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the deli

music and art from the nyc underground

Brittany Campbell and the Future of Soul + 1st Brooklyn MixCon Report


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the deli

music and art from the the nyc nyc music underground everything about scene Issue #45 Vol. #2 Winter 2016 thedelimag.com

Paolo De Gregorio Charles Newman Editor: Brian CHidester executive Editor: quang d. tran graphic designer: Kaz Yabe (www.kazyabe.com) Cover Design & Illustration: Lale Westvind Cover photograph: shervin lainez (www.shervinfoto.com) Staff Illustrators: JP Peer Michael p. Sincavage I-Nu yeh hip-hop editor: Jason Grimste (aka brokemc) Web Developers: Mark Lewis mike levine Distribution Coordinator: Kevin Blatchford Contributing Writers: Ben Apatoff JP Basileo Dave Cromwell Bill Dvorak Michael Haskoor Emilio Herce Mike Levine Leora Mandel Kenneth Partridge Dean Van Nguyen Zachary Weg Angel Eugenio Fradel

p.18 Captain Baby

Editor In Chief / Publisher: Founder:

Ryan Dembinsky Mya Byrne Brandon Stoner Isabel Rolston Publishers: The Deli Magazine LLC / Mother West, NYC The Kitchen: Intern:

The Deli Magazine is a trademark of The Deli Magazine, LLC, Brooklyn & Mother West, NYC. All contents ©2016 The Deli Magazine. All rights reserved.

Notes from the Editor For the present moment, I dare say you might find no one to argue that our cultural ability, as humans, to talk the same language has dissipated. The division into communities of concern, where each side ignores the other side and stays in its own world, has made it so that people living in the same space—such as New York City—are not living in the same “place,” as it were. The divide is such that irony and sarcasm are but thinly-veiled agents for outright hostility. For the opposite reason, The Deli magazine appealed to me when I arrived back on the East Coast in 2011, for the first time since 9/11 and the Great Recession. Its content, however mildly read in comparison to other publications of record, was entirely sincere—a sentiment gone sadly awry from today’s alternative news sources. That is because the team behind The Deli remains idealist, with a true love for the creative process. As such, one of the magazine’s pet-projects has been to let music fans across NYC know the kind of Herculean effort its local artists put into self-producing their own records. Vision, focus, patience, technical skill, emotional balance, endurance, and talent are but a few of the necessary virtues. Ability to mix your own tracks is another. That’s why for this issue we chose to celebrate two artists—Brittany Campbell and Captain Baby—who pulled off this feat in grand style. The issue also includes a complete re-cap of our first Brooklyn MixCon—a two day event whose goal was to educate musicians about the secrets of mixing, through panels run by top notch NYC producers. Now you can’t say we didn’t give you everything! Happy New Year! Brian Chidester, Editor January 1, 2016

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p.16 Brittany Campbell p.4

Live Events/NYC

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Records of the Month

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Fresh Buzz

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NYC Art in Music

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Soundbites

p.26 Brooklyn MixCon p.32 Deli’s Pedalboard/ Synths Corner

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p.20 ABC No Rio

Are you at

NAMM

2 016 ? Come to booth 1683 in Hall E to check out these companies!

Henretta / Adventure Audio / Amzel Main Ace FX / Old Blood Noise / LIC Pedals Coarse Picks / Amplifire / OneSpot / PRS Guitars


Live Events/NYC

Each year, when autumn temperatures drop, so with it falls the curtain on festival season. From Governors Ball to the Electric Zoo, NYC’s current big-stage landscape is rife with festivals both sparkling new and longstanding; open-field hippie jams to EDM dreamscapes. Everything is possible. This year, Afropunk Fest took over Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park on Aug 22nd. Headliners included Lenny Kravitz and Grace Jones, who, like many acts on the bill, seemed vaguely punk at best. You could count on Deli favorites like Oshun, though, to throw down gritty tribal raps that had the crowd grinding divots into the grass. Later in the night, Cakes da Killa blessed the crowd with his own signature cloying wordplay, equal parts afro and punk. Then, from September 5-12, the more DIY Brooklyn Wildlife held its third annual summer festival, commandeering ten venues, featuring over 150 performers. Remaining totally free of corporate sponsorship, Wildlife’s standouts included Brittany Campbell (this issue’s cover artist) and rappers Crimdella, WOLM, and Paco the G Train Bandit, all of whom gave good reason to throw hands in the air (and inhibitions to the wind).

Entrance to three-day EDM fest: Electric Zoo.

At the same time, animals of a different ilk cavorted across Randall’s Island to worship the gods of EDM at this year’s Electric Zoo. Three days, at $750 a ticket, the gigantic, Barcelonaborn festival included a few local techno faves worth mentioning: Shneur & Teo, Tal Ohana, and Nathan Kersaint. It might just be personal preference, but these artists each boasted a musical tension uniquely NYC. (The rest was off-the-wall too, and there’s always next year.)

Finally, as the waft of winter threatened to strike short shorts into hibernation, International Pop Overthrow (IPO) took over Greenpoint’s Bar Matchless for four harmonically-saccharine days in early November. From psych-rock gigs by the Lazy Queen, to “Nu-Wop” happiness from Pep, IPO proved to be one of those offthe-beaten-path festivals where local artists played a smaller house full of true aficionados. (Jason Grimste)

Records of the Month

Jib kidder Teaspoon to the Ocean Jib Kidder is just one pen name that multimedia artist/musician Sean Schuster-Craig employs. This year’s Teaspoon to the Ocean is his latest kaleidoscope for the ears. Its title is Cat Stevens-esque, though content-wise there’s little hint of that. What sticks out is Kidder’s eclecticism, particularly when it comes to sonic experimentation. Melodies vacillate between alliterative folk music and drony Indian raga, though harmonic variations, like choruses and bridges, scarcely appear. The artist’s nasely voice often recalls Roger McGuinn of the Byrds; use of the vocoder on opener “Remove a Tooth” gives him an electronic Gregorian chant vibe. Indeed, song after song comes with these kinds of sonic curveballs that shouldn’t work, but seem always to convince, and are strangely uniform. (Paolo De Gregorio)

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The Underachievers Evermore: The Art of Duality With all the copycat artists out there, why don’t we hear more copping of the hit sound of OutKast? Maybe it’s because they change so drastically from single-to-single that only OutKast themselves can keep pace with their own slipperiness. Flatbush’s Underachievers are on the case, though. Their second studio LP is titled Evermore: The Art of Duality and it is eclectic without being derivative. It’s psychedelic street rap, in fact, and MCs Issa Gold and AK are total hippies with attitude. In “Rain Dance,” AK raps, “Hennessy sippin’, crippin’ since I was a teen nigga/Still a street hitter/ Psychedelics helped me see bigger.” Yeah sure, expansion and ethereality have been heard before in hip-hop, just maybe not this exclusively. (Jason Grimste)

boots Aquaria I told all those friends crying in their beer back in 2001 that electroclash and dubstep couldn’t last forever, and that trip-hop would eventually be back. Then again I was being a smart-ass, wishing it away like everyone else after the dormancy of Portishead and Massive Attack. Now who’s got mud on his face? (Me.) Dig: the artist known as Boots—best known for production work with Beyonce—recently stepped up to show there’s life left in trip-hop after all. Aquaria is his album and it floats upon those same sonic textures and unworldly pulses that permeate nightclubs throughout Manhattan. Boots raps and relies on languid backbeats, though there’s a modern twist happening too. Songs like “Oraclies” and “Gallows” stutter and swirl, like Son Lux; or SBTRKT. It’s all that, plus the trip-hop, that works here. (Brian Chidester)


Photo: Daniel Topete

Photo: Bryan C Parker

Fresh Buzz | New Artists

Yonatan Gat

tall juan

lewis del mar

secret weapons

How many artists do you think move to NYC just because they love the Ramones? (Let’s take a poll!) Part-Joey Ramone/part-Ray Davies, the oft-paisley-clad Tall Juan must be one of ‘em, as his mercurial new EP Why Not? proves once and for all that psych and punk-rock are perfect bedfellows. Four songs, six minutes, no excess; the pairing of whimsical lyrics to uninhibited vocals is wizardly at every turn. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Photo: Daniel Silbert

