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Today I am very pleased to feature part one of a two part interview with John and Cris of The Deafening Colors. The second I heard their music I was immediately transported out of my living room and into the minds and worlds of these amazing song writers. You can find their new album here. Be sure to crank it on a good sound system or put your headphones on, there’s a lot to take in.


Carousel SeasonWhat is your name?

John: My name is John Arthur. I am in The Deafening Colors.

Cris: My name is Cristofer Slotoroff. Everyone calls me Cris, though. Even my mom. I am in The Deafening Colors.

What is your quest?

John: My quest is, to quote Tolstoy, to add my light to the sum of light.

Cris: I took a career quiz in the eighth grade. In a moment of preteen sincerity, I wrote “to paint my masterpiece.” Not sure of the medium, but I’m still working on it.
Tell me about your journey to Carousel Season. How does it differ from previous efforts?
John: It started with Cris’s early versions of “Diving Horse’s Ghost” and “Carousel Season.” It differs from previous efforts because it is so focused. This was probably the album that we’ve been trying to write during the dozen or more years since Cris and I first started playing music together in our parents’ basements in high school.

Cris: It differs, as John mentioned, in the realm of focus. Like, I can passably (and poorly) string vocals together, but they won’t be very good. John can play a bunch of instruments too, but this time, it just sort of turned out that John (who is an uncommonly good singer, and I’m not even just saying that) did all of the vocals and I did all of the instruments. It wasn’t a stated aim or goal or whatever. It just sort of started turning out that way. That’s more of an explanation of the process though rather than the journey.

To more accurately answer your question, I think the journey is, at least personally speaking here, borne out of necessity: I had a rough 2014 and I hadn’t made anything (musically, financially, personally, artistically) in a long time. I didn’t feel like myself. Wrong girl, wrong town, wrong people to surround myself with. Blah blah blah. Finally, something clicked and it seemed as if I had to look backward to go forward if that makes any sense. Looking back here, this all seems a little pretentious. Whatever. It’s true.

Reading the “About” section on your site makes it sound as if a minor fender bender may have started all this?

John: That was Cris’s fender bender. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

Cris: Sort of. I was home visiting my family. I had already intended on recording a ton of stuff, so it wasn’t as though the idea wasn’t in my head. I didn’t mean for it to sound so dramatic, because it wasn’t. Let me set that straight for future reference. What happened is that I was driving to get a cheesesteak for lunch at Rose’s Garden Grille in Northfield, NJ, where John is from (and where he used to work in high school). John’s town is adjacent to my town. Anyhow, on my way there, I see this fender bender on the side of the road. It looked like the cops hadn’t gotten there yet. Nothing serious, but everyone looked a little uneasy. So I pulled over and then I realize it was actually someone I knew really well. I hadn’t spoken to her in so long, and we had a bit of a relationship when we were kids. She was there with her mother, and I’m really good friends with her older brother, so I run over and ask if everyone’s all right. They were, but they both didn’t recognize me until later in the day after I got in touch again, and then we kind of spent the whole rest of the winter break talking to one another while I was recording all of this stuff. I had forgotten or maybe misplaced in my memory all of these experiences. Also, I’ve been out of high school ten years as of 2015. So as we were talking it was kind of like rediscovering myself in some strange way. It was really cool to make something and rekindle an old friendship. I think the two had a lot of bearing on one another.

What do you think would have happened if Cris hadn’t had that experience?

John: We would have kept on recording and making music. Both of us constantly have recording, and the creation of art in general, on our minds.

Cris: I agree with John. We have been making stuff for years and we won’t stop. Like John sort of insinuated, we have been trying unconsciously, I think, to make this album for a very long time.

I need to know who Mary-Anne and Jerry Ryan are.

John: Mary-Anne is the girl you wish you had asked to the movies in 11th grade. Jerry Ryan is a philanthropist, music enthusiast, festival organizer, father, humorist, and all around good dude from Atlantic City, NJ.

Cris: Mary-Anne is the best kind of disaster, but you can only feel that way in retrospect – a person genuinely awful to the core, but nonetheless essential to helping you figure something out about yourself. I had one of those in my life at one point. I think it’s important to be optimistic, so that’s the way I choose to see that whole thing. Her name wasn’t Mary-Anne, but Mary-Anne has this classy old ring to it, so it kind of had to be “Mary-Anne.” “Maggie Anne” was considered too, because my roommate’s dog is named Maggie and she’s fantastic, but it wasn’t to be.

As John said: Jerry Ryan is a philanthropist, music enthusiast, festival organizer, father, humorist, and all around good dude from Atlantic City, NJ.

I’d like to add, he was pretty instrumental in our developing an early audience. Though John and I had been making music for years and playing the occasional show here and there around NYC, Philly, NJ/AC, etc. we were inherently not so good at promoting ourselves. We’re not very “band-y,” if you know what I mean? But we take the creating music part of things very seriously and Jerry was one of the first people to sort of say “hey, you guys NEED to play at my new festival and you NEED more people to hear this album.” Also, the lyrics of that song are almost 100% literal truth.

