlinde Raeman, Jack Roland, Egle Salominaite, Randy Schoemaker, Monika Simon, Sanne Tames, Aglaya Tomasi, Joris van Tongeren, Marilon Tresfon, Dorothee Vernex-Loset, Ilse van der Spoel, Annemijn von Holtz, Sandra Zegarra Patow, Laurien Winckels, Bert Zaremba Special thanks to: Andreea Breazu and Marina Henao Subbacultcha Office Dr. Jan van Breemenstraat 3 1056 AB Amsterdam Netherlands Contact: email@example.com © photographers, artists, authors, Subbacultcha quarterly magazine, Amsterdam, September 2016
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION Recent finds from our editorial team
Music: Bala Club
Looking to tap into club music’s future? Search no further than its present. London’s Bala Club looks to be much more than the trendy ‘current’ crop, with the artists under its roster primed to set the city and beyond’s musical tone for years to come. Helmed by Endgame, Kamixlo and Uli K, the three have a recent Hyperdub release, an EP on Visionist’s impeccably curated Codes label and an underground anthem in the form of ‘Fix Up’ under their respective belts – and that’s not to mention the sheer breadth of talent offered by other members like Sky H1, Organ Tapes and Killavesi.
Music: Mauskovic ‘Full of ‘70s afro-beat and Columbian cumba blended with early ‘80s New York no-wave sound of ESG and Liquid Liquid’ – we truly couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Mauskovic is Jacco Gardner and Eerie Wanda live drummer Nic Niggebrugge’s brand spanking new project, boasting one simple yet ambitious goal: get you dancing! Swing that window open and crank up your stereo, The Mauskovic Dance Band beams sunrays in sound. Don’t miss him at our L.A.N. Party at Melkweg, Amsterdam on 23 December. soundcloud.com/boogie-wonderband Label: Wichelroede
Get on it. https://soundcloud.com/balaclub Radio: Soundart Radio ‘A place to listen, play and experiment’. A unique broadcasting station based in (very rural) Devon, UK. Soundart Radio steps away from the typical electronic, highbrow sounds of online radio and lets in pretty much everything else - from audiodocumentaries on bats, an explorations into the sounds of shoes, to the well sought out sound of extrastereo. If you’re interested in all things sound - this a good place to start. extrastereo.
Established in 2013 by Gerben and Fallon, wichelroede is a label, webshop and graphic design studio based in Den Haag. The project – which embodies the couple’s interests in both music and visual representation – has recently started a mixtape series: the first established a keen following with Ben UFO/Beatrice Dillon, followed by LNS/Jayda G, and next in line is cloudface/Powder. Limited releases come in vacuum sealed bags, the latest of which includes a risograph poster of Fallon’s colourful illustrations - highly recommended. wichelroede.net
VR 9 SEP
Sorrow - a reimagining of Goreckiâ€™s 3rd Symphony
VR 16 SEP
MORPH: MURCOF + DADUB + DUBIT + REGGY VAN OERS
A GET-TOGETHER OF POP AND ELECTRONICS
DI 20 SEP
JESU / SUN KIL MOON WO 19 OKT
KAFR (RABIH BEAINI + SENYAWA) VR 21 OKT / Locatie: De School
KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH + BEA1991 ZA 19 NOV
tickets MUZIEKGEBOUW.NL / THERESTISNOISE
For your consideration
Music: RAKTA Power, passion, blood, energy. That is the meaning of the Hindu word ‘Rakta’, and it couldn’t fit the all-female post-punk band better. Reigning from Sao Paulo, Brazil, RAKTA inspirit and hypnotize with rhythmic swirls of psyched-out guitar and drawn out post-punk reverb. While their recently released EP III (Iron Lung Records) is undeniably dark and gloomy in sound, RAKTA instill an optimism on set by their empowerment and exploration. With a North America and Japan tour just behind them, we can’t wait to see what’s next.
in the 1920s, Mauritania in the 1980s and kicked off our weekend on the Party Island in the Pacific Ocean. Go places! radiooooo.com Music: Nancy
rakta.bandcamp.com/album/iii Music: Kikagaku Moyo
Brooklyn-based Nancy is a two-headed garage rock monster here to capture your heart and tapping toes and never let go. Joe and Nat, best buddies who share two absolutely essential things – a love for rock ‘n’ roll and mothers called Nancy, spout out jams with all the umph, urgh, wooooowweeee and OH YEAH you can handle. High-pitched vocals and riffs so catchy they’ll make you dizzy, Nancy is back With Child out on Eat The Life Records on 1 September. Check it out!
Kikagaku Moyo (‘Geometric Patterns’ in Japanese) started out as a free-spirited collective of musicians busking on the streets of Tokyo in 2012. The five-piece now have a global cult following for their unique concoction of classical Indian music, Krautrock, ‘70s rock, and pure psychedelic bliss. Catch their waves at Incubate festival, Tilburg on 8 September or at De Nieuwe Anita, Amsterdam on 9 September (free for members).
nancymommy.bandcamp.com Author: Lucia Berlin Recently I’ve been reading my way through the New York Times best books of 2015. My best find was Lucia Berlin, whose collection of short stories called ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’ is thoroughly amazing. Up there with the greatest of American short story writers like Yates, Carver and Salinger.
geometricpatterns.bandcamp.com luciaberlin.com Radio: Radiooooo.com Label: Reckno Travel time, see the world and plug into exquisite tunes from every junction of time and space (since the 1900s, that is) – Radiooooo.com has it all. Benjamin Moreau’s brainchild was conceived for lovers of time bubbles, with radio stations sorted along the parameters of history and geography. Just the other day, we took the office to Russia
Chris Catlin (aka Yaaard), the man behind ‘frontierless abstract’ UK-based tape label Reckno, has put out dozens of the best releases of recent years and every single one lingers vividly for days on end. Caught between the clatter of field recordings and returning to age-old instruments, the label tours
THE NEW ALBUM
GAMESHOW Released on 14th of October
WARM ON A COLD NIGHT out now
For your consideration
unforeseen treasures in music. Highlights include Eating Flowers, Teresa Winter and Henry Caravan (Wanda Group).
Motion breaks hearts in the most beautiful way. Painting similarly romantic imagery to Kuedo, SKY H1’s new EP feels like a celestial fairy tale, a love affair in open space.
reckno.bandcamp.com For president: Louis C.K.
soundcloud.com/pan_hq/sets/sky-h1-motion-epcodes-04 Label: Exotic Dance Records
We went to see Louis C.K. in the Ziggo Dome. The best comedian of our time, in arguably the worst place in Amsterdam. But that didn’t matter one bit. In fact, we laughed so hard it hurt. And I mean real physical pain. Cleansing really. Then after, we left thinking, if Trump can run for president then why can’t Louis?
