the midnight vein


The Midnight Vein has unleashed two new tracks as a Limited edition 7″ available through Swimming Faith Records. 

Side A hosts “Till it Explodes”, a laid-back acoustic driven track reminiscent of the great English rock anthems of the 90’s. The lyrics “Slowly it Grows, Till it Explodes” are repeated throughout and nourish a state of contemplation. We are encouraged to look inward and find balance and acceptance in the anxious feelings that often accompany growth. An acid free yellow paper insert covered in mud and wildflower seeds is included in the vinyl slip and encouraged to be planted gently anywhere with a little water. 

Side B hosts “Run From the Light”, a highly hypnotic track summoning back-to-back repeated listenings. Everything about this track appears to be leading us down a narrowing dark tunnel of uncertainty. Once completely engulfed inside the darkness we are no longer plagued by the distractions of our vision and finally allowed to surrender the self in exchange for the oneness. Side B includes a center label animation that can be seen with the naked eye and an adjustable strobe light (The Motionics Tachometer App is recommended) set between 13-17Hz. 

The Midnight Vein has created a truly harmonious two track slow burner that plays like a full-length concept album and leaves you feeling full.

“Take the warmth and run from the light. Bleed to become mystic one. Blend into the only sun. In the dark we all are one.”



Slow Mutants say So Long as We say Salute

After nearly 2 years of silence Slow Mutants have released their long awaited self-titled debut album. It also happens to be their last. The Buffalo, NY based band consisting of members Emma LaQue (Bass/Vocals/Harmonium), Stephen Schmitt (Guitars/Vocals) and Stephen Floyd (Drums) went separate ways in 2018 shortly after recording a 12 song album with J. Robbins in Baltimore, MD. Today we honor this release as we bang our heads to “Hot Metal”, lift our lighters to “Dead Fly” and chat with Emma LaQue about the beginning, magnolia trees, mistaken identity and the concept of finality.

RE008 SLOW MUTANTS ALBUM COVER FOR DIGITALArtwork by Aleksandra Waliszewska

Before we talk about the latest release can you provide readers with “The Origin of Slow Mutants” ?

This Ka-Tet is comprised of the legitimate and well loved offspring of Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba.

Now, How did you all actually meet? 

In a dark corner of a small screen printing shop in Mid World.

Was there any initial sound or concept in mind in the beginning? What were those initial writing sessions like? 

We wanted to convey that we were writing songs that we thought sounded good and that we could all play.

The year was 2016 right? Your first record “Demo 2016” was released just weeks after Trump was elected President. Any tie-in? 

Time is a flat circle, what’s happened before will happen again, you open the door and you’re back at the beginning …..etc, etc

Do you remember the first show? 

Ahh yes, the Magnolia tree had just bloomed, the grass was wet, Milky was tired.

Your Facebook Bio says “Slow Mutants are from Buffalo and we sing about: a) Litigation. b) Vaguely threatening vortices. c) The ascension of the Queen.” Did you hold to these values?

a) Litigation. We’ve since moved past the need for litigation. Eat the Rich.

b) Vaguely threatening vortices. We’ve all succumbed to our own personal threatening vortices since this was recorded, so yes, this holds true.

c) The ascension of the Queen. See answer to A.

Which of these is Emma singing about in the song “Lawyer Spell” around the 2 minute mark when they appear to have been possessed and start speaking in prolific tongues!? 

Emma is flattered to be mistaken for Stephen Schmitt, literally it’s all she’s ever wanted; However, Stephen was inspired by a tyrannical local patent lawyer who did him dirty.

P1250394Photo by Derek Neuland

I never had a chance to see the band in action. Were you guys pretty loud? I’m picturing full-stacks at a diy basement show? 

Absolutely no full stacks were involved. Our condolences for your loss, though.

Who was your biggest supporter? 

Probably that Patent Lawyer. It’s been really hard to reconcile.

Speaking of DIY shows / venues. Would you say that was your primary field of study? What does that scene look like today in Buffalo compared to just a few years ago?

We have all earned our Masters in DIY music. Bands in Buffalo were and continue to be excellent.

So this “new” record is a posthumous one? Before we talk details on the record itself can we jump right in (back) to the moment when you knew the band was calling an end to this chapter and perhaps a glimpse into what that conversation / decision was like for everyone involved? 

We had an encounter with Blaine the Mono, and it, uh, didn’t end well. Threatening Vortices and all.

It’s been a few years since then. What new paths have opened up for everyone involved? 

Stephen Floyd opened a successful comic book store, runs his record label, and continues to play music in Personal Style. Stephen Schmitt graduated from cosmetology school and made a career switch to Stylist at Crown Buffalo, while also playing with Little Summer……..and Emma has played at least 100+ hours of red dead redemption 2.

And for the actual recordings themselves, When / how did you all decide you wanted this captured moment to be released to the world? Had this record been something you planned to release while active or even something you ever considered putting on the shelf? 

It was always the intention to release the record. A lot of time has passed as there have been expected shifts in priorities and circumstances with the record plant beyond our control. Life comes at you fast, you know? You wake up one morning and you’re already 22 years old!!

The Album Art for this first record particularly attracts my attention. Not the Gigantic fish so much as the gentleman in the back right corner. What’s the history behind it? 

Well you see, he’s a scientist, and he’s very excited about the fish.

The new album cover is quite alluring as well. Who is the artist behind the painting?

The art for the LP is by Alexandra Waliszewska, a Polish artist. Check her out for a glimpse into those Threatening Vortices!!

Is it fair to argue that the 3 person band is the ultimate in Rock’n’Roll aesthetics?

It sure makes scheduling practice easier.

Perhaps a few words on the concept of Finality? 

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed”

Preorder Limited Edition 12″ Vinyl

*Emma LaQue interviewed by Frenchpressley



Chris Lombardi (formerly of Sex Positions)
John Crook (Ugly Sun, Arctic Death)
Matt Zych (The Slums, Scales)
Ryan Schlia (sings in his car sometimes)

Years Active 2019 until we all die.

Upcoming Release “Emotionally Exhausted // Morally Bankrupt” EP

Currently Reading Currently living in a mashup of “1984” by George Orwell and “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson.

Favorite Quote Kill the bosses, kill the priests, kill the shepherds. Save the sheep.

Favorite Local Band Dr. Ooo

Favorite Local Artist Hannah Wiech @warmsinner

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How is everyone holding up in this time?

If I put my phone down for an hour, I have 46 notifications in the group chat.  We’re bored, BUT SOMEDAY we can sit on a porch and cook burgers on the grill while we chug Genny and insult each other.  I’m down four pounds because I can’t shove burritos in my face whenever I want like the disgusting glutton that I’ve become.  I am Caligula on a couch.

Tell us about how this project got started?

Miller High Life and depression.

How do you balance music with jobs/partners/children, etc?

We’re all self aware enough to know that if we didn’t have music and band practice to rely on every week, we’d spiral downward pretty quickly.  Clockwise, with a bottle of whiskey. So surrounding yourself with people who understand that is important.  If there’s no time, you have to make time for it.  Rehearsing the music is important for the band, but the casual shit talk in a small, overpriced room that smells like sweat, beer, BO, and weed is just as important, personally.  And now we don’t have that, so you can expect one of us to show up on the news any day now. Manslaughter or petty theft probably.

Experience working with a label?

It would be great to never have to do that at all.  My pockets are shallow already, we don’t need anyone reaching in to take a cut for something they had nothing to do with.  We can make our own artwork, our own merch, book our own shows, do our own branding…at this point a label just seems like a credit card that I can’t afford.  But what the hell do I know about anything.

Strangest thing you’ve heard from someone at a concert?

“You got blood all over me asshole” – guy who broke my nose at a Save The Day show.

Current album on Repeat?

Griselda. Everything from Griselda.

Best wings in Buffalo?

We took all of our gear to the studio in a Bar Bill Tavern van.  Enough said.

Favorite Venue?

Literally anywhere, we’ll play your bedroom if you ask nicely.  But I think everyone in this city is anxious to get back to Mohawk Place.  No other venue takes such good care of their performers, and I don’t mean that in terms of money or party favors.  From booking, to running the door, to the sound engineers, to the bartenders, they’re all genuinely trying to make sure you have the best possible show you can have.  It means more than they know.

Local artists we should know more about?

For a small city, we produce a metric ton of dope shit in every genre.  14 Trapdoors, Johnny and the Mankids, Final Declaration, Medusa, Alpha Hopper, Science Man, Facility Men…Buffalo is the best place on earth.

Words of wisdom? 

Cops are not your friends.  They are not here to help.  Do not forget this.

Biggest Inspiration?

Donald Trump flushing this country down the proverbial shitter.

Taco Bell or Mighty Taco?

Try not to ingest diarrhea if you don’t have to.

All time favorite album?

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

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What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

The government serves people in the tax bracket we can’t even dream of.  They have failed us, and will continue to fail us.  We are alone.

Are you working on anything new/specific at the moment?

A mustache.

What would you consider your best local show experience?

The Chariot/Burning Love/Every Time I Die at The Funeral Home….if that counts.  Happened once, could never happen again.

Previous bands?

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been doing this for about 15 years, and I’m sure all of our bands had names that were equally as ridiculous as “Scumfire.”

Were you anywhere before buffalo?

I am everywhere.  Always.

Any Buffalo artists you admire that you’ve never met?

Buffalo is small enough that a quick DM to someone you respect usually results in a beer sometime sooner or later.  Having said that, Tre White is an artist on the football field and I would carve up my neighbors to kick it with that man.

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

Dunable guitars

Craziest memory from touring?

I’ve done one weekend in my whole life.  I have no experience.  But there was a bartender in Boston that provided us with a quote that I still use today.  “You try to fuck me?  I’ll fuck you better.”

Local musician or artist we’ve never heard of?

Maya LaMacchia.  She’s in high school, and she’s a genius.  Elliott Smith was reincarnated in her soul.

What’s the biggest thing your band could use help with?

Piggybacking on what I said about labels, I really think all anyone needs help with now is touring.  Booking shows in a different city that you don’t know is damn near impossible. And really, I think all anyone wants to do is perform for people they don’t know and find out if they suck, or if their friends are just being nice.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

An unwaveringly supportive community and an extremely low glass ceiling.

What areas could Buffalo improve on?

I think we all dream about gentrifiers and developers getting the fuck out, but that’s never gonna happen.  I don’t know if it’s because of cops or because people just don’t do it or I’m just old now, but we need more DIY house venues.  When I was a young buck, there were at least 5 places doing shows at any given time.  Now it’s just Curly’s and Francesca’s.

Top 5 favorite Buffalo bands/artists?

Scumfire, Scumfire, Scumfire, Scumfire, and Scumfire

What’s the next move?

You tell me.  What do people want as far as releasing music and not having shows to perform it goes?

What has your recording experience been like?

John Bohn engineered our EP out at his studio in Batavia, and I can’t say enough good things about it.  We did the whole thing in a day.  He’s professional, he’s driven, he knows time is money for us broke folks, and above all he’s talented.  Make your next record across from an old cemetery in Batavia.  Get shitty coffee from the 7-Eleven and scare the people at the pizzeria.  You won’t regret it.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

Removing the “cool factor.”  People tend to think it’s not cool to be visually supportive even when they really love something.  That’s why so many people will stand motionless in a room with their arms folded, and then approach performers after a show telling them how much they loved it.  Bang your head, start a pit, scream in people’s faces.  Performers need that energy to feed off of.

*Interview with Ryan Schlia

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Bandcamp – Scumfire’s first track “The Idol” will be released to the world tomorrow, May 1st, 2020.


Corey Bzibziak Vocals / Guitar
Jacob Galenski Bass / Vocals
Andrew Kothen Guitar / Vocals
Gabriel Wells Drums

Years Active 5

Latest Release “Disappearing Act” EP

Current Album on Repeat Been listening to Nina’s – “Nina Simone and Piano!” quite a bit. The spirit she conjures throughout is beautiful and inspiring. João Gilberto’s – “Chega de Saudade” has been in pretty heavy rotation as well. Also, I’ve been slowly digging through the Folkways Records massive collection of music.

Local Artists we should know more about Derick Evans, Katie Weissman, Stevie Boyar, Little Cake (Ana) & Sally Schaefer are all people I find to be incredibly inspiring. Whatever they’re up to is worth checking out.

Copy of seinbeaches

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience? 

I think the most important lessons will be varied but all very much internal. I think everyone is learning a lot about themselves right now and self discovery can make for a lot of positive change, inwards and outwards.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment? 

I currently have an ever-growing collection of ideas and demos via audio notes, but dreambeaches does not have anything specific to announce just yet. I think all of us are in phases of individual exploration & growth in our musical worlds. It is important to let these periods cycle as they will. Mostly, I am just trying to listen. There is so much to be heard out there.

Any Buffalo Artists you admire that you’ve never met? 

It’d be really cool to meet the Alpha Hopper crew and Saint Opal.

Anyone you’d like to Collaborate with? 

Hit me up, let’s make something!

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

Once you are able to find your way into the Buffalo music scene (which isn’t exactly easy), it begins to feel very much like family. You start to see familiar faces at shows, you form a small collection of memories together, and relationships change and grow from there. Outward of music, Buffalo itself is pretty inspiring. Between the murals, houses, gardens, history, and people there is a pulse (from precisely the first 50º day of spring until about mid-November) of something growing and challenging itself.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

Inclusivity and support. As soon as the bill begins to look the same and no one is reaching outward to meet and work with those they have not is when a scene becomes stale. Go to shows where you know no one at venues you’ve never been to. Shed and discard your ideas of art while watching others express it for themselves and feel held when they do the same for you.

*Interview with Corey Bzibziak




Sonny Baker

Years Active 16

Latest / Upcoming Release “Steady Hands, Dead Tired” (2017). A collection of demos “Outlive vol. 1” (2018). New album in the works. Hopefully this year.

Current Album on Repeat Nathanial Rateliff “And It’s Still Alright”, Fiona Apple “When the Pawn…”, Jeff Parker “Suite for Max Brown”, Pearl Jam “Gigaton”

Favorite Venue to Perform Three way tie. Mohawk / 9th Ward at Babeville / Town Ballroom. All for very different reasons.

sonny new

How is everyone holding up during this time?

So far, so good. Starting to crack a little bit. Miss the human connections. Miss my friends and band members. It does feel like I’m playing guitar a lot more. Every day I’ve been learning 2 or 3 new songs from artists that I love. That’s been helping me write my own material more.

Tell us about how this project got started? 

On and off my whole life I’ve tried to create songs that I would like to hear. Outside of a band landscape. Something that collects all of the random shit I like. And an emotional output that helps me in more ways than one. I started writing “songs” when I was 10/11yrs old. The songwriting has definitely evolved since then but I still don’t have the grasp that I’d like to have. And eventually I was able to con some of my good friends and favorite musicians to help form a band. Go play shows, record some albums, etc.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

I’ve been sitting on a batch of songs for quite some time now. I’ve been playing them with my band and solo. I’ve been itching to start work on the next record and was about to right before all of this happened. So i’m taking this time to polish off a few of the songs and hopefully write a few more.

Previous Bands?

uberfunk, A Hotel Nourishing , Cinnamon Aluminum, Besyno (for a brief time towards the end), Alex Berkley & the Atlanta Falcons, Wooden Waves. Also currently in Lazlo Hollyfeld & Talking Dead Heads.

Anyone you’d like to Collaborate with?

There’s so much talent in this town. Many, many folks I’d love to work with. I’m always open to new ideas. Every few months I want to start new projects with people i’ve never worked with before and genres i’ve never attempted. Before Mr. Jacob Peter left town, I was hoping to make an album with him. We got together once and worked on a few songs and I was super jazzed. Then I got lazy and sadly, nothing came of it.

Craziest memory from touring? 

Hands down. Getting pulled over by State Troopers with a SWAT team on a highway outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. Then being handcuffed one by one and being held at gunpoint on the side of the highway.

Top 5 favorite Buffalo Bands / Artists? 

