Posts tagged with music
For Local Natives, the Music Begins At Home
This story was produced in partnership with FILTER Magazine.
So you’re in high school, and you have a band, and you want to play your first gig. You invite a couple hundred of your friends over to your dad’s house. What’s the worst that could happen?
You could end up with a hole kicked through your dad’s wall. You could also end up launching a world tour.
Both were the case for Taylor Rice and Ryan Hahn, the guitarist/vocalists for Los Angeles indie rock band Local Natives, who are rolling with laughter recalling that story before they head onstage during a recent stop in Brooklyn. (They perform a trio of shows at SXSW this week.) It was like “out of a movie,” they explain: kids packed inside the house and wrapped around the staircase; the crowd moshed, the cops came. Oh, and somebody kicked a hole through dad’s living room wall.
Trapped in the Tumblr Closet: Chilly Gonzales
Chilly Gonzales is a musical genius. Or so he says. This alt-rocker cum piano virtuoso (née Jason Beck) freely admits the name’s just a front — a brand that calls attention to the persona one adopts as performance artist — and prefers to err on the side of outrageous in his work.
Gonzo was born in Canada, lives in Paris, and collaborates regularly with the likes of Feist, Daft Punk, and Drake. He raps while he plays, wears bedroom garb during performances (imagine the juxtaposition of his bathrobe and slippers to the rigid penguin suits of his accompanying orchestras), and broke a Guinness World Record a few years back (for the longest concert by a solo artist — 27 hours, 3 minutes, 44 seconds). His stuff is moving and soulful; he’s turning young people on to the power of the orchestra. And when the orchestra’s rapidly aging current audience is dead and gone in a few decades? The concert halls will be filled with Chilly fans, he predicts. We don’t doubt it.
Art + Rap + The Internet = Yung Jake
This story was produced in partnership with MTV Hive.
He was supposed to look directly at the interviewer, not at the video camera, please. But Yung Jake — internet incarnate, rapper, memester, artiste of the online world — found it frustratingly difficult to make eye contact with a human being. As he was talking, his gaze kept shifting back to the lens, then down to the iPhone nestled in his palm. He sighed. “I’m just more interested in interacting with the virtual world than I am with real people.”
Yung Jake won’t admit his age (“I’m
youngyung”), where he grew up, (“all over”), or how he should be artistically categorized (“I call myself whatever world wants to accept me”). Something like 10 years ago, this might have been a freakish way to publicly define oneself. But today, in a world in which screens are hot and people are, well, not, such a proclamation is legitimate, on trend, and, increasingly, more normal than not.
She was a 90s riot grrrl, hung out with Kurt Cobain, and had a music blog on NPR. She worked briefly at an ad agency (Portland-based, of course) before she decided to write comedy; in Portlandia, the IFC sketch comedy series she co-created — now wrapping up its third season — she plays a feminist bookstore owner, new age helicopter mom, kinky greaser,
newspaperblog editor, and, of course, herself (alongside creative partner Fred Armisen). Now she’s got a new band, Wild Flag. And a shitload of blogs devoted to her every move.
In real life, though, Carrie Brownstein isn’t quite so different from the fans who adore her. She once cried because she loved Madonna. She had a crush on Danny from New Kids on the Block. She wrote fan letters and plastered rock posters on her teenage bedroom wall. Portlandia, she says, is like its own version of a fan ballad — an ode to the endearing absurdities of her Pacific Northwest home. On the eve of tomorrow’s season finale, Brownstein talks fandom, emoticons, and what was so great about the 90s.
Strumming Along With Musician Andrew Bird
Once upon a time (the mid 90s) in a gloriously music-laden land (Chicago), a lanky, sharp-witted, sharp-featured tenderfoot (Andrew Bird) graduated from Northwestern’s acclaimed music conservatory and dove into the sea of indie rock. Inhabited by hard-edged musicians who took pride in their lack of skill and almost-affected amateurishness, it was about passion — forget technique. Live shows were supposed to be truly live, and in-concert mistakes were nothing less than standard. “Experience the sound in its raw, unadulterated form,” they’d say. And Bird — despite his “super-trained” background — fit right in, rolling with the sonic tides to the eventual mid-ocean calm of celebrated musician status.
Bringing Orchestra to the Social Masses
Kristi Seehafer, first violinist with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, started playing the violin in the fourth grade.The reason she picked up the instrument in the first place was out of grumbling necessity: She had to get her own because her brother wouldn’t let her touch his.
What began as sibling rivalry gave way to full-blown wonder and then, once she was older, to the discovery of her life’s calling, after she fell under the spell of a performance in her hometown by the Milwaukee Symphony. It was a night she remembers that something clicked, “and I knew I had to play in an orchestra.”
Her telling of that story is captured in a YouTube video clip. That it’s posted to the orchestra’s Tumblr page is revelatory. Physically, symphony orchestras perform at a considerable distance from their audiences, and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra is no different. Its home is the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which includes a 30,000-square-foot concert hall. Given that size, it’s not an easy task to foster a close bond between performer and listener.