Redefining the impressions of South Florida into a much darker landscape, Exotic Dance Records is the latest aesthetic installment by the prolific Queens-based artists J Albert and Person Of Interest. The label sets the tone for a subversive expedition into a tropical paradise - with upcoming releases from artists such as DJ Xanax. Got an addiction to hazy Chicago-infused breakbeat tracks and multi-textured jungle breaks? Then soak yourself in Exotic Dance. https://soundcloud.com/exotic-dance-records Music: Dark World
louisck.net Music: Ghe20g0th1k - LSDXOXO What started out as a genre-defying club night, evolved into a community of outsiders, is now a rising music label. Ghe20g0th1k curated in all its forms by fashion icon Venus X just released their first offering - a savage mixtape from NYC’s L S D X O X O. This sexy journey into the sweaty floors of jersey club and vogue is bound to get your body moving. Cherry on top - huge remix of Kanye West’s Goldrapp-sampling Freestyle 4. soundcloud.com/ghe20g0th1krecords/sets/lsdxoxo-fuck-marry-kill Music: SKY H1 If you only have time for one new artist, get to know SKY H1. Her debut FLUID EP on Creamcake published this spring blew our minds. It’s no wonder Bill Kouligas invited the synth mistress from Brussels to release with PAN sublabel Codes.
Dark World is ratty cloth soaking up Western Massachusetts’ finest underground gems without regard for genre-based constraints. Internet-facilitated stylistic eclecticism is basically par for the course at this point, and it’s hardly commendable in and of itself, but this crew brings together bedroom trap (DJ Lucas), gnarly, bleach-chugging punk (Worms), and sky-gazing guitar pop (Jumpy) without any apparent regard for inconvenience caused to journalists looking for descriptive shortcuts. The common denominator? All their music is really, really good and you will listen to them now. https://soundcloud.com/drkwrld
CELEBRATION OF CUTTING-EDGE CULTURE
THE THURSTON MOORE GROUP DEERHOOF / EAGULLS / YOB PSYCHIC WARRIORS OF GAIA SHACKLETON PRESENTS: POWERPLANT WRANGLER / RAMESSES / NOTHING GOLDEN DAWN ARKESTRA SILVER APPLES / MIKE KROL LARAAJI / POP. 1280
THE MOST EXCITING INDEPENT ART & CULTURE FESTIVAL OF EUROPE RETURNS WITH: 100+ BANDS, A VERY OWN GAME PROGRAM, FILMS FROM MIAMI, ART INSTALLATIONS, THEATER PERFORMANCES AND SO MUCH MORE. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW:
AND MANY MORE!
FIND US ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE LATEST UPDATES #INCU16
mel k w e g
za 22 okt CRYSTAL CASTLES
ZA 10 SEP
DAVE HARRINGTON GROUP
ZO 25 SEP
PLAID & THE BEE
VR 30 SEP
ZA 22 OKT
CRYSTAL CASTLES tickets: melkweg.nl
08 — 11 SEPTEMBER / TILBURG NL
For your consideration
Music: Tourists Sometimes the brightest music can hide the darkest heart. The sinister edge buried beneath dreamy beach pop and glistening guitars makes for a heady mix, and rightly led to Tourists’ Hidden Desires EP garnering a hefty amount of attention. Latest single ‘Quiet Room’ takes that template one step further, a slow, seductive riff chiming out over an ice cool groove. It’s lush, but not too much, and far from being a clever repurposing of studied cool, you get the sense that the five-piece are simply capturing their own identity and doing what comes naturally. https://soundcloud.com/touristsband Show: The Night Of After Show Me a Hero, HBO launches a stunning new mini-series called The Night Of, about a Pakistani-American college student who’s being tried for murder. It’s a cut-throat combination of social critique and quality drama. For all you fans of The Wire, Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos. Music: Moor Mother
‘It’s illuminating, it’s different, it’s sassy’ – brand new and bold Sofa Magazine don’t shy away from promising great things. Brought to you by Ricarda Messner of Flaneur magazine, the publication pins down the now and explores the near future by dedicating each issue to one tantalizing, tempting or taboo topic. #1 kicks off by diving into the minds of Generation Z – bolting straight to the source by notably taking on a 16-year-old guest editor. Daring move! We can’t wait to get our hands on a copy. Grab your own at athenaeum.nl Music: Central The latest signing on the Dekmantel label is Natal Zaks - hailing from Aarhus, Denmark, his experiments in dance music amounted to Political Dance 1 & 2 released earlier this year and he also wowed everyone with his debut Boiler Room - but it’s No Hands (the label he runs with his brother and pals) that you should keep an eye on. Balearic, trippy, dreamy dance floor beats which - for now- focuses on local Danish productions.
Pitchfork deemed her ‘the warrior the world needs right now’ and after witnessing her powerful and almost violent opening to Show Me The Body in s105, we believe it. Philly-based artist, activist and poet Camae Ayewa turns lo-fi electronic tracks into protest songs, merging rap, blues, samples, beats and a punk sentiment to give voice to the unheard. Keep your eye out for the first Moor Mother Goddess LP, Fetish Bones, on Don Giovanni Records this September. soundcloud.com/moor-goddess
NEW MUSIC introducing you to fresh artists we admire
Princess Nokia Interview by Zofia Ciechowska Photos shot by Richard Perez in New York, USA
There’s no way of expressing the sensation of glee, release and satisfaction the audio-visual delivery of ‘Tomboy’ brings, Princess Nokia’s track that’s paving the way for her album, 1992. In it, Destiny Frasqueri chants about her little titties and fat belly, flashing cars from an overpass, chomping on cereal on the couch, crouching on car roofs in baggy clothes, sporting a middle parting and wire-rimmed glasses. It’s a smart, playful middle finger to limiting prejudices and biases, and a contagious spark that pushes us to meet this Nuyorican rapper, singer, and activist. The wind whistles through Destiny’s phone as she talks to us from her rooftop in the Bronx. She exudes an unfathomably generous and confident energy speaking about 1992 and her beliefs that have shaped this release. Beliefs that center around tolerance, freedom of self-expression and identity, feminism, fighting racial injustice, spreading love and kindness in the name of dismantling what constrains us. 16
‘I love the fact that I carry myself with such bravado’
‘Tomboy’ is a fucking awesome song because of its honesty and playfulness, it’s really dismantling the constraints imposed upon women. Tell me how you came up with the concept for it and more broadly, 1992? Tomboy is really just my style, my flavour, everything that I give off. A really messy, low maintenance, cool, crazy weirdo girl who’s totally out there, like a total outcast. She’s just the baddest fucking bitch in the world, y’know? She’s just that girl that no one wanted to be friends with, where all the other girls would be like ‘eww you smell!’ I am that girl. But I love the fact that I carry myself with such bravado, people just pick up on it. That’s what ‘Tomboy’ is about, that’s what my new project is about, and that’s what I’m about: being as cool as I could be, being as comfortable as I could be, being as raunchy as I could be. Because that’s who I am.
As a born and bred Manhattanite, you say you miss the old NYC. Can you describe that city? I miss the old timers’ block parties. There used to be this stickball tournament, and these huge pina coladas for all the old school neighbourhood people, the heads, old guys from the neighbourhood. I miss dancing to classic house music in the middle of the street, playing under the fire hydrant spray. That used to be our reality in New York. In some ways it still is for the young girls in my neighbourhood, but it has also been pushed out, into the ghettos, which are being gentrified. — Princess Nokia plays at Muzieklokaal on 8 October. Free for members. Her anticipated EP 1992 will be self-released.
