KUNG FOO GRIP

 
KFG.jpg

KUNG FOO GRIP

SEATTLE, WA

MUSIC

 

Who is behind Kung Foo Grips and where is everyone from?

Kung Foo Grip is MC's Greg Scott and Eff Is H and we're both hailing from the greater Seattle area a la the Eastside.

How did KFG come into existence?

G: we met through mutual friends at a bus stop and the rest is history.. 

F: we formed similar to Capt. Planet.. Earth Fire Wind water and Heart baby!

At what point in life did you know that you wanted to make music part of your identity?

F: I first started recording when I was 14 and didn't really wanna stop after that.

G: My story is similar, i was always into performing on stage. I was really into writing, plus really really into Hip Hop. It just made sense.

How do you approach song writing? Do the songs come naturally or do you have a process? Are there any albums or artist that you draw inspiration from?

F: Usually with the songwriting one of us will start with and concept and it goes from there.. we really don't like to force anything.

G: as far as inspiration goes Pink Floyd has incredible albums that tie together and tell a story and Kanye West who just has massive hit after massive hit on an album. We usually try to structure our stuff behind those type blueprints.

I've seen KFG perform a few times, the most recent was at The Sunset Tavern in Ballard. I found it most refreshing to see you perform there for three reasons, it was conveniently at my place of work, Hip-Hop shows rarely happen in the North end of Seattle, and you guys have the stage presence and crowd control that very few acts have. How do you manage to engage so well with crowds, and why do you think Hip hop is harder to find in the north end?

F: I think it's easy to get caught in the Capitol Hill scene but The north end definitely has a scene and a lot of dope artists and venues to rock. Since there's not that many hip hop shows that do happen there I think the crowds tend to really be willing to engage and enjoy the show more

What are your thoughts on the music community in Seattle, is there anything you want to praise or change about it?

G: I like how easy it is to work and get your name out there in the Seattle scene. Especially if you're really dope. A lot of artists out here are clean as hell, I just wish we worked together more. 

Have you found that there are perks to being a musician?

G: The fans and the artists and the shows. The money is out there and the day we can quit working 9-5s and strictly do what we love for a living would be a major perk as a musician.

How about frustrations?

F: Finding time to do it. I would like to only be able to focus on my music all the time.

Who inspires KFG?

F: Lil Wayne, Outkast, Cannibal Ox and Binary Star

G: man a lot of weed and good ass music. Good homies.

Are there any projects that you are particularly proud of?(why)

F: Our new album 2KFG, we put our everything into. Can't wait for it to come out honestly.

G: All our projects are special and unique but we've invested so much into this new album it has to be at the top of my list for sure!


Are there any new projects that you are working on? if so, could you tell us a little about them?

G: as we said before our new album 2KFG with Keyboard Kid coming real soon!

I heard that you guys are going on a mini tour pretty soon, Tell us about it.

G: we're headed to the Bay Area and a few select dope spots in WA to let them know bout this new single "Mic Check" we dropping! It's gonna be fire and we're performing with our good homies Remember Face.

Time for the favorites

 

Favorite restaurant?

F: Anywhere I can get some banging Fish and Chips.. 

G: Island Soul in Columbia City

Favorite local(Seattle) artist at the moment?

G: 2Cup Slim is prolly my favorite right now. Super clever with amazing production. 

F: Taysean (from Helladope/Kingdom Crumbs/Solo).

Favorite not so local artist?

F: DOOM, Jay-Z or Lil Wayne

G: Kanye West

Favorite place to visit?

F: 100 bands and frequent trips to Japan

G: California my second home so off top I gotta shout San Jose, CA, Santa Rosa that's where all my family from.

Least favorite place to visit?

F: Any Mall

G: Bellevue Square Mall 

Five favorite albums?

F: The Cold Vein(Cannibal Ox), Madvillany (Madvillain) American Gangster (Jay-Z) Dirty Sprite 2 (future) Awesome Wave (Alt-J)

G: Ruff Draft (J Dilla), MBDTF (Kanye West), By Any Means Necessary (Boogie Down Productions) The Chronic (Dr. Dre) The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam (Thundercat)

Favorite TV show?

G: Breaking Bad
F: Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, also Cowboy Bebop.

Favorite/best pizza?

G: Best pizza in Seattle is at Hot Mamas. But I really love Rocco's as well
F: My most consumed pizza is probably Digornio.. unfortunately

Favorite animal?

G: Favorite animal is prolly my Dog Sandy.. she's hella dope
F: I got a doodle, a Chihuahua , and a rat terrier but as a kid i really liked Sloths!

Favorite game?

G: Basketball/NBA2K
F: Half Life 2

Favorite invention from the 19th century? 

G: Probably the use of Electricity.. s/o to Nikola TeslaF

F: the cotton gin or the internal combustion engine of course

Favorite movie?

F: Jacob's Ladder
G: The Maltese Falcon  

Last words?

F: kfgmusic.com on ya moms droppin bombs!
G: our new album coming out very soon! stay on the lookout! 

Follow:

kfgmusic.com 

Facebook

Bandcamp

ASHER KOCH

 
Photo Credit: E.J. Grijalva

Photo Credit: E.J. Grijalva

 

ASHER KOCH

SEATTLE, WA

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Where are you from, where are you now, and what keeps you around?

 Seattle, born and raised. All my family is from Michigan - my parents moved here so my dad could get his Masters in painting from UW (cue unrealized artistic blood). I go there semi frequently but I don't think it's for me - too flat and harsh weather. I love Seattle's access to an array of nature, the mountains, the fresh air, the comfortable temps, the hipsters and the liberals (only half kidding).

You have your hands dipped in all of the arts from photography, to screen printing, to graphic design. I would like to focus on your graphic design projects today. When did you first hear the calling for design and when did you decide that its what you wanted to do with your life?

I don’t think I ever woke up and wanted to be an artist. I think it’s in my blood and I found ways to utilize my talents. I think I first really understood sometime in High School though. I always liked making things as a kid, I was very hands-on and detail-oriented. I thought about becoming an engineer but didn't realize at the time you had to do a lot of math to actually build and I was never a fan of math - I'm good at it but didn't that to be such a large part of my life. Graphic design is a nice combination of problem solving and art, and man can I build some large files without any math hah!

Are there any particular albums or artist that you draw inspiration from?

Musically, I'm all over the place. I grew up with classic rock and I will always love Led Zeppelin, Jimi, Neil Young, etc. I love blues, even bluegrass. But I mostly listen to Hip-hop these days. It all started with Wu-Tang and I am obsessed with 90s hip-hop especially. So 36 Chambers, Illmatic, The Infamous. Plus more "underground" stuff like Doom, Deltron, Hiero, People Under the Stairs, etc. There is plenty of good contemporary stuff but for some reason I always go back to the classics. The new Tyler, the Creater album is pretty sick - I actually wasn't that big of a fan before. Joey Badda$$ and of course Kendrick - DAMN. is freaking amazing. 

I find that getting started on a new project can be daunting, how do you go about starting something new?

I make lists, breaking things down into small steps takes some of the weight off and you can kinda get a big picture. This lets you get a more solid grasp on timelines too. Also Coffee coffee coffee. And I’m always listening to music...If I need to look for inspiration, there are endless opportunities online, or just go for a walk.

Have you found that there are perks to being in your field of art?

