podcast

Background Noise, Episode 74: Danny Minnick by Matt Valerio

 THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 74, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST DANNY MINNICK

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 74, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST DANNY MINNICK

Danny Minnick does it all. Not only is he a well-respected artist in the Los Angeles art scene, he is also a professional skateboarder and actor who has appeared in films by everyone from Gus Van Sant to Marcus Raboy and Larry Clark. You can catch him in 2016's The Brits Are Coming, starring Crispin Glover, Uma Thurman, Sofia Vergara, Parker Posey, Tim Roth and others.

His art sometimes resembles the manic, stream-of-consciousness paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Whatever is going on in Danny's mind at that moment ends up splattered on the canvas. Sometimes it's simple, sometimes it's chaotic. He's a man who must create. His work resides in the private collections of Mena Suvari, Nick Cassavetes and Fred Durst, among others.

 

First album you bought?
Winifred Atwell . From a thrift store

Last album you bought?
Velvet Underground - Fully Loaded

First concert?
That I can remember .. NIRVANA AT THE OK HOTEL

Last concert?
Joseph Arthur

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy

Who is your musical hero?
Jimi Hendrix

How important is music to your creative process?
Very important .. It feeds Me.. 

Brian Eno - Baby's on Fire
WInifred Atwell - Poor People of Paris
Jimi Hendrix - Machine Gun
The Velvet Underground - Oh Sweet Nuthin
London Grammar - If You Wait
Bob Dylan - It's All Over Now Baby Blue
Miles Davis - Whispering
The Beatles - Dig a Pony
Rolling Stones - Emotional Rescue
The Animals - Hey Gyp
The Cry - Twist of Faith
Nirvana - Oh, Me
Lana Del Ray - Florida Kilos
Coldplay - Amsterdam
Courtney Barnett - Anonymous Club

Check out Danny's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out Danny's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 73: Phobik by Matt Valerio

 THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 73, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST PHOBIK

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 73, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST PHOBIK

Phobik is a self-taught artist from Hollywood, CA. Starting with gory, angst-filled drawings, he quickly progressed into bright colored paintings, drawing inspiration from comic book superheroes to He-Man cartoons.

He's collaborated on canvas and concrete with everyone from Septerhed to MadMan, and recently wrapped a dual show at LA's Stone Malone gallery with Ratchet Man.

First album you bought?
Limp Bizkit - Significant Other


Last album you bought?
Ghostface Killah - 36 Seasons


First concert?
System of a Down / Mars Volta at the Long Beach Arena


Last concert?
Post Malone / Og Maco-Hamoneverything

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
Deftones- Deftones


Who is your musical hero?
Jimi Hendrix

How important is music to your creative process?
Imagination needs a soundtrack. As an Artist you gotta try to fit this huge movie worthy story into one scene. sometimes the chords of a background song make the Art Piece come together in a different, satisfying way.

       1. Deftones - My Own Summer (Shove It)
       2. Led Zeppelin - Since I've Been Loving You
       3. Jimi Hendrix - Machine Gun
       4. Ghostface Killah - Love Don't Live Here No More
       5. Queens of the Stone Age - Make it wit chu
       6. Queens of the Stone Age - You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire
       7. Dimmu Borgir - Puritania
       8. GZA - Liquid Swords
       9. Black Sabbath - N.I.B
      10. Janis Joplin - Summertime

Check out Phobik's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out Phobik's Instagram here.

Background Noise, Episode 72: Adam Void by Matt Valerio

 THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 72, THE FOCUS IS ON ADAM VOID

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 72, THE FOCUS IS ON ADAM VOID

Adam Void is an Outsider. He lives on the edge of a mountain in the green paradise of Appalachian North Carolina with his wife, Chelsea Ragan and his daughter. He has been making art in the public sphere since 1998. He has been politically active from childhood, spending a moment everyday to take a jab at the dominant, oppressive, racist, misogynist, elitist, capitalist, police state of contemporary culture. He has been blessed to visit 40 of these United States (mostly by freight train or rideshare) and has determined that the people of this country vary widely by region, and are only united through this thing called Popular Culture. He is very interested in understanding how art/music/literature that is counter to this culture can use the distribution methods of popular culture to subvert the system. He has also made noisy music since 1997, the most recent of which can be found here.

