Thursday, June 30, 2011

all-ages, electro-dance at superfest333 : a q/a with organizer manny reyes

Supernature, Portland’s longtime purveyors of underground electronic dance parties, is back with what’s become the group’s yearly all-ages effort. This summer’s Superfest333, on July 8th and 9th, marks the third consecutive year that organizer Manny Reyes and team have put together an all-ages dance fest, which moves into the notably larger Branx (rather than the upstairs Rotture where it has been held the past two summers alongside the winter edition, Superfresh, which is now in its second year).

Creating an all-ages dance fest was key for Reyes because “tons of kids used to come up to our monthly Supernature [party], especially when our bands Atole or Copy would play because we love and support all-ages shows.” But he continues that, ”Bars and music clubs tend to exist in Portland because of amazing bar sales, so I thought, ‘What if we had a bang out with tons of kids? But we’d make it so our 21+ friends would be interested and come as well.’”

In April 2009, Reyes put together his “dream line up” (which, for the record, was quite the electro-humdinger for PDXers and included performances from YACHT, Starfucker, Explode Into Colors, Nice Nice, Atole, Copy, Panther, Guidance Counselor, E*Rock, Mattress, and more) and approached Conrad Loebl of Rotture (and The Rude Dudes) with the idea.

“To this day he helps with booking and he makes sure paperwork is in so we can have an all-ages show and he schedules a staff of pros that help so much every time,” adds Reyes.

Other important counterparts include Supernature’s DJ E*Rock (Eric Mast also of Audio Dregs), who “always helps with amazing flyers and promo videos,” and DJ Copy (Marius Libman), who “usually DJs or plays in one of his many cool bands.”

Finally, Reyes thanks “Mike, the owner of Rotture, and the entire staff of Rotture, who fully support Superfest and Supernature–without them this kind of party wouldn’t be possible on such a cool, underground level. It’s definitely family vibes, pretty much everyone playing knows each other and are excited to play with each other.”

Read the rest on OMN.

Friday, June 24, 2011

omn goes mobile!

Oregon Music News launched our first piece of mobile technology today. The mobile site ( is a festival guide for the 2011 Waterfront Blues Fest, which takes place in downtown Portland over 4th of July weekend. The site will give users real-time access to the music schedule, artist bios, and live OMN content as our team will be there writing and publishing stories and photographs live.

Although it's not a complete mobile site for OMN nor an app, the potential is huge as we will be rolling out another edition in mid-July for the 2011 PDX Pop Now! festival. As we continue to smooth out the kinks, already thinking about modifications in functionality for future fests, the current mobile site is an amazing start that was pushed along by the whole OMN crew with major props going out to developers Mark Niemann-Ross and Kevin Tomanka--also OMN writers and photographers. More info from them on the mobile site here.

We're also using a QR code to promote the site; you can find it printed on flyers, posters and even t-shirts around the fest. Can't wait for this one! Come find OMN at the 2011 WBF in The Delta Music Experience Louisiana Pavilion.

Check out OMN's new mobile festival site here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

celebrating 9 years of andaz with dj anjali + the incredible kid

How many DJs are booked to spin Indian weddings, children’s parties, and popular monthly dance parties all in the span of one week? Add a slot at the 2011 Sasquatch Music Festival on top of it all, and it should be clear that most local DJs will never achieve this kind of cross-over success in a career.

The versatile duo of DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid have done all of the above for more than nine years and they’ll celebrate on July 2nd at Rotture with their original party ANDAZ, which introduced Portland to Indian Bollywood and bhangra music years before it would ever hit the US mainstream from the likes of Jay-Z, MIA or even Slumdog Millionaire.

ANDAZ, which means “style” in Hindi/Urdu, began in July of 2002 and has remained relevant because of the curatorial efforts of DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid. This is their craft. An Anjali & The Incredible Kid playlist does not simply include top Indian hits or the rubbish found on grocery store mixtapes, but “as people that listen to more bhangra and Bollywood than anyone in Portland,” says The Incredible Kid, they will introduce you to their unique flavor of south Asian music.

