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Background Noise, Episode 52: Dimitri Drjuchin 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 52, THE FOCUS IS ON DIMITRI DRJUCHIN

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 52, THE FOCUS IS ON DIMITRI DRJUCHIN

"Tom Selleck Saved My Baby," "Down With the Reptilian Agenda," "Fuck You, I'm Batman," "Carl Sagan Is An Asshole." These are all phrases I would see frequently on stickers during my walks in downtown Manhattan a few years ago. There was nothing on the stickers denoting who made them, but they all had a similar aesthetic to them that hinted they were done by the same person. 

I was introduced to Dimitri (sometimes known as Dima) at a mutual friend's art show at a small pizza place on the Lower East Side. The details of our conversation were hazy, because I'd been at a bar with a friend before swinging by the art show, but I remembered finding out that he was the guy responsible for all of these great stickers and being really happy to meet him. We talked about music briefly, and he mentioned to me that he played in a band as well. The band, Brooklyn's Corrupt Autopilot, has been putting out great records of lo-fi garagey rock since at the very least, 2010. Dimitri has also done the amazing artwork for all of their releases. He's a man of many hats.

In addition to doing artwork for his own band, he's been getting a great deal of attention for the artwork he's done for other bands. Most notably, he's done album covers for Marc Maron, Father John Misty, Reggie Watts and Eugene Mirman, He's a hot commodity these days, for sure. And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can see LOTS more of his work, including concert posters, doodles, links to his music, and more over at his website

What was your first concert?
1993 - Pantera at Roseland Ballroom in NYC. It was amazing and terrifying. I was 13. I still have the ticket stub.

Last concert/show?
The last concert I saw was Zola Jesus in San Francisco.

First album, tape or cd you bought?
Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch - Music for The People on cassette. I was 11. No judgments. It was music for the people.

Last album you bought?
Neil Young - At The Beach

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Pink Floyd The Wall had a long lasting impression on me. It's the album I've longest consistently listened to. My dad used to play it a lot when I was young. It used to creep me out (maybe it was also cuz I saw the movie at way too young age). But it has stuck with me to this day. I still love it and listen to it. My favorite rock opera.

Who is your musical hero?
I've had a few different ones at different points, but J Mascis has been a pretty constant one.

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Pretty big I'd say. I love listening to music while I'm painting, I make it a big part of the process. Painting time is also "let's listen to records time." It's a great way to experience music. I like that I listen to the whole album rather than listen to a random play list or internet radio. It's become my favorite way to take music in.

Neil Young - Vampire Blues
Zola Jesus - Go (Black Sea)
Woods - With Light and With Love
Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin Something
Beck - Blackhole
St Vincent - Prince Johnny
Gruff Rhys - Year of the Dog
The Hate My Day Jobs - Say It To My Face
Prince - 1999
Fuzz - Haze Maze
Archie Bronson Outfit - Love To Pin You Down
Harry Nilsson - Jup Into the Fire
The Julie Ruin - Ha Ha Ha

Check out Dimitri'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 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 49: Gaia by Matt Valerio

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 49, THE FOCUS IS ON GAIA (photo via  gammablog.com )

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 49, THE FOCUS IS ON GAIA (photo via gammablog.com)

PHOTO BY SCOTT LYNCH

PHOTO BY SCOTT LYNCH

Four Generations of Arabbers, Baltimore, MD 2013

Four Generations of Arabbers, Baltimore, MD 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First album you bought?
Mase - Harlem World

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

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

Who is your musical hero?
Philip Glass

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


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

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

Background Noise, Episode 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 42: CB23 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 42, the focus is on New York artist CB23.

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 42, the focus is on New York artist CB23.