I absolutely hear a Beach Boys influence in your harmonies and even some of the production choices? Is that something that is conscious or instinctive?

John: I think it started out as instinctive but we picked up on it quickly and then it became conscious.

Cris: Hm. One of the things I like about the way that John and I record is that it’s not very “serious.” I don’t mean that in a way that contradicts what I’ve written previous to this. What I mean is that we are very serious about the music we make and extremely dedicated, but the process of doing it is entirely one of exploration. I imagine it’s probably a lot like telling some kid at an amusement park, “okay, we want you to make the greatest roller coaster of all time. So here’s all the tickets you want. Ride them all as many times as you’d like, see how much you can handle. Then, draw up the best roller coaster possible, it doesn’t matter if it’s crazy and doesn’t make any sense. We will try to build it!” We didn’t really model it on anyone else’s work. John did a lot of those harmonies first take. Like it’s almost all improvised, which is sort of crazy good, if you really think about it. Like, I’m still outrageously impressed with all of that and I was sitting there and clicking the  buttons and all.

John and I were just having this conversation the other day: “Why do people keep saying beach boys?” or “why surf rock?”  Neither one of us thinks of music in terms of genre, you know? We have a hard time categorizing other people’s stuff, so it’s nearly impossible for us to accurately describe our sound. I mean certainly we love Pet Sounds and the like, and I’m sure it played the role of a conscious influence along the way, but I think I was listening to more Run The Jewels and RTJ2 than I was Pet Sounds! In terms of Surf Rock, we have been listing that as a genre where applicable because it’s what other people seem to say about us. I think that’s because of the guitar tone I kind of prefer, which is actually really simple – just a few pedals and amps and all. Lots of spring Reverb. But actually, as much as I like equipment, my stuff sort of pales in comparison to what I want. We have made the most out of our gear. Believe me. I did some weird stuff to my guitars, I guess, but it’s nothing revolutionary or whatever. We keep things (cheap and) simple on the whole. We become restless easily too, so what happens next may be entirely different. Who knows?

In terms of production, I like being surrounded by music. I like bathing in it. I want it to sound, literally, like waves of sound are picking you up and tossing you around comfortably and maybe not so comfortably. So, more so than Brian Wilson, I think Loveless (My Bloody Valentine), You Forgot It in People (Broken Social Scene), and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot were influential production touchstones. Oh, also a lot of Dave Friedmann’s stuff with The Flaming Lips. In particular, Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi. Finally, (sorry for rambling here,) I think that it sounds a little Beach Boys or surfy or whatever because it’s about where we grew up, and well… I surf. I love surfing. I’m going surfing in a few minutes actually! There is a lot of kitschy BS associated with surfing and music around here, so I think I kind of wanted it to be as cool as I think it can be. Jersey Surf Rock, maybe? Like dirty water, crowded lineup, dodging jetties and shoobies and drainage pipes and all. That’s what the album sounds like to me.

The Beach Boys connection is maybe (…and somewhat ironically, given what people have said about it,) more Van Dyke Parks than Brian Wilson in that the subject matter is cyclical and reflective of a hometown aesthetic (if I can be so presumptuous). I can see where it comes from though, because of the harmonies and the guitars…but like, there was Carl, Dennis, Bruce, Al, Brian, and Mike. And probably others. John did literally every vocal on that album. I didn’t work with any session people. I don’t say that to brag, because I’m not exactly Mr. Proficiency on my instruments. I mention this because the line between vision and creation is not even remotely obscured when it comes to the two of us. We don’t have to relinquish anything to the creative or commercial whims of anyone else. I’ve heard of a certain Hoboken native who liked to remind the world just whose way he did things, and I think it’s admirable when anyone blazes his or her own trail in the arts. I think that someone more important than me once said “if you’re going to fail, it should be spectacularly…” or something like that.

What has the reaction to Carousel Season been?

John: It has been overwhelmingly positive—I’m thankful every day that we have people listening to and sharing our music. The best thing, for me, is that some of the songs are taking on a life of their own—”Jerry Ryan” was recently performed by a bunch of students for an Elephants For Autism charity music camp—watching the video of those kids performing a song we wrote probably made me happier than anything else has in my life (except of course my family and my wife)…hi, Khush. Hi, mom.

Cris: More positive than I could have ever imagined. It’s sort of surreal. Like, I remember just sort of mic’ing everything up and then playing the instruments, recording John, mixing it, mastering it, buying gear, restringing guitars or whatever, blah blah blah, and there was no audience for that, you know? Like, no one was expecting anything from us except for those really close to us. And then again, we’ve been recording music a long time so when we would tell our friends “no really, this is pretty good…” I think a lot of them were sort of skeptical. It’s funny – we used to tell people that if they didn’t want to listen to our 7” or our CD-R EPs, they made great drink coasters. We never took ourselves seriously and I think that kind of rubbed off on the music we made and the way people interpreted it. Also, I think that we may have been a little afraid to say something genuine… sort of like “who are we to say _____ ?” A lot of things clicked, though, this time around in a way they haven’t and I think we’re onto something even bigger.