What messages are the most important for you to spread today to your fans with this release? Definitely tolerance, and awareness of white supremacy. I think America’s problem with police brutality is really a problem with white supremacy, which is this infectious disease that lives here in a way that it just doesn’t elsewhere in the world. It’s very saddening. I think topics of awareness, self-love, selfmotivation, protest, community, solidarity, and support for black people, for the Black Lives Matter movement, and for the families of all those that have suffered losses, are important. LGBT rights. Feminism. Indigenous rights. Immigration rights. Those are all important to me. The right to be yourself, and be happy. I promote kindness and love more than anything.
NEW MUSIC introducing you to fresh artists we admire
Klara Lewis Interview by Jo-anna Kalinowska Photos shot by Olof Grind in Uppsala, Sweden
‘It could be anything, really,’ starts Klara Lewis when I ask what sounds she’s recently collected. ‘I could be at home about to cook; the sound of pasta in a colander, a kettle boiling, or the acoustics in a medieval fortress [where she just played in Tuscany]’. From the most mundane to the most unique, Lewis uses field-recordings as the raw material for constructing her spacious music. Her latest album, Too, which has just come out on Editions Mego, is a delicately woven masterpiece, dense with unplaceable sounds and knotted emotions. Originally working on a school’s film project, Lewis noticed that her footage captured her attention for its sounds. Her energy is now comfortably in the middle of audio and visual, with much of her focus currently on her new live a/v performance, yet it’s perhaps easiest to think of her as a sound sculptor. 20
‘I start getting closer and closer to this sound, working with it and still not knowing what it is’ ‘There’s one story with my sister,’ she remembers, ‘when she was 2 and I was 5, we went with my father to the paint shop. They have this machine for mixing paint, and it’s shaking the paint, and it’s really, really loud. This sort of aggressive sound. All the adults are standing holding their hands over their ears, but my sister and I start to dance because we think it’s music.’ This innocent perspective of things has grown into ears that are always listening – her audio and visuals are self-recorded, ‘often just on my phone,’ she admits, yet the raw quality of material drifts undiscovered into her high quality productions. In the album’s title track, a swarm of muffled voices lean uneasily into a catching movement, the natural instinct to identify the sounds becomes impossible, they are decontextualised and rearranged in such an unfamiliar, alien way. ‘Most of the time,’ Lewis says, ‘I remember them by dates, but it’s also interesting to be able to delve into the archive and find things that I might not remember at all. When there’s something interesting, and I start getting closer and closer to this sound, working with it and still not knowing what it is.’
new and exciting, but also kind of scary.’ It’s within these uncertain parameters that her music leads you, struggling between fear and familiarity, applause opens for the final track, ‘Us’, before abstracting into an alien rhythm and taking us back to a space of constant alertness. — Klara Lewis’s Too is out now on Editions Mego. She plays at TodaysArt (22 - 25 September 2016).
‘Even if it’s a cliché way of describing it,’ she admits: ‘it’s like going into a new kind of world, where you don’t know where you will end up, you just try to follow some steps’. The gateway to this world is ‘a hint of a feeling’; perhaps a memory, or a tone that produces an association. ‘If I don’t get that feeling, then I’m stuck. I’m stranded.’ Tracks that are comforting to some are often disturbing for others. It’s this ambiguity that Lewis finds interesting to move around in: ‘you’re seldom in the situation where you only feel one emotion,’ she explains. ‘Whether it’s something that’s happy and hopeful, but still melancholic, or if it’s something that’s 23
NEW MUSIC introducing you to fresh artists we admire
Waterlelyck Interview by Maija Jussila Photos shot by Annabel van Royen in The Hague, Netherlands
Lyckle de Jong, aka Waterlelyck, is a peculiar individual, and we mean nothing but the very best in saying that. It’s a wonderful thing, which translates to an unrivalled sound of keyboard pop – bizarre and pure as driven snow. With two songs out, we’re hanging onto hearsay of an EP in the near future on Purple Noise Record Club. We reached out to get some answers but as he’d left his home base of The Hague and changed scenery entirely, we pried into the trivialities of his time off. 24
‘I’m more anxious and afraid of foreign insects than I thought I would be’ What zone are you in?
New music you’ve discovered?
(UTC + 9) Japan, comfort.
Godzilla’s roar, made by Akira Ifukube. I bought one of his records with a marimba piece on it. Don’t know if I’ll like it but I sure like the sound of marimba. Also heard hadu drum (hang drum in water) for the first time. plinki plinki plong!
What are you doing there? Honeymoon, camping, field-recording, 5G, surfing the Pacific beach breaks. (Gruwelijk) When will you return to normality?
Something new you’ve discovered about yourself?
The timezone, bodyclock, summertime jet lag calculation was too hard for me but I think it’s when I’m in my room, seeing all my friends again, rehearsing for upcoming shows and eating kapsalon.
I’m more anxious and afraid of foreign insects than I thought I would be. I found a leech on my lower leg. I freaked out. It was full of blood.
What’s your best holiday tune?
What do you look forward to?
I try to save my battery for emergencies but when it’s deeply charged I listen to Lifetones’ ‘Good Side’ or Ravel’s Pavane ‘For a Dead Princess’ which works well with nature.
Quality recording times with Elias Elgersma (Yuko Yuko, The Homesick) at his home studio. We’re gonna do our best to make a really nice Waterlelyck record.
What do you miss the most?
Anything you don’t want to leave behind?
The presence of plenty public trash cans and cheap fruit.
A blouse I really liked. I left it to dry by lake Ashi.
Best thing that’s happened this summer?
A word of advice?
We were camping in the mountains at a secret riverside spot that our Japanese friend discovered many years ago. From a distance, I saw my girlfriend Bernice standing in the river, confronting a wild monkey that came out of the bushes towards her. She got hold of a big piece of driftwood and was ready to fight this monkey. It didn’t attack but I’ll never forget this image. Sooo wild!
Follow me on insta, please come to my shows, upcoming The Homesick and Lamellen album, and don’t be mean keep the water clean. Any regrets? The blouse. — Waterlelyck plays with Rendez-Vous at s105 (De School) on 7 September. Free for members.
NYC rapper on social justice, LGBTQ rights and the Kardashian Effect
Mykki Blanco Skype Interview by Zofia Ciechowska Instagram photos by Mykki Blanco @_mykki_
Escaping categorization and becoming truly innovative comes from the unstoppable pursuit of passion, self-evolution and freedom of expression. No one practices this more intentionally than the multidisciplinary talent, Mykki Blanco. A wave of single releases rumble our eardrums one by one as we await September’s full drop of Mykki, the new album from the artist on !K7, a work that he says is his strongest to date. It presents a freshly exposed emotional layer of Mykki’s personality that his fans have not yet met, and one that we are honoured to introduce to readers both new and old to share his audiovisual creative practice, his bold activism for racial justice, LGBTQ rights, HIV/AIDS aware28
ness, and unfaltering optimism that inspires so much goddamn hope. How are you feeling as you’re in the middle of your European tour? It’s kind of awesome that we managed to secure so many tour dates, I’ve only been performing at festivals, and I’m playing my new album, Mykki on this tour. That was a really important decision because going to a festival means you’re exposed to so many people who don’t know your music, turning them on to who you are. This is the fifth year I’ve been doing Mykki Blanco and it’s cool to see the audience become younger, I have 18-year-
olds at my shows, and I just turned 30! That always excites me because that’s what creates the longevity of a career. And I can really capture culturally, musically and creatively what these people are into right now. How has the enthusiastic reception of ‘High School Never Ends’ made you feel about September’s album release? My musical career happened so organically. I went to school thinking I would become a visual artist, I also loved writing and considered being a journalist or a novelist. To have this combination of my jobs come together as Mykki Blanco makes me realize that I can do so much more than I ever thought with this interdisciplinary project. I’m just really excited because I think that while I’ve had releases that have had really strong songs, I think this will be one of my strongest releases.
queer people of colour on camera because I’ve never seen them on camera before. I think this album peels back a layer of who I am. A lot of my fans know a very social part of me, my jet-setting persona. It was not easy to switch from writing about culture to writing about my emotions, or about coming out as HIV-positive. I’d never written a song about romance, but here I have 4 romantic songs. Avoiding cliché, I had to grow up, I was in a different place, this is the music I now want to make and see what comes of it.