What was your first concert? 
REM (Green Tour) - April 25, 1989 - Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, SC
I was very young, but the fact that REM was from the South was not lost on me. I quickly got into the B52's, Flat Duo Jets, and Pylon. My parents had me when they were teenagers, so they were kinda hip and cool. I saw the B52's with Tears for Fears pretty early on too. We were into the early 90's environmental movement of recycling, anti-Styrofoam, and anti-CFC's. I grew up political-minded with an emphasis on Southern American counterculture.

Last concert/show? 
Jefferson Mayday Mayday, Secret Boyfriend, Yohimbe, Sagan Youth, and Adam Void - December 2014 - Meadows of Dan, Carrboro, NC
My lifelong friend, Jefferson Mayday Mayday asked me to play this show with him during his recent trip to the US from Sydney Australia. Sadly, I haven't been able to afford to see many of the great shows that have come to Asheville recently. Neutral Milk Hotel, Kraftwerk, Panda Bear, and Daniel Johnston have all asked for over $30 a ticket.  Add to that, the fact that I am a father of an eight month old baby. No time.

First album you bought?
New Kids on the Block, Hanging Tough - 1988
What can I say, I bought into the popular current of those bad boys, the New Kids. I saw them in concert too, slightly after the REM show. It was pretty impressive to see Donnie Wahlberg hanging by one hand off of an elevated cage while singing a pop song. There was lots of girls there too.

Last album you bought?
Laurie Anderson - Mister Heartbreak or Bell Biv Devoe - Poison single
I mostly listen to cassette tapes that I find at the pay-by-the-pound thrift store in Asheville, NC. This way, what I hear is a coincidental luck-of-the-draw based on what people are throwing away at any time. I mostly put them in my pocket as I walk around the store, but sometimes I pay fifty cents a piece for them.

Was there one record that made a significant impression on you?
Nirvana - Incesticide
I was a devoted Nirvana fan with the whirlwind of Nevermind and the cultural upheaval that followed, but Incesticide managed to strike a much different chord in my mind. It was the most under-produced recording I had heard to date, blending pop with noise in an infectious, chaotic mess. From there, I better understood Devo, the Vaselines, the Pixies, Daniel Johnston, and Sonic Youth. Going down the rabbit hole. And the artwork.... I still wear my original Incesticide shirt, and sadly just got a bunch of black paint on it from a recent spot with Fishglue NGC. :(

Who is your musical hero?
Black Flag (as a whole)
Through all of the line-up changes, they managed to create the independent distribution, touring, and promotion network that became the vehicle for the late 80's to early 90's US underground. They created what's understood as Hardcore, and then abandoned the cliche to experiment with spoken-word, instrumental jam, and metal edged sounds. All this plus the amazing artwork of Raymond Pettibon and publicizing through graffiti and wheatpaste.

May I also say, that I would not be the same artist today, if it were not for the musical impact of a single individual, Joe Ahearn. I met Joe in Brooklyn during the Summer of 2006. He had recently taken over curatorial duties at the original Silent Barn, and had just launched (in partnership with Todd P) a monthly publication of underground music shows called Showpaper. I was, and still am, amazed by the creative energy and DIY ethos embodied in Joe. He introduced me to all the sounds of my four years in New York; Secret Project Robot, Dead Herring, Death by Audio, the Woodser, Goodbye Blue Monday, and later, Shea Stadium. This man is a creative and organizational genius.

How important is music to your creative process?
Music is essential to my creative process.
I got into graffiti through promoting for my high school punk band, Plain Crash. We would follow Black Flag's model by spray painting controversial slogans and wheatpasting fliers on telephone poles of rural South Carolina side streets. Nowadays in my studio, I jam crackly thrift store mixtapes, and on the way to the spot, Ive been rocking this amazing rarities album from the Cure titled Concert and Curiosity.

Black Flag - Spray Paint the Walls (1981)
Circle Jerks - Deny Everything (1980)
The Choir Quit - MBUR (2010)
Sonic Youth - Mildred Pierce (1990)
Nirvana - Tourette's (Live 1992 - Reading Festival, UK)
Japanther - Radical Businessman (2009)
Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945 (1998)
The Germs - Forming (1981)
The B52's - 52 Girls (Live 1980 - Capitol Theatre, GA)
Skull and Dagger - GPS Atlantis (2014)
Rage Against The Machine - Freedom (Live 1996 - Munich, DK)
In/Humanity - Against All Youth (1997)

Check out Adam Void's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out Adam's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 70: Morley by Matt Valerio

Los Angeles street artist Morley likes to break up the monotony of everyday routines. He uses witty black and white wheat pastes, often put up strategically based on their surroundings, to provoke thoughts and inject humor when it is needed most.