Be sure to join us next week for the exciting conclusion of our interview with John and Cris of The Deafening Colors.

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Today we return to Los Angeles to speak with Steven Eric Wilson of Plasticsoul. We’re going deep, kids. Hang on tight.


Tell me a little about your background. How you got into music. 

Steven Eric Wilson: I had 5 older brothers and sisters who filled my head with all sorts of music from as early as I can remember.  It was probably Kiss who made me want to be a musician.  They were like super heroes with guitars.

How did Plasticsoul come together?

SEW: When I was 15 I joined my first band – a really horrible punk band – playing bass guitar.  Our guitar player had a $15 pawn shop guitar that was made from particle board.  Our drummer played Synsonics drums (no, seriously).  I played with a couple more bands after that before I got disillusioned with the whole “band” thing and decided to do things on my own.   I liked the idea of being a solo artist while using a band moniker like Matt Johnson/The The.  Originally I wanted to call the band The Sal Mineos but my friend told me that I might have problems with the estate of Sal Mineo so I changed it to Plasticsoul. During the recording of our first album, Pictures From The Long Ago, Marc Bernal became a permanent fixture in the group.  We did as much of the production, recording, and playing as we could do on our own, and got help from our friends when we couldn’t.  During the recording of our second album, Peacock Swagger, we made the decision to add members to the group in order to better recreate live what we were doing in the studio.

Is your band’s name “Plasticsoul” a reference to the term black musicians in the 60s used to describe Mick Jagger (a white musician singing soul music)?

SEW: Yes.  After that Paul McCartney said “plastic soul man, plastic soul” in the fade out of The Beatles track “I’m Down”.  Then they mutated the phrase into their album title Rubber Soul.  I wanted something that reminded people of vintage music.  All of our amps and guitars are pre 1970 and we are heavily influenced by classic rock, so it seemed appropriate.

 I hear some Beatles influence, but mostly in the vocals. Is that intentional?

SEW: The Beatles are a huge influence on me.  They were innovators and they wrote amazing songs.  I don’t intentionally try to sing like any member of The Beatles and I don’t really hear it myself.  It’s strange how many people hear different things in my voice.  I’ve gotten Michael Penn, George Michael (??) and Billy Corgan (?!?!?!) and others.

Tell me about the song “Over & Over.”

SEW: Over & Over is about trying to ignore emotional pain by burying it deep within you and trying to forget it.  I grew up trying to do this and it doesn’t work.  Eventually all of that poison will bubble back up to the surface and really mess you up mentally and physically.  That song was a big exorcism for me.  I’m really proud of that one.

What inspires you musically and lyrically?

SEW: I’m inspired by whatever I’m feeling at the time.  I’m not usually very direct in my lyric writing.  My lyrics tend to be more about imagery than about saying something specific.  I like leaving things open to interpretation.

I’m inspired musically by real instruments.  Music that is made without digital correction.  I love hearing mistakes.  Some of my favorite parts of songs are mistakes or things that shouldn’t be there.  The squeaky kick drum pedal in James Brown’s Sex Machine makes me smile every time.

Yes! Exactly. Jimi Hendrix is someone who has inspired so many guitarists to be extremely proficient and yet he has mistakes on his albums and also never played his songs the same way twice. Is Plasticsoul similarly fluid live?

SEW: Oh god yes!  Our bass player Marc often complains because we sound so different live than we do on record.  To me, that’s a good thing.  There was a band in the 80’s that I really loved called Lions & Ghosts.  On their first album they had all of these lush string arrangements, piano, etc, and when you saw them live it was just 2 guitars, bass, drums, and vocals.  And they were AWESOME live!  That was what I wanted with Plasticsoul.  Our guitar player Daniel is always changing up his pedals so his sound is often different, and he rarely plays the exact same thing twice.   My guitar solos tend to be more scripted but that is just because I’m not as good a guitar player as Daniel.  Overall, I think we still sound like Plasticsoul when we perform live.

What do you want people to get from your music?

SEW: The beauty of imperfection.

What do you get from your music?

SEW:  Catharsis

What are your highest aspirations for Plasticsoul?

SEW: I would be very happy if I could make enough money from my music to support myself, my wife, and our cats.  That doesn’t mean I would be upset if suddenly we were as big as Queen and playing stadiums.  If we can continue to make music that I can be proud of, make a living, and take the show on the road so we can meet the people outside the US that bought our records, I would be very happy

What is your assessment of the LA music scene and music in general right now?

SEW: There are some amazing musicians in Los Angeles making fabulous records.  Brandon Schott (who is a casual member of Plasticsoul), the breakups, John Hoskinson, Everyday Ghost, The Condors, Brian Whelan…tons of great artists!  Unfortunately, the club scene isn’t very supportive.  If we could inject the passion of our LA musicians into our LA club owners we might be able to achieve something.

Chicken, pork, beef, or tofu?

SEW: Back in August I cut all animal protein out of my diet with the exception of chicken and fish.  One of the things I thought I was going to miss the most was chorizo.  Then I found SOYrizo and its delicious – so I will have to go with tofu.


