Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Lestat

February 24th, 2012 by Edward, Filed under: Interviews

Nave and Timothy of the great band Lestat were kind enough to interview with Midnight Calling Ezine!  Here is it: 

MC:  What was it like to reform the band after nearly a decade?

Nave – It’s been an absolutely amazing experience. From transforming our original music to finishing our newest release in the studio this week, every step has been extremely satisfying. We’ve travelled the country, re-released our original material for the digital age through downloads, written a new release and reached out to new and old fans alike. I couldn’t be more pleased or proud. We always felt that Lestat was never really finished, and it’s nice to be proven right.

Timothy - It was exciting! Evan and I were both on the same page about wanting to try to get it started again.

MC:   Back in the day,  I remember reading that Lestat was sort of a “reclusive” band. Was that an accurate statement accurate or just a perception?

Nave – A little of both. The first time around, there was no social media to speak of, so we were able to maintain an aura of mystique by staying out of the spotlight. We also did not perform all that often, so our obscurity was well founded. I feel that some of that has changed with Facebook, Myspace, etc., but we still maintain some level of the unknown.

Timothy – We only played out one time a year and really never promoted ourselves as much as other bands did at the time. So I guess we had a reclusive side.

MC: I’m, sure everyone is looking forward to your CD release show in Cleveland.  Are there any musical surprises on the album? How will fans be able to get your CD?

Nave – Firstly, our new release, entitled “Arisen”, will be available both through downloads and physical CD’s. The distribution is still being worked out, but our release date is set for April 14th at a big show featuring Lestat with Metropolis Records’ Ego Likeness. As for surprises, well…we’re re-redoing “Red Light” with the new lineup for this. There will also be a remix of our original “Midnight Toll” by Click Click’s Adrian Smith.

Timothy - The new lineup is a pleasant surprise!  We have a bit of a new sound with the new members , yet the same Lestat sound is woven through and has matured, so to speak. The CD will be for sale on our site as well as on line stores.

MC: Speaking of albums, one of my prize possessions is a cassette “Theatre of the Vampires”.   So it’s very cool that Lestat’s albums are all available as downloads.  Some people feel strongly that downloaded music does not have the same visceral impact as owning vinyl or a CD.  I see a place for both forms of media. What are your thoughts?

Nave – I couldn’t agree more. We’re currently looking into re-releasing “Theatre of the Vampires” and “Grave Desires” on physical media, so stay tuned.

Timothy – I personally like having a real CD, but have acquired downloads as well. To me, nothing beats holding your new CD in your hands that you put your heart and soul into.

MC:  Social media has assumed a huge role in the dissemination of music. I think it especially benefits underground musicians.  Has social media made things easier for you to promote Lestat now, as compared to when the band was originally formed?  Has it really revolutionized music, or is it just a different kind of effort?

Nave – It’s funny. It makes things MUCH easier to promote, but it also adds a ton of noise to the internet. There are so many bands out there that now have the perfect vehicle to promote. Sorting through all of the music out there can be pretty daunting. It’s definitely revolutionized things, but the ramifications haven’t truly been felt yet, I imagine.

MC:  I like how Lestat always managed to have a variety of music on each of your albums, for example, X-tacy and Pray for the Living on Grave Desires; and Baptism (one of my absolute favorite songs) and The Mourning on Vision of Sorrows.  As a writer and reader of Poetry, I appreciate this kind of crafting. How do you compose your songs, do you start out with a concrete framework, or does it sort of evolve?

Nave – Thanks for the kind words! We probably have the strangest writing style there could possibly be. It starts with the electronics. Keyboards, loops, etc. After we come up with the base for the song, we turn it over to Susan, who really makes the song come to life. Bass and drums follow suit, and then, and only then, can I write the lyrics. I need to be inspired by how the song makes me feel before I can even try to write anything.

Timothy - For me, I get inspired by the sampling that I do. Just hearing a line in a movie will make me pause the DVD, sample it and then head down to my studio to start a synth-line or drum beat or loop. I will get that down and add to it later or that week. Then, I send it off to Nave who puts his unique touches on it. He more or less makes it into a Lestat song by adding or arranging it in a different ways.  I have always loved our process! We work well together. It’s not always on purpose that we have a wide variety of styles in our work. It just happens. I think Nave has done some of his best work yet with the lyrics on “Arisen” I am simply blown away by his words and vision. You could say I am a fan of his lyrics!

MC:  Have your musical inspirations changed any over the years?  How would you describe the music of Lestat?

Nave – That’s always the toughest question for me. I’m not sure I can describe our music, because we pull from so many areas. Trip-hop, Goth, Industrial, Techno and even Metal. We’ve always used the Darkwave title to describe ourselves. My inspirations are still pretty solid. I draw from bands in all of the genres I just mentioned.

Timothy - I like the darker, scary side of music, movie soundtracks and things of that sort. I have always been a big fan of the Skinny Puppy side projects, and some of my favorite bands are Click Click and Clock DVA.

MC: Lestat recently performed in South Florida, where I lived for nearly two decades, and in April  you will be returning to Florida for The Age of Decay In Jacksonville.  It will be great to see Lestat perform!   Will you be heading to other shows after this?

Nave – Yes! We actually just got booked for the Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club Coven Ball in October this year. We couldn’t be more excited. We’re in the middle of booking more east coast cities this year, so check lestatmusic.com for more info.

MC:  Does it ever seem to you that the word “dark” is sometimes overused in connection with music?  

Nave – I’m numb to it anymore. I think a lot of adjectives are overused, honestly. But, they help to convey a large amount of information in very little space, so I understand the need.

Timothy - It’s a damn cool word!

MC:  What does the band prefer to eat when you are on the road?  Are there certain places you look for?  (Personally, I’m a Denny’s restaurant aficionado, since they are always open!)

Nave – Anything that won’t drag me down on stage, or make me regret eating there in the first place!

Timothy - Chinese for me! I am always talking food on the road! Though, we do hit the fast food a lot.