He uses these wheat pastes to put his own internal thoughts out into the world. Thoughts that he knows others out there can relate to. "Oh Alarm Clock, You Have No Idea What I Can Do With Nine More Minutes," or "I Love You Because We Hate The Same Stuff." They're all quick little reminders not to take ourselves too seriously. Reminders that it's ok to have a little chuckle on your way into work or your way home after a long day.

The art world needs more people who don't take themselves too seriously.

What was the first album you bought?
TAPE: The Pretty Woman Soundtrack. In my defense, my parents had pretty good music taste- so I didn’t need to buy any albums by The Beatles or Tom Waits as they already had them and played them in the house. But I got an infection from hearing the song “The King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West and it was beyond my control. Plus I was 8 years old, so give me a break.

CD: Naughty By Nature’s “19Naughty3.” I wish I could redeem myself with this being better than my first cassette tape, but sadly I cannot. This time you don’t have to give me a break- by 11 I should have known better!

What was the last album you bought?
“Another Eternity” by Purity Ring. It’s pretty good. I got the cover album of Elliott Smith tunes by one of the Avett Brothers on the same day. They’re decent covers for sure but there really is something uniquely magical about Elliott Smith that just can’t be recaptured. I think the attempt was a respectful homage, but on a purely sonic level, any cover of his will always be missing something.

What was your first concert?
White Zombie. It was the “Astro Creep 2000” tour, though- to be honest I went because I had a friend who was really into them and I was more of a fan of the opening band, The Toadies. Looking back, it’s kind of a strange pairing, musically. I still love that first Toadies record, “Rubberneck.” It’s pretty underrated as far as ‘90s post-grunge albums go.

What was your last concert?
Stars at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles. The band KILLED it and it’s a really great venue. I had seen Built to Spill there right before they broke up. There’s not a bad spot to stand in the house and it’s not obnoxiously large. I don’t bother seeing bands if they outgrow places like The Fonda or the El Rey. I just don’t feel a connection with the band if the venue is huge and overflowing with people.

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
“The Blue Album” by Weezer was a monumentally important record for me. After outgrowing “Hip-Hop Hooray” just in time for Nirvana to abruptly end, I found myself searching for a band that I felt represented who I was. At 12-years-old, you really want a band that will be the bones that you can build an identity around. You take your fashion cues from them, your sense of romance, rebellion and swagger. As much as I would have liked to relate to Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder, they just seemed too handsome and mythic. Instead, I gravitated to Rivers Cuomo. He sang about seeking refuge in his garage and playing Dungeons and Dragons. It was like he was singing just to me! In a time of somewhat dour music, Weezer seemed happy with who they were. They weren’t ashamed of their nerd status, they wore it as a badge of honor. This was incredibly empowering at a time when I really needed it. Even though the band has since evolved in a direction that I don’t dig, I still wear the same horn rimmed style glasses that Rivers’ sports and take it as a compliment when people say we look alike.

Who is your musical hero?
My all-time biggest musical influence has to be Beatles-era Paul McCartney. I’m a bit of a Beatles nut and in studying their influence, I’m fascinated with how much they altered pop culture and the musical landscape. It’s mind boggling. I saw him play in Dodger Stadium last summer (breaking my “only small and medium sized venue” rule) and it was honestly magnificent. That’s a pretty big word but for me, it’s appropriate. My wife and I had crappy seats but just to hear some of my favorite songs sung by the man who wrote them. I mean- I got to hear “Hey Jude” live! It was a bucket list moment for sure.

How important is music to your creative process?
It’s vital for me. I always say that if my work seems like lyrics to a song you like, then I’ve done a good job. Music is really how I grease the wheels of creativity. I have to have something playing any time I work or create. Silence just feels like a brick wall. When I was developing the idea for what I wanted my work to become, I looked to music because unlike a lot of methods of creative expression, there is a more profound relationship formed between the musician and the audience. You can look at a beautiful painting without forming a connection to the artist because the artist isn’t really part of it. Ditto with film and photography. You can feel a connection to an author but it’s still removed from hearing an artist sing directly in your ears. With music, a 12 year old boy in Iowa can listen to Weezer and finally feel like he’s not alone in this world. I wanted the people that saw my work to feel that same connection. I wanted them to feel like it was someONE, not just someTHING talking to them. This is why I include a drawing of myself in all of my work, to try and realize that connection between two humans and remind those who might see what I do and relate to it, that none of us are alone, and hope is not lost when there’s someone to help you back up, even if that help is just a few words pasted on wall.