 

Plasticsoul’s latest CD Peacock Swagger voted

#1 on Absolute Powerpop’s Top 100 CDs of 2009 List!

#1 on PowerPopAholic’s Top CD’s of 2009 List!

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Today we are joined by Todd Stone. He comes from a very musical family and wears his influences on his sleeve. Fans of The Cure and Joy Division will definitely want to check him out, but I recommend everyone give him a listen regardless of your musical preferences!


 

You come from a very musical family. What can you tell me about what that was like and what impact it had on you?

Todd Stone: Yes, my family from my Mother’s side were very musical. My Grandparents used to play to the US Army troops, based here in the 2nd World War. My Grandad on piano and my Nan singing. My Uncle who I haven’t seen since I was a young teen, used to play keyboards in Georgie Fame’s band, The Blue Jets. But he chose to go into business after a short spell of that. Growing up it was kind of normal listening to my Nan playing the piano & my Mum was always singing about the house and the radio was on every waking hour.

You played in “The Wicked Messengers” & “The Love Rats”. What were those experiences like? What did you learn from being in those bands?

TS: “The Wicked Messengers” and “The Love Rats” were my first experiences of playing live. I kind of always wrote everything and then put it to the band and they would fill their parts in. The band members never really came to me with anything they had written. Live I think we were really good, we took our fooling around with us to the stage; at times it got to be more of a comedy show, but it was a great time of drink and other stuff going on. but the downside of being in those bands was nothing really got organized. We really needed a manager to reign us in and keep us under control.

Why did you decide to pursue a solo career?

TS: I went solo, because I felt I could be more serious about the music and not have to rely on other band members turning up or not turning up. Also, I had a lot of songs inside me I didn’t feel were suitable for the bands I’d played with before. I locked myself away and recorded morning, noon, and night. I feel I’ve been at my most creative on my own. But maybe in the future I will get another band together, but there will be restrictions on the drunken behaviour that seems to go on with being in a band.

Why did you choose to do all of the instrumentation yourself as a solo artist?

TS: I played all the instruments myself for 2 reasons. I wanted to grow in my musical knowledge and really push myself to see what would come out. It was a great excuse to explore instruments I had very little experience of. The other reason is I knew what kind of direction I wanted to take the music in and when you have other people involved it tends to get pulled into other directions. I’m very selfish when it comes to my songs.

“Emotion for me in a song is everything.”

Tell me about the importance and impact of emotion on your songwriting.

TS: Emotion for me in a song is everything. I write what comes from the heart and I’m gravitated to music that has an overwhelming sense of emotion, and emotion covers a lot of ground, from happiness, sadness, anger etc.

What do you hope people get from your music?

TS: I hope when people listen to my songs, that they can relate to the lyrics or get where I’m coming from. I have a lot of depressing songs in my catalogue, but amongst them there are rockier ones and happy pop type songs.

Your song writing seems very much rooted in a certain time and place. For me, as a US citizen, I get a late 70s early 80s London vibe. What is it about that music and that time and place that speaks to you?

TS: I guess the early eighties for me was a very inspiring time, especially as I was in my early teens. I was discovering myself. Bands like “The Cure,” “Bauhaus,”  “Joy Division” spoke to me the most. I could relate a lot of what was going on in my life to the lyrics of their songs and the general mood of their tracks. But I feel music had tons more emotion in it back then than it does now. Even the silly pop songs had more originality to it. I think Cyndi Lauper was massively creative in her image as well as her music.

What is your view/opinion of the current music scene in London?

TS: The current music scene, I don’t think has changed a great deal. There’s some great bands out there, but due to how easy it is to record these days and get exposed, I feel the market has flooded itself. But as always the record companies seem to only be interested in kids with very little talent other than to sing. I believe it’s because they’re easier to control and package exactly the way they want it. Which is a great shame for the real bands out there with masses of talent, that have their own very strong image and style of music. London still has a lot of great venues to play, but sadly over the past decade they do seem to be in decline. If live music became more popular again, maybe the record company’s would look more at the live bands that are out there doing it.

What inspires you?

TS: What inspires me, the main things that inspire me, is seeing someone make something of themselves from nothing and seeing people who have some form of disability, just not letting it effect their lives and then go on to achieve amazing things. It has often brought a tear to my eye. I’m silly like that.

What are your plans for the future?

TS: My future plans have already been planned out, well at least the next 2 albums. I plan on doing a very acoustic set of songs & do them live.

If you could be one kind of donut what would it be and why?

TS: Haha I think at times I am a donut, just a plain ol’ donut lol


Follow Todd at Reverb Nation: http://reverbnation.com/toddstone

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Allan Irvine: Guitarist, mentalist, madman. No, seriously. Who wears this outfit in Northern Ireland for fun?

Allan has been a good friend to me over the years, is another guitar.com find,  and was nice enough to include me on a project a year ago. Video after the interview. Ladies and gentlemen, Allan Irvine!


