FOR NEW DJs ONLY
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Due by the end of Week 1 (Saturday, April 2 at 11:59 PM). Don’t sleep on it!
After releasing a stellar debut album, LA-based industrial band 3TEETH is now supporting TOOL on their latest tour. The artistry of this confident, sleek, and talented foursome extends far beyond just being good musicians. They successfully create a rich sensory experience by fusing dark visual elements to their music, and their live shows are unforgettable. KSDT sat down with the guys before their set to talk about this project. Below are some highlights from our conversation.
L: Alexis “Lex” Mincolla (vox)
A: Andrew Means (drums)
C: Chase Brawner (guitar)
X: Xavier Swafford (keys)
For those who don’t quite know your music, how would you describe it?
C: Visual. Sonic. Assault.
L: When we started the project, it was sort of like, let’s make an art project built on the chassis of a band – something that we can take in any direction, as big as possible, without feeling like there was some sort of constraint. We kind of don’t follow any of the rules. We’re not some purists about how it should be done. We like the experimental qualities of the genre of what some people might call “industrial” music, whatever that means. For us, we love using technology and visual accompaniment to our music.
Do you guys make a lot of the art that goes with your music?
L: We all have a hand with some of the visual creation. Me and Andrew make a lot of the videos together. We make everything in-house. We do everything ourselves from the mixing and mastering of our music, to the production of our music, and all the art. We don’t really rely on anyone else outside the four of us.
That’s beautiful; I think that’s kind of how it should be.
L: It’s kind of how you have to do it today. I call it everything-ism. If you’re not doing everything to improve the quality of your project, then chances are it’s not going to work out.
Are you guys changing anything up for your arena shows?
L: Everyone leveled up our set ups. Chase got two new guitars. Xavier got a bunch of stuff from Roland. We have this insane hybrid drum kit.
A: It’s actually kind of the inversion of what most people do with a hybrid kit. A lot of people will go mostly acoustic. And then they’ll have small electronic components – they’ll have like an octopad or a few electronic pieces. But we kind of go the opposite route, where the majority of it is electronic.
L: [I] built this mic stand that’s [made] entirely out of M16 parts. We had this idea of making a verbal assault weapon. It’s pretty insane looking. It’s fully articulated like a rifle. You just have to see it, but it’s definitely one of those things that goes into making an arena style performance, making something feel larger than life.
Are you happy with the reception you’re getting from the crowds?
L: Yeah. Absolutely. The fact that we get an applause after songs [is] like holy shit. These people don’t know our music and are going out there, turning it up to 11 right out the gates. People are giving it a good response.
I’ve seen some live videos of your earlier shows and they seem really fun.
L: Yeah, we bring a lot of intensity to the stage. We give it our all. There’s no reason to half ass it up there. We’re not these sedentary shoe-gazers up there. I’m totally fine with polarizing the audience. I want people to either love it or hate it. I don’t want them to walk away from some forgettable performance.
C: I abuse my body for the audience. A lot of dislocations in my shoulder [from] throwing fists.
What’s the writing process like for you?
L: We almost rarely got all four of us in the room together, writing together and jamming stuff out. I think “Dust” was the only song that was born that way. And it’s a great song, and I feel like the next album we’ll hopefully have more time to write together.
A: We end up volleying the sessions around a lot ‘cause the three of us (Andrew, Chase, Xavier) are producers. So we end up passing it around and adding layers of paint.
X: Basically, we just see who can make an awesome song first from the same session.
What music are you listening to?
L: Author & Punisher, who’s actually a San Diego based dude. If you’re not familiar with this dude, then you are fuckin’ up. His stuff is amazing. In terms of taking music to an innovative level, he’s pretty much doing some of the coolest crap out there. He builds all his own gear. He’s a one man band. It’s like a deep, heavy drone/industrial/metal type thing. Super noisy. Really cool stuff.