Being able to create beautiful things that affect others, educate and engage, and make people think. Working with color and type. Collaborating with other creatives.

How about frustrations?

Printers. haha. Design by committee is pretty rough sometimes. I am very introverted so learning to talk with people and communicate clearly has been very important.

What was the last show you attended?

I went to Mariane Ibrahim’s Gallery in Pioneer Square to see MWANGI HUTTER, FALLING IN LOVE, AGAIN.  I also helped hang paintings and installed vinyl description text for Brianna McCarthy: Matters of Inheritance which is at Virago Gallery in West Seattle right now.

Are there any projects that you are particularly proud of?(why)

From Margin to Center is a multi-quarter Shoreline Community College project bringing exposure to, and fostering discussion surrounding social justice issues. I worked with the administrative Student Life team, who produced the programming and copy, to outline a plan for representing difficult topics while expressing an air of positivity and change for the future. For the graphics, I hand drew my concept, digitized it, and then built the final file using primarily InDesign, as well as Photoshop and Illustrator. I photographed the presenters and used these photos within the promotional materials. Since this project had eight events in the first year and fifteen in the second, I needed to create a promotional piece that drew attention as a poster and could also outline the entire series' schedule. The final product was a combination of a poster, brochure, and calendar which I supplemented with weekly schedules and day-of posters, banners, and digital/social media pieces. Working in higher ed. and especially on projects like this, I've learned that I get a lot of gratification from design work that benefits the community. Engaging and educating people can impact lives, locally and more broadly, now and in future generations. 

How do you feel about the art/design community in Seattle, is there anything you want to praise or change about it?

To be honest I am not very active in the fine art world of Seattle so take the following with a grain of salt. Still, I feel like a lot of people don't get art, and that might just be the times we live in. A large number of people simply follow trends, believe what people tell them, and don't necessarily buy or support art for personal reasons. I also feel like there is a hipsterisation (has that been coined before?) aspect in Seattle. I don't think people in other places claim they know art or are artists as much as here? I feel like it is similar to the age old "I got an SLR, so I am basically a professional photographer" mentality. That is not to say there aren't plenty of dope artists here, I just see people getting a lot of attention for mediocre work.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Lets get the favorites out of the way

Favorite restaurant?

I don't eat out much - it's easier to eat light and cheaper at home, plus I like cooking. But I'll do a shoutout to Crepe Cafe if you're feelin some dank french/brunch food.

Favorite local(Seattle)artists at the moment?

The homies: Brandon Vosika, Kaid Crust, Sarah Frances, EJ, Karl (flesh produce) and Coach, Thor Brinsfield, my dad Kevin. Modern Dog, Mike Klay.

Favorite not so local artists?

 Kendrick Kidd, Aaron Draplin, Frak One, Riley Cran, Dan Madsen, Michael Beirut, and oldies like Herb Lubalin, Saul Bass, Mondrian, Magritte, Mucha.....

Favorite place to visit?

I haven't travelled much. I am a PNW baby but I will say Leavenworth, or to be more general - anywhere in the Cascades. I find so much satisfaction and mental peace from being in the mountains. The smells, the sounds, the views, the rivers, the "mountain time" - everyone is just chillin, living the good life. It helps that I've always been an outdoorsy person and an avid boulderer but I think these things would keep me going out there if for some reason rock climbing didn't exist.

Least favorite place to visit?

The mall. 

Five favorite albums?

You're killin me! Here are 5 important to me in no particular order:

Led Zeppelin I

Illmatic

Liquid Swords

In/Casino/Out

After the Gold Rush

Favorite TV show?

Dang thats a hard one. Recently: Stranger Things and GoT, the Get Down I've seen every single Law & Order, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Killing - kind of my genre

Favorite slice of pizza?

A good cheese is all I need. That being said I will eat literally any pizza so just order whatever.

Favorite animal?

I love cats but I also think it would be insanely cool to be a bird, if thats where this is going. 

Favorite game?

 Ocarina of Time. I love the entire franchise, really enjoy the gameboy ones, and havent played the new one much but I think this was just a special time in my life.

Favorite invention from the 19th century?

haha I mean electricity is pretty crucial but also photography...dang.

What can you be found doing outside of your work?

Bouldering, training for bouldering, hanging out with friends, drinking beer, screen printing.

last words?

Stay happy. Stay busy. Hills & Valleys.

 

Website:

asherkoch.com

VICCO VICCO

 
Photo Credit: Katlynn Ridler

Photo Credit: Katlynn Ridler

 

VICCO VICCO

MÚSICO

JALISICO, GUADALaJARA

 

Where are you from, where are you now, and what keeps you around? 

¿De dónde eres, dónde estás ahora, y qué te mantiene cerca?

I'm from Guadalajara, México, I'm in Guadalajara. the food, art and people keeps me around my city.

Soy de Guadalajara, México, estoy en Guadalajara. La comida, el arte y la gente me mantiene alrededor de mi ciudad.

Your Playing Psych Fest pretty soon, how many years have you been involved with the festival and which year was your favorite so far?  

Tocarás en Psych Fest muy pronto, ¿cuántos años has estado involucrado con el festival y que año fue tu favorito hasta ahora

This is the 4th year in a row that I play at the festival, and the 1st year was my favorite. Every year has been crazy special tho'.

Este es el cuarto año en una fila que toco en el festival, y el 1er año fue mi favorito. Cada año ha sido una locura especial.

Seattle can be kind of a strange place to get used to at first, what are some of the main differences between Seattle and back home?

Seattle puede ser una especie de lugar extraño para acostumbrarse al principio, ¿cuáles son algunas de las principales diferencias entre Seattle y tú casa?

Economy, food, landscapes and weather I guess.

Economía, comida, paisajes y clima supongo.

When did you first know you wanted to get involved with Music and what made you decide to make it part of your identity? 

¿Cuándo fue la primera vez que supiste que querías involucrarte con la música y qué te hizo decidir hacerla parte de tu identidad?

I was 11 and my grandfather play beethoven's 5th symphony and asked me to close my eyes and imagine stuff, after the song was done my mind went crazy and knew I wanted to be involved with that feeling forever but I started playing when I was 15 my mom bought me a cheap electric guitar and learned by myself on the internet and ever since I've been writing music.

Tenía 11 años y mi abuelo tocaba la quinta sinfonía de Beethoven y me pidió que cerrara mis ojos e imaginé cosas, después de que la canción se hiciera, mi mente se volvió loca y supo que quería estar involucrado con ese sentimiento para siempre pero empecé a jugar cuando tenía 15 años. Mamá me compró una guitarra eléctrica barata y aprendí por mí mismo en Internet y desde que he estado escribiendo música.

How do you prepare a live performance, is there a check list that you go over? Are there any rituals that you do to help get you going? 

¿Cómo te preparas para una actuación en vivo, hay un reglamentario que usas antes de una actuación? ¿Hay algún ritual qué haces para calmar los nervios?

I get stoned and a couple of drinks, not very much tho', just to get in the zone and calm myself.

Me apedreado y un par de tragos, no mucho tho ', sólo para entrar en la zona y calmarme.

Have you found that there are perks to being in your field of art? 

¿Has encontrado que hay ventajas en estar en tu área del arte?

Meeting people, traveling and music is an extension of language for me, when there's something I can't say with words there's music.

