mural

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 71: Shark Toof 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 71, the focus is on artist shark toof

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 71, the focus is on artist shark toof

Shark Toof has been a fixture in the Los Angeles street art scene for years now. His iconic shark wheat pastes, which featured "TOOF" strategically placed in the negative space left from rows of shark teeth, were commonplace throughout the streets of many cities, from Los Angeles to New Hampshire. And his gallery art, much more detailed and thought out, continues to wow art collectors worldwide

He has worked closely with PangeaSeed, a Hawaii-based non-profit organization that helps educate and raise awareness about the importance of shark conservation and preserving ocean habitats. PangeaSeed even helped coordinate a shark dive for him so he could better connect with the sharks and the ocean life.

In addition to his website, his work can be seen at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, where his work is part of their permanent collection. He also has two 100 foot murals located in Miami and Los Angeles. The latter of which recently had a preservation fundraiser to keep it visible.

What was your first concert?
New Order or Jesus And Mary Chain, but The LA Dream Team played a lunch time
show at my middle school.  Does that count?

Last concert/show?
The Make Up

First album, tape or cd you bought?
New Order - Substance

Last album you bought?
It's been so long I can't remember.
Either The Wedding Present or Casiotone For The Painfully Alone

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Jane's Addiction -  Nothing's Shocking

Who is your musical hero?
Robert Smith

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Music is important to my living process.

1975 JAWS THEME SONG
Summertime Rolls - JANE’S ADDICTION
Dance Yrself Clean - LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
Corduroy - THE WEDDING PRESENT
Vapour Trail - RIDE
We Can't Be Contained - THE MAKE UP
Sunshine Smile - ADORABLE
Star Sail - THE VERVE
So What - MINISTRY
I Luv The Valley Oh - XIU XIU
The Fire In Which You Burn Slow - INDELIBLE MCS
Summer Babe - PAVEMENT
2 Kindsa Love - JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION
Birthday (Christmas Eve Christmas Day Remix) ( with Jesus and Mary Chain) - SUGAR CUBES
1969 - THE STOOGES
Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - SPIRITUALIZED
Mersey Paradise - STONE ROSES
Just Like Honey - JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
Looking At You - MC5
If You're Feeling Sinister - BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
Little Yellow Spider -DEVENDRA BANHART
Thirteen (Demo Version) - FORWARD RUSSIA
Between Us and Them - MOVING UNITS
Do They Owe Us A Living - CRASS
In My Eyes - MINOR THREAT
Plainsong - THE CURE
Ceremony - NEW ORDER
Disorder - JOY DIVISION
Sheep - GONJASUFI
El Camino - ZACKEY FORCE FUNK

Check out Shark Toof'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 Shark Toof's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 63: Septerhed 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 63, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST SEPTERHED.

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 63, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST SEPTERHED.

It took me a while to find out that Los Angeles artist Septerhed did more than design cool stickers. His psychedelic black and white square stickers were all over Manhattan around the time my wife and I moved there in 2010, and I was drawn to their simple, but almost Pushead-esque font. Maybe not even Pushead-y, but that’s who I thought of when I saw them. I later learned he did quite a bit more than just sticker art. 

Inspired by street signs and religious imagery early on, Sept graduated at the top of his class at Otis College of Art and Design, where he went for graphic design. He later became a street artist as a personal challenge shortly after graduating. Over time, he’s evolved into more of a muralist than anything else. Beautifying dull walls in Los Angeles and beyond with his brightly-colored illustrations of everything from crazy-looking wolves and rabbits to indescribable abstract greatness. 

A few fun facts about Septerhed……he was born in Japan, but only spent his first year there before moving to the United States. In addition to being an amazing visual artist, he also makes music. Also, one of his public murals was just spotted in the background of Willow Smith’s new “F-C-Q #7” video.  (Seen, top right).

First album you bought?
Poison- Look What the Cat Dragged In

Last album you bought?
DeafHEAVEN- Sunbather

First concert?
David Lee Roth

Last concert?
Melt Banana

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream

Who is your musical hero?
MIke Patton

How important is music to your creative process?
Sometimes, sometimes not. I never have enough new music. I used to know what I wanted and had no way to get it. Nowadays, I can get whatever I want and I don't know what I want. I need to hire someone to find good music for me. Music is like an amazing curse to me. I fall in and out of love with it all day on the daily. Silence works just as well, but then there's always that time when you find a great bunch of songs and they guide your work.

