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No One Has a Walkman… An Interview w/ Ashfields

Whilst at the Dot To Dot Festival I had the chance to interview Dev (lead singer) and Jay (bass guitar) from the upcoming Nottingham-based band Ashfields. We talked about their inspirations, aspirations, and opinions surrounding their musical career – as well as Morrissey and the Backstreet Boys.

Photo by Ella Jones

What’s the story behind the name Ashfields?

Dev: It originates from where we live, Kirkby- in-Ashfield, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Mansfield – it’s a small past-mining community North of Nottingham.

What are your musical influences?

Dev: I like Catfish & The Bottlemen and I’m actually a big Backstreet Boys fan, not going to lie they are one of my guilty pleasures.
Jay: Nothing But Thieves and The Hunna – fun fact though, my first gig with Ashfields, I gave Dev a lift and on the way home, he had the Backstreet Boys on all the way home.
Dev: Spandau Ballet, I’m into that too

 

I don’t really like to talk about genres, if it’s good it’s good if it’s not it’s not. The only thing that makes it Ashfields is that it’s us.

 

How long have you been writing music?

Dev: I’ve been writing songs since day 1, but whether they had been any good or not that’s a different story. I started writing music professionally about 4 years ago.

Do you play in the band as a full-time career?

Dev: We all have jobs – unfortunately bands are expensive, there are lots to pay for. However recently the band has become more or less full-time so it is finally getting to the point where we are able to leave our jobs and be in the band full-time.

Photo by Ella Jones

What’s your opinion on using Spotify as opposed to CDs?

Dev: Spotify is the way to go, but it isn’t the way I want to go – we live in a world where technology rules everything, no one buys CD’s anymore, no one has a record player. No one has a Walkman – it’s all on your phone.
Jay: I really like the feeling of having a CD and opening it to play it, I still buy CDs.
Dev: I still buy CDs too, I drive a car and I can’t afford a fancy car where I can hook my phone up to my Bluetooth – so I have to buy CDs for my car. In the world we live in Spotify has taken over.

There is also the argument that you can’t get paid as much through Spotify as well.

Dev: You really cannot be paid as much, it’s as simple as that, a CD would cost £5 and how much is it per listen on Spotify?
Me: Artists receive around £0.0004 per listen on Spotify.
Dev: Are you joking? Daylight f***ing robbery.

What’s your favourite venue that you’ve ever performed at? Fave crowd?

Jay: Rock City
Dev: Definitely, I’m assuming that’s gonna change today maybe.
Jay: We have just finished sound checking and it’s very very nice.
Dev: Rock city is one of my favourite venues to play to, and it has been one of the best crowds so far – but I’m assuming when we play at YNOT and Splendour that will change.

Are there any bands you’d love to tour with?

Jay: The Backstreet Boys?
Dev: Yeah definitely! *laughs* No not really – but on a serious note, probably Catfish and the Bottlemen or Nothing But Thieves

How about people you’d love to tour with dead or alive?

Dev: That’s a very good question, Queen all the way.
Jay: Yeah but then we’d play and instantly get sh*t on straight away
Dev: Like I say I’m the best singer alive besides Freddie Mercury, but he’s dead so he doesn’t count. It would be nice to be there and shake his hand though.

Do you think that bands should talk about political issues?

Dev: I believe in some sense that bands have the ability to persuade others and have some kind of projection onto the public, where they can make their view and make a difference – yet in the same sense should they really? Probably not.
Jay: I think artists are given a platform to use, so they may as well use it. I listen to Rise Against who is quite a political band, they are vegetarians, activists – but it can get to the point where they are shoving it down your throats and singing about it in every song.
Dev: There was that thing where Morrissey stopped a gig because there was a meat van nearby, I am a Morrissey fan but I want to eat a f***ing cheeseburger.
Jay: There is a line on how far you should go with it but if you are given a platform you should use it for positive reasons.

Photo by Ella Jones

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a band?

Dev: Go for it, it’ll be the best laugh you’ve ever had in your life, don’t let anything get in the way, but at the end of the day you just have to be f***ing good.
Jay: Hard work does pay off.

What can you expect from you in the future? More EP’s?

Dev: If I tell you I’d have to kill you!! There’s lots of stuff in the pipeline regarding songs and recording. There will definitely be an album, more gigs, more tours, we are supporting the Libertines and Happy Mondays, alongside a few others tours but they haven’t been announced yet.
Jay: Watch this space and all that.
Dev: Watch this space and all the cheesy sh*t that the bands give you.

You can listen to Ashfields on Spotify here and follow their Instagram page here.

On The Phone with King Shelter

King Shelter, a name spliced together from Taco Bell commercials, self-identifies as a sort of psychedelic grunge/scum rock band. Labels aside, these boys merge their music with ideas ranging from space exploration to human insignificance and our culture of complacency. I had an opportunity to speak with Taylor Hecocks, who sings and plays guitar, about the absolute necessity of recognizing human limits while, still, opening your mind to speculations about our greater universe.

The phone conversation revealed a King Shelter trademark of satirical depth in music. Read on for the perfect collision that is King Shelter; between rock and experiencing this crazy life we all seem to float right on through.

Zach Capittifenton: Drums
Taylor Hecocks: Guitar & Vocals
John Harzan: Bass
David Noble: Lead Guitar

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I would love if you could give some background on your band, how and when did you start King Shelter

So, I’m originally from South Florida. In 2013 I moved out here to go to school and to play some music, and that’s where I met the other guys. We just started playing some house shows and things just started rolling from there. That’s kinda how we got started, just meeting up at school and messing around and stuff like that, so it’s a pretty basic, classic beginning. 

That’s so cool, and when did you form your band officially?

The year was 2014… I’d say 2015 was our first real release. We’d been playing around since 2014, or late 2013. That was ‘Failure’ we put out in 2015.

Were you guys all involved in music before you started the band?

I had met David through classes in school and stuff because we were in the same major, music. I had made an album by myself that I had put out of Soundcloud, and that’s when we started getting hit up for shows on the internet. That’s when David and I decided to try and put a live set together, and we, via associated friends, found the other two dudes. Dave and I met up in classes and then we were hunting around campus for a drummer and a bass player, that’s when we found those guys. [Zach and John]

How did you come up with King Shelter, what’s that story? 

To be honest I was back in Florida, working with a college record label under a different name that I didn’t really like the music too much, or anything. I was playing with my buddy, Hunter, and I think we were both in a Taco Bell, like probably stoned. If I remember correctly, and they had this TV, which is weird enough and makes me pretty confident that I was baked. We were trying to think of another name to start a new project and there was a Burger King commercial followed by an animal shelter commercial, so then we just put those two words together.

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Photo by @djspookyemma

It was Shelter King for a little bit and then when I moved out here I think I just reversed it. It really means absolutely nothing…two random words found from commercials, baked in a Taco Bell, so I don’t know if that sounds good or bad but it is what it is. People always think it has some big conceptual meaning, and it does feel pretty ironic with the kind of material stuff we make, but in reality, it means a whole lot of nothing.

