new york city

Background Noise, Episode 55: BEAU 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 55, THE FOCUS IS ON NEW YORK ARTIST BEAU

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 55, THE FOCUS IS ON NEW YORK ARTIST BEAU

I first noticed BEAU's work on a discarded mattress in New York's East Village. Fear of bedbugs aside, it's a great canvas to really get people's attention with due to its size, and due to the fact that most people will do a double take like I did and say "did that guy just paint a mattress!!??" Like his contemporary JIM JOE, BEAU chooses to do a lot of his art on trash these days, primarily resulting from one too many run ins with New York City's Vandal Squad. What's great about this is that it not only is this something that (I believe) you can't get arrested for, but it also becomes disposable art. Something that just appears there and exists in the world for a quick moment before being picked up by sanitation workers and discarded forever. Obviously, items as large as mattresses aren't usually going to be picked up and taken home, but a lot of the art that BEAU leaves on the street can be. It is often taken and collected, especially as familiarity with BEAU's work grows.

In addition to having a handful of regular collectors of his work, he's gotten the attention of Jay Z's former Roc-A-Fella business partner Damon Dash, who's Poppington Gallery on the Lower East Side opened a couple of years ago, with a show curated by-and-featuring BEAU's work.

He covers all different types of mediums with his work. He does straight up graffiti, stickers, sculpture and fine art. His fine art work is extremely impressive, especially when you factor in that he has absolutely no formal artistic training. Oh, and he raps too (you can hear a bunch of his songs on his mix). He's obviously not the type of person who is content just sitting still.

What was your first concert?
A house show with Jason Anderson, The Jerry Riddle and Adrian Orange taking place at Jef Logsdon’s flat in Panama City, Florida.

Last concert?
Don’t really go out.

First album you bought?
I stole most of my music, a lot of Bone Thugs n Harmony stuff, pop wouldn’t buy me that stuff at that time.

Last album you bought?
Scot Bazar’s experimental sound compositions

Was there one record that made a significant impression on you?
A series of albums had an affect on me that was necessary in building the character I am today.

Who is your musical hero?
Rza, Gza, Vincent Gallo, Johnny Cash

How important is music to your creative process?
It depends on my mood and what I am working on. But in life music is important and beyond life transforming.

1.  Adrian Orange and Her Band - Keep Your Money
2. Charly Madigan - 322-beat: unknown
3. Chet Baker - Almost Blue
4. Devendra Banhart - Aperpareplane
5. Charly Madigan - Back To the Basics feat. THAUTZ
6. Charly Madigan - Black Swan
7. Bob Dylan - Blood In My Eyes
8. Charly Madigan - City of Babel
9. Raekwon - Cold Outside feat. Ghostface Killah
10.Charly Madigan - Dat Instagram Shit
11. The Love Letter Band - Everybody Sings Their Own Little Song
12. Charly Madigan - For All My People
13. RZA - Killer Bee Till Ya Die
14. Charly Madigan - Lab Drunk
15. Self Scientific - Live N Breathe
16. Pure Horsehair - Mangoes
17. Neil Young - My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
18. Charly Madigan - New Rap feat Sudoxe
19. U-God - Night the City Cried
20. Vincent Gallo - No Regard
21. GZA - Paper Plates (50 Cent Diss)
22. Charly Madigan - Put In On Blast
23. Krayzie Bone - Sad Song
24. Charly Madigan - Scooby Snacks (Weed Song)
25. Charly Madigan - Smokin’ Relish
26. Masta Killa - Soul & Substance
27. Charly Madigan - The EYE
28. Nate Dogg - These Days
29. Tupac Shakur - They Don’t Give A Fuck ‘Bout Us
30. Charly Madigan - Up In Tha...
31. Outkast - Wailin'

Check out BEAU'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 BEAU's website here

Background Noise, Episode 51: Edapt 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 51, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST EDAPT

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 51, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST EDAPT

Alongside his partners in crime, CB23, Foxxface and Tony Depew, Edapt has started to make a name for himself in the New York street art scene. He often participates in Free Art Fridays, an art giveaway that primarily happens on, but is not limited to, the first Friday of each month. Artists place a piece of their art somewhere in public, photograph it, and post it to Instagram with the hashtags #fafny and #fafnyc. Fans of the artists, or just people looking to discover new artists, will look up the hashtags on Twitter, attempt to decipher where the piece was placed, and then rush as fast as they can to retrieve it before another art lover can get to it. It's really quite a brilliant phenomenon, and I'm sure Edapt and his friends have definitely made some new fans in the process of participating in this. 

photo via the street museum of art

photo via the street museum of art

As far as information about Edapt goes, it's extremely limited. Like most street artists, he chooses to remain anonymous, but his sticker, wheat paste and bolt up collaborations with Clint Mario, Tony Depew and the rest of his friends, need no backstory. They're just fascinating pieces of work. Often colorful, and often devilish with a taste of silliness, it's a style that's all his own. 