“Most of it’s awful,” adds The Incredible Kid. ”I think that’s true for most music. It’s been said that ’99% of all music’s crap,’ and that’s really true with south Asian music as much as anything else.”

The ANDAZ party has also remained relevant because it has evolved with the times; the music changes as Indian style permutes. Although The Incredible Kid does concede that they might not be the longest running dance party in town (Goodfoot nights like Soul Stew and DJ Magneto’s First Fridays or DJ Gregarious’ Shut Up and Dance may be pushing 10+ years), they are the longest running contemporary night of music.

A serendipitous appearance at this year’s Sasquatch!–they were booked after meeting fest founder/organizer Adam Zacks at a wedding they were playing–exposed them to thousands of new and younger fans. They duo even played every, single day of the fest–the only artists to do so–and several of their sets were extended. The crowd of thousands ate it up and ”from the stage you couldn’t even really see where it [the people] ended,” gushes Anjali.

As their nine-year anniversary of ANDAZ approaches, watch Anjali and The Incredible Kid talk about how ANDAZ has remained popular over the years and about their overwhelming success as Sasquatch this year.

Watch more videos with DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid on OMN.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

methodically melodic : a q/a with a perfect circle’s billy howerdel

The current bio on A Perfect Circle’s recently updated website doesn’t offer much information. It simply lists that Maynard James Keenan handles the vocals and Billy Howerdel the guitar. That’s it.

With the ease that this malleable group plays, they could almost trick you into believing it’s that simple.

The two may be the original backbone of APC but a rotating cast of world-class musicians has contributed to the larger-than-life band’s instantaneous success since their introduction on Nine Inch Nail’s Fragility v2.0 tour in 2000. Before the release of their debut album, Mer de Noms, the cast of players included Tim Alexander (Primus), Paz Lenchantin (Zwan, The Entrance Band), Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, Failure), and Josh Freese (Devo, The Vandals, Weezer), while subsequent releases and line ups have seen appearances from Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails) and Jeordie White (Marilyn Manson).

The current line up that will hit the Schnitz in Portland on Wednesday, June 29th includes Howerdel (vocals/guitar) and Keenan (lead vocals) alongside guitarist-keyboardist James Iha (The Smashing Pumpkins), bassist Matt McJunkins (Ashes Divide), and touring drummer Jeff Friedl (Ashes Divide, Puscifer) standing in for Josh Freese.

But the APC project has always been Billy Howerdel’s baby; something that the Tool lead singer contributes to when his schedule, between wine making, starring in a documentary about wine making, and also playing in Puscifer, allows. With a wealth of knowledge, experience and professionalism, the mega-group has always followed Howerdel’s vision, something he honed as a guitar tech for bands like Faith No More, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, Guns N’ Roses and Tool during the nineties.

A coveted collaboration with Keenan brought wider exposure to Howerdel’s talents, something that was only previously noticed by the musicians he directly worked with, and the two emerged with a potent blend of artistic rock which saw Keenan adding a darkly operatic, dramatic flair to his vocal stylings for APC.

Fall of 2010 saw the band back on the road for the first time since spring of 2004, playing a string of select West Coast dates where APC played three consecutive gigs in each city, performing a different album in its entirety each night. After that warm up, summer 2011 marks the group’s first comprehensive North American tour in almost eight years.

Always a collection of collaborative, talented friends rather than a manufactured supergroup, the quality of the music and performance is a testament to this ethos. OMN had the chance to ask Billy Howerdel about A Perfect Circle’s upcoming tour, which kicks off in Portland, and the band’s future plans for a fourth album. He also gave some insight into his pensive songwriting process and how it feels to work with musicians who influenced him.

I know that technically there is no APC full-length album in the works but how many new songs do you have? And how many can we expect to hear live?

We’ve got one that the music’s there, we’ve been playing it every day, Maynard’s been working on the lyrics and I think he’s really close. We’ll just be cutting it pretty close to play this new song live.

Any plans to record this song?

Yeah, it’s recorded too. We’ll play it live before the recording will come out so that’ll probably be a first for us… well, if you don’t count 1999 before Mer de Noms came out and we weren’t signed and no one knew who we were, we did a few shows around California, but other than that we’ve never tested the waters with a new song live.