 

1. “Life of the Party” - Longwave
2. “Sax Rohmer #1” - The Mountain Goats
3. “The Song In My Heart” - Gomez
4. “Beautiful Beat” - Nada Surf
5. “Scenic Pastures” - Archers of Loaf
6. “Bad Reputation” - Freedy Johnston
7. “That’s How Strong My Love is” - Otis Redding
8. “I Should Have Known Better” - The Beatles
9. “Car” - Built to Spill
10. “To All My Friends” - Atmosphere
11. “'Til I Get There” - Lupe Fiasco
12. “Losers” - The Belle Brigade
13. “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan” - Dntel
14. “Eat, Sleep, Repeat” - Copeland
15. “Every Stone” - Manchester Orchestra
16. “Your Hand In Mine” - Explosions in the Sky
17. “Not Miserable” - Frightened Rabbit
18. “The Tracks of My Tears” - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
19. “Nowhere We Cannot Go” - Hayden
20. “Place To Be” - Nick Drake
21. “Heartbeats (The Knife cover)” - Jose Gonzalez
22. “To Sing For You” - Donovan
23. “Murder In The City” - The Avett Brothers
24. “Grizzlies” - Jim & Sam
25. “England” - The National

Check out Morley's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out Morley's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 69: Lunar New Year by Matt Valerio

  THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 69, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST LUNAR NEW YEAR.

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 69, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST LUNAR NEW YEAR.

Lunar New Year (sometimes referred to as simply LNY) is an Ecuadorian-born street artist/muralist currently based out of New Jersey.

His works often depict the lesser-seen people in certain cultures or locales, bringing attention to those who wouldn't normally have their faces front and center.

He says this about his chosen alias:

"LNY is a label that I found for myself that later gained meaning and is still gaining meaning and changing. After adopting the letters as a moniker I found out that the acronym stands for "Lunar New Year" and when I Googled it, i saw all these pictures of celebration and teens having a great time in Asia - so now I have adopted this moniker because of that experience but also because of the of the Lunar New Year being this metaphor for an alternative; be it the lunar calendar or a different way of counting time or experiencing life and viewing the world."

Music is very important to him. Case in point, he not only included an hour's worth of music hand-picked for this series, but he also included a BONUS MIX that is near and dear to his heart. You'll find that further down below.

What was your first concert?
Manu Chao at Central Park Summerstage

Last concert/show?
The Freq Show at Seed in Newark

First album you bought?
more like first song I illegally downloaded: Thom Yorke and Bjork, "I've Seen it All"

Last album you bought?
Las Cafeteras - It's Time

Was there one record that made a significant impression on you?
"What if someone is watching their T.V." by Screaming Females because it showed me that independence, hard work and community support is all the success you need.  

Who is your musical hero?
Cafe Tacuba, hands down.

How important is music to your creative process?
It carries me, inspires me and keeps me sharp - I play music pretty much 24 hours a day which so it's like the blood flow of my creativity.

 

Cruzada Mix
It's Movement Time - Las Cafeteras
Alright - Kendrick Lamar
Latinoamérica - Calle 13
Lenape Lane - Ratking
Bikini Weather / Corazon en Afrika - Princess Nokia
Mi Bandera - Whitest Taíno Alive
How We Chill - Mello Mel
Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar) Flying Lotus
Sycamore Tree - Kali Uchis
Half of it  - Kap G featuring Devour
AyAyAy - Snow Tha Product
Working Like A Mexican Feat Chingo Bling -  Kap-G
Whip It (Remix) Feat. Migos  Rich The Kid -  ILoveMakonnen
Teach Me (feat. Kiesza) - Joey Bada$$
Rose Mountain - Screaming Females
Jardinera - Rita Indiana & Los Misterios
Birthday Song - Kali_Uchis
Mexico Momma Came From Mexico - Kap G
Olita del Altamar - Cafe Tacuba
Ahora Nosotros Mixtape - Chancha Via Circuito

Check out LNY's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out LNY's website here.

LNY's BONUS MIX:

INTENDED TO BE LISTENED TO IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING
BACKGROUND NOISE, EPISODE 69

Background Noise, Episode 68: General Howe by Matt Valerio

I stumbled on artist General Howe strictly via the internet. I'm not sure if it was via Tumblr or Instagram, but I was initially drawn to his animated Disasters of War GIFs. The GIFs depicted war cartoons, mainly of the GI Joe variety, either looped at significant moments in order to relay a message, or digitally altered to tell a different story. (You can see a whole bunch of these amazing pieces of digital work here).