‘Mykki Blanco makes me realize that I can do so much more than I ever thought’
You’re probably onto the next thing now? I’ll have a project out in spring 2017. I really want to build the Mykki Blanco brand, but not the brand in the traditional understanding of that, but branding in relation to people like me. Queer people of colour have to take hold of revenue streams and it’s really important to define yourself as a business if you’re going to be that kind of entertainer. I’m excited for this year and the next five more! I love the journey that I’ve had and feel so fortunate! There are some powerful messages that you’re sending with the audio and video for ‘High School Never Ends’. The song ‘High School Never Ends’ is about a young drug dealer who comes from a lower class family and hangs out with really wealthy friends. It’s about a teenage argument but it carries the weight of how those teenage arguments move into adulthood. For the video, one of the most important considerations was to do something that was never done before. I wanted to show queer anarchists,
In one of your social media posts you’re about to go to Europe, it’s post-Orlando shootings, you second-guess yourself for a moment and ask yourself if you say too much? Yet you admirably hit publish and keep on going. What do you do to overcome the self-doubt you allude to? Even though some traumatic stuff happened to me, for most of my life I’ve never been a depressive person. I’ve always been a hardcore optimist. 2014 was the first time I dealt with adult depression. I learned how crippling self-doubt can be and it threw me even after coming out of that period. I was on the road for too long tours, I had no social life, I was HIV-positive and no one knew. It was also growing pains, suddenly you’re an adult, you have to deal with so much, people aren’t going to help you, it’s very scary. I decided I was never fucking feeling like this 31
ever again, and when I get done with something, I get it out of my life! I may not be able to control when bad things happen to me, but I will never be that kind of person again because I know how crippling it was for my career. When I came out as HIV-positive that was the tail end of this phase. And I truthfully came out for me. I decided OK, this is going to be it, people will freak out. Then the complete opposite happened. I think it has so much to do with the age of reality TV we live in. I call it the ‘Kardashian effect’ – you gain more cultural capital when your fans feel like they know something so personal about you. Somehow a facade has been lifted and people admire that. I think that also worked to my benefit, but it was unexpected. I can still remember how afraid I was at the time.
‘There are aspects of shameless narcissism of the entertainment celebrity that I believe in, but I also definitely think megalomania is disgusting’
Related to this Kardashian effect, you take a lot of images of yourself that you share with your followers. Why do you choose to talk to your fans like this? For me it’s a two-fold answer. I came of age at the time of the first social networking sites, LiveJournal, Blogosphere, Make-out Club, Friendster. I had an account on each. Having grown up with early 2000s internet, I literally give zero thought to what I post on social media because I’ve been using it since I was 12 years old. Secondly, as a person who performs in drag, a lot of people take ugly photos of me and often I have to take a photo 32
of myself to show how it looked best. When you’re a man dressed in drag it’s almost like onlookers want to take a bad photo, they don’t care, or they’re less invested. As a queer person who dresses up in drag, we have to take control. I’ve always created how I’m perceived photographically. I’m an entertainer, this is what I do for a living, this is how I buy my mom’s Christmas presents. There are certain aspects of shameless narcissism of the entertainment celebrity that I believe in because that’s why you’re an entertainer, but I also definitely think megalomania is disgusting. Another big thing is that the major label artists get so much publicity, but I have to put out everything I’ve got all the way. This summer we’re facing a wave of utterly crushing news about violence towards black lives, queer lives. You tweeted – what’s the climax? There seems to be none. How do you maintain the energy required to keep putting art out into the world, while the world itself seems to be falling apart? There’s something about the Philando Castile death that really really really really really depressed me. It was a situation that was really changing how I was starting to feel about race and society. It was making me feel so untrustworthy towards white people in general, these very segregated, prejudiced thoughts that a lot of people of colour are starting to feel again in a very dated way. That’s so horrific and sad if in society people are having the same emotions that their grandparents experienced. I honestly hope that somehow these younger kids fresh from college are building racial knowledge and alliances to beat this. Race hasn’t been in the national conversation like this. But it’s very difficult right now because no one’s being convicted. Because as a person of colour, many of us don’t feel like our white friends know how to begin to protest or voice the fact that people are dying. This is not OK that people are dying. I never thought my generation would be like this. I thought we’d be
super boring and now the world is cracking apart at the seam. I try to hold light in my heart because so many things are happening in the world that are making people prejudiced, that’s just the worst.
though we’re in a major European capital. This is still the world, these people still exist no matter what country, race or creed, they are always going to make life difficult for us. At your shows you sometimes repeat ‘the future is stupid’ to the crowd. Do you still feel the same way about the future?
‘I try to hold light in my heart because so many things are happening in the world’
My friend Matias and I got this hat at this water park in Minneapolis that said ‘the future is stupid’, it’s a nihilistic joke more than any other kind of statement, y’know?
Looking at the Orlando shootings, the entertainment spaces where oppressed communities come together to celebrate, enjoy, be safe, are becoming places where they’re being attacked. We know that queer people and queer people of colour are not safe in most parts of the world and these places are some of the small bastions of safety they have. What thoughts do you have as a performer that goes on stage in these spaces? There are certain countries that I have felt very uncomfortable about going to. Even though I love the fans, I don’t like performing in Poland, and I always have a very mixed relationship with Russia. At my last show people protested and my bouncer, who was there to protect me, said homophobic things to me in Russian and people had to get me out because he was literally threatening to throw me out of the club! I’ve been living in Paris all summer and realized that people here are much more conservative than you realize. Having navigated the world over the last couple of years, almost the whole entire world is still not really safe to be a flamboyantly dressed male, to be genderqueer, to be a gender anomaly, to be a very masculinely dressed woman. I wore a corset and tracksuit pants in Paris and so many people, so many men, were giving me disgusted looks, even
— Mykki Blanco plays at Melkweg on 12 October. Free for members. His debut solo album Mykki comes out on !K7 on 16 September.