What was your first concert?
I went to a Matchbox 20 concert for a friend’s birthday.  The first show I remember buying tickets for myself was Deftones on their White Pony tour.

Last concert/show
Dr. Dog at Music Hall of Williamsburg on the first night of their run in NYC.

First album, tape or cd you bought?
I’m pretty sure it was Presidents of the United States of America from a Blockbuster Music at the mall.  I still think that holds up as a good power pop album.

Last album you bought?
I buy records pretty often, so I’m not sure what the last one was.  But my sister just gave me Ty Segall - Manipulator for Christmas, so that’s the most recent addition.

photo by matt bomarr

photo by matt bomarr

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Highly Refined Pirates by Minus the Bear was pretty huge for me.  I was listening to almost exclusively punk and ska at the time, and that record sounded so new to me.  It definitely changed my musical perspective a bit.

Who is your musical hero?
Ted Leo.  I’ve seen Ted Leo and The Pharmacists live more times than I can count.  Talented, principled, funny.

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Extremely.  I would say I have music on while drawing, painting, whatever 99% of the time.  When I am over in Bushwick working with CB23 and Foxxface, someone will always throw some new jams on the stereo.  At home, my wife and I have a constantly growing vinyl collection, and we will put an album on and both sink in to our work.  As a visual artist, I think music is great for transporting you in to a different brain space, presenting a new aesthetic reality compared to where you were just minutes earlier.  That probably sounds pretentious, but it’s true. 

photo via  edapt.nyc

photo via edapt.nyc

David Bowie - D.J.
The Three Degrees - Collage
El Guincho - Palmitos Park
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Forever Heavy
Dr. Dog - Where’d All The Time Go
Deerhunter - Revival
Ty Segall - Feel
Minus the Bear - Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!
Dillinger Four - Maximum Piss & Vinegar
The Dismemberment Plan - The City
The Olivia Tremor Control - Define a Transparent Dream
Beach Boys - I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
Jonathan Richman - That Summer Feeling
The Congos - Fisherman

Check out Edapt'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 Edapt's website, and follow him on Instagram.

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 43: NDA 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 43, the focus is on New York artist NDA..

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 43, the focus is on New York artist NDA..

photo by pascal j bonnett

photo by pascal j bonnett

NDA takes his inspiration from Marvel comics to classic Warner Bros cartoons. Although born in New York, NDA grew up in Portland, Oregon. He's now based back in New York, but as of late, doesn't seem to be spending a whole lot of time there. In the late part of this year, he spent some time putting up his art overseas for the first time. He traveled to Norway, England, Spain and Portugal, all the while enjoying the less urban landscapes, which allowed his art to stand out more than it does in a crowded city.

His colorful, abstract drawings have gradually adorned many walls throughout the US since around 2010, when friend and frequent collaborator OverUnder convinced NDA to start putting up his work in the street. He's since participated in many group art shows, showing alongside Icy & Sot, Mata Ruda, Sonni, Lunar New Year and Labrona. He's been featured in Yoav Litvin's Outdoor Gallery book, participated in the Lower East Side's Centrefuge Public Art Project and the Welling Court Murals, painted murals on Williamsburg rooftops,  and has been involved in NYC's ever-growing LISA Project. 

He's put together a great mix. As always, I love it when some of these artists construct a mix with some diversity, and when someone includes both The Silver Jews and Freddie Gibbs, and transitions from a Smog song into Kendrick Lamar, they get respect from me.

What was your first concert?
When I was about six or seven my dad took me to see Smokey Robinson at a state fair. I can't remember if any of The Miracles were with him but I can still recall this older man up on stage with an impressive amount of energy. 

