7 Questions in Heaven with DJ_BASKETBALL

7 Questions DJB

I met DJ_BASKETBALL on Twitter after a friend of a friend told me that if I like funny and weird, I should definitely follow @focra. We became Twitter friends, and then he told me he was releasing his album of midi covers sometime. THAT SOMETIME IS NOW. DJ_BASKETBALL sat down at his computer last week and answered all my questions for your reading pleasure. HERE IT IS. Download his album MIDI MIXXES for free here and WELCOME TO THE TECHNICOLOR WORLD OF DJ_BASKETBALL.

1. Describe your new album in 3 emoticons.

Emoji ghost (I like the android one better than iOS tbh,) cat smiley :3 and probably the o___o

2. Why is your name DJ_BASKETBALL?

I was talking to a friend online (and I guess I’ve only known him online, so) and we were spitballing DJ names.  DJ_BASKETBALL was one of mine and it stuck.
from haroldsavage.com
from haroldsavage.com

3. If you could pick any actress to live in a world where your music was the constant soundtrack, who would it be and why?

Maaaaaan.  Uh.  Emma Watson and / or Christina Ricci because they would probably “get it.”  But I’m probably projecting.

4. Who is your favorite pop star and why?

I thought about this one a whole lot and I think I’ve settled on Nicki Minaj.  While she hasn’t really been around to stand any test of time, I appreciate her vivid, up-front persona.  I like the fact that it doesn’t come off as forced, or manufactured by anyone outside of herself, but I’m sure many would disagree.  (Haven’t caught her on American Idol because I don’t think I’ve watched American Idol in years.)
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5. Why did you pick the songs you covered for the album? Which one is your favorite?

Just naturally drawn to all of the songs.  The process was disappointing sometimes, because some of them would just turn out to be poorly made / orchestrated MIDI files, but these made the cut on that front.  With that in mind, I think that OVENS and BENNIE_JETS are my personal favorites, because they’re the most dynamic tracks.

6. You are also a chapbook author by your IRL name. Give an excerpt of your favorite chapter.

this is from my first chabook, and I usually make it a point to read this out loud:
courtney love is tap dancing somewhere, at some point in time
robert rodriguez is channelling someone distant
during the penultimate refreshor other kinds of archiving gmails
i call out a really
i want to get powerfully drunk with you for only five minutes
i want to climb on top of a building and be very scared
during your life
and about it
there was a boring synchronicity of costco memberships

COVER_FINAL

7. You’re ALSO a visual artist. Describe what you listen to/drink/eat/scream when you’re drawing alone in your apartment.

1.  Listen –  put my 15+ year library on shuffle, and if something STRIKES me I’ll listen to more of it / stuff along those lines / music I listened to around that point in time.  If not that, all kinds of RAP.
2.  Drink – Whiskey, usually.
3.  Eat – Big fan of pretzels.
4.  SCREAM – Not usually.
from haroldsavage.com
from haroldsavage.com
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7 Questions in Heaven with Phillip Morris

In heaven, there is Phillip Morris times 5. You better behave.
In heaven, there is Phillip Morris times 5. You better behave.

I met Phillip Morris at a sick ass Halloween party in Northeast a couple weeks ago. He was in charge of the cups, very polite and dressed as Dartanian from the 3 Musketeers. I was a little bummed because I thought his gigantic wig was his real hair (hey, it was a great look). Later in the evening, we were sitting by the fire and started talking about music and shit. I had recognized his name from my friend in Seyah and their CD release show a year and a half ago at the Entry (local famous musico babez Lizzo and Sophia Eris performed at that show well). However, I don’t think I got to see Phillip Morris that night because he was on his way back from Chicago and got to the show extra late, or I was being a total bum and had to be in bed by midnight. WHATEVER OK.

Anyways, the night partied on beautifully, twitter handles were exchanged, and the rest my good internet pals is this: Phillip Morris and Wide Eyes (which consists of Minneapolis artists/producers Sean Anonymous, Tony Phantom, DJ NAME and Dimitry Killstorm) have banded together to collaborate on an album released last week titled “The Sick and the Dead“. It is awesome and really cool. Download it below, throw these talents a few bones, and settle in all cozy-like with an awesome interview below from your new favorite rapper, Mr. Phillip Morris.

1) How long have you been making music? Why did you start making music?