The place is a cavernous Brooklyn recording space; the sound: all over the map. Director, the new LP by Yonatan Gat, is nothing if not declamatory of net-age placelessness. Much of it seems by osmosis, though “East/West,” with its sunny guitars and tribal rhythms, stands at the intersection of the everyday and the surreal. Indeed, topics like the 1849 Gold Rush and the lost island of Atlantis, expressed instrumentally, condense time and space into sweetly-strange indie rock. (Brian Chidester)

From the second half of 2015, Rockaway Beach duo Lewis Del Mar unleashed a trio of literary pop singles. “Loud(y)” and “Memories” each quoted passages from Pablo Neruda and Gabriel García Márquez, while the latest—titled “Wave(s)”—is rooted in gentle guitars and melancholic lyrics. With the old lines between alchemy and chemistry now blurred, bands like this one are free to explore the interstices of hardened genres. Kudos to them for going there. (Zach Weg)

There is nothing obscure about Secret Weapons’ uber-catchy “Something New,” released amidst noteworthy gigs at the Bowery Ballroom and Gramercy Theater. The new single continues the Brooklyn duo’s dancy synthpop sound—somewhere between Culture Club and Wham!— which has spread like wildfire across the internet recently. With each passing year, the irony of reviving such material dissipates. Indeed, foppish types roam the boulevards where once beards dominated. (Paolo De Gregorio)

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NYC Art in Music

Weird Luke

Buff Monster

Erik Davis

Courtesy of Scumbags & Superstars

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Soviet scholar Mikhail Bakhtin wrote of the Middle Ages that “a folk humor existed and developed outside the official sphere of high ideology and literature, but precisely because of its unofficial existence, was marked by radicalism, freedom, and ruthlessness.” Sounds like a description of punk and rockabilly, actually. In a strange Bakhtinian turn, Nineties nostalgia mavens swerved back into primitivism and grotesquery by rediscovering Sixties hot rod art. Especially sought after were the many decals of wart-covered, salivating, red-eyed monsters created by California illustrators Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Stanley “Mouse” Miller. This “monster-fink” style is less associated with New York City, however; yet it may’ve actually started here. In the 1950s, Mad Magazine and its main fink artist, Basil Wolverton, were turning the saccharine world of comic books on its head. Today, C.J. Pyle, Erik Parker, and Frank Magnotta are just a few of the local artists whose drippy, droopy, knotty portrait drawings owe a major debt to Wolverton and early Mad. Rob Corradetti, Matt Marello, and Boy Kong are a few other Brooklyn-based artists whose background in comics and B-cinema have been psychedelicized for the cerebral crowd. Meanwhile, Scumbags & Superstars (Lower Eastside, formerly Bushwick) is but the latest emporium to work exclusively in the cartoon monster trade.

Nychos

Then there’s 22-year-old Weird Luke of the Gowanus area of Brooklyn; his Mutant Kommando figurines mix vintage finks with a Toxic Avenger vibe, yielding handmade, one-of-a-kind monsters that are as batshit weird as they are disarmingly cool. Another artist, named Buff Monster, unleashed in 2015 a series of trading cards—the Melty Misfits—in the style of Art Spiegelman’s Garbage Pail Kids, replete with signature anthropomorphic melting ice cream cones. Buff also recently collaborated with street-artist Nychos, whose murals of anatomical hot rods—comprised of animal carcasses and bones that congeal into vintage hot rods as they pick up speed—are some of the most photogenic of all recent NYC fink art. Catch these and others on the drive-by. (Brian Chidester)

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Company of Selves

On the heels of new LPs by psych-gurus Jerry Paper and Jib Kidder, Company of Selves released its own, Butterfly Handlers and Memory Travelers, in September. The EP combines ’80s psychedelic influences (especially Momus), with intimate “bedroom pop” arrangements. “Presidential Model” is the most obvious single, though “Pyramid Schemes” may best exemplify their toggle between upbeat melody and tension. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Painted Zeros

The modus operandi for shoegaze music is feedback guitar over dreamy, lo-fi pop vocals—a sound which Brooklyn’s Painted Zeros narily departs. Their most popular single thus far is titled “Polar Night”; a new LP—Floriography—strikes a happy medium between the hyper-real shoegaze of past days and the more subtle, clean genre known as “dream-pop.” (Paolo De Gregorio)

Photo: Thomas Ignacius

Photo: Stephanie McNiel

Photo: Izabeau Giannakopoulos

Soundbites I Psychedelia

sharkmuffin

In addition to recent rip-em-up local gigs, the glam/grunge incarnation known as Sharkmuffin unveiled a new LP titled Chartreuse. With lyrics like “Never want me around to hang loose,” the band’s existential tension stays front-andcenter. A noisy guitar squall and aggressive, Siouxie-esque vocals make songs like “First Date” beyond sensible. They’re like shots in the dark. (Dave Cromwell)

nyc psych/dream/avant top 20

Photo: Hannah Sider

Full Deli Web Buzz charts: thedelimagazine.com/charts

infinity girl

This band’s newest single, “Young”—taken off its new LP, Harm—shows an incremental shift towards pop music, away from the stately surrealism of 2012’s Just Like Lovers. Released this past August by Top Shelf Records, the sum-total is a peppier, cleaner sound, yet echoes of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless remain throughout. (Dave Cromwell)

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No Honeymoon

Shades of ’90s era neo-psych is found woven through the music of Brooklyn’s No Honeymoon. Their most recent EP, Together Alone, opens with “Yes/No,” a Slowdive/ Souvlaki-style rocker that sets the stage for the band’s full-bodied record, replete with fuzz-buzz guitars, fluid drumming, and semidistressed vocals by singer Cait Smith. It’s on Bandcamp and is name-your-own-price. (Dave Cromwell)

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Mac DeMarco St. Vincent DIIV Son Lux Panda Bear Animal Collective Real Estate Ducktails Snowmine Weekend Woods Sharon Van Etten The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart Prince Rama School of Seven Bells Kaki King Asobi Seksu Yonatan Gat Show me the Body Acid Dad


dead leaf echo Shoegaze music is the only genre whose name derives from something related to stompboxes—i.e. shredding guitar and staring at your feet. This vintage brand of psych music is also so heavily-processed that most artists who play it need several guitar pedals for live gigs. That’s what they’re really gazing at. (Now ya know!) As such, LG Galleon and his band Dead Leaf Echo know a little something about pedals and boxes, having worked recently with producer John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode) and opened for the Psychedelic Furs and ’90s UK shoegazers Chapterhouse. Dig our chat session with LG about “footware” below. When did your love affair with the stompbox begin? I believe my first pedal was the [BOSS] Blues Driver. Either that or the Morley Triple Wah Pedal. It was a Wah/Volume/Distortion in one. Really bad distortion. Everyone had the BOSS DS-1 at that time, but I thought BD-2 was a little different. A real gem was the [BOSS] DM-2: the first BOSS analogue delay pedal. I don’t think I realized how cool it actually was when I got it. Is there a pedal that changed your whole way of thinking? A couple of the ’80s/’90s rack units did. I know they’re a bit out of style these days, especially for live touring, as they’re a pain in the ass, but all the Alesis Quad’s and Roland units are what helped me craft my sound. I hope it’s okay to call Dead Leaf Echo shoegazer? I mean, think our readers might be curious if there are specific pedals, or sounds, that are kinda crucial to the genre? The holy trinity is: chorus, delay, reverb. Of course different equipment for different eras. As the ’80s went digital, bands that were paving the way in

those fields were really going wild with rack units. Now there’s so much boutique work going on. What’s on your board these days when you play with the band? Constantly changing. For distortions and fuzz I have three on the board now: a BOSS Turbo OD MIJ, a Turbo Rat, and an old Zoom fuzz for straight highend noise. I also have two Death By Audio pedals. Have a Fuzz War and Harmonic Transformer that are not on the board now. Too big! A muff clone is floating around in the studio and so many other weird combo pedals that are usually only good for one specific thing. The other guitarist in the band, Ana B, has the best sound for the smallest pedalboard I’ve seen. Her main reverb is the Quad with a Strymon BlueSky, which she uses to dial in a sweet shimmer reverb and add different colors on top for certain songs. (Paolo de gregorio)

Dead Leaf Echo’s Gear

Full interview on Delicious-Audio.com

“I eliminated all chorus pedals by using the built in Chorus channel’s in the Roland JC Amp.” ProCo Turbo Rat