Alex Berkley, Leroy Townes, Carmen & Lizzy, Koko Neetz, Personal Style, Roger Bryan, Fourem, Cooler, Bill Nehill, Oats Holy Roller, Zak Ward, TVMTN, the list goes on and on and on!

What’s the next move? 

Make this new record. Write more songs. Write more songs. Make another record.

ReSoundings: Sonny Baker “tepted” from Burchfield Penney Art Center on Vimeo




Christina Stock

Members Christina Stock – As a one-woman act, I play guitar and sometimes keys. Yet, my upcoming album has 10 people featured, so you never know what you’ll get for a bigger live show!

Years Active Songwriting, 10 years. Performing, 3 years.

Upcoming Release “In Due Time” (my first album!)

Current Album on Repeat Fiona Apple – “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”

Best Wings in Buffalo Gabe’s Gate, no contest.

Biggest Inspiration Regina Spektor

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

I think that the biggest lesson that we can take from “the pandemic,” thus far, is that money isn’t everything. When you’re forced to stay home, cook dinner, and communicate virtually, it really puts into perspective how much of the “outside world” revolves around blowing your money. Yeah, I will be going out when this is over, believe me! But in the meantime, I’ve been trying to reflect on what really matters—the safety, happiness, and health of the people that I love. Aside from that, everything else is a bonus.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

With my spring tour postponed and recording put on “pause,” I’ve been delving into more experimental performance pieces and really embracing my roots in poetry. Time at home means time to organize and reflect… so I’ve been re-opening the floodgates from my Fredonia years. My Creative Writing advisor would always tell us to keep “creative” notebooks for each semester (no homework or to-do lists!), so I’ve been revisiting those moments from my past—reflecting, then editing with a fresh perspective. I’m hoping to craft my old poems and scribbled lyrics into something new and unique. I’ve been really into Kate Tempest (and Fiona!) lately, and have been playing around with some minimalist synth and drum beats behind long-form poems. I have no idea where this project will take me from here – at home, surrounded by cluttered notebooks and post-its – but I’m really excited to start incorporating poetry into my music and performance art.

What would you consider your favorite local show experience?

In 2019, I made it a point to accept every gig request. Foolish, to some, but I was searching for my place in the city’s music scene. I ended up playing over 20 venues—from the Broadway Market to sweaty punk basements, from Hostel Buffalo-Niagara to Karpeles Manuscript Museum. As tiring as it sometimes was, the people planning and attending each and every show made the effort worthwhile.

That being said, the best show I’ve ever played was “Toon Down with Kerry Fey” at Pine Apple Company. The venue was intimate, the walls were covered in local art, the refreshments were local, the staff had vested interest in the venue and event atmosphere… but what truly struck me about Kerry’s events was the crowd. They listened – actively, often silently – throughout three 45-minute showcases of acoustic songwriters. It was incredible.

Kerry Fey, as the host, set the tone for everything that I value in my own events—creating a unique and safe setting for performers to express their art and for audiences to engage with it.

That show was the first time that I truly felt like an original artist. I played my songs in chronological order, set the stage for my life at the time, and really opened up to the vulnerability within my music. Two people told me after the “Toon Down” showcase that they cried during my set and, honestly, that’s the greatest compliment I can fathom.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

Some people hate on the Buffalo music scene but, honestly, Buffalo has the ideal environment for aspiring musicians. Our venues don’t tend to be “exclusive,” so newcomers have a fighting chance for gigs. More importantly, most performers aren’t cold or competitive. We really want to see each other thrive. I’ve always been amazed by the amount of support that our “scene” provides for musicians of all experience levels.

As I’m straddling the lines of “aspiring” and “experienced,” I really try my best to host events that help up-and-coming artists form connections. Open mics were such a huge step to help me get my name out there (shout out to Bobby Angel for his years at Tutor and Alley Cat!) and now, I try to pay it forward to people that deserve a wider audience.

Bottom line, we are the City of Good Neighbors, and that translates to the music scene. The mutual support that I see among original artists has me convinced that this is the perfect city to kick off your music career.

Top 5 favorite Buffalo bands/artists?

Over & Out, Space Cubs, Tortoise Forest, Oats Holy Roller, Timothy Alice and the Dead Star Band

What has your recording experience been like?

It has been wild recording my album with so many musical guests… I think when Jason (Flower House Records) offered to take it on, he was assuming it would have an acoustic singer/songwriter vibe. Turns out, I’ve got 10 musical guests for this project. One even sending her parts from Chicago! He’s been great about it, though, and it’s been a blast working with him. 

It’s been so much fun to have my friends in and out of the studio over the past few months. I’m just really honored that so many talented people were willing to be a part of it. The process, for me, is to put down some simple chords with a focus on lyrics. The accompaniment has really taken it to the next level. In the future, I may resort to more lo-fi solo stuff. But, for my first album, I really hope to take people away from the dark bars that I usually play in. I want to shine light on the lyrics I’ve been developing. It’s ten years in the making, after all.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music scene?

Ideally, a “scene” boils down to a conglomerate of shows or events that attract a reoccurring crowd. That crowd gets to know the musicians, artists, and each other in the process, and they keep coming back for more. A community like that can’t be created overnight. An effective “scene” grows and adapts over time—step by step, show by show.Audience and atmosphere are, in my opinion, the most important elements of a thriving “scene.”  

At the base level, I’m fascinated by what makes an event memorable—what helps a show really flow for a performer, what allows a crowd truly let their guard down… The audience size doesn’t matter. What matters is how effectively you can reach the people who are listening.

As far as our role as artists… I think that collaboration is crucial. My “dream scene” would provide a truly different show every time. We would cultivate fun, safe, and unique spaces that are decked out in local art—from live painting to creative set designs, mixed media projections… shows would feature impromptu musical guests, covering each other’s songs even. Think, “Hey, so-and-so is here with us and featured on my last record, come on up and play a couple!”

We’re all working together and supporting each other as it is, so why do our shows and events seem so formal? These microcosms of amazing original art already exist, as do their unique audiences… It’s just a matter of blending them together to create memorable show experiences that keep people coming back for more. Invite the audience into your living room, hell, let ‘em help you make up the lyrics.

The more we connect with each other – artistically and otherwise – the stronger the Buffalo “scene” will be.



The Reign of Kindo

Joseph Secchiaroli Vox/Guitar
Jeff Jarvis Bass
Rocco Dellaneve Keys/Vox
Kendall Lantz Drums
Amit Peled Guitar
Rodney Flood Percussion/Vox

Years Active 2007 – Present

Latest Release “Happy However After” – (2018)

Favorite Local Band or Artist RNSM

Current Album on Repeat BJ The Chicago Kid – “In My Mind”

Taco Bell or Mighty Taco Taco Bell

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

Yes! We are releasing an Album in early 2021. We’ll be releasing the first single from that record this summer!

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

This is the biggest hurdle. None of us have any children yet. That certainly would be the biggest hurdle. We are all professional musicians here in New York. Our jobs are music. Our partners are also musicians who understand the struggle. In order to be able to balance all of those things, you have to love music more than all of them. Our first love is music.

Were you anywhere before Buffalo?

Nope. We started the group in Buffalo in 2007. We now all live in NYC and have been based out for there for nearly 10 years.

What has your recording experience been like?

We’ve been releasing all of our music on Patreon, a subscription based content service. We’ve been releasing one song per month for the past 3 years. We have a bank of 20 songs now. We can exist because of our fans support through Patreon. It keeps us disciplined and prolific. Because of this, we are always in the studio. It’s awesome.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

Collaboration, Kindness, Supporting one another, as well as a genuine interest and excitement for everyone to succeed.

*Interview with Jeff Jarvis





Irene Rekhviashvili Vocals
Ryan McMullen Guitar
Doug Scheider Drums
John Toohill Guitar

Years Active 6

Latest / Upcoming Release “Aloha Hopper” LP on Swimming Faith + Radical Empathy Summer 2019 / “Alpha Hex Index” LP on Hex Records due out late 2020

Current Album on Repeat IRENE:  I’ve been blasting Sayonara Wild Hearts, the soundtrack to the video game with the same name. Self-described as a pop album video game, the hour long rhythm based game felt like I was  “playing” a record (playing like a video game), and listening to the soundtrack feels like I’m playing the game in my head.

Currently Reading DOUG: About a third of the way through China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station.  A lot of the book’s concerns center around the experience of border spaces and how we navigate incommunicable differences.  Its style straddles the line between high art and pulp. There’s a lot of words that need to be looked up, but also it’s about aliens having sex with each other.

Favorite Venue to Perform IRENE: I really liked playing at the Glitterbox (RIP). This basement in our bud’s house was roomy, around the corner, and there was a controlled amount of glitter, so it was perfect. There were so many great shows with awesome bands there, I really miss the place!

All Time Favorite Album RYAN: Funhouse by The Stooges ; JOHN: That is the correct answer

Alpha Hopper Press Photo

How is everyone holding up during this time?

IRENE: Thank you for asking. I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home, and I stay in touch with my buds and family via video chat. I’m raising plants and the two Dungeons and Dragons campaigns I’m currently a part of really play (get it?) their part in keeping me occupied.

Tell us about how this project got started?

RYAN: The initial spark that created Alpha Hopper goes back to Irene and John wanting to make music together and calling up Doug and myself to help out. Irene had fronted a cool band a few years prior and was eager to get back on the mic. Doug, John and myself had all been in a band together years prior and had all collaborated on different projects in different permutations in the time between, so we really spoke each other’s language already. So all the pieces were assembled pretty much right away and we all just naturally fell into an extremely democratic and equal creative dynamic. It was never about doing a particular style, genre, or even working on a batch of prewritten material—everything came together organically as a group and we just kept doing it.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

DOUG: We’re right in the middle of recording a new record, “Alpha Hex Index.”  It’s been an exciting process this time around because between it being our most ambitious batch of songs to date and making the call to record it entirely ourselves, it feels like we’re pushing what we’re capable of as a band.  We’re still figuring out how we’re going to finish up without Virusing each other, but we’re hoping the record release show will be the first thing people are willing to risk being out of their house for this summer.

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

JOHN: You don’t. You just gotta make them all the same thing and then lug that around forever. No Juggling. Yer already a clown if you’ve decided to take music seriously. Start bands with your partners and don’t be shitty to each other so the group doesn’t break up after you do. Only work jobs that are flexible to your music schedule. Spell VACATION “T-O-U-R”. Have A LOT of roommates. Make it part of your daily routine. Get hopelessly addicted to it so you don’t even see what else might be worth your time. I’m kinda joking but it works for me and I love it. For real. Cept for that kids part. Don’t combine that. Then you’ll end up naming them River or Nimbus or something and try to make them play drums cuz you couldn’t. Jesus, just let the kid be good at math without forcing them to listen to Prog rock.

Previous Bands?

JOHN: We’ve all been/are in a ton of bands. I’m not gonna list them all cuz I’m mostly just answering this question so i can mention that Irene played drums in HOT TIP and I LOVED that band.

What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with?

DOUG: Does anyone have the name of a good therapist?  Also though it feels like there are fewer options for places to put on shows in the last couple of years.  With more money and people coming to downtown, a lot of places that used to enjoy a night of weirdos playing punk music have either closed or transitioned towards more broadly appealing entertainment options. I think we and a lot of artists could use a couple more houses and bars willing to be a home to smelly kids and loud amps.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

JOHN: Buffalo’s strengths and weaknesses are the same. It’s a small town vibe in an almost big city. Cheap rent. Places to practice. Everything is 15 mins apart. So close. There’s a lot of fun to have and it’s very easy to get in on it. Plus you got tons of other great cities to play that are a short drive. It’s really easy to be in a band here. Unfortunately that occasionally allows us to get too comfortable, lazy, and take things for granted. There is no real rush or pressure. It’s hard to keep people excited. You forget that you can, and really should, leave the nest before you end up hung up on it with all your energy drained. I have a saying “Buffalo is the best place to live if you remember to leave a lot.” I love it here… like 8 months a year.

What has your recording experience been like?

RYAN: We’re actually on a weird reverse trajectory with our recording experiences. Our first record (Last Chance Power Drive) was recorded by our friend Joe in a very professional studio with nice gear and all the bells and whistles; our second record (Aloha Hopper) was recorded in a basement on the east side with the expertise and gear of some knowledgeable friends; and now in 2020, we’re recording our latest record totally by ourselves in John’s attic. We’ve been lucky enough to always have a talented and generous network around us to help us pull off great recordings that we’re really proud of without ever having to pay a stranger a bunch of money to do it for us.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

RYAN: In my opinion, the primary indicator of a thriving scene is bands and artists inspiring people to start bands and become artists. When a person in the crowd who might otherwise be content just taking it in leaves a show feeling like they want to add their voice to the conversation, it’s a really beautiful and important thing. I’ve definitely observed that magical feedback loop happening here at many different times and different scales, but it certainly ebbs and flows and dries up at times. The most crucial ingredient in building it is a homebase; a venue that’s booking shows on the regular so people can look forward to seeing familiar faces and feel comfortable going to hang out and maybe take a chance on a band that they aren’t already familiar with. Everyone reading this should start a band!



Swimming Faith Records


Shawn Chiki / Lesionread

Years Active 10

Latest Release “2019 Forever” w/ Gabriel Wells

Album on Repeat Medusa’s “Boy of the Year”

Favorite Venue to Perform I miss Dreamland

Words of Wisdom DO Make art for the right reasons – self discovery, personal enjoyment, and expanding the universal sense of wonder.  DON’T compare yourself to other artists.

shawn 1

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

There’s more room to fail compared to bigger cities. Having room to fail is vital for artistic growth, if taken advantage of.

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from [COVID19]?

Reevaluation of what’s important to a society. You can see a wider acknowledgment that a big chunk of jobs aren’t essential to sustaining life, and the jobs that are deserve more respect. I’ve been saying for years that I see Nurses as the most important profession to society. They will literally be the last ones to be replaced by automation. When I first heard of cities doing nightly ‘applauses’ to healthcare workers, I cried.

Craziest memory from touring?

Feels like I have too many to remember, but the most recent one was last summer in Atlanta with you haha. Adam, you remember, but I’ll try to capture the scene for everybody else…

It was a really hot day like 95 degrees fahrenheit, and one of those shows where it was just the bands playing for each other – which would’ve been shit but it was Mothsweat, and I love that crew, their set was incredible. When the show ended, and everybody but me was chilling outside smoking, the manager of the club ran up to me screaming that the venue was about to re-open as a nightclub and I had 10 minutes to pack up everybody’s shit. He berated me asking where my bandmates were, and I told him that you were busy getting the van. The 10 minutes passed and there was still gear everywhere, suddenly this frazzled club manager was trying to help me pack everything up, and they spilled all of our merch over the floor. The club then opened to the public, and it just immediately fills up with a hundred drunk dancing bar folk. Now I’m picking up all the merch under everyone’s feet, and the gear is mostly stacked into a few piles but is totally in the way of everybody filling the dance floor. You had parked really far away, and we had probably 1,000+ lbs of gear on the second floor of this club.

I come downstairs and outside to see everybody hanging by the entrance smoking and goofing off, totally unaware of what was going on upstairs, the van still far away. There was some yelling, and then a game plan: we were to first get all the gear down to the street, and then you’d go get the van.  The staircase to this club was only one person wide, and now that the club was packed it was nearly impossible to get everything down as we’re pushing bar goers out of the way, but.. We did it. Then the rest of us waited in the street with this huge pile of gear, fending off drunk people while you went to get the van.

The area was so crowded with foot traffic that the street was closed off to cars. Now we didn’t realize the street was closed off to cars, but it explained why you weren’t able to pull up with the van. Eventually you call us saying you’re idling in a parking lot downhill from us and we had just a few minutes to pack up before we’d get a ticket from an angry parking lot clerk. Luckily we built our cases with wheels on them so we were able to roll our heavy ass gear down the street, practically chasing it as it gained speed and plowed through people.

After we finally got loaded up, we all met up with Mothsweat and friends in a parking lot and did aerobics and danced in the summer heat until 2am. That parking lot dance party was my favorite moment of the whole tour.