And also part of it too, I wasn’t really planning on turning it into a band, so for a little bit I thought it might be my own little alias since my last name has the word ‘cock’ in it. “I probably shouldn’t go by that.” It turned into a band so it worked out really nice. 

You can really take this anywhere! What would you say is your self-described sound, your goals or anything of that nature… 

Well for a little bit we were joking around with, it was kind of our old drummer’s joke, the ‘salad rock’ thing that seems to get passed around. All the blogs and people, they always really like that, like a self-proclaimed genre. We were calling it ‘salad rock’ for a while because we’re all into different kinds of rock, and it just kinda of seemed like a big salad bowl of rocks…we don’t really use it anymore just because it sounds kind of goofy.

My goals are to sound like the lovechild of Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke, that’s my goal. I want to be their baby, so my new self-proclaimed genre is like ‘scum rock’ or something, but it really is just like all psychedelic grunge at this point.

It’s tough to say because I listen to a lot of, an obscene amount, of Radiohead and a lot of the grunge stuff, like mostly Nirvana for grunge, a lot of Flaming Lips, stuff like that. It has a little bit of grunge, a little bit of alt, just like… pretty stuff, and psychedelic in there to. So what do you even say, you kind of have to make up your own. It’s kind of scum rock n’ roll at this point, just a big cesspool of nonsense. 

Such a hard one, but if you had to narrow it down, top album? 

If I had to go top album it would probably be Radiohead, of course. I listen to so much Radiohead. My favorite album is probably ‘Hail to the Thief.’ That’s definitely the biggest impact for all of us, for this album and for the next.

Let’s talk about your inspiration behind your music in general and your newest album, ‘$hame.’

We made the album ‘Failure All Ourselves’, I got to produce everything and mix it and then we did a series of singles that were just a bunch of random songs that I had made and it just didn’t feel so great, we like making a collection of songs, as opposed to a bunch of random ones. We wanted to theme it up a little bit more and I wanted it to have a flow to it. It’s trying to progress from the sound, to move to the next step, and make it sound a little bit more interesting and not focus so much on the success of it. This one’s more for the fans who are into it, all the songs are over four minutes, it just takes its time.

The album is pretty much observational I didn’t want to take any stances on a lot of stuff, I just wanted to put a bunch of things out there that I see. A lot of it’s very satirical and maybe sounds sassy like I’m calling somebody out, but it’s really not. A lot of it is saying what I saw…very observational. I end up looking at myself, trying to look at everything objectively with a little bit of satire in there. It’s definitely a lot of just looking at everything and saying what I see instead of trying to make some big, old sociopolitical statement.

That’s what lead to making this album too…being frustrated with the state of unknown and the complacency that everybody’s in. Everyone’s fine with not knowing the answers, it seems. At least the people walking by me on the streets, they don’t really care and it’s frustrating.

The overlying theme is we look too much at Earth and we don’t focus enough on space exploration, to be honest. That’s actually what I was thinking of when I was making the whole thing, I spent a lot of time in LA during that process and it gets kind of depressing out there, it’s kind of a rat race, big old ant pile of just chaos. You get kind of fed up with it. So not in a nutshell…that’s what it’s all about. *laughs* 

Let’s talk more about your perspective on more space exploration…

I’ve gotten very into studying and researching space and outer space and kind of all that intergalactic stuff. I found it interesting and watched a lot of documentaries, different things, trying to learn as much as I could about it. The more I learned the more it seemed like it was kind of crazy how we spend all of our time trying to get our personal selves to a better point for these materialistic things that, frankly, won’t really be here if we don’t find a new planet to live on. The sun is going to burn this planet up, it won’t be here anymore, and no one really seems to care, everyone wants to make some cash and be with some big booty strippers… when in reality those big booty strippers won’t be here if we don’t get to the next planet. That gets kind of frustrating to me. We focus so much on what we’re doing here when we should be focusing on getting to the next spot before this one runs out.

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Space is also the most beautiful thing that exists. It’s crazy looking. This stuff is really interesting. People get stuck in the idea of the layout and the timeline that’s set for every single human, from birth, you have to do these certain, specific steps to be successful, in order to play your part. What if I don’t want to? What if I’m not interested in that.  That’s what kicks off this album, [the song] Pick Your Poison is about how I don’t really want to get a job and a wife and have kids and a white picket fence and send my kids off to college, make them do the same exact thing that I did. It all gets a little mundane, a little strange. These requirements that are set for you, why are they set for you? Who decided? Why are these our main focuses? Why is everyone always talking about sociopolitical issues when we’re not funding NASA, we’re not funding space exploration…we’re not putting our emphasis on the next, we’re just putting it in all this social, cultural stuff. Which is fine, which is cool. Culture is beautiful but, you know, it’s not beautiful when it doesn’t exist anymore. When are people going to start focusing on the longevity of culture, as opposed to the quality?

Shifting gears a little… Do you have an especially pivotal song that you’ve written or has been important to you, personally?

On the old album, ‘Failure,’ was the most important song to me. That album was for the “everyman.” It’s super personal, it talks about a lot of the things people struggle with internally. I felt like I finally explained myself in the right way, people were able to relate to it, so that one was always very special to me and to the band.

On the next album, ‘$hame’, there’s a song on it called ‘All Right All Wrong’ where we did what we wanted on the track and made a heavy differentiation between Earth and space with music and sounds and instrumentals. It was really satisfying, really nice and it just turned out exactly how we wanted it to. Finally got to say some shit I wanted to say, so that felt good…it might ruffle a feather or two, but sometimes you have to. That song is very much about human insignificance, knowing how small you are in comparison to what’s around you, and not just the people next to you, but the stars in the sky and the sun that’s shining on you every day. Also living in LA, everyone thinks that they are God, that they are the next big thing. It just gets old. 

Do you mind if I ask you about God? Your current beliefs on spirituality? 

Dave, John, and I grew up in Christian homes and, for myself, it’s more of a state of trying to discover what the right thing is. Having personal experiences that really seem to point to a spiritual realm, it’s pretty interesting. For me, I like to stay in the unknown. I like to keep my mind open to those possibilities. A friend of mine once explained to me that things continue to get bigger and bigger…what’s the next biggest thing? Does it go on for infinity? Or does it finally, at some spot, meet the greatest of the great, that being “God”?

 How can we say that doesn’t exist when we haven’t even explored 95% of our goddamn ocean?  How are we supposed to know if there’s even a god way out there, we just can’t. So, I’m more on the agnostic plane, where it’s like maybe…

It just got to the point of where I wanted to know more. I get a little exhausted at having to use so much faith as opposed to statistics and facts and what we can actually discover and know. So I’ve been more interested in discovery instead of just closing my eyes and hoping. Christians would be upset with me for saying this but if God is real then I want to find him. I want to prove it. That’s where I stand on all that.

