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Background Noise, Episode 81: Dee Dee 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 81, THE FOCUS IS ON DEE DEE

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 81, THE FOCUS IS ON DEE DEE

No one really knows a whole lot about mysterious street artist Dee Dee. There is literally no revealing information on the internet about her. Despite this, Dee Dee has quickly amassed quite a cult following over the past couple of years. Her colorful, collage edits often feature beautiful, sultry women smiling, screaming or staring right through you. It's all quite mesmerizing, to say the least. 

She just hosted a small, but impressive pop-up show called "The Day Is My Enemy"  in New York City with the fine folks at Montreal's Station 16 Gallery. Being one of the many "cult followers" of her work myself, I nearly hopped on a plane to make the opening. From what I've heard from friends, it was quite the success. 

Dee Dee doesn't really say much. As you can see, the answers to my music questions are not exactly, well....verbose. She prefers to let the music do the talking, as you can witness yourself with the excellent gothy/synth mix she compiled for this. 

Oh, and for a limited time, she's got some artwork available for purchase direct through Station 16. I'd say get them now, while you can still afford them. She's rising fast. 

What was your first concert?

Last concert/show?

First album you bought?

Last album you bought?

Was there one record that made a significant impression on you?

Who is your musical hero?
I love David Bowie. Like a caterpillar to a butterfly he is always changing. Always risking.

How important is music to your creative process?
Music is everything.

1. "Masked Ball" - Jocelyn Pook
2. "The Calling (MkII)" - Death In June
3. "A Question Of Time" - Clan Of Xymox
4. "Baby Turns Blue" - Virgin Prunes
5. "Cities In Dust" - Siouxsie And The Banshees
6. "Deep Ocean Vast Sea" - Peter Murphy
7. "Films" - Gary Numan
8. "Sometimes I Wish I Was Dead" - Assemblage 23
9. "Night Time" - Killing Joke
10. "Chance" - Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
11. "Baby's On Fire" - Brian Eno
12. "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" - Revolting Cocks
13. "Now I'm Feeling Zombified" - Alien Sex Fiend
14. "I'm Insane" - Sonic Youth
15. "Lucretia My Reflection - Sisters Of Mercy
16. "Oh Cruel Darkness Embrace Me" - IAMX
17. "Applause" - Lady Gaga
18. Coming Down (Slow Version) - Daniel Ash

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

Background Noise, Episode 60: Dan Witz 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 60, the focus is on artist DAN WITZ

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 60, the focus is on artist DAN WITZ

Brooklyn artist Dan Witz has being doing street art for many years now. He gained recognition over the years for his realistic-looking street pieces. These pieces usually depict something peering out, or even hiding behind a metal grate, glass, what-have-you. They're often so subtle that it would be very easy to just walk right by one without noticing, but when you DO notice, your jaw drops.

Lately, it's been Witz's series of insanely realistic mosh pit paintings that have everyone talking. Even seeing these paintings a few feet away from you, you'd swear that they were photos, captured in the sweaty mosh pits of hardcore shows. It's Dan's exceptional attention to detail that really blows people away. Whether it's veins bulging from someone's forehead, or the tiniest hairs on someone's arm, he captures it, and captures it well.

Dan had played in bands growing up, and has always naturally been drawn to music, so it was no surprise that he was willing to compile a list of songs he listens to in the studio.


What was your first concert?
I was kind of a stoner in high school and don’t remember much. But if I had to guess I’d say my first big name concert was probably something like The Grateful Dead. Me and my friends saw pretty much every big rock act that came through Chicago in the mid 70’s…or so I’m told.

Last concert/show?
My wife and I just saw the singer/songwriter Laura Marling near where we live in Brooklyn. Mostly I go to hardcore shows so the contrast was pretty alarming at first. But I have to say it was totally amazing. This woman should be better known. Well worth getting a baby sitter for (my highest rating).

First album, tape or cd you bought?
This one I know: Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon.

Last album you bought?
I belong to a (paid) download service so I haven’t actually physically bought a whole album in years. Maybe Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco?