Eventiode Space

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cende

A lot might be expected of a band that includes members of LVL UP and Porches. Newbies Cende—originally the Downies— boast such credentials and deliver the goods. Early single “Widow” is terrific pop at dangerous speeds. You could call it pop-punk, but it’s not Green Day-derivative. More Hüsker Dü, with dreamier vocals. Debut EP just out. (Paolo De Gregorio)

lushes

In alchemy, one must face the dark part of the soul before finding light. In the US, however, such celebrations of despair were never in high demand. No wonder then that BK trio Lushes found its current footing in places like Stockholm and Berlin (opening for Kurt Vile). A new LP—Service Industry—remains dedicated to their dissonance and desolation. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Photo: John Thayer

Photo: Julia Leiby

Photo: Brian Geltner

Soundbites I Garage/Punk/Indie

narc twain

“All of Brooklyn was in flames, but you won’t hear me complain” is just one of the snotty, Green Day-esque couplets that make up Narc Twain’s fist-raising, self-titled EP. The flavor is discontent and it is aimed at convention. Opener “Downhill” is its most rabid track, though shifts into poppier terrain do little to quell the mod-ish nihilism that pervades throughout. (Brian Chidester)

nyc guitar rock Top 20

loose buttons

“Thrill” is the newest single by Loose Buttons, whose danceable grooves and echo-laden guitars are the expressionist backdrop of couplets like: “Running with the feeling till the feeling’s all gone.” Elsewhere, the gritty vocals of Eric Nizgretzky pushes the band’s aspirational message into desperation and passion. (Patrick Wolff)

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Photo: Mike Pierto

Photo: Spencer Kohn

Full Deli Web Buzz charts: thedelimagazine.com/charts

best behavior

These guys popped up as an official CMJ selection last year and subsequently released a debut LP—Good Luck Bad—full of roughhewn melodic gems. Their rock vocabulary is wide, at times meta, as in the case of “Buried on a Mountain,” which recalls psych-rockers Best Coast; “Star Signs” too is almost flagrant as an homage to grunge-lords Nirvana. (Paolo De Gregorio)

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The Strokes SKATERS Interpol Screaming Females The Julie Ruin The Bouncing Souls Man Overboard Dirty Fences Parquet Courts Mainland Bear Hands The Dig Stone Cold Fox Baby Shakes Future Punx Big Eyes Charly Bliss Chumped BOYTOY Broken Guru


vhs collection

That Lord o’ the Rings DVD box set too 21st century for ya? NYC band VHS Collection has the nostalgia you seek. Sure, the Dada-ists were probably right when they said an idea becomes obsolete when it works, but this band’s tasteful dip into gameboy-fingers/’80ssmoke-and-lasers still has the power to move bodies. (Leora Mandel)

sofi tukker

If pop is sugar and the rest of us are flies, it’s safe to say that EDM has drunk the KoolAid. Alas, NYC duo Sofi Tukker—née singer Sophie Hawley-Weld and programmer Tucker Halpern—go unabashedly towards the infectious. And while their monotone vocals, paired to South American syncopation, may not move mountains, it is still more hither than thither. (Brian Chidester)

Photo: Justice Apple

Photo: Dana Lauren Goldstein

Soundbites I Synthpop

argonaut&wasp

From the land of Phish, Ben & Jerry’s, and Bernie Saunders (Burlington, VT), dance duo Argonaut and Wasp are now Brooklynites. Last year they released a series of catchy singles that internet pop seekers warmly embraced, including “Cigarettes and My Beautiful Wife,” a take-off on the Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” which quickly swaps existential dread for space-disco fun. (Paolo De Gregorio)

nyc ELECTRONIC Top 20 Full Deli Web Buzz charts: thedelimagazine.com/charts

Birthmark

Nate Kinsella—aka Birthmark—is Vince Clarke meets Antibalas... on acid. Clarke, of course, wrote Depeche Mode’s plunky “Just Can’t Get Enough,” which the cling-clang of Birthmark’s “Find Yourself” draws on before becoming something more like Beck in the late ‘90s. His debut LP is laden with high profile guests, though the imagination of its creator stays center-stage. (Brian Chidester)

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margot

Margot is an NYC-based artist whose true identity is yet publicized. Resembling ’60s pop icon Twiggy in a blown-out B&W vid for her single “No One’s Gonna Miss You,” the artist’s dramatic, husky vocals recall Katy Perry and others of that ilk. And if you don’t know what ilk means, it’s like almost having a hit in the connoisseur’s market. (Paolo De Gregorio)

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LCD Soundsystem Nicolas Jaar Gramatik Betty Who Oneohtrix Point Never Ratatat Chrome Sparks Com Truise Battles A-Track Jai Wolf !!! Matthew Dear Boots Brick + Mortar Small Black Fatima Al Qadiri Big Data Cold Cave Chris Malinchak


the mast

The Mast is NYC’s 100% DIY duo, comprised of singer Haleh Gafori and percussionist Matt Kilmer. In recent years, they’ve woven new electro influences into their standard dream-pop sound, and have very nearly hung up the guitar altogether. Indeed, going full-bore with the digital toys (synths, tablets, exotic percussion samples), 2014’s Pleasure Island—followed by an EP this year titled 1—maintained the group’s past ethereality, whilst pushing ever futuristic. The Deli sat down recently with them to get further insight. Rhythm plays an outsized role in your band. Does it precede the melodies and the lyrics? Haleh: Depends on the song. The process definitely shifted once we started making electronic music. When we were writing our first album, Wild Poppies, which was guitar- and percussion-based, I often came up with a guitar riff and Matt would lay down the groove. With the electronic tracks, like the ones on Pleasure Island, Matt starts it off with part of a track and I follow with a lyric or melodic idea. With our new improvisational set up, the creation all happens at once in Ableton.

albums, we have stems of songs broken down into parts so we can “jam” on them live and keep it interesting, still playing the songs the audience knows and expects. Any auxiliary gear that helps the stage show? Matt: We use Clear Tune In-Ear Monitors and they are absolutely essential to our live setup. We are doing a lot of live sound processing and looping so there’s no way we could have open stage monitors. We also use iPads as midi controllers running TouchOSC and Touchable to control Ableton wirelessly. It makes things much easier to not deal with cables. I also use an Akai MPK Mini to control Ableton and a Line 6 FBV Shortboard. (paolo de gregorio)

The Mast’s Gear

Any new instruments that have helped inspire the process? Matt: I’ve been using a balafon, an African marimba, and some clay udu drums. It’s always nice to have physical instruments to play in a track. The balafon was an important part of the last record. Haleh also has an array of vocal effects that she uses live to rhythmically effect her voice, or filters, to make textures.

Full interview on Delicious-Audio.com

Clear Tune In-Ear Monitors

Let’s talk about synths. Haleh: Out of the box: Korg MS2000. In the box: Izotope Iris 2. Also, Native Instruments’ Massive is great for dynamic sounds. What is your approach to translating the new programmed music to a live setting? Matt: With our current setup, we create all the sounds live using Ableton as a control center, looper, and mixer. When we perform songs from our

Akai MPK mini

Korg MS2000

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Photo: Dana Pleasant

Soundbites I Alt Folk

joni fatora

Joni Fatora’s new EP, Navigator, features one serious tune titled “Blueless Bird” that pairs tropicalia-inflected guitar with forlorned lyrics of calm acceptance for life’s melancholic moments. Other snippets feel slightly too ponderous, though Fatora’s ability to mediate anxiety has already landed her notable gigs and placement in “Best New Folk Music” year end lists. (Zach Weg)

keenan o’meara

The mangy mutt on the cover of Keenan O’Meara’s debut EP Awful Creature is anything but awful; he’s so cute! Likewise, the singer/ songwriter’s lyrics also make troubled youths, anguished parents, and lost love the subjects of cathartic conversion. Music negotiates each tenderly—like a warm hearth from the cold. (Zach Weg)

big thief

Stimulating, compelling, fun. Sounds like Baudelaire’s Playboy of the Western World, not a contemporary folk band, right? Well, don’t tell that to Big Thief, the electrified troubadours from Brooklyn, whose new single “Masterpiece” eschews the smells, struggles, and sleepless nights of touring for a diary of good old semiepic adventure. (Paolo De Gregorio)

nyc roots music Top 20

Photo: Shervin Laines

Photo: Stephanie Griffin

Full Deli Web Buzz charts: thedelimagazine.com/charts

victoria reed

Brooklyn-via-Detroit singer/songwriter Victoria Reed exudes bliss on her new video “Make It Easy.” Wandering through a sunny wood and stumbling upon a waterfall seems an elegant portrayal of a tune that is essentially a letter to herself. As the vicissitudes of youth continue to prove earnestly callow, this twenty-something is right on target. (brian chidester)