Last concert?
I don't go to a lot of concerts anymore but I think the last one I saw was my man Steeve Sam. He's a Newark artist and to call him hip hop is a bit limiting. He's one of the more versitle musicians I know and someone to watch out for for sure. He opened and did a couple freestyles and some real soulful tracks. People did not see it coming. He's going to have some new albums coming out soon. Keep your ears open.

photo by  jaime rojo

photo by jaime rojo

First album you bought?
I'm pretty sure it was the Regulate single cassette. I was about 11 and heard it on the "Above The Rim" soundtrack. I bought it and thought I was the fucking coolest. Me and my friends listened to the song then flipped it to the insturmental until I think it popped. 

 

Last album you bought?
This is one of those questions that makes me look like a real asshole because I can't remember the last album I bought. I feel like a total jerk. I keep telling myself that I'm going to buy a record player again and then I'll make up for all my musical transgressions.

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
I suppose there were a lot of albums that made an impression on me. When I was about 19 and living in Vancouver, B.C. a friend recommended I listen to "American Water" by The Silver Jews I was struck by the abstract poetry of it. In the very first song on the album Berman comes in with "In 1984 I was hospitliezed for approaching perfection" and I was hooked. I think a big part of it has to do with the fact that I associate this album with striking out on my own away from my home town for the first time. 

Who is your musical hero?
I don't know that I have a musical hero honestly. I'm impressed by a lot of people's abilities but my creative heroes tend to be visual artists. I suppose RZA stands out.

How important is music to your creative process?
Music is a driving force to me while I'm in the middle of painting large scale murals. I don't like to listen to anything when I'm figuring out technical aspects at the beginning but when I need to start moving in the middle of a piece and not chat with anyone familiar hip-hop drives me forward. And when I'm a bit stressed some Jazz and classical music can calm me down.

photo by taylor langone

photo by taylor langone

Danny Brown- The Wizard
Vince Staples-45
Freddie Gibbs/ Madlib- Knicks
Sam Cooke- That's Where It's At.
Silver Jews- Like Like The The The Death
Steeve Sam - Masterplan
Kanye West- I Wonder
Elvis Costello- Imagination (Is a powerful decieiver)
Sly and the Family Stone- Underdog
RZA and MF Doom- Biochemical equation
Cafe Tacuba-olita del altamar
Smog- Dress sexy at my funeral
Kendrick Lamar - Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe


Check out NDA'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 NDA on Facebook here and on Instagram here


Background Noise, Episode 29: Elbow Toe 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 29, the focus is on Elbow Toe.

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 29, the focus is on Elbow Toe.

photo by  Redboy

photo by Redboy

It was a few years ago that I started noticing Elbow Toe's work around NYC's East Village. Although at that time, the only works of his I'd seen were random phrases he'd write. Phrases like "Instantly Transparent With Your Obvious Actions", "It's a sad day for somedays", and what not, would appear on trash bins and various surfaces. This was around the time I first moved to the city and had begun to notice Jim Joe's work, which was similar in its abstract nature, and to be honest, not knowing anything about else about Elbow Toe, I sort of wrote him off. Turns out, that was a big mistake.

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

It wasn't until about a year or two later that I found out that Elbow Toe (who also exhibits his work under his birth name, Brian Adam Douglas) doesn't focus strictly on writing these phrases all over the place. His main focus was wheat pasting his drawings and paintings in the streets, and displaying his extremely detailed collage work in galleries. While he's insanely talented at painting and drawing, it's really his collage work that stands out to me. These collages are not the type of collages one would expect to see in the typical sense of the word. They are pieced together using a very meticulous process, where Elbow Toe paints tiny pieces of paper the colors he wants, and then assembles them together to create beautiful, almost paint-by-numbers-looking pieces of art. The type of work you really have to look closely at to truly appreciate it.

Elbow Toe gets a good amount of praise as it is, but he's still quite underrated. Every time I see one of his pieces, I'm blown away and absolutely fascinated by the amount of patience and detail that goes into each of his creations. All this from a man who is also the father of two twin boys. Being a new dad myself, I'm also impressed that he's able to find the time to devote so much to his work. The world needs to see more of this man.

photo by  Lenny Collado

photo by Lenny Collado

What was your first concert?
Sadly it was Julian Lennon. I went with my parents. My first concert on my own was Depeche Mode - Music for the Masses Tour.


Last concert/show you went to?
The last concert I paid for was Radiohead’s Kid A Tour. I caught Yo LaT engo a few years back at Celebrate Brooklyn, but I spend so much time in the studio that there is little time to get out to shows.

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

First album you bought?
The Cure - Standing on a Beach/ The Singles on CD.