X: Gesaffelstein. Super into him. He’s a French electro/techno dude.
What’s the plan after you’re done with this tour?
C: After this tour we’ll really hunch down all together, in the same room, and really sculpt.
L: Yeah, because we were touring you get half a foot in recording and half a foot in touring. So you’re not fully dedicated to the album. And I think that we have a bunch of cool things on the shelf right now that we still need to flesh out. But the goal is to get back in the studio full-time, and really write this sophomore album, that I think essentially becomes a real defining moment in a band. Like cool, you made one cool album, what’s the second album? What’s the evolution? We want to really bleed for it.
I picture a lot of scenes when I listen to your music. Would you ever consider doing something for a movie?
C: We will definitely score a motion picture.
L: We’ve actually got two songs coming out in a movie next year.
How do we stay updated on 3TEETH?
L: I think follow the Facebook, Twitter, or the Instagram. We’re pretty active on that stuff; we’re pretty responsive. We like to engage with our audience. We’re fortunate enough to have an intelligent audience that gets what we’re doing. A big shout-out to our fans [for] supporting what we do, because it’s harder and harder to make any type of living off music. We really appreciate our fans.
Hello potential new djs,
This app is for NEW DJs ONLY. Returning djs can find the returning dj app in their emails. Y’all have until January 9th at 11:59PM to get them in. We look forward to checking ya out.
Peace and love,
KSDT is hosting an open mic at Artumn Fest this Friday, November 2nd from 6pm – 9pm. Sign up here!
Providing a thoroughly relaxing atmosphere with an impressive lineup from start to finish, Desert Daze was surely an event for those wanting a music festival that offered attendees chances to hear great music without having to give up any chance to kick back and rest. Camping on the festival grounds provided guests with an easy walk between their camping spot and any stage, with some camping spots close enough to the stage that they could catch the music from their tents. Most music was certainly worth catching, too, as great bands played at each stage throughout the day, and not just at the prominently placed Moon and Block stages, with acts like Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel performing elsewhere. The way the acts transitioned worked very well, too, as when one band wrapped up at the Moon stage, the other at the Block would go on quite quickly after, removing any frustrating delays or holdups. This meant that one could catch one great act after the other, conveniently without having to walk very far at all.
The artists that performed at the festival were superb to say the least. From start to finish, the musicians performing at Desert Daze put on a crash course in both musicianship and showmanship, many acts performing intricate songs while still putting on a show for the crowds. This lead to a great atmosphere throughout the festival, despite drastic genre differences between the artists; while Chelsea Wolfe held her audience spellbound with a hypnotic set filled with drone and doom undertones, Dan Deacon evoked an equally enthusiastic response by playing his brand of spastic, banter-laden electro-pop. This diversity of the artists performing is what made Desert Daze a great concert experience, because not only was there the cliched something for everyone, but the festival promoted genre diversity without compromising quality of the artists, which is impressive to say the least.
Ultimately, Desert Daze was a terrific experience for myself, and is definitely worth attending for any fans of all types of independent music, from electronic to rock. With its casual, laid-back atmosphere and great acts, future iterations of the festival are sure to be can’t-miss entertainment.
In describing the nature of his showy, theatrical Father John Misty persona, former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman said that “more often than not what you hear are actually the affectations of an ‘alter-ego’, or a cartoon of an emotionally heightened persona,” a statement which perfectly encapsulates the narrative tone of his newest album, I Love You, Honeybear. The material in I Love You, Honeybear is decidedly hyperbolic, grandiose, and downright absurd—in “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment”, Tillman describes finding his lover with “her best friend in the tub,” then ending up “singing ‘Silent Night’ in three parts”—but beneath the surreal, gonzo sheen of the album is a biting rawness that only a ludicrously over-the-top narrative could accomplish. Moments like the tub scene in “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment” are merely red herrings which distract from darker content—”The Night Josh Tillman…” is not humorous, but rather a spiteful account of the darker side of romance, with lyrics featuring the Father John Misty character venomously critiquing his narcissistic lover for her malaprops and vanity, only for him to end up declaring that he “Obliged later on/When you begged me to choke ya.” This harrowing tone that pervades I Love You, Honeybear separates it from many other concept albums in that it truly blurs the line between reality and fantasy; while the theatricality of Honeybear may rightfully invoke comparisons to the work of glam icons David Bowie and Elton John, Tillman also finds himself among a certain class of brooding, sardonic American lyricists that includes The National’s Matt Berninger and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, lyricists which, like Tillman, heavily fixate upon the abstract, gargantuan topic of the American Dream.
