With nothing but a borrowed acoustic guitar and a mic, hear the wonderful, charismatic, angelic Shamir like you never have before:
Category Archives: Interviews
By: Nick Stropko
John Lydon is crass. At this point in his 40ish-year-old career, he’s developed a reputation for being unfriendly to press. And politicians. And, well, a lot of people. He tends to offend wherever he goes. He even made it a point to belch loudly during the middle of my interview (“practicing my jazz chords,” as he described it to me, the host of a jazz radio show, for christsakes).
This off-putting demeanor, however, belies an undeniable intelligence. Controversial positions he has long and ardently held, ranging from his omnivorous taste in music to many of his political and social beliefs, are now commonplace, while Sex Pistols’ sneer and Public Image Ltd.’s post-punk discord have long been held as prescient, influential, or both.
So where does this leave Lydon in today’s music landscape? Per John, “I’m quite happy here on the outskirts, doing what I want, and not getting dragged into cliques or categories anymore…And I think these last two albums we’ve put out are probably the best music in my entire career.” Yes, it’s easy to roll your eyes at any musician pushing 60 who claims to be putting out their best work–or really anything short of an outright cash grab (notable exceptions: Gira, Michael, and Bowie, David). And sure, some of his opinions fit quite comfortably within an irrelevant, crotchety old man archetype (rejection of technology, disinterest in any contemporary music). But given his track record, I’m willing to hear him out. The rigors of age and his smoking habit have seemingly done nothing to extinguish that singular, shrill voice that set the world on fire in ‘76, and he seems as pissed off as ever. Not to mention, the new record really isn’t half bad.
by Shannen Gaffney + Kirsten Becker
Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, New York’s dynamic garage glam duo of PWR BTTM chatted with us about the things that matter: gender fluidity, their recent discovery of Bethany Cosentino, and their favorite carbs. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten a ticket in time, we’ll see you at their PhilaMOCA show tonight (they open for the very talented <3 MITSKI <3 )
So congrats on your first album, Ugly Cherries, we love it so much!
LIV: Thank you! We had a really good time making it.
Where did you record it?
BEN: We recorded in in New Paltz, New York, which is near Hudson, New York, which is where I was living, with a guy named Chris Daly who made a bunch of great records. He made a record with our friends in Diet Cig and we met him upstate. We didn’t really know if he was a good engineer or not but he was a cool guy that wanted to do our record and he’s like a genius, he’s amazing, he makes like all our merch and stuff, he fixes my guitar, he’s just this incredible, great friend.
LIV: He holds me when I cry. Just kidding, I’ve never cried.
BEN: Liv never cries, he can’t really spare the moisture. But yeah, his wife and I did the album art together.
LIV: PWR BTTM would be dead in the water without him.
So you both went to Bard, did you find a supportive scene there?
LIV: Absolutely, I started playing in the Bard scene in another band. The Bard scene is amazing because there’s two venues that are pretty much entirely run by students and they have the power to book bands outside of the school. So your favorite bands will be coming through the area and they’ll play Bard and you can start a band with your friends and have your first show be opening for a huge band.
BEN: Yeah our second show we opened for Upset and Potty Mouth.
LIV: There was just always people starting bands and doing incredible things. I really miss it actually. Obviously I love the scene here, but sometimes I’ll be on Facebook and see friends who are still there at Bard and seeing what bands they are starting every week and being like, “Ugh I wish I was still able to see those shows!”
What did you study at Bard?
LIV: I, for most of my time at Bard, was a double major in Computer Science and Dance. And then in my last semester after my Computer Science thesis, I had one more class to take and I just didn’t have the room in my schedule, partially because of PWR BTTM, so I ended up dropping the major after finishing my thesis and graduating with a degree just in the Dance Department. Which, it feels weird to say just the dance department because Bard’s dance department is like incredible. I learned so many things just about everything being there.
BEN: (In between bites of blueberry scone) I studied Theater, it was awesome.
We had another question relating to scones: What is your favorite carb?
BEN: Oh my God, the question we love to answer. I’m really, really feeling chocolate croissants right now. I work at a coffee shop and I have to come in to work at 6 AM and the first thing I do is kick that door open and fuck up one of the deliveries.
LIV: I’m really feeling my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. I saw her yesterday and I was thinking about the stuff that she makes. I like everything she makes, but spaghetti and meatballs specifically.
BEN: Liv’s mom throws down.
It’s a brisk fall afternoon when I meet up with Josh Wink at Northern Liberties record store Profond Music N Art. Josh has just arrived back from finishing an acclaimed summer residency in Ibiza and is helping organize his son’s birthday party before heading out to Amsterdam the next night.