:::Video of the Atlanta parking lot dance party:::

Close second for recent crazy tour memories was 3 days later in Nashville, I had split off from you the night before to crash with Neil from Terror Pigeon at his sick Treehouse complex. The next morning I took an uber to the address of where you told me you were staying… Long story short I broke and entered into somebody’s house that you weren’t in lol. I went through that whole house searching for you, heard footsteps upstairs but then I found a note on the kitchen counter saying “Thanks for letting us stay! We left!” from you and Suz. Boy I ran out of that stand-your-ground house so quick my heads still spinnin🤠😵

What are the ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

You definitely need a wide variety of artists, and a plurality of engaged patrons.  Too many similar working artists per capita and nobody comes to the shows because everyone is busy making their own art haha.

Strangest thing you’ve heard from someone at a concert?

“Too Spooky” — Stevie Boyar

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

Shits tough. I have a tendency to get manic and obsessive with projects I get passionate about, and sometimes I lack the ability to recognize when I need to put the art down, and redirect focus towards the other vital parts of my life. It’s one of my biggest problems, LOL. I don’t have a single solution, but routines, and schedules help a bit. I’ve had some trial and error choosing jobs, partners, and friends that are flexible with my lifestyle. I’ve imagined having kids would mean the end of my art career, but I know that isn’t true for everybody.

What’s the next move?

I seem to be better suited at directing productions and crafting experiences than I am with any instrument, I’ve been feeling drawn towards integrating more theatre & acting with mixed media installations, and interactive online content.  I still want to integrate it all within a live music setting, but I feel like there’s a lot of unexplored territory and room for play.

I have a hefty handful of songs I was working on years ago that I dropped to join Space Cubs that I’d like to pick back up again and release properly.

I’ve also been casually recording material with Gabriel Wells, VR Sunset, Boy Jr, DenzelWorldPeace, $Bit¢h.99, and PrettyPillowPricess, and there’s lots of stuff that I’d like to put out in various fun ways.

What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with?

Time and resources 😂😂😂




Oats Holy Roller

Joe Myers is a singer/songwriter performing with a revolving crew of collaborators

Years Active 8

Latest Release Daniel, (Sometimes I Think of You) – April 14, 2020

Current Album on Repeat “Other Voices, Other Rooms” by Nanci Griffith

Favorite Venue to Perform Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton, MA


What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

Actively taking time out of you day to be quiet and not do anything.

What would you consider your Best Local Show Experience? 

Cages’ performance of ‘A World In Song’ at Asbury Hall was by far one of the most intense experiences I have witnessed locally for sure. Ever, maybe.

Were you anywhere before Buffalo?

I moved back to Buffalo about a month ago after living in Dunkirk, NY for two years.

Any Buffalo Artists you admire that you’ve never met?

A Relative Term and Brian Wheat were some of the guys that I admired as local musicians growing up in Buffalo,  I’m not sure if they are still around. I don’t know as  many people in the visual art world as I would like to. Chuck Tingly and Kyle Butler have always stood out to me.

Anyone you’d like to Collaborate with?

I think the whole world operates as a collaboration so it’s hard for me to think about making any of my music in a way that isn’t some kind of collaboration. It always feels that way for me. You are actively having to bring things to the table for the sake of sharing but you’re also challenging other people while they are challenging you. Whether you’re conscious of it or not I think that’s what’s happening and the agreement should be that everyone honestly just does whatever they’re good at and have fun and work on this sort of balance beam of competition and cooperation and that should be enough to guide for what makes for the best possible outcomes. I hope that Mallory Mordaunt puts a band together and lets me play the guitar.

Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?

Last summer I spent a weekend recording songs (Fear Memorial Park) right outside of Ithaca with my friend Justin (Justin Roeland and Nightswimmers). It was really the most relaxed experiences I’ve ever had making music and Justin has a really good listening ear and a very open and calm and experimental approach in regards to sound recording.

I’m also really excited to finish this currently untitled ‘electro-lounge’ project that me and my friend Chris Ploss spent some time working on last year and I had a lot of fun doing that.

Who’s a local musician / artist we’ve never heard of but should?


What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with?

Band Manager. Now accepting applications. Serious DMs only.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

It’s a pretty easy-going and affordable city to get started learning the ropes of how to work in a studio or get gigs in bars and clubs, if that’s your thing.


Photo by Ken Axford




Timothy Alice & the Dead Star Band

Timothy Alice Guitar/Vocals
Matt Distasio Bass/Vocals
Bub Crumlish Drums/Vocals

Years Active 1.5

Latest / Upcoming Release “SpaceStation AM500” – 2019

Current Album on Repeat Tim: “Somewhere Else” by Lydia Loveless / Bub: “Art of Doubt” by Metric / Matt: “ The Comfort of Madness” by Pale Saints

Currently Reading I’ve mostly been rereading, lately. There’s a comfort in it with everything that’s going on, and it also feels like a good time to take stock and revisit books or records you haven’t in a while. I’ve been rereading Marilynne Robinson’s “Gilead” and Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, and Suttree.

All Time Favorite Album This is like the hardest question in the world, but also my favorite. At most I can narrow it down to Gene Clark’s “No Other”, John Prine’s “Bruised Orange”, Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall, Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, and Van Morisson’s “Veedon Fleece”. There’s something so sacred and so unsettling about each of those records that I’ve never been able to shake. You can feel the blood and the humanity, all the desperation and tenderness, all the lust and heartache and hope, but mingled with something else beyond the pale. To me that’s the miracle of songs, and why something you’ve heard a thousand times can still knock you on your ass.

TIM002 Artwork_cover_web

Tell us about how this project got started?

I was playing an acoustic set at Perks like a year and half ago, and Matt happened to be there. We had played together for a battle of the bands in high school (we lost) and had kept in touch over the years but were both in and out of Buffalo at different points. I had been wanting to play with a band for a while, but was waiting for the right people, and when Matt and I got talking I knew this was it. He’s one of those guys who can pick up any instrument, and he’s got this awesome project called Yellow House that you should all check out. Bub I actually had to hunt down, but I knew I wanted him to play with us. We had skated together a couple times back in the Myspace era, and when I heard he was back in town I got his number from my sister, who had worked with him for a while. He plays with this sick metal band Yanari, who you should also check out, but as luck would have it he was looking to branch out into other types of music. A month later we were playing our first show. I’m thankful every day to be in a band with such great friends who also happen to be wildly talented musicians.

 Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment? 

I was about halfway through writing another record when quar started, but that really derailed everything. Writing from desperation or heartache is easy but this…uncertainty, whatever it is, it doesn’t feel natural to write right now, so I’ve just been trusting that instinct. A lot of my friends have said the same thing. I think at this point it’s just make it through all this in one piece and try to be there for your friends and family, and figure out ways to contribute to the community. There’ll be time for making records when this is all over.

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

I guess I don’t. My take on this would be to stay single and work as little as possible. And when you do have to work, do something that’s not sapping your creative energy. Easier said than done, of course. We fall in love, we have kids, we have health conditions or people to take care of, and not everybody is ok living off of tuna fish and peanut butter. But if you’re young, healthy, and unattached, this seems like the time to just pour your whole self into your passion. This thing demands everything you can give to it.

What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with? 

Definitely promotion. I think for a lot of us, having the temperament that inclines you to spend your time writing and playing music is the same temperament that makes you godawful at promoting it.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

There’s a lot of incredibly talented and supportive artists here (too many to name), and everybody’s doing it for the love of the thing. You can live on very little here, and there’s a lot of opportunities to open for national acts at places like the 9th Ward. That venue is an absolute treasure.

What has your recording experience been like?

I’ve been really lucky here. I recorded my first EP at Select Sound Studios with my dear friend, the exceptional Andrew Kothen (koko.neetz, who you should all listen to) and our very gifted pal Jacob Peter on drums. When Matt and Bub and I did SpaceStation AM500 last year as a band, we went back there and worked with Kothen again. So I’ve literally never worked with anybody who wasn’t a compadre, which feels like a privilege. There’s a lot of trust there, and common ground. It also doesn’t hurt that I have such incredibly talented friends.






Maggie DeWitt Vocals
Jeffrey Colson Guitar
Isiah Druelinger Bass
Ethan Childs Drums

Favorite Local Bands/Artists There are a lot of great bands and artists in buffalo but if we were to choose we’d probably have to go with this band called Petechia or a band called Tina Panic Noise. Both those bands are super great, would recommend both of them.

Current Album on Repeat My album I’ve been listening to a lot lately is for sure The Garden’s new album, “Kiss my super bowl ring.” It’s really great and has a lot of new stuff I’ve never heard from them.

Favorite Venue to Perform Our favorite venue to perform is for sure either Sugar City or Grindhaus. Both those places are super sick and both all ages which we always really like. Both are very welcoming places and we always have a great time at both!


Are you working on anything new/specific at the moment?

Well at the moment we are kinda just trying to write songs while being stuck in our houses then when we can get together and make them into something. We hope to record some stuff at some point but not really sure when. We just gotta get this coronavirus figured out then us and everyone else can start up again.

What would you consider your best local show experience?

I would say one of our favorite shows if the last show we played in the beginning of march at Grindhaus, that show was so fun. Everyone was jumping around and having a great time. It’s such a great feeling watching people have fun to stuff you write and perform to people.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

Buffalo has a lot of great venues to play at and a lot of inspiring bands to watch. It’s very easy to meet other people if you are trying to start a band, always cool people at shows and around the city. There are a lot of great people to meet around the music scene also.

What has your recording experience been like?

When we recorded our first album it was great and super fun. We recorded with Brandon at his studio Steak and Cake records. It was really comfy and was always super fun and we loved how the mix came out when it was all done and ready.

What’s the biggest thing your band could use help with?

We really want to tour and it’s kinda been a struggle setting it up and getting all the contacts for everything. We were trying to set one up for summer but now coronavirus has ruined it a little so we hope we can as soon as possible.

*Interview with Ethan Childs





Brittany Costa vocals & guitar
Adam Malchoff drums
Kiril Orenstein drums
Jacob Galenski guitar
Corey Bzibziak bass

Years Active 4

Latest Release “Alchemical Rounds”, “Demos 2”

Favorite Local Band or Artist Award Show

Current Album on Repeat “Green Twins” by Nick Hakim – The perfect record to dance to/explore your body with or groove to on a solo walk.

Words of Wisdom Be open to what arrives and trust yourself. There are so many paths to take — don’t hold yourself to just one. Let it carry you to unknown territory. It’s okay to let go of who you were and who you knew to become.

Processed with VSCO with acg presetPhoto by Emily Finlan

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

There are many lessons… The fact that uplifting and supporting your local community is extremely vital to everyones well being physically and mentally, the fact that our inner worlds could use a lot more inquiry, love, & compassion, the dismantling of a capitalistic mindset in many ways, namely the idea that we need to constantly be productive…etc.

Tell us about how this project got started?

Something that I don’t talk about much is that I was involved in theater for a big portion of my life. At the time Jack came to be, I was coming back home to Queens from doing a play in Scotland that the theater company I was in had worked on/written for about 2 years. It was an incredible and fulfilling experience to be a part of a devised theater company, but I remember feeling very drained from theater in general. I’d been involved in a few bands in between theater shows throughout the years and would write songs here & there for them, but those projects never felt like my fullest expression. I was always tip-toeing around music — never fully committing to it, but constantly feeling drawn to it. Like many who turn to music, I had a complicated/traumatic childhood and music was always the outlet that made me feel safe and helped me to heal some stuck emotions. I knew it’d always have a place in my life, but I didn’t know how it would manifest itself.

I slowly started to peel away from other music projects and right before we left for our production, I had a taste of my first solo show at DBTS, just under my name. I remember I couldn’t stop thinking about the energy at that show — I think it was being a part of something much bigger than myself in a way that theater used to make me feel. I felt held and seen in a different way because the art I was sharing was my story, not a play someone else wrote. That music scene was truly something electric and special at the time and I felt inspired to contribute. When I came back from Scotland, I decided to put theater on the shelf and apply that energy into a solo project, which I named Jack. Songs were written and I started playing more shows. I honestly felt shy about being 26 at the time and only just starting to play my own stuff, but I kept at it anyway. Solo shows were great, but there was so much in my head that I couldn’t transmute on stage so I went looking for a drummer. I had met Kiril Orenstein once or twice before through a mutual friend so I reached out to see if he’d like to play together. There was an unspoken trust/bond I felt with Kiril that was very grounding and allowed me to just be completely vulnerable through my music.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

The past year and a half has been more about traveling, self exploration, deepening my spiritual practices, and opening up to what is sustainable/will fill my cup in the career realm, but I’m looking forward to planting my feet down in one place again. There’s a wheelbarrow of songs I’m ready to plant when I can afford to fly all the band members out to one recording studio. Until then, I’ll continue writing and growing the pool. Maybe there will be a double album or maybe none of these songs will ever be recorded. Who knows!

Any Buffalo Artists you admire that you’ve never met?

I’ve always admired Irene’s (of Alpha Hopper and DilDon’t) energy and commitment to their performance.

Anyone you’d like to Collaborate with?

There are a lot of Buffalo artists I’d love to collaborate with, but the first one that comes to mind is Suzanne of Space Cubs. We share a similar background and I’d be interested to see what comes out of that. I also just really miss collaborating with my own bandmates. It’s been a really long time since we were all in one place together.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

Buffalo is a great place to work on your craft. There’s a lot of time and space to practice, play shows, and explore your sound. Shows aren’t relatively hard to book there so if you want more practice in the performance realm, it’s a great place to get really comfortable on stage.

What areas could Buffalo Improve on?

I think Buffalo could improve on its inclusivity and openness in the music scene. As someone who just came through for about a year and a half, my experience was that there were a lot of labels applied to bands/people/scenes. Sometimes when this happens it locks people into a box and doesn’t allow for growth or alternate perspective. I remember people coming up to me a number of times and saying something along the lines of you play this, or your music is this thing, you are this person, you are dating so-and-so, before even introducing themselves or us getting to know each other. When that happens, you create this idea of someone in your mind, naturally developing prejudices based on your own interests and experiences, without ever getting the opportunity to find out who they are. Often, the conversation would just end there because their mind was already made up about you. This is a very human thing to do to help us make sense of the world and because sometimes we’re nervous or awkward and don’t know how to approach certain conversation, myself included, but with a local music scene that has so much potential for exploration, I think it’s important to carry that openness to each other. There’s also still some misogyny in the scene that needs to be destroyed — this exists in most places, but there’s never been an excuse for it and there never will be.

What’s the next move?

I’m excited to be settling in the PNW and seeing what becomes.

*Interview with Brittany Costa

jack 1





Justin John Smith vocals/guitars/annoyingly calm personality
Tyler Skelton guitars/backup vocals/doo-dads/anxiety
James Warren Bass/can write a bridge when necessary
Matt Cosmann Drums/can still make something of his life

Years Active 2012-present

Latest Release We just released new live material on most video platforms

Favorite Local Bands/Artists The Tins, Lazlo Hollyfeld, Lesionread, Fleshy Mounds

Favorite Quote “That may be diabetes” -anonymous

Album On Repeat King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – “Infest The Rat’s Nest”

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

Your friends care about you. Your government does not.

Craziest memory from touring?

Detroit: Inhale broken exhaust fumes until dizzy

Cincinnati: Stolen guitar

Morgantown: Drummer arrested

NYC: Van breaks down in Holland tunnel… four days of hell

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

The amount of talent, creativity, and perspectives in the Buffalo music scene is astounding. It is a very supportive community to be a part of.

What has your recording experience been like?

Mostly hungover and over-caffeinated.

What’s the next move?

Rip sick solo




Personal Style

Stephen Floyd Bass, Vocals Bryan Johnson Guitar, Vocals Evan Wachowski Drums

Years Active 2019 – Current

Current Releases Personal Style 2019 Demo Cassette / CD / Digital

Upcoming Releases 7″ Single Coming Soon LP to follow

Favorite Local Bands Alpha Hopper, Curtis Lovell, Denzel World Peace, Del Paxton, Facility Men, Healer, Nine Layers Deep, RPG, Sparklebomb, Uniform Operator, Medusa, Carmen and Lizzy

Current Album On Repeat Stephen: Waxahatchee – “Saint Cloud” / Bryan: Caribou – “Suddenly” / Evan: “A Partner to Lean On” by Trace Mountains.
(I’ve managed to listen to this album almost every day for a year without getting sick of it. It’s so warm and introspective that putting it on always feels like a hug.)

