Choir of Young Believers Ute Ploier Jacob Koestler Anzevino and Florence Matt Furie Black Moth Super Rainbow Meyoko and more
TITLE ISSUE NO.2 JUNE/JULY CONTENTS
STAFF EDITORâ€™S NOTE
10 18 28 36 44 52 68 70
Meyoko Matt Furie Ana Himes Claire Scully Aurelia Lange Jacob Koestler Rumstk Gallery
78 82 86 88 90
Choir Of Young Believers Black Moth Super Rainbow Grouper Flica Album Reviews
94 Ute Ploier 104 Anzevino And Florence 118 Leif And Tooya
T ISSUE NO.2 JUNE/JULY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Catherine Bui ASSOCIATE EDITOR Christopher Nguyen WRITERS Jeanne Le Krystal Miranda Garrett Yim Daniel Jones WEB DESIGNER Melissa Liang CONTRIBUTORS
William Le Callie Rice Khuong Pham Alex Rajabi Michelle Nguyen Aaron Harris Brandon Herman
Photo on cover by Jacob Kostler pg. 52 Artwork on this page by Astrid Yskout pg. 72
T EDITOR’S NOTE It’s finally here! Issue No.2! After many late nights and cups of coffee, I find it extremely worthwhile to present you with this issue. It’s been a while since we had our debut and here we are again, scurrying around and working under time limits to give you the best. Thank goodness summer is in one week and we will have the time to work on Title a lot more freely. But along with summer comes summer apparel. Loose shirts and light layers are what seems to be an essential in many of the current collections such as Anzevino and Florence and Leif and Tooya who are featured in this issue. But if you’re more of the cooler weather
girl like me, then don’t fret, we also featured fall and winter collections. But please don’t get the idea that this issue is just packed with fashion, we are also honored to present to you some great artists like Matt Furie and Aurelia Lange including some emerging bands like Choir of Young Believers and Black Moth Super Rainbow. Featured artists who I wish will become a favorite of yours as they are of mine. Before you get on flipping through the issue though, I would like to say thank you to my friends who helped made this issue possible and to David Dietch. -Catherine
click to shop!
M E Y
O KO By Jeanne Le
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“I just wanted to be free...”
“I just wanted to be free, the life with my father was really difficult…” says Melissa Murillo. Growing up in Paris, Murillo often faced family tensions and violence because of her father’s poker addictions and alcohol. The distraught she endured in her early years delved her into another state of mind; the creations of merged creatures, humans, and nature. Her mother tried all her life to repair the irreversible mistakes of the family, but the last seven years spent in her hometown was strained into a silent quarrel where Melissa Murillo changed her name to Meyoko to pursue herself as an artist and leave her home. Finding herself in the Amazons, Meyoko did not stay for long, the brief time she spent there was the beginning foundation of the commonly bizarre man versus machine, birds, insects, and organisms theme.
The profound effect of the elements of the jungle’s humid rain, tepid wind, and sun re-warms her into a transitional mindset of the reoccurring inspirations which still inspires her to the present day. Soon after, Meyoko decided to move to Berlin where she is currently residing today among her friends who greatly push her in further pursuing art. In the future she would like to publish pop-up books, video animations, and exhibitions, but for now Meyoko refuses to publicize her artwork because “I know I am not ready for something like this,” she says. Obsessed with detailed memories and dreams, Meyoko juxtaposes textures and layers of organic and mechanical images to form erratic and whimsical narratives of the past, present, future.
SOMETIMES THE BRAIN DOES CURIOUS THINGS, MATT FURIE’S BRAIN IS MORE CURIOUS THAN MOST BY DANIEL JONES
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he 29 year-old San Francisco-based artist creates worlds populated by anthropomorphic animals and pop-culture legends, birds filled with candy, and rainbow monsters bleeding from their faces. “My drawings these days come from a mix of child-like enchantments and momentary adult situations” says Matt. “I still enjoy making up creatures and giving them individual personalities. I’m also interested in conveying a sense of communication between creatures, both verbal and nonverbal, giving them distinct human characteristics.” It may be hard to imagine where his inspiration comes from, but the answer is simpler than dementia or psychedelics. “I’ve worked in the children’s section of a thrift store for a couple of years and I get a ton of inspiration from this job. I take home children’s books, toys, stuffed animals and all sorts of stuff that I reference in my art. I like how each toy has a story and how it has its own, unique energy. I think about a toy’s birth as a concept or cartoon, it’s beginnings at the factory in China surrounded by hundreds or thousands of clones of itself, and how important just one of these clones can be for a kid. I sometimes daydream about fossilized Big Birds being dug up bazillions of years from now.” While the subject matter is fantastic, there’s a naturalness to the pictures that makes them seem almost realistic. Perhaps this is due to the laid-back attitude that Matt cultivates as he works and lives. “It’s important that I never get all stressed out or sweat what I’m doing. I like just hanging out, listening to music and drawing pictures at my desk. I use colored pencils, pens and a bit of paint to draw creatures having sex, having a discussion, thinking together, dying, fighting, etc. It’s borderline escapism—or a form of escapism that, to me, is positive.”
ANA HIMES By Catherine Bui
A banana, a kiwi or a pear is what Madrid based photographer Ana Himes likes to grab and snack on after a hard day of work. She believes beauty is in all types of photos whether they are simple or suffused with details. Influenced by photographers like Eric Baudelaire and Nadav Kandar, she captures the urban environment she is surrounded by with her recently acquired collection of analog cameras. Follow her in her most recent collection of photos titled, Traces In, as she takes a peek into the lives of the people around her.
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â€œ...what I like most is analog. I think that with these kind of cameras, your feeling with the scene is more personal. You are in that place, in that moment..â€?