MC: Thanks for doing this interview!  Is there anything else you would like to add?

Nave – Thanks for reaching out to us! We’re all very glad to be back, and we hope that people grow to love the new release as much as we do. As always, our fans can keep in touch with us and get to our social media sites through lestatmusic.com.

Timothy - I am glad we decided to give this another go, and am very proud of “Arisen” and all of our efforts. Thanks for the chance to talk with you.

MC: The pleasure is mine!    Can’t wait to Lestat perform at The Age of Decay!


http://www.myspace.com/thebandlestat

http://www.lestatmusic.com/the-band/

http://www.last.fm/music/Lestat

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Eli August, Man of Many Talents

September 29th, 2011 by Edward, Filed under: Interviews

MC:   When we spoke in Pittsboro, you commented that if a performer can’t simply stand up and sing a song with a guitar, then that song just doesn’t stand on its own.  This was a great observation.  Can you expound on this a bit more?

EA:  I just feel that most songs should be able to be stripped from all the production and layers that we find in the recorded version or a large scale performance and distilled down to just their bare bones, and if the song doesn’t hold up, then, perhaps there wasn’t much to it after all.  I recognize that there are still exceptions to the rule.  Techno for example, cannot, nor should not be played on an acoustic guitar, and its still a valid form of music, but for most songs, if you can’t take all the razzle dazzle away and still have something of worth, then perhaps its not worth much to begin with.

MC:  One of the first things that strikes people about your music is how intensely personal it can be.  With some bands this sounds contrived, but certainly not in your case!  Emma, for example, said that it was as if you are  on a dissecting table in front of the world, and it almost makes the listener feel as if they are intruding somehow.  In another interview you mentioned that you have tried to capture the “the tiny personal deaths that happen to everyone”.  I think you have succeeded admirably,  I think that one of the mistakes many artists make is that they try to capture the most shattering emotional events in their songs, which frequently sounds contrived.  What are your thoughts?

EA:  The small events are where the most interesting things happen.  There are nuances therein that can lend themselves greatly toward creating poetry out of the ordinary, “so much depends upon a red wheel barrow…”
I recently wrote he lyrics to a song a friend of mine wrote.  He plays under the name Escape the Clouds.  The concept for the song was a walk on the beach as the sun rose.  This is just one example of turning something simple into a song.

MC:  One of the things I vastly admire about your material is that you have the uncanny ability to pierce strike right at the listener’s soul, as it were.    As I mentioned in the review, I simply love “An Abandoned Building”. I feel as though I am standing right there, amid the decaying walls.  It’s not always the deep emotional hurts that make us the most pensive and reflective.  Was this a conscious direction on your part, or did it simply evolve?  By the way, are you a history buff?

EA:  I cannot be so bold as to say that It’s a conscience decision.  The things that strike you, just strike you.  My parents were selling the house that I grew up in and it got me to thinking about how I saw a house and what the time spent at that one meant to me.  I got a chance to go back to the house when it was still empty and it made me a bit sad to think of all the events that had taken place in every room, rooms I would never get the chance to be in again.  They are someone else’s  rooms now.  I wouldn’t say that I’m a history buff, but I do enjoy learning about the past.  Almost all things that once were intrigue me more than those things that might someday be.

MC:  We had discussed via email the difference between songs that are simply stories, with no real connection to the listener, and songs that resonate with the listener.  For me, a clever story may be entertaining for a few listens, but if something about the song doesn’t speak to me, it won’t be on my personal playlist, no matter how competent the musicians are.   Do you think that the more evocative a song may be for some people, that it may be less accessible to other people?   Or am I just over-analyzing?

EA:  There’s no way to tell what’s going to hit with a person, or an audience.  It even depends on how that individual is feeling at that particular moment in time.  I even had a girl ask me during a performance why I didn’t play more upbeat songs.  After the performance she apologized and to a degree retracted her question.  There are as many ways to connect with a listener as there are directions to walk in an open field of grass.

MC:  Your CD is marvelous proof that the old adage of “less is more” can be absolutely true. With some bands I get the feeling that they try too hard to fill up all available space.  What do you think?

EA:  To touch on the earlier question of a song standing up with just its bare bones, I would say that adding more instruments is like adding layers of clothing to an outfit.  If its summertime, then if your throwing on layers and layers of instruments, you might end up suffocating the song.  Ya gotta know which songs fit with what seasons.  Some tunes need those layers to add to the drama, some function better alone.  The trick is figuring out which need it and which don’t.  …and then sometimes you’re broke and can’t afford that marimba player, so you say screw it.

MC:  Who are some of your favorite musicians?   Does anyone in particular inspire you from the past?

EA:  These are my go to guys/gals  Lyle Lovett, John Denver, Dolly Parton, Tom Waits, Crystal Gayle, Willie Nelson.

MC:   I understand you have a project going on with Davenport and Winkelperry’s. Can you tell us a bit about this?    What else are you up to?

EA:  The Davenports and I are working on completing the Victorian Dead kickstarter project that reached its goal this past  April. I’ve written 8 songs about famous Victorians and the gals are going to record introductions to each of the subjects.  I also have a 6 song e.p. coming out of all nautical themed songs in early November.

MC:   I like your anachronistic  fashion sense. it seems like many clothing companies have jumped on the Steampunk bandwagon, sort of sullying the waters.    How did you acquire your wardrobe?  Do you have any fashion tips for fashion challenged males like myself?

EA:  Thrift stores, online, and wherever you can find a good buy.  I would suggest to any fashion challenged males that they keep it simple, stick to basics, and classic colors.  One should not add more pieces than they feel comfortable with wearing.

MC:   You mentioned elsewhere that it was sort of challenging producing ‘Let This House Burn Slowly” as a solo project. You certainly did a great job.  The production is superb.  What do you consider the most positive aspects of doing this solo?