Currently Reading Bryan: “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn

Previous Bands Bryan: Bryan Johnson and Family, Mutual Friends, Honey Coma / Evan: Figurehead, Honey, Pawn / Stephen: Hot Tip, Mallwalkers, Slow Mutants

Best Wings in Buffalo Evan: Amy’s Place seitan wings. Replace the chicken on the Margie Meal with seitan strips to double up.

Mighty Taco or Taco Bell Evan: Taco Bell hands down. Cheaper, way more meatless options, infinite free hot sauce packets to put in your glove compartment. / Bryan: TACO BELL! All the way. When that fire sauce packet asked to marry me I said “I do”.

Tell us about how this band got started?

Stephen: I met Bryan when he asked my band Mallwalkers to open up for him for his record release show upstairs at the Waiting Room on Delaware. Down the road we started working together when Mallwalkers asked him to help write some songs on what would be our last record together as a group.
Concurrently, I was getting to know Evan at the comic shop I work at: Gutter Pop Comics. We probably got to know each other over a year or two just talking music, comics, graphic design. He did the artwork for one of the bands I was playing in at the time.
I was really liking working with Bryan in Mallwalkers and I found myself learning a lot in the short time we played together and as that group dissolved somewhere the idea of us continuing on together came about and Evan had recently stopped playing with his group Honey.
We had talked about playing together for well over a year and on the one hand considering taking a break from being in bands for a while to focus on the comic store but the prospect of playing with Evan and Bryan was just too awesome. We’ve sort of hit the ground running as they say.

Evan: Stephen opened up Gutter Pop Comics in 2016 when I was going to college down the road at Buffalo State, and I began stopping in regularly to shop and chat about music, comics, or whatever else. We’d often talk about jamming together or starting up a band, but I don’t think either of us had seen the other play live until a couple years later. When we finally made plans to play some music together, Stephen invited Bryan to play guitar with us and it immediately felt like the three of us were all speaking the same musical language and matching one another’s energies naturally. It was an exciting and refreshing process that’s hard to come by in an inaugural band practice. First time jam sessions can sometimes be pretty awkward, but I came out of that one with lots of enthusiasm about the tunes we had written and it’s been a blast playing with those guys ever since.

Bryan: I really feel like Stephen glued this whole band together. He and I had really only known of each of from being in other bands in similar circles. He said he had been talking to Evan about starting a project and now was the time and asked if I’d like to join in. When we played together for the first time the energy was high and exciting. So the decision to move forward was an easy one. Writing music felt effortless and genuinely fun! After our first show at Area 54 I think we were all really locked into making this more than just a fleeting moment.

What has your recording experience been like?

Stephen: I think we’re all interested in using the studio as a creative tool and so I’ve been joking that I want Personal Style to be an overproduced punk band but not like in a slick, pop-punk way but in a way maybe Wire was using the studio to make Chairs Missing or 154. I think I’ve been in a number of pretty good live bands but sometimes translating that to an album listening experience has eluded me.

Who’s a local musician we’ve never heard of but should have?

Stephen: He’s been in a ton of great bands but Dave Dluga had like a solo kinda project called Softlines that has a bunch of great stuff. I’m particularly fond of this track “Fall

Bryan: Carmen O’Keefe has one of the best voices in Buffalo. She posts incredible acoustic covers and is one half of Carmen and Lizzy.

Favorite venue to play in buffalo?

Evan: Every show at Sugar City is a ton of fun. Mohawk Place is one of my favorite bar venues for sure.

What are some ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

Diversity and acceptance.

What’s the next move?

Stephen: We have a 2 song 7″ we’re self-releasing this summer or fall depending on how things shake out. Hopefully we’ll be touring on them once that is a safe and acceptable thing to do, which obviously could be next year. We’re also working on some sort of larger release, probably an LP. We re-recorded some of the stuff that was on the demo plus unreleased stuff so I imagine it will be a 10 or 12 song sort of thing, but we’re trying to really be mindful of the presentation to make sure we feel like everything is worth releasing, not just release whatever comes out if that makes sense. Also some quick plugs two bands I was in have releases coming out soon so I’ll point you to the final recordings by Mallwalkers and Slow Mutants two bands I really adored.

Evan: Personally, I’m finishing up the artwork for the 7” and taking this time indoors to acquaint myself more with songwriting and become more comfortable using instruments besides a drum kit.

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

Bryan: Making solid commitments by saying yes or no. “Maybe” only makes life harder. If I didn’t use the calendar app on my phone, I would never know what was going on. Making a loose schedule for my day to day helps keep me on task. Don’t be surprised if you invite me to something and I consult with the calendar.

What can we all learn from this?

Evan: I hope that this situation makes more people understand (and take action against) the glaring faults of a system built to value capital over human life. The missteps of our government and societal leaders at nearly every point in the pandemic timeline clearly show the incompetence and malevolence of greedy sociopaths in power. We must demand radical changes to our healthcare system and come out of this situation with more empathy for our neighbors and the workers who risked their lives to keep society running. This is such a clear display of the way that healthcare, food, and service workers are taken advantage of to keep profits high with a total disregard for human safety and wellbeing. The COVID outbreak has exposed so many cracks in our societal infrastructure that it’s difficult to pin down any one lesson to take away without nearly going mad thinking about all the other ways that it feels like we’re fucked. If people can come out of this situation with more respect and empathy towards their communities and the human workers that keep them functioning, then I think we’re moving in the right direction.

Craziest Memory from touring:

Evan: I was on tour in 2015 with Alleys, and our friend in Akron told us about an abandoned mall in town. Four of us went exploring in this totally derelict shopping mall for a few hours. It was completely busted and looked like a perfect setting for any dystopian story. I actually just now googled “The Last of Us Mall” and a photo of the ohio mall came up because of their resemblance. We were exploring some dark back-room office with our flashlights when a figure appeared at the end of the hallway demanding that we come out. The light was at his back so we couldn’t make out any features, and in a panic, my friend Alex turned to run and warn another friend of ours who was in another room. In doing so, they slipped and smashed their face against a wall. We were being questioned by 4 cops in an abandoned mall while blood gushed from Alex’s face and all over their hands. We got let off with a warning and cleaned the blood up in a Long John Silvers bathroom down the road. Our Akron friend told us that if you get caught there twice you go to jail, so this was a once in a lifetime thing that was totally worth the trouble




Humble Braggers

Tom Burtless Singer
Bryan Zells Bass / Guitar
Matt Chavanne Drums
Tom Stoklosa Keyboard

Years Active 2013 – Present

Latest / Upcoming Release “Locked Inside” (released 2/28) / More singles to come soon!

Best Wings in Buffalo Tom B: Kelly’s Korner probably clinches the top spot for me just due to my love of everything North Buffalo. Barbill and 9/11 Tavern are right there behind them though. Bryan Z: Barbill for wings. Gabriel’s Gate too. Tom S: Central Park Grill. Kelly’s Korner is good too.

Favorite Venue to Perform Tom B: I think I can answer on behalf of the whole band and say Town Ballroom. It’s been such a treat that we’ve gotten to play there as much as we have. All of those shows have been absolutely perfect – except for Matt’s in-ear pack dying as we closed out one of our sets. Also playing Adelaide Hall in Toronto was a very cool experience. It was our first time playing across the border and the crowd responded really well to us.

Current Album on Repeat Tom B: I’ve had the new Tame Impala on somewhat frequently since it’s come out. Also very into the new Weeknd album that just came out. Tom S has been listening to “Heaven Surrounds You” by Surf Curse and “Sorry” by The Slums (RIP). Matt has been spinning The 1975’s self titled. Bryan has been playing The National’s newest release “I Am Easy to Find” along with Gorillaz, Sean Rowe, The Wild Reeds and Elbow.

humble 4Photo by Greg McClure

Tell us about how this project got started? 

Tom B: This project got started in the basement of the house I lived off Allen St when I biked home from class one day with the song structure for Do You Know Anything coursing through my head. I went on to make that song and the rest of Safe Haven, starting the band in 2013. Since then we’ve had 2 more EPs, several singles and a full length album.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment? 

Tom B: Yes we are! We have slowly but surely been wrapping up our second full length album which (hopefully) will be coming out later this year. We have a few singles that will be coming out in the meantime leading up to that.

What would you consider your Best Local Show Experience?

Tom B: I’m not sure about best but my first thought upon this question is when we played with Lesionread back in late 2014 or early 2015 at Dreamland (RIP). HB was closing in on our first year of playing shows and still feeling very new/just starting to make friends in the indie scene. I just remember watching Shawn close out the night by having everyone lay on the floor as he ran around all of them doing god knows what. It was the first time thinking “wow there’s a lot here I’ve yet to uncover”.

Tom S: My best local show experience would be the first time I saw Dreambeaches playing a basement show at Curly’s. I met Corey standing in line for the bathroom and that started a cascade of events that led to me joining Humble Braggers.

Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?

Tom B: My friend Denzel (who goes by denzelworldpeace) recently asked me to collaborate on a song that we’re both super proud of called “Time Can’t Help.” He’s making some great electronic music right now that everyone should go listen to.

Top 5 favorite Buffalo Bands / Artists? 

Tom B: Number one has to be, without a doubt, Del Paxton. I don’t think there’s any other band from Buffalo that I listen to more on a regular basis. Sleepaway was a huge influence when I was younger. I speak for Tom S and myself when I say that we really really miss The Slums. I especially loved their last EP they put out – it’s become an essential part of my running playlist. Our good friends in Dreambeaches also continuously inspire us with each new release they’ve put out (and I hope they make something sooner than later). And as of late I’d say that Ex-Pat has been getting quite a few spins after recently seeing him perform at Nietzsches just a little while ago.

What has your recording experience been like?

Tom B: We’ve always done some hybrid of professional studio and home recording for this project. I think the more we’ve shifted the dial toward the latter the better everything has felt. We’ve done a few sessions tracking everything at a studio and I think without us being able to sit and tinker with things we feel like we lose a bit of what makes our songs sound like us.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music / art scene? 

Tom B: I think the people who can find the ways to attract non-musicians and non-artists to be interested in and witness what our local scene has to offer will allow us to thrive. I also think unfortunately we’ve lost a lot of DIY venues in the past few years (Little Baltimore, Modeling Factory, Dreamland) that helped promote a lot of local artists in unique spaces. I hope we see some return of those kinds of venues in the near future.

humble 2Photo by Krit Upra



The Leones

Justin Bachulak Piano, Synths, Vocals
Dustin Lau Guitar
Kevin Carney Drums
Will Webb Bass 

Years Active 5 years

Upcoming Release Upcoming 2020 album

Best Wings in Buffalo Chester’s Cajun Grill

Favorite Venue to perform Babeville

Biggest Inspiration Elvis Costello, The War on Drugs, Jim James, Beach House

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

I guess now more than ever it’s important to know how lucky all of us are to be here, in this place and time. This is a terrible pandemic and our government is fucked and it’s really scary but most of us as Americans know nothing of the terror people in this world face everyday or what people have endured in the past. We are the 1%. We are the luckiest in the history of the world to be human and alive right now.

Tell us about how this project got started?

I played at Babeville with my old folk band in 2014 and Dustin, The Leones guitarist came to the show. We talked after the show about The War on Drugs, Neil Young and My Morning Jacket and that was it. We jammed in my garage a few times and I realized making this music we were starting to explore, focusing on the emotional connections between guitar and piano and vocals was special and we really enjoyed it. Wren Werner, (Sons of Luther, The Instigator Hour) came to our like third duo show at Waiting Room and kicked me in the ass to get a rhythm section. That’s when him and Kevin, our drummer, came in and that was The Leones.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

We’re working on a new album currently and we’re really excited about it. 

What would you consider your Best Local Show?

We opened for Japanese Breakfast at Mohawk and that was pretty magical. 

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

You steal time when you can. Saturday’s and late evenings when you want to go to bed but you have to sit down and play or record something. 

*Interview with Justin Bachulak




Rust Belt Brigade

Victor Castillo Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin
Trevor Jennings Percussion, Cajon, Vocals
Miah Franco Vocals, Banjo
Brandon Mueckl Vocals, Bass, Guitar

Years Active 4 or so years. I’m very bad at keeping track.

Upcoming Release “Howdy, Hallelujah, Here’s The Thing”

Currently Reading I am currently reading the Jason Molina biography “Riding With The Ghost.”

Favorite Local Artist Cooler. I have always had a big crush on Nick Sessanna.

Local Artists We Should Know More About Shoot Ya String Band. Cody Barcroft’s country/americana outfit with slick songwriting and a rotating cast of local talent filling out the backing band.

img001Photo by Pat McCarthy at Mammoth Recording Studio

Tell us about how this project got started?

RBB started as a duo. It was just me and Trevor. I was playing guitar he was playing cajon. We’re were a couple of punks trying to play old time country music with every ounce of soul. Miah happened to see us at a few shows and had mentioned that he picked up playing the banjo so we asked him to join. A few months after that the same thing happened with Mueckl but this time the bass guitar. Trevor and I had always said if we were gonna add people they were gonna be people that wanted to be apart of it. People that kinda already knew where the ship was headed and were on board. We’ve been grinding it out on the brewey, bar, resturant circuit to pay for the record and upgraded equipment and I am so gratful to the many owners and business that let us play so we could pay for all this stuff without having to invest personal money. I think with the release of this recording we are going to head back into the direction of playing and organising shows though which is exciting.

Previous Bands?

Before RBB I was in a post-hardcore band called Lancer. Fellow Edenites Mike Rakiecki and Adam Cwynar. We played around the area and released an E.P. entitled “Don Is Rich” (it can be found on and its a project I am still very proud of). After about 3 or 4 years we kinda called it quits.

Anyone you’d like to Collaborate with?

Sonny Baker. He’s been the epitome of indie rock and DIY for me for a long time. I’ve looked up to him creatively for a long while. Probably since A Hotel Nourishing days. And he is the first triple threat I ever encountered. His art work is amazing. His songwriting masterful and thoughtful. And his performances are always memorable.

What has your recording experience been like?

Our time spent recording “Howdy, Hallelujah, Here’s The Thing” was with the team over at Mammoth Recording and it was such a great and smooth process. They had everything we needed but more importantly they invested themselves into the project. Since this will be technically our record debut, because Mueckl was not featured on our prevous releases, we had a direction and Justin and Mike helped us turn that into a clear image.

What’s the next move?

Next up is final mixes and mastering. Then plan a release show, get some new merch together and some physical copies. After the release then just start planning as many outta town shows as possible.

*Interview with Victor Castillo

DSC_9071Photo by Meredith Snow of Snowfall Photography at Jamestown Brewery



Hundred Plus Club

Zain Shirazi Guitar, Vocals
Burak Spoth Drums
Rafi Bloomberg Bass
Josh Gidwitz Guitar

Years Active 5

Latest Release “Need Boost” EP – 2020

Current Album on Repeat   The Garden “Kiss My Superbowl Ring”

Taco Bell or Mighty Taco Taco Bell

All Time Favorite Album The Voidz “Tyranny”

hundred plus club 1

Tell us about how this project got started?

We’ve all been friends since middle school. Spring of 2013, we picked up some instruments and began to learn how to make music together.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

Writing / Recording new music always.

Experience working with a label?

Admirable Traits Records takes good care of us. Wouldn’t have progressed the way we have without them.

What has your recording experience been like?

Each release has been different. The big takeaway / limitation for us has been that time is money in studios. Our next release will be mostly self recorded, which is allowing us to spend a lot of time on every little detail of every song.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music / art scene?

Better Ingredients, Better Pizza…Support from fellow artists is probably the biggest thing.

What’s the next move?

More new music, bigger shows, tour.