There's not a whole lot of information out there on artist CB23. However, The Street Museum of Art seems to have a little tidbit:

In his youth, CB23 fluctuated between a life spent absorbing absorbing cartoons and the surrounding urban denigration of Atlanta’s abandoned complexes.  Although he may have left the south behind, the adventure and animations have absorbed into his psyche, leaving a deep yearning for self-expression within his newly found urban environment. Influences include: Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Rock-A-Doodle, Ren and Stimpy, and all those cartoons that, in retrospect, your parents’ probably shouldn’t have let you watch.
CB23 / Edapt / foxxface collaboration (photo by taylor langone)

CB23 / Edapt / foxxface collaboration (photo by taylor langone)

CB23 (known as "Classic" to some), left the southern states for the cold northeast, where he could immerse himself in Brooklyn's bustling art world. It was there, alongside fellow artists/collaborators Foxxface, Edapt, Tony Depew, Clint Mario and others that he started to make a name for himself. His stickers, wooden bolt-ups, and graffiti started appearing everywhere. All different shapes and sizes, and all using the same general image: a man with thick eyebrows, a wide nose and often narrow, almost closed eyes. The biggest variation on his imagery being the mouth, which usually conveys a different mood for each character. Sometimes somber, sometimes surprised, and rarely smiling.

His prolificacy has worked wonders. It's gotten his work into NYC's Fountain Art Fair, and various group shows. It's a classic (no pun intended) example of how if you can use image familiarity to create brand awareness. Just keep putting an image (or variation of an image) out there, and if you're persistent, people will start to take notice. Especially if it's well done.

What was your first concert?
My first show was probably Raffi or some kid's shit but I can't really remember...

Last concert/show?
The last concert I went to was Ty Segall at The Bowery Ballroom.

First album you bought?
The first album that I ever owned was Weird Al Yankovic's, "Greatest Hits."
The second was Hermans Hermits self titled record.

Last album you bought?
These days I usually get my music off Spotify and the last playlist I added was 'Run The Jewels 2.' But the last physical record I bought was an Oh Sees LP from a concert last year. I wish I had more money to spend on music.

CB23 / TONY DEPEW COLLABORATION

CB23 / TONY DEPEW COLLABORATION

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
The one record that really made an impression on me was Gorillaz, "Demon Days." I only used to listen to punk music in high school (Ramones, Briefs, Johnny Thunders) and during my first year of college a girl persuaded me into smoking a joint with her and we to Demon Days. It had so many dense layers of sound, the complete opposite of punk music, I was sucked in. I went to my local record shop and bought the first two Gorillaz CD's and skipped class for a week.

Who is your musical hero?
Danger Mouse

How important is music to your creative process?
I always like to have some tunes playing while I create. Sometimes the mood of the music can dictate the mood of the faces that I draw.

1. Slow Country- Gorillaz
2. Porno Disaster- The Octopus Project
3. O Katrina- Black Lips
4. The Mall & Misery- The Broken Bells
5. Crushed Bones- WHY?
6. Trouble In Your Mind- Carolina Chocolate Drops
7. I Just Dont Know What To Do With Myself- The White Stripes
8. Skin- Ty Segall
9. Motorlicker- Tobacco
10. Sipping on Some Syrup- Three 6 Mafia
11. Havana Affair- The Ramones
12. Tender- Blur
13. Wet Paste- Two Blushing Pilgrims
14. Symphony 6: Fair Thee Well & the Requiem Mix- Emily Wells
15. The Downer Song- The Shortwave Set
16. Last Living Souls- Gorillaz
17. Modern Art- Black Lips
18. Poor and Weird- The Briefs
19. Find A New Way- Tune-Yards
20. Shake Appeal- Iggy Pop
21. Benzi Box- Danger Doom
22. Sun Lips- Black Moth Super Rainbow
23. Forgot About Dre- Dr. Dre

Check out CB23'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 CB23 on Instagram here.



Background Noise, Episode 41: ELLE by Matt Valerio

The "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 41, the focus is on New York artist ELLE.

The "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 41, the focus is on New York artist ELLE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo by matt bomarr

photo by matt bomarr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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 38: Michael Alan 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 38, the focus is on artist Michael Alan.

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 38, the focus is on artist Michael Alan.

photo by Joseph Meloy

photo by Joseph Meloy

Michael Alan never stops. Seriously. Never stops. He is constantly creating. The few times I've seen him out at art shows, he's had his small box of various pens and a pad of paper, and is calmly socializing with fellow artists and friends, while drawing at the same time. Calmly is the key word here, as calm is not exactly what you would expect the demeanor of the artist that creates this type of work to be.