How did you first get into guitar? 

AI: I blame my Uncle. He was a total rocker/metal-head when I was still in primary school (7-8 years old) and I was the only kid in my class with a cut-off denim jacket that had a huge Led Zep painting on the back. It rocked! I sat every weekend listening to AC/DC, Saxon, Led Zep, KISS, WASP, Scorpions,Iron Maiden….. y’know…….late 70’s and early 80’s rock and metal. Getting into the guitar as an instrument and not just a bringer of wonderful noise was a logical conclusion almost. It was years after that when it happened though.

How old were you?

AI: I was 18. I’d just started college after getting 7 G.C.S.E’s at 16 and then a Higher National Diploma at 17. When I went on to A-level study at 18 I had my first proper job and the guitar was my first purchase with my 2nd wage packet. My girlfriend at the time wasn’t happy about it, but I didn’t give a shit. It was my ambition from school, my money, and my hard work that made that money. She soon became an ex, and my guitar was my mistress!

Was it your first instrument?

AI: No, I started off in primary school with a little recorder, then a Tenor Horn in secondary School. I hated them, I always wanted to play the guitar, and my music teacher wouldn’t let me near the Strat that the school music room had because he was a first class prick. I could have asked my folks, but I had too much pride and dignity and knew they couldn’t afford one. I had a great upbringing, but financially a tough one. My parents worked hard and what we had was minimal, but I seriously can’t fault it. I could never have asked them for anything as expensive as a guitar when I was a kid and I knew I’d buy my own some day. And I did…….now I have serious G.A.S!!! (editor’s note : Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

How did you first learn, who taught you?

AI: Guitar tablature was my teacher, addiction and entertainment for a few years when I first started out. I loved learning new songs and it never took much time to get to grips with them as I learn at an extraordinary rate. Within a year of first plugging in my very first guitar I was playing things like “Midnight” by the mighty Joe Satriani almost note perfect.

“I can be happy in knowing that I’m still enjoying the challenge.”


Kids now don’t realize how easy it is for them with the Internet and Youtube etc. I think some of these kids are amazing. But they have access to a world that we didn’t have when I was growing up. Jeez, even the tablature we got was awful sometimes, nowhere near the bloody song you were trying to learn! After a while though I was able to pick up most things by ear and transfer them to the neck as I learned and progressed. I can pick up styles and licks that others use and adapt them to my own way of playing. Anyone who says this is just copying is a dick. Sure, if I met a bunch of Beatles fans on Twitter and set up a cover band called “The Tweetles” or some equally as shitty pun, playing all their songs and dressing like them, then I’d agree! Fucking right I would. Those guys are assholes. But say if a classically trained pianist had studied some Chopin pieces then totally arranged, composed and played his OWN work including little Chopin-esque elements, does that make him any less of a musician? Does it fuck! In a world with 6 and a half billion people alive, and as many or more dead, it is hard not to be compared to anyone no matter what you do. It’s just how it works. And if you can learn from your heroes and infuse or include it it into your own style and playing then do it. Every guitar player you have ever heard has done it. I recently heard Guthrie Govan playing a piece made up in the style of his heroes, and he uses their sound and techniques but plays it the way Mr. Govan can play it, his own way. It was amazing. Not only is he better than nearly every one of the musicians he referenced, but you knew who they were instantly without seeing anything to tell you. Does this make Guthrie Govan a copycat/plagiarist? Seriously? Fuck no. If he is then Steve Vai was wrong in calling him “The best guitarist on the planet.” Personally, I happen to agree that he is too.

What was your first guitar?

AI: A cream Squire Strat. It was an average guitar, but it was MY average guitar and I worked damn hard to buy it. As I said, I wasn’t a spoiled little rich kid with too much gear and little or no talent. I had my crappy little Squire and a second hand Vox 15 watt amp and I played the shit out of them until I could move on to better things.

Tell me a little about your gear and your sound.

AI: At present I’ve got a Schecter Damien Elite 8-string tuned E,B,E,A,D,G,B,E I think!? I love that thing. You start off with a catchy little progression then “Berrrrrrrrrrr…….RAWK!!!” I totally skipped the whole 7-string phase and leapt from 6 to 8. It was a new challenge and I’m loving it so far. I also own an Ibanez JS, a few home-built Strats, an old Crafter Bass for recording (redundant now I have the Schecter, it has all the bass included!) and a battered old acoustic for practice. On the DAW front I have a Line 6 UX-1 running through Abelton. It will soon be replaced by a Line 6 HD500. I also run a Boss ME-25 now and again for different tones and effects. I don’t have a dedicated sound or tone and I change it constantly to fit whatever I have in my head when I’m recording. I’m still useless at Abelton though so although musically I can get by, as far as recording and production etc is concerned I suck. I’ll leave that to the pedantic knob twiddlers out there. Let’s face it, in the studio it’s just you and the instrument, the engineers do the magic on the other side so why get all arsey (anal) about it now? For now I’ll be happy with crappy quality recordings with some decent playing.

Listen to “**** You Rocksmith” http://www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=184436

How do you approach song writing? What’s the process?