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The spiritual realm has definitely made itself pretty apparent in my personal experiences, but not in a tangible way to make it seem real to anybody else but myself. A lot of people have those kinds of experiences where a spiritual world of sorts has made itself very apparent to that individual. I feel like you have probably had your own experiences where it’s like “I don’t really understand what that was…” and who knows it could be a crazy coincidence, like evolution begging, it could be something like that, where the stars align and it happens. Or it could be a divine intervention, who’s to say.

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Everyone sees you as being a part of your band but what about your outside life…anything you really love doing?

I actually skate a lot. So pretty much if I have any free time I’m gonna hang out with my homies at Brea Park and just skate there all day.

Do you have a craziest concert experience, one you’ve played or one you’ve gone to?

There’s been an obscene amount of just ridiculous things that have happened at shows. One of the ones that also sticks to me, it was the worst I ever felt after. This was back before Failure ever came out, when we were doing all the house shows, playing like three times a week, everywhere we could. This kid threw a big house festival thing for his birthday and it was just a bunch of college kids, going way too crazy. We were playing in the yard and everyone was so drunk and running around…this guy fell into my microphone, hit it into my mouth and it cut my lip open and it was bleeding. I freaked out, lost my cool, screamed at the guy. And it turned out that the guy whose birthday it was and everyone booed us off. It was so bad and I just felt so awful. That was one of the craziest, it got out of control in a matter of like 15 seconds. I feel so much shame so if you’re reading this, my bad.

How can people find your music? 

Pretty much anywhere. We have Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, those are the only three we still update.

Any last words of wisdom to finish it off?

Call your mother, tell her you love her and do what you think you should do. Have a good night my friend. 

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Photo by @whitney_woof

Thank you again to Taylor for taking the time to talk about music, culture, and the “finer things in life.” Give King Shelter’s newest album, $hame, a listen, as well as the rest of their music. Their songs are permanent residents on my favorite playlists and, as a friend, I recommend you check them out online and in concert.

InstagramSpotify / SoundcloudApple Music 

 

SUNFLOWER BEAN: Music with a Live Aura

Photography by Jamie Langley

The energy in the room took on a face, a crisp color enveloping each body, both onstage and off. Each shadow moved with certainty and purpose, each light held an emotion all it’s own. ‘Memoria’ resonated and hummed in the walls, flushing guitar strings with light purples and clean reds as Julia Cumming sang of dial tones and sleepless nights, past feelings and present conflictions.

The music could feel, and we felt it right back. 

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Pandemonium w/ Reptaliens

A project of exploration in pop culture, Portland-bred band Reptaliens created dreamscapes inspired by sci-fi art and cult mentality. They consider themselves somewhere between abstract expressionism and surrealism, both sonically and visually. They got real with our writer Emily Blake about their history, their sound, and their hopes.

Can you give me a little bit of background about the band? How did you get together, what’s the story behind the name? 

Cole: Bambi and I wrote and recorded a song (which later ended up being “Forced Entry”) just for fun one day.  We put the song up on soundcloud and people really responded to it so we decided to write more and get a live band together.  Julian Kowalski’s been in the live band since the first show and Tyler Verigin joined about half a year in when Cole decided to switch from drums to playing synths.

What were the intentions in starting the band? 

Cole: I think we originally started the band just to write and record music together. I had no intentions of signing with a record label or playing outside of our hometown of Portland, OR.  We were just having fun and not taking it too seriously when – well – one thing led to another.

How has your sound developed since you formed?

Cole: On our first album “FM-2030” we were just writing and recording whatever came out.  There’s a lot of different styles, moods, and genre types on that record because we were still just playing around and seeing what worked.  With our new material, that we’re writing now, there’s a much more cohesive and defined sound that we’re going for.

Is there a musician/concept that always provides you with ideas, inspiration or motivation?

Cole: As far as musical influences for the live show, I’m really inspired by bands that have a fun and unique live show – bands like Of Montreal or STRFKR.  For influences on our approach to recording, I am constantly inspired by the lo-fi but beautifully produced home recording styles of Ariel Pink and Chris Cohen.

How do you go about starting a new project?

Cole: Starting a new project is super hard.  You just gotta find the right people that you love playing with and being around.  Don’t try and corner yourself into a genre or style, just see where it goes and be positive towards the result whether it’s what you intended or not.

I was looking through your Instagram and I found myself really gravitating towards the overall laid back eccentric vibe. How do aesthetics affect you as a band? Is it something you prioritize or does it just come authentically? It seems like your live shows, especially, have a lot of different moving pieces.

Cole: There are a lot of recurring aesthetics, themes, and concepts in both our live show and the music.  They aren’t so much prioritized as just a product of us wanting to do something and then acting on that.  When we decide on a character or costume, we take it seriously, but a lot of it is silly or tongue-in-cheek.  We just like to do whatever seems fun.

Do you have a favorite live show you ever played?

Cole:  One of my favorite shows was playing with Foxygen at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland. We had some actors in inflatable T-Rex costumes on stage and dancing in the audience. It was pandemonium.

If you could collaborate with any musician (dead or alive) who would it be?

Cole: I would collaborate with Brian Eno, but only if we were going off of his oblique strategies.

What do you guys do in your free time?

Cole: Watch a lot of movies, eat a lot of food. Y’know, the usual.  Hang out with our dog.

What are you guys working on right now? Anything you’re especially looking forward to?

Cole: We’re constantly planning tours, and we’ve got some big announcements coming up soon!  We’re also starting to write demos for the second LP and we’re going to start playing some of those live so that’s super exciting.

Reptaliens are now on tour,
supporting Okey Dokey down the West Coast of the U.S.

6.13 San Diego @ the Casbah

6.14 Los Angeles @ the Satellite

6.15 San Francisco @ Cafe du Nord

6.17 Leggett, CA @ Hickey Fest

6.19 Portland @ Mississippi Studios

6.20 Seattle @ Sunset Tavern

 

Primavera Sound 2018: Worlds Collide in Barcelona

Every year in late May, hundreds of thousands of music fans from all over the globe flock to coastal Barcelona for one of the most anticipated events of the year, the ultimate summer kick off, sometimes referred to as the “Coachella of Europe”… Primavera Sound.

Since Primavera’s inception in 2001, it has sought (and beautifully succeeded, I might add) to unite different music communities from every corner of the world and promote music coming out of its host country, Spain. I was positively shocked to hear I’d received press credentials to cover this year’s Primavera for Pure Nowhere and, alongside fellow photographer and music-fanatic friend Lauren, made the 6,000 mile trek to Europe in the name of good tunes and a good time in a new culture.

Spoiler Alert: it surpassed every expectation.