When I first reached out to him to do an episode for this series, I hardly knew much about him aside from these particular works. It wasn't until I did a bit more research that I stumbled on just how much General Howe really does. Turns out, it doesn't exist solely on digital servers and personal computers....he's done a whole slew of installations on the street. Whether it's wheat pastes, or little plastic army men set up in the streets of Brooklyn, he's on a mission to remind people about the casualties of war and the fact that there are still wars going on in this beautiful world of ours.

I decided to dig a little deeper and find out what makes the General tick:

Where are you from, originally?
I grew up in Northern Virginia. A place called Reston.

I'm primarily familiar with your GIF work. How much do you find you manipulate the GIFs? Or are you finding quick snippets from cartoons that have significance, and highlighting them? I guess I'm curious more about that process. Maybe you even draw them completely from scratch! Would love to know more.
The Gifs are mostly borrowed from GI Joe and Rambo cartoons from the 1980's. Some of them are untouched and I just find the perfect moments to loop. Others like the 9/11 specific gifs involve lots of manipulation and collaging of imagery. I'll draw in blood and guts, change colors, or eliminated parts of a figure or background to simplify and make the message more clear. Reacting to the imagery is the root of the process. I'm also reacting to war, history, culture, current events, my own condition. The recent short film I made (Hector Delgado Has PTSD) took the gifs a step further.  I took whole scenes of animation and dialogue and re-edited them to tell a story of war. This process could definitely be pushed further. (Check out Hector Delgado Has PTSD below):

I've read a bit about your Battle of Brooklyn project. Is that still ongoing, or have you wrapped that up?
The Battle of Brooklyn work went on from 2007-2011 and then I left New York for three years. It was primarily a site specific street art project so it made no sense for me to continue it elsewhere. If I hadn't left New York I may not have gotten into all the gif work which has been really exciting. Now that I'm back I'm deciding if i want to continue the B.O.B. or close that chapter. New York has a way of making those decisions for you. To be determined is my official answer.

What other type of work do you do? I'm fascinated now that I've learned that you do so much more than the GIF art.
Man I do almost everything. I studied painting in art school so everything I do is approached as a painter. I just returned from three years of isolation in Wisconsin. I did tons of drawing and big sloppy painting. I also learned how to do the gifs while there. The last two presidential elections i've merged the candidates with the batman mythology. Thats been realized through silk screen, street art, a fake news blog, zine, stickers... In the four years of working on the B.O.B. i did installations, silk screen, lino cut's, some clay pieces, mixed media and a mural.

What's next for you project-wise?
This is the big question for myself right now. I have a 3-d printing idea that I really want to execute. Glitch paintings. The animated Disasters of War still has a lot of potential. Keep learning and pushing new technology. While in Wisco I made big strides in my process and understanding of painting, I don't want to lose that. Hopefully I'll find a way to get a space and keep that going. I might have a show next year and that might force a particular direction to be focused on. I'm definitely at a cross roads right now.

First album you bought?
First album(s) I bought were NIrvana- In Utero and Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle. On cassette! The comic in the Doggystyle album was so clever.

What was the last album you bought?
S.S. Brooklyn by Loyd H. Miller. It's a sing-a-long album for my 2 year old son. It's good, one song has a reference to the Battle of Brooklyn.

First concert?
First concert was Red Hot Chilli Peppers show and Foo Fighters opened for them. My friend had an extra ticket and invited me, I owe him big time for that.

Last concert?
I had a student who played in a school-of-rock kind of band covering classic rock songs. Some of his performances were the last shows I saw.

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
Maybe the Nirvana Albums. I used listened to them all the time as a kid. The Unplugged album. As an adult I can never get enough Wu-Tang.

Who is your musical hero?
My friend Pam Reyes is a young artist and musician pursuing a music career. I'm humbled to know and follower her on the journey. She's my musical hero.

How important is music to your creative process?
When I need to grind out a long laborious physical piece I'll have music playing. Shuffling music is perfect for me, the constant contrast of genre's keeps me from getting to comfortable or complacent. For a recent short film I made, I researched and listened to music that was used to torture inmates at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons. A list of some of those songs is what I chose to present for this Background Noise episode.