â€œIn my opinion, and concerning to photography, simple is when there is nothing more and nothing less.â€?
C LAI RE
SC ULLY BY KHUONG PHAM
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like the idea of a revolution happening quietly in front of your eyes without you really ever noticing it.” Full time Londoner and science fiction fanatic, Claire Scully conducts and orchestrates the silent uprising that is The Quiet Revolution. Despite being a total dropout, Scully went back to school at the ripe age of 23 to receive her BA in graphic and media design and an MA in communication design at the London College of Communication. When asked about the meaning behind the name she replies, “It was the title of my MA project at college which had underlying themes of nature slowly taking over the urban environment, a patient creeping enemy of concrete and tower blocks.” The daring designer, inspirited by the ambition of getting her audience to receive an emotional appeal, Scully accomplishes her goal by fashioning a back to basics style with a post-modernistic twist. She lays it all out with the age-old method of experimentation, “I will try something out, if it works great - if not then it’s a lesson learned.” An accidental artist, she claims to have been inspired by the feelings of every natural, “the desire for wanting to spend my life time doing something I love.” But not only does she thrive in the digital realm, she’s well rounded, from mere drawings and sketches, to paintings and portraits. When asked how she fabricates her varied pieces she responds, “The saying ‘a change is as good as a rest’ fits in to my working ethics I think.” She continues, “I go a little stir crazy sometimes so when my hands are sore from drawing or my eyes are weary from my computer screen I switch to another way of image making.” Being the science fiction nerd that she is, her auditory influence remains to be science fiction films playing in the background. As far as upcoming projects go, she is making a book with her co-conspirator, Susie Wright and preparing for her first solo exhibit later this year. Sadly to Mac users like ourselves, Scully is not a Mac. “I am a PC, sorry folks… I am waiting for someone to give me a good enough reason to spend so much more money on a computer that does the same job as my own…” But she is open to be swayed.
AU? AURA? AUREOLE? no! its
AURELIA LANGE BY JEANNE LE
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s a young child, Aurelia grew up constantly being surrounded by the captivity of her siblings’ creativity of drawing and painting. She was amused by childhood illustrators such as Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl, but it was not until she watched the making of the Disney classic Snow White, that she was truly inspired to become an artist. Thereafter, as she graduated from high school, Aurelia left for Brighton University where she had the venture to express her artwork freely in comparison to her younger years at school where teachers enforced a certain mould on how “the way art should be.” You could find Aurelia Lange in Cheltenham, England where she once grew up and currently resides today in a tattered outfit of neutral hues varying from black and grays to pastel. It is not apparent to find her clothes without a rip or paint stain. Consistently working on the upcoming project, Aurelia has a tendency to toil on several pieces at once, finishing on something that she once started on long before. Recently, Aurelia and her friends, who deeply inspire and move her towards art, set up a small business called Studio Weekend, which is actually open 7 days a week! They work on various art forms of illustra-
tion, graphics, animation, and visuals for clienteles and bands. It does not have to be an epic or breath taking experience in order for Aurelia to become inspired. Rather, Aurelia looks into common day themes such as the people she meets in bars where stories and conversations are exchanged. Nature, plants, and flowers have also been a very prominent part in her approach of art. Other artists such as Alexander Calder, Richard Jackson, who is animator that lives in the French mountains, and her close circle of friends are her main inspirations which further expands her style. Aurelia describes her work as “experimental, abstract, and weird.” She tampers with raw mediums of ink, collage, balsa wood to digital stop frame and film and photography to create a contemporary, yet unrefined ambiance Aurelia is currently illustrating a book, and is looking forward to illustrate more books and small exhibitions in the future. Ironically, you could find her art submissions to Untitled Magazine, Issue 4. When not doing art, she is traveling, going on adventures, seeing her friends, or spending her time at the Pollock’s Toy Museum in London.
BY JEANNE LE
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...HE’S OUT AND ABOUT TOURING ON THE ROAD WITH A BAND...
...AND TAKING PHOTOS.
acob Koestler is on the road answering the interview questions from Columbus and Chicago; he is touring with the band Hark! and Drought. It’s been a month since Koestler has seen his girlfriend of four years. A twenty-four year old astounding photographer from an artistically emerging dead steel region of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Jacob grew up with his mother and sister. He has a knack for capturing the sense of struggling and tenor of hope in each picture. The fluctuation and balance between struggle and hope conveyed in his photography gives any viewer a correlative response. Even growing up in high school with his hair down to his shoulders, and wearing a Marilyn Manson tee shirt, things weren’t much different than now. Koestler spent countless hours alone in his school’s darkroom. Then, he did not know anything about contrast filters or the process of developing photography. Instead, Jacob experimented with chemicals and mixed liquids together, learning from scratch. Thereafter, Koestler attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh to stay
close and tour with his bands. Jacob was hired as a photographer by his city, he moved back to his hometown, working for the city, and finishing his project, Sound Structures. Sound Structures is pushing towards cultural awareness of the past and current middle class generations through art and music. Koestler can be found in his van that ventures throughout towns photographing at abandoned mills and promoting his project My Idea of Fun usually among the eastern states, possibly with a beer and pizza in his hands, too. My Idea of Fun travels with multiple bands displaying his prints, photos, and books. The project exhibits Jacob’s simplistic credo of the communal struggle and uplift of his friend’s art that inspires such beauty of necessity by barely hanging onto life and back-to-the-basic lifestyle. “There’s always these phases that I fever in and out,” Koestler explains. These phases are temporarily feelings; sometimes he feels as if he is not taking his work seriously enough. Other times, “there are fleeting phases where I hate what I’m doing or I can’t keep up...” It’s just a random sense being an artist,
but these feelings come, go, and are followed by a big moment of clarity, Jacob described. As an everyday artist, Jacob Koestler uploads 24 pictures to his blog (thedailycamera.blogspot.com) daily. “SHOOT IT ALL! There are all these people traveling, making art, playing music, or building their lives out of whatever they can around them.” These senses of true beauty and simple factors of life delightfully captured by Koestler are bounded in his tangible books such as The Daily Camera books, Sound Structures, and Lullaby. Jacob will be on the road touring for his project My Idea of Fun, which focuses on promoting artists, photographers, and musicians. In July and August, he will be in Canada doing extensive shootings. Another book coming out in June, Western Surface, is a 45-page book of photos of tangible surfaces taken from Route 1 in California. Koestler’s works are optimistic open books that voice a certain freedom without luxury.