Conocer gente, viajar y música es una extensión del lenguaje para mí, cuando hay algo que no puedo decir con palabras hay música.

How about frustrations? 

¿Que tal frustraciones?

OMG, at least in México is not very profitable so I have to do other shit to survive, but nothing else other than that.

OMG, al menos en México no es muy rentable, así que tengo que hacer otra mierda para sobrevivir, pero nada más que eso.

Are there any projects that you are particularly proud of?

¿Hay algún proyecto del que te sientas particularmente orgulloso?(por qué)

Dorotheo hands down, live shows were fucking crazy experiences for us the band, we toured the US for 44 days or so, with very low budget I had 200 dlls to be honest, but people bought our records and shirts, sometimes even gave us money for no reason or maybe they just felt empathy for us I don't know, anyways that experience change the way I live and see the world.

Dorotheo manos abajo, espectáculos en vivo eran malditas experiencias de locos para nosotros la banda, recorrimos los estado unidos durante 44 días o así, con presupuesto muy bajo tenía 200 dlls para ser honesto, pero la gente compró nuestros discos y camisas, a veces incluso nos dio dinero Por ninguna razón o tal vez sólo sentía empatía por nosotros No sé, de todos modos esa experiencia cambia la forma en que vivo y veo el mundo.

How do you feel about the music/art community in Guadalajara, is there anything you want to praise or change about it? 

¿Qué te parece la comunidad de música y arte en Guadalajara, hay algo que quieras alabar o cambiar?

I love it here man, I wish we had the resources that first world has to develop the way we make, record, promote and distribute our music, but the music scene is amazing and gives me a lot of inspiration to keep on pushing myself into making more and better music.

Me encanta aquí hombre, me gustaría tener los recursos que el primer mundo tiene para desarrollar la forma en que hacemos, grabar, promover y distribuir nuestra música, pero la escena musical es increíble y me da mucha inspiración para seguir empujando a mí mismo en Haciendo más y mejor música.

You have done a bunch of traveling over the years, how many countries have you been to and how many languages can you get by in?

Has viajado bastante, cuantos países has visitado y cuantos lenguajes manejas?

 I've been to Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, United States, Thailand, Cambodya, Vietnam and Laos so far and I speak spanish (my mother language), english and a little bit of french.

He estado en Colombia, Ecuador, Panamá, Estados Unidos, Tailandia, Camboya, Vietnam y Laos hasta ahora y hablo español (mi lengua materna), inglés y un poco de francés.

What can you be found doing when you are not playing music? 

¿Qué se te puede encontrar haciendo cuando no estas tocando música?

I'm a graphic designer so I do a lot of illustration and branding, I try to keep myself traveling as much as I can, I also like reading and gardening I love plants.

Soy un diseñador gráfico, así que hago mucha ilustración y marca, trato de mantenerme viajando tanto como puedo, también me gusta la lectura y la jardinería Me encantan las plantas.

You have worked with some pretty cool bands, Who are you some of your favorites to work with?

Usted ha trabajado con algunas bandas bastante cool, ¿Quiénes son algunos de sus favoritos para?trabajar? 

Dorotheo, Antoine Reverb, Velva Room and Caicedo.

Are there any new projects that you are working on? if so, could you tell us a little about them? 

Ay algún proyecto que tienes entre manos, nos podrías contar un poco sobre el?

Yeah I'm working on my solo album which I'm very very excited about with the results so far, I'm also working with Oscar (dorotheo's) drummer on some new tracks, is more like heavy stuff kind of and experiment, we get really fucked up at his house and start jamming around for like 6, 7 hours in a row and some cool ideas come out of that I think we have really good chemistry together, we have recorded 2 songs so far but we are really looking forward to finish the record and share with everyone.

Sí, estoy trabajando en mi álbum en solitario que estoy muy emocionado con los resultados hasta ahora, también estoy trabajando con el baterista de Oscar (dorotheo) en algunas pistas nuevas, es más como cosas pesadas y experimento, Conseguir realmente jodido en su casa y empezar a atascarse alrededor de como 6, 7 horas seguidas y algunas ideas frescas salen de eso creo que tenemos química muy buena juntos, hemos grabado 2 canciones hasta el momento, pero estamos mirando hacia adelante Para terminar el disco y compartirlo con todos.

Time for the favorites

Ahora los favoritos

Favorite restaurant?

¿Restaurante favorito?

I love Ocho in Seattle man, also hatties hat and Señor Moose, I just got hungry.

Amo a Ocho en el hombre de Seattle, también sombrero de los hatties y Señor Moose, apenas conseguí hambriento.

Favorite local(MEX)artist at the moment? 

Artista (MEX) local favorito?

OMG hard one, but I would say Ampersan they keep blowing my mind.

OMG duro uno, pero yo diría que Ampersan siguen soplando mi mente.

Favorite not so local artist?

Artista no tan local favorito?

I really like this band from Tijuana called "Entre Desiertos"

I really like this band from Tijuana called "Entre Desiertos"

Favorite place to visit? 

¿Lugar favorito para visitar?

SEATTLE!!!

Least favorite place to visit? 

Lugar menos favorito para visitar?

We had a really weird experience in Olympia once, but I would give another chance :)

Tuvimos una experiencia muy extraña en Olympia una vez, pero daría otra oportunidad :)

Five favorite albums?

¿Cinco álbumes favoritos?

This is almost impossible to answer amigo but I'll try my best.                

Esto es casi imposible responder amigo, pero voy a intentar mi mejor.                                         

 1- The noise made by people - Broadcast   

2- Reves/Yo soy - Cafe Tacvba

 3- Funf - Clinic        

4- Sincerelly, future pollution - Timbre Timbre  

5-  Otherness - Kindness

Favorite TV show? 

¿Programa de televisión favorito?

Rick and Morty!!!

Favorite slice of pizza? 

Rebanada de pizza favorita?

Peperoni

Favorite animal? 

¿Animal favorito?

Axolote

Favorite game?  

¿Juego favorito?

Lotería!

Favorite invention from the 19th century?

¿Invención preferida del siglo XIX?

Probably photography I really don't know that much about inventions.

Probablemente la fotografía realmente no sé mucho sobre las invenciones.

Favorite book?

¿Libro favorito?

 Pedro Páramo.

last words?

¿ultimas palabras?

 ¡¡¡¡Viva México!!!! and thank you for the interview it was really fun.

¡¡¡¡Viva Mexico!!!! Y gracias por la entrevista fue muy divertido.

 

LINKS:

Vicco

Dorotheo

Caicedo

Antoine Reverb

AYA TIFFANY SATO

 
Photo Credit: iana Rothery

Photo Credit: iana Rothery

 

AYA TIFFANY SATO

PHOTOGRAPHY / GRAPHIC DESIGN

SEATTLE, WA

 

Where are you from, where are you now, and what keeps you around?

This question of where I'm from is always hard for me to answer. Short version, I'm from Seattle. Long version, I call Vail, Colorado my hometown. My most formative years were spent there. I've lived in 13 different cities (plus moves within those cities) in 6 states. The majority of those moves happened before our family landed in Mukilteo, Washington in 2000. I lived in Cleveland, Ohio for a year and a half after college and moved back to the Seattle area at the end of 2008. I currently live in Seattle and I'm staying here until I get priced out. I've been renting my house in the Beacon Hill neighborhood for the past 5 years, praying that rent doesn't catch up to its surrounding rental properties.