EA:  It was easier than projects I’ve done in bands because I was the only one who needed to be happy at the end of the day.  There were no late night band meetings discussing the mix of a particular song.  Each song came out the way I wanted it.  I hope no one gets me wrong, I do enjoy working within the band dynamic, but its an entirely different route to take towards completing a project.  It was challenging in the sense that so much more does fall on just one persons decision and pocketbook.

MC:   Is there anything else you would like to add?  I look forward to catching you in Pittsboro in a month or so.  Thanks for the interview!

EA:  I recently went to a one day punk festival for a bunch of bands from the 80′s and 90′s.  These bands and the fans are from the last generation that really embraced all things tangible. CD’s, vinyl, stickers, t-shirts.  These little items are the lifeblood of a musician.  They are mementos of the occasion and items to pass down or wear proudly.  I hope fans don’t ever completely lose that “need” to get the album on vinyl, even though they already have it downloaded.  You cannot beat actually having something to hold onto or put in your stereo.


http://www.eliaugust.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eli-August/127927807072

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Martin Oldgoth – 25 years and Counting!

July 13th, 2010 by Edward, Filed under: Interviews

MC: What sort of reflections do you have on the past 25 years?  Is there anything you miss about the “old days”? 

Martin:  The past 25 years have been a lot of fun. I think the only thing I miss about the ‘old days’ is the commitment to music and the fact that it was a ‘proper’ underground scene. No designer clothes, just gigs in small venues from bands that were happy to play them and not complain about how they weren’t playing huge gigs and selling thousands of records. There was camaraderie then amongst people, and they helped each other. These days it seems that music takes a second place to image and the scene has been both infiltrated and diluted by a dozen other genres, but mostly industrial, metal and EBM.

MC:  On your website, I see that you don’t spin EBM,  Futurepop, Industrial or Metal.  Some people claim that you can’t possibly have a successful Goth event without spinning those genres.  DJ’s like yourself are living proof that this is not necessarily so. What do you think is the root behind this conception?

Martin:  I find that most of the people that say that are the ones that really only discovered the scene fairly late, after the late eighties explosion of bands making it ‘big’, I still have no idea how that happened and I’m fairly confident, and happy, that it won’t happen again. Too many people came into the scene and tried to adapt it to fit themselves rather than the other way round, and that’s just lazy. I also see no reason for a ‘goth’ DJ to have to incorporate things like industrial, metal or EBM into a set, especially when there is so much music being produced by new bands from the goth and post punk scenes. If you look for it then the scene is as strong today as it ever was. There is an argument that goes “if we don’t play these other styles then we won’t get enough people”, I don’t buy that, and you really have to ask yourself which came first, DJ’s playing this music back from the late nineties because they saw it as the ‘future’ or only playing it because people started asking for it. If DJ’s refused and stayed with the scene that inspired them originally then we wouldn’t be in this mess, but too many caved in, and in my mind are responsible for the slow demise of the idea of what became acceptable as ‘goth’. Its not that I have anything against these other genres, its just that, well, they don’t really fit into what goth is to me, being neither subtle, nor dark.

MC:   This is sort of related to the above question:  many, many people in the modern Gothic community seem to have no knowledge of the many new bands that are keeping the original sounds and inspirations of Gothic music alive.  They claim that this music is “dead”, and the “new” Gothic sound is Metal, EBM, etc.   But there are many, many bands that belie that notion.  It seems to me that maybe the traditional Gothic sound has gone back underground; while the Metal/Industrial dominated sound is the new “mainstream” Goth.  What are your thoughts?

Martin:  I think you have a point, its as if there are two separate camps these days, a mainstream one that sees itself as ‘new’ and ‘gothic’ and a more dedicated one, that some call ‘trad’ that is sticking closely to its roots in post punk and the earlier bands. For me you can’t change a scene that drastically and expect it to still be ‘goth’ when it quite clearly isn’t. How are Rammstein anything to do with the scene, or VNV Nation, or any of these so called ‘gothic’ metal bands. I urge people to listen to them and bands like them and ask themselves a simple question, “Where are these bands roots?”, “What are their influences?”, if the answer is not directly linked to the early eighties dark alternative or post punk then they simply don’t belong in a scene that is so firmly based in that era. I don’t care how ‘dark’ the lyrics are, the music is too far removed. Those claiming that the scene is ‘dead’ are not looking in the right places, or possibly. as I said above, bringing too many of their own influences into the equation seem desperate to be called ‘gothic’, Why? whats so embarrassing about being a rivethead or metaller that you need to add the goth tag to justify your tastes? I listen to a lot of psychobilly bands too, but I wouldn’t dream of calling myself one or demanding that what I like belongs in that genre, so why does goth have to suffer from it? It’s an argument that will rage for some time I fear.

MC:  How did you get involved with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation?  How are the album sales coming along?

Martin:   first became involved shortly after Sophies death in August 2007 when I heard about it via the Whitby Goth Weekend message board, and took it upon myself to try to raise money for some kind of memorial based in Whitby and we decided on a memorial bench. I raised almost £3000 over a four week period, most of it at the October Goth weekend and the bench was installed in January 2008. There has not been a day since where there has not been flowers or ribbons attached to it, she became a symbol almost of the dark alternative scenes’ struggle for the simple right to dress how we wanted to. In August last year I was talking to Andi Sex Gang who suggested I compile a CD release to raise more money, and after a few months of hassling bands I got 15 tracks together and put the album together, called ‘Hope’. This was released on World Goth Day (May 22nd) and has so far raised almost £1500. Small plug here, you can buy it from http://www.stayindie.com/hope – 100% of the money paid goes to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, the charity set up in her memory to try to change people perceptions of different subcultures.

MC: In the wake of the Sophie Lancaster’s death, I thought it was ironic that such a terrible tragedy happened when Goth culture has really gone mainstream.  For example, top fashion designers openly base their clothes on Gothic elements; Gothic fashions and products are available at the mall; Goth themes are wildly popular in films and television; etc.   25 years ago I would not have been as shocked, but today…..  What do you think is happening?