RUM T S K
By Catherine Bui Twenty eight year old Oliver Romieu aka RMSTK, considers the best thing about living in France is the red wine. Besides that he can’t really think of anything else. However it’s obvious that isn’t the case. Growing up in Gonesse, a little city in Paris’ proletarian suburbs, he was born into the graffiti movement during the 80’s that started his interest in art, alongside with comics and anime. “I grew up with a black pen in my pocket and wasted many days and hours covering blank pages with monsters of all kinds, and drawing look-alike portraits of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird,” says Romieu admitting he was a big fan of the NBA. However he wasn’t raised up in an artistic atmosphere at home, “no jazz in the living room or weekend trips to the museum” he recalls. And he never had the chance to visit an art museum until the age of 18! Despite this he still continued on with his interest in the arts and has been drawing since, constantly being
inspired by artists like ESPO and Honet to Keith Haring and Francis Bacon. Romieu’s illustrations are eccentric and quirky, each having its distinct personality accompanied by well-chosen colors to give the right mood and expressions. In his latest series of illustrations titled Cagoule(s), he draws about 35 different designs of ski masks that include each character’s unique eyes, lips and noses sometimes accompanied by wispy little moustaches or beards. A series of drawings motivated by his curiosity to “have fun with the unfunnable.” “I love the idea that one 15 inch piece of wool can cause so much fear. People are really scared of anyone behind a ski mask or any kind of mask, but the ski mask gives TV images of rape, robbery and any kind of danger,” says Romieu. Best of all he even drew a Title “Cagoule” for us. Cagoule(s) is now available in a paperback versions sold on Lulu.
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SHORT INTERVIEWS WITH SOME OF OUR FRIENDS WHO ENJOY DRAWING AND SKETCHING
Chris Vara Age: 18 Hometown: Orange County, United States Materials: Graphite, ink, colored pencils, watercolor and tea What I like best about your drawings is that you blend realistic features with abstract very well. What inspired you to combine the two? What do you like about it? I like the challenge of creating something realistic, and I enjoy the freedom abstract gives me. I think combining the two gives the piece a nice balance.
Diana Koehne Age: 31 Hometown: Dortmund, Germany Materials: Pencils, colored pencils and fineliners or pens Your images are mainly in black with some color, do the colors you pick have a special meaning in each piece? No. Most of them are not chosen consciously. How would you describe your work? My drawings just seem to pour out of me. And I let them. So far Iâ€™m trying not to push anything into a particular direction. I am more like an observer who is surprised everytime anew by seeing what is next. There are 2 white tshirts, one with a black circle on the front and the other with a black triangle. If you had to pick one, which one would it be? I wouldnâ€™t pick any. Because I look very pale in white T-shirts.
Describe your work in four words. Simple, delicate, imperfect, eclectic. There are 2 white tshirts, one with a black circle on the front and the other with a black triangle. If you had to pick one, which one would it be? A triangle. Why? I think its more trendy.
T William Edmonds Age: 24 Hometown: Stourbridge, United Kindom Materials: Pencil, ink and watercolor What are some of your favorite things to draw? People, cats, prisms, patterns, drums and the occasional silly face to make myself smile. What are some words of advice to a teenager who wants to be an artist? Do it. Literally, just do it, don’t let anyone give you any rubbish about being idealistic and naive, those are amazing qualities, don’t let anyone use their ‘welcome to the real world’ speech, this is rubbish, and is said just because they probably have regrets. If you had a $1,000,000 what would you do? Probably much the same as I would be now...It would be really nice to expand my practice to build big sculptural pieces from elements of my drawings to make scenes from the pictures, but this all costs money so I’d do that. And have unlimited supplies of coffee and peanut butter toast.
Bob London Age: As old as the hills. Hometown: Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home. Materials: Biro pens Why do you like to draw? When I was a child there was a fierce dog tied to a heavy brick at the bottom of my long garden and I had to feed him a handful of rats three times a day. He told me that if I didn’t draw at least one picture a day he would bite through the rope that tied him in place, seek me out and happily chew my face off. I am therefore bound by this and will draw every day for all eternity. What are some of your favorite things to draw? I like to draw the curtains, draw the dole, bare chested people with hairy nipples, animals with missing limbs and the occasional organic root vegetable. If you had a $1,000,000 what would you do? I would move to the countryside and rear threelegged pygmy ponies.
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Carolyn Alexander Age: 24 Hometown: Glasgow, Scotland Materials: Stabilo markers and dip pens Ive noticed that when you use colors in your drawings theyâ€™re usually in shades of purple, blues and pinks. Why those colors? When I was in high school I used these colours in Art class because they were my favourite but stopped because I thought they looked to girly and obvious... but now I go with my instincts. What do you like best about drawing people? I love a good withering look. When I was young I used to like scowling at my friends unexpectedly to throw them off kilter, and now Iâ€™m grown up I love nothing more than literally drawing a dirty look. Its all in the eyes, they are my favourite thing to draw and always the place I start. Who are some people who you have worked for? Third Drawer Down, Good v Evil, the 405, Paul Paper, Zara Arshad... all very lovely people. If you had $1,000,000 what would you do? Build a treehouse Kevin McCloud would be proud of and buy crap loads of expensive pens and dresses.
