Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Life Worth Living Q&A

Punk rock will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first music I ever really listened to. Back in the day, way back in the day...I was a drummer in a punk band called For Lack of a Better Word, but I digress. 

With great acts of the 90s like MxPx, Slick Shoes, Dogwood and later decade turns like original Relient K and Blink 182, punk has seemed to have lost some of it's luster as the angry voice of a generation. A Life Worth Living is trying to recapture some of that voice and make something memorable.

Where'd you get the name from?
I got the name when reading the Death and Trial of Socrates. In it he decides to allow himself to be put to death, and does so because of his notion of what is the best way to live life. He says something along the lines of a life worth living is one lived for honor and the state. I say no to that, and so our name is an different interpolation of his statement. No one liked it at first. If we could change the name we could call ourselves "Short Controlled Bursts."

You said you are trying to create punk rock that's new and evolving. How are you doing this and what do you think you do differently?
Walter Benjamin talks about Art in the age of mechanical reproduction and how it's changes how art is represented and even how its created. We do not claim to have invented something new, but we consider what punk rock was. We critique older generations (both in lyrics and music) and we attempt to build on that. We also feel that the music we play is music that could not have been produced in the 70s or 80s. We take our energy and anger and mix it with melodic punk of the 90s, and we come out with something that sounds like 2011, at least I think so. We discuss problems that are specific to our time (such as the global economic crisis, which began in 2008).

Is the punk scene on the Island as big as it used to be, and how do you feel about it?
When I was in high school I remember there being a ton of punk rock bands, but by my senior year most had fallen apart. The scene I see now is comprised of both Brooklynites and Islanders. The music is there, but I feel there is a lack of community and inclusion. It seems like there are cliques between different subgenres. I miss going to IHop with 30 kids after our weekly show regardless of what kind of music they thought they played. It's important to remember that these things are cyclical. Before I started going to shows, there was a lull in the amount of shows and bands, just like was the case here a couple years back.

What is your take on Staten Island music, and is it hard to be in a band here?
It's hard to be in a band anywhere. I am so lucky to have found so many people who are into the sound I want to put out. I sometimes think my other band mates are more into it than I am. My advice is what I learned from a movie. "Bands come and go, so just watch your money."
Do you have any bands that took you under their wing when you guys started?
For A Life Worth Living we pretty much did it on our own. I have known Barrie from Generic Insight Radio, and she was sweet enough to give us our first show. We have a lot of friend bands who we help out and they help us out, but this is more of a recent thing. For the first two years ALWL was constantly going through lineup changes so we never really played consistently. Now we have two best friend bands and one I would like to think we can take under our wing. We love you, Man The Change and Departures. You too Wester!

If you had to describe a show of yours in 3 words, what is it?
That was fast!

Do you think punk has a place in mainstream media anymore, or has it gone to really pop acts "claiming" punk?
Punk, in essence, cannot have a place in our current mainstream, because our mainstream isn't open to individuals who voice an opinion that goes against current modes of power control. Yes, there are shows on TV and radio that speak out against our current state, but they are few and far between. To join the mainstream as is, means a removal of punk ideology.  If you need to change your “punk” to sell it, then it's just a commodity any fool could buy.
However, if as a society as a whole, we decided we would rather have education and free programing, then punk can find its home there. Until then Punks needs to be angry and rebellious against mainstream media.

What's the bands biggest or coolest moment?
I would think it is the time we got banned from a venue for saying the title of one of our songs- "It's Not Gay If It's Cousins".

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years, and what's the ultimate goal of the band?
I usually don't think about the future of this band, and maybe that is a problem. I have been dealing with some issues over the last six months regarding art and messages in art. At the core of what I do is the hope that someone understands my lyrics and thinks about life a little differently. I would prefer it to be on a large scale, but at the same time there is no where I'd rather play than a basement. All I can say for sure is that I hope in 5 years we are still playing as fast, if not faster.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Trouble Andrew Album Review

A once icon of snowboarding and extreme sports, Trevor Andrew, is now trying to become a legend in another realm, music.

After a tragic injury in 2004, Andrew was faced with the reality that pro snowboarding was no longer an option. His then girlfriend and now wife, Santigold, encouraged him to try his hand at music. Using the resources available to him through his wife, he was able to create a unique hybrid of electro, hip-hop, and punk infused indie music.