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florist

Racquel Dalarossa, writing for the music blog ThrdCoast, called the new Florist EP Holdly “as lush and as private as a meadow in the woods”—a sentiment we find agreeable. Super-sparse melodic folk pairs uncomplicatedly to Emily Sprague’s subdued vocals. Originally from the Catskills—where silence actually exists—Florist may be as close as noisy NYC gets to serenity. (Paolo De Gregorio)

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American Authors Nate Ruess Norah Jones Torres Punch Brothers Mree Kevin Devine Streets of Laredo Martha Wainwright Phosphorescent Jeffrey Lewis Matana Roberts Oh Honey Jack And Eliza Langhorne Slim Lady Lamb the Beekeeper Titus Andronicus Frankie Cosmos The Prettiots Mal Blum


LOLA JOHNSON New Album This Is What You Get Out December 2, 2015 on Radian Records Pre order at: lolajohnson.bandcamp.com What can you tell us about the album title ‘This Is What You Get’ as it relates to the collection of songs? It sounds like payback, for what? This Is What You Get is a title of one of the songs on the album that reflects the situations we put ourselves in, the fight of wanting something versus truly needing it. I think what relates all the songs together on this album is ‘wants vs. needs’. As people listen to the lyrics of the songs on, they are all just inner thoughts in present time. Answers to questions like, ‘Do I need this?’ or ‘Do I want this’? Answers, at times, like ‘I gotta have this’ especially on tracks like B.I.C. and Won’t You let Me Inside Your Heart. I’m not sure about ‘payback’ being an issue on the album. Though The Beast is pretty much an observation of a person, not particularly acting in the kindest manner towards themselves and others, and Damaged Goods is a confession to build an understanding of the fact that we are not as all innocent as we think each other are, so truce. Who were your biggest influences in these compositions? The album covers quite a few eclectic styles, what is the common thread that ties these songs together? As always I look towards Phoebe Snow, especially her album Second Childhood. Its eclectic nature is what I have felt best reflects all that I love in one place. I wrote Blue Pill prior to hearing that album, and once I heard it, I was like ‘Yea, she gets it! Nice’. I wrote that song basically in a fog of life in my last stint in my teens before the 20s jump off, and I felt like everything was somewhere between slow motion and real time speed, which made me feel a musical composition kinship with her track, Inspired Insanity. Other influences are mostly artists that I have played with or seen play locally that I’ve enjoyed. The bluesy factor of Kaleigh Baker, the Americana roots flow of Aaron Lee Tasjan, The alt country voicing of Chelsea Wolf (who is singing back vocals on the track, Won’t You Let Me Inside Your Heart) and the cinematic imagery of Lorraine Leckie and Her Demons. Also, at the time, my ears were revisiting a lot of JJ Cale, Allman Brothers, Fela Kuti, Bonnie Raitt, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, The Band and my love of jazz is always hinted, if not taking over, in a few of the chord and vocal arrangements. Especially, within the full band version of Rosemary, which we put on as an extra from the stripped down version from my first EP,

ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE

Website: facebook.com/zombiesofthestratosphere Band Members: Jeff Hoffman, Arthur Smith, Scott Anderson, Carmine Ciccarelli New Album: In Technicolor “In Technicolor” is an interesting name for an album, how did that come about? It’s the title of one of the tracks, a song about a psychedelic experience, something that opens your eyes to a different, more colorful way of seeing the world. It’s also a play on the fact that our band name is taken from an old movie, so it seemed to work well for the album title. What artists, past or present, influenced your new record? Too many to list! But, in comparison to our previous records, this one seems to have more of a 70s feel, drawing on artists like Wings, ELO, and Big Star, in addition to the oft-cited Beatles, Kinks and Beach Boys comparisons we’ve been getting over the years. Do you have any upcoming live shows? We’ve got a couple of shows coming up, one on this Friday 11/13 at Rent Party in Maplewood, NJ, and the following Friday, 11/20 at the Rock Shop in Brooklyn. After that, who knows? What is the single most important thing to you about your music or career? “Have a good time, all the time,” as a wise musician once said. What is your favorite Music Building memory? Probably the first time we plugged in our instruments and played in our new room, the culmination of a dream of more than 15 years of saying, “if only we had our own space where we could set up all of our gear and play whenever we want!” Our time in the Music Building has made us a million times better as a band than we ever were before.

The above artists rehearse in The Music Building in Midtown Manhattan. The building has 69 monthly rehearsal studios and has been tenanted by the likes of Madonna, The Strokes, Billy Idol, and many more. Check out our available rentals at WWW.MUSICBUILDING.COM and use the promo password DELI112014 to get $100.00 off of your first month when signing a new lease.


Cover | Feature

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the deli Winter 2016


The Mechanical Eve Brittany Campbell in the Age of Cyber written By Jason Grimste (aka BrokeMC) / Photo by shervin Lainez

For most of her life, Brittany Campbell has been artistically shapeshifting. On a recent night at Skate Brooklyn, near the Barclays Center, the singer/songwriter did it again, having donned a superhero outfit she’d customized herself. Wailing high above the clack and clang of skate-rats on halfpipe, Campbell was flanked by a guitarist scratching syncopated rhythms, dressed as Darth Vader; kids of all ages clamored around them, eating pizza, drinking soda (or beer). All proceeds that night went to GRO (Girl’s Riders Org), though it must’ve felt a long way from the Metropolitan Opera House, where Campbell gave her first performances at the age of eight. Equally surprising is the fact that her current career was catalyzed by a drag queen at Sugarland. Yet it all adds up: Campbell is DIY pop’s new Wonder Woman; soulfulness galvanized in equal parts by Tank Girl and Bizet’s Carmen. Situated in West Harlem, in the shade of the Cloisters Museum, Campbell’s apartment boasts an ascetic charm. Art supplies and instruments line the walls; her bedroom doubles as work studio. A Neumann microphone juts from a stack of preamps adjacent to a Logic Station on the desk where she produces her music. Stacks of comics and graphic novels huddle nearby. An electric guitar and bass both set against the door, while an acoustic guitar lounges on the bed. What got her into making music exactly, and why? “It’s the closest thing to divinity,” Campbell portends. Looking back, the artist’s ability to conjure the metaphysical had its genesis in Catholic school. An astute school music teacher, unbeknownst to her parents, entered the eight-year-old Campbell into an opera competition at Carnegie Hall, where she placed and was soon tapped by the Met Opera. Campbell lasted eight regimented years, during which time she performed a wide-range of theater projects, from Dvořák’s Rusulka to Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, to Verdi’s Stiffelio. In the end, she appreciated the training and exposure, but figured it was time to switch gears. “I hated practicing,” Campbell admits. She recalls the opera as overlydisciplined and purist. “Just was not my vibe,” she shrugs. The shape-shifting continued into her teenage years, where Campbell juggled high school plays with parts on Broadway. In her current retinue of soulful pop and rock songs, the artist is just as much at home fronting a live band as singing over pre-recorded tracks. She opened for Backstreet at the Highline Ballroom recently, where the “drums sounded huge.” She’s equally cool in a small room of sweaty skaters, who eagerly attend her “TOMBOI” fund-raiser jams for GRO. LGBT issues are important to Cambell. “I play a ton of gay clubs,” she boasts, “because that’s how I got started performing in New York.” She tells me of a night out with friends, where a brash drag queen, in an attempt to shame her, cajoled her on-stage. Fortuitously, Campbell had the backing track to her first single, “Nerd,” in her pocket. The crowd went ape-shit as soon as she opened her pipes to sing, and from that one performance Campbell was booked the next evening at Splash, where she opened for Katy Perry.