Astrid Yskout Age: 24 Hometown: Antwerpen, Belgium Materials: Pencils and markers The colors you choose are more subtle, warmer tones, is there a reason why you like these colors? Nostalgia. How about the color red? It seems to show up in almost all of your pieces. My 3 favorite markers are Coral (red), Cornflower and Dusky Pink. I go psycho when I lose one. Describe your style. Twisted characters in girlish situations wearing boyish shirts. Why do you enjoy drawing? I enjoy the quiet. If you had $1,000,000 what would you do? Buy a hypoallergenic cat.
Brett Manning Age: 22 Hometown: Springfield, Illinois Materials: Ink, oils, textiles, and vector art. What makes people interesting for you to draw? I really feel connected to the person as I draw them. Itâ€™s not my intention to objectify the person either, rather just capture their true essence. I think all people are beautiful. We all have the capability to inspire and produce great things, whether tangible or just a brilliant idea. I think thatâ€™s amazing. How would you describe your work? A bit feminine. A bit surreal at times. My work relies on imagery and instances directly from my mind. When I create, I feel very emotional, but strong. I genuinely care for my art. Iâ€™m some what of a sentimental type. Quick! There is a huge earthquake, what do you grab first? My cat...then an ink pen.
Jon Vaughn Age: 27 Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada Materials: Pens, pencils, markers and paints What drives you to draw such surreal characters? If the characters are surreal in my drawings, it is possibly because they strike a resonance with the subconscious, as the patterns I use or emerge in my work are not premeditated but more intuitive. Behind what you draw is there a story? Every character that manifest in my pictures has many stories, however, I am only beginning to articulate them. I am working a few comics that should see the light of day before 2010. Quick! There is a huge earthquake, what do you grab first? My girlfriend!
CHOIR OF YOUNG BELIEVERS By WIlliam Le Photo by Amanda Betz
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here are moments, say, when listening to the 2009 SXSW artist showcase, that one encroaches on something of depth and creativity. It says something like, “Hey, stop skipping 6GB worth of tracks that sound like covers of Nickelback, and listen to me: I’m Choir of Young Believers.” Actually, truth be told, this was what I was actually thinking. But don’t hate. Especially if you like Nickelback, then you have no reason to hate anyway. I can’t remember what kind of daze I was in (Nickelback) listening to the SXSW compilation, but when the song “Next Summer” came through the speakers, I knew I was to pay special attention. Though Choir of Young Believers has been seen performing with up to 8 other bandzmates, let it be known that COYB took off as the solo project of one 26 year
old Jannis Noya Makrigiannis. COYB’s brand of indiepop is astute and beguiles. The compositions have been taken up with a level of introspection, and articulated with the utmost anxious delineation. All forethought conveyed and the instrumentation employed so well it makes you affirmed their recent prominence in the European indie scene is more than deserved. Despite releasing their debut EP only 2 years ago Burn the Flag, and their recent full-length in January 2009, This is for the White in Your Eyes, COYB managed to book a slew of dates at venues around New York City and at SXSW 2009. In these relatively brief and exciting years, COYB has gained their rite of passage beyond the European scene and into the indie scene at large. This coming year serves as a defining year for COYB to establish themselves as a world-class indie pop act.
Naturally, my first question is: Did you ever intend COYB to be a “choir” of sorts? And why of why not? Jannis Noya: No, not really. The way I thought about it, is that the word “Choir” is more a reference to a group of people. It might aswell be called “band- or gang of young believers”, which, now that I think about it, sounds much cooler… fuck. Sorry, that first question was mostly a joke. What were the circumstances, and beginnings of COYB? J: At a certain point, after the break-up of my old band, I felt like writing some songs on my own. After having written the first handful of songs, I started gathering a group of friends around me and it sort of developed from there. Who has influenced you in your music? J: Girls and travelling What’s your song writing process? (If it’s booze or if it’s a super-secret then you can just say “no comment”) J: Well, I normally never do demoes. Cuz I don’t have a computer, so I just let the songs develop in my head over some time, also trying to imagine the arrangements. Many of the ideas I have are played together for the first time, when we record the songs. Very cool. On your bio from Tigerspring’s site (label), it says you spent some time on Samos writing songs for the EP “Burn the Flag”. It’s a very remote, and isolated island. What did Samos do for COYB? J: Actually, A lot of things started for COYB on Samos. I came up with the name, I started writing most of the songs that ended up on the EP and even some of the songs from the album. Just being isolated gave me a lot of time to come closer to what I wanted to do with music. I think the solitude and not being able to talk about and share music with others, made it much more personal, than if I had started this band back home in Copenhagen. What’s the story behind the new album title “This is for the White in Your Eyes”? J: It is an excerpt from the lyrics to the song “ Why Must It Always Be This Way”. It is a dedication to someone or something – other than that, there is no story behind it.
The painting on the album cover of “This is for the White in Your Eyes” looks like a psychoanalysis tool. I feel as though you’re trying to take over the indie rock through pure science, is what I’m saying outrageous? J: Maybe just a bit,The cover painting was done by my good friend Nis bysted. He also did the cover painting for the EP. He is, in many ways, a very creative and talented person. Besides being an artist he also runs a lovely record label – check it out here: http://www.escho.net/ Do you have a day job, and why do you completely disdain it? Let’s just be honest. J: No I don’t. My rent is really cheap and I avoid buying stuff What gracious words would you offer to those that want to pursue a life of rock n’ roll? J: Go into the fashion business instead.. One thing about the Danish indie scene that American’s are missing out on? J: Ten Danish bands that American’s should check out: Lily Electric, Jong Pang, Spleen United, I Got You On Tape, Chimes & Bells, Messy Shelters, Thulebasen, Den Fri, The William Blakes and Snake & Jets Amazing Bullit Band What music are you currently listening to? J: The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest, Chris Bell, I Am the Cosmos Blood music, Jong Pang, and George Harrison. Care to broadcast any new plans on the horizon for COYB on TITLE? J: Right now we are working on a big project with a 42 piece symphony orchestra. On the 5th of June we are performing the entire album with them in the newly build concert hall in Copenhagen. The concert is a one off thing but will be recorded and released later this year. TITLE is based in Orange County. First word that comes to mind when you hear “Orange County”? J: Nothing at all...maybe oranges.
