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samedi 24 janvier 2015

Album de la Semaine : Disappears - Irreal


Interview de Brian Case, par Rachel Angres d'Epitonic

Let's get the basic information down. What instruments do you play? Can you give me a bit of info about your fellow band members -- maybe a fun fact about one of them?

My name is Brian Case; I play guitar and I sing. Jonathan plays guitar. Damon plays bass and Steve Shelley is our drummer. An interesting fact about Steve is that he was the drummer in the reunited band Raincoats. 

Do you have a preference for the kinds of venues you play?

I think it’s easier to connect to people in smaller places, which, in my opinion is the whole point of playing live. That said, maybe being able to connect to people in a bigger space is the point. It’s easy to feel comfortable in smaller places where you're a little more secure that people came to see you -- or that they have nowhere to go while you're playing. 

What do you bring to a barbecue? 

I’d bring something from Paulina Meat Market for sure. 

Were you “cool” in high school?

I went to an all-boys Catholic school with the same 100 people from 7th-12th grade. No one was cool.

Prince, David Bowie, Marc Bolan of T. Rex...let's say all of them have asked you to tour with them in their prime. Who would you choose to tour with?

Definitely David Bowie -- with conditions: no Reeves Gabriel on guitar. That would solve it really -- [except] maybe [don't play anything] from the 90’s albums? Who knows, it’s Bowie. I’d be happy just to see that guy walking down the street.

Robots versus Dinosaurs?

Robots. Or dinosaurs.

Strangest venue or gig you’ve ever played?

I’ve played on a few boats; that's always a little weird to me. One of my favorite shows ever was in this tiny cave/cellar thing in Bordeaux, France. It was probably 1,000 years old or something. I did a show where a band member’s hair was on fire and they didn’t know until we told them. That was actually the weirdest I guess.

What are a few essential items in your “tour survival kit”?

Bring a trash bag for dirty clothes -- makes a world of difference. Also have a shirt that you just wear for shows; then you don’t have to bring nearly as many things with you. I’m pretty into this bag my wife bought me; it’s called The Weekender, so you know it’s pretty business.

Rifling through the old dusty records in your childhood home's basement, did you ever dig in and find some gems? Are there any that still influence you today?

All I really remember from this era is that Chicago song “25 from 6 to 4”. That’s such a weird song. I still love it though. I used to dance around with my parents in the basement -- that’s where the first stereo was. I still have my Mickey Mouse Disco record from then, too; my son listens to it, which is pretty funny.

Do you have any stories from your excursions on the road?

We’re pretty sedate really. We definitely have a lot of fun but I’d say we’re tame. Our driver on our last tour said we were his first “adult” tour so whatever that means.

If you had to communicate using one word only, what would it be?


What is your day job?

I bartend and do graphic design. Very 90s.

What can we expect from the band in the future?

More music. Same clothes. 

Hypothetical Scenario: you find a Craigslist missed connections ad written about you. What does it say?

“Guy shouting but I couldn’t understand what you were saying....”

With festival season drawing near, as a performer do you stress out before your set, or are you cool, calm and collected?

It’s always fun to be in that kind of environment. I’ve been lucky to play a few really cool ones and they feel good for sure. Whether it’s more effective than playing in a packed club is hard to say. Attendance-wise, [festivals] can be tricky; I usually just go for a few bands and leave. That said, the first Lollapalooza ['94] I ever attended is where I first saw Pavement, Lush, and Nick Cave because I tried to see every band.

Disappears received many nods to Sonic Youth, even before [former Sonic Youth drummer] Steve Shelley joined the band. Was it coincidental or is there a story behind it?

Kind of the same story most bands have: you meet someone with similar taste and musical style, so you become friends and start a band. Steve just happens to be in one of the bands that [was my conduit for] bonding with a lot of people.

What's the creepiest kids show from your childhood that still haunts you today?

"Family Feud" always gives me the same depressed feeling that it did when I was younger. 

Line Up :
Brian Case
Jonathan Van Herik
Damon Carruesco
Noah Leger

Label :

Tracklist :
01 – Interpretation
02 – I_O
03 – Another Thought
04 – Irreal
05 – OUD
06 – Halcyon Days
07 – Mist Rites
08 – Navigating the Void