I’m just approaching it the same way as recording a body of work that would be an album but it just won’t be released like that. So, I’ll have to finish them in that kind of a way… this one certainly is done first but typically I’ll get everything 85% done and then once the collection of songs is there, then put the final touches on them all so they have some kind of continuity. I just have to be mindful of that ahead of time. It’s going to be a new experience for us.

I’ve also heard that you’re working on new material for a second Ashes Divide album. If the writing efforts for both acts are largely spearheaded by you, how do you determine what is written for what?

I still don’t know. I think the song kind of speaks for itself once it’s written and once it’s underway. Songs are in your control but they’re out of your control; there’s something under our emotional hood that kind of drives where they go. So when you’re writing it and you’re in that process they’re going one direction and you can step away from it for hours to days to weeks and you hear it in a different way because you’re having a different experience in your life. I can look at something and go “this is purposely going to be an Ashes song” and all of a sudden I hear it again and go “this is appropriate for APC and where we’re heading now.” So there’s no great formula, we just kind of go from there.

As far as APC, I’ll present things to Maynard and he’s surprised me with some of the things he’s responded to… which doesn’t surprise me. He’s always looking to evolve and looking for something different. It might surprise you that he’ll do something that’s familiar or older. He’ll keep you guessing which is good; that’s what the collaborative process should be.

Read the rest on OMN.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

the black lips mature? a q/a with cole alexander

Even if The Black Lips are the last to admit it, they’re maturing. Musically, at least.

“Well, I was 18 for years and now I’m 19 in spirit,” says guitarist/founder Cole Alexander. ”Evolution is slow process.”

With Alexander turning 30 yesterday, the day after The Black Lips released their sixth studio album (on Tuesday, June 7th), Arabia Mountain is the most evolved and refined sound to date from the Lips–16 jolting cuts, 14 of which clock in at under 3 minutes, that range from happy-go-lucky (“Go Out And Get It”) to dark and brooding (“Mr. Driver”) to bizarrely based on a true story (the molestation of Spiderman in “Spidey’s Curse”).

As the band’s spirit remains youthful (read: immature), the music has definitely matured, producing The Black Lips’ most palatable album, something Alexander predicted during production when he told NME: ”I’m hoping it’ll be our most fucked up but successful album.”

And while it’s an album readily available for mainstream consumption, Arabia Mountain is also their best quality work, full of frenetic pop songs and decidedly darker, occult-inspired tracks. For the first time in their decade-plus career, the Atlanta quartet recorded with an outside producer: Mark Ronson, who is better known for his work with soulful English songstresses Amy Winehouse and Adele or heavyweight rappers like Nas, Busta Rhymes, and ODB. What seemed an odd pairing (and although there was one attempt on Ronson’s life) has resulted in a tight album with (as oxymoronic as this sounds) cleaner fuzz that reeks of the energy and durability of The Ramones and The Hives. Lockett Pundt (of Deerhunter) and the band themselves, of course, also had a hand in the production.

A subtle, cleaner departure from the muddy sound of 2009′s 200 Million Thousand, which was recorded by themselves in a warehouse, the band also experimented with adding some sounds–theremin (played by Sean Lennon), saw, saxophone, horns, and a skull. Yes, a human skull. The psychedelia (on and off the record) continues as the band used a human skull as a reverb chamber, an idea they got from ’60s psych-rockers the 13th Floor Elevators, to actually create ”the sound of being inside a human head,” as Alexander told Spinner.

“We’re hoping to tap into the spirit world,” Alexander also told NME. ”We’re hoping the person who once lived in the skull can enhance the songs.”

The previous quote aside, if the album seems a bit calmer and more composed, this will not be reflected in the live setting. The lovably obnoxious offenders are at home on the road and are at it again, touring the world and hitting Portland’s Wonder Ballroom on Tuesday, June 14 with intense East New York punks Cerebral Ballzy (who are set to release their self-titled debut on July 26th via Adult Swim’s Williams Street Records) and Seattle’s Night Beats.