Martin:  That’s what was so strange, at the time when it would appear that the world had accepted us something like happens, and in such a barbaric way. I wish I understood the minds of such people, it as if they see us as taking things far too seriously, that our influences should remain as entertainment and not be allowed to influence our dress or musical taste. I once thought that the average person maybe saw us a threat, and believed our influences made us one. Maybe they just feel that we are inferior because of that, or that that somehow by deliberately placing ourselves outside of the normal mainstream that we see ourselves as better than them. I remember the same attitude when I was a punk back in 77/78, it’s easier for people to hate something they don’t understand.

MC:  How is Thirteen13 radio doing?  I know you are looking forward to Nostalgia this year, is anything new on the agenda?

Martin:  We’re going through some changes with the radio station right now, after a disastrous couple of months where, if anything could go wrong, it did, wrong shows playing, or at the wrong time. We’ve sorted this out now and at the time of writing are preparing to relaunch the station. Thirteen13 will still be a big part of the new look station, for me it’s a great chance to be able to play tracks that might not normally get the chance to, and to a much bigger audience. Since the start of May I’ve been recording the shows weekly, its been a challenge but one I’ve enjoyed and shortly will also be sending the shows to another station to broadcast a week later, all part of my masterplan to get new music to the masses!

MC:  You have participated in pretty much the “Whos Who” of the international Gothic community. What do you consider to be the seminal events in the world?

Martin: Thank you. 25 years is a pretty long while to still be aiming for world domination I suppose..  Over that time I’ve seen bands come and go, and then come again, I’ve seen the scene grow massively to the point where we have something like WGT with 25,000 people attending, and I’ve been lucky to DJ there as well as some pretty prestigious clubs both in the UK and LA. The goth scene has spread worldwide now and is now probably one of the largest and longest running underground scenes there are. I consider myself lucky to have been at the right place at the right time on many occasions, but none more so when it comes down to music. I’ve worked events like Bats Day, anniversary shows for Alien Sex Fiend and The Batcave, clubs like Release the Bats and Dead and Buried, I’ve DJ’s the Whitby Goth Weekend five times, and in doing all this have met some fantastic people, so yeah, I consider myself very fortunate.

MC:   I see that you are a big fan of New Model Army, one of my favorite bands!  What are some of your favorite NMA songs?  They’ve been called everything from punk to metal, what do you think is the most concise description of them?

Martin:  I think it’s fair to say that NMA are probably my all time favorite bands, it’s hard to pick favorite songs as they change over time, but The Charge would always make my top five. When I first started asking bands for songs for the Sophie album a lot just ignored the email, others took ages and asked loads of questions and demanded contracts. Justin Sullivan answered my email within hours, personally and just attached a bunch of songs letting me choose. I chose ‘Dawn’ from the album ‘High’ as it seemed to fit the mood of the album perfectly. They’re a hard band to categorize, which has probably been a blessing as its not pinned them to any particular following, but I consider ‘dark alternative’ to be the closest, if I had to choose. Justin Sullivan is probably the greatest songwriter of the past 30 years, and a lot better in my mind that some of the so called greats, you can keep your Lennon’s and Dylan’s, he writes about real things, and with a passion that shows he means every word, meeting him this year at Whitby and spending time chatting was definitely a special moment for me.

MC:  What are some of the new bands that you are currently listening to?

Martin: At the moment as far as new bands go, Luxury Stranger are high on the list, a great example of a band taking the post punk sound and running with it, I predict far bigger things for them. Also Beryl Beloved seem to be doing great things in that genre too, as do Principe Valiente and (((S))). The New Mission Creeps album ‘Dark Cells’ is really good too. I’ve also been listening to lot more psychobilly than I used to, I love The Creepshow and Kitty in a Casket.

MC: What are some of the projects you are involved in?

Martin:  I help out at the Whitby Goth Weekend twice a year, handling what is termed as ‘band liaison’ which basically means I’m there to make sure they looked after from when they turn up until after they play, organising the backstage area and making sure they’re on stage on time, as well as helping out with any problems that might occur. I have a club night that I run over the course of that weekend called ‘Nostalgia’ which is a ‘proper’ goth night, working with two really good female DJanes, Velouria and Rae Vinloon and usually one special guest. We operate a strictly no EBM/Metal Industrial rule and cover anything from the early days right up to the newer bands, and try to play the less obvious tracks. So we’ll play Rosetta Stone for instance, but not ‘Adrenaline’ or well slip in some Flesh for Lulu perhaps, with the aim of making it a club night like they used to me, with a modern twist.

MC:  Is there anything else you would like to add?  Congratulations on 25 years in the ‘scene’!

Martin:  Thanks, its been a good quarter decade, and I’m not stopping yet, I have a few things in the pipeline for next year that might be very special if they come off. Thanks to Midnight Calling for the opportunity to sound off, and to anyone that made it all the way through reading it. My biggest thanks as always go to my wife, Brigitte, her tolerance of my ‘hobby’ is legendary!

Cheers!

martin oldgoth
http://www.martinoldgoth.co.uk


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Peeling Grey

January 30th, 2010 by Edward, Filed under: Interviews

MC: How did you guys get together to form Peeling Grey?  Was there a precipitating event, so to speak?

PG: I met our former guitarist Mike at a club I was running in 2007. We use to jam, just the two of us in his Hollywood apartment starting in the summer of 2008. I brought in our first two songs “Faith In Forever” and “Peeling Grey”. Months down the road my friends Richard Nielsen and Naren Renz came in to complete the line-up. I had a musical past with the both of them…..especially Naren. After some changes last year my longtime friend Karla Blume took over on guitar.

Everyone I have played with in this project has been a friend, prior to Peeling Grey finally becoming a reality. We even had another friend James Hazley produce & engineer our demo EP. He also was a session guitarist until Karla stepped in. I suppose the band is a family affair of sorts. I’m fortunate to personally know great talent that makes this thing fly.

MC:  What sort of music were you listening to in your formative years?  Was this a major influence on your music now?