Tough Old Bird

Nathan Corrigan Guitar, harmonica, vocals
Matthew Corrigan Guitar, banjo, synth, vocals
Jay Corwin Upright bass

Years Active 2014 – Present

Latest Release “The Old Great Lakes” (June 2019)

Favorite Local Artist Oats Holy Roller

Current Album on Repeat Waxahatchee – “Saint Cloud” and Bob Dylan – “John Wesley Harding”

Currently Reading “The Town and The City” by Jack Kerouac


How is everyone holding up during this time?

We’re doing good, everyone is staying busy and healthy. Nathan is in Buffalo and I’m in Fillmore, NY. I’ve been out of work for about two weeks, so I’ve been trying to keep myself occupied as much as I can. Writing new music, experimenting, working on home projects etc. I feel lucky to be in a rural area right now that allows plenty of freedom and space while still upholding social distancing.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

We’ve both been writing and demoing a lot of new songs lately. We’re very excited about them, I think they’re the strongest batch of songs either of us has put forward.

What would you consider your Best Local Show Experience?

Our release show at Nietzsche’s for our second full-length album “Gambling Days” always sticks out to me as being special. I think it was our first show at a venue of that size and our first time playing with Jay Corwin in upright. I remember feeling as if we had finally broken through some barrier, either personal or musical. Almost like that was our FIRST show, you know?

Were you anywhere before Buffalo?

We started out playing while we lived in our hometown of Fillmore, NY. Then we spent some time living and working in Geneseo, NY before moving to Buffalo.

Craziest memory from touring?

On of our first trips out of state we were playing at a place in Johnson City, TN that was attached to a Laundromat. About 10 minutes before our set we found out that our car had been hit and ran while in the parking lot. So we had to play our set knowing this had happened and then immediately go next door to watch security camera footage in the Laundromat closet trying to figure who had hit us. We never did and our bumper was attached with zip-ties for 5 years after that.

What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with?

I think that anything that allows us more time for making music is helpful. We’ve always booked our own tours and the work and promotion behind that is very time consuming. Any help that gets our music into people’s ears is valuable.

What has your recording experience been like?

We love recording. We’ve recorded albums in studios and at home and both have been rewarding. It’s a completely different headspace than touring and playing shows and one that I find really enriching. I think that recording “The Old Great Lakes” was probably the best I’ve ever felt about myself creatively and about the band creatively. We all brought the best of ourselves to those sessions.

What’s the next move?

We’re releasing “The Old Great Lakes” on vinyl in mid-April. It’s been a long time coming and our first time on vinyl, we’re honored and excited that it’s finally happening.

*Interview with Matthew Corrigan




Craig Perno Guitar, Lead Vocals
Zach Russell Bass, Vocals
Trav Perno Drums, Vocals

Years Active 2017- present

Latest Release “Gorgeous” (Admirable Traits, 2018)

Favorite Local Band or Artist I have a lot of respect for the artists around Buffalo. Everyone has their own sound while creating something to be proud of. I really dig Made Violent and MAGS’ albums. Ghostpool have written some of my favorite songs that I’ve heard in a while. Ugly Sun crushes live and on record. Paul Besch at Quiet Country Audio has a prolific list of people he has recorded. The list really goes on and on.

Current Album on Repeat Slint – “Spiderland”. What an insanely great album to listen to on repeat as well. Every hit is masterfully planned, and every note has a purpose. If you haven’t heard this album before I highly suggest a listen.

Favorite Venue to Perform We all love to play Mohawk Place, and are extra missing it in these times. Town Ballroom has always been fun to play as well.

How is everyone holding up during this time?

We’re all doing as good as possible. Our bass player Zach just had a baby so he’s kind of in lockdown mode. I’m still writing songs during this time for our next record. Trav has been spending a lot of time with his production of rap music as Twin Child.

Tell us about how this project got started?

Travis and I were in a band called Sleepless City when we were younger and after that band split up, we needed a bass player, so Zach came into the picture. We clicked and started writing songs and next thing you know SMUG was born.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

Yes, I’m always writing but in particularly I’m currently writing SMUG’s next record. I don’t know when exactly it will be coming out or anything but expect it to be louder, faster and much heavier. I have probably half of it done at this point. Oh, I also started a podcast with my 2 friends called GoodFellows Podcast you can find online.

Craziest memory from touring?

We learned how to surf, met the guitar player of A Flock of Seagulls, ended up having to drive 16 hours from Florida to make a show back in Buffalo and got pulled over all for the sake of Rock-n-Roll.

What has your recording experience been like?

It’s been great we have a really good relationship with Paul Besch at Quiet Country Audio. He’s done most of our stuff and all of our album ‘Gorgeous’. Our process is generally to lay down some demos on my personal recorder and then we bring them to QCA to polish it off.

What’s the next move?

More songs, another record, more videos and touring hopefully!

*Interview with Craig Perno




Reggie Clark all instruments and production

Live Members Jimmy Ciambor – Bass , Dylan Marki – Drums

Years Active 2019 – present

Releases “Artifact” LP Jan. 2019, “Out of the Night” Single Oct. 2019

Current Album on Repeat “Something/Anything?” by Todd Rundgren

Favorite Venue to Perform Mohawk Place.  A lot of great memories and performances there.

Best Wings in Buffalo I’ve always been a fan of Bar Bill’s wings.  Maybe that’s technically an East Aurora spot, but the presentation, sauces, and blue cheese speak for themselves.


How did the project get started?

Around 2014, I was hanging with Nathan Zak (drummer of Planet Three) and he introduced me to Vaporwave.  I immediately became infatuated with the reverberated, dreamlike samples and synthesizers they were using. I bought some old synthesizers and challenged myself to write songs very quickly.  10 songs later, I had an albums worth of material that I felt comfortable enough to share with everybody.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

I’ve got album number two in the works right now.  I’d say that it’s close to completion, but I said the same thing many years ago about the first one, so we’ll see what happens. I also have a new Planet Three (my other band) EP in the works.  I love working on projects more than releasing them.

What would you consider your best local show experience?

Lesionread shows are easily some of the best local shows to experience.  I might be biased in saying that because I was a live bassist, and briefly assisted, in the project.  The show existed before and after my tenure.  It’s always been outstanding.  It’s like a nightmare disguised as a birthday party.

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

I always drop hints and jokes of collaboration with Humble Braggers. We both share the love of Tears For Fears and catchy synth pop. I like to imagine chaining all of our synthesizers together and seeing what the result would be.

What has your recording experience been like?

I really like to get the bulk of recording done at home, and then I usually wrap up everything else in the studio.  When I go into the studio, I get really cheesed out from being around all that fine gear that I can’t afford.  I don’t think I’d get anything done with all of that at my disposal.  My limitations at home are what fuel my creativity.  Although, it is very important to have an extra set of ears on a record.  I prefer to let someone else handle the mixing and mastering.

5F0117D0-C024-4C43-999C-CA8735F3D263Photo by Zach M Anderson

*Interview with Reggie Clark



Logan Locking

Logan op1 (teenage engineering) organelle (critter and guitari) and ableton

Years Active 2010-present

Upcoming Release Not sure but pretty soon hopefully

Currently Reading “Post Office” by Charles bukowski

Best Wings in Buffalo Bar Bill wings are definitely the best in Buffalo if not the world

Current Album on Repeat Really enjoying Four Tets new album “Sixteen Oceans”

logan pic

Strangest thing you’ve heard from someone at a concert?

I went to a phish show when I was like 18 with some older friends of mine, and I wasn’t really dancing and some dude in his 40s who was really feeling the music said “I’m gonna kick your ass if you don’t start dancing” I awkwardly laughed and realized this might not be the scene for me.

How did this project get started?

Well my old band had broken up and I still wanted to make music, so I got a midi keyboard and messed around in mix craft then got ableton and felt I could make any sound I could imagine, the possibilities felt endless and I fell in love with creating sounds.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

I’ve been working on a set I was supposed to play a few weeks ago, but that was cancelled due to obvious reasons so I might make an album out of those recordings.

What does Buffalo have to offer spiring musicians?

Buffalo has a great community. Everyone has something that sets them apart from each other, and it’s easy to distinguish the difference between artists. The buffalo infringement festival is a great way to get out there and meet other musicians/artists I suggest doing that if you’re just starting out.

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

Get things done you otherwise didn’t have time for, realize everyone in the world is going through the same thing and you’re not alone. Take care of your significant other and your family, but from 6 feet away of course.



Jesse & the Spirit

Jesse & the Spirit

Years Active 2016 – Present

Latest Release I’m currently working on a series of ambient-ish, mostly-improv tracks while I’m not working at my day job called “[droplet nuclei];” so far I’ve released four of them and have more coming. Upcoming novella and an album of not-ambient-or-improv, psychedelic-industrial (?) tracks (hopefully, depending on the Will of the almighty Virus) late summer 2020, “Peculiar Living.”

Currently Reading I bought David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” in January, and it’s sat on the shelf through a pretty heavy winter depression, sort of knowing the emotional labor it takes to read his books, especially this one being the “unfinished” final novel (sleep well, DFW), but with all this newfound freetime I figured it was time to begin. About halfway in I think I can already say that it *might* be better than the more colossal and infamous Infinite Jest; we’ll see. I don’t want to give too much away for anyone that may take my recommendation, but it gets real, real quick, and the writing style and literary voice is so perfectly honed in on this one that Wallace just sort of dances across the pages, with at times whole-page sentences that read more fluidly than some mainstream journalism, the sort that’s meticulously designed to read fluidly. Anyway, I could write a lot more, but this isn’t about DFW novels.

jesse 2

Favorite Local Artists Okay, so I really hate answering this question, because I know a lot of people that create really incredible works of art and music and performance, but we did this event last year, “Noise in the Woods,” where we got a generator and set up this big camp-out near Zoar Valley and basically had all sorts of noise and electronic artists playing from 5 in the afternoon to almost 3 a.m., and pretty much everyone on the bill blew my mind, but Actaea Alchemiae performed this trance-inducing cello “noise” set with pitched-down vocals and I think some samples and field recordings, and it just has rested with me for a while as one of the best “local” sets I’ve seen (if Rochester counts?). Anyway they’re also an incredibly knowledgeable and wise being from probably some other dimension that also concocts mushroom-medicines and foods and blacksmiths jewelry and other items as well and I’m sure has a million other talents I’m neglecting to mention here or maybe don’t even know about. That said, there are so many talented artists making art for others and themselves.

In the same vein, Ravi Padmanabha and Steve Baczkowski performing together is some of the most sublime and freeing expression of human emotion that anyone could ever witness; the two of them playing together is like being ripped off the ground into the throws of a stories-high tornado that drops you somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic where you realize that not only can you now breathe underwater but can ferricly withstand the deep sea pressures that exceed 15,000 psi, diving deeper and deeper into this sea that folds over on itself into this peculiar sort of ripple in spacetime that then propels you right back into your own subconscious, barely returning to the physical world after the music stops.

Curtis Lovell is another; incredible vocal-looping a capella soul music that just makes you want to jump in the air and hug yourself. Bobby Griffiths/VWLS has always been a huge inspiration to me in the ambient-music world, Andy Czuba of course is the most humble legend, STCLVR too, who is probably responsible for my witnessing “noise music” in the first place. CAGES; Jesus, yeah they’re the absolute best. Eareckson Murray/Westward Journey is one of the most authentic artists out there, a prime example of what it means to make art for the intrinsic reward of making art. His music is so pure because he is so pure. David Kane is a wise and unforgettable genius. John Toohill is a force of nature, full of equal parts ferocity and gentle encouragement.

I’m leaving out a lot of people, and I hope they’re not reading this going “what the fuck why didn’t you plug me?” to which I’d say, “I’m really sorry, this answer is becoming way too long, but know that I do not leave my house unless I feel it is 100% worth it, so if I’ve ever booked you on a show or, better yet, went to see your show that I had no legal or social obligation to attend, I must think you’re a spectacular artist.” And now that I’ve said that I feel like it’s kind of a bullshit cop-out so I’m just going to compile a (probably very incomplete) list below this paragraph-resembling body of text. RIP Gas Chamber, realest band to ever live; if you know, you know.

Other favorites and friends:

Ex-Pat (american idol 2050)

Online Dating (blackened chiptune?)

Dr. Hamburger (actual sound healer and inspiring example of community leadership)

Sertraline (best blackgaze around)

Sparklebomb (lo-fi beats to cremate/exhume to)

Denzelworldpeace (inventive psych house)

Tea 8 Soup (theremin poetics)

Nate Ward (of Award Show, but also writes really beautiful ukulele songs you probably haven’t heard)

Family Photo Book (folk n beats)

Uniflora (captivatingly dark neofolk)

Dogs in Stereo (mostly really great garage rock but when Joe does his solo ambient stuff it just about makes me cry)

Space Cubs and all of its incarnations

Karsten Brooks and his massive walls of ambient sound

Menophilia (a bulldozer of HNW)

Anthropic, Settlement, Deadwolf, $Bit¢h.99, Lesionread, Night Slaves, Slow Cooker, etc, etc, etc.

There’s a million other artists in Buffalo and in every city that I’m failing to mention but hopefully someone else answering these questions picks up the slack here. Shout out to Montréal, as a wholly incredible and fruitful music environment, and specifically, La Plante for being the best and most important venue to ever exist. Hopefully the US-Canada border opens again soon. Second shoutout to Cleveland’s gem Dylan Glover, one of the hardest working music people I’ve ever met; all of his projects are some truly refined greatness (see ITEM’s “Sad Light,” or times10, or Dylan’s solo meditation synths), and he’s brought countless acts through Mahall’s, another truly special venue that I hope to visit again soon.

jesse new 1Photo by Jake Santiago

I’m going to try and answer a lot of the final questions on this at once and maybe just provide a narrative, since that’s sort of how I categorize a lot of this self-information (which I normally hate sharing and am really only able to do this in writing because I can organize my thoughts and not worry about how dumb what I just said sounded or how I said two words or phrases at the same time and ended up saying something like “Hi-llo, what’s it going?” or thinking about what to do with my hands or the fact that I’m maybe squinting too much) [edit: I still do feel exactly this way after proofreading this thing for a fifth time, and am very worried about how dumb, and probably annoying and exhausting, this whole response is sounding].

All that said, sorry if I’m breaking form here or whatever, but I think I can give you the information you’re looking for in a more logical way (for me) if I just start writing… Bear in mind that everything that follows is really just the opinions of one individual thinking probably way too hard about what it exactly means to make art, and I don’t think that opinion really holds any sort of intrinsic value except to myself and anyone who may potentially resonate with what I’m saying, the point being “I don’t actually know anything about any of this but keep reading if you feel like it.”

If you’re an Into Fruition subscriber reading at home, to explain better, these interviews are based on the artists’ choice of answering a handful of questions that range from “How’s everyone holding up at this time?” to “What has your recording experience been like?” or “How the project started.” The Me typing this sentence in Italic text exists in a later time than the one who wrote the bulk of the remaining text, and looking back over it, I felt like maybe I should mention what I meant by “your interview questions.” If you’re still reading, sorry, here we go:

I sort of “lost my shit” near the end of 2016 and into the beginning of 2017 due to a variety of, um, unnamed reasons that, if you were around Little Baltimore at the time, you know all about. I’ll leave that whole backstory to rest as there’s really not much point in telling it anymore, a totally different lifetime. That said, this project began essentially by inputting random values into a Korg ES-1 Electribe Sampler and then writing lyrics. Given the “random” way the “songs” were constructed and all of the thoughts and suspicions floating through my psyche at the time, I attributed these songs to this Spirit whom I was not-at-all the only person to witness. I don’t know how tangibly I believed this, maybe I sort of just wanted to believe it, but for whatever reason at the time it felt very real to me, often sort of perceiving this thing standing over me and watching as I recorded music. The levels went really deep on this album and will probably remain unbeknownst to most or all listeners, but I only ever made this album for myself I think.