 

This year’s lineup featured Arctic Monkeys, Tyler, the Creator, Lorde, Ty Segall and The Freedom Band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, A$AP ROCKY, Björk, Rex Orange County, Nick Cave, Warpaint, Ariel Pink, The Internet, The War on Drugs, among hundreds of others and attracted over 215,000 attendees from 126 countries, according to Catalan News. Surprisingly, Primavera Sound isn’t yet widely known in the United States but, like a fine wine, is only becoming more and more impressive over the years. Held at Parc del Forum in Barcelona, the festival hugs the Balearic coastline and boasts spacious grounds, (for when you need to sit and relax between sets) and affordable food and drinks, amenities most fests don’t tend to match. There’s another special element in the Primavera Sound experience, a kind of magic in the air; the crowds attending Primavera are some of the warmest and most mellow I have ever encountered at a music event, and especially at one of such grand proportions. Worlds collide within the audience at this festival. With over 60% of attendees coming from a country other than Spain, everyone wants to learn about each other, everyone wants to know what it’s like somewhere so far from what they know, and everyone is truly there for the love of the music. This being only my second time in Europe and my first time attending a European fest, I was amazed with the entire experience.

People were there to be there, and there only.

People were there to be together.

 

Even though headliners typically ran until about 3AM and sets ran as late as 6am, people were in good spirits, I couldn’t seem to find anyone too rowdy, too rude, too creepy, too loud. I went from stage to stage all day, trying to snap some photos at as many sets as I could, and still I felt anew and excited to be where I was, even into the wee hours of morning. Whatever it is, they’re doing it right. If you ever needed an excuse to visit Spain…. Primavera Sound is it.

As one contemporary poet has so memorably said:

“Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it,
you better never let it go.”

 

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I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, I met amazing new friends from all over the world, I got to connect and learn about other cultures, I got to see so many of my favorite artists perform in an incredible new setting, and I hope more festivals can follow in Primavera’s footsteps to make a more enjoyable festival experience with such a kick-ass lineup.

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Eat Your Spaghetti

by Liz Wood 

An essay on the most meaningful painting that I have ever produced, and a way to explain to people that they are stronger than their sadness. Essentially: my journey and advice for dealing with depression and mental illness.

Dedicated to Mom, Caroline, Auntie Nola, Dean, The Chant Brothers, Pop Pop Birdie, Josh, Skyler, Sam, Freddie, Derek, and everyone who has impacted my life, taught me a lesson, or needed someone in a time of hurting.

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To whomever is reading this: Hello. My name is Liz, and I’m going to take a wild guess that I am very similar to you. 

I’m 17 years old, and if you’re a teenager, you’re probably aware that it can suck sometimes and it can be fun sometimes. I am an artist. This means that I love to create, I love to express myself, and nothing gives me more gratitude than creating something I love and watching people around me appreciate what my brain created. I have lived in Washington D.C, New York City, Albuquerque New Mexico, San Antonio Texas, back to Albuquerque, and finally, San Diego. Consistency is something I haven’t really ever known. And, like a large amount of teenagers today, I have suffered from depression and anxiety.

As I mentioned, I’m an artist. I have loved drawing and arts and crafts since I was practically conceived. I liked to doodle and draw and make things, but until recently, nothing I ever made really had any meaning to me. Everything I created was something I liked because I thought it looked pretty. Recently, this changed. From the span of November ’17 to February ’18, I hit rock bottom with my depression and anxiety. I hit an all time mental low. I’m talking self hate, suicidal thoughts, crying in bed every night, complete isolation and sadness.

In February, out of nowhere, I decided I wanted to make a large-scale painting. I wanted to paint on the largest canvas I’d ever worked with. So I did. 

Like all of my other work, it started with an image I thought was pretty. But it was a huge canvas, and I had no idea how to fill it, until one day, something clicked, and I decided to paint my journey with depression. I am here – now – to decipher my art for you, tell you my story, and hopefully, if you are dealing with a struggle similar to mine, to tell you how I overcame this, healed, became strong, and learned to love myself.

Basically this painting works from the bottom up. It shows my journey from complete rock bottom to the new sense of self-love, creativity, happiness, and strength that I feel now. I’ll be exploring it in sections.

Blue Devils

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Blue devils is a synonym for sadness, and it’s what I have titled the lower section. The first image I would like to bring you to is the crying girl. Yes, this is a depiction of me. This is intended to show the sadness, despair and emptiness I felt at this time. This particular experience I had with depression and anxiety happened during a time which I felt like my whole world was falling apart. My grandfather passed away and it hit our family like a truck. Around the same time, my grandmother started showing evident signs of the dementia she would be fighting in the upcoming months. My mother was incredibly stressed with the weight of the world coming down on her, as a result of her father’s unexpected death and having to deal with his estate. Obviously, I was very sad about this. I was struggling in school and some inconveniences in my family occurred as well that made me sad and stressed me out like it would for any other teenager.

In the midst of everything else, I experienced heartbreak for the first time and lost the person who completed me. My boyfriend at the time was my first love. He was a year older than me and a senior. He was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, and I was completely and utterly in love with him. It sounds stupid, but he taught me things that no one else had, made me feel loved like no one else had, made me happier than anyone ever had before, and losing him made me sadder than anything else had.

I met him during a past depressive episode. He quickly became my favorite person to be around, and I fell for him. He was positive and bubbly. He was funny and different. He made me feel confident and pretty and like I was the most important girl in the world. And at the end of my sophomore year of high school, we started dating.

The next few months were ones of intense love. He made me playlists, and little gifts. He spent time with me almost every day of summer. My pain, struggle and sadness was his and vice versa. He had the most beautiful soul and he treated me like the princess that every teenage girl dreams of being treated as. My family, friends and myself were foolishly convinced that I’d lucked out and found my soul mate in my first boyfriend.

In early November, something happened completely unrelated to him that saddened me deeply. My boyfriend was at work that night and the following day he picked me up and kept me at his house the whole day. He comforted me and fed me all day until I found myself crying in his arms late at night because I didn’t want to go home and I just wanted to stay with him. He promised he would always be there for me, he would help me get through this, and that no matter what, he loved me. He was late getting home after dropping me off, and let me know that he’d had to tell his mom what was going on to explain why he was late getting home. He told me she’d said I was welcome at their home regardless of whether my boyfriend was there or not and that she would make me an extra key in case I ever needed to get in. I was overjoyed by this offer. I felt a love for him and his family that had me bawling in my shower at midnight. I felt that we had truly been verified and that I had a safe haven in him, his family, and home.  This night marked the last night that things were normal. This marks the last time I would step foot in his home, the last time I would see his mother and father who I loved dearly, and his younger sister who I considered a friend and I loved like my own little sister. 

A disclaimer: I am not writing and publishing this to be petty or vengeful. I do not wish to hurt him and this is in no way meant to be a stab to him. I am sharing my story because I believe that I lost him to depression and mental illness.