PG: First wave Punk, New Wave, and early Goth music paved the way for me ever since I was in my early teens. I always felt I borrowed from various influences and was inspired by very particular characteristics from each group or artist. The Cure has always been a tremendous source of ideas both musically and stylistically. I feel some of our songs reflect a degree of “Cure-esque” emotion if I dare say so. I feel our song “The World’s Not Sorry” is one of them.

The spirit of The Clash always spoke to me on many levels. I think that compelled me to write (lyrically) a few songs geared away from emotional distress and heartache and address bigger issues. “The Strip” is so far our most political song as it is a reflection of everyday life in the Gaza Strip. “James Quarterly” is a track where I’m reaching for my inner Mick Jones, lol. But, it is a serious song about friendship and witnessing someones drug addiction and close brushes with death.

I do hear some touches of more current bands from Rich’s end on drums and I think that is a great thing. Furthermore, some of his drumming reminds me of Joy Division and early New order as well. Naren has similar tastes as I, but his trained background in music gives us an edge over how I personally approach writing, and it works really well. Karla and I see eye to eye on The Cure, and she too comes from a rich musical background. Her mother was a folk singer that used to hang out with Bob Dylan! How’s that for band DNA?

But, back to your question, yes, those very influences from my formative years play a vital role in our sound. I think that goes for all of us. In the end though those influences are simply just that. We’re not here to imitate anyone.

MC:  The internet is a great thing that allows people more access than ever to new music (after all, it’s how I found Peeling Grey!).  But sometimes I think a down side is that access can be too easy.  Let me explain:  back in the day, if someone even knew about certain bands, they were more than likely a kindred spirit.   But now it doesn’t necessarily mean much at all. You can reach a vastly larger audience, but do you think this results in a correspondingly larger number of “real” fans?    Or do you have to pick and choose your target audience?

PG: We pick who we feel is most likely to understand, appreciate and of course like our music. But, we welcome everyone to enjoy it. I personally do not have a problem with your average teenie-bopper tapping their foot to our songs. Maybe that’s their gateway to better music!

The internet is over-saturated so it’s kind of a miracle that we’re having this conversation. Yes, back in the day things seem to be more sacred. You had to take your chances with some random junk you would find in the discount bin at a music store. That or it was simply word of mouth that got you interested in a band. It’s been so long since the radio did anyone any favors so I won’t go there.  Those things still exist but the internet has made people both impatient and dismissive of lots of things….especially music……Attention span? What’s that?

Hence this calls for bands and promoters to figure out ways to use the internet more effectively. Our way of reaching out to new potential fans through the internet is to actually speak to them one at a time. I like to add a personal touch and remind people that we really do exist! Getting them to your shows is key so that they can make that connection. I think that’s one of the challenges of the internet; The world is condensed down to neutrons and lacks being three dimensional. Still, I would never want the plug pulled on the internet especially in the case of music. Despite the disadvantages anything can happen with billions of people out there. It boggles the mind indeed.

MC: It seems like today’s youth culture is rapidly turning into an amorphous thing where everything has a sort of disturbing sameness, from music to fashion.  That is, what used to be fairly distinct subcultures now have many elements that are almost identical.     I think is largely due to the efficiency of modern communications globalization of mass media.  What are your thoughts?  Can subcultures still retain their identity in the 21st century?   What do think are some of the important factors with this?

PG: I think a new phenomenon may arise. By then who’s to say music will play a significant role. We can only hope so. We call it “subculture” now. It’s so difficult to predict where things will end up in this century. In the long run it’s anyone’s guess. I mean, who in the 19th century would fathom an underground youth movement fueled by music, fashion, and sometimes politics known as Punk Rock in the 20th century?

I think you’re right about technology having its effects on subcultures. The main thing for “subculture” to thrive as we know it in 2010 is passion and rebellion. When people, especially the younger generation cease to revolt or express themselves that is the death of any counter/sub culture. What worries me is that people in general seem to be more complacent these days. That’s what most governments want…if not all of them.

The homogenization of subcultures you speak of has been going on for years now. It’s hard to pinpoint what the causes of that are. But I see this “absorption”  effect in many areas outside of music. I see it in our foreign policy with how we claim to want to spread democracy to other parts of the world while under the table contracts are being awarded to companies that don’t care about American ideals. Instead it’s corporate American homogenization. I see it in globalization as well. It’s also apparent in the media when huge broadcasting companies absorb smaller stations. That’s what happened to KROQ out here in L.A. That was our subculture’s outlet for good music. Now it’s all crap.

As mentioned it’s always about passion. But with passion which can be a fashion as well, comes purpose. Too many people do not have that. Maybe it’s more convenient that way. We use to call out the people who didn’t have a purpose or understanding for their scene or subculture.  They were called poseurs! Now, I don’t intend on going off on an elitist tangent but that is part of the problem; More and more people get into something because it has become accepted. It’s safer nowadays, but I know I can’t turn back the clock….And that’s not what Peeling Grey is all about. We wish to look forward.

At any rate subculture can be the symptom of an ill society. It can also be a wonderful forum for creativity nonetheless. But it seems a lot of art is also the product of social strife and upheaval. I think that’s what made the original London Punk scene real. Bands like The Clash provided a social commentary. It would be interesting what the youth in Iran have to say these days. Maybe that’s where Goth and Punk need to regroup!

MC:  How is the LA scene doing these days?  What are some of your favorite venues and events?

PG: Los Angeles is vast and diverse much like any big city. There are many facets of the Goth scene here. To simplify I would boil it down to two factions, but not really opposing ones: Hollywood is one with its establishments and promoters that seemingly have the financial backing. This comes after years of doing it I suppose. Most events that relate to that side of town or its entrepreneurs cater mostly to dancing…..which I do enjoy…..when the music is decent.

Then there’s the rest of us that throw our own clubs, and more or less stay true to the original aesthetic. I think there’s more of a grassroots feel with the independent promoters and DJ’s that really try to promote not only new and obscure music, but local bands. That’s currently our nitch in L.A. and everyday I do appreciate more what we still have in this town.