Some of those recordings are like a recording of me listening to an iPhone memo recording of the original recording, or weird sounds in the house or whatever (that gets expanded in the remix album that I recorded shortly after but didn’t release until this year), or lyrics that really just sort of wrote themselves (I still feel that way about most of the words and songs I write; I really don’t take responsibility for any of this stuff, which I guess is why I’ve kept rolling with the Spirit thing).

This is all really hard to write because there’s so much more involved, like the fact that I was really primed for a lot of what I deem as this erratic way of thinking by growing up submersed in the Evangelical Christian Church [which, if your only experience with Christianity is Catholicism, this was a much different, vaguely cult-y sort of pseudoreligion thing that kind of resembled more of a massive Self Help Group like Scientology where Jesus was like your pal and you were “born again” in salvation rather than inherit a hard traditionalism rooted in ritual and rite, but the rigidly misguided sense of morals remained, namely the not having sex before marriage rule and never using any sort of mind-altering substance under any circumstance ever] or the fact that I had just dropped out of Physician Assistant school because “I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life,” [which could have been the best decision I ever made] but I’m starting to think that writing this much is maybe self-absorbed or whatever, but I don’t know, contexts can expand infinitely in every direction.

The short version is that I didn’t write any of the music but more sort of received it, from a place at the time I thought was some collective-consciousness sort of spiritual library or whatever but now really just attribute to I guess abstract representations of emotions created biologically by my own limbic system mixed with species-wide intuited symbols for feelings? Anyway, I ran from that Spirit, but the damn thing found me (see the title of my second album), and then there was the what-I-thought-was-prophetic “Clairvoyance;” playing “As Above” these days feels really strange.

jesse new 3

Photo by Zach Anderson

I guess what I’m saying with all of this is that it’s really easy as an artist to get sucked into these holes where you think that what you’re making is really great and formative and maybe even entirely new, but it’s sort of like a trick of reflection. No one will ever care about your art as much as you do, but it’s honestly valuable to be proud of your art if you’re primarily making it for yourself (I’ve found, anyway). I think things get really distorted when you start bringing business into things and trying to “market” something that abides by a certain “aesthetic” in order to ride some sort of trend, and especially if that trend is some sort of anti-trend, and I think that selling art is a really easy way to set yourself up to debase its actual human value (rather than its monetary, capitalism-abiding “value”).

Let’s face it, corporations have been selling us “rebellion” since the 60s (“these are the shoes that rebels wear, buy them to rebel and be different from all the sheep wearing those other shoes!” while now complying in the “rebel” business’s conformity idea) and it’s really easy to get lost in the image of a thing instead of the thing-in-itself. I’m thinking none of this really makes sense, but “noise” music or any “abstract” art is this really strange beast where two poles exist, and one is this pure expression thing where people are just crafting sounds or colors or words by accident or by the leadings of their inner-self and are doing it at all for only the sake of doing it rather than for the product it creates, but there’s also this “look at us, we’re anti-whatever because we don’t make rhythms and notes” and it’s kind of becoming a trend to reject trends which just creates this ultra-confusing loop of “why am I doing this at all?”

I think even answering questions about my art is sort of putting me into this very loop I’m talking about and now I’m wondering whether I’ll even submit this. I think it’s kind of like a microcosm of this condition we live in of doing “good,” I guess, right? “Am I a good person because I genuinely want to make others’ lives better or do I just not want other people to think I’m a “bad” person and so reject me?” Which then could translate back into, “do I make art because I love making it or do I make art so people can praise my art and myself?” Of course it takes a lot of serious mental gymnastics to determine whether one is answering that question truthfully, and whether it matters to you subjectively, but maybe one really important thing about art is that it allows us to get inside of each other’s skulls, and maybe that’s a pure way of reconciling the two poles I mentioned earlier.

I guess I make this “art” because I want people to get inside my head, to see what goes on in there, but I don’t really believe in “marketing” it because I think the skull-sharing is the real end to the whole thing, and I guess that’s why I enjoy others’ art and can tell when an artist is trying to open up their skull instead of just making some sort of aesthetic-product-image thing (although maybe I’m a total hypocrite for even doing this interview or releasing this music or ever playing it live at all… But also, if I don’t play live or try to push it through channels that will push it to other skulls then there’s no Skull-Sharing happening anyway, so does that make moderation the key, then? I don’t know; what does everyone else think? I understand I only have one limited perspective on the whole thing). I want to believe that most local artists are doing the former (the opening their skull thing), and that’s why I appreciate them so much more, a lot of whom I’m lucky to call friends.

I think that given the whole social-distance thing happening right now due to a much larger tragedy that really is just a symptom of an even greater problem which is also yet a symptom of some tertiary problem, we’ll see people making art more for that intimate experience of:  “Here’s what’s going on in my head. There are no social points for attending because there is nothing to attend. Nothing about this is “cool.” There is no networking, profiting, or marketing to disturb the ultimate experience of sharing a consciousness for a few minutes.”

I hope that answers some of these interview questions. “Peculiar Living” will be out soon; you can hear a lot of it in this live bedroom studio youtube gig thing I did, but I had a good amount of Wild Turkey 101 [not at all an endorsement] in my body by the time I played the album in full so maybe just wait for the actual album, which I recorded in that same bedroom studio with various cassette devices and Ableton Live. I guess it’s mostly about climate change and billionaires. This song is on the album:



Medusa synths, vocals, electronically manipulated organic sounds

Years Active 3? Publicly

Latest Release “Boy of the Year” 2020

Local Artists We Should Know More About Addie L – they’re a Buffalo-based DJ who does the job so well

Current Album On Repeat “Schizophrenic” by JC Chasez but equally “After Hours” by The Weeknd

MEDUSA_RODADOORSFESTIVAL_2019 (1)Photo by Justin Ruggiero

How is everyone holding up during this time?

I think we are all doing the best we can and taking it day by day. I’ve seen a generational shift more toward communal living, not in a physical sense but in a goods/services sense. It was always sort of the undercurrent of the regional scene in my age bracket, but it’s become way more pronounced now. People in the scene are buying each other’s beats/albums/merch so they can pay their electric bills/get food. People who travelled out of state before self-isolation became so heavy brought in masks/hand sanitizer/medicine/pantry goods that were out locally and post. Almost everyone I know has become unemployed. But we are still finding a way to provide for each other, knowing that if we need reciprocation, we can find it. That part’s heartening.

What would you consider your best show experience?

When 14 Trapdoors and Rodagues threw the Rodadoors 2 festival, they really did something unprecedented (except by Rodadoors 1 I guess) and it was the most fun and wholesome and artistic day/evening. Almost every hip-hop and hip-hop-adjacent act in Buffalo was there either performing or attending, and some travelled from out of the region to play. Every age group from toddlers to elders, every color and gender was there and felt at home, in the least corny and most organic way possible. People brought snacks, homemade and store-bought, pressed juices, drinks; people sold clothes and prints and were making paintings live. I handed out self-adhesive googly eyes and people put them on their faces. For a group of young artists to pull off something of that size and reach is incredible and I think it speaks to the strength of the local hip-hop scene. I spray painted a balaclava pink and performed sitting backwards on a chair and just masc’d out and felt totally at home, which has been historically difficult for me to access, especially after coming out. But there, everyone belonged and was thriving. Also I had just gotten my tonsils out and had open wounds in my throat but loved being there so much I didn’t even care.

Are you working on anything new / specific at this moment?

Boy of the Year was so massive and conceptual and emotionally charged for me that I’ve decided to move to working on releasing singles for a bit. I’m working on several tracks that I’m super into – a song called SKNWLKR, for one, which is an 80s-ish bop about a stalker, and a campy rap about gender that I remixed from a childhood cartoon’s theme song – they’re just unrelated to each other. So I’d rather let them have their moment alone in all their shining glory than hold them until I can squish them together into an album. I am, however, toying with the idea of an album that’s purely features. I think it would be fun to produce tracks for other artists in my circle, hand them off, see what they do it with them, and then finish them up.

What has your recording experience been like?

In a literal “recording” sense: wild to the point of it stressing other artists and professionals out. It’s impulsive, erratic, and highly mobile. Like, I’ve got all my cords in a bag, and I don’t have cases for my equipment, which is low-quality because it’s always in high-risk scenarios. I use a USB mic and my laptop and bring them with me everywhere. When I use my synthesizers (which I do mostly leave home because I don’t need them getting stolen) I sit with my knees to my chest, hunched over them like a goblin, on the bed or the floor. Basically, I don’t have a studio/setup; I use my car. I record in, like, old K-Mart parking lots.

Were you anywhere before Buffalo?

I moved here from Brooklyn. I’m not from Brooklyn, though, or here. I fully ended up here by accident, which is just as well because I also became Medusa by accident. But Buffalo has been my chosen hometown the way you have a chosen family and I love it and am grateful for it, so I consider it where I’m “from” now, at least as an artist.

Top 5 favorite Buffalo bands / artists?

I could name 20 (I will try not to.) 14 Trapdoors are close to my heart, those are truly my boys. Vice Versa is an insanely talented producer. Justin Ruggiero as a scene photographer is a phenom. Chango4 makes fresh, raw songs. Freak The Miighty are so talented – I think about their Lovecry video with Amya (ghosstontape) at least once a week. I know it’s 6 but think not mentioning Spacecubs would be ridiculous because those are some of the most intensely sensory and sensual shows I get to see, between the lights and the riffs and the drums and the otherworldly harmonies.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

I don’t know but I feel like Buffalo has them. It’s a great size while being manageable enough to act within it meaningfully. It is extremely DIY, so very little of its work is diluted by concerns of marketability. It is innately communal rather than competitive. There’s a cornucopia of perspectives and mediums and there’s so much crossover – you want something screen printed? You need a venue for your afterparty? A music video? A visual for a show? Vocals on your track? Somebody to loan you a mic? Promo photos? Graphics? Custom clothes? It’s all accessible. And being able to source or provide all different mediums to supplement your own or someone else’s art feeds the whole scene.

Processed with VSCO with b4 presetPhoto by Justin Ruggiero



Jacob Peter

Jacob Peter Guitar, bass, drums, piano. etc.

Years Active 6

Latest Release “Snapshots”, a collection of demos!

Favorite Local Band or Artist Koko Neetz. He’s a musical brother and his most recent record is a true labor of love and includes some of my best friends playing on it!

Current Album on Repeat Dr. John’s “In the Right Place”. This album is truly a drumming/groove bible. Everyone is playing the funkiest parts and sitting so heavy in the groove. And every song on there somehow still feels pretty timeless.

Words of Wisdom Create for the sake of creating and constantly find ways to make the world mysterious (like when you were a kid and everything was masked in mystery). Let your illusions die. Have expectations, but not ones that will derail your mental health if they don’t come to fruition. Lastly, everything learned should be learned in its fullest capacity until it feels like second nature.

Jacob Peter 1Photo by Charlie Weinmann

How is everyone holding up during this time?

I’m holding up alright. Some days are better than others, but I’ve noticed my best days happen when I keep my hands busy. Don’t worry about creating or inventing at this time, just move and play around.

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

I hope everyone’s just nicer because we realized how much we missed each other.

Tell us about how this project got started?

This project started out of me wanting to learn more about recording. I shared a space with someone who I played music with and I just started going in and recording some ideas. After many passes/re-recordings, I finally had an EP I felt good about putting out. And I’ve made a few more records, very very slowly, since then.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

I’ve mostly just been trying to re-acquaint myself with drums and guitar on a holistic level. I enjoy writing and recording but it doesn’t come super naturally. And as a guitar player, there are a lot of gaps in my playing and knowledge that make the writing process even harder. So as of late, I’ve been trying to build my guitar playing back from the ground up as best I can.

What would you consider your best local show experience?

My absolute favorite local show experiences was any Dreambeaches show and every Mr. Goodbar show I played as a trio. The Mr. Goodbar shows especially launched me into all the ways I’m thinking about music now. We played my originals and then a set of covers ala 50’s organ trio style. So much trust, exploration and energy flowed through those shows for me. Still at the top of my list!

Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?

Whenever I come home, I collaborate with Nick Randall and Derick Evans. They are two of the warmest people I’ve ever met and insane musicians to boot. Playing music with them has no rules and it actually kind of scares me how easily they let go and are themselves. Being in that kind of welcoming confidence is as good as it gets.

Jacob Peter 2Photo by Alec Alvarez

Craziest memory from touring?

Nothing super crazy but some night’s of the Jack/Dreambeaches tour are definite highlights of my life. Buzzed and slurping up crawfish on the street with your friends is pretty untouchable.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

Buffalo has amazing players and spaces available. Rent is cheap as is everything else so you have the space and means to execute your vision as an artist.

Top 5 favorite Buffalo Bands / Artists?

More than 5 but Koko Neetz, Harry Graser, Gabe Wells, Nick Randall, Derick Evans, Sonny Baker, Space Cubs and whatever Shawn Chiki is up to/calling himself at the time.



Velvet Bethany

Allison Mitchell, Michael DiStasio, Ethan Childs

Years Active 2014 – present

Latest Release “Strawberry Moon” and “Throw Your Stone” – 2020

Current Album on Repeat I listen to the music of the bands I am playing shows with all the time or music that people send me because I don’t know how to listen to music like how people do when they are running with headphones on or in their cars. So please send me your music, I will most likely listen to it.

Biggest Inspiration My high school band teachers, Mr Cool and Mrs Conte

All Time Favorite Album “Deportation” by Brown Sugar and “Ivory Wave” by Utah Jazz

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

If we had a system with a cap on our production and only produced what we needed, there would be much less waste, greed, pollution, and exploitation of human rights. We really aren’t entitled to avocados or bananas or anything else that comes from the global economy, where the trade of such products creates a space for scarcity, greed, and violence in those communities. Countries should be given the space to be self sustainable instead of under the invisible pressure of consumer demands in far away lands. That’s why it’s important to start at local levels in order to become self sustainable within local communities. We can also see that if many people stopped working in the industry sector, (for one week) as in protest, this type of action can halt parts of the world that are damaging to people and the environment. This action proves that workers are in control of production and is an example of our individual ability to make change happen. Changing the system is going to happen incrementally and I think some people who have a lot fear that its going to shift instantly think they are going to lose their way of life so they hoard resources. Also, it’s important to take control of our health, knowledge, and resources as a community so that the medical system cannot cripple people financially, take advantage of what we choose to do with our bodies and how we approach our health. I don’t think western medicine is right for all circumstances at this time and we need to be open to other systems of preventative medicine and ways to treat chronic illness and autoimmune disease in order to heal people at their roots. This event is eye opening in terms of portraying the world’s immunity. We need to be taking control of our health by eradicating environmental pollutions, creating more access to healthcare, developing treatments that address the source of physical and mental illness, and address the amount of work stress the world is under due to the demand to produce more goods, more profits, more efficiently. 

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

Music is just a natural part of my relationship with Mike. He is always singing. Sometimes it turns into a song. I have worked in a restaurant for a long time because it’s extremely flexible. Now I don’t have a job sooooo not sure what happens next.

Any artists you admire that you’ve never met?

I always wanted to meet Jack White. I also hope to meet Dolly Parton.

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

I think I would collaborate with Jack White. I’m not sure if he’s nice. I hope so.


Craziest memory from touring?

We went camping in Georgia at the bottom of a campsite. It started to thunderstorm in the middle of the night and we were surrounded by water. It was like a sea of fire ants.

What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with?

Promotion. I don’t think a lot of people hear Velvet Bethany and I think they’d be happy if they discovered it.

Strangest thing you’ve heard from someone at a concert?

Teenager with a mullet two weeks ago walked in and looked at me and said “Nice mullet”.

What are the ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

You should care more about the potential community you’re inviting in than your own music. You should be willing to really understand where people are coming from before passing judgment or discrediting their genre or their scene or whatever. That is inclusion. You should be booking shows being mindful of who is going to be interested and who is going to show up.

*Interview with Allison Mitchell



S.Bonifacio ::: Space Cubs

Suzanne Bonifacio

Years Active 10

Latest Release “The 4th Age” w/ Shawn Chiki – 2019

Album on Repeat NTS Radio, Destroyer “Have We Met” and Sibylle Baier’s only album

Local Artists We Should Know More About Dogfuq (Richmond, VA) – incredible at rhymes

All Time Favorite Album Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works 85-92

suz lava

How is everyone holding up during this time?