The Torture Playlist

1. Eminem - The Real Slim Shady
2. Dope - Take Your Best Shot
3. Bee Gees - Stayin Alive
4. Meow Mix Theme
5. Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People
6. Queen - We Are The Champions
7. Metallica - Enter Sandman
8. AC/DC - Hell’s Bells
8. Barney - I Love You
9. Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA
10. Sesame Street Theme Song

Check out General Howe's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out General Howe's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 67: Noah Scalin by Matt Valerio

 THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 67, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST NOAH SCALIN

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 67, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST NOAH SCALIN

*A portion of this blog post was originally featured in an article I wrote on Noah Scalin for RYOT.org. Read the whole article here.

Virginia-based artist Noah Scalin will not allow himself to go a single day without creating something.

This is no exaggeration.

He is a strong proponent of exercising your creativity on a daily basis. He’s written books about it, with names like 365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! and Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing at Home, at Work & in Your Studio. He founded Another Limited Rebellion in 2001, which helps business and individuals develop their own creative practices to grow and succeed. AND he has his Skull-A-Day project, in which he made a skull out of whatever material he could find for a year, every day. Whether is was drawing one with his fingers using ketchup at the breakfast table, or assembling a large quantity of Q-Tips into the shape of a skull. As long as it was a medium he could manipulate, he would do it.

His newest creation, Dead Media 3, is part of a series he began in 2012, and one plans to continue. The focus of the Dead Media is to use materials that are slowly being phased out of daily life to create something new. The first installment was made using 497 VHS cassettes. The second, 456 books. And now, for Dead Media 3, he brings vinyl LPs into the mix. A site-specific installation at Austin Peay University in Clarksville, TN, Noah used approximately 100 old LPs to create another skull in the series.

A musician himself (check out his band, League of Space Pirates self-described as "the bastard child of Doctor Who and Depeche Mode), Noah was more than happy to send over a playlist and answer a few music-related questions.

1.     First album you bought?
The first album I bought was Synchronicity by The Police at Back Alley Disc (RIP) in Richmond, Virginia in 1983.

2.     Last album you bought?
Late Night Tales by Django Django

3.     First concert?
Nona Hendryx in probably 1982 or so. She was formerly part of the group Labelle, most well known for their song Lady Marmalade. My parents brought me to see her in a live outdoor concert at Shafer Court on VCU campus here in Richmond.

4.     Last concert?
Amanda Fucking Palmer at The National in Richmond, VA

5.     Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
I grew up listening to my parents Beatles records, so they are an integral part of who I am. It’s hard to pick one, but for its sheer overwhelming range the White Album is probably a good representative of their oeuvre.

6.     Who is your musical hero?
If I can pick a fictional character it would be Buckaroo Banzai. Neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver, rock star and comic book hero – yep, that sounds right to me.
If it has to be a real person, definitely J.G. Thirlwell. He’s got such an amazing range of abilities and he’s always been uncompromising about his creative vision.

7.     How important is music to your creative process?
I listen to music constantly! I honestly find it hard to work in silence – which is something I have to do when writing, but luckily the majority of my time I can have music blasting while I’m making art. When I think about my relationship to music I always picture a series of gears in my brain and the music as a matching set of gears that lock into place and makes the whole thing turn even faster.

Dizzy – Tommy Roe
Soul Makossa – Manu Dibango
You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No) – Dawn Penn
I Got This – DJP and MrT
Fortune Teller – Menace Beach
Don’t Wanna Lose – Ex Hex
Jamais Vu – The History of Apple Pie
Avenger – The Bamboos
Hamstra Sjama – Prins Póló
Autumn – Bear In Heaven
Hail Bop – Django Django
Sheen – Xeno & Oaklander
Firefly – League of Space Pirates (a new track from the forthcoming album from my own band!)
Where Does This Disco? – YACHT
Busy Earnin’ – Jungle
Matin Lunaire – Plaid
Astronaut – Amanda Palmer
Land of Broken Dreams – Weyes Blood

Check out Noah's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out Noah's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 66: Ryan McGinness by Matt Valerio

 THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 66, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST RYAN MCGINNESS

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 66, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST RYAN MCGINNESS

Ryan McGinness’s work is often chaotic. His beautifully complex, brightly-colored and nearly kaleidoscopic imagery is layered and layered, each icon melding with the next. It’s hard to make sense of it all, but judging by Ryan’s quiet, but seemingly quite intelligent demeanor, there’s most likely at least SOME sort of method to the madness.