“My son is four, so I’m still new to being a parent, and there’s all these things I try to balance: being a father and a partner to my wife, being ‘just Josh’ to the people I know from the neighborhood and community gardens, and then being Josh Wink the artist. Finding time to do other things is difficult, but there’s something nice and humble about being here in Philly. I like riding my bike places, I don’t have a car.”
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Josh’s game-changing anthem “Higher State of Consciousness”, the first instrumental record to ever enter the UK’s top 15 national chart twice in one year. The track burst him onto the international scene and became heavily engrained with the first wave of pre-EDM stadium-packing electronic music that took the US and Europe by storm in the ‘90s.
Josh co-hosted a show on WKDU in the 90s called Rave FM, so you know we had to get him to do a station ID for us!
by Shannen Gaffney
Telekinesis, the moniker used by Michael Benjamin Lerner, (also the superpower which allows superheroes to move objects with their minds) has released a new album this September on Merge Records called Ad Infinitum. On tour with Say Hi, he plays Johnny Brenda’s tonight and spoke to us about finding new influences and staying inspired on the road.
On facing writer’s block while working on the new record Lerner said, “I tried to play the guitar but just didn’t want to do it, it was very uninspiring to me at the time. So I just put the guitar away and then tried to learn a bunch of other instruments. I didn’t really understand how drum machines and synthesizers worked before… it sort of came out of boredom in a way.” Continue reading
Ahead of his LIVE full band performance at Coda tonight (10/15), we caught up with Josh Legg, the mastermind behind Goldroom, to talk about what it means to deliver a true live electronic music performance, his influences, and what his favorite kind of Snapchats are.
KDU: So you’re on a live tour now. What does it mean to you with regard to DJing vs live performance?
Goldroom: I grew up playing in bands and have always incorporated a lot of live instrumentation into my music. I cared a lot about DJing when I started Goldroom and I was only doing DJ sets then. I still DJ all the time – both in clubs and festivals. For me, playing live is a whole different level of emotional commitment and it’s much more musically fulfilling for me. We’re not up there with a couple of drum pads and an Ableton controller. When we’re up there live it’s a four-piece band with bass, guitar, and we sing every song – it’s truly like a band experience. Trying to bring electronic music to people in an authentically live performance is something that means a lot to me and I’m trying to fight the good fight.
Photos from Pooneh Ghana (@poonehghana)
Before their show at Johnny Brenda’s, DJs Kirsten and Shannen caught up with Lucas Skinner (bass) and Eric Moore (drums/manager) of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard to talk about everything from poisonous spiders and the Melbourne DIY scene to their new album, Paper Maché Dream Balloon (out November 13th).
First question, cup of blood or shot of shit?
If you had to drink one.
Eric: Is it my own or someone else’s?
E: I think definitely blood.
L: I think you’d get more sick if you eat shit.
E: If it was my own, I’d go with blood. I always just drink my own blood anyway, like when I get a cut.
Right, delicious. What are some of your favorite hair products?
E: I used to use Surf Paste in high school. That was a long time ago.
L: I use oils on my beard.
This is the second to last date of your US tour, which city has been your favorite?
L: We’ve done a few places we haven’t been before, New Orleans was one.
E: All the ones up the west coast were cool. Portland was my favorite place. The scenery is so beautiful and the drives are amazing up the coast.
Did you guys do any traveling before KGATLW?
L: We did a tour about three months ago in the states and Europe and most of us went home for a month but Stu and Ambrose and their girlfriends went traveling through Europe and Eric went to LA for a month.
E: Yeah I’ve been away for ages.
L: But before the band we did a US road trip up the east coast starting in Austin and going up to New York. That gave us a good idea of the landscape and how to get around.
What is your favorite thing to do on a date?
L: My girlfriend and I for our first date we went walking our dogs on the beach.
E: Luke is the sweetheart. Mine would just be something lame like going to a bar or a movie. But I haven’t been on a date in a very long time.
L: Eric’s the only one without a girlfriend in the band. Everyone else is kind of settled down. He’s the wild card.
So you work a lot with artist Jason Galea and your shows have such a strong visual component, is he going to be involved in music videos in the future?
E: Yeah Jason’s here on tour with us. He does the visuals and is working on heaps of stuff.
L: He’s the creative director, does all our visual stuff, artwork, t-shirts, videos. We’re actually making a video with another friend at the moment because Jason’s a bit busy, that’ll be the first one we’ve done without him. Continue reading