When did you first know you wanted to get involved in photography and what made you decide to make it part of your identity?

In the summer of 2003, our family took a road trip to San Francisco so I could check out an art college (I didn't end up attending, way too expensive). I brought our family digital camera. A clunky 1.3 mega pixel camera that came free with our family PC. I took terrible artsy photos all over the city and loved it. Soon after, I started attending local shows and took terrible band photos. I posted them on my Livejournal and got a lot of encouraging feedback so I kept with it.  At the end of my senior year of high school, I gave CDs of photos I had taken over the year to my friends. Being able to share those memories with my friends kept me shooting. Thanks to digital photography, Photoshop 7, and Livejournal, taking photos on a regular basis and sharing it online shaped a lot of my career. I went to college for graphic design but I incorporated photography whenever I could. I graduated college during the recession so I gave up trying to find a graphic design job after a couple years and settled for a unfulfilling day job, concentrating on photography on my spare time. Since I had very little formal training in photography, my career options were limited to freelancing, mostly shooting bands and trying to convince people to let me shoot their wedding when I had no experience. Turned out okay, thankfully.

What is your favorite setup for both digital and film photography?

My go-to digital setup is a Nikon D750 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens and a Nikon D610 with a 20mm f/1.8. I really like the smaller full frame DSLRs since I usually shoot with 2 cameras. Only having prime lenses forces me to be creative or move when a shot isn't working for me. 

My favorite film setup is a Hasselblad 500c/m with a 80mm f/2.8 and a Polaroid SX-70. They are very different cameras with two distinct looks.


I find that getting started on a new project can be daunting, how do you go about approaching a photo shoot? Is there a check list you run through? are there any albums or other artist you draw inspiration from to help you figure things out?

I can't count how many times I've shown up to shoot a show without memory cards when I didn't make a mental checklist. My checklist is usually making sure I have all the gear I need, fully charged battery, memory cards, address and directions to where the shoot will be, and proper attire. For weddings, it is much more extensive and takes a lot more communication and planning with the client. For conceptual and editorial shoots, it looks different from shoot to shoot, but I usually write down or sketch some ideas, collect images and color palettes, and find a song or two that reflect the mood I'm aiming for. 

I've been shooting live bands for 14 years and weddings for 8 years but still run into challenges. I wouldn't say getting started is daunting anymore, but keeping momentum is something I struggle with every year. I tend to burn out from shooting by the end of wedding season since I am shooting almost every weekend for 3 months straight.

I actively work on personal projects and take breaks to avoid these burnouts. I look at a lot of other artists' work when I'm trying to refresh my perspective. My favorite artist is Paul Klee, a Swiss-German from the early 1900's. He worked in many different medias and styles, was a great writer, and musically gifted. The Diaries of Paul Klee 1898-1918 sits next to my desk and if nice to read an entry or two in between long periods of staring at my computer.

Have you found that there are perks to being in your field of art?

I'm overjoyed that something I capture can bring back fond memories for other people as well as for myself.

How about frustrations?

Running a photography business is brutally expensive. Gear, hardware, software, repairs, backups, film, processing, etc. I get anxiety when pricing my services because I want quality photos to be accessible, yet I need to cover my expenses. Growing up with poor immigrant parents, I've seen how hard people work for little money. I strive to be conscious of that. People have definitely taken advantage of my willingness to do things for free or for little money, but people that respond in gratitude outweigh those negative experiences.

Are there any projects that you are particularly proud of?

I have been stoked about the weddings I've shot this year. I've been really happy to be getting clients that fit my vibe. Outside of photography, I am currently in a group art show. The focus of the show is about past intimate relationships. I created a few mixed media pieces. It was difficult to emotionally process as I was making my pieces, but felt proud to be able to articulate my feelings visually.

How do you feel about the photography community in Seattle, is there anything you want to praise or change about it?

I was briefly a part of the Seattle wedding photography community but found it wasn't for me. I have friends that are awesome photographers, so they are my photography community. My core community in Seattle is mostly filled with musicians, which I feel the most at home with.

What can you be found doing when you are not behind a camera?

Alongside photography, I am also an illustrator and mixed media artist. I've recently been enjoying working in ceramics and playing my flute with the RC-2 Loop Station pedal. I really like drinking beer and making pizza at home or drinking beer and traveling.

You have worked with some pretty cool bands, Who are you some of your favorites to work with?

I learned about the music industry, how to deal with record labels and media, and how to shoot bands by taking photos for The Fall of Troy. I started photographing them in 2003 and I was forced to learn fast. Tiny venues, crap lighting, lots of hair, and fast movement. I've been shooting for them for over a decade and they are still fun.

The Hoot HootsWild Powwers, and Turian are my favorite local Seattle bands to shoot live. 

In the past, I really loved shooting for Decibel Festival. It was an electronic music festival based around a bunch of different venues in Seattle. 

Are there any new projects that you are working on? if so, could you tell us a little about them?

I've got a few coming up. I will be photographing the Fall of Troy for half of their tour dates in September. Should be interesting and a much-needed break from my wedding season. I'm also excited to be working on artwork for Andrew Nyte's solo album. I have been working on a book for a little bit now, but haven't made any deadlines for myself. It will likely be an ongoing project for the next few years or so.

Time for the favorites

Favorite restaurant?

The Burgundian - Not only do I enjoy their food, their tap list is always awesome.

Favorite local(Seattle)artist at the moment?

Musician, Briana Marela - Although technically Olympia. I first saw her perform while I was shooting for Decibel Festival in 2015. She just released her new album, Call It Love.

Visual Artist, Ella Ordona - I relate to a lot of Ella's work and appreciate her deeply as a human.

Favorite not so local artist?

Musician, Big Spider's Back - North Carolina based electronic producer.

Visual Artist, Ray Morimura - Incredible Japanese woodblock printmaker.

Favorite place to visit?

Anywhere with good beer and friends.

Least favorite place to visit?

The dentist. I have weak enamel and have been on prescription toothpaste since having adult teeth. I am almost guaranteed cavities each visit.

Five favorite albums?

Selected Ambient Works 85-92 - Aphex Twin

Geogaddi - Boards of Canada

Port Rhombus EP - Squarepusher

Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons - Blonde Redhead

Designing of a Nervous Breakdown - The Anniversary

Favorite TV show?

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Favorite slice of pizza?

I am a huge fan of the pizzas I've been making at home.

Favorite animal?

Red Panda

Favorite game?

I hate board games. Card games are sometimes okay. Can watching hockey count?

Favorite invention from the 19th century? 

Probably the camera obscura? Kind of related but in 1810, The Theory of Color by Goethe was published. Fun fact I know because I have a 1810 tattoo.

last words?

Thanks EJ! 

LINKS:

www.ayatsato.com

 

MONSTERWATCH

 
MONSTER WATCH.jpg
 

MONSTERWATCH

BAND

SEATTLE, WA

Who makes up Monsterwatch and where are you all from?

John and Jack are both from New Hampshire and Charles is from Wisconsin.  We all moved out here about 3 years ago and Jack and I met Charles at a bar we all used to hangout at.

Who plays what in the band?

John plays guitar and sings.  Jack plays the drums and Charles plays the bass

I imagine there is a great story behind the name Monsterwatch, how did you all decide on it?