I originally started writing short stories in 4th or 5th grade, as my defense mechanism. I was getting picked on and bullied pretty frequently since i was really short and uber nerdy. That ended up resulting in me starting to make music approximately 15 years ago. After I ate LSD for the first time, i decided that I wanted to seriously make music for a living. I was NOT a good rapper then, but that was the turning point where i decided to take it much more seriously and start practicing a lot more. It took me about 6 more years to finally get to a point where I was comfortable performing in front of Chicago crowds.
Phillip Morris. Foto de Facebook
Phillip Morris. Foto de Facebook

2) You just released an album with Wide Eyes called “The Sick and the Dead“. What inspired this album?

First of all I have a lot of love and respect for Wide Eyes. Not only are they some stand up dudes, but they are definitely responsible for me becoming popular in Minneapolis. I was living in Chicago when i met them, the first big Mpls show I did was at their video release party for Borrowed Time, and after that show the momentum just kept going. So yeah, one day my younger whiter twin brother by the name of Sean Anonymous approached me with the idea of doing a collaborative project together and I was like YUP YUP HOME SKILLET THAT’S A STELLAR IDEA and then we began working on it. The official release party is 11/15 at Triple Rock (West Bank in Minneapolis).
Sean Anonymous and Phillip Morris lookin' all rad as hell and shit.
Sean Anonymous and Phillip Morris lookin’ all rad as hell and shit.

3) Lady Gaga is going to be the first artist to perform a song in space in 2015. Which planet would you most like to perform on, and why?

I would most like to perform on Uranus because then when girls would ask me when’s my next show I could be like “Hey there girl…thanks for asking! I’m currently touring across Uranus.” and they might just mistakenly think i was talking about touring their bootyhole. (Okay that was a bit juvenile, but it made me giggle) Yup. Uranus all day. But okay, the real reeeeal reason is that it’s the only planet named after a Greek God (as the rest are named after Roman gods) and I am a huge mythology buff but i prefer Greek over Roman. (Sidenote: I have won 1st place in 3 separate citywide mythology competitions in Chicago. Mythology nerd. Yup. Okay, I’m done)
Look! It's Phillip Morris touring Uranus.
Phillip Morris touring Uranus, 2017.

4) Describe your new album in 3 words.

Fastidious Metaphor Jamboree?

5) If you were taking your soulmate on a date to a live show, which Minneapolis artist would you see perform and why?

Hmmmmmm, that’s a really hard question. So much talent in this city. I’d have to say though, out of all the live shows I’ve seen from Minneapolis the one that might have blown my mind the most was Carnage The Executioner when he headlined the Rogue Citizen Art Opening back in October. It might have honestly been one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen in my life. The energy was phenomenal. So yeah, I’d have to say him (but I’d ask him in advance if he was willing to give my soulmate a shoutout in beatbox format, so that’d make me look a little cooler)
Carnage the Executioner's City Pages cover.
Carnage the Executioner’s City Pages cover.

6) What’s your favorite line from your new album?

“I know that there’s no containing the craziness baby, maybe it’s the shiniest of thoughts on the stormiest days…maybe it’s heinously redundant explaining the story…maybe it’s a Delorean painted a glorious shade of Dorian Gray”

7) Who is your dream collaboration, dead or alive?

I’d have to say…I’d either like to collaborate with Saul Williams or Corey Feldman, but I have a very difficult time deciding which one. Can I pick both? On the same track? Please? 😉
Your wish is my free online photo editor's command.
Your wish is my free online photo editor’s command.

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Follow me on facebook + twitter for more artist interviews, terrible dating stories and other crazy shyt, babies

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7 Questions in Heaven with Jus Post Bellum

jus post bellum band music

I was first introduced to Jus Post Bellum‘s music over too many cocktails with band member Hannah Jensen’s sister Kitty (who is also a musical wunderkind along with their Minneapolis music scene ICON mother Wendy Lewis). I can’t even being to quote her, but it was summer, we were drunk on the sidewalk patio of Cause, and Kitty said something like “my sister’s band is fucking awesome!!!” Which is all you really need to hear to give something a listen.

Pic from Lauren of Bonnie and Lauren
Pic from Lauren of Bonnie and Lauren

It’s so cool when you listen to music like Jus Post Bellum, especially because it’s something that transports you directly to another era with one bass note or a drum cadence. In “Stonewall Jackson” you are sent to a field, feeling the sluggish heat and bugs biting your ankles; in “Shotgun Wedding” you’re riding in the back of a truck driving down a dirt road; from the title track of their first full album release, “Devil Winter”, you can hear the existential drain of winter, yet hopeful defiance that spring is on its way. It’s the kind of music that draws you in to listen, instead of demanding your attention like the sometimes obnoxious thump of a dubstep drop.