When the artist performs concert venues (big or small), she brings a live band. Guitarist Joe Etzine helps with the arrangements; Julian Edmond, a gospel-influenced drummer Campbell scooped from a performance at the Shrine in Harlem, takes the rhythms from off her computer and gives them new life for the stage. Performance aside, Campbell also understands the importance of DIY marketing. “The visual aspect is key,” she insists, “Videos are everything... that’s how I usually discover things.” When it came to creating her own video, for the song “Heroes,” Campbell decided to experiment with her art skills. She had just watched the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine for the first time and was also on a serious Terry Gilliam binge. A friend’s fiancé then gave her the lowdown on some animation and stop-motion basics. (Campbell says a first attempt was not good.) “I was hating the process,” she admits, “because it was so tedious.” Campbell claims she wanted it to be super dreamy—a “fantastical candy thing,” which wasn’t turning out. She went back to the drawing board, which led to an internet investigation of different African folklores. Hours down the rabbit hole, Campbell re-emerged with a story about witchdoctors sacrificing albino children. Fresh on her mind was also the animated film The Princess and the Frog. New inspiration congealed in her mind and Campbell set to work. She re-story-boarded “Heroes,” which lyrically reconfigures David Bowie’s famous chorus to a more vamped-out, soul-inflected vibe. Going cell-by-cell, ala traditional animation, Campbell drew nearly every frame herself. The finished video is a testament to her skill and tenacity as a multi-media artist. It’s also, by chance, super dreamy and fantastical. (A second video is now in the works.) As for the rest of her future, Campbell says she doesn’t really have a set plan. “I’m bad at thinking of strategy,” she admits. “But I’ve been trying to discipline myself.” Heretofore, Campbell has straddled the highs and lows of life between the big stage and couch-surfing—a mental discipline in and of itself. In fact, to us on the outside, her monk-like dedication to craft is more disciplined than she seems want to acknowledge. But humility will get you... everywhere!

Brittany Campbell’s Gear

Logic Pro

Neumann U48

Full interview on Delicious-Audio.com

I use Logic Pro; it’s the best for sequencing and super intuitive. My favorite mic is the Neumann U48, through a Neve 1073lb. This one is the warmest, saltiest, tastiest microphones. Your vocals will sound like butter. When I’m recording more poppy stuff, I use the Neumann 103. The Neve is for female singers with a deeper sound.

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Captain Baby | Feature

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the deli Winter 2016


Untimely Meditations How the Best NYC Album of 2015 Was Overlooked (and What You Can Do About It) By zach weg

Take one: The room was empty. Well, aside from one or two women up front, and a man at the back. Okay. Take two: The room was almost empty. Brooklyn’s rock quartet Captain Baby play mostly to the dim light of Arlene’s Grocery one midOctober afternoon, smack in the middle of CMJ 2015. Just a year earlier, the music and street-art collective released Sugar Ox, perhaps the most vital album in recent memory. But whose memory? For despite its twelve wit-filled kinetic tracks, the album all but vanished into the silence the second it dropped. Such silence, however, should not be taken as a measure of the band’s failure; just that they care too damn much about the world. Asher Rogers, the Nashville-rooted musician who started Captain Baby four years ago, following a revelatory stay in the South Korean border town of Paju, has trouble even promoting his band’s shows. “I can’t sit down at a computer,” he says, “and type the words, ‘Hey Guys.’ It makes me cringe.” A visit to the Captain’s Facebook page, in fact, is more likely to deliver a chart of recent crime rates in New York City than an announcement of upcoming gigs. What’s more, while seemingly every other band on the planet is eager to share their newest single or video the second it drops, Captain Baby prefers to raise awareness about things like the ongoing human rights abuses in North Korea. “There are concentration camps in 2015,” Rogers cries, the beer in front of him barely sipped. “There’s a rape per night in New York City,” he goes on, “and I’m supposed to put on a rock and roll show!?” Captain Baby hasn’t, in fact, performed many concerts since moving to New York in 2012, and most of the ones they have don’t exactly attract big crowds. Case in point: a recent show at the Rock Shop in Park Slope drew zero people. “No girlfriends paid to get in or anything,” recalls Steve King, the venue’s booking agent. The group, it turns out, isn’t even known in the New York underground. Or the vaunted underground-ofthe-underground, for that matter. “I’ve only really known two bands since I’ve been in New York,” Rogers says of his no networking, no self-promotion approach, “and one of them is my cousin’s band, so that doesn’t even count.” For David Jensen, head of Sunset Alliance—the Arizona-based record label that signed Captain Baby after Rogers cold e-mailed them with the group’s early song “Spider King”—such a dearth of live dates isn’t shameful. “A band should never feel pressure to play shows,” Jensen tells me by phone. They should only be interested, he thinks, in performing their music and getting it heard. Rogers himself offers that “the dream, of course, would be to tour with Radiohead.” Yet, from the anonymous way it leaves unsigned murals of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un in the subways, to its beguilingly self-produced music videos, Captain Baby don’t, in fact, care to carry on with recent record biz tradition. Sugar Ox, which is also the band’s debut album, has its origins in such irregularities. Recorded on GarageBand in about a week, the technicallyimpressive performances weren’t so much created by Rogers and his bandmates as captured by them. Instead of trying to deliberately write songs, they tried, as Rogers explains, “tapping into the stream” of creativ-

ity that is “always there.” Sugar Ox, consequently, throttles with mystery. One may not know exactly what is going on within each track, but the vibrancy and literariness is compelling nevertheless. Mingling a jumpy madness, ala Drums and Wires by XTC (Rogers’ favorite band), with a grainy starkness, like that which pervaded TV On the Radio’s Young Liars album, Sugar Ox boasts a singular dread-pop: mining the everyday ennui whilst encompassing global realities such as urban alienation and political propaganda. Tall order. Take a track like “Bury Your Head,” for instance, which opens with the line: “Are you ordinary people/dying off because a fever?” It could be interpreted as a lamentation for the starved masses of North Korea, or perhaps for the spiritually-hungry workers riding NYC’s subways each day. (Your call.) “Proper Gentlemen,” which is Captain Baby at their most clearly new wave, could be taken as a scowl towards dictator Kim JungUn—as when Rogers warbles, “Proper gentlemen acting like an infant”— or as a sympathetic critique of our less-responsible selves. In fact, all of Sugar Ox—from guitar-kicked pleas like “Where did you get your money from/Why am I made of bubblegum,” to the succinct fear of separation on late track “Row On”—wails for a world burned by violence, hatred, and sadness. It’s an album aimed at power-tripping rulers making pretty speeches; at one-eyed Great Danes hobbling three-legged on cold cobblestone; and for scared kids receiving warm water from a finelooking fountain on another tense day. Frighteningly, yet all too necessarily, it tackles all that is tragic in the world, while pointing towards all that could be beautiful too. Such deep concern for humanity lies at the core of Captain Baby, which has also plagued their wider success, thus far. But Rogers doesn’t see it this way. “What’s the worst thing that could happen?,” he counters artlessly. “People don’t know about our band? I don’t think that’s the worst thing in this world.” For Sugar Ox’s closer, “Imperial Movement,” guitars roll on, then roll away into the darkness; Rogers wails: “It feels like imperial movement/so feel free to take the ground.” The world rages on in woe and fear; humanity is often its own worst enemy; yet we, like Captain Baby, keep striving— awake to inherent danger, just trying to deal.

Captain Baby’s Gear

Full interview on Delicious-Audio.com

“Gear wise we are pretty junkie in some ways. But, if there is one piece of gear we really love it’s our BOSS DD-7 pedals. We have three or four of them. They are great for simple controlled delays and looping which we utilize a lot in experimenting, recording, and at live shows. We aren’t vintage gear guys, although we probably would be if we could afford it. “ -Asher BOSS DD-7

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Feature | The Biz

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the deli Winter 2016 ŠJade Doskow


Listening to Reasons The Unlikely Saga of a DIY Art Space in Manhattan written By Brian Chidester / photo by jade doskow

If, as Nietzsche said, success is the world’s great liar, then perhaps ABC No Rio is telling the truth. Indeed, for most of its 30 years existence—as art space, community center, and hardcore-punk club—the collective has subsisted on a mixture of principle, wit, and sheer good luck. Drastic changes, however, may soon be afoot. Several little birds this past summer chirped about a complete closure of the non-profit enterprise, which, according to real insiders, is untrue. Official news has ABC No Rio continuing on, though unlikely at its current location on the Lower East Side. Few in the know, however, are willing to talk on the record. As such, gossip has become a constant over the past decade—especially where efforts for the collective to legitimize are concerned. From its very beginning, ABC No Rio has toed the line between anarchism and professionalism; its staff and volunteers have fought the law, used the law’s irregularities to bide time, even appealed to city hall and the occasional sympathetic politician. Yet never to corporations; which is probably why regulars like Freddy Alva say that “nothing has really changed since 1990” (the year he began booking shows there). In fact, ABC No Rio is one of those rare local orgs that hasn’t sold out and yet still survives. How’d they do it? For one, the collective fought off eviction attempts by the city for nearly 20 years before winning the right to purchase its building at the end of the ’90s. The one provo was that they had to raise their own renovation funds and get a land-use proposal approved by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) within a few years. That happened in 2006, after which the collective bought the building at 156 Rivington Street from the city for $1. Money to bring it up to code yet lingers, as does the practicality of ever fixing the edifice’s deep structural damage. (Original construction goes back to 1820.). In some newer versions, ABC’s board of directors has called for a complete demolition and rebuilding. For the time being, additional fundraising and architectural reviews hold off the wrecking ball. In the beginning, ABC No Rio was conceived as an alternative to the gallery scene and, like many eventual success stories, was built upon a healthy dose pie-in-the-sky idealism. Artists/volunteers like Mike Estabrook and Vikki Law laud things like the continued lack of wannabe art-world superstars there; also the ability artists have to conceive and execute new shows within a few weeks.