Andrew's new album Dreams of a Troubled Man, is a good mix of every genre he is trying to touch upon. It has the raw gritty sound and quality of an indie record while at the same time touching on an underground rap album feel. There are elements of catchy almost dub step like beats, over pop hooks and catchy guitar riffs.

The single worthy songs of the album are definitely "Newkid" with it's droning beat and sing-a-long to chorus, and "Oh No" which is an uptempo poppy force to close off the album.

Other danceable tracks include "Global Trouble" and "Flaunt It" which will remind you of a sexy "lust after that girl" kind of song.

Overall the nine tracks of the album are solid, and it is an easy listen through. Trevor Andrew is sure to pocket a ton of new underground unique eared listeners with his supporting shows of Dreams of a Troubled Man at SXSW. So from rocking the slopes to now rocking the mic, Trouble Andrew seems to be only "troubling" the listener who is trying to pin point his original style.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eyes of Tragedy Music Video, ARK Breaking News, A'tris music, Incognito Theory, POF, & Jon Santos

Check out my brothers in Eyes of Tragedy! They just made a rocking video to their song "Rapture." Word on the street is, they are also looking for a lead singer, so if interested contact them!

A'tris Song of the Week 11 & 12

Week 11

Week 12

Again, great work A'tris, I think I may have to interview Tiger Darrow. She is an amazing singer, and complements Mason's vocals well.

Incognito and DePalma and Romolus X Records and ARK News

Incognito Theory record will be out in summer 2011 and Incognito and Depalma will debut in May. Also, adding to the family is two new band members for ID. Mindy Kern has joined on the bass and Daniel Eng on drums.

Also some exciting news from CEO of Romolus X and ARK: Dave Incognito has been named as the A&R guy for the company, and will also be working in promotions. Another big announcement is the joining up of 1176 Studios and the ARK. Jon Santos will now be working with Romolus X, and hopefully branching out recording more artists. This joint venture is very exciting and good for the surrounding area of bands and musicians.

Process of Fusion Break Contest info and Poster Contest!

Where will you be April 2nd? If you said the Crazy Donkey at 4:40pm to see my band in the final round of the Break Contest for Bamboozle, that's an amazing guess. Shameless plug aside, it will mean the world to me if you could come out and support my band. Tickets are $12, and if we win we play Bamboozle! It's a life changing opportunity and we are very close.

Secondly (not sure if that's a word), we need fans to take the default pictures on our sites and post them up in various places. Take a picture of you placing the flier in whatever place you want and send it to us! In turn we will send it to the Break Contest and somehow get more points.

Check out some studio updates!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Interview with Matt Carter of Emery

One of the keys to being in a successful band is longevity, and that's exactly what Emery has managed to do over their last ten years or so on Tooth & Nail Records.

Throughout this time they have recorded four hit albums, and have played countless shows. Now, it's that time again; a new album and a new tour.

The name of the new album is, We Do What We Want, and in promotion of the album, began a headlining tour March 1st with: To Speak of Wolves and Hawkboy. Describing every tour as being different, Matt goes on to say "It's intense when there's a new record. You ask yourself 'Did you practice enough? Are you playing well?' It's more intense, nervous, and exciting."

On January 31st, long time lead singer, guitarist, and bassist, Devin Shelton, announced he would be taking an indefinite hiatus from the band. He did not rule out a possible return, but for now seems to need the time off. Replacing Devin on bass for the immediate future, is Andy Nichols. "He learned all the bass parts himself, and we organized all the singing parts together. He's done a tremendous job, and makes this transition not a big deal."

This is a perfect way for Emery to find out what the fans think of their new sound. For this record, Emery signed a joint deal with Solid State Records (Tooth & Nail's sister company). Solid State focuses more on metal/hardcore and screamo bands. This musical turn is one of the main reasons why the album is We Do What We Want. "Originally the album was supposed to be half acoustic and half heavy. We aren't scared, so we'll do what we want, and there you have it," Matt said.

"Looks like a Bible. It can be seen in different ways, gets people talking."
Matt describes how the crowd is reacting to the new album as a learning process,"Most people want old songs to sing along to. Now we see people more stone faced, but it's because they don't know the new material yet. We see the physical reaction and the verbal response has been good. We just have to be brave on stage."

We Do What We Want, is Emery's heaviest album to date, especially the first half. "The content is the same, the band is the same; it's just more metal," he said. "Don't worry, the next project will probably be acoustic," he joked, but then again, Emery does what they want.