This question of the American Dream is at once secondary and central to the message of I Love You Honeybear, for while I Love You, Honeybear is ostensibly a love story, it’s also about what being in love in modern America actually means. Such a broad topic, of course, takes more than just a few arguments to make a truly effective point about, and apocalypse, alienation, and loneliness are just a handful of the themes Tillman touches upon in the sprawling I Love You, Honeybear. This aforementioned millennial loneliness is in part defined by Tillman’s discontent with the digital age: “Isolation, online friends,” “Infotainment” and “The golden era of TV” are just a few of the topics scrutinized in “Holy Shit,” and in “True Affection”, he asks “When can we talk/With the face/Instead of using all these strange devices?” This jaded reaction to technology does not mean that Father John Misty is just some cranky Luddite, as the track is ironically a blissful electro-pop song in the vein of Baths or Age of Adz-era Sufjan Stevens; rather, these qualms with technology are merely meant to underscore bigger themes, such as the failure of Father John Misty to properly communicate with his significant other, and how truly alienating all the hubbub and information overload of the digital age can be. The modern demons Misty runs from in “Bored In The USA” and “Holy Shit” are catalysts for a loneliness so fearsome, so aggressive that once he finds love, he can’t imagine life without his lover—in “When You’re Smiling and Astride Me”, he woefully laments that “I can hardly believe I’ve found you/And I’m terrified by that.” Perhaps even more important to the message of Honeybear is how this deep infatuation is just as draining as it is invigorating—in “Strange Encounter”, Misty swears off his wayward lifestyle after a scare with his lover, and in “The Ideal Husband”, Misty breaks under the weight of his guilt and pretentiousness, ending up confronting his lover with an unabashedly affectionate rant. These sudden catharses hit home so well because they aren’t sugar-coated, but rather drip with self-efficacy so candid that it’s nearly cringe-inducing, and that is what makes Honeybear such a work of lyrical genius—the album’s abundant cynical humor and general absurdity are perfect channels for addressing harsh, sensitive human emotion.
All these different gripes Tillman expresses via Father John Misty, however, are merely fragments of his overall thesis, which reaches a poignant conclusion in “Bored in the USA.” Misty’s conundrum in “Bored In The USA” is a problem as old as America—a terminal case of ennui—wherein so much of the modern world is dull, insipid, or worse, depressing to him. After all his incisive commentary and acerbic wit, Father John Misty finds himself questioning the American Dream, asking “Is this the part where I get everything I ever wanted/And if so, can I get my money back?” only to be met with the vacuous laughter of a hidden audience. A pessimist would take this to mean that life in America is a sick joke being played on the individual, and given the lyrical content of I Love You, Honeybear, that may not be too hard to believe, but Tillman at least proves to be a somewhat hopeful Romantic in the end. In “I Went To The Store One Day,” Father John Misty finds himself still enamored with some vague notion of American escapism, fantasizing about plantation homes and dowries—while there may not be such a thing as unequivocal happiness for Misty, Tillman seems to acknowledge that there is still real magic in some events, like chance encounters at the store that end up as much more.