Current venue director Steve Englander called the original founders’ DIY ethos “by hook or by crook-style, low-budget.” As ABC’s sole paid staff member, he told the New York Times last year that the group’s purpose remains to “provide a venue for artists to self-organize and put on shows with their colleague artists without a lot of bureaucracy.” Like many involved with ABC No Rio, Englander is both handy with a toolbox and broadly-educated in social activism. (The Times article claimed he was editing a collection of essays on the history of squatting.) Hard as it is to imagine today, the 1970s was a period when New York City fell into serious disrepair—especially in Manhattan. A massive disinvestment by absentee landlords, which coincided with 1975’s city petition for bankruptcy, led to a seizure of 80% of the area’s housing stock by city government for non-payment of taxes. The squatter movement reached a fevered pitch by the late ’70s in neighborhoods like the pre-gentrification Lower East Side (then largely a Puerto Rican community). ABC No Rio itself grew out of this environment. A local artists’ group known as Colab (short for “Collaborative Projects”) hosted a group exhibition in effort to foster connections between the locals, squatters, and artists; dubbed the “Real Estate Show,” it turned out to be more a critique of the city’s land use policies—policies that in essence kept buildings empty until the area again attracted investment from developers—than anything else. Calling for “no rights,” the show opened on New Year’s 1980 and was shut down the next day by the HPD. Instead of walking away, however, Colab decided to negotiate with HPD; the result was a temporary grant of use for the building at 156 Rivington Street. An effaced sign on the building once read: “Abogado Con Notario.” By 1980, the only letters left spelled “Ab C No rio.” Today the center maintains its older gallery space, to which has been added over the years a zine library, a darkroom, a silkscreening studio, and a public computer lab. Much of the zine collection came from the now-defunct LES radical lit-shop Blackout Books; the NYC chapter of Food Not Bombs cooks on a second-floor kitchen every Sunday; a Books Through Bars collective used to send free paperbacks to persons incarcerated through ABC No Rio, though anticipation of the building being closed for renovation has recently relocated their efforts. The best-known program, by far, remains the center’s weekly punk/ hardcore shows each Saturday afternoon, which began in 1989 when the scene surrounding CBGB’s, in Greenwich Village, had devolved into a bloodbath of gang violence, homophobia, and machismo. Previous the deli Winter 2016

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An effaced sign on the building once read: “Abogado Con Notario.” By 1980, the only letters left spelled “Ab C No rio.” hotspots also included the A7 Club and nearby Pyramid Club in the East Village, though by November ‘89, all three—including CBGB’s— stopped hosting hardcore. By that time, however, ABC No Rio’s Saturday matinees had solidified. There was one difference: volunteer/director Mike Bullshit (née Bromberg) set up a careful policy of no violence, homophobia, or sexism, and a precedent of booking only independent bands. Even still, acts like Rorschach, Citizens Arrest, SFA, Go!, and Born Against eventually became doyens of hardcore music the world over. Last year, Bromberg, along with founding members of the hardcore program Freddy Alva and John Woods, curated an exhibition titled “The Saturday Matinee at ABC No Rio 1990-91,” featuring B&W photos, old xerox’d flyers, and other assorted ephemera in the first-floor gallery. Alva told Vice magazine that he’d learned to codify his values and “take the ideas expressed in the punk and hardcore ethos to find some practical, real life applications.”

The best-known program, by far, remains the center’s weekly punk/hardcore matinees on Saturday afternoons, which began in 1989. For some, the professionalism displayed at ABC No Rio has threatened to undermine the rawness of its more extreme elements. To the extant that adults want to take something they love and make a living out of it, mainstays like Alva and Bromberg insist that defining hardcore and what it stands for often means abdicating where personal career desires are concerned. More than a quarter century after its inception, the Saturday matinee continues to thrive. It is one of the few places in New York City, for instance, that still hosts all-ages shows. Diehard volunteers—of which there were origi-

nally 25—show up early each Saturday and divvy up responsibilities. Nu-punks—of which there seems no end in sight—now consider ABC sacred ground. Entry cost remains $8. Some things have changed, however. For one, the scope of the music has expanded, as tastes in NYC in general have. Many of the venue’s bookings these days are mirrored by the Brooklyn metal club St. Vitus (in Greenpoint), where dark-metallers such as So Hideous and the Body play alongside dronier shoegaze acts like Philly’s Planning for Burial and Black Table. Nu-hardcore bands Full of Hell and Hard Left (from California) ensure a modicum of traditional programing. It’d be hard to call the matinee a strictly “hardcore” anymore though. Elsewhere, the Visual Arts Collective continues to co-ordinate exhibitions in the main gallery, which are free and strive to be spontaneous, though a number of breakout artists— Vandana Jain, Kenny Scharf, Alan W. Moore— have assured the venue both a modicum of attention as well as a whiff of legitimacy from the larger art establishment. Moore, who currently lives in Madrid, took part in the original “Real Estate Show,” wrote the book Art Gangs: Protest and Counterculture in New York City (2011), and shot a 1978-79 documentary about the NYC no wave scene (with performances by Boris Policeband, DNA, and James Chance, among others). Multimedia artist Joseph Nechvatal—today a Paris correspondent for Hyperallergic—also came to maturity during the no wave era. In the mid-’70s, he was an archivist for minimalist composer La Monte Young; he rented a storefront studio that cost sixty dollars a month from Fluxus artist Joe Jones in Tribeca, and frequented the Mudd Club and Tier 3, two centers of no wave music. “At the time,” Nechvatal recently told the Brooklyn Rail, “I remember thinking that the disco mid-’70s really sucked compared to the rocking Woodstock non-profit head space of the late ’60s.” But, he recalls, rents were cheap, which was key to their freedom. “Artistically,” Nechvatal continues, “the scene was poised at the end of Conceptualism, at the end of modernism, with artists such as Carl Andre, Mel Bochner and Donald Judd at their reductive zenith.” Modern art, he recalls,


In 2009, the city awarded ABC No Rio $1,650,000 to develop the Rivington Street site as a permanent community center. reached the end-of-the-line. “The question was where to go after that.” Nechvatal joined Colab. So did the seraphic Chinese-American painter Martin Wong (1946-1999). Wong was a hippie, DIY theater designer, and sometimes transvestite; he relocated to NYC in 1978 and quickly landed in a sixth floor walk-up on Ridge Street, near Avenue B, and just around the corner from ABC No Rio. Wong’s collaborations with Miguel Piñero— the late poet, activist, erstwhile armed robber, and one of the founders of ABC—remain some of the most inspired expressions of that community’s apocalyptic vibrancy. What the pair embodied most was the sense that their impoverished world held inherent value. (The works are currently on display at the Bronx Museum of Art.) In 1980, artist Christy Rupp mounted an exhibition at ABC No Rio titled “Animals Living in Cities.” She told the NY Post then that “rats should be seen not as filthy little things.... [but] as a symptom [of] garbage,” which is the real cause. Rupp went on to photograph the work of Dr. Betty Faber, a behavioral entomologist of cockroaches, and eventually landed a job at the Museum of Natural History. As the years have passed, success stories like Rupp’s abound from ABC No Rio’s historical annals. Yet where more than a few successful artists launched careers there, the venue’s operating budget remains a meager $80,000 per year. Even the most economical plan for renovation, or for a new structure, are priced at around two million bucks. During the ‘90s, the collective put concerted effort into getting itself out of legal limbo. By 1994, the city had very nearly pulled the plug, having stopped accepting rent checks from ABC, which were only ever paid intermittently since its inception. An attempted eviction was met with another activist squatting situation, which stalled proceedings temporarily. It turned out to be enough time for the ABC No Rio organization to pull itself together and embark on a serious fund-raising venture. Since that time, its radicalism has been tempered by a growing reputation within official circles as a legitimate community organization. In 2009, the city awarded ABC No Rio $1,650,000 to develop the Rivington Street site as a permanent community center. A