The name comes from a quote by Daniel Webster.  The quote is referring to a natural phenomenon which is The Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire.  Its a giant rock at the top of a mountain that was the shape of face.  The quote is - "Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men."

We wanted to have a name that kind of resembled something about where Jack and I are from so I just put the two words “Monster” and “Watch” together.  We just didn’t want to name a punk band “Old man of the Mountain” or something like that.  People would definitely think we were like an indie folk band or something. 

Monsterwatch has been pretty busy this year with the release of Blabbermouth, music video for Tuesday, and endless shows. How do you manage to keep your plates full? 

Yeah this years been pretty crazy but super fun.  I think we’ve managed to do what we’re doing because all 3 of us are focus and committed to this band but also because when we do shows. shoot music videos and whatnot we see it more as just hanging out and having fun.  We literally came up with Tuesday video idea like an hour before we started shooting it and I think letting things come naturally is the best way to go about it.  As far as shows go… We’ve just been pretty lucky with getting so many shows and we’re grateful for that.  

How was working on Blabbermouth? Where did you did you guys record it it?

Blabbermouth was interesting.  We did all the guitar tracks in our rehersal space and we tracked a few songs on drums at Birdhouse Studios in Ballard with a dude named Arsen.  Our intention was to just have the drum tracks so we could have some decent sounding demos to send around and whatnot but we ended up deciding that we should release a few songs.  We actually wrote Tuesday on a whim in the studio haha.  Jack finished all the songs on drums we wanted to do and we still had a few hours left in the studio.  So Arsen was like “Well do you guys wanna try and write something?”  It was just Jack and I in the studio at the time so we were like “uhhhhh ya sure”  and we ended up just fucking around until we played something cool.  We were also recording on a Tuesday so thats how the lyrics came about.  It went from being a goofy little jam and then when Arsen starting to mix the tracks we were like “We should just release this on the EP.”   

When is the next show?

Nothing booked right now.  We actually just recorded some more songs at Birdhouse Studio with Arsen and Steve Fisk so were gonna take the next couple months to focus on getting some new songs ready and whatnot.  We have a few house shows coming up but nothing major.

Who are your main influences in music?

All 3 of us are pretty into all the same bands.  I’d say mutually were all into a band from the UK called Slaves.  Their probably our biggest influence right now.  They’re tearing up the UK write now and bringing heavy punk music to the masses.  My main influence personally is Kevin Parker and Tame Impala.  That dude writes the best music and its so catchy and groovy and melodic.  His songs just take me outside of reality and I just zone out when I put a Tame Impala record on.  I’ll also just list some bands that I know the dudes and I are into… Wolf Alice, Shopping, Foals, The Black Angels, Girl Band, Drenge.  I could type forever but those are the bands that we all put on when we’re on our way to a show or something.   

Do you have any rituals that help motivate/inspire you before you go on stage.?

Usually just stretching and weed.  I like to give the dudes a little smooch on the cheek too.

Lets get a few of the favorites questions out of the way.

Favorite restaurant?

TNT taqueria in Wallingford.

Favorite local(Seattle)bands at the moment?

Not sure about the other dudes but I’ll list a few.

Fabulous Downey Brothers, FLRT, Baywitch, Charms, Mommy Long Legs

Favorite not so local band artist?

Mutually - Slaves

Favorite place to visit?

Anywhere quiet and outside the city.

Least favorite place to visit?

New Hampshire haha

Five favorite albums?

Not sure about the other dudes but these are mine

Lonerism - Tame Impala

Are You Satisfied? - Slaves

Is there Are - DIIV

El Pintor - Interpol

In Utero  - Nirvana

Favorite TV show?

That 70’s Show

Favorite slice of pizza?

Anything from Big Marios

Favorite animal?

DOG 

Are there any Perks of being a musician?

Being broke and loathing in self doubt constantly 

How about the frustrations?

(see previous answer)

So far, what is your favorite project you have worked on and why?

Definitely this one.  I think I can speak for Charles and Jack on this one too.   We all just work really well together and were best friends so it just feels right.  everyones always down to work on things and collaborate and we’ve been having a blast ever since this started.

What can you be found doing outside of your music?

 John- Slinging Coffee at Cafe Vita 

Charles - Pouring those alcoholic beverages at Neon Boots

Jack - Cracking some cold ones for people at the Blue Moon or whipping around on his skateboard haha

 

Links:

bandcamp

facebook

Soundcloud

 

CHELSEY WEBER-SMITH

 
photo: Ashley Erickson

photo: Ashley Erickson

 

Chelsey Weber-Smith

Poet/musician/writer 

Seattle, Wa


Where do you currently call home and what is keeping you there?

I just got back from living on the road for eight months in my truck, Old Handsome. I spent the most time in New Orleans, living on a quiet road with a bunch of other boondockers. I thought I might move somewhere else, but I ended up coming back to Seattle. What is keeping me here? Probably my friends and family, I got real lonely out there by myself. Also, art. I am part of a performance group here called the Grief Girls, and that is a completely new pursuit for me. I have been a writer and musician forever, but I am interested in making new kinds of art in which I can feel embodied and get to know myself in a different way.

You have done quite a bit of traveling in your life. Out of all places you have been which was your favorite and why?

I think that New Orleans is the best city in the country. I used to hitchhike a lot in the US, and I still love this country dearly, though of course there is plenty about it to despise as well. I love the Southwest, the desert, I love the California coast, but I love the South most of all. Overseas I love Italy, especially Venice.

How about your least favorite?

Tuscaloosa, Alabama after a football game. The whole town looked at me like I didn’t belong there and honestly, it scared me more than any other place I have been. A fairly affluent, very straight white college town. They were not friendly to someone who looked like me. I got out of there fast after a few drunk men said some pretty creepy stuff to me, like “Be careful, there’s a lot of weirdoes out tonight,” followed by what can only be called maniacal laughter. Nope.

You have a pretty sweet writing gig, can you tell us a little about it and how you got into it. 

I work for a murder mystery company, and most of what I do involves writing about true crime. I actually got the job through Instagram, weirdly enough. So, for the last eight months I was living on the road and writing about the sociological and philosophical implications of American crime, studying some pretty intense stuff, all while living alone in a truck. Someone recently said to me, “Oh, so you are living in my nightmare.” I am currently working on a podcast for them where I interview folks who work within this genre.

You write music as well, most seem to be about love and traveling. Do you remember the moment you first wanted to start playing music?

I don’t remember the moment, no, but I do remember the first couple weeks. I was 18 and my father had an old guitar that he mailed to me and it came in a big box and I immediately learned the G and D chords. Then I took the guitar over to my best friend Allison Vincler’s dad’s apartment, where he lived with his friend Ron. We hung out there all the time as teenagers. We would drink and smoke and sit in a big circle while I played those two chords over and over again, and make up verses, one person at a time. It is one of my fondest memories. 

I have only seen you play guitar, are there any other instruments you play?

That’s really it. I’ll always be a poet before a musician.

Do you have any rituals that help motivate/inspire you before you get on stage or write music?

Oh boy. Beer helps. Spliffs too. Finding that “fuck it” attitude that lives deep inside me. I don’t play music people are used to hearing, so I’m always ready to be rejected, and it’s hard sometimes. But other times I just have the spirit and I can throw it all out there carelessly. Then more spliffs, of course.