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Anyways, as for the actual people behind Jus Post Bellum, there is Geoffrey Wilson (lead vocals, guitar), Hannah Jensen (vocals), Zach Dunham (drums, percussion, vocals), and Daniel Bieber (bass, cello, vocals). Below, Geoffrey answers my 7 Questions in Heaven about the birth of Jus Post Bellum, race in America and drinking with the hottest emancipator of all time, Abe Lincoln.

1) How did the idea behind Jus Post Bellum come about? What is it about the civil war that inspired you to start a band? 

jus post bellum music
Pic by Lauren of Bonnie and Lauren
One version goes that Jus Post Bellum got its start in the apartment I had while living in the New York Hudson Valley. I had just graduated from college(I studied music and American Studies) and was working full-time at a school for kids with developmental disabilities. I was also waiting tables and bar tending. I was gifted one of those 70’s era organs with foot pedals and funny analog instrument sounds from a man named Dr. Kim, a loop pedal from a friend John, an old Kay guitar from another friend John. I also had an array of woodwind and and percussion from my collection(*note I am a hoarder of instruments and other stuff) I played saxophones in a Minimalist-Afrobeat band and in my free time recorded weird multi-layered acoustic tracks on the looper. Fast-forward a couple years, I moved to Brooklyn for grad-school and and continued secretly writing and recording ambient singer song-writer inspired tunes. At a very low point, I went alone to a party and met a girl named Hannah. During our year long courtship I wrote the first official JPB song ‘Stonewall Jackson’ in homage to that complicated war hero, and realized my interest in American History and folk style music worked very well together. Duh! Hannah encouraged me to come out of my shell a bit and sing her some songs. Then we started singing together. The rest is history.

2) If you had one night to drink whiskey with any civil war era historical figure, who would it be and why?

Obviously Abe Lincoln. Though I am most interested in the lesser known subtleties of that era. It would really be foolish to skip that chance. I so admire his pragmatism and in a big way it is at the root of how I approach the characters in my songs. I often choose to write from the perspective of a white southern man, a woman, a child. I look to find the good in “villains” and tell complicated histories, and injustices borne by both sides. This all is an effort to illuminate the complexity of our American History. Jus Post Bellum means Justice After War, and one of my goals has been to explore the full scope of what is just and unjust in that period of time.

 

Baebraham Drinkin'
Baebraham Drinkin’
 

3) You just released a beautiful teaser trailer (directed and filmed by Alyssa Pagano, William Hereford and Oscar Hudson) for “Gimme That Gun”, a song off your upcoming album Oh July. Does this mean you will you be releasing more music videos for this album? 

[vimeo 72355432]
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Indeed! We have 2 full length videos set to be released over the coming weeks [one of which is shot by Drew Weigel and Bushwick Happy Hour]. We are so excited for them and so thankful for the many people that dedicate their time to help us make these works of art happen. One will be a more classic “Music Video” directed and shot by Oscar Hudson in upstate NY at a house where I used to live. It was an overnight shoot and a bunch of our friends and local folks jumped in last minute to play characters. Its a bit light hearted, and was so much fun. The second was done by a collective of artists here in Brooklyn (and fellow minnesotans!) and is a beautifully conceived and executed work of art. Both are very different from one another but serve the music really well.
 

4) This article by Andrea Swensson about local Minneapolis fave Caroline Smith’s new soul sound and of course Miley Cyrus’ self-described new “black sound” are hot topics concerning race and cultural appropriation in America today. Being that your sound and subject matter is inspired by the American Civil war and American history in general, are racial issues something you guys talk about on your new album? Why or why not?

 
Pic by Wendy Lewis
Pic by Wendy Lewis

This is a great question, and perhaps more than I can tackle at one time. Speaking for myself as an African American person and more broadly as an American, addressing the topic of race is a complicated task. It is fraught with many differing opinions, and one which opens you up much criticism wherever your opinion may fall. If we limit this conversation to race as it relates to art, we are inevitably going to discuss the performative aspects of art, specifically music. In my mind these are inextricable from the larger context of the performative aspects of culture. I.E Blackness, whiteness, wealth, poverty. I’m writing you as a black guy, singing a fairly white American(at least in appeal) style of Folk derived music, likely appropriated in large part from black musicians in the rural south.