Working at a grocery these days has been challenging. I was plugging along at the beginning of the scare, but every day has slowly gotten more frightening and harder to face. Much of the public doesn’t understand first-hand how the probability of contracting this goes way up when you are putting yourself around hundreds of people everyday. You are literally in the way of it and put your family at a higher risk as well. And I base some of the things I think I know on probability. It has made me appreciate the people who take care of sick people so much more. Richmond is beautiful right now though, and I am trying to take every day as it comes. Very grateful that my family and friends are healthy and that we’ve been able to keep up through video messages.

Tell us about how this project got started?

When I purchased my first computer and recording interface in 2007, I was so excited to dive in, but I spent a lot of my first year in college doubting my abilities and experiencing a lot of heaviness from things I was facing in my adolescence from religious dogma. I met two wonderful friends and we started making music together throughout a lot of our college years (Chromakid). I decided on the name Space Cubs during the end of 2010 and got more serious about finishing songs I had started here and there and fully began exploring while living in Brooklyn that next year. I left Brooklyn and moved back to Buffalo in 2012 and started playing solo shows. I released “Why Are You Resisting?” and a couple others on Soundcloud that year as well.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

I’ve been spending some time taking in and learning right now. This past year has been an intense year of music. I was collaborating and touring with Shawn Chiki and Adam Pressley the past couple years, which was a real blessing and has helped me grow tons. At the moment I’ve been focusing more on songwriting when I feel like it. When I was a kid and realized for the first time how much music and singing would be a very large part of my life for the long-run, I formed expectations for myself that, lately, I’ve been trying to readjust. I’ve needed to. I’ve needed an attitude adjustment haha. I am grateful that I have been provided the opportunity from a young age to pursue music and that’s why I think it’s vital for me to remember why I was first drawn to that. Music was truly my first love. I remember I would sit in my basement when I was probably 6 or 7 years old and play the same records over and over again for hours. It’s permeated my feelings of free-ness since I can remember. So, lately I’ve been working on appreciating the music around me better again. I listen to a lot of folk music and NTS radio right now. I have been putting a lot of my energy externally with the exception of my meditation practice and little bits that I write here and there. I tend to go through phases where I am wholly very internal or very external for periods of time. I’ve started working on some new things but focusing on not having time expectations or deadlines for myself.

suz zion

Any Buffalo Artists you admire that you’ve never met?

I’ve met John, but never really the whole band, but I really admire Alpha Hopper. I think they are so incredibly creative and really pushing boundaries in Buffalo.

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

There are lots of people I’d love to collaborate with when the time is right again. Hoping after my next release, but I’m not rushing that.

Who’s a local musician / artist we’ve never heard of but should?

Brenna Dimmig is an incredible writer and poet who writes from some inner place that really really resonates with me. I believe she just finished her second or third book. But the last one she wrote is a book of her poems, I believe. I’m hoping she puts it out soon.

What does Buffalo have to offer aspiring musicians?

Buffalo has the type of art community that doesn’t exist everywhere. I don’t currently live in Buffalo and have lived in several places and the community aspect and inclusivity is unique to it for sure. I love that about it.

What has your recording experience been like?

I’ve focused so much of my musical energy the past few years in experimenting with Ableton. I’ve recently been taking longer breaks from that and from sound design and spending more time on writing songs. Taking a break from the computer has been refreshing in a way I’ve needed for a while. It is very easy to get down on yourself when you aren’t outputting material and Ableton makes it very easy to keep pumping out material. It’s accessibility makes it such an amazing outlet. I’ve been taking a break from focusing too much on that and, instead, working on one song on one instrument for very long periods of time, worrying less on hearing outcomes right away and more on exploring songwriting and inner world.

What’s the next move?

I don’t know, but it’s something 🙂



Sons of Luther

Wren Werner Guitar, Vocals   John Bohn Guitar   Brad Kujawski Bass   Amos Werner Drums

Years Active 3.5

Latest Release “Future Mind / Prophecy” – 2020

Current Album on Repeat “Superstar” by Caroline Rose

Local Artist We Should Know More About Maya LaMacchia

Best Wings in Buffalo Was recently shown the light at Kelly’s Korner…

Taco Bell or Mighty Taco In a world where Mighty Taco exists, taco bell does not. ❤



Tell us about how this project got started?

Sons Of Luther was originally a family motorcycle club from back in the 70’s – My grandpa’s name is Luther and then my dad and his brothers, who all rode motorcycles started the small “club”. When I moved back to Western NY in late 2015, I immediately started playing bass and synth with The Leones while I was working on finishing my own material under the moniker “Wren Williams” . When I was getting ready to release the album “Venom & Sugar”, my cousins Amos, Cal, and Emmett Werner jumped on as my backing band. We naturally decided on resurrecting the Sons Of Luther name. Since then we’ve gone through some line-up changes for some extenuating circumstances, but Amos is back with us this year and we’re the most solid we’ve ever felt.

Were you anywhere before Buffalo?

We’re not really even currently in Buffalo… Two of us are in Batavia, one of us is in Geneseo, and I live just outside of Rochester. We rehearse and record at our studio loft space in Batavia NY – However, the majority of our musician friends and band network are in Buffalo. So, we’ve been primarily playing there. 2020 was supposed to be our year for branching out into the Rochester scene… but that’s a bit up in the air given our current pandemic situation. Before Western New York, my wife and I were in Brooklyn and then Jersey City for nearly a decade and likewise our guitar player/ recording engineer / studio owner, John Bohn, was in Nashville working on grammy nominated records. We’re very lucky to all be back in the area and utilizing the lower cost of rent to have a space to make the kind of records we want to make. John played with me in my high school punk band Joey Vicious. He’s a personal hero of mine and I count my lucky stars every day that we happen to be back in the same locale and making music together again.

How is everyone holding up during this time?

We’re all doing fine as we’re social distancing – enjoying our friend’s live streams – bummed and missing each other, but happy to be healthy and with our families and the necessary provisions – doing our best to keep busy and keep productive with writing and producing.

What is the biggest lesson we can learn from this experience?

How to quickly adapt to the new landscape. It seems as though musicians should’ve been taking better advantage of live streaming for a while. It’s certainly not going anywhere, even once this pandemic calm down. It doesn’t replace the magic of a live show experience but it’s holding us over for now. This new environment will continue to perpetually evolve, this particular adjustment is the most dramatic we’ve ever seen in the music world, but we’re all seeming to adjust accordingly. It’s been heartening to see the local community come together with something like “Band Together Buffalo”

Sons of LutherPhoto by Zach M Anderson

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc?

That’s the trick isn’t it? Time management for a fulfilling and well rounded life is tough – but eventually you just have to draw the line on what you want to accomplish and figure out how to fit it into your life. I don’t have a lot of other hobbies – I don’t know how people devote hours to video games – it must be a nice escape but it’s not for me, it applies my OCD in a negative way where I get sucked in for hours on end, and then i have nothing to show for it and I feel awful. Ultimately, find yourself a partner who respects and supports your ambitions and allows you the space you need to create.  3/4 of our band members are dads and it’s a testament to our families for helping us carve out time to do what we love. We’re very fortunate that our jobs and overall lifestyles are conducive to us being able to work collectively on the band.

Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?

We recently put out a track called “Kill Your Darlings” which features a chord progression and melody from BKPR (Elias Vanson) and Medusa on main vocals. It’s a very 90’s trip-hop almost Portishead vibe. It was a hard left turn for us as we expand our sound from the standard four piece guitar rock structure and start to branch out further into more electronic sounds and an over all “post-genre” attitude. Both artists were a pleasure to work with and proved to me that collaboration can yield some incredible results. Looking forward to collaborating more with other artists in the future.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

Our live show is in tip top shape at the moment and we were starting to gain some momentum with booking more shows and expanding our geographical presence. Hopefully, the things we were booking for this spring and summer will start to come back on line and we can resume our plan. Everything is in this weird holding pattern at the moment. Other than that we’re using this isolated down time to write and work on new music. Definitely excited for the new palette of sounds and textures that we’re working with as we’re collaborating more and finding new ways of getting our art out there. thank you for the opportunity to reach more people.

*Interview with Wren Werner



Stress Dolls

Chelsea O’Donnell Vocals, Guitar

Years Active 7 (3 of those as Wolf)

Latest Release Latest single: “Nashville” (off an upcoming album, release date TBD)

Currently Reading I recently finished “More Than Anger” by Lexi Bruce, an author from Buffalo.

All Time Favorite Album Continuing with the local theme, I’ll go with my all-time favorite album by a Buffalo band: “In What Way” by Failures’ Union. It’s an album that I always find myself returning to during the late winter/early spring.

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

Do our best to live in the moment, appreciate what we have, and recognize that everything can radically change at a moment’s notice.

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

I have an upcoming release in the works that seems to be turning into an album. I’m looking forward to putting it out as I’ve had the chance to collaborate with a lot of friends in the local music community. It will also be my first release that isn’t a single or an EP!

What would you consider your best local show experience?

I saw Muddle play a couple of months ago and they blew me away. Also every time I see Carmen & Lizzy is a treat– their voices blend so well and their songwriting is amazing.

Any Buffalo Artists you admire that you’ve never met?

I think that Siddo. (Sidney Flanigan) is awesome, and we’ve chatted online and even set up a show together that was supposed to happen in April, but I’m pretty positive we’ve never actually met in-person. Some day!

Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?

Over the last couple of years I’ve gotten the chance to collaborate with several friends on recordings and live performances, including Charles Dusel (Lonestar Sailing), Jay Milton (The Demos), and Sally Schaefer (Over & Out). There are a few others who have helped me on songs for the upcoming album and I’m super excited with what we’ve made, but that info will be revealed in time. 😉

What are the ingredients to a thriving music/art scene?

I think the most important ingredient is support and I feel really fortunate to have a community of supportive artists in Buffalo. I think it’s what makes our scene strong and enjoyable to be part of.




Koko Neetz

Andrew Kothen Vocals, Guitar   Gabriel Wells Bass, Drums   Elliot Scozzaro Clarinet, Sax   Harry Graser Keys

Years Active 2018 – Present

Latest Release “I.T.T.I.P.” – 2019

Currently Reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Crack Up”, Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art”, e.e. cummings’ “100 Selected Poems”

Favorite Quotes Anything that Kurt Vonnegut or Voltaire said is probably worth saying again.

All Time Favorite Album This one is hard, maybe “Rounds” by Fourt Tet. I can always put that on and find inspiration in it. That or Vince Giraldi Trio’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – that album slaps year ’round.

Best Wings in Buffalo Dalmatia Hotel, Kelly’s Korner, Bar Bill and Duff’s. We can talk details, and no I can’t pick just one, they all have a place in my heart.


How is everyone holding up during this time?

We’re doing alright. Everybody always seems to be moving at such high speeds sometimes it’s nice to hold up and smell the roses a bit– it isn’t under the best circumstances but hey, take a walk, do a little yoga, maybe build a fort, read a book, play that video game, make stuff just for fun and play around. We’ll get through this.

What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this experience?

Everything is impermanent, from our health to our systemic support systems. Be careful to take note how you go through this world and make sure you do what you love as often as you can. Spend time and attention on people you care about and who care about you.

How did the project got started?

I’ve always loved writing songs, and I suspect I won’t stop doing it. These recent songs from “I.T.T.I.P.” came from this sense of intentioned immediacy, to bring a visceral moment from a song, to make the time count, delicate or dirty. I wanted to find where the music led me and then birth melody and the story from there, But the goal was to record it as soon as the idea came out, sometimes within 24 hours of writing the song (Molecules, for instance). From the initial recordings- which were generally guitar, bass and vocals- we’d add layers, a little drums here, some clarinet there, a little synth, you know. Once enough songs were put down, it just felt right to put them out.

In terms of Koko Neetz as a name– I never had any intention to continue with just my name as the title for the place where the songs live. My grandma used to say this jibberish name, “Koko Neetz”, for innocent, fragile, cute things– like kittens or babies. So where else would intimate things like songs of mine live if not in the space of “Koko Neetz”?

Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?

Writing when I can, but without any specific pressure. An expectation of any kind other than your intention to create something and play is just, eh, not good. Can sour the mix ya know? I have a few ideas in the works, and they’ll likely morph yet, but for now it’s an end in itself while we’re stuck in our houses. One of my favorite Buffalo bands Heave was set to record with me before this all broke out, but for now that is postponed until the world is moving again.


What has your recording experience been like?

My pops started Select Sound Studios in the 1970’s and I’ve been fortunate to apprentice under him for the last bunch of years. I do my mixing and expand on some of the songs in the studio but I always get the initial ideas down at home. You can’t beat recording in your underwear.

What would you consider your best local show experience?

Our last couple shows have been a lot of fun. We’ve had Shawn Chiki join us live doing projections with us so that has been a cool way to add dimension. Also smoke machines help. A little whiff of mystery.

Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?

Kevin Burzyinski did our album art, he’s a gem. Kevin O’Keefe did the “molecules” video, that was a lot of fun. Shawn Chiki does our live projections, lended an ear and some tweaks in the final mixes and has a ton of his own stuff going on- one of my favorite Buffalo acts and artists.

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

Adam Pressley, all of our pedals daisy chained together maxed out for 30 minutes. I’d like to write a song with Kevin Scoma.

What’s the next move?

Staying in, relaxing, recording. After the pandemic is behind us we’d like to get on the road and play more shows. Either way, you’ll hear from us again soon.

*Interview with Andrew Kothen


Hop Hop

Jaz Frazier Vox, Producer   Brandon Schlia Producer, Mixer

Years Active 2015 – Present

Latest Release “Scratch EP” – 2018

Current Album on Repeat “Bowser” by Jonwayne

Currently Reading “All About Love” by Bell Hooks

Words of Wisdom Admit your ignorance even if it makes you look uncool. You’ll never know what you don’t know until you make an effort to know, ya know?


How is everyone holding up during this time? 

Me and Bran are holed up pretty good rn. We have all the supplies we need to not leave the house for a bit. Now, it’s just staying busy and not bugging each other. I’m exchanging video messages with friends on an app called Marco Polo. I downloaded Tik Tok so I could get really sweaty trying to learn dances secretly in my living room (I’m shy). Attempting to find my rhythm creatively. I’ve had a creative block the last year or so and am curious if this is my chance to crack back into things.

Previous Bands?

Inquiring Mind, Mink, Grits, Amoeba Boys, BINGO Ringer (Queen City Music Lottery band), Hot Tip, Mallwalkers

How do you balance music with jobs, partners, children, etc.?

Not very well. Lolz. As I mentioned before, I’ve been creatively blocked. I decided to quietly call a hiatus for Hop Hop back in November to relieve the pressure to create. It was honestly making me kinda sick to watch other folx in Buffalo releasing albums, EPs, singles, videos, shows, blahdeblah, and I wasn’t up to anything new. It was leading me to unhealthy comparisons around productivity rates that just weren’t helpful and certainly didn’t lead to making music so, I decided to quit obsessing over it and just stop.

I am heavily involved with an political organization Black Love Resists in the Rust (BLRR) and before I called a break on Hop, I was taking sign language classes, also working full time during the day, and trying to spend time with my partner and reserve time for friends/social stuff, care for my dog, and myself. It just didn’t seem possible. I was burning out. I quit my sign classes and slowed way down on music and poured myself into BLRR and other activist work and that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing for the last six months to a year. It felt amazing to let go of the expectation that as a musician, I needed to be constantly creating. It’s doo doo. It’s a farce. I am a whole human and need to feed myself in many ways. I’m baby spoon-feeding music back into my diet. Here comes the aeroplane: Nomnomnom!

Were you anywhere before Buffalo?

I lived in Alabama most of my life before Buffalo, with about five years on and off in Florida’s panhandle (essentially still Alabama). I’m grateful I was able to see something different, especially have a full experience in the “North”, with Buffalo being my home for eight years.

HOP HOP 1Photo by Mark Duggan

Experience working with a label?