Approaching their thirties, the boys may now be stagebroken but that might not stop them from making out and exposing a butt cheek or more. For a band that’s been kicked out of India because of their stage antics, there will be crowd surfing and spilt (or spit) beer so brace yourself for a wildly offensive and dynamic show–try not to look too shocked at the sight of balls.

Read the rest on OMN.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

about face : defining patrick lamb

Having never made "a great saxophone record," It's All Right Now is Maceo meets The Crusaders meets Patrick Lamb.

Although the soulful jazz saxophonist and vocalist Patrick Lamb is a Grammy-nominated, Muddy award winning, multifaceted force, he's hardly got it all figured out. What he has learned after traveling the world sharing sold-out stages with multi Grammy-winner Diane Schuur, Bobby Caldwell, Gino Vannelli, and the Tower of Power Rhythm Section is that life is a journey and you can redefine yourself along the way as long as you stay true to yourself.

And as each year passes, Lamb is still trying to figure out what kind of artist he wants to be. One thing that has not changed is Lamb's unwavering focus and dedication to his craft. As a band leader and multi-instrumentalist playing an energetic mix of R&B, soul, blues, funk, and jazz, Lamb is ready to release his first "great saxophone record" titled It's All Right Now--his first effort recorded outside of Portland and which features celebrity players like Alex Al (Michael Jackson), Little John Roberts (Janet Jackson), Dave Weckl (Chick Corea, Robert Plant, Diana Ross), Paul Jackson Jr. (Tonight Show), Michael White (Steely Dan), Dwight Sills (Anita Baker, Babyface, Kirk Whalum).

Yet Lamb maintains that music does not define him. He's been recognized for his community service, and he tries "to be as healthy as I can" staying active with soccer and running. Believing that "opportunity knocks softly," "I try to remain open because life changes. Music defines me in a lot of ways but you never want to get comfortable. It's dangerous to be defined by what you do." Also an entrepreneur at heart, Lamb notably launched the multi-million dollar Tickets Oregon several years ago.

Born to teachers in Mississippi, Patrick Lamb "literally moved every single year until we moved to Oregon" in 1983. A Portland native since, he first picked up the sax in middle school band class and has clung to it ever since because moving every year "can be kind of lonely. As soon as I found music I just went there."

Who first introduced you to music?

My dad took care of the family basically playing piano and honky tonks and weddings and little private parties and outdoor concerts. I would travel around with him. We had a little green Datsun 220 and he had a Rhodes piano stuck in the back and there was just enough room for me to fit in the back and we would go out and play. He also had great records playing all the time--Ray Charles, Phoebe Snow, Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Joe Cocker, Frank Zappa, really a wide range of stuff.

How did you become hooked on the sax?

I just jumped into the saxophone and I went through all the beginning band books in the first few months. And then my dad thought I was getting kind of cocky so one day he brought back this book called the Charlie Parker Omnibook and was like, "Okay, you think you're pretty good? Well check this out, see if you can learn some of these solos."

I started learning some of those solos and then after I learned three or four of those he took me out to the Jazz Quarry jam session--that's where all kinds of people were coming through, and I sat in and that's what really put a fire under me. I started playing, and when you're playing around town, you either do or you don't get a name for yourself or not. Somehow I started getting gigs and then I started getting calls for touring with Diane Schuur. My first gig with her was at Schnitzer Hall after she had won a Grammy and it was sold out.

After spending a career backing others as a sax-for-hire, how have you found our own sound and style on your most recent recordings?

It's definitely not some kind of concocted thing. It's a journey like anything else. Every year is a little bit different; I'm sort of like a kid, I get bored with one thing, don't we all? I've been a mercenary of sorts for the last ten years or so, just touring with different people.

I haven't really had a record that was produced outside of Portland until now. I decided that I wanted to make that next step, that next jump to another level, and by everything I could decipher, I really had to start working with people outside of Portland. So that's what I started doing. I haven't really had a great saxophone record to date so this next record is more of a saxophone record, it has one song that I sing on, but the rest of is kind of Maceo meets The Crusaders meets some of my other influences.

Your last record (2007's Soul of a Free Man) was the first record that you'd ever sang on but now you've taken a step away from the vocals to focus on the saxophone.