Ultimately, I Love You, Honeybear is simply one of those bona fide masterpieces that captures a moment in time in a nearly inexplicable way. Never mind that much of the album could have been made a few decades ago, rather than in 2015—I Love You, Honeybear is such a gorgeous, deep work that it is instantly timeless. From the soaring doomsday-march of the title track to the wistful coda of “I Went To The Store One Day”, I Love You, Honeybear hardly misses a beat lyrically or musically, every orchestral arrangement, vocal melody and drum beat interlocking perfectly. According to a recent interview, Tillman’s wife told him that he “needed to not be afraid to let the songs be beautiful,” a challenge that Tillman fully meets on Honeybear; “Chateau #4 (In C For Two Virgins)” is perfect evidence of this, a vibrant, bombastically orchestrated piece that still, somehow, speaks to small, private emotional matters, imbued with a true feeling of intimacy at its core. Even more minute touches affect the album’s impact drastically—it’s hard not to notice even the smallest bits of genius on Honeybear, such as the frenzied bursts of guitar on “The Ideal Husband”, or the clever drum work on “Strange Encounter” that makes Tillman’s delivery of the line “The moment you came to I swore I would change” that much more emphatic. Together, Tillman’s lyrics and music evoke otherworldly feelings that almost seem too trite to put into words; I Love You, Honeybear defies rote mental analysis, a work too achingly human, too searingly passionate to be doomed to the fate of being taken apart like a broken contraption. Father John Misty’s greatest strength is that he does not preach, but rather, like any good artist, he vividly demonstrates his meaning in an abstract, human language, resulting in an absolutely essential, truly beautiful work of art.
As Canadian musician Mac DeMarco becomes more famous with each passing day, it only seems fair to give his friend and former bandmate Alex Calder some consideration. While Calder and DeMarco are both still making lo-fi retro-pop in the vein of their former band, Makeout Videotape, Strange Dreams exhibits just how different the styles of DeMarco and Calder have become, despite their similar inclinations towards dousing their music with reverb and general sound-warping. Of the two, Calder seems the most bent on making his music considerably less clean-cut—while DeMarco has garnered widespread acclaim from critics and casual listeners alike for crafting accessible guitar-pop with distinct verses and choruses, Calder’s music is hardly so straightforward. If DeMarco’s most recent release Salad Days inspired critics to aptly compare him to singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, a quirky-yet-accessible pop guru, then Calder must be further out on the singer-songwriter spectrum than DeMarco is; Calder’s music seems to draw from more free-form sources of inspiration, his sound recalling various 60’s psychedelic outfits such as Jefferson Airplane or 13th Floor Elevators. This approach leads to a few overly odd moments—the nearly formless track “The Morning” comes to mind—but Calder’s strangeness also produces some of the most compelling dream-pop in recent memory. While many similar artists develop their music with a sense of urgency or meticulousness, Calder instead coasts along in a relaxed haze, an approach resulting in languidly-paced and lush-sounding tracks like “Retract”.
Calder seems to be at his absolute best, however, when he takes all his unique ideas and compresses them into taut, simple pop songs, an approach that works extremely well on Strange Dreams. The appealing nature of such songs speaks to Calder’s greatest strength, which is his ability to make complete songs out of very little material—by following Deerhunter’s songwriting method of pairing a couple catchy phrases with some ethereal sighs, Calder manages to write some pop gems that even Bradford Cox would envy. Indeed, many of the songs on Strange Dreams would not sound out of place on any given Deerhunter record, such as the punchy “Marcel”; likewise, the simple “Lola” exemplifies Calder’s gift for making great pop without over-thinking, the song’s lyrics consisting solely of Calder saying the titular name and drifting into a wispy falsetto. While Strange Dreams may seem to be too densely lo-fi for the masses, “Lola” and other relatively conventional songs help ground the otherwise disorienting album, providing stable, accessible alternatives to the wonky material surrounding them. Calder does it best when he keeps it simple, and when the simple, single-ready material being produced is as good as the music Calder makes, simplicity is hardly a bad approach.