painting

Background Noise, Episode 63: Septerhed by Matt Valerio

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 63, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST SEPTERHED.

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 63, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST SEPTERHED.

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

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

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

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

Last album you bought?
DeafHEAVEN- Sunbather

First concert?
David Lee Roth

Last concert?
Melt Banana

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

Who is your musical hero?
MIke Patton

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

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

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

Background Noise, Episode 61: Darkclouds 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 61, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST DARKCLOUDS

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 61, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST DARKCLOUDS

Darkclouds is another one of those artists who is so anonymous, there's really not a whole lot of information readily available about them. He started doing his trademark cloud paintings in Boston around 2003 and then migrated to NY, where his obsession with painting all sorts of variations of said imagery started to take off.

His pieces stay true to his name. Even when he's using bright, eye-catching colors, there's still a sense of ominousness to the clouds themselves that hover overhead. Always a sense of impending doom, often even looking like dripping brains.

Darkclouds' description himself:

It was initially painted as an image representing the angst and general downtrodden shit that one goes through, trying to figure out the point of themselves… or something of that nature… didn’t really know that at the time. The concept was formed and became clear over time as more clouds were produced. Overall, they were a bi-product of a pissed off friend, an angst ridden individual, hellbent on pain and suffering… but an inspiring one.

See his work all throughout NY, on stickers, walls, sign posts.....he's everywhere.

What was your first concert?
Nirvana / The Breeders / Half Japanese... I was 14, my Dad drove

Last concert/show?
Fake Hooker / Tight Chocolate / and some other brooklyn punk bands who's name I can't remember

First album, tape or cd you bought?
I think it was a Beatles CD, revolver maybe... and Classic Queen, by Queen the same day... I do remember CD's were the new thing at that time..

Last album you bought?
DJ QBERT, Extraterrestria

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Mellow Gold by BECK changed the entire way I thought about music and still one of my favorite records of all time

Who is your musical hero?
My Brother, who plays bluegrass like one one I know and introduced me to that whole genre.

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
I feel it is important to have music playing loudly and as constantly as possible at most times, especially while painting or creating artwork... It helps with concentration, creativity and lets your brain relax when it is stressed out.

Check out Darkcloud'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 check out Darkclouds on Instagram.

High on Fire - Snakes For the Divine
Against Me! - Mediocrity Gets You Pears (The Shaker)
Doc Watson - The Cuckoo Bird
The Holy Modal Rounders - Bound to Lose
Misfits - Hybrid Moments
At the Gates - World of Lies
The Devil Makes Three - St. James
NOFX - Linoleum
The Queers - Wimpy Drives Through Harlem
Old Crow Medicine Show - James River Blues
Black Lips - Cold Hands
The Ramones - My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)
John Hartford - Natural To Be Gone
Masters of Illusion - Back Up Kid
Nirvana - Scentless Apprentice (Rehearsal)

Background Noise, Episode 60: Dan Witz by Matt Valerio

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 60, the focus is on artist DAN WITZ

THE BACKGROUND NOISE PODCAST SERIES FOCUSES ON THE MUSIC THAT ARTISTS LISTEN TO WHEN THEY WORK, WHAT MUSIC INSPIRES THEM, OR JUST MUSIC THEY LIKE. THIS WEEK, IN EPISODE 60, the focus is on artist DAN WITZ

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Dan's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here. Be sure to check out Dan's website as well right here.