1. Beck - It’s All In Your Mind
2. Babyland - Structure Fall
3. Wild Nothing - On Guyot
4. Clark - Everlane
5. Deafheaven - Violent
6. Behemoth - Shemhamforash
7. Napalm Death - How The Years Condemn
8. Black Dahlia Murder - Carbonized In Cruciform
9. OHGR - DoG
10. The Armed - Culture Faded
11. Broken Social Scene - All To All
12. Bon Iver - Wisconsin

Check out Septerhed'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 Septerhed's Instagram here.

Background Noise, Episode 53: Swoon 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 53, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST SWOON

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 53, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST SWOON

photo via  unurth.com

photo via unurth.com

Swoon is a humanitarian, to say the least. She's devoted pretty much all of her artistic time to the betterment of man (and woman)kind. Filled with positivity, and always aiming to inspire change, Swoon, also known as Caledonia "Callie" Dance Curry, has left her mark everywhere she's gone.

Let's look at a couple of her notable endeavors:

She has her Konbit Shelter Project, where she and a team of others build housing in Haiti that consists of 10% cement and 90% earth, and are resistant to anything Mother Nature may choose to throw at them. Be it earthquakes, fires, tornadoes and floods, these shelters are not only beautiful, but they're sturdy.

There's the Braddock Tiles Project, where she is turning an abandoned church in Braddock, PA into an experiential learning and arts-based community center.

And on top of that, for her well known 2013 contribution to Goldman Properties' Bowery Wall mural series, she made it less about her, and more about the people affected by the damage done by Hurricane Sandy. Her biggest contribution to that mural was her depiction of Greek sea goddess Thalassa, rising from the center, surrounded by imagery sourced from stories youth employment groups gathered from local communities in the area.

She's working hard to inspire change, and now you can hear the songs that inspire HER.

photo by matt bomarr

photo by matt bomarr

What was your first concert?
Daytona Beach, I was like 15 maybe, we had this teeny tiny little club no bigger than a shoe box which was the only safe haven for punks freaks and artsy types. When I got brought there by a couple friends it was like the most grateful day of my young life. This ska(esque) experimental band called "What!?" was playing all fun and dancy. The singer was singing in a sweet distorted way through a megaphone, and we danced so hard in the Florida summer heat, dozens of us packed into the world's tiniest dance floor, and it got so hot that the bartender started hosing all the people down from behind the bar. I was in heaven. 

Last concert/show?
I saw Alicia Keys perform at her charity ball, 8 months pregnant. it was mind shatteringly beautiful. She, just beaming and glowing and dancing like nothing in the world could stop her from the music. It was really unbelievably inspiring. Also Angel Haze shared the stage that night and she's one of my heroes. 

First album, tape or cd you bought?
Ha! Do I really have to answer this honestly? Ok, deep breath, i'm gonna do it. It was….."Poison….Look what the Cat Dragged in"

Last album you bought?
Yesway - Yesway
Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Yes, so many. Probably the most influential of all would have to be In the Aerolplane Over the Sea, by Neutral Milk Hotel

Who is your musical hero?
Well, I guess I would have to then say Jeff Mangum. When I discovered Aeroplane Over the Sea, my uncle had just committed suicide. He was my mom's baby brother. I was born on his birthday, and if I had been a boy I would have been given his name. It was such a terrible loss, and in the months that followed I ended up listening to that album on repeat. The layers of beautiful lyrics, the references to death, suicide, and intergenerational family trauma, all wound through these other beautiful stories and deeply poetic images of distress and anxiety "the bridges burst and twist around", and of course the music, funeral and celebratory together. The album created a place of deep solace for me. And it became a place that I could enter to more deeply access my own grief, as well as to create from. I must have played that album a thousand times while making some of my more major drawings and installations. I later learned that many people have the exact same story with that album, and I think it's such an incredible thing - that someone was able to create a vessel of mourning and grief, healing contemplation and revery which so many people have been able to connect with.  It's one of art's highest aims as far as I can see. 

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
!!! So much so much. In fact, sometimes I get jealous of music! I think of the way that songs become the soundtrack to my life, carry me through my emotional world, instigate, inspire, make me dance myself silly, and just generally accompany almost everything I do and I think !Damn! who is ever gonna say that about anything that I make? 