My favorite club is Release the Bats…..period. That’s in Long Beach at the Que Sera and was integral to bringing Deathrock into the 21st century. We play there in March and it is a good feeling. I hate the Sunset Strip and never had a good experience at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood…oh that’s gone now, good!

MC:  What are some of the good things about the music “underground?   What are some of the bad?

PG: The good thing is there are no limits. I have seen a few artists really push them. In my opinion it doesn’t always translate into good art or music, but I appreciate anything out of the ordinary.

One of the bad things is depriving the rest of the world of what you want to share. Usually when it’s “underground” it’s relatively unknown. That can also be a good thing, but I think after a while that can get old. I don’t care what anyone says. 99% of art is created with the intent of exhibition……and there usually isn’t a set limit on how many people are allowed to appreciate your craft. Of course I am aware of the stigma of success beyond underground approval. I think I may have touched on that in a previous question. However, as long as the artist remains sincere I do not see a problem.

I suppose what can get annoying is when people’s interest in “underground” scenes is either to be seen or relishment in being among those that pioneer a movement for the sake of it. The most important thing is to really like something, to care for it, and understand it.

MC:  How do you get that cool “fuzzy” sort of sound on the guitar on your demo?

PG: That was our original guitarist (Mike O’Hare) sound. He would just sit there and tinker with his processor during practice. It use to drive us mad because we took 10 minutes between songs! He was very particular. I think the fuzz was partially our collective brainwaves being processed and amplified too. I heard that’s how The Jesus and Mary Chain do it :)

MC:   When do you anticipate your full length CD coming out?  Can you tell us anything
about it?

PG: Initially we had our sights set on another E.P. Then it dawned on us that a full length is really what we want. It’s difficult to gauge what type of release would get people on board. I figure we’ve already done an EP (even if it was a demo) so now it’s time to properly record our songs for a full length album.

I anticipate the album will be ready for the masses in June or July. In my line of thinking the sooner the better as no one waits for anything these days……so I won’t either. Afterall we’re competing with instant gratification all around!

We’re going to feature at least 10 tracks on the album. We have more songs than that, but anything leftover can be released as a b-side I suppose. I don’t even know if b-sides are still relevant….To hell with the rules, we’ll still have them!

We begin recording on Feb 6th. Our reworked and final version of “Peeling Grey” will be submitted to a German compilation titled “Darkness before Dawn” that will be distributed at this year’s WGT Festival in Leipzig in May. All I can say at this point is I am confident that our album will do justice to all our music. It will sound real, and have some raw nerve yet still hold up to today’s standards of recording.

MC:  Where will Peeling Grey be performing next?   Do you have any plans for a national tour? (hint, hint!)

PG: We’re booked through April. We actually play this weekend at Club Vicious in Rosemead. After our Release the Bats show we’ll be opening for Fangs On Fur and The Deep Eynde in April….Exciting stuff.

We will tour eventually. No matter how much more accessible music is online, it can never replicate playing out. And that is one of our goals; To be a touring band around the world and break some hearts while we’re at it! I wouldn’t be surprised if we were invited over to Europe before the rest of America. We’ve been getting some great feedback from NME Radio in the UK and as mentioned we will also be featured on the German compilation.

I have a feeling there will be a long road (no pun intended) ahead. I think gigging is half the fun…..Could be chaotic and memorable at the same time. Tell us if anyone is willing to sponsor or help us reach that goal :) One way or another we’re coming to your town.

MC:  Thanks so much for doing the interview!  Is there anything else you would like to add?

PG: Yes, we will be playing your daughter’s next birthday party drunk. Just kidding…..I’m known for bad jokes. Actually we don’t really drink until after the show….At least that’s how I handle it.    Thank you for the interview and we will see you in 2010 and beyond! Stay tuned for our debut album as we’ll be landing in your neck of the woods someday soon. Goodnight!

http://www.myspace.com/peelinggrey

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Peeling-Grey/343472150136




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Hick’ry Hawkins

November 12th, 2009 by Edward, Filed under: Interviews

MC:  How are things going for you these days? I understand that you have been doing some commercials and films.

HH: NOT AS MUCH AS I’D LIKE BUT I HAVE BEEN GETTING SOME GOOD WORK, WAS IN A THING WITH CARROT TOP AND ERIC ESTRADA AND SOME OTHER STUFF IN THE WORKS THAT CAN’T REALLY SAY ANYTHING FOR FEAR OF JINXING IT! FUNNY HOW THE EASIEST GIGS SEEM TO PAY THE MOST MONEY, ALL I DO IS STAND THERE!
MC:  Some of your songs are intensely personal.  I would simply not have the nerve to put such personal stuff out there. How do you do it?
HH: I REALLY DON’T HAVE A CHOICE. I’VE ALWAYS WRITTEN WHAT CALLED ME SO I NEVER REALLY THINK ABOUT IT MUCH UNTIL AFTER THE FACT. THEN I’M KINDA SITTING THERE GOING  ‘DAMN, I PROBABLY SHOULDN’T HAVE WRITTEN THAT. BUT THEN AGAIN THAT’S WHAT DREW ME TO SONGWRITING IN THE FIRST PLACE IS THAT THE WRITER CAN BEAR HIS OR HER SOUL IN WAYS THEY DON’T EVEN REALIZE. FOR ME MUSIC HAS GOTTA BE HONEST IT’S GOTTA BE RAW. I’M NEVER GONNA MAKE A ‘SGT PEPPERS’ RECORD. BUT I CAN BE AS HONEST AS I CAN WITH WHAT I DO. NOBODY IS IN MY BOOTS BUT ME, SO THAT’S WHAT I GOTTA WRITE ABOUT.



