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Background Noise, Episode 48: ME 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 49, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST ME

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 49, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST ME

Street artist ME has been popping up quite a bit lately. Most notably, due to his ad takeovers with Clint Mario, which adorn bus stops all over New York City. They're really a sight to behold, and the creativity behind them just keeps getting better. Whether it's a reworking of the Gremlins movie poster, a Mentos ad, the Home Alone movie poster......they're always upping their game, and people can't help but notice. An interesting fact to note: despite both ME and Clint Mario living in New York, they have never actually met in person. All of their work has been done and coordinated over Instagram, where they "met" in June of 2014. Within two months, they'd planned and completed their first ad swap. Whenever they need to exchange
goods, they use a friend to make the exchange.

photo by  nicer shit

photo by nicer shit

This hasn't been ME's first rodeo when it comes to parodying popular imagery. After witnessing an abundance of greed during a Damien Hirst deck release at a Supreme store, he decided to rework the Supreme logo so it would say only "me".  It sort of took off from there. He's gotten some press from a few of the bigger New York blogs for his election-themed "Ba Rock the Vote" and his Walter White "Kiss the Cook" wheatpastes. But that's not all. One look at his Instagram feed will show you all the different types of reworks he's done.

He taught himself graphic design, and has a good deal of professional experience in the ad world, having worked at some large ad agencies. He's also done some album cover and disc art from some big names, however, he will not reveal which ones because to do so would reveal his identity. 

Be on the lookout for more from this guy, he's definitely gaining momentum.

What was your first concert?
Wow! Truthfully it was Gloria Estafan and the Miami Sound Machine. The show I was to go to was cancelled cause the tour bus crashed in the Poconos on the way to the show. When she was better they resumed the tour and that was the first show I saw. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be talking to Miss Estafan and she laughed and said you're too young when I said I liked her music. I then told her the first concert I ever went to was hers after that almost fatal crash. We had fun talking while we hung out. 

Last concert/show?
Flatbush Zombies, Dec 5th 2014 Best Buy Theater. Awesome. One of the few venues that just lets everybody blaze out. Crazy. Zombies were awesome. Good show, great energy.  

First album you bought?
Was a cassette tape, my dad bought it for me, but it was the first album I wanted. We played it immediately in the car on the way home. After the first track, he said "your mother doesn't hear this, ever." Beastie Boys - License to Ill.

Last album you bought?
RiFF RAFF - Neon Icon. Jody Highroller (aka Horst Simco) is an amazing, very talented artist, the RiFF RAFF persona is an awesome character. Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwdinz.

Who is your musical hero?
Adam Yauch - This guy is great. 

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
No. Only because every album I bought between the age of 12 and 20 had a significant impression on me. Singling out one isn't possible.  I remember leaving my after school job when news of Kurt Cobain's death hit.  I really like Nirvana, I don't listen to it much anymore. A friend and I played the single "Creep" by Radiohead, like 2 days after it came out, over and over on a 3 hour drive. Really, only that song over and over.  Guns and Roses Appetite for Destruction was my first CD. An album I was also too young to have, but I guess not. Although, it did make quite an impression. In 7th grade, it got me and some friends in on the high school weed circle. At first we thought it worked, but then on like the 3rd time it WORKED. We vowed not to do it again until college. Made it till senior year. Every time a new album came out we couldn't wait to digest it and use it to transform ourselves. And really everything. Punk, goth, hip hop, Icelandic singers, rock, raves, phish...

How important is music to your creative process? It is very important. I really like to have some creativity going on while working. Musicians are artists and it is great to make art while another person's art is happening around you. Plus having something playing helps keep the ADHD in check. It is hard to work on something for hours in silence.

Rhymin & Stealin - Beastie Boys
Abducted - DJ Soulslinger (t-power mix)
Otis - kanye west jay z
Juicy - Biggie Smalls the Notorious B I G
The Message - Grand Master Flash
Check Yo' Self - Ice Cube
Musique - Daft Punk
Everyday Junglist - Bizzy B
Dub Plate Pressure - Mystical Influence (snipper)
Dub Plate Pressure - lee scratch perry
Bubble Trouble - MIA
Rich Girl - Hall & Oates
I Can't Go For That - the bird and the bee
Palm trees - Flatbush zombies
Nothing but a g thing - dr dre
Triumph - wu tang
Shadrach - Beastie Boys
B-Boy Bouillabaise -Beastie Boys
Sailing - Christopher Cross

Check out ME'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 ME's Instagram feed here.

Background Noise, Episode 41: ELLE 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 41, the focus is on New York artist ELLE.

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 41, the focus is on New York artist ELLE.