Growing up I lived for 10 years in North Minneapolis on Washburn Avenue, and then moved to Golden Valley for my adolescent years. Both my folks are from the economically poor, and predominantly black and hispanic side of San Antonio, Texas. I think moving to Minnesota, and specifically to the suburbs, my parents wanted to provide us with a sense of community with a more broad range of identities and possibilities. It should come as no surprise I’m not big on overtly performative aspects of race. More than once I’ve been asked indirectly or very directly why I don’t act black. I’ve never had a great answer other than to say all I can do is be myself. Like Prince;)

You mentioned Caroline Smith. We shared a bill out here in NYC a while back, but I haven’t seen her new, more soul inspired work. My estimation is that stylistically her performance might be a larger reflection of “pop music” moving towards a more stereotypically black aesthetic. Hip Hop and Pop music becoming more and more synonymous. Much is being said about this topic so I wont go into it except to say that if as Andrea Swensson suggested in her recent article music deserving an equal audience is being ignored in the nearby North Minneapolis community in favor of something more palatable and in fact co-opting the label “black music”, we may have a problem. And no doubt this happens all over the country. But if it is as I expect, simply that audiences enjoy Caroline’s voice, music, etc, and are excited about her expanding her palate and genre as a larger reflection of enthusiasm over soul music, so be it. What right do we have to deny her talent because of her race?  While I’ve turned more than a few heads, especially singing our more country tinged numbers, name dropping “Stonewall Jackson” and the “N Word!”, especially in the south, no one has told me I can’t sing “white folks music”, yet…

In regards to the record: I intentionally say the songs are inspired by the Civil War. Some of them are overtly about figures or topics directly related to the period, others simply use that time period as a sort of working point and may not mention it at all. “Abe and Johnny” is most obvious, it is an homage to their parallel tragedies. “Sonny” is a fictionalized story about a confederate army deserter and pacifist. Others like “Oh July”, “Tell Me Mama”, or “For the Brokenhearted” mention elements of war or conflict as a backdrop for a romantic, or other tragic occurrence. Race certainly plays a part in the songs, but as in the war itself, race was only one element of a larger conflict.

 

Pic by Lauren of Bonnie and Lauren
Pic by Lauren of Bonnie and Lauren
 

5) Describe your new album in 5 words.

Harmonious
Raw
Reflective
Searching
Romantic
Still from the "Gimme That Gun" video shot, directed and produced by William Hereford , Alyssa Pagano and Oscar Hudson.
Still from the “Gimme That Gun” video shot, directed and produced by William Hereford , Alyssa Pagano and Oscar Hudson.
 

6)  What has been your favorite place to tour so far and why? Are you planning a tour to support this album? 

Much of our touring has been through the south. I’d hate to offend any one of the many amazing folks who helped us along the way, that wouldn’t be very Minnesotan of me now would it? So suffice it to say, we ate a lot of delicious BBQ and stayed in many great towns. And if your town has a great BBQ joint and a thrift store, we will come, eat, play, and stay the night.

We will be touring the first couple weeks of november. We will also be doing a show or two in Minnesota over the Christmas holiday, so stay tuned. Dates below:

11/5/13: Washington DC –Hill Country, 8:30PM FREE

11/6/13: Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub with The Young Heirlooms, 10PM FREE

11/7/13: Chicago, IL – The Burlington, Doors 9PM $5 donation

11/8/13: Louisville, KY – Atlantic No5  TBD

11/10/13: New York, NY – RECORD RELEASE SHOW! with Cassandra Jenkins,Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2 – 9PM FREE

11/12/13: Boston, MA – The Beehive, 8PM-12AM FREE

11/13/13: Cambridge, MA – The Beat Hotel, 8PM-12AM FREE

11/14/13: Philadelphia, PA – Tin Angel  TBD

 

Pic by Wendy Lewis
Pic by Wendy Lewis

7) If you had to pick one pop star, dead or alive, to feature on a track, who would it be and why?

Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan. Both of them made folk-art in service to their times, but not limited by that context. This is something I greatly admire. There are many other lesser known American Blues and Folk artists who contributed greatly to this cannon but for me these guys are the top. Guthrie continues to inspire me to look closely at complicated and real histories and capture them in plainspoken, simply executed ways. Dylan encourages me to be aware of my time and place, and to not be afraid to use language, metaphor, and more importantly things said, unsaid, or merely suggested lyrically to stretch the boundaries of songwriting and the tolerance of our audience. And they also happened to have great voices 😉
Woody Guthrie Bob Dylan

7 Questions in Heaven with KILLSTREAK

7 Questions Killstreak

My first introduction into the world of KILLSTREAK was at a secret santa party in December 2012. Our mutual friend Kait (hey gurl) had given me “Tony-he’s 19 and a rapper in a group called Killstreak.” Gifts were exchanged at the party, facebook friendships were forged, and new music was introduced, as KILLSTREAK had just released a song with local slam poet/hip hop artist Guante titled “Collateral Damage.”

 

I was really impressed with Tony’s lyrical content and youthful yet old soul passion and intelligence that bleeds from his music. Granted I was only 5 years older than him at the time, but still-it’s rare to meet a 19 year old (or any teen/20 something for that matter) with any kind of direction and certainty in their life, let alone confidence and drive for their art. It’s a powerful and unassuming vibe for real, and that’s what makes their music and performances so philosophically ballin’.

Tony and his KILLSTREAK partner/producer/pal, ICETEP, released their first full-length album this summer titled “Janus.” (You can read a solid review about it here and buy it here). They are definitely gonna be two guys to keep an eye on in the music scene over the next few years, together and independently. Check out what this Minneapolis hip-hop wunderkind duo has to say about the origin of their fantastic name, Yeezus, sex in college and Carly Rae Jepsen.

1. How long have you, Tony the Scribe and ICETEP, been making music individually? When did you realize you vibed musically, thus birthing Killstreak?

T: I’ve been rapping for about 6 or 7 years, although I’ve been making music my whole life. ICETEP started out playing the piano at age 5 and has been making beats for about 3 years. We first realized we meshed musically about 2 years ago when we were reintroduced by a mutual friend. At first we didn’t really like each other’s shit, but we grew together and gained a mutual respect. 2 years later, we have an album out and are best friends. It’s funny how things work out.

2. Killstreak is a rad name. I picture a quaint streak of blood on the floor after a methodical Dexter-like kill or something. What was the inspiration behind naming yourselves Killstreak? And what is a Janus?

I: For a long time we couldn’t decide on a group name, one day we were chatting and one of us suggested “KILLSTREAK” as a joke, because we both mutually decided that it was a dumb name for a rap group. Flash forward a couple of days and we both sort of independently decided it was the perfect name. It’s less like a streak of “quaint” blood and more of like that blood straight out of “The Shining” just a massive tidal wave. (T: It’s also a play on the nerdiness of our personalities, because it’s a video gaming term. We thought it fit us well to have something nerdy and intimidating) A “Janus” is the Roman god of Duality, Entryways, Beginnings and Entryways. It was a fitting name for the album though, because it represents a time in our lives where we both were changing from one artistic space to another, as well as representing the overt duality we intended for the general theme of the artistic content of the album.

3. There’s a lot of passion and thought in your lyrics, which is hella cool. What topic gets you fired up the most, to the point where you have to run home from a party/bar mitzvah/the middle of class and start writing immediately?

T: Disillusionment with society. Also, watching how people act when they want to have sex with other people, because a lot of people act really different when they really want to have sex with someone. And just interpersonal interaction in general– that kinda stuff is mad interesting to me; I’m a sociology major and a huge extrovert so I’m continually fascinated by how people interact in group settings.

4.You played a show in my bedroom last month. Do you plan on playing anymore bedroom shows, basement shows or house shows this summer (besides, you know, the shows you play in actual venues)? What are your thoughts on house shows vs venue shows?

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I: Yo fam I love bedroom shows, I wish we could play more, but usually people have really small bedrooms, and I’m not about me and Tony being the third and fourth wheel of a good time. This summer we unfortunately do not have any underground shows on the horizon, but we do have a couple of legit shows that are still being organized. That being said, from the house parties I’ve played, in my experience I’d rather just play in an actual venue, because people go to shows at venues with the explicit purpose of (usually) seeing an artist or a band. It’s not like I don’t like hanging out with drunk people, but I feel venues have determined drunk people. We’ll probably end up playing lots of underground shows in the spring just because T has a house in nor cal, and I am about that life.