Text by Maija Jussila Photos shot by Isolde Woudstra in Groningen, Netherlands 36
It’s early in the morning but I’m up and out, ready to face the full day ahead of me. I’m on my way up north Groningen to visit Roy Veenstra, the visionary mind behind Idiott Smith. His lo-fi, synth-driven compositions clutch the heart, his staunch vocals melt it, and more than once we’ve stood before the two members of Idiott Smith in silent admiration. I set out to find out more about the man behind the enamouring songs next to a visit to De Gym, where a creative scene has been budding around the former William Louis Gymnasium, to which Roy’s strongly tied. By sundown I was well-versed on a couple of things; Roy is a genuinely sympathetic character, his spirit drawing similarities to both the music he makes and is inspired by. A visit to the local pool and all corners of De Gym were thrown into the bargain.
Roy opens the door to his house. He’s barefoot and wearing an unassuming smile, ‘Hi, come in’. He looks freshly showered, his silver hoop earrings shine in front of his carefully tucked-back hair. The scent of fresh coffee and the sound of Spooky Black graze our senses as we follow him into the living room. Roy shows us around. The tone of his voice is low, his strut unhurried. Printouts of album covers line up along the wall of the staircase leading up; pictures, posters and street signs dress up other walls of the building. We enter Roy’s crash pad – bare walls are a stark contrast to the chaos that’s hijacked the rest of his home. It’s a testimony to Roy’s order of priorities - nowadays his world revolves around De Gym, his HQ for making music. ‘I don’t spend much time here. I come here mainly to sleep.’ He explains his involvement in the organization of De Gym, tells me about his studio there, and the daily leap from bed to BED, De Gym’s newly renovated café Roy works at. 39
‘I don’t spend much time here. I come here mainly to sleep’
The coffee is ready, so we sit down while Roy prepares breakfast. It’s one o’clock in the afternoon. Roy clarifies that he has a hard time eating first thing in the morning as he slices pieces of cheese. In the middle of an otherwise average looking breakfast table, Roy’s Syoss Professional Performance hair care product stands out. Photographer Isolde’s seen it too and asks with a grin, ‘how’s your hair doing?’. There are a few things I’ve picked up on from Roy’s kinesics; he’s a laid-back, thoughtful character and regularly mindful of the disposition of his hair. When a strand of his chin-length hair escapes and falls in front of his face, he’s quick to move it back into place. ‘Did you read the letter I wrote? It’s all about hair’. There’s subtle humor to his tone while alluding to an Idiott Smith artist letter to our members, but I get the feeling that spending a lot of time at his uncle’s hair studio as a kid has rubbed off, at least a little. It turns out the hair studio’s impact runs much deeper than instilled vigilance towards hair. Smooth, harmonious R&B grooves of the late ‘90s R. Kelly-era would coast through the hair studio, the remnants hover over Idiott Smith’s lo-fi, anti-pop songs like pieces of a tender fruit in the vicinity of the tree it first fell from. ‘I think the hair studio had a big impact because I was so young. That’s when your connotations are built.’ The hair studio is responsible for sparking Roy’s love for smooth tunes. I’m curious as to what music he was into in the early days? ‘I think it was Romeo, the Dutch band. I liked it a lot, I went to Videoland every week to get the chart of the Top 40 and I always asked at the counter if they had a new album. When I was 14 and 15 I was listening to Usher and Tupac all the time. I had really blonde hair and a piercing in my eyebrow, a really big one.’ 40
To our delight, the pressing clouds from earlier in the day make way for rays of sunshine. It’s time to head out to Papiermolen, an outdoor swimming pool compound in the south of the city. Designed by architect James Koolhaas in the mid-1950s, the picturesque pool compound surrounded by green grass is now under the state’s protection as a national monument. It’s a first for all of us and by the time we’ve gotten changed and unwind by the pool, the sun’s come out to boogie. We chill for a bit before hitting the pool, and I take the opportunity to ask about Karel Hendriks, the man behind the electronic drum kit. ‘I’ve only known Karel for one year. Robert [Lalkens] said that if I want to have a drummer, I have to talk to Karel, so I went with that. I told him one week in advance, ‘I need you’ [laughs] and he did all the songs in one rehearsal. We practiced some more and I kept asking him to play shows. I consider him as a band member; really, it’s not a solo project anymore. I wanted him to be here but he had to work at the cheese factory.’ Roy speaks highly of his accomplice and it’s plain that together they’ve got great synergy. After a refreshing afternoon dip, the time has come to pack up and walk to the newly renovated De Gym – the backdrop of Groningen’s spirited underground. Being the central part of Roy’s daily existence, De Gym’s been an inevitable subject in our chats, breezing in here and there throughout the day. We enter De Gym through its dim entrance. As our eyes adjust to the sudden change in lighting, Roy takes us through the multifaceted building, patiently explaining the roles of the three different spaces currently being used, two of which belong to De Gym – café BED, which actually has bunk beds for bands that visit, and De Gym, the venue space. ‘I remember when Утpo was playing there and the light was really nice, the place was packed and the atmosphere was just so good. It was the big opening of everything.’ It’s the very same spot where Idiott Smith got its start; ‘It started out as a project. The first show was in this venue. It was last year when Idiott Smith opened for Jimmy Whispers’. I guess it was unbeknown at the time, but De Gym has creeped its way into the crux of Roy’s present existence. What started out as a solo project is no longer solo, nor is it just a project anymore.
— Idiott Smith plays at L.A.N. Party at the Melkweg on 23 December 2016. Free for members.
Animated Londoners talk Pokémon, Iron Maiden and iPhone gadgets
Kero Kero Bonito Interview by Callum McLean Photos shot by Trent McMinn in London, England
Ever thought dance music these days can be a little dry? Enter button-bashing party-starters Kero Kero Bonito. Splashing pixelated colour across your ears in 16-bits, their 2014 debut Intro Bonito was a future pop proposition with a nostalgic bend – an affectionate blend of 4th-Gen games console sounds, contemporary J-pop and ‘schoolyard dancehall’. Since then, South London MIDI pranksters Gus and Jamie have been propelling the bilingual rapping of half-English, half-Japanese Sarah Bonito to the stars with songs about flamingoes, Tomb Raider and suburban malaise. And it’s catchy as a level 4 Rattata. We meet in a crowded Starbucks in colossal London shopping centre Westfield, where Jamie’s no-nonsense one-liners bounce off Gus’s grandiose philosophising, while Sarah – manga-cute, exuberant showman on stage – geeks out on Pokémon while distractedly slurping my discarded iced tea. We talk macho pop, classic Nintendo, and how to market punk. Welcome to the vibrant, cartoon world of Kero Kero Bonito. Please insert coin. 44
Kero Kero Bonito
Kero Kero Bonito
Tell me: why all the references to ‘90s video games and the nostalgia for ‘Cool Japan’? Gus: It’s a generational thing. Jamie had a N64, I had a N64, Sarah had a PS2 — it’s one of the things that separates our generation from the previous one. And also it’s an international thing. So I can talk to [producer] Meishi Smile in L.A. about Mystical Ninja Goemon, and I can talk to anyone in Japan about Zelda. In that sense it’s an identity, for sure. But also it was an exciting time to be around, because that was when that shit was really up for exploration. Sarah: On my way here I was playing Pokémon Go — it was just the same for us in the nineties: kids in the future would be influenced by this international game. They’d be able to talk about Pokémon Go with someone from Japan in the future. Gus: Weapons like Pokémon Go are important tools against Brexit. Sarah: I caught a Psyduck today, which is one of my favourite Pokémon. Just wanted to say that.