B L A C K M O T H S U P E R RAINBOW BY CALLIE RICE PHOTOS BY JAE RUBERTO
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pon first hearing the name Black Moth Super Rainbow it sounds like Hello Kitty’s new line of bug spray. However, after listening to what can be classified as “experimental psychedelic-electronica-pop-folk,” it’s easy to understand why the obscure name is well deserved. Ask Tom Fec, the frontman of BMSR, how they came up with it, and you’ll get “it’s supposed to sound like the music does… I wanted it to flow like a great breakfast cereal name,” referencing to how their medley of sounds, instruments and tools create some of the most surprising, and appealing sounds in the trade. The band we know today began as “a recording thing,” “It was never supposed to be a band band,”claims Fec. “Then it came to the point where it seemed like it could happen live.” “It” is self-described as “neon grit… maybe a little more like bright pudding spread all over the inside of an abandoned grain silo.” With a portrayal such as that, it’s not surprising that the talent itself takes on eclectic stage names. BMSR has been active with the current members since 2003, although Tobacco (Tom Fec) has been well acquainted with most of the members for years. “I knew Father Hummingbird (Seth Ciotti) from middle school, and Power Pill (Ken Fec) is my cousin. When it was time to put the live band together, I
brought everyone in and found Iffernaut (Donna Kyler) and Seven Fields of Aphelion (Maureen Boyle) through a friend. Ryan Graveface is the newest addition, but we’ve known him for years.” BMSR’s open songwriting subject matter could have arguably been inspired by anything, with song titles such as “Drippy Eye,” “Spinning Cotton Candy in a Shack,” and influences from Longmont Potion Castle. Although their latest album, Eating Us is no exception to their imaginative style, the band was inspired to turn away from their “psychedelic” sound bites and “be moodier and less psychedelic than before. I’ve never purposely tried to be psychedelic, but I wanted to make sure this one didn’t come off that way.” Fec prefers writing and recording to taking the music to the streets on tour, when asked what he likes more about Eating Us than their prior works, he notes the clean recording style of smooth tracks like “Smile The Day After Today,” “I think the difference is that with the older stuff, the songs relied on the dirty production.” The unassuming Black Moth Super Rainbow has a modest outlook on the future; “I really wanna be able to end it tastefully and without overstaying our welcome.” Nevertheless, we hope to see more of the characteristically noteworthy echo of BMSR.
GROUPER BY GARRETT YIM PHOTO COURTESY OF LIZ HARRIS
rouper, the nom de plum of musician Liz Harris, is the polar opposite of what one would expect when hearing the words singersongwriter. Although the songs on her 2008 album, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, primarily consist of intimate acoustic songs, her voice crones from a distance, barely audible, yet meticulously melodic, it is able to wrap around her dense guitar work and unique sense of ambience. Liz Harris manages to go beyond the limitations of what one can do with voice and guitar alone and creates an atmosphere that is extremely stream of conscious, despite still perfectly structured and not adhering to any complete randomness that many may attach to “experimental” music along the same vein. Her sound, while not to be compared to any other artist out there, is reminiscent of the aesthetics of shoegaze, creating music relying more on an overall landscape of sound, evoking a lucid and fluid vibe, rather than creating something that an audience can nitpick and sing a long to. Grouper recently played at LA’s premier underground venue,
The Smell. A place for hipsters everywhere to gather; to revel and rejoice in the dim scenery akin to a garage show, but with the addition of vegan tacos, walls of zines, and seating set around for those to wait around till the next band or to simply interact and indulge in their own trendiness. While often home to somewhat amateurish “experimental” Los Angeles bands, artists such as Grouper show up every so often to perform an extraordinary and captivating show. Grouper’s show, like her record, is very much a venture of consciousness. Droned-out white noise mixed with reverberated guitar, however with distinct vocal melodies that straddle the line between Liz Harris’s pop sensibility and her ability to venture into completely abysmal and trance like music. Not so much as a passing glance at her crowd, Liz Harris seemed to be in a complete trance during the entirety of her performance at The Smell. At her feet were a large array of guitar pedals and cassette players, a mess of cables and electronics, the music still resonated with a strange naturalness. The audience appeared to be in
the same trance as Liz was, but it was questionable whether or not some were in a similar state or simply just rudely dozing off. Her live show may turn off some due to its dissimilarity to her most recent recordings, rather, most of her sound traces back to the largely dissonant vocal and guitar noise of her first record, Way Their Crept. Although she went through more well-known songs such as “Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping,” which was most recently played on the popular British teen drama, Skins, her songs were almost unrecognizable for the most part unless one was already quite familiar with them already. Despite this, the weight of her music was still massive and beautiful in its absolute subtlety. Although one should not expect hearing something similar to the record at a Grouper show, one should not expect to be disappointed either. Liz Harris is not only a purveyor of beautiful melodies and distinct ambience; she creates an ethereal experience like no other solo performer out there. MUSIC | 87
FLICA By Catherine Bui Photo by Steven Ho
ctually it doesn’t mean anything, just a name, as simple as that,” says Euseng Seto, the solo musician behind the moniker Flica. Based in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, Seto started Flica in 2007 as an electro-acoustic project to explore his own style and take up his free time during his break from his first electronica venture as Muxu. Before emerging as Muxu, Seto was a singer and songwriter, composing melodies and lyrics with a keen interest in soundtracks. His passion for soundtracks led him to create instrumental music, what Flica originated and revolves around. Flica’s subtle melodic textures are dreamy, pensive, and truly nostalgic. With recordings that sound like a simpler version of Explosions In The Sky but are guided with lively loop effects and upbeat piano arrangements, Flica presents a fresh and optimistic atmosphere. “It’s all about the nighttime and stories back when I was 19 years old, when I had just finished secondary school,” explains Seto as the inspiration behind Nocturnal, his most recent album. During that time he would spend his wee hours of the day, enjoying the silence, musing about thoughts and ideas or composing short tunes on his guitar, a period of his life that he recalls as mysterious. This experience led him to set up Nocturnal, a collection of tracks that are perfect to listen to when you just want to unwind and get your mind off of your troubles. Nocturnal compared to his album debut, Windvane and Window, is different and much more intricate, a change he explains having to do with his “mood and approach.” “I can’t control what I’m going to do and what kind of genre I’m heading into, I believe I’m never going to repeat the same mood on any album.” Although creating music may be a highlight of his daily life, it is a hobby and an outlet he uses to relieve his stress from his day job as a graphic designer. He designs all his own album covers, showing not only his taste through music but visuals as well, a fellow of many talents.