Last album you bought?
I think it was the deluxe packaged Radiohead Amnesiac album. I still have the booklet. After that I started using E-Music and I never looked back.


Was there one record that made a significant impression on you?
I was a mopey kid and the album that got me through my high school years was Disintegration by The Cure.


Who is your musical hero?
These days I would say Tom Waits. His story telling is beyond compare. In terms of music I like to sing out loud to in the studio, Radiohead. I love Thom Yorke’s voice, and my natural singing voice is in his range.

How important is music to your creative process?
It’s very important. When I am struggling with a piece of work I listen to quite a lot of classical music, in particular Marin Marais. I often will listen to one song over and over for hours at a time if I have gotten into a groove. I tried to compile a playlist that I could loop over and over as well as loop each song over and over.
 

Wake Up/ The Walkmen
Three Changes/ The Good, The Bad And The Queen
Picture In A Frame/ Tom Waits
At Long Last/ Swell
It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)/ Arcade Fire
Zig Zag Wanderer/ Captain Beefheart
I Am Citizen Insane/ Radiohead
I’m Still Here/ Tom Waits
Fish And Bird/ Tom Waits
Mothers Of The Disappeared/ U2
Futura/ Battles
Treefingers/ Radiohead
Juveniles/ The Walkmen
Why Would You Want To Live/ Wilco
Culture War/ Arcade Fire
You & Me/ Damon Albarn
“40”/ U2
Where I End And You Begin/ Radiohead
Last Goodbye/ Jeff Buckley
Fawn/ Tom Waits

Check out Elbow Toe's excellent 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.

Also, you can find Elbow Toe's website here and his Instagram here

Background Noise, Episode 26: Brandon Sines / Frank Ape 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 26, the focus is on Brandon Sines.

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 26, the focus is on Brandon Sines.

Photo via Brandon Sines

Photo via Brandon Sines

NYC artist Brandon Sines has created an iconic character. His Frank Ape character can be seen on lamp posts, walls and doors throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. I could only really compare Frank Ape to a large sock monkey with pop culture tendencies. He'll show up anywhere. Whether it's as John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Janet Jackson's famous Rolling Stone cover, or manning the controls on the Starship Enterprise. Frank has no shame. He'll show up anywhere he damn pleases.

This iconic imagery has made Brandon's creation easy to latch onto. He's a likeable character right off the bat, and then to see him incorporated into already familiar scenes/images, it's a win win situation. So much so, that he can count Beyonce's little sister Solange (yeah, that's right, the one who attacked Jay Z in the Standard Hotel elevator) as a fan.

Brandon had his first solo show this past May at Specials on C, a former bodega in NYC's Alphabet City. The same place, actually where RAE hosted his own solo show last year. The venue has been friendly to artists, and there were really no limits in regards to Brandon doing whatever he wanted with the space. He even had Frank Ape-branded soda, dollar bills and M&Ms on display.

Now that he has everyone's attention with the Frank Ape character, expect to see more of Brandon's creations start popping up. Some of which you can see on his website.

Honestly, I'm not sure if the mix he made is tongue-in-cheek, given his history of humorous illustrations, and considering it starts with Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun", but either way, I love it. It's an amazing mix of 70s/80s rock classics. Perfect for any training montage. I'm actually getting all pumped up listening to it as I write this.

What was your first concert?
First ever was probably Bob Dylan with my mom...on my own, TLC in 1998 I believe.

 

Last concert/show?
Filthy Savage

First album, tape or cd you bought?
An Elvis tape when I was like 6.  First album I bought with my own money...some old school hip hop compilation, can't remember the name...maybe "Back in the Day"?  I was 11.

Last album you bought?
Tears for Fears best of album

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
So many...the first 3 Nas albums come to mind, Soundbombing from Rawkus was my shit.  Older Wu tang.  Death Grips.

Who is your musical hero?
R Kelly 

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
It's not like I can't draw or paint without music..sometimes it's even nice to do that.  But nothing can give you that energy or inspiration that the right song can.  So it's kinda magic.

Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Nick  Gilder - Hot Child In The City
Bon Jovi - Livin On A Prayer
Boston - More Than A Feeling
Alice Cooper - Poison
Paul Engemann - Push It To The Limit
Joe Esposito - The Best
Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down
Eddie Money - Take Me Home Tonight
Ace Frehley - New York Groove
Elton John - Crocodile Rock
Bruce Springsteen - Dancing In The Dark
Phil Collins - Sussudio

Stream Brandon'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.