Gus: It was a lot less scary. But maybe we were just more naive. A lot of it is nostalgia for us. Back to Kero Kero Bonito — the new record isn’t far off now, what should we expect? Gus: We just finished it. It’s The Best Album of The Year. Sarah: Of the century! Jamie: Just the year. Gus: I can tell you that it features a few songs that you might know but mostly that you don’t. It is a wide-ranging, highly ambitious concept album. That’s all I can tell you.
‘If Kero Kero Bonito are an interesting, unusual proposition to some people, I think that’s cool’
I’ve had to defend Pokémon Go quite a few times in the past few weeks. Gus: I think the people who challenge Pokémon Go can shut the fuck up. Because people dissing The Beatles, people dissing flares; what will it be next?! It could be anything! It’s gonna be a spray where you spray water all over your face or something — I don’t know. Some kind of iPhone attachment that lets you plug into the mind of someone else. There’s always gonna be detractors. Sarah: I enjoy playing it, so I don’t see a problem. It’s fun! To play! At least to me, that era that you hark back to reminds me of a time when technology seemed a bit more utopian.
You’ve compared yourself before to a lot of post-punk bands: Devo, PiL, The Pop Group… Sarah: I think we’re also a heavy metal band now because there was a mosh pit in Norway when we played! Gus: We can play Download Festival and we can also play in an old folks’ home — how many bands can say that? I’ll tell you, it’s about four. Jamie: Most old heavy metal bands will be inevitably playing at old people’s homes very soon. Gus: It’s us and Iron Maiden. But what’s so 47
cool about those post-punk bands is that you could play Devo to anyone in this room right now and they wouldn’t know what the fuck it is! I think that’s important. What is more important than being able to look at and not be inherently deeply offended by other points of view? Especially right now. So if Kero Kero Bonito are an interesting, unusual proposition to some people, I think that’s cool. But how do you reconcile a lot of the supercommercial aspects of J-Pop and gaming with punk politics? Like, we’re holding this interview in a Starbucks.
A true punk sentiment! Why can’t Kero Kero Bonito be punk, commercial and cute all at once? Gus: You know what, it’s crazy but people are still really afraid of things that are a little bit vulnerable, non-machismo, a little bit earnest, because people like to maintain some air of something. This is truer than ever because people can choose only to upload pictures they want to upload. Everybody has the perfect body, the perfect holiday, you know? Kero Kero Bonito is a perfect holiday for people who are aware that not all holidays are perfect.
Gus: You know what — we’re exceptionally clever, because we want to market the widely appealing rebellion of punk and combine it with a retail vision for the future. Look at the Sex Pistols. Johnny Rotten is a real estate agent now. — Kero Kero Bonito’s new album Bonito Generation is out on Double Denim Records on 21 October.
Kero Kero Bonito
Berlin Krautrockers on performance and the struggle of making art
Phone Interview by Derek Robertson Photos shot by Kasia Zacharko in Berlin, Germany 50
‘There is no rock and roll anymore; it’s all about money. It’s a little sad, I think.’ Thus speaks Camera’s Michael Drummer down a shaky phone line from rural Germany. He’s gearing up for another European tour with two new band mates in town – ‘like going to war’ as he puts it – but first he has to do some car repairs for his parents. Glamorous, eh? But it’s clear this is how he wants it; striving, and barely surviving, his art comes first, an attitude he’s immensely proud of (and, you imagine, would defend to the bitter end). It’s also led to the band’s best work yet, the utterly uncompromising Phantom Of Liberty. Camera is now three albums in; how has your music, and you as a band, developed over that time? I’m the only original member in the band. Now, our new members are older than me, and they have a different way of making music; they show me stuff I never learned playing on the street, but the stuff we played before was really negative and spontaneous. The music has changed as well; when we play live we have more ideas, and there’s more of a feel for trying new things. I like it because now when things go wrong, it’s really interesting; when we play live there is a lot of pressure and that’s good. You come from a busking and a street performing background. What do you take from the hours you spent doing that into the band and performing on stage as Camera? When we started Camera it was my idea to go on the streets, I told them: ‘Let’s go there and play to everybody’. But the thing is, making music is a different world. It is not performing, it is living. You can do everything, but it’s not performance. I can’t be a performer if I make music.
Talking about performance, you’re known for putting on Guerrilla gigs and some interesting stunts in unusual places, like in toilets of film award shows. In the difficult and turbulent times we live in, do we need more bands with an ‘in your face’ attitude? If you mean live it 24/7, 365 days a year, then yes. Otherwise it’s not real. If you don’t want to be commercial, and everyone goes the commercial way… I find it really weird if they play with that word. It’s actually punk, you know? Punk is trendy, but the whole thing is not attractive. It is big business and they know exactly what to do. If you don’t use the word punk, then you are more likely to struggle and they destroy you.
‘But the thing is, making music is a different world. It is not performing, it is living’
Is it easy to resist going down the commercial route? Easy to resist? Yeah, to have to constantly struggle for your art. Are there days when you wake up and think: ‘If only I could make more money doing this!’ Yeah I do. I think it’s easy for me because I think of the big posh area. When I have money I will buy posh things, but destroy them. There was one band who got £1 million in cash and they burnt it. That was the KLF. Yeah, the KLF. I really liked that and I do it
a lot; I destroy what I build up, that’s me. It’s the only fun we have now – chuck it out of the window or something. Things that we have actually built up. What’s it like, trying to get your art out there, to tour and play to people? My mother and sisters told me: ‘Don’t just play drums in a band, you’ll go on tour with your music and struggle all the time.’ So, you want freedom and then you struggle with all the stuff, then you act to fight that. For me, getting your art out there is fucking war; it is everyone against everyone. That’s the story for all bands now. Does the struggle make for better art in the end? Struggling is really important, but I don’t know if it makes better art. If you look to the past, there are a lot of artists who haven’t struggled and made good stuff, but maybe that’s just a story around them because everybody struggles. I guess struggling is important.
— Camera play at Muzieklokaal on 21 September. Free for members. Phantom Of Liberty was released on 5 August via Bureau B.