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Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz! DGC Records
Various Artists Dark Was The Night 4AD
The Horrors Primary Colours XL Recordings
A huge transition from their past work, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ new album is highly energetic in a much happier sense. Straying from their past grungy New York sound and becoming more like Blondie, they have completely transformed as a band. On the first single, “Zero,” there are lush layered guitars and keyboard sounds and much more polished vocals. Their last album was a bit of a flop sales wise, however the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have now emerged new and improved and ready to to fly back to the top. -Aaron
The Dark Was The Night album was released on February 17th, 2009 by John Carlin as his 20th year and album. It is comprised of thirty-one exclusive tracks available as a double cd, triple vinyl, or download called “This Disc” and “That Disc.” These tracks feature many independent artists on the rise such as Beirut, Bon Iver, and Yeasayer. All proceeds that are collected from their sales benefit the Red Hot Organization--an international charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for HIV and AIDS. John Carlin is one of many people responsible for releasing such albums such as No Alternative, Red Hot, Blue, and many more. This incredible mix tape which includes a lot, in fact, all, of my favorite artists involved in one charity album, blew me away with the eclectic choice of music and musicians. From a new track of Beirut, Sufjan’s jaw-dropping cover of “You Are The Blood,” Feist’s delightful partnering with Ben Gibbard, to The Books featuring José Gonzales, and lastly, Sigur Rós’s side project known as “Riceboy Sleeps Lending A Hand.” A two sided track of thirty-one songs from remarkable and aspiring artists can only result in musical accompaniment for a better tomorrow. -Jeanne
Much different from their prior work, the new album from The Horrors is boarder-line radio friendly. Breaking from their loud aggressive guitar and keyboard noise, they now have layers of pretty music on top of more pretty music. It’s a bit strange and more than a little hard to get used to, but they deserve credit for the change at least. Hopefully in the future they will merge the two and create something completely new. -Aaron
Radiohead The Best of Radiohead EMI Records
Asobi Seksu Hush Polyvinyl Record Co.
Thom York once said in an interview that they’ll never release a greatest hits album...Boy was he wrong! This collection of tunes covers their entire catologue while sticking to label EMI, who picked the songs for the compilation, but only one of the songs was really necessary, and that’s “Creep.” Their greatest hits have their moments throughout, but in the end, everything is rubbish other than their first single. If I was the head of EMI I would have entitled this, “Radiohead’s Creep, and 15 other songs that don’t matter” or I would have just made every track of this CD “Creep.” There’s a reason why they’ve never gotten back on the Billboard charts since the release of this single in ‘92 when it became a worldwide hit. Radiohead needs to re-release this jem onto every album as it’s first and last track, because that’s all the fans want to hear. -Alex
Asobi Seksu’s newest album Hush is more than just a shoegaze-experimental album. In their earlier album, Citrus, the band ventured through calm waters, as their songs were melodic, catchy, as well as beautifully ambient. Hush takes Asobi Seksu’s ventures onto the next level. Not only were the songs crafted gorgeously, the whole album was bound together with sounds that could separate Asobi Seksu into a genre of their own. “Layers” is a journey through several trajectories of noise that perhaps wouldn’t have been an option to bands after 1992. For something more familiar, the song “Me and Mary” is the meeting point between Citrus pop extravaganza and the discordant nature of Hush shows that catchy songs doesn’t have to be pop in its most pedantic form. Asobi Seksu’s unique style of delivering the element of surprise and the unexpected gave listeners more texture than melodic. Instantaneous it may not be, but stick with Hush and it will grow on you like the mold on last week’s cream cheese bagel. That’s a promise. -Michelle
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The Mars Volta Octahedron Mercury Records
Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Glassnote
Being one of the more successful acts coming out of this decade, The Mars Volta’s latest effort of attention, Octahedron, claims to venture to new grounds by going acoustic, but before jumping to conclusions, you have to remember their definition of “acoustic” might be a bit distorted by the twin towers of afros and excess noise these two have lived with since their previous band At.The.Drive.In. These proggiants have nurtured a fusion of galactic punk and salsa funk since their debut in 2002 and hit their peak in the following years until the public eye started noticing they’re trying a little too hard. Octahedron follows exactly where their last album, The Bedlam In Goliath, left off- typical for a band who record multiple records in one sitting. With songs averaging six minutes, the boys behind Volta try to get straight to the point, but instead, rush through the lush improvisations of this record and go back into Omar’s cheesy guitar lines and Cedric’s high pitched voice that sounds less like an angel and more like Nick Swardson’s Gay Robot. Such songs as “Desperate Graves” and their single “Cotopaxi” make the record sound like they’ve evolved, but just those two tracks can’t save this record’s murky future. The album is a lackluster of hits, even for die-hard Volta fans. Maybe the Voltas will discover that a few delay pedals and falsettos can only get a band so far. It’s understandable that these guys want to leave their old sounds behind, but an “acoustic” album with it’s vicious tracks the strongest ones may be a sign that they should stop playing with that Ouija board they picked up two years ago and actually try something new- even if it means starting another band...again. -Alex