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Yes…SO many…starting with Dark Side of the Moon—then London Calling, ok…I tried but it’s impossible: the list keeps expanding faster than I can type.
Driving today with my wife, a cut from one of my recent favorites came up on Shuffle: Pop 7 by Wolfgang Voigt’s minimal ambient project, Gas. The moment the song came on, we froze: spellbound we just sat there in awe and let it wash over us. There’s a strange hypnotic power to this music: whenever it comes on I  become transfixed, immobilized, it’s hard for me to focus on anything else. Gas is minimal and challenging, even for me, but it’s always ultimately profound and is a reliable reminder for me of what I’d want my own art to do to people.
After the song was over my wife said she was really tripping out on watching the trees speed by, like the music was guiding her deeper and deeper into the forest. (No, we weren’t stoned.) We looked up Voigt on Wikipedia:

Voigt cites his youthful LSD experiences in the Königsforst, a German forest situated near his hometown of Köln, as the inspiration behind his work under the name Gas. He has claimed that the intention of the project is to "bring the forest to the disco, or vice-versa".
 
Who is your musical hero?
Right now, Wolfgang Voigt.

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Crucial. Music has definitely had more influence on my conceptual thinking than any visual art I can think of.

As far as how I use music while actually painting, I keep it on pretty much all the time. It drowns out the incessant roof brain chatter—my unquiet mind. And while working it’s always helpful to have someone murmuring in my ear, reminding me to keep fighting the good fight, or to, “Breathe, breathe in the air. Don’t be afraid to care…” *
I’ll always love that song.

*(c Pink Floyd: Waters, Gilmour, Wright)

Gas - Pop 7
Pub - Lunch
Gas - Gas 1
Pub - Summer
Planetary Assault Systems - Undertow (Original Mix)
Gas - Zauberberg 3
Gas - Pop 4
Gas - Gas 5
Pub - Kamikazi
Seefeel - Minky Star
shine

Check out Dan'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. Be sure to check out Dan's website as well right here.

Background Noise, Episode 50: Ron English 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 50, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST RON ENGLISH

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 50, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST RON ENGLISH

PHOTO BY MATT VALERIO

PHOTO BY MATT VALERIO

Chances are, you’re already familiar with Ron English’s art, even if you may not have known it. The extremely prolific artist, born in Dallas, TX and now residing on the outskirts of New York City, has infiltrated all sorts of artistic mediums throughout the past few decades. If you saw Morgan Spurlock's award-winning 2004 documentary Super Size Me, you’ve most likely seen Ron's MC Supersized character, an obese Ronald McDonald stuffed to the brim on his own brand of food. Or maybe you’ve seen his Abraham Obama, a visual mash up of our 16th president and Barack Obama. That iconic Abraham Obama image was originally painted as an oil painting, and then images of the oil painting were turned into limited edition prints, and sold to raise money for the Obama 2008 campaign.

English is a respected street artist, fine artist, toy maker and musician. He did an album with Daniel Johnston, collaborated on a toy with Pearl Jam, and has done album art for artists like Slash and Chris Brown.

He's a legend in his own time, and to say I'm honored to have him commemorate the landmark 50th Background Noise episode would be an understatement.

What was your first concert?

Three Dog Night. Probably not the hippest first concert. My parents brought me and my best friend. They held their hands over their ears during the entire show. But there you go. You only get one first concert. When my daughter came of age I tried to make sure her first show was hipper than mine so I brought her to see Mindless Self Indulgence. Definitely hipper than TDN, and since LinZ the bass player was my sometime assistant, we got to go backstage and meet the band. LinZ took my daughter Zephyr to the merch booth to get her some free stuff. The obsessed fans clawed at LinZ as we pushed our way through the crowd, some girls even shoved their tits at LinZ to get them signed. A lot edgier than the Three Dog Night experience. Later when my son Mars came of age I got him into a Linkin Park show where we had backstage passes and special seats on the side of the stage. Linkin Park was his favorite band so it was quite a coup.

Last concert/show?

The last concert I saw was The Dandy Warhols in Seattle. I have been missing them by one or two days in various cities for years so finally we found ourselves in the same town on the same night. I brought Mel, my partner in the Popaganda clothing line, who only likes Hip Hop. He agreed to come along if I agreed that we would leave after two songs. He ended up staying for the whole show. He was very impressed. These days we mostly see shows now at the Town Crier here in Beacon. Phil the owner is a good friend of mine so he always lets me know when something good is going on. Tonight it is an Elvis impersonator. I once had the chance to see the real Elvis but I passed. Thought he was for old folks. Three Dog Night, now that was a band I was all in for. Oh well.

photo by  s. butterfly

First album you bought?