Check out all previous episodes here.

Coming up next week..... Stikki Peaches.

Background Noise, Episode 6: EKG by Matt Bomarr

EKG3.jpg

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 6, the focus is on EKG .

Maybe one of the most prolific graffiti writers in New York City right now. If you have been to New York in the past couple of years, there's no question that you've seen EKG's mark somewhere. Rarely can you go a block without seeing his signature orange EKG lines. I am constantly blown away at how much he gets around. It's to the point now where this symbol is just part of the city. 

When it comes to describing what this symbol means, EKG sums it up best by saying

"in essence a vast visual representation of the heartbeat of the city, a voice of the people, a pulse of the populace."

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He's not limited to just this single tag though. At a recent solo art show of his at the newly resurrected Pandemic Gallery in Brooklyn, he showed off what he had obviously been meticulously working on for quite some time. Some could have shown up expecting various tags around the gallery of his signature, but what they got could only be compared to the scrawlings of a madman. Not to say EKG is a madman, but what you witnessed when walking into it was nothing short of overwhelming, strictly due to the sheer volume and devotion to detail. It was like this man had nothing more important to him in life than to get this show right. There was black paper that essentially covered the viewing area of the gallery, and on this paper were, in his signature orange color, EKG tags, drawings, phrases, shout outs to his contemporaries and much more. I was in absolute awe. It was the work of a very smart and talented artist.

Despite being anonymous, EKG has a lot to say, so I'll let him get to it. Read his words below, listen to his mind melting podcast, and next time you're in NY, look for his tags, you can't miss 'em.

2013-09-28 21.05.16-1.jpg

EKG's Nerve Burners (Sonic SSRIs):

some are new favorites, and others haven't left my iphone in years. if this was an all-time favorites, historically important, or desert island disk list, it would be quite different. black flag, zorn, black sabbath, aesop rock, hendrix, godflesh, zappa, slayer, marilyn manson, ac/dc, minor threat, bad brains, etc, would make appearances. but they aren’t on my iphone right now, because i obsessively listened to them to death. so these are all the songs that i have been listening to lately, frequently on repeat song, but usually on repeat album. 

Kataklysm: Push The Venom
Deicide: In The Mind of Evil
Impending Doom: Anything Goes
Despised Icon: MVP
Suicide Silence: Destruction of a Statue
Devourement: 50 Ton War Machine
Hatebreed: Put It To The Torch
Fake Hooker: Complication
Warbeast with Phil Anselmo: Birth Of A Psycho
Job For A Cowboy: Entombment Of A Machine
Chimaira: Spineless
Revocation: Dismantle The Dictator
Dethklok: The Hammer
At The Gates: Suicide Nation
Lamb of God: 11th Hour
Mayhem: Whore

( ( ( e ) ) ) 

 

First concert you ever went to?


giving away my age here, but i can't help it because i love to read shit like this about artists and musicians who i like. plus i love to write about music. it's probably more important to me than any other art form, because it gives me a direct, immediate elation and energy unlike anything else i'm into. it is a pure rush of adrenaline and makes me feel bad ass, even though i'm actually a quiet shy anxious fellow really. i call these songs nerve burners because songs like this that utilize so much electricity and distortion, and are so heavy and fast, that they change the chemistry of our bodies and elevate our nervous systems. sonic anti-depressants aka SSRIs.
 
embarrassingly, though, the very first concert was the fucking osmond brothers! my mom took me and a friend to a stadium conert somewhere around ann arbor michigan when i was about seven in second grade, i think. or maybe it was a couple years later. wish I could say it was the jackson five, but i wasn't that cool. just another white nerd from the suburbs in middle america. it was totally disappointing because at the time mom was just a broke law school student and got seats literally in the very last row. ya know, row zz, seat #99, or something like that. i literally felt vertigo, like if i leaned too far forward i was going to fall and roll all the way down to the ground floor. the band looked like ants; we didn't know any better to bring binoculars. i remember how much our ears were ringing as we walked out which made me feel cool tho. we were actually pretty psyched about it no matter what and  got to tell all the kids at school about it. my mom was and is the best. she doesn't completely understand a lot of the stuff i'm into but she always accepts and supports me. i mean how cool was it that she got those tickets in order to take us even though she had no interest in the music.
 