5. Main musical influences on your music and art, GO!

T: Kanye West, Doomtree, Linkin Park, Rustie, Flying Lotus, and giant robot anime. Bam.

6:  If you could collaborate with any artist outside of the hip-hop genre, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

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I: I’d really love to do a whole album with Kanye West actually, I know a lot of people are divided over Yeezus, but I still really fucks with him both as a rapper and as a producer. I guess I’m more interested in just hanging out with him in the studio than anything, like seeing what his process is like and what not. If Kanye wasn’t available though, prolly Flocka. Dude goes IN when he’s in the studio. BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BRRRRRRIIIIICCCCKKKKKKK SQQQUUUUUAAAADDDDDDDDDDD. (video context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvJDiZwGGd4)

7: Who’s your favorite guilty pleasure artist and/or what’s an embarrassing song you LOVE?

T: I love Party in The USA. And Call Me Maybe. Anybody who doesn’t like Carly Rae Jepsen can eat a bag of dicks. Straight up.
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7 Questions in Heaven with The Autumn Stones

7 Questions Autumn Stones
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I met The Autumn Stones-where else!- on Twitter. (Follow them here for some fancy Canadian fun.) What a place. They are a band from Toronto, Canada who has recently been featured in a Canadian publication called Now Magazine as a part of a really cool cover project called 50:50 (more on that cool shiz below). They are an indie-pop, sax-infused quartet from the big T (can that be a new nickname for Toronto?!). Check out what they have to say about the Toronto music scene, their upcoming album Escapists and what they would do if they were kidnapped by Beliebers.
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1. What’s the music scene like in Toronto? Is everyone in a band? Are people really nice there? How’s the dating?

Yes just about everybody is in not just one but often a few bands. It’s pretty saturated with artists here in Toronto. The key is to find some likeminded people and show support for them. That’s kind of the law in the Toronto music scene. To be honest I’m not crazy about the local music here but there are some decent bands. Just nothing that really does it for me the way my favorite bands do.
Toronto is pretty.
Toronto is pretty.
The people in Toronto are pretty nice as a rule. We have a reputation for politeness but truthfully we’re not the warmest bunch. We can be a little standoffish. At shows not a lot of people dance. It’s improving slightly though.
I’m the only single guy in the band right now but I am not much of a dater. I do chat up girls here and there but I usually get too drunk to get anywhere. I mostly just stare and grab the occasional bum. I am taking a stab at online dating but I couldn’t really say as I have been mostly dating myself for the last 2 years.

2. How was the Autumn Stones formed? Where did the name come from?

I founded The Autumn Stones in 2009 from the ashes of my old band The Assistants. I pinched the drummer and then met the original bass player later on. The original idea was for us to not really be a band but just do 1 album and to try to avoid all of the typical band hassles. It was really meant to just be a recording project. But after the first record I started writing better songs and wanted to keep it going and see where things could go. Our lineup is completely different now and we’ve started to embrace playing live a bit more. We’re anxious to get back in the studio though. That’s my favorite part of being in a band. I think it is the true measure of how good a band is. At least it has always been what’s most important to me. I used to have vinyl copies of The Stone Roses first record and Guided by Voices Bee Thousand on my bedroom wall to remind myself what it’s all about.
Strike a pose, Autumn Stones.
Strike a pose, Autumn Stones.

The name of the band comes from a song by The Small Faces called Autumn Stone. It’s a nice little tune. I’m not a huge fan of theirs but have always liked that song and thought it would make a great band name since I was 19. I tried getting a few of my older bands to take that name but it always got turned down by other members. So, instead I stared my own band called The Autumn Stones and then found members to be in it. That’s the way to get your ideal band name. I’m not sure what it means to be honest. I know that Stone Henge has a winter and summer stone and that it was likely used as a primitive calendar by ancient people. I suspect that The Small Faces may have got the idea from Stone Henge but I’m not sure. For me the name evokes something melancholic or nostalgiac in me. Also it implies something that lasts a really long time but not forever.

3. Who are your favorite artists and which artists influence your work most?

The Smiths. They look straight outta hipster compton.
The Smiths. Music + style icons.

My favorite artists are The Magnetic Fields, Galaxie 500, Guided by Voices, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths and The Stone Roses. I’d say all of those bands have had a big influence on the writing given that I write all of the songs. I’m influenced a lot by what I read as well. A great deal of my lyrics deal with religion and many of my favorite writers such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris have inspired much of my lyrics. We have a new unrecorded song called End of Faith which gets it’s title from the book The End of Faith by Sam Harris. The lyrics to that song are kind of a response to the line in Lennon’s Imagine where he says to “imagine no religion.”