15 SEP r ob e r t Henke - lumiere II.2 22 sep On point: goldLink 25 sep DICE n 2 o.a. Yumi Zouma & Spring King 30 sep Ben Klock, Blawan, N e s s 15 okt Daughter 16 okt White Denim 16 okt Parquet Courts 19 okt Aurora 2 9 okt B e n j a m i n F r a n ci s Leftwich 30 okt ekko Andy S h a u f 3 no v C h o i r of Young Believers 7 nov DMA s 10 t/m 13 nov Le Guess Who? festival 2016 met o.a. Laurel Halo, Tim Hecker, Jessy Lanza 14 nov the Slow Show 18 nov Nouvelle Vague 3 dec RY X 9 dec ScHoolboy Q 11 dec Lubomyr Melnyk tivolivredenburg
Point of view
Dinner as Father Yod? Why the hell not? by Carly Blair ‘People say I should start my own religion. I wouldn’t wanna do that. I mean, Dinner as Father Yod?’ Father Yod, born Jim Baker, was a decorated ex-Marine and Jujitsu expert from Ohio who hit the road to Hollywood on a motorcycle back in the 1950s with the intention of becoming a stuntman. He eventually fell in with the Nature Boys, a bunch of beats who introduced him to a cultural milieu brimming with vegetarianism, yoga, natural living, and all things spiritual. After creating his own mystical philosophy and adopting the name Father Yod, he ended up founding a highly successful vegetarian restaurant on the Sunset Strip as well as the eponymous, interconnected hippie commune known as the Source Family, famous for their liberal drug use, their sexiness as a group, their penchant for group sex, and their in-house psych rock band, sometimes known as YaHoWha 13. Dinner, born Anders Rhedin, is a celebrated ex-member of Choir of Young Believers and yoga expert from Denmark who divides his time between his hometown of Copenhagen, Berlin, and LA as he strives to become a synth pop superstar. Not unlike the dozens of beautiful, disaffected young people who abandoned their dull middle class existence to join the Source Family, Dinner comes from a background he describes as ‘Rather conservative. Practically 100% free of anything hippiesque.’ To confront his own inner heaviness, rather than take on a boring job (or join a commune), Dinner set off on a path which has led him to develop his own brand of spirituality he terms ‘chaos magic’, as well as his unique musical style he has described
thusly: ‘It’s like sexual Christian rock, really. But without all the Christianity.’ As we chatted about the guided meditations he is currently leading in LA, Dinner made the above statement, rejecting any notions of becoming some kind of guru. However, the more I thought about it afterwards, the more I thought to myself, ‘Why the hell not?’ His good looks, delightfully subdued and skewed sense of humor, and serene manner imbue Dinner with the kind of charisma that makes you want to bask in the glow of his wisdom (or at least have him teach you how to put your legs behind your head ;)). And while he may not be a successful vegetarian restauranteur or a silver-maned demigod with a dozen-strong harem of beautiful young spiritual wives (yet), his evergrowing repertoire of increasingly compelling tunes, mesmerizing live performances, and love for a good party all have me thinking that placement at the pulpits of pop temples even bigger than Paradiso can’t be too far off. Perhaps most important of all, Dinner, at his core, has that typical Danish modesty and levelheadedness that reassures you he’d never actually fancy himself a deity or try to poison you and all your friends. What more could you ask for from a spiritual leader? Personally I’m converted. The next meeting of the Amsterdam congregation takes place on 13 September – I look forward to seeing you there. Amen!
Point of view
A Plausible Conversation with Mark Kozelek by Deva Rao In the last two or so years, Mark Kozelek, aka Sun Kil Moon and once the guiding light behind revered ‘90s sobsters Red House Painters, made waves when he started directing swears and curses and no-no words like ‘fuck’, ‘bitch’ and ‘cock’ towards humans and bands alike. In a series of what some interpreted to be outrageous verbal and musical barbs, the canny media manipulator manipulated media, cannily, into thinking him a cantankerous, possibly misogynistic asshole. To that, I can only shake my head wearily. Not everyone has the aptitude to pick up on the nuances of Kozzo’s sense of humour, so now that the dust seems to have settled, I took the (theoretical) liberty of (speculatively) sitting down with the man and having him (hypothetically) elaborate on his take on life, music, babes, and more. Put aside your demands for an “actual” interview for a second and you just might learn something. I delved right in and asked him for his thoughts on Pitchfork’s criticism of his incisive remarks about the band The War On Drugs and music journalist Laura Snapes. He glowered and sort of muttered incomprehensibly at me for a solid minute before countering: ‘More like Pitchfuck. Buncha ass-pussy fuckos. Fuuuck!’ I have to admit I was almost taken aback – I came into this knowing it’d be a tough talk, but his unwillingness to relax his caustic public persona very nearly threw me off. And before I could regain my footing, he improved on his initial statement: ‘...bitchfork’, he quipped. He seemed content with that. ‘Creativity’s a continuous process, eh?’ I offered. ‘Whatever’, he deadpanned acerbically with sardonic dryness. He then asked me whom I write for. I named this publication, at which point he
sarcastically called me a ‘dumb bloggeroid shithead’ and ‘shit-headed dumb-dumb’. He proceeded, unprompted and in sarcastic fashion, to rail against club music: ‘All this bleepy bloop EDM fuckery… I made up a better term for it: Extreme Dick Music. It’s music for dudes who’re extreme dicks. I was hanging out with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service, and just like that, spur of the moment, the phrase came to me. Electronic dance music, schmelectronic schmance schmusic.’ He said all this with great sarcasm. I changed tack and told him his last few sentences could’ve been song titles on Benji. Big mistake – I should’ve known better than to clown around. He glowered and muttered some more, but the only fragments I could catch were ‘Ben Gibbard’ and ‘Ohio, bitch’. Knowing it was a lost cause, I tried to move on to his thoughts regarding his favourite crab cake condiments, but he cut me off and started simulating tears falling while impersonating me in a baby voice. It was pretty accurate. My voice has a distinct baby-like resonance to it. I was floundering. Kozelek had me in the palm of his hand and I couldn’t compete, so I mumbled a lame excuse and went to the bathroom, where I attempted to compose myself. I hadn’t left for more than a minute, but he was gone by the time I returned. All he left behind was a sarcastically musty odour and a note saying ‘no fat chicks’. I smiled wryly. It all went as expected. For the sake of brevity, the author omitted all instances of the terms ‘hack’ and ‘numb-nuts’. The interviewee used them seven and four times respectively. 59
Point of view
Move On Up! by Leon Caren Ok. Picture this. OT301. Packed to the brim for the Whitney show. At the end of their set, support band Aldous RH invites Whitney onto the stage and they dig into an extended version of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move On Up’. Kind of a scruffy version with way too many musicians on stage. If you close your eyes you might as well be attending a high school dance, with the local cover band shredding through their new repertoire. But I’m standing there with this huge smile on my face. And it’s not just me. Everyone is enjoying this. I’m swaying my hips and hear Bob Dylan whisper in my ear: ‘You know something is happening but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?’ I guess for a long time I’ve felt that the music we were involved with at Subbacultcha was serious business. We shy away from music as popular entertainment; always looking for those artists going against the grain, pushing boundaries and exploring new artistic territories. And a lot of the artists I’ve liked over the past years were either angry, sad, bored or frustrated and they found ways to use that negative energy and turn it into great music, as a form of existential expression. And that’s not all. A lot of those artists seemed very concerned about creating the perfect image to go with their music. In terms of artwork, clothing, and performance. And rightly so. If you’re gonna do something, do it right. So who are these kids today. Playing music for fun? You can hardly say that the world has become a friendlier place over the past decade. If anything, we are going through a rough patch. War, terrorism and the rise of right wing populists across the western world are surely making an impact on the next generation of artists. Although I’m not sure. Amsterdam, for example, seems to be in a
gentrified bubble of its own. The world is on fire, and we’re sipping cocktails at De Foodhallen. Ordering gluten-free, vegetarian meatballs from our favourite local restaurant. So does that explain the recent rise of slacker pop, the without-a-care-in-theworld indie bands? Are we simply cocooning? I honestly don’t think so. Why not? Well, on the one hand, the state of the world is not as bleak as mainstream media make us believe. Innovation and technology are providing solutions to problems that we could have never imagined. And this is just the beginning. There is a whole generation of young creatives exploring possibilities to reclaim their future. And if you look at the immense popularity of someone like Bernie Sanders in the US, you’ll see that there is a growing population of progressive optimists, that is becoming more and more vocal. On the other hand, if there’s one thing that the powerless have always done, it is seeking refuge in music. Be it traditional, religious or celebratory. So if your country is involved in wars you don’t believe in, if your preferred presidential candidate did not win the nomination and if you feel life is worth more than its gross profit potential, then the least you can do is sing. Without inhibition. Like a free spirit. But maybe I’m reading too much into this. Maybe I was just drunk, and a bunch of kids were shamelessly covering a tacky song from the ‘70s. Who knows... All I know is I’ve been humming ‘Move On Up’ for months now. And it feels good.