Phoenix’s fourth studio produced album is their finest to date. From the refreshing adorable opener “Liszomania” to a toned down closing “Armistice,” each song is well constructed and precise. This album might as well as been written with rubber gloves on. Phoenix sure have seized the opportunity to create something “hip” by opening with old-school chiming keyboards in “Liszomania,” to using buzzing synths in 1901 to bring the listener back at ease with the modern world. Along with the kittenish charm that sneaks up on you, Thomas Mars’ vocal hooks easily makes their songs the closest thing to an obvious pop hit. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix sounds a little like Soulwax if they stopped trying so very hard. The band seemed intent on creating their own idiosyncratic musical path, but one of the many things that makes this album so delightful is the fact that it sounds like it couldn’t care less. -Michelle
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AUSTRIAN FASH UTE PLOIE A LINE OF FOR THE MO
By Cathe Photos by
HION DESIGNER ER OFFERS CLOTHING ODERN MAN
erine Bui Shoji Fujii
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“I think that is also what fascinates me about fashion. It gives you the possibility to develop a plot and tell a story.”
s a girl who is drawn to more gender-neutral colors and loose-fitting shapes, I prefer a more boyish kind of womenswear. I often find myself sifting through online fashion forums only to stop under the men’s section and gaze at recent collections, admiring their construction and tailoring. It was inevitable that I would soon find Ute Ploier, and when I did, I was immediately pulled into her designs. For Ploier, her fascination behind fashion lies within the chance of developing a plot and telling a story behind her clothes. As a child growing up in Austria, she would invent stories and act them out with her friends, but when she was alone she would replace her friends with dolls or anything she could find as her actors. Setting out to pursue a career in which she could continue her love of storytelling, she decided on fashion design where she can then recreate stories and express them through her pieces. She then moved to Vienna to study at the University of Applied Arts under the teachings of Jean-Charles Castelbajac, Viktor Horsting, Rolf Snoeren, and Raf Simons, from whom she adopted her appreciation of minimalism and eccentricity in her designs. “My line stands for sharply cut, smart clothes with a sense of humor. It’s about modernized classics with a new twist. As a female designer creating menswear, the idea of questioning and reworking social roles is part of my philosophy. I respect traditions in menswear but I also want to liberate them,” says Ploier, whose number one concern when designing is to respect the customer’s need. “To me, fashion is as much about the look as it is about the feel. That is why our fabrics are always special and great to touch and wear.” Ploier, who currently only designs clothing for men, finds her attraction to men’s tailoring is due to its logic and functionalism. She finds it enthralling when observing the lining of a men’s suit jacket, “it’s like a sculpture,” she explains. “I like that it’s reasonable, rough and refined at the same time.” Bardagamadur, the name of the A/W 2009 collection, is an Icelandic term for ‘fighter.’ Inspired by the current economy and social circumstances caused by the financial crisis, Ploier feels that nowadays a man would want to look like a man. This led her to use massive yet caring forms for her coats, parkas, and blazers. Yet she also feels that in such onerous times, a man also needs love and warmth, which is shown in the cross between masculinity and the softer facets of design in her pieces. Pieces include a series of silk button ups, multi-ringed turtlenecks, refined jackets and trousers done in English wool and an especially eye-
catching toffee brown wax clothed cape. To introduce the image of a ‘fighter’ into her collection, Ploier incorporates her own versions of boxing equipment, including accessories like the knitted cap and padded leather gloves. “I wanted to turn them into noble and gentlemanlike accessories with an exquisite touch,” explains Ploier. Connecting the overall message of the ‘fighter’ and creating a sense of warmth and protection, she mixes rich colors like caramel, chocolate and turquoise with her usual monochrome color palette of blacks, grays and whites. In regards to what lies ahead for Ute Ploier, she’s keeping it a secret to what will be revealed in her next collection. But when I asked her if she will start a women’s line in the future, Ploier says that she would love to and has been thinking about it a lot. So it’s very promising that girls will be able sport her designs sometime in the future too! However for the time being we can only wait anxiously to see what Ploier will be cutting and sewing up next.
Random Q&A’s with Ute Ploier Have you heard about the theory that the world will end in 2012? Ute: I just talked about that with a friend of mine last night. That is not the first and hopefully not the last theory about this subject. It is very surreal but on the other hand it’s a realistic scenario that the world will end one day. I don’t know when that day will come but in the meantime, I’ll try my best to treat our earth with respect. What’s your favorite dessert? Ute: Mousse au chocolat
BY CATHERINE BUI
This summer, William Anzevino and Richard Florence, designers of the label Anzevino and Florence, wants you to be comfortable. With some oversized cuts and cleverly pleated forms, the design duo is making sure you’re going to look good and feel at ease. Having met nine years ago while working on a t-shirt line for the Andy Warhol Museum, William and Richard began their label, what they described as a “natural progression.” With the philosophy that emotions is what their designs are all about, and the combination of William’s enfolding lines and Richard’s architectural structures, AZFN is blurring the line that girls have to be feminine while guys must remain tough at all times. The attitude of the clothing is simply described as free and easy. Filled with innovative shapes and textures, the duo has also built a fall and winter collection that includes wool peacoats with leather bomber sleeves to cutoff cropped fleece tops with lace details, which are bound to make you wish summer was already over.