MC:  “Possum”  Jones recently said that “pop country” stars like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have stolen the identity of country music. “…[T]hey’re definitely not traditional country music“, Jones said.  I know that for years I’ve noticed that what I consider to be country music is no longer herad on country radio (or very sparingly). People who do play real country such as yourself and others like you, seem to be marginalized . It’s like “real” country music is not almost an underground subculture.   Do you think that “real” country will ever take back the radio?    Is this even desirable in today’s amorphous media-driven culture?

HH: YEAH IT’S ALMOST LIKE WE’RE SPEAKING LATIN SOMETIMES COMPARED TO WHAT’S OUT THERE. BUT I STILL THINK PEOPLE (AT LEAST THE ONES WITH BRAINS AND HEART) ARE GONNA GRAVITATE TOWARDS MUSIC THAT STRIKES A CHORD WITH THEM. THE ‘REAL’ STUFF IS STILL HERE AND IT AIN’T GOING ANYWHERE, IT’S JUST GONNA TAKE MORE DIGGING TO FIND IT. ONE THING ABOUT IT NOT BEING DESIRABLE TO THE MEDIA THOUGH IS THIS, SOMEONE LIKE A TAYLOR SWIFT OR A KENNY CHESNEY IS GONNA DO PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT THE LABELS TELL THEM TO DO WHEREAS A DWIGHT YOAKAM, OR A STEVE EARLE, OR EVEN A HICK’RY HAWKINS IS USUALLY GONNA BE A HANDFUL OF TROUBLE WHEN IT COMES TO ISSUES OF CONTROL. IT’S ALSO BEEN MORE ABOUT THE PRODUCERS IN THE LAST 20 YEARS, THE ARTIST IS REALLY JUST EYE CANDY.



MC:  In one of your blogs you talked about how commercial “hit’ songs are just catchy arrangements around trite lyrics.  This is very true.  If you look at the albums put out by many of today’s “stars”, a lot of times the biggest “hit” on their CD is written by “professional” songwriters hired by the label.  And the radio is just horrible. They play the same twenty songs endlessly, and like some Pavlovian response, many people run out and buy the CD.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think that people will figure out that they are being spoon-fed garbage by the music media in the name of profits?

HH: I TURNED 41 YEARS OLD THIS PAST YEAR AND I’M STILL HOPING FOLKS WILL WAKE UP TO THAT. BUT PEOPLE STILL WANNA BE ‘IN’ WITH A CROWD, AS IN ‘HEY, I WANNA BE COOL SO IF MY COOL FRIENDS LIKE COLDPLAY THEN I BETTER PRETEND TO LIKE IT TOO!’   RADIO AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE IS ABOUT MAKING IT SEEM LIKE THEY MIGHT BE CAUSING WAVES, BUT IN REALITY DOING NOTHING OF THE SORT. LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED TO HIP HOP, IT’S BECOME MORE OF A PARODY OF ITSELF THAN EVEN 80′S HAIR METAL WAS. THIS REMINDS ME OF SOMETHING, A COUPLE WEEKS AGO, SPRINGSTEEN PLAYED HERE IN MY HOMETOWN AND I REALLY WANTED TO GO, I’VE NEVER SEEN HIM, BUT EVEN THE NOSEBLEED SEATS WERE $150. I STARTED THINKING ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE AT THAT SHOW WHO PROBABLY ONLY KNEW ONE SPRINGSTEEN SONG BUT BECAUSE THEIR FRIENDS WERE GOING OR BECAUSE IT’S NOW A STATUS SYMBOL TO BE ABLE TO SAY IN THE OFFICE THAT YOU COULD AFFORD THE $200 SEATS, ALL THOSE PEOPLE WENT WHEREAS PEOPLE LIKE ME, WHO’S LIVES HAD BEEN TRULY CHANGED BY THE BOSS’S MUSIC, COULDN’T AFFORD TO EVEN STAND OUTSIDE ON THE STREET IN FRONT OF THE ARENA.



MC:  You mentioned Jason Ringenberg in one of your songs.  What was the situation there?

HH: I MET HIM AFTER A SHOW AND TOLD HIM I FELT LIKE I’D JUST SEEN MY ILLEGITIMATE FATHER FOR THE FIRST TIME AND HE JUST GAVE ME THIS LOOK LIKE I WAS SOME GUY WHO JUST BOUGHT MY FIRST COWBOY HAT THAT DAY. I EVEN ASKED WARNER HODGES WHAT THE HELL WAS HE BEING LIKE THAT FOR AND WARNER SAID HE WAS JUST SURLY AROUND FOLKS THAT ARE ACTUALLY INFLUENCED BY HIM.   SO I REALLY WROTE THE SONG ‘MY NAME IS HICK’RY HAWKINS’ ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE I’VE BEEN COMPARED TO AND MET THEM AND FOUND OUT THAT IT’S A FEW OF THEM THAT SHOULD BE HONORED TO BE COMPARED TO ME.



MC:  I’ve seen you a few times at the Heavy Rebel Weekender.  Its’ a great festival. Very laid back and people are very friendly.  What do you like about playing at HRW?  What are some of the other events you have enjoyed performing at?

HH: YEAH HRW IS LIKE A WOODSTOCK FOR PEOPLE THAT AREN’T HIPPIES. IT’S NOT JUST THE THREE DAYS OF LIVE MUSIC AT THE ACTUAL VENUE BUT ALL THE AFTER PARTIES WHERE THE MUSIC KEEPS GOING. ALONG WITH ALL THE OLD FRIENDS YOU MEET THAT YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IN YEARS. PLUS THE NEW ONES THAT YOU FIND. OTHER THAN HRW, I DON’T PLAY MANY EVENTS, I’VE APPARENTLY BECOME TOO MUCH OF A LONE WOLF FOR THAT. I DID LOVE PLAYING THE CONEY ISLAND ROCKABILLY FESTIVAL AND I HOPE TO BE ABLE TO PLAY IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR.   I SERIOUSLY TRY MY BEST TO MAKE EVERY SHOW I PLAY A REAL EVENT, EVEN IF IT’S IN SOMEONES LIVING ROOM. I’M THAT GUY THAT WILL MOST LIKELY ACTUALLY DIE ONSTAGE SOMEWHERE.