she even let me and a friend go alone on a school night to what i consider to be my real first concert a few years after we moved to manhattan. it was deep purple with nazareth opening at radio city music hall in 1976 (i looked it up). i was 12 and in the second half of eighth grade. we didn't bring any weed or beer, cuz we were worried we'd get in trouble. then were so pissed because everyone was smoking and drinking like crazy which made us really jealous. the show was great, even though i don't think it was the original line up. deep purple played all my favorite songs. even nazareth was fun so i bought their album, but then wasn't that crazy about it and barely listened to it again. the lead singer used some peter-framptony kind of voice tube, which i thought was cool at the time. funniest thing i remember though was that someone threw up on one of the red velvet walls downstairs near the bathroom. it had dripped all the way down from about head height to the floor and completely grossed me out. guess they couldn't quite make it to the bathroom. we were dead the next day at school, but felt really grown up about being allowed to go out by ourselves and getting to bang our heads until after our usual bed times.


Last concert/show you went to?

fake hooker gig at 64 grove street in brooklyn last month. a grimey basement with barely head room, but the audience of about forty or fifty went nuts! they always kill it; punk the way it should be. they also played at the pandemic gallery reopening. people were hanging from the rafters, got noise complaints and the cops came, which made me proud to be involved. i don’t go to shows much any more because i'm always broke, hate big shows, especially stadiums, and won’t take risks on just seeing whatever. in the nineties i was obsessed with videotaping shows and went to irving plaza, coney island high, cbgbs, knitting factory, etc at least once or twice a week. but that’s when i had a regular job and never made time for making art, except for being obsessed with computer design, multimedia and websites, which i never really got that good at anyway. eventually that business wore on me and i had to change my focus and get back on a path of pure aesthetic exploration. i like to consider myself the equivalent of a pure research scientist at this point. life is much more austere right now in terms of cash, but always what i wanted it to be in terms of friends, daily life and aesthetic activities.
 
First LP/Tape/CD you bought?


when i was somewhere between six and nine years old, i remember going to the local mall on my bike in ann arbor and buying a couple of forty-fives because they were out of what i was looking for, which was a partridge family album. more embarrassing bubblegum pop for kids. i was also collecting archie and harvey comics at the time. but i ended up with creedence clearwater revival's fortunate sun and a beatle's song of some sort. those purchases that day were probably influenced by my eighteen year old aunt suzie who was staying with us at the time and totally changed the direction of what i was into. for instance, she got me the beatle's white album for xmas one year, and i remember being disappointed at first that it wasn't the monkees or the partridge family. up until her arrival, i was mainly listening to stuff i saw on tv, got off the back of cereal boxes (the archie's sugar sugar), and listening to my dad's neil diamond albums. i would fuckin rock out to crackling rosie. in the long run i ended up not really being too into that beatles album that much, but loved the song helter skelter. i think after she moved out, she left behind black sabbath’s paranoid, led zeppelin’s first two albums, and deep purple’s made in japan. i still love these albums to this day, and even still have them because they have some tags and pieces on them that i did back then. i was a toy and had no balls so i never got up. the stuff from those albums and my sketchbooks look like everything else you’d see on the streets and the trains. walking into those subways back then was like walking into a looney toons cartoon, and i was watching that channel closely, eventhough i was scared of everything and everyone when we first moved here.  i found out later in life that i have clinically low testosterone so maybe that had something to do with it too.
 
Did any one record make a huge impression on you?


black flag's damaged is the album that changed my life more than any other music i've ever listened to; although black sabbath's paranoid, megadeth's killing is my business, godflesh's streetcleaner, and john zorn's naked city album called torture garden all come in a close second. i also bought the millions of dead cops first album and dead kennedy's in god we trust during the same trip to the record store, but it was black flag that impressed and moved me the most.
 
i also had heard some compilations at my friend's house, which they called  something like the "elm street punks" house. they couldn't play instruments but eventually started a band, and became one of the funniest local punk bands around. like most punk, personality was more important than skill. they would have their annual final show at their crib death commune farm, serve corn-on-the-cob boiling in garbage cans, invite ten other local bands and play for two days on a ramshackle stage in a field. they also djed the college radio punk show and had every album you could want between them all in that house. heard the bad brain's pay to cum there too, x-ray spex, laX, fear's first album, and eventually megadeth and metallica. they let me make cassette copies of all those. wish i still had those for sure.
 
