surreal

Background Noise, Episode 84: Mark Jenkins 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 84, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST MARK JENKINS

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 84, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST MARK JENKINS

Mark Jenkins' sculptures are a sight to behold. Witnessing them in all their glory in person is absolutely fascinating. Using a combination of saran wrap and tape, he makes life-size replicas of humans and various other objects that seem real until you're right up close. 

His work has been perceived to be SO realistic, that people often call the police, concerned that someone is actually in one of the predicaments that Mark has staged his sculpture. Somehow, I think Mark relishes this, as part of the reason he places his work in the street is to see how people interact with it. 

You can see many more of Mark's impressive creations here.

What was your first concert?
The Fixx

Last concert/show?
Glastonbury Festival

First album, tape or cd you bought?
AC/DC - If You Want Blood (You Got It) 

Last album you bought?
Rolling Stones -  Tattoo You

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Rustie - Glass Swords

Who is your musical hero?
Beethoven, Ennio Morricone

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Instrumental music a lot, but I just need it in bursts. Reflecting on music for me is as important as listening to it.

Death Mountain -- Rustie
Unrequited--Cylob
Quest -- Nosaj Thing
Slow Spines -- Clark
IOIO -- Nosaj Thing
Coke Sniffah -- Bong Ra
Dark Steering -- Squarepusher
Her Tears Taste Like Pears -- Dorian Concept
Horizontal Figuration -- Take
Imagination -- DJ Hidden & Switch Technique
German Clap -- Modeselektor
Ruk -- Dark Sk

Check out Mark'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 65: Noah Lyon 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 65, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST NOAH LYON.

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 65, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST NOAH LYON.

There aren’t a whole lot of things that Noah Lyon can’t do. He’s yet another brilliant artist who simply cannot deal with having idle hands. One of those guys who just has to constantly create, create create.

A graduate of NYC’s Cooper Union, Noah’s drawings and paintings often comment on the state of consumerism, pop culture, commercialization and the like. Often using pop art imagery and colorful, cartoonish characters to get his point across. On the flipside, some of his work doesn’t seem to concern itself with having a point. Veering more toward the surreal brain drippings of someone who just has to get this stuff out of his head somehow.

Noah is well known for founding Retard Riot, a network of radical individuals devoted to art, music, and philosophy. Retard Riot produced a popular zine of the same name, as well as radio broadcasts, cassettes, flyers and stickers.

In addition to all of that, he has about a zillion bands (some featured on his mix, below), with names like The Grateful Dead Kennedys, Elderly Youth, Lead Paint Zeppelin, etc. If you’re curious, you can explore that aspect of his output a little more in-depth here.

Naturally, Noah was a no-brainer for participation in this series.

First album you bought?
Beastie Boys - License To Ill in 1986 on cassette. Around the same time I found a tape in a dirty bus station parking lot, it was Foghat – Fool for The City. No cover just the tape but there was a song called Slow Ride on it and the Beastie Boys also had a song called Slow Ride. The tape was stretched & warped and side A was bleeding through to side B and the music would fade in and out consistently like somebody dropped a magnet on it. So it was basically like a weird dub version of a classic rock album. The first used album I bought was “Weird Al” Yankovic’s self titled debut on cassette.

Last album you bought?
I got a bunch of records in the mail this week: G.I.S.M., The Varukers, Broken Bones, Hellkrusher, Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the 36 Chambers on clear vinyl, the new Lighting Bolt album, an old Smif-N-Wessun 12”. The most exciting thing I got though was the Scharpling & Wurster box set which included a tiny piece of a smashed telephone (the actual telephone that Jon Wurster used on the Rock, Rot or Rule recording). Tomorrow I’m going to either Academy Records or Turntable Lab to pick up the Shogun Assassin soundtrack on Cinewax and the reissue of Amanez “Africa” on Now Again Records.

First concert?
The Ramones. They played all their songs literally twice as fast as normal. That blew me away. They probably played 90 songs. It was crazy.

Last concert?
Parliament-Funkadelic was the last concert I bought a ticket to. Or it might have been Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, I can’t remember. I see a lot of good free shows, it’s kind of an occupational hazard. There is always some live music happening in New York, on the street, at art shows. I saw Thurston Moore and Ho99o9 at the LA Art Book Fair. I’m hoping to see Mobb Deep and Smif-N-Wessun next week. I just missed a CockSparrer concert I would have like to have gone to that. Oi!

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
That Foghat tape that got run over by a bus. Seriously though, there are lot of albums that blew me away the first time I heard them and still do twenty years later or whatever, off the top of my head… The Slits – Cut, Beastie Boys - Paul’s Boutique, Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions, Black Sabbath - Master of Reality, Dead Kennedys - Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, The Crucifucks’ first record, The Feederz – Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss?, Crass – Feeding of The 5000, all the Sockeye 7” EPs, Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers (and all the solo records that lead up to Wu-Tang Forever), Funkadelic – Maggot Brain, Junjo presents Aces International 1982 live dancehall session, Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded, Lee Scratch Perry – The Upsetter Collection (Upsetter and Friends), Black Moon – Enta Da Stage, The Anthology of American Folk Music. Sorry I could go on forever. Any one of those albums will lead you on a discovery path to a wellspring of amazing sounds. Actually some of them might just make you want to take an axe to your stereo.