I spent about six months trying to figure out how to meld the two. It's really difficult because I sing all the time at different concerts, [and] I obviously play saxophone but I wanted to put out another record with me singing and also writing songs. I eventually decided to do two separate records. This [It's All Right Now] is one of a two part series. It's setting a new precedent for me; from now on I'm going to work with people in Los Angeles and New York and press forward with outside producers. When you go and work with someone who's produced India Arie and worked with Michael Jackson it's different, inherently different.

Does that have something to do with the fact that for as many studios and producers as Portland has, there aren't many internationally renowned or celebrity producers in town? Where New York, LA and Nashville have long-standing reputations and there's something that comes with that territory...

Yes. I'm just over simplifying of course, but all these studios have the same stuff in them. If you went to five studios here and then you went to LA and looked at five studios there, they practically have all the same stuff. It's not the gear, it's the ear--the person running it, the producer. That's what's taken me a lot of time and, frankly, a lot of money to figure out.

How much of this is meeting new people and moving outside of your normal group and comfort zone to see what these new collaborations can inspire?

Absolutely. I'm always about moving outside of your circle because whenever you stay there you get comfortable, you get bored, you get stagnant, you get placid, you just don't really make great or interesting stuff. It really comes down to who's on board not where you're going. Because if you have the right crew on board, then you can take a tiny bit of opportunity and knock it out of the park. If you have the wrong crew on board, you can spend $100,000 and you're gonna sink any major opportunity like the Titanic.

Have you finally discovered what works for yourself?

I've never had a giant record deal, I've never had some huge, super break that's happened overnight and catapulted me, like some artists have. My career thus far has really been incremental, but it's been slow and steady and I feel very happy now because we have a great fan base. Our fans our great, I'm debt free, I have a beautiful home, I tour the world with different people, and musically, the giant marketing machine, that used to wag the dog and make people famous whether they deserved it or not, doesn't really work anymore. For better or for worse, the only thing you can depend on is yourself and your fans and connecting with them. For me it really works because anytime we play at Jimmy Mak's, we play a couple of shows, we sell them out, and we make great money. Life is good but I'd like to be able to expand where I travel with my own band and I want to get out great new records so I can go travel internationally under my own name.

Speaking of connecting with your fans and marketing yourself, tell me about how you're funding the some of the new album with Kickstarter.

What I love about Kickstarter is that there's an element about it that's so inexplicable and unexpected. What I mean by that is, as an artist, you're generally aware of who, where and what your fan base is if you want to survive. The thing that's been fascinating about Kickstarter is that some of the fans that you think are going to be incredibly active and supportive and put a lot of money towards it, don't. Then on the other side of things, people that you are just sort of subliminally aware of step up and put in a $1000. I woke up this morning and looked at Kickstarter and it was up $1500 since last night and one of the people I didn't even know. And I'm still really, really curious [laughs]. The thing about Kickstarter is putting yourself out there and that's really what people want. They want it to be personal; they [don't want to be] subject to this kind of marketing machine anymore. They get it. If they hear some kind of crazy marketing sales pitch, they're immediately turned off. You can really connect with people personally by filming a video that just shows who you are and appealing to people to help you with your project.

The way we're funding this project is a hybrid way. The project's really expensive, so it's not like something I'm producing in the basement. The dollars that are needed are higher, just the personnel dictates that. I have friends that have executive produced the basic recording of the tracking and then I'm using Kickstarter to finish up mixing, mastering and some other things like graphics, duplication.

With Kickstarter you're able to honestly put yourself out there and let your fans share in every step of your process.

It makes or breaks you. That's what the reality is today. When I put something up on Kickstarter I pray that it's authentic and people connect with it. There's no BS because people don't want that. People typically connect with Kickstarter because they really feel that there's something meaningful about your project… or people just like you. You can appeal to all those different reasonings for participation from $10 to $25,000 and everything in between. That makes it interesting because it's not just one way to participate for one demographic. It opens it up to a lot of possibilities.

You mentioned splitting this project into two parts: a sax record and a vocal one. Did you end up writing or recording any music that will end up on the vocal album?