Perhaps most important to Emery is the inspiration for their music. Emery, though not labeled a "Christian" band, are in fact Christians in a band. "We don't want to be looked at as an example or an outlet. We want everything we do to come out through our music. This is just our job. We don't really get to interact too often with the fans to share our beliefs. It's more so with the relationships we build on the road, said Matt. "We try to let Jesus be saturated in everything we do."

Before the interview ended, Matt was kind enough to answer some questions fans on Facebook had asked prior to the interview.

Why are you so good?
"Our music is incredible. We pursue it professionally because we thought we could. All the credit goes to God for the gifts He's given us. Every time we are in the studio, we don't write music, we discover it. Even though it doesn't physically exist yet, I believe God has it in our minds all ready."

What's the story behind "The Party Song?"
"I didn't personally write this song, but I think it's from the perspective of exploring what to turn to. Everybody wrestles with the identity of who they are."

What was the influence for the album, I Am Only a Man?
"That album should have been called We Do What We Want. It was a post hardcore/screamo album. We kind of came into the album with the attitude of 'What are we listening to now?' It didn't matter if it was quiet, country, or even classical. It was something different at the time, whatever felt good."

Lastly, Matt wanted to let everyone know the future for Emery is looking good. "We are going to continue to work hard on this record by touring. We'll also have some new material- some a little darker, a little more intense."

First single off of the new album. It really showcases the new more heavier side of Emery.

Pre-order the new album here

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Band news, the way it should be...fabricated...

Sometimes I just wonder... why I don't get the good news stories...

By Erin James with a little help from some friends
Erin James with a little help from some friends

If you wrote any of these captions please tell me below along with our name. If you are in this pic or know someone who is and thinks it's funny, comment below. If you are offended, too bad :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Updates and Press Releases- A'tris, Incognito Theory, Neal B, INO, and more

It's Not Over plays Webster Hall March 19th, be sure to check them out, and read about their new album It's Just Started, here

My band's producer, Jon Santos is back with his band Fallzone, and they are producing new music!

Check out the new website and new music

Week 9 "Spit You Out" starring Courtney Zito

Week 10 "Letters From Home" featuring Tiger Darrow

Update from Dave Incognito 
"IT is going into ark studios in March to start recording drums for our debut ep, Vengeance is Mine, coming out late spring on Romulus X Records.
Also, IT just had an interview done with Dave Incognito for Rockeyez Magazine. Special thanks to Brian of Rockeyez and uncle Frank of Metal noize inc .
Incognito & DePalma update-  ID is going in the studio to record there self titled ep coming in  spring 2011 as well.        

Check out their music here

Neal B. (That Theatre Show, NealB.tv) will debut a new half-hour segment segment entitled, "THE BEST OF NY THEATRE" at the 18th Original GLBT Expo. The segment will take place at the Video Lounge on March 12 & 13, 2011 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

THE BEST OF NY THEATRE will consist of musical performances and interviews from some of New York most talented performers. Expect to hear stories of pr
ide, favorite tunes and new material!

Scheduled to appear (Performers Subject to change):
Check back at:
http://www.nealb.tv/1/expo/ for an updated list of performers

Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 2:00pm
- NOREEN CRAYTON (National Tour of Rent, Independent Music Award winner)
- RICHARD DeFONZO (VH1's "Boys Will Be Girls", Tribute Artist)
- TERESE GENECCO (MAC Award Winner, Longest running nightclub act on Broadway)
- PAUL GOLIO & TINSEL (Ventriloquist)
- REBECCA LARKIN (Broadway's Avenue Q & South Pacific)
- TRACY McDOWELL (Rent on Broadway)

Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 12:30pm
- KING ASWAD (Rent the National Tour & Hollywood Bowl, Recording Artist)
-  TITUSS  BURGESS (Broadway's The Little Mermaid and Guys & Dolls)
- NOREEN CRAYTON (National Tour of Rent, Independent Music Award winner)
- NATASCIA DIAZ (Broadway's Man of La Mancha & The Capeman)
- JENN FURMAN (National Tour of Wicked)
 - LUIS VILLABON (Naked Boys Singing,  Associate Choreographer "A Chorus Line" National Tour)

The will be is open to the public. The 18th Annual Original GLBT Expo will take place at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York at 655 West 34th Street. Tickets are $15. For information and directions, please call: 212-216-2000 or http://www.originalglbtexp

Neal B. is no stranger to covering entertainment in front of the camera.  As a TV personality, host and actor, he has appeared on TV, radio and in newspapers. He is an expert in covering events and celebrity interviews. His site, NealB.tv, primarily covers positive stories in the media including celebrity interviews, red carpet events, charity events, hot-spots and undiscovered gems of New York City, and more.

