Author Archive

Residency

Evenings - Week 1

Residency-Evenings2

Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite creatives.

This week, the Virginia-based artist Evenings talks about his adventures in the South on the first leg of his recent road trip.


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I’m American. I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. However, I had only seen a few of the major States before the summer of 2013 when I was 23 years old. By this time I had spent time living in France, and had trekked all over Europe and Australia. So I was frustrated that I was born and raised in the U.S., but I had only seen around 15 States. I was also (and still am) worried about the future of the U.S., so I felt that I if I was ever going to see the rest of the country (for leisure, not touring), I had better do it sooner rather than later.

I had been living in Harlem, NY when I decided to go on this trip. I was able to save a decent amount of money, and my friend decided to quit his job and go with me. He was living in Virginia, so I moved all of my things from Harlem down to Virginia. Then we packed his Honda Civic (we didn’t have a van) full of clothes, our bags, cameras, skateboards, a three-person tent, and all of our other shit, and we said goodbye to our families left indefinitely.

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Our first stop was Mount Rogers in Virginia. We figured we’d stop there for a night before continuing onto Tennessee. It would also give us a chance to get accustomed to sleeping outdoors.

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Once we got to the camp site we parked the car, and got out to look around. Before we had a chance to get our bearings we saw a golf cart driving up the path towards us with a dog, attached to it by a leash, running beside it. The man driving, who we later found out was the groundskeeper, stopped the cart and told us that we were parked in a handicap spot.

“Y’alls generation don’t look no further than this.” He held his hand about an inch from his face. James and I looked at each other but didn’t really say anything. The man apologized and proceeded to tell us about his time in Vietnam, and how the military pays for his Hydrocodone. Hydrocodone fucks you up, and this dude looked just that—fucked up. Suddenly the dog tied to the golf cart made perfect sense. We kept talking with this guy, and it started to rain. He seemed to warm up to us after a few minutes, and eventually he offered us some of his fire-starter to use in the rain. We set up camp, started a fire, and eventually fell asleep.

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When we woke up we decided we had to get the hell out of Virginia.

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We packed up the car, said bye to the crazy guy in the golf cart and his dog, Hank, took this goofy ass photo of ourselves, and got on the road.

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For some reason we decided we didn’t really want to spend the night sleeping in Tennessee or Arkansas. We agreed that we were going to try to drive from Mount Rogers, Virginia, to Austin, Texas, in one day. I know a girl that lives there, and it seemed like a good spot to spend a few days. It took us forever to get through Tennessee. We stopped at a gas station and a rest stop to pick up some water and use the bathroom. I think James might have snapped into a Slim Jim. But we didn’t stick around long. We had both spent time in Tennessee before, and if we were going to get to Texas, we had to put the scoot on. Five hours later we were in Arkansas. We both were feeling pretty horrible. We chalked it up to being hungry, so we stopped at a Mexican restaurant… in Arkansas. Now if I could give any piece of advice as to what not to do in Arkansas, it would be eating Mexican food. I got some type of chalupa or something that turned out to be a modest, spicy, green-slop filled tortilla thing. To make a long story short, it looked the same going in as it did coming out. We got the hell out of that restaurant after we annihilated their restroom.

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This is the only picture i have from Arkansas (taken on my phone):

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We got back on the road and drove for what seemed like forever. I started seeing signs for towns that sounded like a 12-year-old made them up. For instance, “Arkadelphia” & “Texarkana” stand out in my head. Soon I fell asleep in the car, and I awoke to James shaking me. “We’re getting pulled over.” I was too tired to really care. It was about 4 a.m., and we were, in fact, inside the border of Texas, so I felt like we had won. The cop knocked on James’s window, and he rolled it down. “Y’all movin?” He asked after seeing the giant pile of shit in the back seat. (“We were until you stopped us,” I thought.)

“No, we’re just going on a trip.”

“Well, I’m stopping y’all cuz you were goin’ 80 in a 75, and there is a zero tolerance policy in Texas,” he said. James sighed.

The cop let us off after shining his flashlight in our faces a few times. We were about half an hour outside of Austin when we decided to stop at a rest area and sleep in the car. We both kinda felt like we were gonna die, but at least we made it out of Arkansas.