Black Sabbath Vol. 4. Before that I only bought singles. Albums seemed stupid, I mean they release all the good songs on singles right? My cousin Robin disproved this theory by playing The Doors Strange Days for me.

Last album you bought?

I don’t remember. Does downloading count? In that case the last two full ”albums” were Dandy Warhol This Machine and Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt. These days I mostly download individual songs. Full circle.

Who is your musical hero?

Wow, there are so many. I guess if I had to pick one all time musical hero it would be John Lennon. Most people just think what they’re supposed to think and create what they think they are supposed to create and if it’s controversial it’s inside the bounds of accepted faux controversy. It’s scary to really go out on a limb with a little truth and honesty. Usually doesn’t turn out well.

photo by matt valerio

photo by matt valerio

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

Probably more live performances. I remember seeing The Polyphonic Spree and thinking afterwards, “I just can’t be the same person anymore. I have to step up my game.”

How important is music to your creative process?

People are usually surprised that I don’t listen to music when I paint. It messes with my concentration. I am involved with music personally. Check out my band The Electric Illuminati on iTunes. I have also written songs with other artists including Wammo, Sara Hickman, Daniel Johnston, Mojo Nixon, The Sutcliffes to name a few. Every now and then I get to do an album cover. The last two were for SLASH and Chris Brown.

Track list:

We Still Hate You Yoko, by the Sutcliffes
Signs by the Electric Illuminati
Mr E’s Beautiful Blues, by the Eels
Lights Out by Mindless Self Indulgence
Disney is the Enemy by Mojo Nixon
The Little Things You Give Away by Linkin Park
Nth Degree by Morningwood
Enjoy Yourself by the Dandy Warhols
True love Will Find You in the End by Daniel Johnston
Turquoise House by Jim White
Pop God by Illness
Democracy by Leonard Cohen
Your Hands (Together) by the New Pornographers

Check out Ron'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 Ron's website at popaganda.com

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 45: Alex Kvares 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 45, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST ALEX KVARES

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 45, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST ALEX KVARES

I've only seen Alex Kvares' work once, but I loved it. I stumbled on it while paying a visit to the Mulherin + Pollard gallery on New York's Lower East Side last year. It was the insane amount of detail in each of his images that really got me. Many pieces were done on graph paper, and it looked like each square had been meticulously filled, mosaic style, according to how the completed image was supposed to look. The images themselves resembled something out of a psychedelic fairytale, and take inspiration from films like The Holy Mountain and Caligula, as well as abandoned Cold War bunkers and classrooms. That, mixed with the massive number colored pencil lines, enthralled me so much that I found myself completely sucked in, just staring into it, amazed at how much went into creating just ONE of these pieces. You really need to see it to believe it.

Alex was born in the Ukraine, but has studied art in Texas and Kansas. After a decade-long stint in Atlanta, he moved to Brooklyn. He now teaches in the fine arts department at Pratt Institute. 

What was your first concert?
I have vague memory of going to some local metal show in Kiev when I was 11 or 12. but all I remember is smoke machines and some dude in red leather pants.
My first concert stateside was Frank Black opening for They Might be Giants in ’93. I was obsessively listening to the Pixies at the time.
All I remember is Frank with three guitars hanging on him and some frantic accordion playing by one of the Johns.

Last concert/show?
I have a two year old son so not much concert going lately. I think the last one was Tiger Lilies playing in Prospect park or maybe Pauline Oliveros at MoMa. Ive seen both multiple times and probably will again, especially Oliveros. Every time I see her play it’s a completely different but equally amazing experience. 

First album, tape or cd you bought?
Growing up it was mostly a tape-trade network. Everything was dubbed a hundred times before you got it. I. First LP I ever bought was by this band “Alisa” when I was 12. Every once in awhile I would buy bootleg tapes at the flea market, usually Russian new wave or folk bands Stateside it was probably something like the Scorpions or some other hair metal, not sure now.

Last album you bought?
I haven’t been music shopping much lately either. If you don’t count kid music, the last thing I bought was "Colour Green” by Sibylle Baier. It’s been in pretty heavy evening rotation.