in general, punk resonated with me not only because it was basically heavy metal speeded up, which i was definitely down with, but also for the politics, social issues and emotional topics they were singing about. i actually had the sex pistols first album and one of the ramone's albums a couple years earlier, and had seen the plasmatics and patti smith on tom snyder and snl respectively, but at the time i didn't really get it because they just seemed like slightly heavy, slightly faster pop bands with a violent clothing style. i realize that for most people and the history books, the ramones, and bowie and iggy pop before them, changed the direction of rock, but when black flag came out they seemed much more revolutionary and raw than the rest of them. the music was so fucking heavy and fast; i'd never heard anything like it before. no one was going to ever play them on regular radio or tv, like X on american bandstand or fear on snl. greg ginn's guitar leads were so discordant and hardcore that they seemed much more unique and challenging than anything before it. his leads were like chuck berry mixed with ornette coleman. it came to be known as hardcore and relegated to a subgenre of punk but i still think black flag was way more sonically unique and ground breaking than the sex pistols. i'm not saying that they didn’t need the pistols or the ramones to come before them, but it’s equivalent to the pistols and ramones needing iggy and bowie before them, and so on.
 
also every album was so different from the last. they were always challenging themselves to change and progress, and their audience to keep up with them. even their second full album, my war, which slowed songs down to long dirges, influenced the melvins to go in a whole new direction which eventually turned into the radio/mtv friendly grunge movement. rather than trying to be more and more monetarily successful black flag almost seemed to enjoy burying any chances of a "career" in the music business. they seemed pure and genuine. diy at its best. get in the van as henry rollin's black flag journal is called was what they were all about. make your own thing happen and fuck the mainstream.
 
[side rant and brain dump: this is how i also feel about graffiti and street art. if you don’t like the art machine and they don’t give a fuck about you because they are busy chasing the current hot thing, and you don’t get enough attention to sell the amount of product they need to make their rent, then take it to the streets, get in the van, and go make your own media, broadcast on this alternative illegal channel (which makes a more powerful statement than a gallery sending out a press release anyway), and connect with your like minded brethren directly and personally through their minds and hearts. your work on the streets and you by proxy become a phantom outlaw energy that resonates through the eyes and touches those who are on the same wavelength. so broadcast on our channel, transmit signals that mainstream media wouldn’t, live frugally, take risks (but don’t get yourself in debt to the fucking credit card banker loan sharks. think of them as criminals that stand on the corner and have thugs to break your legs if you don’t pay. they already steal from you because you work for them and all the other institutions that use their services), stay off the grid, and “don’t obey,” put succinctly by Droid907. the alternative system of graffiti works and the galleries know it and love it because we do their work for them. at this point most galleries don’t have the drive or vision to make an artist. they want you when you’ve already proven yourself and laid the ground work. when they hear about you and see that you’ve already built a following then they’ll support you. so start your own gallery, do pop-ups, start your own channels for payment, go back to the floundering postal system if you hate the credit card companies. or barter. fuck the one percent and their cronies. and when i figure out how to live this way exactly i'll write about it more succinctly too lol. so far i have a big cartel site, still use credit cards and a bank account, and so on. but even as i write this i come up with ideas, and hope to keep a conversation going and spark others to come up with the next idea we need to progress. like only using the postal system for payments (but then of course that entails checks or money orders which come from banks) and realizing that eventually we won’t have any physical money anymore so someone is going to have to start a business (maybe we need to totally change our vocabulary as well) that will accept payments somehow that totally skirt the banking system. and so on and so on. if you use the system, you are the system. we are all tired, distracted, broke and have the american dream of easy money and champagne embedded in us, so it’s a hard road and many habits to break. i'm a total procrastinator as well so when I actually do get down to work i'm already pressed for time and just do what’s easiest in terms of the “boring” grunt stuff like finances and marketing. so maybe for now it’s just about compromise and small steps until we can redirect or overthrow what’s going on in this country now. fast food companies don’t want to pay people $15 an hour so they can support their families? then they claim those jobs are only for kids, stepping stones to other jobs? what other jobs??!?!? those are real jobs that deserve real payment and respect. their jobs are actually harder because they are boring and get no returns. fuck you and your vacations and islands and lewie vuhton bags. how condescending, selfish, cruel and blind not to value and acknowledge their employees hard work. don’t talk to us about profits. you are making profits off us, so if you aren’t sharing them with us then you are putting it in your pockets. something is seriously wrong with all this. so at least have in mind to let your art and the money transmitted to you pass through a pure channel to start. like rami shamir and his book train to pokipse, or angelica’s kitchen on 12th street and second avenue in manhattan which doesn’t take credit cards and buys from local farmers, or Droid907 and all the writers out there doing rollers from a van.  graffiti and street art are powerful in this sense because they are about action in the real world and outside the money matrix. it touches people because it’s pure. so hit the streets, get in the van, make a difference. end of side rant and brain dump]
 