Who is your musical hero?
Thomas Edison

How important is music to your creative process?
Part of my art practice is deconstructing music. I play records while I’m painting and while I wait for the paint to dry I play them backwards looking for secret messages to put in the paintings.

I actually produce music too. I have eighteen different “bands” all of which are long overdue for an album release. I’m not into the whole crowd-funding thing, some of the music is actually made to disperse crowds.

Right now I’m going through a John Cage - 4'33 period. My new album Doctor Ninja “I Draw Blood” comes out April 20. It’s a twenty minute long quadruple album. It comes preinstalled on everybody’s phone. You don’t even have to download it. It’s just there. All you have to do is turn your phone off for twenty minutes. There’s also going be to a limited edition mentally numbered 0 gram invisible vinyl release on Record Store Day.

1. The Grateful Dead Kennedys - The United States of Hardcore
2. Sockeye - Cut off Your Arm
3. Nausea - Cybergod
4. Subhumans - Us Fish Must Swim Together
5. Crass - Big A Little A
6. Smif-N-Wesson - Sound Bwoy Bureill 
7. Parliament - Children of Productions
8. Hellsongs - Run To the Hills
9. Funkadelic - Biological Speculation
10. Amanaz - Easy Street
11. Black Moon - I Got Cha Opin
12. Sean Price - Straight Music
13. The Cenobites - Mommy
14. Dave McCarn - Cotton Mill Colic
15. Ill Bill - Exploding Octopus
16. Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave
17. Goat - Diarabi 
18. El-P - Tougher Colder Killer (feat. Killer Mike and Despot)
19. Guilty Simpson - The American Dream
20. Dr. Alimantado - Best Dressed Chicken In Town

Check out Noah'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 Noah's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 18: Cameron Gray 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 18,  the focus is on  Cameron Gray .

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 18,  the focus is on Cameron Gray.

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

Cameron Gray created my favorite art exhibit of 2013. Hands down. Seriously, this man is insane in the most amazing and perfect way. I actually wasn't even familiar with his work as of this time last year, but my friend Ricardo, one of the folks behind the great art site Empty Kingdom, tagged me on Instagram to show me a video featuring Cameron's work. It was a shot of one of Cameron's pieces, similar to the one above. The video showed one of those classic 80s posters that would feature hot blonde bombshells like Heather Locklear or Kathy Smith, but where the bikini top and face were, now stood some absolutely nuts video collage work, moving around erratically, while a slowed-down version of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" played in the background. It was sensory overload. Very much like being on drugs without actually being on drugs. I was in love instantly, and that was just within the first 2 minutes of walking through the door of his "Birth of a Legend" show at Mike Weiss Gallery in Chelsea.

"Ice Cream For John Wayne" via Mike Weiss Gallery

"Ice Cream For John Wayne" via Mike Weiss Gallery

Also given Cameron's treatment were posters of Andre The Giant, and John Wayne. The latter, displayed in "Ice Cream For John Wayne", features the gunslinging actor with ice cream cones on each of his eyes. All of this was directly across from a 7 foot installation featuring 27 video monitors and dvd players displaying 3,000 digitally collaged images like nothing I'd ever seen before.

And finally, the back room....a black-lit psychedlic wonderland filled with dayglo insanity, more digital collages, a blue cherub-like boy, and a gigantic smiley face with life-size turkeys for eyes. It was so incredibly surreal, I could have stayed there all day taking it all in.

I became completely fascinated with this guy, and really wanted to get into his brain. It made my day when he agreed to put together a mix for the series. I still only feel like I've scratched the surface of what this guy is all about. I believe there are many layers.

Check out some more shots of the show here, and a video of the show here.

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

What was your first concert? 

U2 in Oakland. 1986. I wasn't into live music then. I thought it was better to listen to the recorded music without any "mistakes".  I was a dumb kid. 

Last concert/show? 

Fancy Plastic Space People in downtown LA. The lead singer is my occasional studio assistant and she's amazing. Shout out to Nora Keyes!

First album you bought?

Haha, that would be the Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever. Cassette tape. Wow. Same year I got my Alva skateboard. 

Last album you bought? 

Gonjasufi, A Sufi and a Killer. I get introduced to a lot of music from the amazing artists who work with me at my studio. They're my link to the music world right now.   

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

Led Zeppelin hit me hard. Oh wait, Metallica, Master of Puppets, that was big one for me. I spent a week or two just listening to that all day and night long, over and over and over. That's the way I usually consume music that I love. I binge on it.  

Who is your musical hero? 

My Dad. He was a classical guitar player who travelled and gigged a lot when i was young. He's amazing. He specialized in classical music, but could play anything. I have a lot of sweet memories of him playing for our family. It was better than any TV show or anything on the radio. I am pretty sure my lack of musical talent is a bitter pill for him to swallow, god knows he tried to teach me. Love you, Dad!

 

Check out Cameron's podcast below, download it directly here, or subscribe to Background Noise on iTunes.

Follow Cameron on Instagram

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