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Metro

When I woke up in the car I had kinda forgotten where the fuck I was. I kinda expected to be waking up in my bed in at home. I saw the rest area outside of the car and remembered that we were in Texas. James had been to Texas before. It was my first time. It was only about 8 a.m. The sun had woken me up. I got out of the car and did some I-just-drove-1,200-miles yoga, and soon I felt a lot better than I had in Arkansas. It was hot as shit in Texas, but I tend to like that kind of weather. Before long we got on the road again, and drove the remaining half hour to Austin.

Austin is nice. I really enjoyed being there. People are generally rather laid back. I think it has something to do with it being too god damn hot for most people to cause any trouble. I’m half black and I got sunburned. We walked around Austin for a few hours. Initially, I couldn’t get in touch with the girl I know who lived there, so we went searching for another camp site. We found a spot called Mckinney Falls State Park, and set up all of our shit. I washed my hair and feet under the water spout, then walked around and took photos with some film.

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James and I cooked something on the fire, and then called it a night. Eventually I got in touch with my friend from Austin, and I made plans to meet her the next day.

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Once we woke up we drove into the city to meet my friend. She had just gotten off of work and she said there was some “skate demo” going on nearby where her friends were headed. James and I had been skating since we were about 12. That’s how we met each other in the first place. We thought it would be some demo by a local skate shop in Austin (which would have been fine with us). We were wrong. It happened to be June 21st, “Go Skateboarding Day.” When we showed up at the park there were hundreds of people there. It was demo by Emerica. I started noticing skaters that I had only seen in movies and video games. Shit was strange. Anyway, after the demo there was an event where we and the hundreds of other skaters got to take over the city, if you will. We got to skate through the streets in a huge fucking mob at skate spots that you’d usually get kicked out of within minutes (it was all police sanctioned!). I was about to loose my mind, skating down the street on a random summer day in Texas with Andrew Reynolds and Leo Romero and Bryan Herman and Atiba Jefferson. Austin was making a very good impression on me.

After “Wild in the Streets” we went by a local market and picked up a bunch of food to cook, then went down to the river. We had some drinks, “BBQ’d,” and my friend introduced us to her Texas friends. Everyone I met was super nice, laid back, and honestly funny. I felt completely comfortable. Everyone in Austin was really cool.

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After hanging there for a few hours my friend recommended that we go see a view of Austin from Pennybacker Bridge, a.k.a. 360 Bridge. James seemed to be enjoying himself just fine at the house, so I got in her car and headed up there.

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We sat up there on a rock face, looking at the bridge for a while, then we headed back to her place. The next morning James picked me up, and we felt like it was time to get back on the road. We had hours of flat Texas to look at before we made it into New Mexico. I thanked my friend, and then we were off.


Evenings’ new EP, Gardener, is out now via his Bandcamp.

Artist Mix

Mitski

Artist-Mix-Mitski

Artist Mixes are an ongoing series of mixtapes curated by some of our favorite musicians.

This month, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Mitski shares a personal playlist originally made for her significant other of the past. Read a note from the artist below.


This was the first mix CD I ever made for my beau, years ago, when we were first getting to know each other. It’s a mix between showing my hand a little bit and making sure I don’t go off the deep end and scare them off. Though now looking at the track listing, I can tell I was already in too deep. I like to think this mix is what won them over, because otherwise I’m a bit of a pain to date. Actually, it almost feels wrong that I’m sharing this with you. This is our thing. Don’t look.

Tracklist:

[00:30] • Facing New York – “Cops on Bikes”
[04:47] • Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
[07:55] • Pens – “You Only Love Me When I Tell You I’m Wrong”
[11:03] • Danielson – “Headz In the Cloudz”
[15:43] • Betty Carter – “Call Me Darling”
[19:32] • Bombay Bicycle Club – “Dust On the Ground”
[23:52] • The Blue Hearts – “Linda Linda”
[26:36] • Björk – “Pagan Poetry”
[31:34] • We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”
[35:46] • Sparks – “Angst In My Pants”
[39:08] • Mitoka Samba – “De Noite Na Cama”
[40:34] • Chatmonchy – “Shangrila”
[43:42] • Deerhoof – “Super Duper Rescue Heads!”
[46:08] • Shiina Ringo – “Kuki”
[49:56] • Perfume Genius – “Hood”
[51:44] • GING NANG BOYZ – “NO FUTURE NO CRY”
[57:12] • Mongol 800 – “Chiisa na Koi no Uta”

Read our reflection of Mitski’s debut album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek, here.