pair of art auctions, held at Deitch Projects in Soho, brought in over half a million dollars. Architect Paul Castrucci—whose R-951 solarpowered townhouses are the first certified with a net-zero carbon imprint—was commissioned to design the new community space. So far, however, the group has shown more ability to make do than to make money. In late 2014, Englander wrote a letter that starts out: “Friends, Comrades and Supporters”; it reports a few bids that were “higher than our available funding.” Englander then says there is a new influx of city capital funding—to the tune of $1.5 million—which will help implement the first phases of new construction as of spring 2015—a date which has come and gone. There has been other talk of an “ABC No Rio in Exile” program, which would keep current programs running at satellite venues, while construction ensues. Englander’s letter offered limited-edition photographs by Jade Doskow for donations of $250 or more. (Doskow, said Englander, was one of several photographers invited to document the building in advance of demolition.) “We trust that you will join us,” the director concludes. Others, however, who wish to remain anonymous, told me that a lobby has been reignited to keep the current building in tact, with renewed efforts to get it to pass code. For now, both building and programming remain in tact. Though how long that can last, when just about everything else having to do with punk’s origins has either closed shop or been repurposed for corporate purposes, is difficult to predict. It is doubtful ABC No Rio would ever become the commercial cashcow that CBGB has. For one, it doesn’t have the big-name cache of acts like Patti Smith, the Ramones, or Blondie. For another, the collective seems much more likely to collaborate with the political establishment than the corporate establishment. Regardless, the effects of gentrification on Manhattan have left none unscathed; one need only view those paintings that artists like Martin Wong left behind to see how far removed we’ve become from the recent past. But life is not a work of art, and those moments could not last. Things must adapt, else they lapse into memory. d


BK MixCon 2015

Brooklyn MixCon

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the deli Winter 2016

Marc McClusky

Kevin Killen

Indie Rock Mix

The Sparse Mix

Clients/Credits: Weezer, Bad Religion, Everclear, Social Distortion, LetLive, Ludo.

Clients/Credits: Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello, U2, Sugarland, Kate Bush, Tori Amos

Clients/


Every artist knows that mixing is a key element in recorded music. But good advice can sometimes be difficult to come by. In December 2015, The Deli and SonicScoop sought to change all that, offering locals the first edition of the Brooklyn MixCon. The event—hosted at Williamsburg’s the Living Room a few weeks before it closed doors for good—featured five different panels, run by top NYC mixing engineers, each focused on a specific musical genre. Over one thousand musicians RSVP’d to learn about EQ sculpting in busy guitar rock mixes, bass management in EDM, and the use of space-related effects in sparser ballads, among other things.

J. Chris Griffin

Ariel Borujow

Mainstream Pop Mix

EDM Mix

Matty Amendola Indie Pop Mix

/Credits: Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, John McLaughlin, MTV.

Clients/Credits: Chromeo, Madonna, Claude VonStroke, Puff Daddy, Chiddy Bang, Prinze George.

Clients/Credits: Kerchief, Katie Lee, Fleet Walker.

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BK MixCon 2015

Pains of the Young Mixer (and How You Can Alleviate Them) Most “regular” jobs people do have some sort of guidelines, if not rules, about how they should to be done. Drive the bus this way, not that way; build a house with these specifics, using these materials. That’s how you make and serve that drink!

sea of relativism makes deciding when a mix is finished difficult to determine. Forget ever democratically agreeing on what sounds good and what doesn’t.

Now imagine somebody assigns you a specific, complex task, but with no direction and no deadline. Say, also, this task implies creating something that will be perceived differently by every single human being that is exposed to it. Now your task is to make something everybody will be able to enjoy.

These thoughts in mind, this past December The Deli and Sonicscoop organized a new, free event about mixing called: Brooklyn MixCon. The goal? To give recording musicians and young engineers free advice that’s more specific to particular situations, rather than generic and watered down cover-it-all information. We chose to organize the event by genre, because different styles of music often require different techniques.

Behold the world of the audio mixer—where objectivity does not exist and everything can always, ALWAYS sound a little better. As you might imagine, this

Here are some of the products our five NYC producers used while walking the audience members through their genre-related mixes.

B&H Pro Audio

Universal Audio Apollo Twin + Plug Ins

Izotope Plug Ins

If you are reading about mixing here, in all likelihood you have some recording gear, and—unless your name is Mac DeMarco— you use a computer for all your recording needs. If you also happen to pride yourself on “buying local,” you should take a look at Midtown’s mainstay store, B&H Photo Video Pro Audio, which has been serving New York City artists in the visual and audio fields since 1973.

Universal Audio is one of the few companies that has been able to manufacture incredibly popular audio products in both the hardware and software realms. Its original founder, M.T. “Bill” Putnam Sr., was the inventor of the modern recording console—a multi-band audio equalizer—and the vocal booth. He was also the first engineer to use artificial reverberation in commercial recording. Re-founded in 1999 by Bill’s son, James, the Californian company began focusing on creating (and sometimes even “re-creating”) modern products, inspired to classic studio gear.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, iZotope has been perfecting software for audio since 2001. The focus is mostly on music production (read: dynamics, EQ, saturation), but they’ve also recently ventured into video games, providing, for instance, the real-time pitch detection software that powers Rock Band. Their approach to plugins is “deep,” allowing expert ears full control over the nitty-gritty details of each track.

B&H was our MixCon’s “recording laptop” sponsor (the store offers a variety of computers for recording in Mac and PC format), but its SuperStore carries the largest selection of hardware your inner sound engineer might ever need, from mics to preamps to audio peripherals to speakers. If necessary, B&H can also provide advice tailored to your needs, which in many cases, will save you time and money.

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This approach brought us, on one side of the coin, some top-notch outboard racks, inspired to immortal designs like the LA2A opto-compression, or the founder’s own 1176 compressor. On the other side, a series of incredibly well-received powered plugins, emulated the most sought-after analog audio gear of all-time (Pultec Eqs, Fairchild compressors, Neve channel strips). To bridge the gap between real and virtual, UA also recently introduced their Apollo audio peripheral series, which has the ability to act, at once, as your computer’s in/out boxes, quality mic pre-amps, and powerful plugin processors.

Their flagship product, Ozone, now at version 7, is one of the most popular plugin suites for mastering, which speaks to the kind of precision tool iZotope can offer. Their other music production products, like Alloy, Nectar, and Trash, also embrace the concept of the “multi-effect” for both tracks and buses. Nectar 2 is a single plugin that features a chain of effects normally used for vocals, including EQ, de-esser, compression, pitch correction, and reverb among others. Similarly, Alloy 2 bundles under one roof a series of effects optimized for instrumental tracks, including a transient plugin, an exciter, and a thorough dynamic section.


Eventide Anthology X Plug Ins

Soundtoys 5 18 Plug-in Bundle

Focal Trio6 Be Studio Speakers

Young emerging musicians may not hear bells ringing when they read the word “Eventide H3000” (a powerful rack effect processor from the ’90s), but ask any engineer over 35 and you’re likely to get a series of “wow”’s! (By the way, Ken Bogdanowicz, the owner of Soundtoys, had an important role in engineering it.) Young guitarists will surely be familiar with Eventide’s very popular stompboxes, used by edgy six-string gods such as Annie Clark of St. Vincent and Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, which is a testament to the NY company’s ability to successfully reinvent itself. (The first pedal was introduced in 2007.)

With their playful approach to audio plugins (reflected in the company’s name) Soundtoys has emerged as a leading manufacturer in the field. It offers powerful effects fruit of top level, non-emulative engineering that’s both imaginative and inspiring. Hardly any mixing engineer, for example, can resist the temptation to hit the “punish” button in their “Decapitator” plugin. It’s Soundtoys’ most popular, and regarded as one of the best saturation virtual effects, on the market. And if that doesn’t sound satisfying enough, you can resort to the “Devil-Loc” plugin, labeled on the interface itself as an Audio Level Destroyer. Let’s just DO that!!!