after a few years, they even grew their hair really long, greg began playing noodley long solos, and henry was saying they wished they could open for the grateful dead. no matter what you think of the later music, they definitely were never complacent. johnny rotten did the same thing too by starting public image, but i just never really got into them the way i did with black flag because i thought greg ginn was such a musical genius and the music was so much darker and heavier. maybe it's because i didn't live in london at the time and didn't experience the sex pistols first hand (speaking of london, i feel the same way about banksy, but that's another article).
 
black flag was also the first “punk” concert i went to, which cemented my obsession with black flag and punk. like listening to damaged, the whole event just blew my mind… and body because i got pushed around in a mosh pit for the first time, and yet everyone was really cool about it. henry had his head shaved and was so menacing with his charles manson eyes. none of them had any fashion sense like the sex pistols, just dirty plaid shirts, greasy unstyled hair, ripped jeans and fucked up sneakers. they obviously just piled out of the van, set up their equipment and played. one moment that was extremely memorable was during the song crawl (?). henry rollins dove into the audience and wormed around on the slimy beer and cigarette covered floor for what seemed like forever. when he got over near us, my friend suddenly shrieked because henry bit him on the ankle. didn’t break the skin, but still freaked him out, and me too. never seen iggy stage dive, so this kind of thing was new to me.
 
i think maybe st vitus and definitely the minutemen opened. i’m guessing it was st vitus because i now know that they were on the SST label. it was slow long-hair metal, which is now known as doom metal. i just wasn’t into it at the time because it seemed so retro and therefore not interesting to me. i mean, they had bellbottom jeans on! some guys came out from backstage in long hair wigs, got down in the audience up front (which wasn’t hard because it was empty), and seemed to be making fun of them. i thought it was a way of defining the kind of music punk/hardcore was against, and didn’t take it seriously. as i learned more over the years, i realize this may be a total misinterpretation of that band and the wigs. i still listened to all kinds of things, even some progressive jazz, like mahavishnu orchestra and miles davis electric stuff, but punk became my obsession at that time. Hip hop started to creep in too, but never as much as metal and punk, and the more extreme it gets over the years, the more i like it.

 

Check out EKG's Nerve Burners (Sonic SSRIs) below, or grab it on iTunes or Mixcloud

Bikini - "(((()))) / Diamond's Departure " by Matt Bomarr

bikini - "(((()))) / diamond's departure " (download) [audio http://www.divshare.com/direct/16122229-570.mp3]

(via the India Trading Company site):
Bikini is an electronic collective from British Columbia, now rooted in New York City. In the wake of their 2010 EP RIPJDS, band members converged from four points of the continent to write and direct their first music video, prep their live show and tour it in select cities. The year culminated with an unforgettable night at the Austin Museum of Art at SXSW, which ended a year of logistical pangs with a old fashioned band brawl. With a renewed focus, Bikini’s Aaron Aujla and Kieran Magzul are in the midst of finalizing their next LP.  The new album has been built between Aujla’s New York City studio and the forests of northern British Columbia where Magzul summers as a tree planter. website buy

Glorious Strangers - "Move It Time" by Matt Bomarr

[audio http://www.divshare.com/direct/10712225-cb3.mp3]

I haven't been able to dig up much information about Glorious Strangers aside from what the always great Mutant Sounds blog had to say:
"The product of one Wharton Tiers, esteemed NY engineer for the likes of Branca/Swans/Sonic Youth back in the day, here working alongside his wife Carol on vocals, Glorious Strangers being one of two of Wharton's period projects to feature on MS, Jim having posted the 3x7" set by his concurrent outfit Social Climbers some time back. Under the Glorious Strangers guise, he and Carol concoct smirky bon mots of demure quirk akin to Y Pants or Inflatable Boy Clams to vaguely amusing effect."
"Move It Time" is from the impressive compilation New York Noise, Vol. 2, a compilation that showcases some early 80's no wave bands and features the likes of Sonic Youth, Glenn Branca, Jim Jarmusch, Arthur Russell and more. If you like bands like ESG, you might like Glorious Strangers.