MC: You mentioned that you have a few interesting stories.  What are some of them?

HH: DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN ON THAT ONE, AHH, HERE’S A GOOD ONE. A COUPLE YEARS AGO ME AND THE BAND PLAYED A WRAP PARTY FOR A MOVIE THAT WAS BEING FILMED HERE, I’D BROUGHT  THIS GORGEOUS LADY THAT I’D RECENTLY MET FOR MY DATE, SHE SEEMED REALLY NICE, EVERYONE THERE LOVED HER. SO WHILE I’M ONSTAGE, SHE AND SOME OTHER LADIES THREW THEIR UNDERWEAR AT ME. THEN LATER SHE ASKS ME TO GO HOME WITH HER, BY THE WAY SHE WAS LIVING IN AN EFFICIENCY HOTEL AT THE TIME. SO I’M WALKING UP THE STAIRS BEHIND HER, ALLOWING ME TO SEE THE PROMISED LAND AND I’M THINKING ‘MAN I’M ABOUT TO BE DAVID LEE ROTH!” I’M LUGGING MY GUITAR, AMP AND SUITCASE FULL OF MERCHANDISE, BEFORE SHE EVEN GETS HER KEY CARD IN THE DOOR, THE DOOR OPENS AND THERE’S A GUY STANDING THERE IN HIS BOXERS SHORTS GOING “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?’ AND I REPLY, “MAN I’M NOBODY AND I’M OUTTA HERE.”
THE GIRL JUST MEEKLY RUNS RIGHT ON IN THE ROOM, SO I RUN DOWN ACROSS THE STREET TO A SAFER HOTEL, I’M CALLING MY GUITAR PLAYER ON THE PHONE, IT WAS ONLY HIS SECOND GIG WITH ME, HE’D BEEN IN A HOTEL WHERE TWO LADIES HAD GOTTEN NAKED AND I’M TELLING HIM, “BROTHER, YOU GOTTA COME GET ME, THE BITCH WENT CRAZY AND I’M STRANDED!”  SO HE COMES TO PICK ME UP AND TELLS ME, ‘MAN, IF THIS IS WHAT IT’S GONNA BE LIKE BEING HH’S GUITAR PLAYER THEN I’VE HIT THE FREAKING JACKPOT!’ THE GIRL KEPT BLOWING UP MY CELLPHONE LEAVING MESSAGES SAYING, “HE WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THERE”!
ANOTHER TIME WE OPENED UP FOR MUDHONEY IN ATLANTA. THERE WAS THIS BIG UPSTAIRS SUITE THAT WE ALL SHARED AS A GREENROOM. THE GUYS FROM MUDHONEY WALKING IN AND I’M STAGGERING AROUND THE ROOM WITH BIG BOTTLE OF WILD TURKEY WEARING SKIN TIGHT VINYL, MY BASS PLAYER AND HIS GIRLFRIEND ARE HALF NAKED ROLLING AROUND ON THE POOL TABLE, MY DRUMMER HAD DECIDED IT WAS FUNNY TO WALK AROUND WITH HIS PANTS DOWN AND MY GUITAR PLAYER WAS SITTING ON THE COUCH ROLLING UP A HUGE BAG OF WEED.  HE OFFERED THE MUDHONEY GUYS A JOINT AND THEY ALL RAN TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM AND STAYED THERE TIL IT WAS TIME FOR THEM TO GO ON!
MC: Anyone who mentions Johnny Cash and Sid Vicious in the same song is definitely  cool in my book.  What do you see as some of the common threads running through the early Country/Rockabilly performers up through Punk and even the Outlaw country of the 60s/70s.
HH: ATTITUDE.   IT WASN’T ABOUT HOW MUSICALLY PROFICIENT ANY OF THE GREAT COUNTRY OR PUNK ARTISTS WERE, IT WAS ABOUT RAW EMOTION. BOTH GENRES ARE MUSIC THAT FEELS SOMETHING MORE REAL THAN JUST ‘HEY BABY LET ME LOOK AT IT’.
IN MY OPINION PEOPLE LIKE ROBERT JOHNSON AND HANK SR. WERE THE FIRST PUNK ROCKERS. THERE’S ALWAYS BEEN A DANGER ELEMENT TO THE REAL STUFF. YOU NEVER KNEW IF CASH WAS GONNA JUST JUMP OFF THE STAGE AND STRANGLE SOMEBODY OR NOT AND IT WAS THE SAME WITH JOHNNY LYDON, EVEN CHUCK BERRY. HELL REMEMBER WHEN JERRY LEE LEWIS SET HIS PIANO ON FIRE AND THREW IT INTO THE AUDIENCE? THE GUY DIDN’T CARE IF HE BURNED THE WHOLE DAMN BUILDING DOWN! YOU TELL ME WHO’S OUT THERE TODAY THAT COULD HANG WITH THAT?



MC: Who are some of your favorite bands/performers?

HH: IRON MAIDEN, SAMMY DAVIS JR., DAVID LEE ROTH, DIAMONDA GALAS, MR. YOAKAM, SPRINGSTEEN, KEITH RICHARDS, NEW YORK DOLLS, JOHNNY PAYCHECK, AND OF COURSE SCREAMING JAY HAWKINS, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO KNOW MY MUSIC AND HAVE SEEN ME PERFORM, NO FURTHER EXPLANATION IS NECESSARY.



MC:  Is there anything else you would like to add?  Thanks for doing the interview!  I hope to see you on the stage soon.

HH: JUST FOR ANYONE WHO READS THIS TO TELL YER FRIENDS, LOCAL MUSIC VENUES AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW ABOUT ME. I STILL HAVE ALOTTA YEARS OF HELLRAISIN’ TO GO, AND I HOPE YOU CAN ALL COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE!
THANKS BROTHER, AND GOD BLESS!




www.myspace.com/hickryhawkins

www.facebook.com/hickry

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