The weekend following my day under his care, I was promised I would be eating dinner with his family on Sunday. It was a three day weekend and he spent the 3 days partying, spending 2 nights in a row passed out on some random kids couch. I waited patiently for dinner on Sunday. Sundays were my special day with him. They were reserved for us. On Sunday evening, when I asked him to pick me up for dinner, he refused. I lost my patience.

I broke down. I locked myself in a volvo parked at the in-n-out parking lot, screaming about him and screaming at myself. Why was partying prioritized over me? Why was he not inviting me to these parties with him? Why was it that the previous weekend I was practically taken into his custody while the next one I had been rejected? 

My boyfriend was sad and afraid. He was a senior in high school who had realized that his future was approaching fast. The reality of college and being an adult and the new responsibility that would come along with that crippled him. His biggest fear seemed to be saying goodbye to his youth and this fear seemed to impair his ability to act the way he used to.

Quickly I became his last priority. He refused to come over to my house after school. He refused to go the beach which had previously been his safe haven. I wasn’t acknowledged at school. He was no longer listening to our music. I was being left on read and practically ignored.

My thanksgiving break was a living hell. Everytime I asked him to spend time with me, an excuse was made. He managed to squirm out of every plan that I tried to make with him. I refused to leave my house to do anything because I feared I would be busy the moment he was available. I had no appetite, stayed in bed for most of the day, and became very sick. The following week I told him I absolutely had to speak to him. He came to my house, we worked it out, and by the time he left, I was convinced that he had gotten through his rough patch and that he still loved me and our relationship would go back to normal. I was wrong.

He continued to party and was grounded practically every week. He started to slip back into the way he was acting before thanksgiving break. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t want to be around me and I started to blame myself for what was happening. I picked myself apart and became my own bully. I hated myself. I was in so much pain that I wanted to die. He was hanging out with other girls and I felt worthless because of it. 

When we first started dating, he made me a playlist. It was titled “Liz”. For the 6 months of our relationship, the voices of Nick Rattigan, Austin Feinstein, Morrisey, DIIv, Paul Anka, and Beach House became a musical safe haven he had built for me. If I was missing him, or feeling down, I would listen to the songs he had curated for me and feel comforted. The week after Christmas I was hopelessly sad and went to listen to the playlist. I couldn’t find it. I asked him where it was and he bluntly told me he had changed the name. I was devastated. I wept in my car in the driveway for a good hour because I knew that the end was near.

On NYE, he went out partying with other girls and kids from school. Meanwhile, I stayed home crying in bed, hurting myself, hating myself, and wanting to be gone. I felt completely alone, embarrassed and worthless.

On the night of January 1st, I drove to his house and he ended our relationship. He got rid of me, who he had once reminisced about a future with, spoiled, loved, and protected. He, who once claimed that he was confused as to why a girl of such beauty could ever fall for a foolish boy like him, dumped me. He claimed that it was his senior year and he just wanted to spend time with his friends and didn’t have time for a relationship. That was the most surreal, numb, and nightmarish night of my life.

So, now, I will explain this piece of my art. The girl at the bottom represents the numbness and sadness I felt at the time. Above is a celestial scene of stars and constellations. These constellations are representative of my dreams throughout the three-month span of my relationship falling apart. I was having vivid dreams, and every morning would write them down in my sketchbook. The top left is the face of my ex boyfriend, with an image of a skeleton and the quote “eat your spaghetti”, representing how my sadness made me feel dead and how I had no appetite. There’s an image of a pregnant belly, representing a nightmare I had where I became pregnant with his child. The quote “You told me you loved me and I think you might have lied” is in the center of the sky for obvious reasons. I also had a nightmare where one of the girls he was hanging out with had kidnapped me, so I decided to portray her as the devil in my dream. And lastly, the sailboat, because I dreamed I was floating on in the middle of the ocean alone.

Blue Devils is the representation of what happened in my brain as I hit rock bottom.

Epiphany

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Epiphany is defined as a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential meaning or nature of something. It is an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking. It’s an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. A revealing scene or moment.

In march, I decided I’d had enough. I realized that happiness was a choice and the only way that I could save myself was by choosing to be happy. I began to love myself and I realized that I had a beautiful mind. I had the ability to create images in my brain and put them on paper. Not only that, but I wasn’t bad at it.

I began to appreciate myself and gain confidence. Instead of putting myself down all the time I learned to love everything about myself. I loved my sarcasm and my dry sense of humor. I loved my creativity and taste for everything. I loved my friends and my family and I found a new appreciation for everyone in the world. I found love for simple things like the plants around me, the ocean, and the place that I lived in. I realized how much I had learned from my failed relationship and realized that what I had experienced strengthened me, teaching me and preparing me for the next relationship I would embark on. I realized that being sad was simply not worth it when there was so much to be happy about around me.

My epiphany showed me that I was progressing on my mental health journey. It gave me the hope I thought I had lost. I had felt so dark, so hopeless, so 100% sure that I had peaked in high school and life was on a downhill slope. Not locking myself in my room and sulking all day taught me that there were other beautiful people to meet, beautiful places to see, and beautiful experiences to have.

Strength

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So… now that I’ve realized I’ve accidentally started writing a 4-step program based on my experience beating depression… I will reveal to you the concept of strength. I know you’re not stupid, and you know what strength is, but it’s absolutely crucial that you come to terms with just how strong you are.  

As I mentioned before, I have lived all over the United States. In this section of my painting, I have The Pentagon in the bottom right corner. I was born in Washington D.C. and my family lived only a few minutes away from the Pentagon. We lived there during 9/11 and my parents had to deal with having an infant in the midst of one of the worst terrorist attacks in American history. We were also located in D.C. throughout the Anthrax crisis, when my parents would refuse to open their mail out of fear of them and their baby girl dying from anthrax poisoning. Though I was too young to remember this experience, it shows strength in my parents, and is a part of who I am.

The next location on my transcript of places I have lived is New York City. There isn’t really much to say here, but that my three-year old self got to live the life of a manhattan hotel brat. I was basically living the life of Zach and Cody before Zach and Cody were living the suite life of Zach and Cody. 

The next stop on my journey was one of culture shock. This is represented on my painting by the adobe buildings of the Santa Ana Pueblo. My family moved from the bustling metropolis of New York City to the somewhat shabby yet charming southwestern city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the first time in my life we owned a house. I started going to a small christian preschool and developed my own friends for the first time. Albuquerque is not really considered to be an ideal place to raise a small child due to the failing economy, high crime rates, and lack of things to do. However when I look back, Albuquerque was somewhat of a dream for me as a small child.

Almost every morning I looked up to the sky and was met by a cluster of colorful hot air balloons. I was captivated by the culture and mystery I found in the Santa Ana pueblo which my father’s work was located within. I lived on a street where we were close with all of our neighbors and I considered all of them to be my friends. In winter, I was typically met with a light snow that allowed me to make snow angels in my yard. Every fall, my dad took us to the International balloon festival where I scarfed down the balloon fiesta delicacy of cinnamon sugar mini donuts and gazed at the hundreds of balloons that filled the morning sky. I learned to ski in the Sandia mountains with the company of my dad, and watched local rodeos on the weekend.