Ryan spent his early years growing up in Virginia Beach, VA. Inspired early on by the surf and skate culture of the area, he absorbed the work of early skateboard designs, with designer Rob Roskopp’s decks particularly standing out. This is most likely what inspired him to start studying art. He studied at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, where he was able to fine tune his love of symbols, patterns and public signage.

He has since developed a visual language that is all his own. In addition to these intricate screenprints and paintings, he sometimes takes a more minimalistic route. Stripping away the chaos, he sometimes lets his odd designs breathe a bit, leaving them by themselves, open for interpretation. Designs that don’t look complex from afar, but when you really get close, they seem to tell entire stories.

 Not long ago, he was commissioned by the New York City Department of Transportation to erect 50 signs around New York City. These signs featured the previously mentioned stripped down designs, looking more like regular street signs, created with waterjet cut aluminum with a few layers of vinyl. Unfortunately, due to their popularity, nearly all of them were stolen off the street before they really got the exposure they deserved.

He’s surely made a name for himself, and has come a long way since that first piece of original art he sold for $40 in sixth grade.

First Album You Bought?
Reach the Beach by The Fixx

Last Album You Bought?
Washarama by The Judy’s

First Concert?
The Jesus & Mary Chain and P.I.L.

Last Concert?
Beck & Flaming Lips

Is There One Album That Made A Significant Impression On You?
They Might Be Giants (First Album)

Who Is Your Musical Hero?
Lou Reed

How Important Is Music To Your Creative Process?
We listen to music all day in the studio.

Lou Reed - Perfect Day
The Cure - Boys Don’t Cry
Beach Boys - God Only Knows
Pulp - Common People
Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored
Devo - Mongoloid
Jesus and Mary Chain - Taste of Cindy
Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Flaming Lips - Do You Realize?
Zombies - Time of the Season
The Chills - Pink Frost
Stone Poneys - Different Drum
Simon & Garfunkel - Sound of Silence

Check out Ryan's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out Ryan McGinness's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 65: Noah Lyon by Matt Valerio

 THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 65, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST NOAH LYON.

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 65, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST NOAH LYON.

There aren’t a whole lot of things that Noah Lyon can’t do. He’s yet another brilliant artist who simply cannot deal with having idle hands. One of those guys who just has to constantly create, create create.

A graduate of NYC’s Cooper Union, Noah’s drawings and paintings often comment on the state of consumerism, pop culture, commercialization and the like. Often using pop art imagery and colorful, cartoonish characters to get his point across. On the flipside, some of his work doesn’t seem to concern itself with having a point. Veering more toward the surreal brain drippings of someone who just has to get this stuff out of his head somehow.

Noah is well known for founding Retard Riot, a network of radical individuals devoted to art, music, and philosophy. Retard Riot produced a popular zine of the same name, as well as radio broadcasts, cassettes, flyers and stickers.

In addition to all of that, he has about a zillion bands (some featured on his mix, below), with names like The Grateful Dead Kennedys, Elderly Youth, Lead Paint Zeppelin, etc. If you’re curious, you can explore that aspect of his output a little more in-depth here.

Naturally, Noah was a no-brainer for participation in this series.

First album you bought?
Beastie Boys - License To Ill in 1986 on cassette. Around the same time I found a tape in a dirty bus station parking lot, it was Foghat – Fool for The City. No cover just the tape but there was a song called Slow Ride on it and the Beastie Boys also had a song called Slow Ride. The tape was stretched & warped and side A was bleeding through to side B and the music would fade in and out consistently like somebody dropped a magnet on it. So it was basically like a weird dub version of a classic rock album. The first used album I bought was “Weird Al” Yankovic’s self titled debut on cassette.

Last album you bought?
I got a bunch of records in the mail this week: G.I.S.M., The Varukers, Broken Bones, Hellkrusher, Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the 36 Chambers on clear vinyl, the new Lighting Bolt album, an old Smif-N-Wessun 12”. The most exciting thing I got though was the Scharpling & Wurster box set which included a tiny piece of a smashed telephone (the actual telephone that Jon Wurster used on the Rock, Rot or Rule recording). Tomorrow I’m going to either Academy Records or Turntable Lab to pick up the Shogun Assassin soundtrack on Cinewax and the reissue of Amanez “Africa” on Now Again Records.

First concert?
The Ramones. They played all their songs literally twice as fast as normal. That blew me away. They probably played 90 songs. It was crazy.