Lets get a few of the favorites and best questions out of the way.

Favorite local musicians/groups?

Not musicians, but the Gramma poetry press sure knows how the fuck to throw a party. Check out their amazing stuff.

Local writers/artists/musicians: (just a few I love, not all by any means!): Corrine Manning, Laura Ashcoff, Markeith Wiley, Anastasia Renee, Natasha Marin, Moh Grout, Roache the muralist, Allison Vincler, Brandon Vosika, Josephine Jardine, Makenna Lehrer, Buggy Vigor, Jennifer Henley, Kelly Bjork, Coach, Nixon Tooth, Kid Crust, Taylor Brandesky.

Favorite not so local musicians/groups?

I’m really into Josh Ritter this year, always into Conor Oberst, Emmy the Great, Joe Pug, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Kendrick Lamar, First Aid Kit, Fleetwood Mac, Deer Tick. I’m weird and listen to the same music over and over again for the most part.

favorite poem?

This is so hard. How about my favorite line?

O World, I cannot hold thee close enough. –E. St. Vincent Millay.

Are there any Perks of being a musician and or writer?

I think you get to see the world in its full color. I remember when I was teaching my own intro to poetry class at the University of Virginia as part of my grad program, I had one student tell me that after the class, he would walk out into the world and the colors would be brighter, and he would notice them more. I think being an artist lets something special into your heart, when you can get there of course. Things touch you, colors, people’s faces, the little things people do. You notice the world’s details and you feel alive in that way. I don’t always feel this way, but this feeling is what I strive toward and what I aim to capture, or maybe a better word, to facilitate into a format that other can share in.  

How about the frustrations?

Mostly how certain people (always dudes) feel the need to come up to me after I play a show and give me some piece of advice. This happens so often. They say “Wow, that was great, but have you thought about working on your breathing while singing? Have you thought about trying to make better eye-contact with the crowd?” I sing personal-ass, vulnerable shit and I’m not a perfect person in anyway, and I certainly do NOT strive to be a perfect artist. I want to be messy because I am messy and the world is messy and I can’t always look it in the eye. I think people want to control wild things.

And, in a bigger sense, it breaks your heart every day that you are unable to create. Art does not have a constant flow, and I know that, but when I was younger it really did. So I have to adjust to a lesser output, which feels like failure. But those thoughts are pointless and lead to more creative blocks. It’s hard to be kind to the self. I’m trying really hard.

So far, what is your favorite project you have worked on and why?

I always love recording because you get to go into this special private world for awhile with people you love and trust to make beautiful shit. It’s a kind of ongoing party in some sense.

I have been working in the novel for years as well, and it’s pretty dear to me. I used to hitchhike all over the country and this novel is a way for me to try to capture those times and do something (hopefully) meaningful with them. It is also a way to ask questions about friendship and romantic love, about jealousy and how we manage to love each other through all the difficulty of being human. It is the most personal thing I have ever done, though it is truly fiction. I think in fiction, unlike poetry and songwriting where I am overtly writing about myself, I am able to go farther, ask scarier questions, go to scarier, more secret places, because it isn’t me, it’s someone else I have invented. But of course it’s me.

Are you working on any new projects? If so can you tell us a little about it?

The novel, the novel, the novel. And I have three new albums to record but god am I bad at getting that shit done.

What can you be found doing outside of music?

I like to go for walks with friends and talk about our lives and the great mysteries of the world at large, beauty, truth, love, all that. I go for a lot of long walks and hikes while listening to true crime podcasts. Most of what I do, I have to be moving at the same time, so a lot of walks. Always looking for an abandoned building to explore or a weird situation to put myself in. I love TV shows passionately and desperately. I love horror movies and Lifetime movies and the campiest media there is. I like to dip my feet into the weirdest stuff I can, for example, a local cult-like spiritual group in Seattle that had an “alien” suspended in a big glass tube. I am super into the bible which everyone gets weird about. I love the history, the stories, the lyricism, the magic, the mysticism (gnostic gospels). Give me anything mysterious and strange and I will get obsessed with it. I can hacky sack like a champ and juggle. I love sports, I play intramural softball. I like social gatherings. I’m a double leo so attention is great. I am an activist, queer and genderqueer af, and I try to show up for social justice causes, especially racial justice which I consider to have the most immediate need. I’m generally very pleasant, I think, but I’m a protester, through and through, and you don’t want to make me mad when I’m in that headspace.  

last words?

Art and the self should never be taken too seriously. Trying to love the self is so hard but also more important than anything else. It is the first step. Put your mask on and then help someone else. You gotta be ready for the fight, armed with skills of listening and empathy, and also a strong sense of what needs to be done, what needs to be changed, what cannot go on any longer. This goes for art, this goes for activism, this goes for love. I got really serious after I said not to take things too seriously. But there are serious, grave things happening constantly. It’s a difficult balance. I take the world seriously, while remembering that I am an imperfect dummy. But I’m always striving, I hope. Always moving.

 

links:

bandcamp

FRANK ENE

 
Photo Credit: E.J. Grijalva

Photo Credit: E.J. Grijalva

 

FRANK ENE

Oakland, ca

MUSICIAN

 

Where are you from and what keeps you there?

I'm currently based in Berkeley. The Bay Area is full of forward-thinking, talented, and inspiring artists. 

What would it take to get you to move up to Seattle where everyone loves you?

Who knows what the future holds?!  ; ) 

You have been playing music for what seems like forever. Do you remember the moment you knew you wanted to be a musician? How old where you when this occurred?

I cannot recall having that particular "a ha" moment in regards to wanting to be a musician. It seems that my desire to be an artist has always been there. 

Can you list all the groups you have been apart of? out of all of them which ones were your favorites and why?

The Fall of Troy, Chineke, Pure Bliss, Warm Soda, Andy Human, Sam Flax, Wymond Miles, and The Fresh & Onlys. Being a part of each of these projects is near and dear to my heart. 

What is your Instrument of choice?

I play both guitar and bass guitar. 

You have done a lot of traveling with your music, Where is your favorite city that the road has led you to?

Copenhagen 

 Do you have any rituals that help motivate/inspire you before you get on stage or write music?

Self-affirmations

Top five favorite local(bay area) musicians/groups?

 Preening

https://preening.bandcamp.com/album/beeters-ep

Mall Walk

https://mallwalkoakland.bandcamp.com/album/funny-papers

The World

https://takestworecords.bandcamp.com/album/managerial-material-7

Never Young

https://neveryoung.bandcamp.com/

Cold Beat 

 https://coldbeatsf.bandcamp.com/album/cold-beat-chaos-by-invitation

Top five not so local musicians/groups?

Cancer

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5_vCuEhSrrA

Marching Church

https://marchingchurch.bandcamp.com/album/telling-it-like-it-is

Bisse

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UBXcEhzlYn4

Gents

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7JONdPAK6iQ

Better Person 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PsO0PoKRy6s

 

What was the last show you attended?

PJ Harvey

 

Are there any Perks of being a musician?

Knowing that you have a chance to travel the world to play music for like minded people is a pretty nice perk. 

How about the frustrations?

Not being able to share more. 

So far, what is your favorite project you have worked on and why?

Right now I'm working on a Frank Ene album that I know I will be very happy with. 

Are you working on any new projects? If so can you tell us a little about it?