Subbacultcha We are an independent, Amsterdam-based music platform devoted to emerging artists. Shows Weekly gigs in Amsterdam & Rotterdam. Radio Tune in to Carly Blair at Red Light Radio. Magazine Unruly quarterly dedicated to new music. Playlists Tracks and acts you don’t want to miss. We are supported by our members, who for €8 a month, have first-hand access to everything we do. Sign up online and we’ll love you forever. subbacultcha.nl/join
Subbacultcha Upcoming Shows
Rendez-Vous + Waterlelyck 0 7. 0 9/ 1 0 . 0 9 Kikagaku Moyo 09.10 Dinner 13.09 Camera 21.09 Princess Nokia 08.10 Mykki Blanco 12.10
Jenny Hval 2 7. 1 0 Merchandise 31.10 Sarah Neufeld 03.11 Idiot Glee 12.11/13.11 Huerco S. 1 9. 1 1 All shows are free for members. sign up at subbacultcha.nl
Meanwhile at Our Shows Subbacultcha through your eyes
Click k c i l C Club
â€” All s105 shows are sponsored by Jupiler. Thanks to FotoLabKiekie for developing our negatives. 05
Click Click Club
Meanwhile at Our Shows Subbacultcha through your eyes
The Click Click Club means future #tbt material by our members. We hand them a disposable camera and they show us what they see. Want to join our Click Click Club? Shoot firstname.lastname@example.org an e-mail and get your hands on a disposable camera at one of our next shows. 01. at Alex Cameron, s105 (De School) shot by Lotte Koster 02. at American Apparel In-store show (BEA1991, Idiott Smith, deadHYPE) shot by Bauke Karel 03. at RAMZi, s105 (De School) Amsterdam shot by Dorothee Vernex-Loset 04. at Alex Cameron, s105 (De School) shot by Camilla Heath
05. at American Apparel In-store show (BEA1991, Idiott Smith, deadHYPE) shot by Bauke Karel 06. at Alex Cameron, s105 (De School) shot by Lotte Koster 07. at American Apparel In-store show (BEA1991, Idiott Smith, deadHYPE) shot by Lisa Poelen 08. at American Apparel In-store show (BEA1991, Idiott Smith, deadHYPE) shot by Guyrin Hiwat 09. at Alex Cameron, s105 (De School) shot by Lotte Koster 09
Meanwhile at De School A series dedicated to establishments we like to visit
De School Amsterdam lingers way out west. An old technical school that’s been transformed into the place for all things creative. Armed with a 24-hour license, the building boasts a café/ ramen bar, a venue, an exhibition space, coffee brewers, a restaurant and an underground club venue run by the minds behind infamous Club 11 and Trouw. We got the scoop. Subbacultcha HQ / founder Leon Caren What sort of perks has moving to De School brought about? Our new office here is big and beautiful, and we even have our very own venue (s105), where we put on shows and exclusive sessions. Just imagine your workday being interrupted by a Whitney live set. Or Jessy Lanza brushing her teeth in your kitchen, while you’re out eating pizza in the overgrown backyard. No need to dream about it, come hang out!
Café DS - Ramen Noodle Bar / chef Dia Dia Dia Brittany Murphy masters the art of Ramen in the 2008 film Ramen Girl, after a lot of blood, sweat and tears. How tough is it to master the art, what’s your special trick? Our ramen chef Johannes has Chinese roots, so he was surrounded by ramen growing up. He taught our other chef, Dia, how to work with the different ingredients. By adding new ingredients based on the South American kitchen, we’re giving it a new twist. That’s our trick, adding things like chipotle or our tomatoes, which are based on French cuisine. We’re creating a global type of ramen using the different cuisines of the world.
We Visit visit you You
Meanwhile at De School A series dedicated to establishments we like to visit
Muzieklokaal / programmer Keimpe Koldijk aaaand what has the Muzieklokaal brought into the picture? It’s the live extension piece of the club and features the best electronic oriented live performances imaginable. Come check it out!
De School (club) / programmer Luc Mastenbroek Before opening, De School was the much anticipated successor of Trouw - how do you feel about the general response and what’s in the cards for the near/or far future? The start has been more fun than we could have imagined, nice people dancing to good concerts in our venue and good dj-sets in our club, that will always make us happy. Instead of climbing the Babylon tower, we’d rather maintain a warm home for fun people.
— Text Maija Jussila Photos shot by Wessel Baarda deschoolamsterdam.nl
Meanwhile in Belgium Checking in with Subbacultcha Belgium
If you didn’t know, you best learn today! We’ve got Subbacultcha brothers and sisters next door in Belgium, booking great shows, doing stellar interviews, putting on festivals. They’re like us! But just a lil’ different – just as siblings should be. We thought we’d check in real quick, to see what’s been going down, meanwhile in Belgium.
of Wastelands in 2012.
01. Song blasting in the office on repeat: BEA1991 - Filthy Believer.
Last year at Wastelands we saved a girl and taped her broken platform sandals with Subbacultcha tape. Good quality stuff.
02. Band you can’t stop raving about:
08. Most hilarious lunch topic:
06. Show you cannot wait for: Elysia Crampton at Vooruit, Ghent in October. 07. Dopest fashion statement:
Tinder dates. 09. Subbacultcha Belgium members trend we can’t be missing out on: Designing flags, Dopper bottles, Posh Isolation. 10. Best new Belgian artist: Sky H1. Marching Church.
11. Best Subbacultcha Belgium anecdote:
03. Musician with the best jokes:
That time we closed down the water in our house because Bleached was showering a bit too wild. Herlinde’s bedroom was an aquarium after that.
Juan Wauters. Last time we saw him play in Botanique, his encores took more time than his actual show because he couldn’t stop talking. 04. Best show in the past three months: Kamixlo at Suavemente in Vooruit, Ghent. 05. Most epic lunch: John Maus eating eggs, cornflakes, fruit salade, yoghurt all at once, the day after the first edition
12. Wisdom to leave us with: ‘You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.’ — subbacultcha.be
Famous Last Words
Life can be as easy as falling off a log Thatâ€™s all Folks! See you at our shows or online at subbacultcha.nl xoxo Subbacultcha 70
Issue 05 of Subbacultcha quarterly music magazine featuring Mykki Blanco, Idiott Smith, Camera, Kero Kero Bonito, Princess Nokia, Klara Lewi...
Published on Aug 30, 2016
Issue 05 of Subbacultcha quarterly music magazine featuring Mykki Blanco, Idiott Smith, Camera, Kero Kero Bonito, Princess Nokia, Klara Lewi...