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
There were many over the years:
Tom Waits’ Black Rider was a big one, Mountain Goats’ All Hail West Texas, Momus’ Forbidden Software Time Machine. I don’t know, thats a tough one to narrow down and I’m not even going into Russian stuff growing up.

Who is your musical hero?
Not to be redundant but it's hard to pick just one. I think lyrics have always had a big impact on me, especially depressing or strange ones.
So if i did a short list in no particular order:
Townes Van Zandt
John Darnielle (the Mountain Goats)
Nicholas Currie (Momus)
Tom Waits
Leonard Cohen

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Very.
I don’t  work to music that often but music have always been a big part of my life, forming my tastes and lifestyle and even personality. When in my twenties, I would often go to shows three, four times a week. It was just part of my diet.
It’s still as important to me, just hard to make time for.

1. Night Moves Gold - Townie Lover
2. Pete Seeger and the Weavers - Ramblin Boy
3. Momus - Bishonen
4. Open Mike Eagle - Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes
5. Black Lips - Veni Vidi Vici
6. Ghedalia Tazartes - Voyage A L'ombre 6
7. James Irwin - Everything Passed Me By
8. Fatlip - What's Up Fatlip?
9. Timber Timbre - Too Old To Die Young
10. Bobby Brown - Steamboat Mama
11. Phosphorescent - The Mermaid Parade
12. Sibylle Baier - Tonight
13. Arthur Russell - This Is How We Walk on the Moon
14. Cat Stevens - Trouble
15. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Another Day Full of Dread
16. Knight Bros - Love (Can't You Hear Me)

Check out Alex'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 Alex's site for even more amazing work.



Background Noise, Episode 44: Foxxface 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 44, the focus is on New York artist Foxxface..

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 44, the focus is on New York artist Foxxface..

foxxface5.jpg

Foxxface's work has evolved exponentially since I first saw one of his stickers in Chelsea a couple of years back. I'm not sure why this sticker (pictured left) caught me, but it did. Maybe it was the bright orange background that drew my eye to it, but something told me to keep an eye out for more.

His work has since morphed into much more intricate, much more colorful pieces since then, often featuring his signature faces (dubbed "Foxx Faces), which tend to feature characters with very pronounced cheekbones and lips. His style is undeniably his.

Like his sometimes partner-in-crime CB23, Foxxface relocated to NY from the dirty south, to really pursue his art. It's been there where he's found lots of inspiration and new mediums to work with. In addition to being involved in Hanksy's Surplus Candy, he's worked with Wayne Rada for New York's L.I.S.A. Project, doing a series of very impressive bolt-ups on wood, scattered throughout Little Italy. Each one impressive in it's own right. He also just participated in a recent "cycle" of the Lower East Side's Centrefuge Public Art Project, painting an abandoned trailer on E 1st St and 1st Ave alongside many other artists.

As I predicted, he's turning into an artist to really keep an eye on. You can check out more of his work on his Instagram, where he posts lots of images of his work.

What was your first concert?
My first concert was Incubus in Atlanta during their Make Yourself tour.

Last concert/show?
I think my last show was Ty Segall.

First album, tape or cd you bought?
The first CD I owned was the Lion King Soundtrack.

Last album you bought?
The last album I actually purchased was You Can't Take it With You by As Tall As Lions. Yeah that was a while ago.

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
There was a period in my childhood where I enjoyed progressively complicated guitars and rhythms accompanied by high pitched vocals. After discovering Coheed and Cambria's "The Second Stage Turbine Blade" and then immediately following up with "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3" I was obsessed. These two albums inspired me to write music and focus on playing shows. Loved it!

Who is your musical hero?
I'd have to say Claudio Sanchez. Super geeky sci fi nerd that's got a very creative approach to writing music. Not to mention the impressive technicality that shines through his guitar.

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Extremely important. It's very rare for me to work on art or filmmaking with the absence of music.