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First off, tell to us what your ideal outfit would be. A black tank top, a black cardigan and black jeans. What’s a day like in the life of William Anzevino? Wake up too late, rush to my first meeting, and apologize for being late. Answer a bunch of questions and phone calls. After dinner I start designing and stay up way too late doing so. As a child were you already interested in fashion? Yeah, I was interested in fashion as early as I can remember. In 4th grade I remember getting tattled on for drawing dresses instead of doing my schoolwork and the teacher told the class that I was allowed to continue because I was going to be a fashion designer when I grew up. Crazy! What did you study in school? I only went to college for 1 day and that was for fine art. Before starting AZFN, what were you doing? I was working as a freelance graphic designer. When you first met Richard, what was your first impression of him? Good question, I remember him as being unusually polite.
Describe your philosophy about the art of fashion. For me fashion is all about emotions. I want to make clothes that help people say how they feel, or at least look how they feel. What inspires your designs? Music and/or moodswings. What do you think the future of fashion will be? I hope that the future of fashion is individual style. I hope the days of trends are behind us. And come on, tell us a secret! What about working with Richard can you not stand? Richard can be a bit of a control freak. On the other hand though, what about working with him do you love? Well, Richard is a total genius so he looks at things in his very own bizarre way which makes everything more exciting. What do you grab to eat after a hard day’s work? As little as possible.
Tell us what your ideal outfit would be. White T-shirt with holes, jeans and sneakers. What’s a day like in the life of Richard Florence? On a good day I’ll swim in the morning. That always wakes me up. Then stop by LA Cafe and say hi to the people. Go to work and run around like a crazy person all day and try to incorporate some kind of adventure throughout. As a child were you already interested in fashion? What got you started into fashion? Yeah, when I was a kid I would draw the old Tony Hawk skulls and Jimmy’z and Gotcha logos and sell them to kids for 50 cents so they could put it in their folders and be cool. I got in trouble for selling stuff at school but my mom was proud. What did you study in school? Did you ever intern under anyone? I studied graphic design than interned for this designer and learned that 60-year-old guys sometimes divorce their wives, move to a beach house, start dating 20 year old girls and want to party with their interns to get their mind off of things. Before starting AZFN, what were you doing? Designing t-shirt graphics
When you first met William, what was your first impression of him? He was cool. He had blue spiky hair. Hope he doesn’t mind me saying! Describe your philosophy about the art of fashion. I love the way a piece of clothing can completely alter someone’s mood. A girl can put on that right dress and feel like everything will be ok. What inspires your designs? Black and white, squares and circles. What do you think the future of fashion will be? People will get rhinestones surgically implanted into their skin. Spill us some beans! What about working with William can you not stand? He’s a scatter brained crazy person!! But so am I. But also, you gotta tell us what you love about him! He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met. What do you grab to eat after a hard day’s work Mediterranean.
LEIF AND TOOYA Being husband and wife doesn’t mean its all just feuds and messy children...
o husband and wife duo Leif and Tooya, the art of fashion is an especially important aspect to their means of expression, “a way to say certain things that can only be said in that language”. The language of Leif and Tooya’s collection seems to be that of light materials, frayed hems, and an eclectic blend of color and pattern, all adding up to create a raw and wonderfully fluid feel. Tooya grew up in various parts of Germany, but the couple met in their hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan as teenagers. They describe while growing up that they appreciated the support from their families and the encouragement that they received to try new things. These kind words of encouragement made it possible for them to freely express and explore their creativity. This freedom that they possess is keenly demonstrated throughout
their collection; each piece holds a flowy, relaxed fit, the designers’ way of having the fabric feel like “a favorite t-shirt”. As for inspiration, Leif and Tooya say they welcome “the melting of ice and marble”, along with “the resurgence of fluidity”. Their mainstay fabrics are comfortable yet beautifully constructed; the pair piece dyes each one by one, and drapes them individually as well, a process, they say, which requires a lot of hand sewing. The completion of a look can take them from anywhere to a week or a few months, but the wait is well worth it. Leif and Tooya plan to release a spring/summer 2009 collection this coming September; some books and a catalog are on their way as well. Their collection can be found at Blank in New York and Ooga Booga Los Angeles.
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INDEX ANA HIMES www.anahimes.es ASTRID YSKOUT www.flickr.com/photos/astridyskout AURELIA LANGE www.aurelialange.co.uk ANZEVINO AND FLORENCE www.azfn.com BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW www.blackmothsuperrainbow.com BOB LONDON www.boblondon.co.uk BRETT MANNING www.brettisagirl.com CAROLYN ALEXANDAR www.carolyn-alexander.blogspot.com CHRIS VARA www.flickr.com/photos/chris_time_travels CLAIRE SCULLY www.thequietrevolution.co.uk CHOIR OF YOUNG BELIEVERS www.myspace.com/choirofyoungbelievers DIANA KOEHNE www.dianakoehne.de FLICA www.myspace.com/flicasound GROUPER www.myspace.com/grouperrepuorg JACOB KOESTLER www.jacobkoestler.com JON VAUGHN www.flickr.com/photos/jon_vaughn LEIF AND TOOYA www.leifandtooya.us MATT FURIE www.mattfurie.com MEYOKO www.myspace.com/meyoko RUMSTK www.rumstk.blogspot.com UTE PLOIER www.uteploier.com WILLIAM EDMOND www.williamedmonds.co.uk