No. We went into this with a laser focus. We did it old school. I went down [to LA] in January and I spent the first week writing, and then the second week we recorded. The goal was to do a saxophone record and maybe one vocal track. That was really important going into this, to have focus. The difficulty for me over the last couple years has been trying to figure out that: What kind of artist am I going to be?

I do a lot of different things. When I go out on the road with Bobby Caldwell, I play strings. I sing backgrounds with most of the artists I travel with. The reality is that a lot of people here, and fans, know me as a saxophonist. And for people that I tour with, I think that it's important when I go in to different cities that I'm just playing as a saxophonist [under my own name], it's great for me to have a saxophone record for my saxophone fans. It just makes sense. That doesn't mean I'm not committed to the vocal stuff but I think I'm going to work with a different producer on the vocal record; someone who has a different angle so it'll have a different sound.

It sounds like you're defining and refining who you are right now.

You know, it's a cliche, but cliches are cliche for a reason because there's a lot of truth in them. Following your journey and wherever it takes you. It's really important for me to have a saxophone record, even if just to give to people I'm touring with for other touring possibilities. And to be able to give them a record that I'm actually proud of is important. You need something that you're proud of that you can give to people.

It's not just your art, it's your resume...

It's your business card too [laughs].

Give me a piece of advice for aspiring musicians.

Being a musician is kind of like the Olympics. You have to be committed to do what it takes to be in the top two percentile or you're not going to make it--not make a living. You have to have a laser focus and you have to be healthy.

Surround yourself with people who are much smarter and have already had extreme success in the business.

Patrick Lamb celebrates the release of It's All Right Now with two shows on June 18th at Jimmy Mak's with special guest and producer Jeff Lorber.

Read this article in About Face Magazine.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

honest, ‘dirty radio’ from sallie ford + the sound outside

Dirty Radio is honest.”

It’s about “always being comfortable” and always “being true to yourself,” says Sallie Ford.

“When I turn on the radio, it all sounds the same. It ah-all sounds the same,” belts Sallie Ford in her distinctive, beguiling bawl on the first track from the band’s debut full-length. With a purposefully placed stutter, her words come in soulful exhalations and end in muffled grunts.

“What have these people done to music? They just don’t care anymore. They just don’t care anymore.”

Those lyrics, from “I Swear” (above), and the rest of Dirty Radio epitomize the honesty that can be felt through the music of Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside–a sound that may be utterly foreign to that dirty mainstream radio but is quite familiar here in Portland.

The band of Portland transplants has something honest to say, and after more than a year in the works, the record on which they say it is finally available. Dirty Radio was released via Partisan Records on May 24th and Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, which features Ford Tennis on drums, Tyler Tornfelt on upright bass and Jeffrey Munger on guitar, will celebrate with two shows at the Doug Fir Lounge on Friday, June 3rd and Saturday, June 4th with handpicked openers sharing the stage.

“Radio sometimes has a reputation of not including swear words and chopping up songs,” continues Sallie Ford. It also, like popular culture, has a reputation for being fickle.

Yet something about Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside is timeless. It may be their unclassifiability, the gospel and soul divas present in Sallie’s uncommon vocals, or her throwback backing boys who conjure up classic folk, Americana, blues and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll rhythms.

The fluctuations in Sallie’s vocals create an energy, a palpable spontaneity, that comes from her style of songwriting. “The way I write lyrics,” begins Sallie before changing her train of thought. ”I used to sort of write them down but these days I don’t even do that. It’s a rhythmic thing and sometimes they end up forming themselves.”

Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside’s debut album has been a long time coming, but if you’ve been paying attention over the last year, much of it has already been revealed live or reworked from their five-track, 2009 Not An Animal EP.

Gaining subtle crispness in production, the band worked with Mike Coykendall (“We had originally wanted to work with him [on the entire album] but he had a real busy schedule”) and Adam Selzer at Type Foundry Studio. Recording with Mike in February of 2010 and Adam in March of the same year, the band has spent more than a year not just trying to get all the pieces together but putting everything in the right places–not to mention spending the appropriate amount of time simply “feeling overwhelmed with the business side of things,” including shopping the record around and putting together a management team.

Read the rest on OMN.