AI: I don’t write. Never have. I know nothing of theory, scales, modes…..nothing. I record or ‘obtain’ drums then I plug in and what comes out is what I feel when I hear the beat set down previously. It has worked for me so far! I think if I sat and constructed pieces and worked everything out methodically it would kill my enjoyment. People are too obsessed with theory dude! Look below any Youtube video of a guitarist and/or rock musician. It’s fucking pathetic the arguments they get into. I think if it rocks then it rocks, and I don’t care if he used a Phrygian, Mixolydian, Triceratops, or Condominium. That’s the downside of the Internet as a musician’s tool, it turns musicians into tools. A wise man, and a great blues guitarist once said to me “Just shut up and play your damned guitar! That is your voice and you can sure as hell use it, so do it!” He passed away a few months after giving me one hell of a great piece of advice. Man, I miss him.

I think if it rocks then it rocks, and I don’t care if he used a Phrygian, Mixolydian, Triceratops, or Condominium.

What is your opinion of “tone chasers”and do you consider yourself one?

AI: Like Eric Johnson? I’ve nothing against them to be honest. If that floats their boat then sure, go for it! I can’t settle for just one sound or tone, I have to be tweaking and finding new things. Lots of different and strange sounds that work into whatever I’m doing at the time.

Who are your idols?

AI: I have way too many to list but I’ll drop in a few names if it helps! Mattias ‘IA’ Eklundh, Shawn Lane, Guthrie Govan, Vai, Satriani, Ron Jarzombek, Rory Gallagher, Hendrix, Beck,

Page, Django Rheinhardt, Newton Faulkner, Eva Cassidy, Jason Becker, Jeff Loomis, Tosin Abasi, Eric Johnson, Danny Gatton……..the list goes on! I can’t play like 99% of these people, but they all in some way or another inspire me, and that inspiration pushes me to learn more, and I think that it is important to draw that inspiration from artists you admire.

What do you get out of playing guitar?

AI: Therapy. I have arthritis in my hands, hips and knees. Playing helps me with the hands part of it to some degree but there are days were they are too sore to even pick the instrument up.I still love it, even though I can’t play the way I used to many years ago. I just adapted my playing to suit what I can do now, as opposed to what I could do then. Not that I’m ever happy with everything I do. I hate some of my recordings with a passion, but I can always find little bits that I think really pop out and make them listenable again. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the level of playing I’d love to reach, or even the level I was at before things took a turn, but I can be happy in knowing that I’m still enjoying the challenge.

How do you keep yourself interested and learning?

AI: Listening to new bands mostly. I hear licks in things that I can relate to, or just enjoy the hell out of and it keeps me wanting to learn new ways of approaching my own playing. For instance, at the moment I’m picking up some really neat riffs with some wide spaced intervals and while it is a struggle to get to grips with considering my handicap, I’m still enthusiastic about it and it keeps me wanting more. I also get a kick out of online collaboration. Hearing how others approach their music and making my own style fit into their stuff really makes me happy. To me that’s what playing is all about, learning from others and on your own, adapting, trying new styles or genres and having fun! Yeah, mostly the fun bit.


And now the collab Allan and I did. I programmed the drums and bass and Allan let it rip on the gitfiddle.

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So, last night one of the bands I am in, Zombies Love Gizzards, was on Anarchy Radio! We had a blast. You can click the following link and listen. We com in around the 1:28:00 mark. Got to talk about ourselves and they play 4 of our songs!

http://www.houseofsound.org/programs/112-anarchy-radio

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In the interest of full disclosure I did once play bass with Ed and Eric of Uniform Victor, but it was a long time ago and I can’t remember the name of the band…..
Anyway, Eric, Ed, Paul and Lia….Lia?….hmmm I think I’ve seen her on Some Kind Of Muffin before

Where was I? Oh yes, Uniform Victor. Great band with an amazing sound; so many layers and they work great together. They recently finished recording three new songs with Drew B. Mountain

Also, don’t tell anyone, but there’s a video after the interview. Shhhh


How did UV form and how long have you been together?

Ed Loza: We formed because Eric blew The Horn of Change from a misty mountain top. The great sound summoned us together. Uniform Victor’s first show was in 2010 sometime, I’m not sure. Eric and I have always played music together even when we were not in a band. Lia and I have been playing music together for a few years now. We all knew Paul from the band Monsters from Mars. Lia had played with Monsters from Mars so we also had that connection.

Eric Blocker: UV formed at the end November of 2010. We’ve been together since 1822.
Ed and I have been playing in bands together since high school. We got a band together in early 2010 or late 2009 with a different bass player and drummer. The drummer and bass player moved out of town and Lia had been jamming with Ed and I casually at parties etc. So we asked Lia to play bass. I had been stalking Paul for a long time. He was a drummer for a surf rock band. I thought, “That’s the guy I want! He’s my drummer!” Much to my surprise, when we asked him to play, he said yes right away.