I think that one of the greatest lessons I learned in Albuquerque was kindness. In pre-school there was a little boy in my class who was extremely quiet. He was picked on, and played by himself, and I took it upon myself to befriend this boy. Through lunches and playdates, we quickly became the best of friends. He went from being sad and quiet and hating going to school to enjoying school and having friends. At the time, it didn’t seem like much, but to this day my mother uses it to humble me and remind me that there is kindness in me.

When I was six, the time came for us to pack up and leave Albuquerque. I was devastated to leave my first grade class. I cried when I had to pack up my Disney princess themed bedroom and leave my yellow house on the west side of town. The next stop was San Antonio, Texas, represented by the riverwalk where you could access the alamo and eat shaved ice and mexican food. Here, I learned the danger of materialism and money. I lived in an area where from a very young age, girls were taught to judge people based on the clothes they wore, the house they lived in, and who their parents were. My mother was pressured to befriend a particular group of women so I could have the best experience possible at school.

In third grade, if you wore the same outfit more than once in a week, you were pretty much destined to have the other girls talk about you behind your back. In fourth grade, every girls’ parents were coughing up money to buy their daughters Vera Bradley bags and Ugg boots so they could fit in. By the time I reached fifth grade, girls were gossiping about each other in terms of how much money their families had. I had been in this environment since I was in first grade and it was all that I knew. At the end of fifth grade, I found out that we were moving back to Albuquerque. I was heartbroken that I wouldn’t be able to go to middle school with the group of kids I had worked so hard to be a part of, and would have to start over in New Mexico.

In New Mexico, I attended a very small and very liberal private school. On the first day of school, I carefully curated a texas-worthy outfit consisting of Abercrombie and Fitch with a Vera Bradley bag and Steve Madden sandals. I showed up to school and to my surprise, the majority of kids were wearing t-shirts from their summer camps and cargo shorts. What was funny about this was that they were probably the nicest group of kids I had ever met. They didn’t care about what you wore or who your family was and what kind of things you had. Money was not something to judge each other about, and I quickly learned that most of my classmates were struggling financially because their families were committed to giving them the best education possible.

While this school was enlightening and taught my many lessons to cherish for the rest of my life, sixth grade was the beginning of my journey with depression and anxiety. My school was rigorous, and we were held to academic expectations that I was not equipped for from my elementary school experience. My grades suffered and I always felt inferior to my classmates. My parents were stressed, I was sad and felt hopeless, and I had no motivation. I suffered from panic attacks, was harming myself at age 12, and felt like I was my worst enemy. My parents took me to therapy where I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and it was decided that I would leave my school. The next school was an even smaller private school where there was only about 28 kids in my seventh grade class. With lower academic expectations, my family was hoping for this to be a better fit for me. But the class was so small that I found it hard for me to find kids that I related to and could truly connected to. Very quickly, I wanted nothing more than to return to my old school, be with my old friends and take interesting classes.

The sadness crept up on me again. The following year, my parents sent me to an even smaller school where I dealt with bullies, rude boys, and a schizophrenic girl who threatened to kill me. All in all, not a great experience.

Finally my dreams came true and my parents told me they were sending me back to my original school. I was overjoyed, and felt like everything was falling into place. For the second semester of eighth grade, I was back with my friends, learning about the things that interested me, participating in plays and art shows, and going camping with my class. I was happy as could be and could not wait to take on high school.

The problem was, Albuquerque had a failing economy. There was a chance my dad would lose his job, and my family would no longer be able to send me and my sister to private school. Albuquerque public schools were rated #49 out of the 50 united states. 

The summer before freshman year, I found out we were moving to San Diego, California. While most people would be thrilled to live in sunny San Diego, I was devastated to be leaving the life I had built for myself in Albuquerque. I had worked so hard to get back to my original school and felt that I had finally settled down and achieved happiness. Leaving my friends was hard but what was coming was even more difficult.

When I moved to San Diego, I arrived one day, unpacked the next day, and on the third I was thrown into California public school, which are notorious for being huge. My new school looked like a college campus and was larger than any school I had seen before. I went from 40 kids in my grade, to 1,000 kids in my grade. The school was so large that most kids didn’t even realize I was new, and thought that I had just transferred from another class. I had no friends, no one to eat lunch with, and couldn’t really figure out why public school was legal. It took me a few months to find a friend, and the depression was back in full swing. I cried most days, I was fairly suicidal, and I spent every weekend and day after school locked in my room.

After a while, I realized my mom was not going to homeschool me, I was stuck at public school, and all I could do was figure out how to make it work. I branched out, made friends, and chose to make my own happiness at school. And, though the school part itself still sucks, I have plenty of friends I adore, teachers I love, and a new boyfriend who gives me hope for men.

In the painting, the girl with the pink face and the cacti in the background is a portrayal of me realizing my own strength. I realized how much I had experienced and overcome and learned in my short 17 years. I realized how well prepared I was for the real world and how many lessons I had learned from my experiences. The cactus is a plant very near and dear to me; I like to say that my spirit animal is the cactus (even though it’s a plant) because the cactus thrives in the middle of nothing. Surrounded by the harsh desert, the cactus is still able to grow into a grand and ripe plant, blooming gorgeous flowers and holding precious water.

Flourish

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After reflecting on my past, looking at what I had around me, and considering the potential of my future, I realized I was better than my depression and that I was going to enjoy life so much more if I taught myself to be happy. The focal point of this section is the mouth eating the spaghetti. This is symbolic of my journey with depression and anxiety, because between November ’17 and January ’18, I would get so upset that I couldn’t even eat my favorite food, spaghetti. But I was able to overcome this, celebrated by the large mouth eating the spaghetti. The rest of the area is filled with wacky designs that represent my happiness.

I realized throughout my journey that while my ex-boyfriend was my first love and I was heartbroken to lose him, we were both at a difficult time in our lives and it wasn’t meant to be. We had issues to work through and dragging each other along was not helping either of us. Meeting my new boyfriend taught me that there are other people for me, and there are people who see me for what I am and appreciate my quirks and flaws. I realized I am living in a beautiful world and there is love & beauty all around me, and so much I have yet to see. Looking at the world through eyes of happiness brings out so much more of its beauty than eyes of sadness do. I realized I was one of the strongest people I know.

In my short life, I have had to undergo what seemed like endless change. But this change has taught me valuable lessons and truly sculpted me into a better person. I have been forced to learn to love myself, and my mind, spirit, and body. I love my creativity and my humor and the way that I think and see the world.

I feel that my life is at a practically perfect point right now, but I know there is so much more struggle to come. Life is constantly throwing obstacles at you, but what suffering from recurring depression has taught me is that every situation I’ve been faced with has been one I have been able to overcome. 