His work is obviously cathartic. Now more than ever. The guy has a lot on his plate these days. Not too long ago, he was diagnosed with Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot that forms deep inside a part of the body, and can be very dangerous. This comes in addition to a few years of major health issues, including a broken spine. The man is constantly on the mend, channeling what sure must be an entire world of emotions into various forms of expression. Whether it's drawing, painting, sculpture, or music, he's got it all covered.

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

For the past 11 years, he's become known for his "Drawathons", which have now morphed into something he's dubbed The Living Installation, which are a series of performance pieces where Michael transforms event spaces and various brave participants into living, breathing pieces of his art. I've never caught one in person, but they look amazing. He has one coming up on October 18th in Brooklyn. More info can be found here.

photo via MilkMade.com

photo via MilkMade.com

In addition to all of this, he's released a few albums of his music, often featuring an impressive roster of respected artists and musicians as collaborators. In addition to my former roommate/former label-mate Odd Nosdam, he's released collaborations with Jello Biafra, Ariel Pink, Jeff and Jane Hudson, The Boredoms and Kenny Scharf, to name a few. You can check out some of this music over at his Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages.

What was your first concert?
hmmmmmmm........D.R.I....

photo via Michael Alan

photo via Michael Alan

Last concert?
More into more small punky shows, DIY stuff, saw Fake Hooker play in brooklyn, it was very good.

First album,tape or cd?
Crass!!! Record!!!

Last album you bought?
MB Neuro Habitat yesterday

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
I'm a music collector, that's what motivates a lot of my paintings........I can't say one.....or the other......I can say, the Residents, Crass, ODB.....for sure

Who is your musical hero?
O.D.B

How important is music to your creative process?
Water for the bod

1. "Sunset" Skullflower
2. "Read Only Memory" Chrome

3. "Sad to Be" D.R.I.
4. "Good Day Today" David Lynch
5. "i Got the Gun" Drunks With Guns
6. "What Hit You" Dwarves
7. "Oreo" Eric Copeland
8. "The Money Will Roll Right In" Fang

9. "Life Is Cheap" Flipper
10. "Reunited" ODB

Check out Michael Alan'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 Michael's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 36: Crash 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 36, the focus is on Crash.

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 36, the focus is on Crash.

Transient

Bronx-born John Matos started writing graffiti as a teen, getting the name Crash after crashing the computer in his school during a computer programming class. He's recognized as one of the first subway graffiti writers to take things from the subway system to the galleries. 

Many of his paintings look like vibrant collages. Ripped, cut and pieced together pieces of pop art. In a meta sort of way, his art in itself has become part of pop culture. Matos has designed 5 "Crashocaster" guitars for Eric Clapton, which led to him designing 50 graffiti-themed guitars for fender, and a line of custom painted Telecasters with matching Fender amps. John Mayer has been seen playing one of Matos's famous guitars as well. It doesn't stop there though, he's designed luggage for Tumi, a Ferrari art car, a custom iPhone case, and like Keith Haring and Mel Ramos before him, was asked by Lucky Strike to do a special commissioned painting for them (he ended up doing a few).

Transient

He's one of many lucky artists to have done the historic Bowery Wall on Houston in New York City, and this past summer, had an excellent exhibition of his work called "Broken English" at Chelsea's well-known Jonathan Levine Gallery.

He's a legend to some, and a very prolific artist who shows no trace of slowing down any time soon.

 

 

 

What was your first concert?
My very first concert was a street block/event way back in 1968by a local band that combined Latin and rock.  I was a little kid and watched the entire event from my parent's window which looked over the event....I still remember how the amazing the drummer was.  Alas, I do not remember who the band was, but I remember them playing Little Anthony and the Imperials' "Tears On My Pillow".

Last concert?
The last concert i saw was the Crossroads Concert that was held at Madison Square Garden which featured all these amazing guitar players...

Transient

First album you ever bought?
My first album I ever bought was a Stylistics album, from about 1973...

What was the last album you bought?
The last album/CD that i've bought...that's still happening...I'm still buying, but I guess the latest is Clapton's JJ Cale Tribute CD, "They call me the Breeze".