--- 

Sad slow songs to play while drawing:
Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
Yesway - Howlin' Face
Neko Case - Dirty Knife
Tom Waits - Tango Till They're Sore
Anais Mitchell - Young Man in America
Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Can't Sit Down
Cat Power - Cherokee
Neutral Milk Hotel - Oh Comely
Cat Power - I Don't Blame You
Great Lake Swimmers - Still 
Valerie June - Workin' Woman Blues
Fleet Foxes - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
Mirah - Goldrush
Major Lazer (ft. Amber of Dirty Projectors) - Get Free
Mountain Man - Mouthwings
Angel Olsen - Lonely Universe
Ane Brun - One
Dark Dark Dark - Wild Go
Bonnie Prince Billy - Grand Dark Feeling of Emptiness
The Arcade Fire - Born on a Train
Damien Jurado - With Lightning in Your Hands
Chad VanGaalen - Old Man + The Sea
Jolie Holland - Mad Tom of Bedlam
The Returnee - Marcel Khalife
Sufjan Stevens - Romulus 

Bonus mix (no audio included):
songs to play while cleaning the studio:
Angel Haze - Werkin Girls
Mykki Blanco and Princess Nokia - Wish You Would
Lykke Li - Get Some
LE1F- Wut
Azaelia Banks - Grand Scam
Santigold - Look at these Hoes
Nicki Minaj - Massive Attack
YeaSayer - Sunrise
Bestia - Julieta Venegas remix of Juana Molina
TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me
Young Bleed/Master P/C Loc - How You do Dat
Nikki da B - Express Yourself
Outkast - Dirty South
Missy Elliot - My Struggles
Lorde - White Teeth Teens
Mos Def - Sun Moon Stars
Gary U.S. Bonds - New Orleans
Tito Puente - Eleguana
Madlib - The Rumble
Quasimoto - Good Morning Sunshine
Lazaro Ros - Anything

Check out Swoon'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 And be sure to check out Swoon's website here

Background Noise, Episode 49: Gaia 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 GAIA (photo via  gammablog.com )

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 GAIA (photo via gammablog.com)

PHOTO BY SCOTT LYNCH

PHOTO BY SCOTT LYNCH

Four Generations of Arabbers, Baltimore, MD 2013

Four Generations of Arabbers, Baltimore, MD 2013

I saw Gaia in action once. Funny thing was, although I was very impressed by his work in progress, I wasn't aware that it was him at the time. I was walking south on 1st Ave in Manhattan's East Village, and saw someone painting a beautiful mural of two bulls bashing heads on the security gate of the Empellon Cocina restaurant. I made a mental note to go back at some point a few days later and see who it was. Much to my surprise, it was Gaia. A few weeks later, I found myself at that very restaurant with my wife and a friend, and noticed that not only did Gaia do the facade, he also had painted the walls behind the bar. 

Gaia is a very busy man, with seemingly an endless amount of energy (I had a lot of energy in my late 20s as well). Technically, although he grew up in New York's Upper East Side, he calls Baltimore home, but from the sound of it, he rarely spends much time there. He's constantly being called to places all around the world to do his murals, which have become a hot commodity these days. He has murals in Cape Town, South Africa, has done murals at Art Basel, had a solo show at NYC's Jonathan Levine Gallery, and even curated Open Walls Baltimore, a mural festival featuring work from contemporaries such as Maya Hayuk, Swoon, Chris Stain, OverUnder and others. To be honest, I'm surprised he has time to sleep. 

The work itself often depicts animal imagery, which comes from his fascination with bringing nature to urban landscapes. This animal imagery sometimes depicts animals with human hands and torsos, resulting in a very interesting juxtaposition. He tends to lean toward social and political messages as well, incorporating portraits of influential, and sometimes controversial urban developers. 

He was recently asked by Atlanta's Center for Civil and Human Rights to complete a mural for its Martin Luther King Jr gallery and temporary exhibition space. He impressed them with a mural based on the Twitter #iftheygunnedmedown phenomenon. Read more about that here.

It seems as though the more murals he does, the more work he gets. The word of mouth just doesn't stop, and I don't think Gaia will ever stop either.

What was your first concert?
I dont like to go to big concerts, especially not festivals. Most memorable concert was Philip Glass performed by Bruce Levingston

Last concert?
I went to a show last night in Baltimore which has one of the best small venue/diy space scenes in the country. Saw a member of Smoke Bellow play an electronic set

First album you bought?
Mase - Harlem World

Last album you bought?
Last album I bought was Roomful of Teeth by Roomful of Teeth

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
The Planets Suite by Gustav Holst

Who is your musical hero?
Philip Glass

How important is music to your creative process?
As a consumer of music, and not having any musical experience since orchestra practice in high school, I am blessed to be able to enjoy the boundless nature of music without being privy to criticism. Because painting is such a contemplative, labor intensive process, I prefer repetitive music of all sorts in order to help pass the time. 