Among the long list of events he has covered: The 2010 Official Academy Awards Party in New York, The 2010 Drama Desk Awards, 2010 GLAAD Media Awards, Minty Python (a benefit featuring cast members of "Sex and the City"), etc. 

He has also interviewed such talented artists such as: Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon,  Sigourney WeaverAnne Hathaway, the cast of "Glee", Cynthia NixonJohnny WeirJesse L. Martin, Broadway's "American Idiot".  

He has been seen on The Wendy Williams ShowKathyGrffin.netPatricia Field Online, RTL Germany, OnLocationVacations.com, among others.  He has also been a frequent contributor to Out & About With Nofar Kimchi, The Comedy Point with Soul Joel, and ArtofTalk.tv

Says Neal B. of his background:  "I am a testament that things do happen for a reason. I was born in ColombiaSouth America.  When I was merely a baby I was adopted by the two most generous and amazing people. I have lived in the New York City area for my entire life. I have taken advantage of the culture and I love soaking in all the arts and city life!" 

His positive, fun outlook on entertainment and life is exactly what Neal B.
plans on sharing with his audience.  

Lastly, check out a blog I was interviewed on about Staten Island music 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Album Review-It's Not Over (It's Just Started)

Photo by Alexa DiMaio
Finally, we have the album we've all been waiting for! February 19th, Staten Island pop/punk band, It's Not Over released their debut full length, It's Just Started.

The band, formed by vocalist/guitarist, Mike Giordano and drummer, Matt Cabello, have been rocking around NYC since October of 2006. Along the way they have added lead guitarist/back up vocalist, Josh Cronopulos, and bassist, Gabe Ramirez.

In October 2009, INO released a self titled ep that received heavy college radio play at UCLA and WSIA Staten Island. Later that month, they won the 3rd Annual Battle of the Bands at the College of Staten Island. Riding off of that high, they were later named in the Aquarian as an "On the Verge Band."

Fast forward to 2011, and It's Not Over has still proven relentless in their pursuit of success. In December 2010 at a Christmas show at the Full Cup, INO announced they had signed to Eclectic Records (EMC), fronted by co-founder and band manager, Alex Titta. "EMC has been great to us and we are really grateful for the work they have put into our career. They are currently booking us our tour, and getting a lot of things together for us, like getting this album out for everyone," said vocalist Mike Giordano on the signing.

It's Just Started, was a vision that started in September 2009 and lasted into April 2010. The process was long, and after a series of delays, the finished product is here and won't disappoint. INO did all the recording with Rob Guariglia (formerly of the Veronicas), and was mixed by Ken Harter.

The album is full of catchy and radio friendly tunes like "Better Off" and "Kiss Kiss." INO also expresses a deeper slower side with songs like "Never See Me" and "Hold You Tight." Showing off some versatility, rapper Jay Ax appears on "Sweet Heart Breaker" and guest singer Sabrina Fracchiolla of Spread the Rumor, sings on "You and Me."

Overall the album is a solid first effort for these pop rockers. With catchy pop hooks and tight instruments, this record is sure to catch the ears of anyone who listens and everywhere it goes. To help push the release out, It's Not Over is in the midst of a small tour hitting various places in NY and NJ, and even PA.

Also, be sure to check them out at Webster Hall March 19th in Manhattan. Tickets are available through the band. See below for tour information, contact, and purchase of the album.

February 16 - WSIA Radio Station 88.9 - www.wsia.fm
February 18 - Everywhere - 1 hour Album preview (8 p.m) & Q+A with band (9 p.m) live on Justin.tv/its_not_over
February 19 - SI, NY - Album Release
March 5 - Union, NJ - Soundwave Academy
March 12 - New Milford, PA - Blue Ridge High School
March 18 - Westchester, NY - Bricksplosion at Suny Purchase
March 19 - NY, NY - The Studio at Webster Hall
April 1 - NYogurt Acoustic/ CD Signing.
April 3 - SI, NY - The Full Cup w/The Sophomore Beat, and The Life I lead
April 8 - Rochester, NY - California Brew Haus with Heading North

Photo by Alexa DiMaio


Friday, March 4, 2011

Artist for the Bands, Helder Pedro, Makes Works of Art

IO "Materioptikon (United Kingdom)
I came across this amazing artist when I interviewed Ninth Moon Black. I asked them who did their artwork and they pointed me to Helder. What I found was some of the most truly amazing and inspirational art I've seen. I immediately knew an interview was coming. The following pictures are all band covers by Helder. Information to see further artwork is at the bottom. Enjoy!
Ninth Moon Black "Kalyug" (USA)
Who are you, and what do you consider yourself?
My name is Helder, I currently reside in Portugal and I am a graphic designer.