Paul Naylor: I have been friends with Lia for years and she played cello a few times in my other band Monsters from Mars on a cover we did. She asked if I would like to jam with her other band in the beginning of 2011 and we really clicked during the first practice, I loved the music. It was pretty easy to become a part of the band, we really clicked.

Lia Dearborn: Edward and Eric had already been in a few bands together, so when their bass player Matthew Concha moved to San Francisco, I stepped up to the plate. We also got a new drummer, so we decided to start fresh with a whole new name.

What does your name mean?

Ed Loza

EL: Lia and Eric came up with the name. The general idea seemed to be that we should have a name that does not get in the way of the music. A little mystery is always good for the kidneys.

PN: I like to think that Uniform Victor is a little man out there that wears different outfits everyday.

LD: Eric and I were looking at a book for Semaphore and we thought we could find a cool name by mixing some of the symbols. Uniform Victor was our favorite combination, so we went with it.

EB: Our name is taken from international ship signal flags-semaphore and is an abbreviation for UV or Ultra Violet.

How has the band been received?

LD: Very well.

EB: I think we have been received quite well. I think we still have a lot to show people. The word is still getting around. There are some bands that catch fire right away and there are some that get ignored. I think we are right in the middle. We don’t have any gimmicks or just one sound. Our songs are eclectic so I think it will take people time to get their heads around what we are all about.

PN: I’ve been really pleased and happy with how well it has been received, we’ve played some really cool shows and gotten some radio play. Eric has been great at getting our name out there. I think the band is very motivated and has some great potential.

EL: We are mostly a top but if you get us drunk enough we are playful receivers. We are too much for some but most are very satisfied.

Eric Blocker

What is your song writing process?

EL: The bulk of songs we currently play are formed out of ideas and full songs Eric brings to practice. Paul, Lia and I start with those ideas and find our parts as we go along in practice. The newer music we have been working on has come more from full band ideas. Our practice sessions are all about new music these days.

EB: So far, I’ll start with a song idea and show it to the band. Everyone adds their parts. Then the song belongs to the band. We all take part in the changes from there.

PN: I just have been laying down the beats once Eric shows me the riff(s) he has in mind. We like to discuss ideas for what kind of drum part would sound best, and I always like playing it through a lot, taking a break, and then coming back to it. That fresh set of ears helps you come up with the most appropriate part. I’ve also been writing some songs on guitar and bass, all of us have, so we might try to expand on the song-writing process.

What has been your favorite live show?

LD: Our show at the Tin Can Ale House with The New Kinetics and 21st Century. The crowd was crazy that night.

EL: Our last show at the Tin Can Ale house was my favorite. One of the first times we played there we played with a fellow San Diego band the New Kinetics. We fell in love with their music instantly! Sharing the stage with the New Kinetics again was pure synergy. That night was also special because we also played with the 21st Century who were on tour out of San Francisco. That was a just a particularly fun show.

EB: So far, I think it was the House of Blues. It was packed to the front of the stage. Although, there have been one or two where the energy in the room was electric. People were flying through the air!

PN: I really had a great time playing at the beer festival they had at the House of Blues. We played on one of the side stages to a great crowd, and only a few songs. I also always love playing the Tin Can Alehouse.

What are your plans for the future?

Lia Dearborn

EL: We are finishing the recording of the songs we have for our first album. Once the recording is done we can start trying the new songs out live. Live shows are a good place to see if a song is working before recording.

EB: We are set to record a new EP in about two weeks. Then we’ll just see what happens. It would be nice to have management and some support in other ways. We just have to prove we are not going away.

PN: We really want to get more into a sort of group song-writing process, and spend more time jamming and not focusing on specific songs. Just get loose, I guess. Recording is definitely high on all our lists, too.

LD: Just keep playing shows and learning new songs.

Can you tell me a little about the recording process and if you plan to release a CD?

PN: We would really love to, we have recorded at Black Box studio in South Park and it has been amazing, Mario is the best. I’m up for recording as much as we can.

EL: We recorded at Black Box Studios in San Diego with Mario Quintero at the helm. So far we have 3 songs done and they are online now. The process was pretty quick; we did those 3 songs in one marathon day. Then I think there were 2 shorter days of mix downs after that. For me recording was very different from what I would do live. At times I had 3 different guitars and 2 amps in one song. Parts were recorded out of order sometimes. It was all fun but a little disorienting.

EB: So far we have been recording songs as they are ready. We record what sounds best. We can do that since everything is digital now. We are totally independent so we can do what we want. The next EP will have about five songs. Maybe more.

LD: We’re planning on recording 3 more this month with Electric Orange Studio.

Paul Naylor

If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life what would it be?

EL: Sushi.

EB: Japanese/Mexican. My wife and I found a place that serves a mix of Japanese and Mexican food. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

PN: Nachos are always my standby, and I think that would work well for this because you have a variety of food groups represented. You would also only live for about 6 months with that diet, so eat up!

LD: Definitely Mexican. No wait, Japanese. Can’t I have both?