Enough About Me, Let’s Talk About You

In the United States, 1 in 5 teens suffer from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.  This number causes some people, particularly adults, to accuse many of us of not truly having a mental illness and using it as a label to get out of things, gain attention or receive special treatment. Please do not listen to them. Do not let anyone make you feel bad or guilty. Mental illness is something that is usually out of your control. It makes you feel hopeless, and there is no switch for mental illness.

All I can tell you, is that you are strong and you will overcome this. You are young. You have your whole life ahead of you. You will learn who is worth keeping around and who is there for you. All I ask is that you open your eyes and realize your worth. We all have worth. We all have some talent or feature or attribute that makes us special. We are all important to someone and sometimes you just have to open your eyes to those people. Life is not easy for anyone. We all live very different lives and we all face different kinds of struggle. But you have made it this far and you have overcome so much. All you can do is keep pushing and build your strength.

You are beautiful, you are loved, you are talented, you have worth. Thank you for reading this. It means a lot to me. I don’t know what kind of struggle you are going through but I hope this may have helped you, even just a tiny bit. Please keep pushing.

I am an artist.

I am a creator.

I am a messenger.

I am a visionary.

I am not alone.

I accept.

I love.

I hurt.

I heal.

I am all.

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IF YOU NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO

Instagram: @llizwood
@lizwoodmakingthings
Twitter: @elizabethwoood

LISTEN: Full Moon by SAMMAY

– listen here –

Like most, this is the first time I’ve been introduced to performance artist SAMMAY (aka Samantha Penaflor Dizon), a multi-talented creative force born and bread in Carson CA, currently based in the Bay Area.

HIGH RES_levitation y blood moon

I was recently invited to check out her latest single, ‘Full Moon.’ Straightway, I was surrounded by the feeling that something about this release just felt special. As soon as I pressed play I was hit with a completely unexpected mid 90’s R&B/Soul groove, that caught me off guard and took me back all the way to the golden days. An era when artists like Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, TLC, SWV, Jade and etc. reigned supreme…

What I love about ‘Full Moon’  is the fact that the song is surprisingly quite catchy without having to necessarily sound generic. In fact, it’s everything but that. It’s fun, upbeat and stylish enough to make me want to start busting old school 90’s dance moves for absolutely no reason. The energy of this track is guaranteed to uplift spirits all around.

Overalll; an uncompromising feel-good song, able to catch the listener’s attention from the get go, and produced by creative collaborator, LOKY.

An admirable aspect that struck me about these two (LOKY and SAMMAY) is the fact that each has crafted their own individual path intentionally to get to this point.

SAMMAY is a bonafide, spiritually engaged artist, actively restoring her indigenous traditions and heritage through her forms of self expression, including dance theater, performance arts, performance rituals, and of course, music.

LOKY has swiftly and meticulously worked his way up from his days as a session keyboardist assisting other producers, into building his own studio from where he now facilitates and enables himself and others to also work on their creative dreams.

Personally, I think the combination is a definite win/win as both LOKY’s production and SAMMAY’s delivery are effortless and on point. What do y’all think? Give it a listen here, and don’t forget to stay up to date with SAMMAY’s future endeavors on her website:  www.sammaydizon.com

 **This post is sponsored, but we do not publish or promote content that we do not wholeheartedly support and agree with. Everything on Pure Nowhere is honest, and found interesting/benefiting to our readers!

Muses of Music: Girl K

by Alicia Maciel

Muses of Music is a new segment by Alicia Maciel (airing every Monday) where musicians, primarily female or nonmale identifying, share their sources of creativity. A “muse” is often defined as an individual who inspires artists, but as an avid music fan I’m curious to learn more about what ignites creativity in the artists themselves. Sharing their work with the world whether through a single, track listing, music video, or demo – we hope Muses of Music assists in building more personal relationships between the musician and fan.

For our segment debut, we wanted to learn more about a new track released by Girl K. Girl K is an indie rock band from Chicago, IL. Having a style often described as alternative meets indie pop, the band debuted “Division Club” on Tuesday, May 29. A follow-up to their first album, Sunflower Court, Girl K was determined to share the message of the song further than just audio, and create a visual – leading to the production of their very first music video. Directed by Andrew Tricaso with team involvement from local creative space Berenice House, plus band members Kathy Patino, Jake Theimer, Mike Wolz, and Tyler Pacheco – we spoke with front woman Kathy to learn more about the single.

listen on spotify here

What inspired you to write “Division Club”?

First semester of college, I was in a sociology class, and we watched this documentary about Detroit, MI. It explored the city’s struggle to bring in jobs and keep companies, all the issues in their economy and community. There was this scene where a lady was staring out a big gaping window, and she was looking at the skyline and said something like “I can see the whole world”. That heavily inspired the lyrics.

Overall, “Division Club” became a song about materialism and how we lose sense of where the actual issues in our communities and economies are, which is within ourselves. We give too much value to things, and turn on each other so quickly because of the power we give them.

Where did the concept for the music video come from?

The music video was just one of those “sit down and try to come up with something” things. We had a whole story line planned out, but the boys did such an amazing job  creating a set we decided to film it in one day. The alien story line was filmed a little later,and I really like that it relays this message of not feeling like you belong somewhere, or feeling stuck.

GirlK_AliciaMaciel

What inspires you on an everyday basis?

I know I’m definitely not inspired every day, I have many low days where I’m constantly doubting myself and being negative about what I create, and sulking and doing nothing. On days where I do feel inspired, it’s usually because I become aware of how many supporters we actually have and how many friends I’ve gained throughout this experience. Just remembering that people care about me and my music. I also get inspired when I’m in a cool situation I wouldn’t be in if I hadn’t started GIRL K.

Grouplove inspires me almost all the time. They’re really what got me back into the zone after years of doubt and disbelief. Recently, I’ve been heavily inspired by a lot of local bands, and I’m so fortunate to be friends with them, and able to learn and hang and just indulge myself in such an inspiring & motivating community and lifestyle. Basically, everything I choose to surround myself with inspires me. I have nothing but admiration and love for everyone that has come and gone from my life.


GIRL K SOCIALS:

Facebook , Spotify, Instagram, Twitter,
Apple Music, YouTube Bandcamp

If you have any recommendations or requests for bands/music you want to learn more about, feel free to DM Alicia on Instagram or Twitter @eraseher_. Stay tuned for more!

Men I Trust: Between The Sonic & The Visual

Men I Trust is a French-Canadian indie band producing lush and immersive soundscapes, characterized by a nostalgic and dreamy amalgamation of infectious pop melodies with strong and rhythmic baselines. The trio, composed of Emma Proulx (lead vocalist), Jessy Caron (bassist), and Dragos Chiriac (keyboardist), is truly collaborative and independent with their music, visuals, and representation. Men I Trust draws upon the strengths of each member – Emma brings her grainy voice and training in art, Jessy brings the grounding bass line and his training in jazz guitar, and Dragos brings his production, photography and sound engineering skills – to create a cohesive sound.