4. When I was 12, my family and I went on a road trip to (drum roll) Thunder Bay. We ate at a restaurant, overtipped the waitress, went to a mall where I bought a purple, glittery butterfly candle and left. (Purple glittery butterfly candles are totally Canadian, right?) We know how to party. But you live in Toronto. Describe Toronto in 12 words.

Good story. Never heard of those candles though. Toronto in exactly 12 words:
Scorching heat. Bitter cold. Giant penis-shaped tower. Hockey crazed. Big Smoke. Home.
In two words: Canada’s cock.

5. Tell me about your new album “The Escapists”. Does it relate back to your first release “Companions of the Flame” or does it move in a totally different direction? What was the inspiration behind the title “The Escapists”?

The title “Escapists” is culled from the lyrics of one of our songs called Ooh La La. The line goes; “Hey girls, let’s unwind entwined. Lace and pretty face, escapists.” I think it works as an album title because a lot of my lyrics deal with things that could be construed as forms of escape or evasiveness. I suppose this has come up in a lot of the stuff I write. Human beings are dreaming animals. So much of what we do is related to our imaginations. We listen to music watch tv, movies, read, observe. We seem to spend most of our time imagining, dreaming or planning more so than doing things. I use the term escapists ironically because I think it is so much a part of being human that it isn’t really escape. It’s the thing that humans do best. We imagine and plan our environment better than any other species. So, “Escapists” is everyone although ironically it isn’t really escape since these things are just what we do.
“Escapists” is a little different from “Companions of the Flame”. “Companions” had more optimistic love songs because I was in a more optimistic place in my life whereas “Escapists” is a bit lonelier, darker and a little heavier too. The songs deal with religion, sex, death, alcoholism. It’s juicier. I am really looking forward to getting into the studio to record these songs as we have spent a long time working on the arrangements and have higher expectations this time.

6. You were asked by NOW Magazine to cover Feist’s “One Evening” for their (really awesome) 50:50 video series (Check it out here, it’s really cool project where new local Toronto bands cover songs from the 50 best albums to come out of Toronto). Even though the covers aren’t completely finished yet, which one has been your favorite so far?

I’m going to be a jerk and say us. I just thought that her song was probably the best on the list and I think we did a decent enough job of it. Also, I’m not a big fan of many of the records on that list and haven’t heard many of the covers. Sorry Now. I guess I’m kind of a music snob that way. Although I should give an honorable mention to our friends The Whirly Birds who did Blue Rodeo’s Rose Colored glasses. I do have a bit of a soft spot for Blue Rodeo and Pete Carmichael did a great job singing that. He has a really rich and distinct voice.

7. If you were held captive by a bunch of pre-teen bandits and forced to give the Autumn Stones spin on one Justin Bieber song, which song would it be?

I honestly can’t name a Justin Bieber song but I can do you one better. I would proceed to sing a song I wrote on Halloween a few years ago when my brother who is 6 2″ dressed as Justin Bieber for Halloween. It’s called “Me and the Beeb” and it is awesome and had everyone at the party singing along. One of my finest hours.

FEAR THE BIELEBERS
FEAR THE BIELEBERS

7 Questions in Heaven with Celia Inside

7 Questions Celia Inside

Celia Inside (@celiainside) is an artist I met on Twitter. HELL YEAH TWITTER. We bonded over music, tv and HORRIBLE fucking dating stories. It’s cool to be out on the web and randomly stumble across people you vibe with. Sometimes the internet is great. Anyways, CI just released an EP called Remodel that is full of relationship deconstruction, electric guitar and really, very pretty vocals. (Download the EP for free here)

Check out what this very fresh artiste de Boston has to say (on the very first 7 Questions!) about breakups, the very solo recording process and loving Solange.

1. What was your main inspiration to record the Remodel EP? A break-up, a boring winter, an angel speaking to you in dreams?

There was definitely some post-breakup inspiration, but it was mixed with other stuff. I was going through a kind of perfect storm of huge life changes that happen in those first couple years after college. My friends were moving away and getting super busy with work, and I was busy too, but less well-adjusted about it, I think. So I pressed pause on everything, disappeared for a while, and turned my feelings about those challenging and confusing times into angsty songs! And then the title came about later — it was (and still is) the perfect one-word sentence/truth/tough love advice I need to hear. Remodel. Change, evolve; find a way to live your life that won’t make you miserable!