 


Photos courtesy of Dominick Valentic

Keep up with all your Uniform Victor needs:

https://www.facebook.com/uniformvictor

http://uniformvictor.bandcamp.com/

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Punker. Rocker. Seriously messed up individual (in the best way possible). Bloody F Mess has made a name for himself playing with GG Allin and founding seminal acts such as Bloody Mess and the Skabs. His current project is The Bloody Mess Rock Circus. This week Some Kind Of Muffin is honored to be joined by the man himself Bloody F Mess and his bass player/writing partner Christopher T. Baggins.


Bloody, I know about your rock n roll and punk pedigree, but I was wondering how you all got together for this current band?

Bloody Mess: THE Bloody Mess Rock Circus was formed by myself, & Christopher & Andy. (& Justin, our ex drummer)
But of course, we have the most awesome Chris Stench on drums and we are pleased. This line up is so perfect for so many reasons!!

Christopher T Baggins: Rock n Roll brought us together…..a mission you might say

How has the band been received?

Bloody Mess: We get great responses from most of our gigs that’s for sure. we’ve played all over the country & have earned new fans and putting smiles on the faces of the older fans, by throwing down, rocking out, and delivering the goods at EVERY show, big or small. The “FRICTION ADDICTION” 2012 USA tour was a bloody blast!

CTB: I love the response we get…love us or hate us , you won’t forget us…

What is your song writing process like?

Bloody Mess: We write both separately and together. But mostly together. I write all the lyrics. The guys write music,songs…Christopher is the main song writer, musically, at this point, but everything shifts on occasion & everyone contributes for sure.

CTB: We all write riffs and jam on them at band practice….I feel lucky to be able to jam with these guys..they make it easy

You recently finished a short tour. What was your favorite show? Other than the one my band, Zombies Love Gizzards, opened for you. smile

Bloody Mess: Favorite gigs of that tour? Hmmmm…Peoria, Illinois I guess. Ironic (its my home town). Portland was a LOT of fun too though & a great kick off to that 11 state tour.We play Portland next on Saturday October 20th at the Twilight Cafe & Bar. Bring some Gizzards & friends out to get down with the Rock Circus!!

CTB: I loved the show in Peoria, San Antonio …truthfully had a blast on the whole tour …met some great people and had great times…memories that can never be taken away from us…

Bloody and Christopher at The Red Room

I know you are looking at recording a CD soon. Can you tell me how that came about, where you are going to record, and when we can expect to see it? 

Bloody Mess: It’ll be my 30th anniversary cd! THE BLOODY MESS ROCK CIRCUS. At least 13 songs Im guessing. Rikk Agnew is producing it for us in L.A. at Robot Kitten studio. Paul Roessler is recording us. I’m super excited about this cd. Not only because of the band (they fucking rock!!!!!!!!!!), but because we have some solid songs ready to unleash! “JUNK MALE”, “OCD IS KILLING ME” & “BLUEST OF THE BLUE” to name a few. Also Sammy Town from FANG is co-writing one song with me & doing vocals on it as well for the album! We hope to record in Winter or Spring. we are doing it right but progressing rapidly. we have about 9 or 10 originals now ready to record. 4 or 5 more and we just tighten up until we feel ready to record! We ARE looking for a label too currently!

CTB: Bloody summed that one up pretty good…recording in LA with Rik Agnew producing and a few guest rockers….really lookin forward to this album

What are your plans for the future?

Bloody Mess: Future? Tour….Hit Europe…Canada….Do more film roles…do more film soundtracks…tour…tour…tour

CTB: Future….more ROCK 

Bloody, I know you are busy with lots of projects outside of the Rock Circus. Can you tell me about those?

Bloody Mess: I’m the host/producer of the Church Of Rock radio show on Sunday nights in southern Oregon and on the net at www.kzze.com (Christopher is the co-host/producer)….Im also one of the southern Oregon Burlesque M.C.’s. I do small acting roles in Independent films. Two are currently in production. BAR-B-GURLZ here in southern Oregon and SPIDARLINGS in London, England. I also go to Haiti in the Fall for a role in VOODOO EXOTICA. Plus, the band & I are writing songs for the soundtracks to these films. I’m also a legal minister & do rock n roll weddings.

What other projects do you have going on Christopher?

CTB: I am Co-Host/Producer of The Church of Rock ….doin a few MC jobs with the Southern Oregon Burlesque Girls…Have a Boutique we just opened in Downtown Medford..“Our Stuff Boutique”…..and I try to sleep on the in between spare minutes…

If you could be one piece of furniture, what would it be and why?

Bloody Mess: I’d be a love seat because Im so fucking lovable!!!!

CTB: I don’t know if you would consider it furniture, but I think I would wanna be a woman’s bicycle seat…


You can catch The Bloody Mess Rock Circus Oct 20th at the Twilight Cafe and Bar 1420 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, Oregon and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Also keep up with Bloody Mess at these sites:

http://www.bloodyfmess.com/fr_thebloodymessrockcircus.cfm

https://www.facebook.com/TheBloodyMessRockCircus?fref=ts

And big thanks to Sarah Jessica Eve and In All Your Glory Photography for use of photos!

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