Foxxface bolt-up collaboration with clint mario

Foxxface bolt-up collaboration with clint mario

1. Hundred Waters - Murmurs
2. TOPS - Way to be Loved
3. Hiatus Kaiyote - The World It Softly Lulls
4. Cashmere Cat - Wedding Bells
5. Diaba$e - Living My Life
6. Flying Lotus - Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
7. The Octopus Project - The Mythical E.L.C.
8. Paul White - One of Life's Pleasures (feat. Danny Brown)
9. Ariel Pink - White Freckles
10. Peaking Lights - Infinite Trips
11. Joywave, KOPPS - Tongues
12. St. Vincent - Regret
13. Haim - The Wire
14. Buke and Gase - Hard Times
15. Tobacco - Streaker (feat. Notrabel)
16. Lapalux - There Are Monsters in This Bed
17. TOPS - Blind Faze
18. FKA twigs - Pendulum
19. Dilated Peoples - Worst Comes To Worst
20. Jogger - Nephicide

Check out Foxxface'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.

Background Noise, Episode 39: Cosbe 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 39, the focus is on BROOKLYN artist COSBE.

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 39, the focus is on BROOKLYN artist COSBE.

It has to be a little tough going by the name Cosbe right now, with the original, sweater-wearing pudding popper in the news so much. "Haha shit's been kinda fucked lately with the OOG getting those charges," he says.

Overall, I doubt he pays much attention to all that business, or would even have time to if he wanted to. He spends most of his time wrapped up in creating mind-melting art out of his Brooklyn studio. Whether he's creating paintings using whatever he can get his hands on, or plastering up stickers throughout the city, he's always busy.

Cosbe (who has sometimes referred to himself as Kosbe, or Kosby) started doing graffiti in Chicago about 20 years ago, honing his chops on the street with fellow writer Drel, eventually transitioning to his first studio, which was provided by his mom, a huge supporter of his artistic interests. After relocating to New York, he continued getting his name up throughout the city with paint, chalk and his wild, and sometimes random stickers. His stickers were what initially caught my eye when I'd see them on my block, and then I started seeing some of his chalk drawings on dumpsters and what not, which were interesting because if it rained that night, they'd be gone the next day. I've always had a thing for temporary art. It wasn't until a while later that I realized he did these paintings that he does. I saw some of his work at Hanksy's "Surplus Candy", and then saw a piece of his in a group show at Woodward Gallery on the Lower East Side which really blew me away. This particular piece is the one featured in the main podcast image up top here. It was so colorful and chaotic. There was so much going on. I loved it. I've been following him ever since.

He's compiled an extremely eclectic mix of music for his episode, and I've been enjoying it quite a bit as I've been stitching it all together. Check it out down below.

What was your first concert?
My first concert was a Common Sense, Artifacts, Organized Confusion, Boogiemonsters show at Congress Theatre in Chicago. (link)

If you are into early 90's hip-hop you can imagine that was a pretty heavy line up for my first show.  

Common Sense had just dropped the Resurrection album so Chicago was really hyped on him and he was the hometown hero at the time. 

When Common came on stage everyone went nuts and rushed the stage. He finished his first song and then as he started to go into the second he stopped the DJ and called out a couple of knuckleheads in the front row who were grabbing the mic cord while he was trying to rap. as he went into it again all I heard was the song abruptly stop and the sound of the mic as it smacked into someones face! Hahah! Next thing you knew punches were getting thrown and some people just started getting stomped out! All of the group's posses from backstage ran out on stage and the whole thing kind of turned into a malay! I remember seeing a couple of people being pulled out with Timberland marks on their faces hahaha! That's some Chicago shit right there! The Fire Warden ended up tossing everyone out. Just pure, grimey hip hop from the start and that was only my first hip hop concert.

I also used to go to a lot of underground Chicago gettohouse parties, those were the shit too. Everyone would be jacking in the middle and then breaking on the sides. Respect to all the original Chicago Breaking Crews. JAM Masters Crew. Decepticons. Brickheadz. Molemen.

Uh-Oooh!  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJofQq710Wk)

Then I got into Raves. I think my first Chicago Rave was Psychosis in 1993. 

It was 5 bucks and you got a tab of acid. It was amazing. Changed my life. I was hooked on that scene after that. It was like go to some basement hip hop party and smoke blunts with a buncha dudes or do acid and E and hang out with a buncha cute raver girls? No brainer! lol. 

Last concert/show?
I'm not sure, I think it was a SMIF -N- WESSUN show. I was drunk with my artist friend The Sucklord and I think we just walked into the concert randomly from off the street. I always liked Nervous Records, especially the underground techno stuff! I was a raver in my past for a minute too! untz untz untz!!! 

First album you bought?
I think it was a twofer:  Beastie Boys Licenesed To ILL and Nirvana Nevermind. On cassette!  