Last concert?
Parliament-Funkadelic was the last concert I bought a ticket to. Or it might have been Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, I can’t remember. I see a lot of good free shows, it’s kind of an occupational hazard. There is always some live music happening in New York, on the street, at art shows. I saw Thurston Moore and Ho99o9 at the LA Art Book Fair. I’m hoping to see Mobb Deep and Smif-N-Wessun next week. I just missed a CockSparrer concert I would have like to have gone to that. Oi!

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
That Foghat tape that got run over by a bus. Seriously though, there are lot of albums that blew me away the first time I heard them and still do twenty years later or whatever, off the top of my head… The Slits – Cut, Beastie Boys - Paul’s Boutique, Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions, Black Sabbath - Master of Reality, Dead Kennedys - Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, The Crucifucks’ first record, The Feederz – Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss?, Crass – Feeding of The 5000, all the Sockeye 7” EPs, Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers (and all the solo records that lead up to Wu-Tang Forever), Funkadelic – Maggot Brain, Junjo presents Aces International 1982 live dancehall session, Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded, Lee Scratch Perry – The Upsetter Collection (Upsetter and Friends), Black Moon – Enta Da Stage, The Anthology of American Folk Music. Sorry I could go on forever. Any one of those albums will lead you on a discovery path to a wellspring of amazing sounds. Actually some of them might just make you want to take an axe to your stereo.

Who is your musical hero?
Thomas Edison

How important is music to your creative process?
Part of my art practice is deconstructing music. I play records while I’m painting and while I wait for the paint to dry I play them backwards looking for secret messages to put in the paintings.

I actually produce music too. I have eighteen different “bands” all of which are long overdue for an album release. I’m not into the whole crowd-funding thing, some of the music is actually made to disperse crowds.

Right now I’m going through a John Cage - 4'33 period. My new album Doctor Ninja “I Draw Blood” comes out April 20. It’s a twenty minute long quadruple album. It comes preinstalled on everybody’s phone. You don’t even have to download it. It’s just there. All you have to do is turn your phone off for twenty minutes. There’s also going be to a limited edition mentally numbered 0 gram invisible vinyl release on Record Store Day.

1. The Grateful Dead Kennedys - The United States of Hardcore
2. Sockeye - Cut off Your Arm
3. Nausea - Cybergod
4. Subhumans - Us Fish Must Swim Together
5. Crass - Big A Little A
6. Smif-N-Wesson - Sound Bwoy Bureill 
7. Parliament - Children of Productions
8. Hellsongs - Run To the Hills
9. Funkadelic - Biological Speculation
10. Amanaz - Easy Street
11. Black Moon - I Got Cha Opin
12. Sean Price - Straight Music
13. The Cenobites - Mommy
14. Dave McCarn - Cotton Mill Colic
15. Ill Bill - Exploding Octopus
16. Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave
17. Goat - Diarabi 
18. El-P - Tougher Colder Killer (feat. Killer Mike and Despot)
19. Guilty Simpson - The American Dream
20. Dr. Alimantado - Best Dressed Chicken In Town

Check out Noah's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here.  Check out Noah's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 64: Boy Kong by Matt Valerio

Boy Kong's work first jumped out at me at the 2014 Fountain Art Fair in New York City. While I was familiar with many artists at the fair, there were even more artists that I had never heard of, which I always look forward to because I love to stumble on new and amazing art.

I'm not sure if it was the bright colors, or the intricately-carved wood in his work that really sucked me in. See, Boy Kong is a master of the jigsaw, shaping wood like he's shaping clay. He makes it look so easy. Using wood, acrylic and glue as his mediums of choice, the 20-something self-taught artist from Orlando draws inspiration from Western culture, Asian design elements and Asian folklore to create playful and surreal pieces of art.

What was your first concert?
Bloc Party

Last concert?
The Wonder Girls haha

First album you bought?
Bloc Party

Last album you bought?
Die Antwoord

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
White Lies - Big TV

Who is your musical hero?
Kid Cudi

How important is music to your creative process?
Like milk and cookies. It's a must. It hypes me up and puts me in a working mood.

Die Antwoord- Evil Boy
Bloc Party- Flux
Keith Ape - 잊지마 (It G Ma) ft. JayAllday, loota, Okasian
Bloc Party- The Prayer
White Lies- Unfinished Business
White Lies- Death
Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
Die Antwoord- Enter The Ninja
The Killers- Bones
Kid Cudi- Teleport 2 Me
Kid Cudi- King Wizard
White Lies- Big TV
Monkey- Heavenly Peach Banquet
Interpol- Evil
Interpol- Obstacle 1

Check out Boy Kong's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes hereCheck out Boy Kong's website here.