ELLE is another artist who doesn't stick to one medium when creating her art. The New Yorker has gotten lots of respect in the street art and graffiti communities over the past few years. Initially, due to some impressive and daring roller pieces high up on billboards, and more recently her bus shelter "ad takeovers". These ad takeovers are quickly becoming more common in the street art world, with keys provided to artists by the Public Ad Campaign. This allows artists to reclaim ad space by replacing advertisements with their own work, often in broad daylight without anyone noticing.

She's quite prolific. You'd be hard-pressed to walk more than a few blocks in New York City's SoHo neighborhood without seeing at least one of her wheat pastes, stickers or tags, and once you notice them there, you'll start noticing them everywhere throughout the five boroughs.

In the past few years, she's painted murals at Miami's Art Basel, collaborated with the likes of legendary street photographer Martha Cooper, Claw Money, the London Police, Bunny M and Shin Shin. In addition to being yet another great artist that Hanksy recruited for Surplus Candy, she's shown her work in well-known galleries alongside artists like Dain, Dee Dee, Beau, Sheryo & The Yok and many others.

Rumor has it that her work will be hitting many more homes in early 2015 when an IKEA-commissioned poster she designed arrives in their stores worldwide.

If you ever find yourself walking over NYC's Williamsburg Bridge, take a glance over the north side of the bridge, Brooklyn side of the water, near where the old Domino Sugar Factory (RIP) used to be. You'll see a giant roller piece she did on the roof of a building staring back at you, right there next to a giant pink Swampy.

The girl has balls. Bigger balls than a lot of men out there right now.

photo by matt bomarr

photo by matt bomarr

What was your first concert?
If I remember correctly, I think it was NewFound Glory-- my best friend Lili and I cut school (we were in high school at the time and she had just gotten her drivers license) and she drove us out to Marine World, where they were playing a show in the middle of the afternoon. We were pretty stoked. Haha.

Last concert/show?
My buddy Mike just took me to see the Die Antwoord concert at Irving Plaza last week. It was sick. I'm in love with Yolandi and Ninja! So hot. My girl Jenny took me to see the Amnesty International show at Barclays a few months ago as well. It was also a ridiculously good show... the lineup included Yoko Ono, a few of the Pussy Riot girls, Lauryn Hill, Blondie, the Flaming Lips, Madonna...it was crazy.

First album, tape or cd you bought?
Huhh... I don't remember actually-- that was so long ago!!! I know the beach boys were on one of my mixed tapes somewhere back in California as a kid... Haha

Last album you bought?
Does adding a song to your Spotify playlist count?! If so, it would probably be Diplo- Set it Off... the music video for that song is super dope- the women in the video pole dancing are such incredibly talented dancers, and so strong! I love it!

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Nosaj Thing- Drift
Die Antword- SOS
The Knife- Deep Cuts
Fever Ray- Fever Ray

Who is your musical hero?
DJ Cat King is one of my best friends and a killer DJ. She stands for what musical performances should be- she's an entertainer, enthralling, talented, beautiful and hard working. I think her and Grimes are tops. The music of Fever Ray and Nosaj Thing have also had a huge impact on me.

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Music is incredibly powerful and greatly influences my creative process. I always wished I was one of those people that saw color when they heard music. Although I don't have that amazing talent, I do think that what I'm creating is intrinsically tied to what I'm listening to at the time. Maybe once or twice a year I discover an album or an artist that I can't stop listening to and it becomes the soundtrack to my life. I'll listen to that album or artist on repeat nonstop for a few months. I associate periods of artwork and places that I live and travel to with the music that I was listening to at that time.

Check out ELLE'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 ELLE's website here and find her on Instagram here.

1. Gigamesh - Redlight (Goldroom Remix)
2. Fatima Al Qadiri - Hip Hop Spa
3. Sia - Chandelier
4. Gold Panda - You
5. Elliot Goldenthal - The Floating Bed
6. Lila Down - Benediction and Dream
7. The Cure - Just Like Heaven
8. AWOLNATION - Sail
9. NU - Man-O-To (Edit)
10. Wax Tailor - Que Sera
11. Diplo feat Lazerdisk Party Sex - Set it Off
12. Warm Ghost - Myths on Rotting Ships
13. Lorde - Team
14. Faces + xxyyxx - Talk
15. Giraffage + xxyyxx - Even Though
16. FKA twigs - Two Weeks
17. Die Antwoord - Enter the Ninja
18. New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream
19. The Knife - Silent Shout
20. The Knife - Heartbeats
21. Fever Ray - When I Grow Up
22. Nosaj Thing - Fog
23. Nosaj Thing - Quest
24. Jhene Aiko - The Worst
25. Flying Lotus - Camel
26. The Cure - Lullaby
27. Passion Pit - Take a Walk
28. Nicolas Jaar - Mi Mujer