Last album you bought?
The internet changed the way I find music for the last ten years or so. Now I just listen to whatever the fuck pops up on my radar. If I like it then I'll listen to it. Nothing like getting old man. I remember being much more selective about my music, but now Im old and I just listen to whatever comes up on the radio. Listening to that top 40 shit and I'm like yea, yea, yea I guess I can tolerate this for a while. Hahaha. I don't even know what the kids are listening to these days? What's cool now?

I do really miss record stores. I miss buying an album and not being sure if I would like it or not, or even buying something based just off the album art.

Was there one record that made a significant impression on you?
Bizarre Ride, Brooklyn Zoo, Ready to Die, The Purple Tape. I remember smoking my first bong in a basement with some gangster kids from my neighborhood and someone put that Raekwon album on. Changed my life. That and Dr. Octagonecologyst, Kool Keith on some trip hop shit with Q-bert. Blew my mind. Temple of Boom, Jealous One's Envy. Then I got into hardcore rave shit and underground Chicago House Jack shit like Plastikman, Delta 9, Frankie Bones, Terry Mullen, Drop Bass Network, Liquid Sky, drugs, E, fun shit. Raver shit. Burning Man. Chicago. Soul. Jazz. Juking, Jacking. Whatever.

Who is your musical hero?
Anyone who currently makes the serious effort to be a musician in anyway. I respect anyone who takes a serious stab at it. Especially now. It's not like before when you'd get a record deal and be able to chill off that money for a while. Now it seems to be all about touring, selling band merch, and streaming your album online and hoping iTunes gives you a fucking cut of that 99 cents! I don't pretend to know what that's like but I have to say it seems like anyone who is willing to get into the music biz nowadays and go up on stage and put their heart really into it, well that's pretty heroic. A hero can be someone who does anything creative they regardless of what they get from it. I respect anyone who fucking pushes it hustles and keeps it real original and innovative.

How important is music to your creative process?
I have to have something on while I'm doing anything creative. I'm listening to music right now. Sometimes I'll have an album on repeat for weeks and just listen to it over and over while I'm working on a certain drawing or project. If it's something that is helping me get into the creative mood of what I'm working on, or to convey a feeling in my work then I'll probably be playing it over and over. I know my wife loves that!  Haha I love you baby.

I think one thing I enjoy the most is driving my car somewhere far and listening to music. I think that's my favorite thing to do -- when I'm on the road, on an empty highway when no one else seems to be around and I'm in middle of nowhere like some desolate road. That's probably one of the best feelings in the world for me. Just driving somewhere playing music I enjoy. I'm sort of hyper inside and love to go to different places and travel and I think that maybe that frenetic energy sometimes translates into my artwork. My art communicates like a frenetic energy of how I can't stay still and need to move. Maybe that will chance but for now I'm on like a  Fear and Loathing style. Like we can't stop here! This is Bat Country! 

RIP Hunter S. Thompson.

Thank You Matt and thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this interview and listen to this playlist. I hope you enjoy my 1990's/Modern Mixtape style. I love it. Let's go!


Song: Enter Sandman / Artist: Motorhead
Song: Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)/ Artist: Quindon Tarver 
Song: Hot Nigga/ Artist: Bobby Shmurda 
Song: Am I Demon/ Artist: Danzig 
Song: She's Lost Control/ Artist: Joy Division 
Song: So What'Cha Want/ Artist: Beastie Boys 
Song: Attitude/ Artist: Bad Brains 
Song: Could You Be Loved/ Artist: Bob Marley 
Song: Back in Baby's Arms/ Artist: Patsy Cline 
Song: Closer/ Artist: Nine Inch Nails  
Song: Clifford's Mustache/ Artist: D-Styles 
Song: Jealous Guy/ Artist: Roxy Music 
Song: Dr Hell No and The Praying Mantus/ Artist: El-P
Song: Fantasy/ Artist: Dye 
Song: SHINE/ Artist: Antipop Consortium 
Song: Part 6/ Artist: Henry Miller 
Song: NY is Killing me/ Artist: Gil Scott Heron & Jamie xx 
Song: The Man Who Sold The World/ Artist: Nirvana 
Song: Rabbit In Your Headlights/ Artist: Unkle Thom Yorke 
Song: Shimmy Shimmy Ya/ Artist: Ol' Dirty Bastard 
Song: Old Man/ Artist: Neil Young 
Song: Dragula/ Artist: Rob Zombie 
Song: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood/ Artist: The Animals 
Song: Every Breath You Take/ Artist: The Police 
Song: Birth To Death/ Artist: Ravi Shankar 
Song: Ohm/ Artist: Saul William 
Song: Natural Peace/ Artist: Sleep Sounds of Nature 
Song: A Horse With No Name/ Artist: America 
Song: Amen- Live in Chicago/ Artist: Curtis Mayfield
Song: Coupe / Artist: Future