I'm currently playing bass in a San Francisco band called The Fresh & Onlys. We're going to Europe to play some shows that will include songs from a new record called Wolf Lie Down. 

What can you be found doing outside of music?

Learning languages and reading. 

last words?

Thank you! 

 

 

HAYDEN ELLER

 
 

The Co Founder / LifeVest Records

BelLINGHAM, WA

MUSICIAN

 

Where are you from and what keeps you there?

I’ve lived in Bellingham (WA), for the past five years. I went to school at Western Washington (I graduated in 2014 with a degree in Poly Sci, Economics, and Philosophy), but before that I bounced around with my family - We spent time living here on the west side of the state (Bainbridge, Renton, and Federal Way), some time on the east side (Chelan and Wenatchee), and then some time abroad (Latvia and Serbia). Both my parents are international schoolteachers, so we’ve bounced around the world as they’ve changed schools/positions – in fact; this year makes Bellingham the location where I’ve lived the longest. The members of my family that live in the US all live around Bellingham, so it’s also nice to have one central location where I can come back and see family. I really like how quiet Bellingham is, too – I’m a pretty reserved/shy person when interacting with people face-to-face, which I think some people take as standoff-ish (it’s just cause ya’ll intimidate me), so it’s nice to be able to head home and hide amongst the trees for a while.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to start playing music and how old were you when it occurred?

I remember listening to Nirvana Unplugged with my Dad when I was really young and being obsessed with “Polly” and “Where Did you Sleep Last Night”…which (now that I’m older) seems a little odd, given the subject matter of both of those songs…

When I was in high school I was a huge fan of bands like Brand New, Green Day, and Blink 182 – I loved how simple those songs are (minus some Brand New stuff). I remember wondering why Mark Hoppus didn’t add more fills to his bass parts, because the space is there, but as I listened to Blink more I started to understand that by “leaving things simple” you leave room for the songs to grow/change as listeners build a relationship with them. I remember watching an interview with Dave Grohl where he talked about that idea, and how he would refrain from adding fills to Nirvana tracks to instead focus on just building a framework that listeners could then attribute their own meaning/relationship to. I was also really attached to punk/hardcore bands like Fugazi, Minor Threat, Rite of Spring, The Bronx, and Every Time I Die. The ethics of those punk bands was super inspiring, and has had a huge impact on how I see the world – those bands worked/work extremely hard, and did/do so on their own terms. They define success for themselves and make other people come to them, as opposed to reaching for the successes that other people have identified for them.

I think I first started writing songs when I was 15 – very shortly after I first started “playing” the guitar, which really consisted of me just playing the opening riff to Adam’s Song until my parents made me stop. The desire to write songs was always there, though – I still don’t know how to play any songs by other bands. I know a few riffs from bands I really like, but I was always more interested in trying to create music, with the guitar just being the instrument I happened to pick up.

You are a part of LifeVest Records, what is your roll there and how did LifeVest come into existence do you guys have any new projects that you are excited to announce?

LifeVest is comprised of myself and my friend Alex Killian – I handle most of the booking + signing of bands, while Alex and I share PR duties. The website + blog aspects are parts I manage during the free time I have when not working with Co Founder.

In short it was something I came up with when I was visiting my parents overseas one summer – I’ve been really inspired by folks like Ian Mackaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat, Dischord), Jeremy Bolm (Touche Amore), and Jacob Bannon (Death Wish, Converge), so the idea of starting a label where I can then spend the time I’m not writing music on a task that still involves music/artwork has always been a goal. I’ve also done a fair amount of work with Non-Profits/NGO’s, so being able to combine both of those interests through the release of benefit compilations and fairly consistent financial contributions has been an opportunity I’m very thankful for. When Co Founder was in the process of putting out our vinyl 7” (phd) last February, I felt like it was as good a time as any to get it off the ground, so we released phd under LifeVest and Alex and I have been running with it ever since. I see it as a way that we can facilitate the success of bands that are already working hard within the DIY community, but might benefit from a little bit of assistance.

We are! We’ve got a few more benefit compilations coming down the line – right now I’m working on a group of songs from Sacramento based artists, which we’ll release this fall. Not 100% on where the funds from that release will be headed, but we’ll work with local members of that community to identify an organization that would be a good fit.

We also just signed Step Dads, who are from Bellingham, and we’ll be releasing their newest EP (Memento) next month before they head out on a month long trip down the West Coast. AND Co Founder has a new album in the works (release date TBA), so it should be a busy next 6-7 months.

Instrument of choice?

Piano or acoustic guitar – all of Co Founder’s music is written on one of these. I don’t really know “how” to play either of them (entirely self taught), so most of the time it’s me just messing around with things until I can figure out how to play what’s in my head. My friend Matt taught me how to play piano chords when I was in college, so that laid a foundation where I can at least kind of figure out where I should start when trying to figure a part out. My acoustic guitar is really special to me, though – It’s a Takamine G Series that my parents bought me when I graduated high school. It was the guitar I learned how to play on (though I still have no idea what actual notes/chords I’m playing most of the time) and it’s been up and down the west coast with me numerous times over the past 2 years. And it’s never been cleaned so it’s super gross - hella punk/DIY points.

Do you have any rituals that help motivate/inspire you before you get on stage or write music?

Luke/Jake/and I will do vocal warm-ups before we play together, but other than that I just like to go be by myself before we play. I really love playing shows, so I try my best to get into a really vulnerable headspace right before we play and then approach our set almost like a therapy session.

Writing has always come out of nowhere for me – I approach it like trying to capture a spontaneous moment where you’re along for the ride. That makes it tough sometimes when you get inspired at inopportune moments (i.e. the middle of a run), but when I’m lucky enough to be in a quiet place, where I can focus, I do my best to just relax and let whatever is going to come out, come out. I’m honestly a pretty terrible communicator, so I will often write a song and then look back at it with a sort of realization, like “oooooh that’s what I’ve been struggling with”. Hella emo.

Writing has always been a very therapeutic task, as well – I’ve struggled with mental health since a young age, and being able to write about events in my life that I’ve struggled with/am still working through is an opportunity I’m very thankful for. I’m not the best at being forthcoming about those challenges, and I’ve gotten pretty adept at hiding my struggles with suicide/depression/self harm, but most of the tracks on Co Founder’s next record have been centered around those experiences and trying to be more open about the role they’ve played in my life.

Top five favorite local musicians/groups?

In no particular order – also you get six cause I refuse to cut one…heh.

1. Iffy Comma (Seattle)

2. Cat Valley (Bellingham)

3. Guayaba (Seattle)

4. The Palisades (Bellingham)

5. Special Explosion (Seattle)

 

Top five not so local musicians/groups?

Gaaaah this is just based on what I’ve been listening to currently, otherwise you’d get a list of 30.

1. Manchester Orchestra

2. Nirvana

3. The Sidekicks

4. Earl Sweatshirt

5. Twin Peaks
 

What was the last show you attended?

Oh gosh – I work at a venue, but I assume that doesn’t count…the last show I actively paid to go see was Father John Misty at the Moore down in Seattle. My partner bought us tickets for a birthday, and we had a grown up date cause we’re fake adults.

Are there any Perks of being a musician?