Sita Ram - Alice Coltrane
Victim of a Drive By - Triple Six Mafia
Prashanti - Ravi Shankar
RIP Kevin Miller - Isaiah Rashad
A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close - Bruce Levingston
Stainless Staining Lisa Moore 
Medicine Man Rip Ho - Tommy Wright III
Klepsydra - Kate Moore
Courante - Roomful of Teeth 
Busta ass Niggas - Lady Bee
Hai Na - Art Blakey
Ave Maris... virgo serena, Pt. 1 - Josquin
Ave Maris... virgo serena, Pt. 2 - Josquin
Ave Maris... virgo serena, Pt. 3 - Josquin
Ave Maris... virgo serena, Pt. 4 - Josquin
Ave Maris... virgo serena, Pt. 5 - Josquin
Ave Maris... virgo serena, Pt. 6 - Josquin
Ave Maris... virgo serena, Pt. 7 - Josquin
Workers Comp - Mos Def

Check out Gaia'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 Gaia's website at gaiastreetart.com

Background Noise, Episode 28: How & Nosm 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 28, the focus is on How & Nosm

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 28, the focus is on How & Nosm

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

How & Nosm are identical twin brothers. The duo, consisting of Raoul and Davide Perre, were born in Spain, but raised near Dusseldorf, Germany and lived there most of their lives, growing up as regular graffiti artists until around 1999, when they relocated to New York.

Their style is very unique and recognizable. Their signature black, red and grey color scheme almost always depicts some insanely detailed events. So much so, that you really do get lost in them. At their Late Confessions show at Jonathan Levine Gallery near the beginning of 2013, there was actually a point where I caught myself forgetting to breathe while looking deep into one of their pieces of work. I was so sucked in that I completely forgot. As cheesy as it sounds, they were literally breathtaking, as is the case with most of their work.

photo by Andrew Boehly

photo by Andrew Boehly

Despite having their roots in straight up graffiti, the duo does mostly mural work these days, which is great because I feel like that's a medium that really allows them to put a lot more detail into the work and have that detail actually be seen, whereas all that detail could maybe get a bit lost on a small canvas. They've done the famous Bowery Wall on Manhattan's Lower East Side, which counts Keith Haring as it's first artist. They painted an entire airplane in Arizona for The Boneyard Project, have done murals in Miami for the Wynwood Walls and designed a few limited edition, hand-made shoes inspired by Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, with all proceeds being donated to people in need after Hurricane Sandy.

Their mix, like many other mix in this project, is very eclectic. Starting with some classic Kraftwerk, (whom the guys acknowledge having the same color scheme as), then ending up at some Mobb Deep, Solange and even some Falco (RIP).

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

What was your first concert?
Our first concert was in 19911 in Wuppertal, Germany and we saw the British hip hop groups Hijack and Gunshot which were part of the Syndicate with Ice T.

Last concert?
Kraftwerk in 3D, New York City

First album you bought?
Nosm never bought one but How did. It was probably a Gang Starr album.

Last album you bought?
We haven't bought an album in many many years. The internet changed the whole process of going to a record store to listen to an album and then buying it. With all the free music players online you can listen to what you like whenever you want for free.

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
Raekwon, Only built for Cuban Linx comes to our minds when reflecting on our past. But there are too many great albums and musicians out there to stay firm with only one.

Who is your musical here?
Do you mean who is our musical influence ? Definitely Kraftwerk from our hometown Duesseldorf. Same color scheme, same precision work and same originality .

How important is music to your creative process?
We listen to all genres while we paint in the studio, constantly. Our neighbor must hate us.:)

1. Kraftwerk, Radioactivity
2. David Bowie, Man Who Sold The World
3. Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the devil
4. Mobb Deep, Shook ones pt.2
5. Raekwon, Incarcerated Scarfaces
6. Led Zeppelin, Whole Lotta Love
7. Solange, Losing you
8. Little Dragon, Ritual Union
9. Kanye West, Cold1
10.Falco, Out of the Dark
11. Frank Ocean, Lost
12. Bob Marley, Exodus

Check out How & Nosm'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.