Check out Cosbe'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 Cosbe on Instagram and Tumblr.


Background Noise, Episode 37: Chris Uphues by Matt Bomarr

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 37, the focus is on Chris Uphues.

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 37, the focus is on Chris Uphues.

photo by  Lois Stavsky

photo by Lois Stavsky

I think this blurb, taken from Chris Uphues' official website, sums it up best:

"Chris Uphues is an artist and designer living in Brooklyn, NY. He lives with his monkey Del where they spend their nights singing to the moon with homemade instruments and generally having a good time."

Chris's work can be seen throughout the five boroughs and beyond. His trademark smiley hearts display various expressions. Seemingly dependent on what kind of mood he's in when he makes them, or in what surroundings they'll be placed.

This heart has become somewhat iconic. It's become a highly recognizable image of happiness and positivity amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. In his Etsy store, you'll find this image decorating such items as zines, candles, chalkware sculptures, shirts, canvas and more. Although the heart is what he seems best known for, he has plenty of other designs and mediums that he works with, which can be found over on his website.

photo by  Jake Dobkin

photo by Jake Dobkin

photo via Chris Uphues

photo via Chris Uphues

What was your first concert? 
The Exploited with Generation Waste and The Bhopal Stiffs

Last concert?
The Cars

First album you bought?
Nevermind the Bullocks / Sex Pistols 

Last album you bought?
Ryonen / Man Forever

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
I can't just pick one, there's been a few... The Great 28 / Chuck Berry, The Best of Muddy Waters / Muddy Waters, Plastic Surgery Disasters / Dead Kennedys, The Human Horn / Shooby Taylor

Who is your musical hero?
All for different reasons... Cole Porter, Bismillah Khan, Blind Willie McTell, Jerry Garcia

How important is music to your creative process?
I'm not sure how important music is to my creative process but I definitely enjoy listening to it while I work. 

photo via Chris Uphues

photo via Chris Uphues

1. Climax Blues Band - Couldn't Get It Right
2. Sade - Smooth Operator
3. Captain and Tennille - Love Will Keep Us Together
4. Christopher Cross - Sailing Away
5. Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky
6. Grateful Dead - Eyes of the World
7. R. Kelly - Ignition (Remix)
8. Kenny Rogers - The Gambler
9. Kool and the Gang - Get Down On it
10. Merle Haggard - Okie From Muskogie
11. Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
12. Parliament - Chocolate City
13. Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes For You
14. Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up On Me
15. Steve Miller Band - Take the Money and Run
16. Grateful Dead - Touch of Grey

Background Noise, Episode 19: ASVP by Matt Bomarr

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 19, the focus is on Brooklyn-based duo  ASVP .

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 19, the focus is on Brooklyn-based duo ASVP.

(photo via hendershotgallery.com)

(photo via hendershotgallery.com)

Back in 2009, when I was living in San Francisco, and not long after joining up for the smartphone revolution, I started photographing street art and random stuff in the Bay Area. By mid-2010, about 6 months before moving to New York City, I started seeing some eye-catching wheatpastes by ASVP.  I'd see these pieces on my walk into work, a few blocks south of Market in downtown San Francisco. They'd be plastered onto walls or onto the giant beams under the highway overpass. I knew nothing of ASVP though, just that I liked the imagery, like the menacing, balaclava-clad thug with a halo above his head that you see above, or the Future Cop design, which featured a boy wearing an ASVP helmet while riding a fish.

Fast forward to December of 2010, the month I moved to the East Village in Manhattan. I started seeing these same pieces of art in my neighborhood, as well as some newer designs, like the one above. I was hooked, and had to find out more this artist. As expected, information was scarce, aside from the fact that it was not just one artist but two, which somehow made it even cooler to me, that these guys were running around town putting this great art up on the street.