Was art something you always did? Did you develop this gift as you grew?
Art was actually not something I did growing up, although I always had a keen eye for it. I was always good at sports, maths and sciences in school. Only in more recent years did I develop or discover that maybe I had a talent for it. The so called "discovery" happened as I began listening to more music and being exposed to various different styles- genres that progressively made my brain tick. I started to develop my own vision over some band's music and how I could perceive the visual part of their releases to be. Then slowly I began to explore my own ideas and improve, all of this was done on a self taught basis as I tried to better visually express their sound through my art.

Jakob "Solace" (New Zealand)
What inspires you to create these images, and where do the creativity and ideas come from?
It's rather difficult for me to pinpoint my influences My main inspiration is music itself, besides the music, it's difficult to pin point influences, since everything is an influence. What I do is very technical too, so I improve all the time by looking at other artists work or researching more. My biggest influence is my own goal and I suppose this is what drives me, is achieving something that is fitting for what I feel the music transpires and represents. This way, not only is the music alive in the sounds we hear but also it comes alive visually which I find very stimulating.

How do you create your art? Freehand, graphics, pastels, etc.
The art I create is done mostly by a mix of media which I manipulate digitally. I have some techniques of my own, that I've developed over the years and I guess I have really tried to define my own style.

Do you only do artwork for bands? How did working with bands come about, and is music important to you?
I mostly do artwork for bands, although I have worked for private businesses, expositions, film and music promoters. I began to pay more attention to the visual part of the music albums I listened to and as I listened to the music I tried to picture in my mind alternative album covers for them. That lead me to begin exploring ideas. At the start, it wasn't easy since I didn't have the necessary knowledge and control to create intricate pieces, however as I put online my "tries", people seemed to liked them. The feedback was very positive and I began receiving requests to do work. As my volume of work increased, the requests and contacts increased as well and things just naturally grew by themselves. I love music on its own, I listen to music everyday and it's really rewarding to be able to "work" with a media that I enjoy so much and with bands that I truly find inspiring.

Tides of Nebula "Aura" (Poland)
Do artists give you ideas or do you listen to the music and come up with these things yourself?
Most times, I work on ideas by myself listening to the music with none or only general ideas from the artists. I prefer it this way, since it allows me more freedom and I am also capable of surprising them with things that initially they didn't envision and then ended up loving- this happens very often. There are other artists who have a very clear idea of what they have in mind, which is sometimes tricky because you're not inside anyone else's head and it may be difficult to exactly recreate what is described to you.

What is the most difficult part about being an artist, and what's the most rewarding?
The most difficult part is the nature itself of having to create something new each and every time and meet not only your own expectations but also the expectations of others. While doing this you have to deal with people that may not be the greatest at being clear at what they want or just be hard to deal with in general. The most rewarding is to see your work printed and the client (i.e, a band) appreciating it. It's a great feeling to contribute to the work of others and establish long lasting relationships that sometimes transcend the 'artistic' or 'business' side of things, becoming a friendship.

Do you have rates for artwork, or does it go by a person to person basis?
I don't have set rates. I am flexible with what I charge as it depends on numerous factors.

The Mantra above the Spotless Moon "Defeated Songs" (Italy)
Where do you hope to see yourself going with this, or are you there already?
I know I am not there already but although I can't quite say where I am now and where I see myself going with this. I never imagined to be at this stage to begin with, things have just been happening very naturally. At the moment, it is something that I enjoy doing and as long as I am with how it is going, then that is all that matters. My ultimate goal is to have the opportunity of working with more artists and develop by taking on new challenges that push me to the next level.

Where can people check out your work, or contact you?
Visit my website www.helderpedro.com or contact me directly through hepemo@gmail.com 

God is an Astronaut/The Mantra Above the Spotless Moon Spilt (Ireland)
If you are interested in having Helder Pedro do work for you, contact him at hepemo@gmail.com