dimanche 11 janvier 2015

Album de la Semaine : Dengue Fever - The Deepest Lake

Dengue Fever
The Deepest Lake

Interview de Dengue Fever, par US Asians

US Asians: Considering your desire to make more money to send back home, making commercially viable music in Khymer and singing in Long Beach’s Cambodian banquet clubs (after arriving in the U.S. with your brother to perform at a New Year’s celebration and visiting your sister) - what got your attention after your initial impression of being surprised when five American guys (guy with a crazy beard, 7 feet tall Black guy and a guy with a “creepy porn-star mustache”) who had no prior connection to Cambodian culture had a strong desire to do Cambodian pop music approached you at “The Dragon House” about joining Dengue Fever, after receiving their CD of their Cambodian tunes from the 1960s that they were learning and hearing them hummed a few bars of one of their songs – along with what prompted a well-known karaoke singer in Cambodia to join them (since you quickly said yes – though it took several phone calls to get a confirmed commitment)?
Chhom Nimol
Chhom Nimol: At first I didn't quite fully understand the guys' intentions, I was a bit afraid. I brought a fellow friend along to help me interpret. Their mellow and down to earth approach made me comfortable about learning more about their ideas. At first I was confused about the plan - why would these Americans be interested in playing Khmer music? It was a crazy idea, I thought it's worth a shot.

US Asians: How was the trust developed between yourself and the band (recognizing that at the time, your ability to communicate in English was very limited) – acknowledging that your entourage (Cambodian friends/relatives) came with you to the band’s initial meetings/rehearsals with the band to learn of the band’s true intentions, the lyrics/music of their original songs they proposed to translate (acknowledging that your parents were wedding singers, considering your family members included several renowned singers from the 1970s that remembered the pioneers of the Cambodian rock scene of the 1960s, your history of being a well-known karaoke singer in Cambodia, singing for the King and Queen of Cambodia and after winning a televised contest in the early 1990s) – and after the band’s first performances that thrilled Cambodian and American audiences?

Chhom Nimol: I'm very fortunate I was surrounded with people who were able to provide me actual interpretation of the band's intention. From any woman's perspective it was hard to trust four guys (Zac, Ethan, Senon, and Paul) approaching with a bizarre idea. The songs they proposed were classic Khmer rock, I thought it would be a challenging project. I'd sung some of the songs before, but not the way the band wanted to play.
Live Performance of "Sober Driver"
Performance provides a eclectic pop styling that many American audiences are drawn to. With an English-speaking context, it draws upon classic Cambodian pop traditions that existed during the 1960's and was hear over the Armed Services radio stations throughout Southeast Asia.
I don't recall if my parents ever sang at weddings; most of their performances were done for Cambodian plays. My older sister (Chorvin Chhom) and brother (Bunyong Chhom) inspired me to sing in the contest for the King and Queen of Cambodia in the 1990's. Chorvin made her markings as a singer in Cambodia in the 1980's. When I was in Cambodia, I never thought I was a karaoke singer, I thought I was just a singer. In the U.S. the biggest market for Khmer music was sold as karaoke discs.

The guys' patience shows in our performances. Their hard work in adjusting with my limited ability to English amazes both Cambodian and American listeners.

US Asians: What were your and your family’s thoughts of your reconnecting with your Cambodian fan base, especially considering since many of the stars of Cambodian popular music were killed or disappeared during the rule of the Khmer Rouge that you honored when you light a candle onstage to honor those killed by the Khmer Rouge?
Chhom Nimol: My family encouraged me to try it out, since Cambodian rock seems to be fading away in the outside world after the original stars are gone. Recently artists in Cambodia are inspired to bring Khmer rock back to the country. I am always grateful that I'm able to bring these classic songs to the modern world and to honor these great artists since they were the true pioneers.
Chhom Nimol
US Asians: How did the Cambodian communities (older and younger) feel about your participation in Dengue Fever - considering their opinions about attire, dancing, recreating music that reminds people of a time/land that doesn’t exist anymore (culture of pre-"Year Zero" bourgeois Cambodia), reinvention of a “mongrel music that is itself a reinvention of a mongrel music from the West?”
Chhom Nimol: I have had nothing but positive compliments from the Cambodian communities. Since some of the songs are classics, the older listeners are more familiar and reminds them of happier times when they were teenagers. For the younger listeners, they enjoy the modern flavor added, and gives them a sense of hope.
US Asians: Could you share how prominent Cambodian American artists (such as Prach Ly - whom interviewer has had on public access television discussing the effects of The Killer Fields and his success as a rapper in Cambodia) and Jack Ong – Executive Director of the Dr. Haing Ngor Foundation have played a part of your personal and creative lives?

Chhom Nimol: I did not get to see the interview made by Prach Ly, but I know he is a talented artist. In the mid 1970's it was an emotional time for all Cambodians, a mixture of this feeling, the fans and the drive of my bandmates is my biggest influence.

Line Up :
Chhom Nimol
Zac Holtzman
Ethan Holtzman
Senon Williams
David Ralicke
Paul Smith

Label :
TUK TUK Records

Tracklist :
01 – Tokay
02 – No Sudden Moves
03 – Rom Say Sok
04 – Ghost Voice
05 – Deepest Lake on the Planet
06 – Cardboard Castles
07 – Vacant Lot
08 – Still Waters Run Deep
09 – Taxi Dancer
10 – Golden Flute