I was fortunate to have met one of them at a mutual friend's art show on the Lower East Side a couple of years ago, although I still know nothing about them, which, I'm sure, is how they like to keep it.

In the past couple of years, they have designed a trench coat for Angés B, installed an astounding 25 pieces in Spotify's NYC office, and were yet another of the many great artists who participated in Hanksy's "Surplus Candy" show in an abandoned building a few months back. Most recently, the exhibited their work alongside Skewville at Doyle New York, one of the world's largest auctioneers and appraisers of fine art, for a 3 day show on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

I caught up with one half of ASVP when I was invited to their studio to collect a tracklisting and ask some questions for Background Noise while they kept working, trying to stay focused on finalizing some of the work for the Doyle show that coming weekend.

(photo via asvpart.com

(photo via asvpart.com

The mix turned out great, as you will hear below. I really love the diversity here. Anyone who can jump from Aphex Twin to Marshall Tucker, AC/DC to Underworld, gets respect in my book.

ASVP studio (photo by Matt Bomarr)

ASVP studio (photo by Matt Bomarr)

What was your fiirst concert?

Fishbone

Last concert?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Barclays Center

First album?

The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead

Last album you bought?

The Big Pink - A Brief History of Love

Any album that made a significant impression on you?

Radiohead - The Bends 

Underworld - Second Toughest In The Infants

Who is your musical hero?

Wayne Newton

How important is music to your creative process?

Very. I listen to music all the time when I work and it definitely has an impact on my ability to focus and dig in.

Listen to their mix below, download the podcast directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes.

Find ASVP on Twitter, their Facebook fan page, or at asvpart.com

Background Noise, Episode 2: OCMC by Matt Bomarr

Podcast image design by Mike Valerio

Podcast image design by Mike Valerio

My new "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 2, the focus is on NYC's OCMC (Oh Captain, My Captain).

OCMC got my attention when I first moved to New York. I would (and still do) wander the streets, looking up, looking down, basically just taking in the diverse visual stimulation this city has to offer. I would encounter pieces, similar to the one above, which featured a vintage photo of a beautiful young woman. I started to see them everywhere, as well as other pieces that were obviously by the same artist, featuring different people. Not until later did I learn the fascinating story about the origin of those first images I saw. OCMC had lost his grandmother, and as a way to deal with her death, he started pasting up her image throughout the city so he could see her wherever he went. That really struck a chord with me, and that, on top of the visually pleasing aspect of his work, made me a fan. 

photo via according2g.com

photo via according2g.com

His work goes so much further than those first wheatpastes I saw. I've seen shows of his that had pop culture icons' faces as the main focus (Basquiat, Debbie Harry, Warhol, Muhammed Ali), overlaying newspaper. His "Subway Series" featured New York graffiti icons Futura 2000, Fab 5 Freddy, Lee Quinones, with their faces superimposed over NYC Subway Maps. And then there's his David Bowie print, "I'm Afraid of Americans", featuring David Bowie's mugshot, that hangs above my bed, courtesy of the artist. 

Photo Nov 22, 9 13 55 PM.jpg

It's all great stuff, and OCMC is a musician as well as an artist, so I knew he'd be a perfect fit for this podcast series.  I asked him a few music-related questions as well. Have a read, and have a listen to his podcast. It's great. 

What was your first concert?

The first concert I ever went to was a band called The Good Rats. I was snuck into a rock club to see them when I was ridiculously young. It was life changing. 

What was the first album you ever bought?

The first album I ever bought was KISS "Dynasty".

What was the LAST album you bought?

The last records I bought? Just last week... Joy Division "Closer" and an Ace Frehley's Kiss solo album (picture disc, motherfucker!) on vinyl.

How similar are your musical tastes now to what you listened to in high school?

My musical tastes now are fairly similar to what I listened to in high school, though my tastes are a bit all over the map. Back then you would have just as much of a chance in finding me at a Prince concert as you would a Motley Crue show... 

Any comments on why you chose the songs you did?

I tend to listen strictly for moods when I work, hence why I chose what I chose... Wait, what did I choose?

Download OCMC's Background Noise podcast on iTunes , Mixcloud , or stream it below.

Follow OCMC on Facebook or Twitter , and check out his website for more info.