Too many to name! I am awarded the opportunity to constantly work through issues that I’m struggling with, while sharing that process/experience with members of a community that has been extremely welcoming to me. It’s been really humbling to meet different folks from across the country, most of whom are more than willing to help/support your passion even though they have never really interacted with you in a meaningful way. It’s extremely humbling and inspiring to see the support/community that exists within the DIY music scene – especially being someone who’s never really been part of, or felt comfortable being apart of, a community for more than 4-5 years (as I was moving consistently).

And on top of that I get to play my guitar and sing every day, which is all 15 year old me could have ever really wanted, heh. I do my best to either write or revise songs on a daily basis, so I’m extremely thankful to be in a position where I can work on what I’m passionate about at such a consistent rate.   

How about the frustrations?

I think the biggest frustration is the perceived disconnect between music as an art form and music as a career path with a monetary value. Just to be very clear, none of us do this to make money – the folks that use money/fame as a guide are usually weeded out quickly, as it’s hard to grind on a daily basis when you’re fueled by the pipe dream of being “rich and famous” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-jC3H_8Dk4). But that being said, there is a frustration with constantly being asked to give away your art, or being met with frustration when you ask people to pay $10 for a t-shirt – especially when 99% that money is being reinvested back into your band/label/etc. … BUT those instances tend to be pretty few and far between. We’ve been very fortunate to have people across the country willing to invest in our art and actively support us.

So far, what is your favorite project you have worked on and why?

I had a lot of fun working on Co Founder’s vinyl 7” with Erik Wallace last year. Erik is an awesome engineer, and I really appreciate his very “Steve Albini” like approach to recording. He expects you to have the take you want in the first 4-5 attempts – there’s a level of accountability with him that you don’t always find. It’s extremely motivating and inspiring.

That was also the first time that Luke/Jake and I were in the studio together really hashing things out as a group. Wye was recorded all over the place (at my house in Bellingham, Jake’s garage, Luke’s living room, etc.) and we weren’t able to spend much time working through arrangements/parts together as a group. Phd was the first time we wrote and produced everything entirely as a unit, and I think it gives a little glimpse into what people can expect from our second record. Co Founder started as a solo acoustic project, but for the past year or so it’s been the three of us producing the music as a group – those two are extremely talented musicians, and my two best friends, so being able to hash stuff out together to create something that’s a little bit of each of us has been so much more rewarding than playing solo ever was. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from just listening to the way they both work through the creative process – Luke is meticulous in his attention to detail and Jake has been pretty profound ear for catchy melodies. They’ve have both been instrumental in any/all successes both I and Co Founder have been a part of over the past 2 years, and they’ve given me the confidence to believe in my abilities as a musician.

Also we’re playing a four piece now, with our friend Nikko from Vacationeer on bass and Luke on guitar. *awkward smile

Are you working on any new projects? If so can you tell us a little about it?

Co Founder is currently in the midst of working on our second full length – we don’t have a set release date, but it will be about 35 minutes of new music. It’s been really fun to take a more relaxed approach with the recording/preparation of these newer songs, cause we’ve never really had the opportunity to do that before. Our first record (Wye), was more of a demo than anything else – we flew through the recording process so that we could get out on the road and have something of reasonable quality to help get our name out there/something to have at shows, but I don’t think it’s a great representation of what we’re capable of as a band. I do my best to not focus on perfection, but instead focus on making as much progress as possible with each release, and I think this newer group of songs are a really solid representation of the progress we’ve made as musicians due to touring so heavily over the past year.

These are the most honest group of songs I’ve written, as well – I’ve tried to be more direct in the way I write lyrics as Co Founder has progressed. There’s a song about attempting suicide when I was a teenager and another about a loved one’s experience with sexual assault that were both really hard to write, but I’m excited to share them with people.

What can you be found doing outside of music?

Not really anything…I wish I had a better answer, but this is really all I do. Whether its working on LifeVest stuff, or playing my guitar and working on new Co Founder songs, this is all I want to do from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. Music is what I’m always thinking about; when I’m working on other tasks I’m always trying to work through a rhythm, or a guitar part, or a lyric, or a booking project in my head. Even when I’m at work, I always have a notebook with me so that I can brainstorm ideas that I’m working through – I usually go through 200-300 pages every month or so. Sometimes it’s a matter of needing to get something done, and wanting to put in the time to treat this like a job, but mostly it’s just fun and I don’t find myself wanting to take a break from it. My partner is constantly rolling her eyes at me cause I’ll inevitably ask if it’s okay for me to run Co Founder’s set a few a times at 11:30 at night. She’s a trooper – we haven’t released any of the tracks from our new record and she’s definitely heard all of them over a hundred times.

LifeVest has been a really nice change of pace though – I drive my band mates nuts sometimes cause I have a really hard time sitting still. I always want to be on the road more, recording more, or practicing more, so having LifeVest as an outlet through which to be actively involved in the music community when Co Founder is on a break has been a really positive experience.

Though I desperately want to play in a hardcore band, so if anyone is trying to start a low key hardcore project (a la Blacklisted, ETID, The Bronx) let me know – 3602238322.

Last words?

What time is load in?

 

Co Founder links:

https://thecofoundermusic.bandcamp.com/album/phd

https://www.facebook.com/thecofoundermusic/

http://thecofoundermusic.com/

https://www.instagram.com/thecofoundermusic/

LifeVest links:

https://www.facebook.com/lifevestrecords/

https://lifevestrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.instagram.com/lifevestrecords/

http://lifevestrecords.com



 

BRANDON VOSIKA

 
Photo Credit: E.J. Grijalva

Photo Credit: E.J. Grijalva

 

Painting - Acrylic / Watercolor

Seattle, wa

 

 

brandonvosika.com

Where are you from and what keeps you there?

I live in Seattle and have been here nearly all my life. Lots of things keep me here. Friends, community and climate mostly. Amazon and all the tech bullshit aside, it’s a really magical place.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to become an artist and how old were you when it occurred?

I think I was a freshman in high school.

Do you have any rituals that help motivate/inspire you?

Just do it. You can’t wait for inspiration so you just have to work. Listen to music that you like. Look at good art, put yourself around people that make art, and make art.

Top five favorite local artist?

There’s too many but the ones that come to mind right now are Jeffry Mitchell, Derek Erdman, Joe Rudko, Kelly Bjork, Howard Fonda

Top five not so local artist?

Again, there are a million. let’s just say Masami Yanagida, Anna Jensen, Tara Booth, Sean McNamara, Penelope Gazin

What was the last show you attended?

Here’s two, Nacho Bell by Mary Anne Carter at The Factory  and Daughters Of Summer by Sarah Long

What music are you currently excited about?

I like old jazz and the new Broken Social Scene album is really great!

Are there any Perks of being an artist?

You get free drinks sometimes and other artists trade with you so you don’t have to spend a million dollars.

How about the Frustrations of being an artist?

It’s frustrating to know that my best work could always be better.  As an artists you feel good for what you’ve done but it’s never enough. When it is enough you’re done.  

Are you working on any new projects? If so can you tell us a little about it?

I’m always painting lots of things and working on several projects at once. The most interesting one right now is a series of miniature impressionistic pieces in tiny gold frames.

So far, what is your favorite piece you have worked on and why?

I did a painting for Out Of Sight, an art show here is Seattle. But no photos exist of it yet.

last words?


work hard and be positive.

 

Head over to our featured art section to see some of Brandon's art.