I have been loosely on Steak and Cake’s label since being involved with music, with Brandon as my partner for like seven fucking years (so wild!). The agreement was always, S&C will support me in whatever way I need, but if Hop ever garnered interest from a larger label, I was free to explore that. The beauty of S&C is the informal, yet steady services I’ve received like recording, producing, mixing, videos, promotion, all o’ dat. I watch Bran offer whatever he has to offer to so many people in the scene — I am just blessed beyond words to have an eager work horse like B to prop me up, because with my waxing and waning interests, I would not have built the platform, albeit modest, I now have with Hop Hop.

Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

In my household, I am notorious for being tough to collaborate with. My musical language is pretty odd and not rooted in really anything except feelings and LORDT JESUS, that is not easily translatable. I know working in a team can be vital to keep momentum in a project, especially when one member is not a master in everything; a second party can keep you honest, can fill your gaps, can balance your apathy with moxie and vice versa when needed—so I would be really eager to collaborate in a meaningful way with anyone who won’t hate me when my interest starts sliding!

Right now because of NYS’s partial shutdown, I’m feeling the tug to make moves on collaboration and reached out to a friend of mine to start something really chill. I sent my first idea last night to her, so we’ll see where it goes.

What’s the next move?

In addition to reforming my relationship with Hop Hop, I want to learn to play guitar at a sufficient level outside of general Hop Hop stuff. I’m messing around with some folky-type covers like Connie Converse, Cat Power, and Carole King – The Three Cs.

* Interview with Jaz Frazier



Call for Art!


“A Digitally Curated Collaborative Art Show”

 A Collaboration with NOMEL ARTS and Five Points Framing

“TOGETHER APART” is a project to promote creative connectivity during this time of isolation. The spread of COVID-19 is something we can all help to reduce and it is important during this time to do everything we can to watch out for the safety of ourselves and others by adhering to these new and changing regulations. As challenging and different as social distancing is to anything we’ve experienced in our lifetimes, it is also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how we live, learn different processes, generate new and creative ways of thinking and take a step back from our hectic lives.

THE GOAL is to showcase how we are all connected even while apart, create a collaborative environment through social distancing and support local creatives and businesses in an interactive way. The idea is to digitally* collect small works of art from local artists of ANY MEDIUM over the next few weeks (or months if it gets to that point), have the work printed and framed at no cost and when we are able to have events again, we will celebrate the coming back together and reveal what everyone has created! This program may also span outside of the Buffalo area if there is interest.

INTO FRUITION has curated a playlist that supports the music community and throws some groovy inspirations your way while you make your visual creations? These are friends, neighbors, peers, and mentors and we believe in their paths through sound. We believe in yours too. Through all this crazy, we hope you stay healthy, be inspired, and continue to grow. You got this. We can cheers to that!


Zooanzoo releases surprise EP ‘[AD-HOC]’ to raise funds for Local Service Industry

As Restaurants and Bars continue to close their doors and Service Industry Workers are laid off, many are searching and wondering if and when help will come. In the city of Harrisonburg Virginia, with a population just over 50,000, more than 45 restaurants and other food and beverage related businesses and it’s employees are feeling the weight of this uncertainty.

In an effort to help, Local resident Zach Williams aka ZOOANZOO has just released a surprise EP titled [ad-hoc] to assist in raising money and awareness. The limited-edition EP is being released exclusively as a mini-CD-R (Yes, it’s that exclusive!) with all proceeds going towards the “Harrisonburg Culinary District Workers” fund; HCDW is an emergency relief fund organized by Nevin Lough Zehr with a goal of raising $50,000 to help support the struggling community.

The limited-edition EP is available HERE and includes 7 tracks, custom artwork and a download link to goodies including the entire album digitally, a Max for Live VDJ patch + other Max patches, a remixed score of a scene from the Animatrix and more!




From the South towards the Setting Sun, Shadowgraphs seamlessly transport their sonic signals in ‘Another Time’

Like Krispy Cream and Pepsi Cola, Shadowgraphs formed just east of the Appalachian Mountains amongst the Longleaf Pines of North Carolina. Founded in 2014 by Wils Glade and Bryan Olsen, the two wrote, recorded, and released two full length albums by summer 2017.

While listening to these first records, it became clear that the two had shared a focused vision since the beginning. Their music is almost reminiscent of a Robert Beatty album cover, an alluring landscape where layers upon layers of warm and rich textures are waiting to be discovered beneath the surface.

Last year the duo released their third LP titled ‘Another Time’ and headed west on a 3,000 mile journey to Oregon. I caught up with founding member Wils Glade to talk about it all.

“Channel the past, become one with the present, and wink at the future.”

– Frenchpressley




‘Return to Zero’ (2015) 

Can you give me a little history on the formation of Shadowgraphs leading up to this release?

Bryan and I had a mutual friend named Blake who was moving to San Diego and before he left he was like “yall need to meet! you guys are like the same people and into the same things”. I remember when Bryan and I first started hanging out, we were excited that out of everyone we had met we were into the same type music.

For this first record you guys recorded and mixed everything in Bryan’s home studio. Was this a first for you both?

Yeah, it was real trial and error back then. I had never used tape/analog gear, but knew about mixing techniques from my previous band, and Bryan had never really spent too much time mixing, he was more about recording. So it was great for the both of us to learn from each other.

Would you say you guys were more interested in recording techniques at the time over playing the songs out live?

Yeah, actually Bryan was like “I’m too old for playing out” (this was 5 years ago lol) so it was just a recording project at first, but then people kept talking about wanting to see us live, so we eventually slipped into that by adding two members and then officially starting the band.


‘Venomous Blossoms’ (2017) 

For this record you guys opted to have someone else do the mixing. What led to this change?

Well on RTZ, we recorded and mixed it ourselfs, but then paid a pretty penny to have it mastered somewhere fancy. The overall change in audio wasn’t that big of a difference from where we had it, other than making it louder, so we thought that the change in audio would be a greater difference in the mixing process. So we decided to give that a try.

How do you see that “extra ear” in the mixing process playing a role in the overall sound that you guys are trying to capture with your recordings?

It was probably the best thing we could have ever done. We were really excited with what Drew had done with the record and it kept us from getting into endless hours of mixing debates. He was really fast and we learned a lot from his process by just observing his workflow in the room with him.

The record release show for this album was the first time I had the pleasure of experiencing your live set. What was the process like for taking this songs from the studio and fleshing them out for a live show?

I think about half of the songs were songs we were playing live already, so we felt more confident with those after recording, but for the new ones there were a lot more things to consider. Like since there were a good amount of keys on the record, I started introducing keys to our live set. Then Bryan and I would figure out the best guitar parts for us to play live even if the other had initially written that part.

This album marked your first release with the label Golden Brown. Can you tell us a little about how this relationship came to be?

Yeah, we were actually about to put out VB by ourselves with a PR company called Parachute form Portland, OR, who had reached out to us. The head guy started pitching out the record and then said that he actually has a good friend with a label who would probably be really into the record and could put it out with a bigger PR budget and vinyl. That’s when we met Thom & Brooke Sunderland of Golden Brown Records.

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Marcus Keef

keef yo

Marcus Keef (1934 -2012)

Marcus Keef, born Keith Lionel McMillan was an English artist responsible for capturing some of the greatest album cover photos of the 60’s and 70’s. The majority of his design career was spent working for the progressive label Vertigo after initially being hired to create the cover for the labels first release in 1968. Keef’s photos would oftentimes encompass the entire front and back of the sleeve, known as gatefold style. He experimented heavily with infrared film while exploring false color techniques. In the late 70’s he stopped making album art and pursued film. He went on to produce a number of music videos for the likes of Paul McCartney, Blondie, The Who, and most notably Kate Bush. He past away in 2012 at the age of 77.

keef first album cover

Colosseum – Valentyne Suite (1969)

keef - black sabbathBlack Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)

keef - affinity Affinity – Affinity (1970)

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Amsterdam Based Artist Mirjam Debets Walks Us Through Her Wild and Colorful Visual World


IF: Can you start off by telling us a little about your background and how you first became interested in the world of VJing?

MD: I studied 2D animation at the HKU (Utrecht University of the Arts), where we mostly worked on making short films. I liked it, but I kind of struggled with the format of a narrative short film. I never really knew how to express my ideas in 2 minutes, or my concepts ended up being too big or too abstract. So the second half of my studies I started looking for a way of creating visual arts that felt less rational and more intuitive to me. That lead me to combining animation with music, because simply listening to a song has always created an infinite flow of visuals in my mind. That same time I went to an EDM festival in the Netherlands, where I got a bit of an idea of what most VJing was like. Then It felt like I just had to try it!

IF: How would you describe VJing for someone that perhaps has never heard the term? (Maybe imagine trying to explain your art to your 45 year-old Uncle who works at the Post Office)

MD: I’ve had to explain this quite a bit to my actual uncles and aunts, but I think I told them something like ‘working at concerts and using small clips of video and trigger and mix them to the music that is playing, which the audience can see on the screens’. I’m often a bit cautious with saying the visuals are there to complement or amplify the music, as I think in the ideal world those two strengthen each other equally.

IF: It seems that VJing is most often associated with DJing, particularly in the EDM world. What are your thoughts regarding this seemingly inevitable connection?

MD: I guess that makes sense, as the biggest VJ scene is probably still in EDM, but I think it’s starting to get bigger in other genres as well.

IF: Are you interested in working with DJ’s at all? Do you feel there is a strong difference between working with a DJ versus a band? (Particularly regarding the crowd and how they view / interact with with the visuals)

MD: I’d love to work with DJ’s! I think working with my band was actually quite similar to working with a DJ, as the focus wasn’t so much on the performance of the musicians. When working with a band there’s usually someone very charismatic up on the stage, or the dynamic between the musicians to look at. With a DJ you can create much more than just a ‘visual backdrop’, because you’ll have a lot more of the audience’s attention.

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Into Fruition Volume 6



album art by AARON OLIVER WOOD

  1. Riot Factory – Gold Celeste
  2. Hey Elbow – Quest
  3. Land of Talk – Heartcore
  4. Ruby Haunt – Desert Candle
  5. Sonny Baker – Swollen, You’re Opening
  6. Jack Tatum – Above
  7. Broncho – Get In My Car
  8. Monochromatic Visions – Deep
  9. Kedr Livanskiy – Love & Cigarettes
  10. Friendship – If You See My Beloved
  11. Hotel Lux – The Last Hangman
  12. Dreambeaches – Trademark
  13. The Peppermint Club – Everything Is Changing
  14. Son Step – Jon Coyle – Fun & Levitating
  15. Contour – Spring/Fall
  16. Zen Mother – Strange Mother
  17. Rosie Carney – Winter
  18. Palm – Dog Milk

INTERVIEW W/ KEITH RANKIN – the visionary behind Giant Claw and Orange Milk Records

IF: Tell us a little about your life leading up to the creation of Orange Milk Records. How did it all begin?

KR: I co-run Orange Milk with Seth Graham, we met each other in Dayton Ohio, and I think we were both starting to get into noise and synthesizer music being released on tape around 2008 or 09. I wanted to be involved with that music somehow, and we wanted a place to showcase our own music. Throughout my life I’ve been attracted to different communities or scenes, feeling the urge to be a part of something or to associate with likeminded people, but those communities have always left me feeling alienated after a while. The beginning of Orange Milk was probably at the start of one of those urges.

IF: What is your current role in OMR? What has changed since the beginning?

KR: There’s obviously more work involved now but our roles haven’t changed very much. We switch off shipping duties every year or so, Seth is handling that right now. I do most of the visual art, and we will both talk to artists and split other duties.

IF: How do you find the artist on the label? Is there anything in particular you are looking for?

KR: I do a lot of soundcloud searching, and we get a lot of great demos. There are extremely vague parameters stylistically that we look for, it’s easier to define as an ambition or work ethic that shines through in someones work. It’s exciting to me when experimentation mixes with an inner drive, the effect is almost like someone pushing beyond their limitations, like when a singer goes just above and outside their octave range. That’s usually an interesting place to be musically. We also obviously have our whole life’s worth of experiences that have built up into a continually refined aesthetic which is constantly being transposed over the music we’re considering, like “does this fit my idea of cool?”

IF: In a recent interview you said “A lot of response to the record so far have discarded the conceptual aspects in favor of the purely musical ones, which I think is perfectly fine and justifiable – that musical reality is a deep part of the work and is by far the easiest entry point into it” What are some of these more conceptual aspects you aim to reach in your music and art?

KR: I think there’s a dual stigma with intellectualizing art and also not being conceptual enough, you’re caricaturized in either scenario. But every action anyone takes has an entire history behind it, we just choose to access that history or conceptual backing in different ways. I find making music more enjoyable when I have a conceptual world brewing behind it, and that usually starts as a vague or general philosophy. For example, I’ve been thinking about how much taste and style is determined by the culture and class systems we’re born into and how that changes a lot of ideas about individuality in the arts. That’s obviously a topic with a lot of facets, so I’ll daydream about it while recording or working. Eventually I find that the recording process, or the simple act of relying on a skill set, merges with whatever my mind has been preoccupied with, and the act of creating music starts to refine and clarify those initially cloudy ideas. It’s difficult to explain exactly, but have you ever been in emotional turmoil and then felt better after verbalizing your thoughts to someone? I think making art is like using a non-verbal language to bring a similar clarity.


IF: We first discovered you through Kate NV. We remember seeing the album cover artwork and being pulled in before ever hearing her music. What was your process in creating this particular album artwork?

KR: Kate had wanted some more abstract, Kandinsky-like art for her cover, and we both tried pieces like that that didn’t seem to work. Actually we both liked what the other had done but didn’t like our own attempts. I remember after that sitting down and thinking “I’m gonna try to really translate this music into a visual.” I’m not as skilled with that translation when it comes to visual art, but it worked for that one, in my opinion. There’s a clearness and calmness to Kate’s NV music and also a bittersweet joy that I latched onto.

IF: What role do you believe album artwork plays in the grand scheme of things?

KR: From my experience, people seem more in tune with their visual sense than other senses, like it’s a visual interface we consciously perceive the world through. Hearing might be more in the realm of subconscious detection, there’s always a lot of sound happening that isn’t considered unless it’s disruptive or specific. That’s all to say that when visuals are paired with any of the other senses the impact can’t be underestimated. Covers dictate our perception of the music, more popular artists use their entire persona and style in that way, to express an identity and a worldview, but for many smaller artists the album cover is all there is to set the scene.

IF: You’ve mentioned the importance of growing up with the internet and also the endless rabbit hole that it can lead to. What are some of positive aspects you see in this as well as any fears you may have?

KR: The internet is creating a more global culture, which also means it will eventually erase a lot of localized culture, or at least replace them with hyper specific internet niche cultures. I’m sure that’s good for some bad for others. Personally, the net let me escape or expand the local culture I was born into, and allowed for probably my first really in depth communication with people different from me which I saw as a blessing. I don’t know, it’s a very big subject. I think the increase of accessible data is creating more malleable and expansive identities, but probably a lot of mental dissonance as a byproduct of the rapid shift. Most aspects of globalization could be seen as good or bad depending on the context.


IF: What are you doing when you’re not creating music or running a record label? Any special interest or hobbies?

KR: Going to a movie theater helps me relax, so does talking to people I know. Sometimes when I’m taking a break from music or art I’ll get on facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, all social media and scroll through my feed endlessly.

IF: How did you come up with the names Giant Claw and Orange Milk?

KR: Giant Claw was something I picked on a whim, I didn’t think I would continue making music under the name but that’s how it worked out. When I think about that name I start to hate it sometimes, but that happens when I think about my real name too. Maybe I’ll change it soon? Orange Milk I can’t even remember, I think I just wanted something liquid related.

IF: The year is 2059, the internet has been forbidden for 30 years and all technological progress has been halted. Where are you?

KR: In a concentration camp I guess?

Keith Rankin

Giant Claw

Orange Milk Records

Scumfire unleashes “The Idol”

The first track from Scumfire is here. All proceeds are being donated to Friends of Night People . What more do you need to know?