Those who take mixing seriously can’t really afford to compromise on speakers. Why? Because mixing is all about trying to improve what you hear, and if what you hear isn’t true, you’ll be prone to mistakes; your mixes, in all likelihood, will sound bad. But that’s not all. It is also important to listen to your songs on different systems. A song that sounds great on a top studio speaker, for instance, might not sound so good on the average radio or TV speaker, which is what most people use when listening to music.

As of 2015, Eventide placed a renewed focus on effect processors, releasing a plugin bundle comprised of seventeen mixing, mastering and multi-effect plugins based on 40 years of experience, but also including new effects like the UltraChannel, UltraReverb, Quadravox and Octavox.

FYI, the Burlington, VT based company recently released version 5 of their 18 plugin bundle, which sells for an astonishingly affordable $499, and includes inspiring tools ranging from several echo- and delay-processors (including the Crystallizer, a granular echo synthesizer), filters, automatic panners, tremolos, and phase shifters among others.

Focals’ new Trio6 Be powered speakers have the unique feature of being able to solve both these problems at once. The French company has built a super-solid reputation for reference-grade performance, and the Trio6 Bes only improves on previous designs, delivering audio reproduction as accurate as it gets. But these babies also offer a unique feature that allows them to act as “two speakers in one.” A switch lets you turn off the subwoofer separately from the other two cones, which allows the Trio6 Be to emulate the sound of… your average radio or TV speaker! File under: why didn’t I think of that?

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BK MixCon 2015

BK MixCon - What We Learned

(Six Mixing Tips That Could Change Your Life) By Paolo De Gregorio

A. Know Phase Wonder why your mixes sound awful sometimes? Chances are you’re not aware of what a huge effect phase has on them. To understand phase’s mindblowing importance, try this:

1. Record a bass or a guitar part with

two mics: one close to the cone, the other a foot or so farther.

2. Put the two tracks in your sequencer in mono and play them in a loop.

3. Now zoom in as much as you can.

Move one of the tracks just one sample forward, or the minimum amount your sequencer will allow. Notice a difference?

4. Keep experimenting by moving either track by minimal amounts: in

sound file, place it on two tracks in mono, then switch the phase of one of them: you’ll get silence, i.e. 100% phase cancellation. Switch the phase again and you’ll get a sound twice as loud, with a 100% boost.

5. If you want to take this concept to its extreme, duplicate any

This concept is particularly important when you record the same instrument with more than one mic, but it’s also the main reason why arrangements with too many instruments operating in similar frequency range often don’t sound good.

mono, each combination will give you a different tone, sometimes completely different, because of phase interaction, which causes frequency cancellation or boosting.

B. Rearrange So, as mentioned above, because of phase, some sonic elements can cancel, or interfere, with each other. The easier, cleaner way to solve that problem is to change the arrangement. Example: if you realize that a vocal line and a synth tend to hide each other when played together, the easiest thing to do is remove or change one of them.

Sometimes moving one element an octave higher or lower (without changing its part) will suffice. An arrangement that avoids frequency problems is part of the production process, but all the best mixing engineers are also producers, because well-produced songs, well, make mixing easier.

C. Cut a Lot, Boost a Bit No matter how much you try creating arrangements that give each instrument its own space in the frequency spectrum, you’ll always have a certain amount of sharing. To minimize these conflicts, try and find frequencies you don’t like in each instrument, and cut them quite a bit. In particular, get rid of unnecessary low-end (FYI, it’s a good idea to have a radical hipass filter on all the tracks, but one between bass and kick: choose ONE low-end master!) On the other hand, try and make an instrument more present by slightly boosting a frequency that sounds pleasant, or helps it cut through the mix, while at the same time slightly lowering that same frequency in other tracks that conflict with it. Being gentle with EQ boosting will make your tracks sound more natural. Welcome to “EQ sculpting”! EQ in iZotope Ozone 7

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D. Cheat! Almost all our panelists admitted to frequently using the following techniques:

• Adding sampled snares and kicks on top of recorded ones, to improve punch. • Employing transient processor plugins to improve the attack of the kick and snare. • Using sub-octave processor plugins on bass to extend the instrument’s low-end, making it sound huge. • Using pitch correction on vocals. SPL’s Transient Designer Plug-In supported by all Universal Audio systems.

• Editing drums, sometimes even using loops.

E. Compress on the Bus Buses, in mixing, are stereo channels where you can route a group of track channels. For example, you can have a bus where you route all your drum tracks, then one where you route all your vocals. These come in handy when you want to turn up or down the entirety of an instrument, or section, you recorded in multiple tracks. Or conversely to put

an effect (like compression, reverb, or EQ) on it. Some engineers have a bus for snare, one for kick, and another for overheads, then send these to another stereo bus where all the drum sounds finally join each other. Compressing and EQing instruments recorded with multiple mics like snares and mics is a must.

F. Mix at Quiet Volume and Listen on Various Systems When you play loud music in a rectangular room, you will ALWAYS have cancellations and/or excessive resonance in some low end frequencies (google “room modes” for more info) . To avoid that, mix at quiet vol-

umes and listen to your mixes through a variety of systems (headphones included) and in many different spaces.

ESSENTIAL MASTERING TOOLS Ozone’s acclaimed suite of mastering tools gives your mix the final touch it needs before exporting to a variety of popular formats. Quickly and easily add the sonic characteristics of analog hardware to your digital recordings for a rich, polished sound.

Available now at www.izotope.com/ozone

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Read about pedals on delicious-audio.com!

Epigaze Audio Monoceros 838 Echo

• Vintage style echo in a digital format gives you 10ms-580ms of delay via a PT2399 chip. • Simple controls: Time, Sensitivity, and Repeat knobs, plus a brightness switch. • “Supernova” soft footswitch turns on self oscillation no matter what your settings are.

Pigtronix Echolution 2 Ultra and Filter Pro

• An incredibly flexible multi-tap delay that improves the original 2006 design. • Up to 12 seconds of stereo delay and two taps with several time divisions. • Reverse, Ducking, Trails, Listen, and Ping Pong modes. • The Filter Pro model features a cleaner user interface and provides front panel access to multi-tap and filter options and pitch shift.

Keeley 30ms Double Tracker • Offers studio style doubling effects to thicken your tone through an altered and detuned short delay. • Can be used in mono with a built in “Abbey Verb” reverb control, or in stereo as the Double Tracker Pro. • Not just for guitars - try it on bass, keys and vocals.

Flux Effects Liquid Ambience Polyphonic Reverb

• A creative atmospheric hall reverb with polyphonic voicing. • The “Voice” knob blends between octave and sub octave or fifth and sub fifth - when in “Bend” mode it offers a slightly detuned effect. • “Evolve” manipulates the octave generator even further allowing for synth-like sounds and much more. • “Space” knob control the size of the reverb.

the deli's synths corner

Synthino XM • 5-note polyphonic synthesizer with 4-track sequencer. ADSR envelope, LFO, filter. • 12 Waveforms and 5 drum samples, and arpeggiator mode up to 16 notes. • Four MIDI Channels, and MIDI over USB let you connect to any device. • 16-step live performance “groovebox” sequencer.

Linn Designs Linnstrument • Midi controller, reinvented for enhanced expression. • Captures the subtlety of the fingers’ movement in three dimensions. • Introduces a vertical axis that affects the sound’s timbre (or whatever you want it to affect, since everything is programmable). • Grid layout allows to easily slide from note to note while, at once, changing the timbre.

Roland Boutique JP-08 • A Eurorack recreation of the Jupiter-8, it’s the most popular in a series of modules that faithfully recreate some of Roland’s most popular synths. • Detachable two octave keyboard is optional. • Chain mode allows two JP-08 to function as one 8-voice module. • USB Audio Interface for Direct Recording into Your DAW.

Critter & Guitari Organelle • A playful and powerful synth inside the pocket piano’s case. • Various default patches allow you to use it as synthesizer, sampler, effect and more. • New patches can be created on a computer and uploaded via USB through an open source format.


making the world a better sounding place.

10 jay street suite 405 brooklyn, ny 11201 (718) 797-0177 www.joelambertmastering.com

The Deli NYC #45 - Brittany Campbell, ABC No Rio, Brooklyn MixCon  

Winter 2016. Featuring sci-fi soul singer Brittany Campbell on the cover. Plus: full coverage of "The Deli"'s Brooklyn MixCon event and a pe...

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