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Unreleased photo provided by band.

The stunning photography and cinematography of the groups videos are shot and edited independently, seamlessly functioning as a dialogue between the sonic and the visual. The do-it-yourself mentality of Men I Trust goes beyond the music and the visuals. The group is free from labels, publishing companies, and PR – making it a true effort from the ground-up.

The latest single from Men I Trust, Show Me How, features Emma’s leisurely croon, elevated by the paired-back dreamy guitar and rhythmic, grounding bass-line and drums. The music video for the song presents Emma in the contrasting environments of the subdued dreaminess of the day and the incandescence and flashiness of Las Vegas at night; this reflects the contrast in Emma’s contentedness in independence, and the simultaneous yearning and asking for a lover as she sings, “Show me how you care / Tell me how you were loved before.”  

I spoke with Men I Trust about their latest single, Show Me How, life on tour, and working in music without a label, publishing or PR.

 

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How did you all first get into music and start working together?

Dragos: Jessy and I started the band in 2014. We’ve been friends since high school; we used to exchange hip-hop instrumentals over MSN. One day, we bumped into each other at university (Jessy studied jazz guitar and I was studying sound engineering) and talked about making music together. At the beginning, we had guest singers performing on different songs. We met Emma in 2015, after discovering her on a friend’s social media. We really liked her soft and grainy voice, and Emma knew our band and was really excited to make music with us. We worked with her on Headroom, and we’ve been a trio ever since.

How did you come up with “Men I Trust” as your band name?

Jessy: We were looking for a band name that would convey positive values. We liked the themes of “trust” and “care”. The name “trust” was already taken. Since we were two guys at the beginning, before meeting Emma, we named the band “Men I Trust”. We also like the rhythm of three-syllable band names.

What are some of your biggest influences?

Jessy: We listen to many musical genres, but at the beginning, we were influenced by funk, disco and French electronic music.

Where do you draw inspiration for your music?

Emma: We’re inspired by things that happen to us, but also nature’s beauty. We try to avoid negative themes.

What is the creative process behind your music? Is there a kind of feeling you try to communicate?

Dragos: We usually start a draft individually, and then everyone adds something to it until it becomes a Men I Trust song. We always write about things we can relate to. Musically, we like steady & groovy rhythms, lyrical melodies that convey a sense of storyline, and round sounds.

I loved your recent single “Show Me How.” What inspired the song lyrically?

Emma: The lyrics were inspired by the music. Jessy’s guitar melodies reminded us of old nostalgic French music. It brought us memories of long distance relationships; how your mind works against you by always thinking about a person, even when you cannot be together.

Your work tends to feature quite powerful visuals – could you speak to what influences the band visually?

Dragos: We film our own music videos. The process is usually pretty straightforward. We always have a general idea about the theme of a music video (it relates to the lyrics). The storyline is usually very simple, since we’re a light crew and need to keep things achievable. We usually showcase one actor, because it’s easier to get powerful portraiture and because it’s easier to get on any site without running into security. When we film, we focus on areas and on compositions that are aesthetically pleasing. At the editing process, we trim everything several times in order to keep only the most beautiful shots. We then put them in an order that suits the rhythm of the song and its storyline.

You’ve spoken about how the band is truly an independent project: free of labels, publishing companies, and PR. What’s so important for you all about staying independent?

Jessy: At the beginning, we were looking for a label. We felt like all the successful bands were signed. But since we didn’t get industry interest straight away, we started reading about ways to manage a band. With time, we got used to doing everything by ourselves. We optimized the process so that it isn’t overwhelming, and it gives us lots of autonomy working this way. For the booking, we work with a really good team. That helps us save a lot of time, and has brought us to many new cities and venues. Admin-wise, we feel like we have a good system. Things might change in the future, but we’re really happy to be independent and aren’t looking for any labels, publishing companies, or PR.

How has being on tour been? What are some of your favorite and least favorite aspects of touring? Any memorable stories?

Emma: Touring has been wonderful so far. We really get along with each other and are constantly giggling. We honestly think that we have a dream job, because we get to see friendly people and new places. The main disadvantage is that it is harder to record and release new material while we are on tour.

We’re in the UK now. We had a 6-hour drive yesterday, so we decided to stop and do some sightseeing. We went to see a castle (we are fans of the medieval era), but ended up losing too much time in the parking lot playing with ducks and swans. When we finally arrived at the castle, it had just closed. We were bummed out at ourselves for being so negligent and decided to grab something to eat. A river surrounded the whole area, like in the stories of olden times, and we realised we could rent a small motorized boat, so we did just that. They had lots of strict security rules and had us sign a responsibility waiver, but we were able to navigate the boat. After being on the river for about 5 minutes out of the sight of the boat rental place, we were accosted by two partying British pirates on a faster boat. They threw beers in our boat for our thirsty sailing crew, and they were playing Drum & Bass loudly. We raced and laughed together for a good hour before we had to part and go on our separate ways.

What can we expect from you all down the road? Any upcoming releases?

Jessy: A new album in 2019, new tours this fall and a couple of songs and music videos meanwhile.

A big thank you to Men I Trust for taking the time to speak with us! We’re all huge fans of them here, and sending us that beautiful unreleased photo made my day. If you haven’t already heard their music, please check it out; it’ll make a die-hard fan out of you as well. However, if you (like me) have already fallen down that rabbit hole, catch them on tour!

Tour dates here: http://menitrust.tumblr.com

of Woodstock

For those of us born more than 30 years after Woodstock, the four-day music and art festival is more legend than history. The fences being torn down to accommodate  hundreds of thousands of unexpected people, the grid-locked cars, the on-and-off rain, the nudity and love and careless sleeping situations – it’s a reflection of everything we (millennial teens) imagine the late 60s and 70s to have been.

It’s difficult not to feel nostalgic, and even slightly bitter, over a past you can never touch or experience. I think in 2018, Woodstock appeals to youth culture more than ever before. In a time when the way we understand music festivals is shifting – and Coachella tickets start at $450 – you can’t help but daydream longingly of muddy grounds and sweaty moshpits and blanket-draped kids swaying to the music of a past generation, utterly devoted to love and peace.

Woodstock imagery remains ubiquitous in 2018, and at least if I cannot experience it for myself, I can dive into grain-soaked scans and feel as if I’m maybe there.

a moodboard, for you.

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by Baron Wolman

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by Baron Wolman

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by Baron Wolman

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by Baron Wolman

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Hinds & The Constellation Room

Hinds – May 27th – The Constellation Room

The all-girl band from Madrid defining the idea of “rockstar”. Setting the night with tracks from their latest album, ‘I Don’t Run,’ the Orange County date of Hinds’ tour was nothing short of vivacious and intensely energetic.

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