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
I think the one or 2 albums that made an impression on me were either Beatles Albums St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Magical Mystery Tour.

Who is your musical hero?
Musical Hero...oh wow, a loaded question...well, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Stevie Wonder, Joe Sample, Steve Gadd...so many artists, so little time...

How important is music to your creative process?
Music is the of the out most importance to me...no music, no painting, simple...!

1. Teddy Pendergrass "Love TKO"
2. Elton John - "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore"
3. Chaka Khan - "I Feel For You"
4. Alicia Keys - "If I Was Your Woman / Walk On By"
5. Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry - "7 Seconds"
6. Toto - "Georgy Porgy"
7. Average White Band - "Work To Do"
8. Jonny Lang - "Thankful"
9. Hezekiah Walker and LFC - "You're All I Need"
10. Lenny Kravitz - "I Belong To You"
11. Eric Clapton - "Inside of Me"
12. Rose Royce - "Love Don't Live Here Anymore"
13. Mary J Blige and U2 - "One"
14. Thin Lizzy - "The Boys Are Back In Town"

 

photo by Justin Green

photo by Justin Green

Check out Crash'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 Chris's website here.


Background Noise, Episode 34: Joseph Meloy 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 34 the focus is on artist Joseph Meloy

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 34 the focus is on artist Joseph Meloy

Transient

If you've spent any amount of time in the Manhattan/Brooklyn area, chances are, you've seen Joseph Meloy's work. Most notably, his black and white character, The Primate. The Primate generally has the same look and demeanor, but often alternates what it holds in its mouth. Sometimes you'll see it with a slice of pepperoni pizza sticking out of its mouth, other times, a folded $20 bill. Sometimes he's gold, other times, he's red, but he's always The Primate, and you always know just by a quick glance, that it's a Joseph Meloy piece.

He doesn't limit himself to just The Primate though. Joseph has been bringing color to the Lower East Side for a few years now via his abstract paintings, which he also often uses as a backdrop for his Primate pieces, but sometimes puts up as works of their own. These paintings are often manic displays of Joseph's creativity. An obvious result of an artist needing a creative release. It's rather fitting that Joseph's name has become synonymous with Vandal Expressionism, a term he coined to describe what he does. These colorful works grace random walls throughout the city. Sometimes done without permission, but other times commissioned (see his work on the side of Rosario's Pizza on the Lower East Side).

Transient

He's done multiple gallery shows, as well as participating in projects such as the Centrifuge Public Art Project, an ongoing public art installation near 1st Avenue and 1st Street featuring a revolving cast of artists painting an abandoned trailer. (His work was featured in Centrefuge's Cycle 7). This past Friday, Joseph's new show, The Playground of the Fantastical, opened at Galerie Protege in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. He's also started an Indiegogo campaign to help fund his next batch of Primate stickers. Check it out here.

Transient

What was your first concert?
T
he Offspring, at Roseland..?

Last concert/show?
Governors Ball 2014


First album, tape or cd you bought?
Nevermind, on cassette


Last album you bought?
I don't even remember! It's been quite a while... I usually just keep myself entertained with whatever I can stream off of YouTube...


Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
More so than any specific album, I think that the music I heard playing 8-bit games as a kid might have made the strongest impression on me. I know the visuals really had an impact on my work, and I'm definitely drawn to noodly, blippy instrumental kind of stuff.


Who is your musical hero?
I think that what The Beatles accomplished in just 10 short years is heroic.

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
I enjoy working to music, reacting and responding it through gesture and mark making, but i definitely don't mind working in silence either.

Transient

1. Jack White - "Lazaretto"
2. The Strokes - "One Way Trigger"
3. Blue Oyster Cult - "Burnin' For You"
4. Castlevania - "Bloody Tears (Gothic Metal Version)"
5. Hot Chip - "I Feel Better"
6. Julian Casablancas - "Out of the Blue"
7. Songs For Drella - "Style It Takes"
8. e.s. posthumus - "Antissa"
9. Lou Reed - "The Bells"
10. Best of Chiptune

 

 

Check out Joseph Meloy'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. Follow Joseph on Instagram here.