2)Which song is your baby, the one you love the most or that you feel the strongest connection with and why?

 

“Leaving Girls” is pretty near & dear to me, partly because it was the first song to really take shape both instrumentally and lyrically. There are a couple lines there that have really resonate with people, me included, and I like how the title/words leave lots of room for interpretation. I originally wrote it as a kind of friendship breakup song but it can really apply to anyone who is… leaving, I guess. Haha. I also like how dark and unpredictable it can be… along with the many layers going on between the harmonies and the spastic guitars and the synth. That’s my St. Vincent-wanna-be song.

3)The recording process: You recorded everything yourself (KUDOS bc that shit is HARD). Describe the last week of recording/mixing/mastering. Was there a lot of caffeine/alcohol/pot/sex/cuddles with puppies?

Haha — thanks, girl! Yeah, it wasn’t so fun at times. I couldn’t sleep because I was really stressed out, so I would just drink black tea and stay up super late tweaking this and that. I became super nocturnal — more-so than usual, haha. And yes, I definitely cuddled with my puppy on the reg! She’s so affectionate; bless her heart! She should get a producer credit.

4)Where do you see your music going in the future? Are there any new genres you’re exploring now that may influence your next record?

Ah, there is so much I want to do! On one hand, I’m into R&B in a big way. I grew up listening to so much hip-hop and R&B — it’s a part of me — and I definitely want to experiment more with making beats. I’d love to make an R&B mixtape and rap some on it. I used to rap a bit and I miss it a lot! Especially when I hear some inspired hip-hop. I also feel like a lot of people are loving “Stranger,” which is kind of my Mariah Carey/R&B experiment on Remodel. So yeah, definitely more of that hotness. 😉

On a totally different note, I’d like to rock a little harder; I want to see what I can come up with working with a more traditional set-up: guitar, bass, drums, and that’s it. I’m so amazed at what some bands can do with only three or even two people live. Hop Along and Wye Oak come to mind. When you see them play, you’re definitely going to rock out, but there’s so much genre-bending and style-blending going on with their music too. Those are both bands that make me cry while I bang my head!I’ve always been musically pulled in so many different directions. It makes perfect sense to me to make different albums in totally different styles (ala PJ Harvey or The Cardigans, who are both huge inspirations of mine).

5)You’re gearing up for some live shows in the Boston area (right?). How do you feel about performing these songs live? What is your live set up?

 

That’s the goal — to play live in Boston/New York/wherever I am in the near future. And I feel… conflicted. Because these songs obviously require some drums and synth and PEOPLE that I don’t currently have, yet I want to perform solo & acoustically, at least for a little while. Celia Inside is a veryyy new car and I need to put some miles on it before I, like, plan a cross-country road trip, you know? I’m still very new to performing. I actually just played an original song for the first time tonight at an open mic night! So I have some work to do on this front. But ask me again in a year! 🙂

6)If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Hmmm. So I thought about this for a while and came up with the BEST answer: Solange. When you talk about artists, truly original people doing new and incredible things creatively like only they can, Solange is at the top of that list. I’m so in awe of the True EP, partly because her last release (SoL-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams) was SO good and fresh and then she somehow managed to top that by like 100%. I love the choices she makes — vocally, lyrically, image and PR-wise, everything — and I just… feel her spirit (lol). Completely. She’s totally brilliant and down to earth and cool. So yes, in my dreams, I would collaborate with Solange and we’d become besties and Beyonce would get dinner with us occasionally and stuff.

7)What’s the most embarrassing artist/song you absolutely LOVE?

Haha. First, I want to note that I’m not easily embarrassed when it comes to this stuff! Like, I regularly go to bat for artists I adore that people are too cool for like Paramore and Danity Kane and whoever. With that said… Ashlee Simpson! When I listen now, her vocals can be ROUGH. Like, oh man. But I think there are some GREAT songs on those first two albums she did. “Unreachable” pops into my head to this day. That whole first album is money and then, on the second one, I LOVE “In Another Life,” “Dancing Alone,” “Say Goodbye”…. Omg, I forgot how solid they were! I think her team had a really cool sound going on. Ugh, I love it.