Residency

Kero Kero Bonito - Week 2

Residency-Kero2

Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite creatives.

This week, read London-based trio Kero Kero Bonito‘s surreal short story about a trio who decides to build a town.


Sarah kept stacking bricks until she had constructed a whole two-story house with a glowing pink façade. She even made a little back garden filled with an array of tropical flowers, surrounded by a white picket fence. She climbed atop her creation and stuck in the final piece—a flag. She looked down at Gus, Jamie and the old man and shouted at them.

“Finished!”

The old man’s eyes expanded in astonishment. “Wha… How on earth did you do that?” Gus looked around at him.

“Are you surprised?” he asked. “She’d beat you at any game.” The old man ignored him.

“This is remarkable. You’ve achieved in ten seconds what I couldn’t in 25 years. At last, there is something fun in this place. How can I ever repay you?”

“I’m OK tha—” Sarah started to respond, but before she could finish she was hit in the face by a flying black jumper.

“Take this. It’s been in my family for generations. My great-great-great grandmother knitted it, but you deserve it.”

Sarah unravelled the jumper. The pink writing on the front read: “Fun Is the New Cool.”

“But I have to ask,” the old man continued. “How did you do it?”

“It’s easy. We all like to go places right?”

“Yes, absolutely! It’s one of life’s great pleasures!”

“Then pick your favorite and build it up!”

The old man stepped into the house, and Sarah came down. She crouched frowning.

“Sarah, what’s up?” Jamie asked. “That was amazing!”

“Hmm… Dancing’s better when you’re with someone,” Sarah sighed.

“This house is kind of bleak actually,” said Gus.

“Well, we’ve seen how you do it, why don’t we just make some more stuff?” Sarah looked up. “If we build a whole town, we can hang out with everyone.”

Jamie clicked his fingers. “Yeeesss! Mate, we can build anything!”

The trio set to work. They started with the basics—an airport, a theme park and a karaoke bar. Before long, they had laid down the foundations of a medium-sized town, complete with roads, parks and a functioning sewage system. It looked marvellous, and they knew everyone would want to come and visit. As Gus finished a bench, Sarah was struck by a thought.

“We should build a sonar system into this bench. That way, people can see what’s going on out of town while they sit down.”

They all agreed it was a splendid idea, and promptly built the finest sonar device ever conceived by mankind. Once they had fixed it to the bench, they paused for a moment. Suddenly, Sarah violently kicked the bench. It smashed into hundreds of little pieces.

“This is getting boring,” Sarah explained.

“I like building, but we’re taking this too seriously.”

Jamie nodded.

“She’s right, y’know. We went on a journey to have fun, not to build public infrastructure.”

“Yeah, true,” Gus replied, looking around at the town they had just built. “But let’s not just leave it. I’ve got an idea. Let me go and get that old guy.”

Gus knocked on the door of Sarah’s house. The old man answered.

“Ah yes, I thought it might be you! Come in!”

“Old man, right, you’re not gonna like the sound of this, but trust me. Can you try kicking your house down?”

The old man looked aghast.

“After all you’ve done? That would be total insanity! Are you mad?”

“Maybe. But I think it might be what you’re looking for.”

The old man began to close the door. Gus grabbed his arm.

“Wait! You didn’t believe Sarah, but if it wasn’t for us, you wouldn’t even have this house. Trust me.”

The old man walked out and faced the house. He kicked it feebly. Nothing happened. Sarah jumped in.

“No, you’ve got to do it properly. Kick it harder!”

With all the strength he could muster, the old man raised his leg behind him, and smacked his foot into the wall as hard as possible. A crack appeared in the bricks. Then, the house collapsed with a mighty crunch.

“You know what?” the old man laughed, “That was the most fun I’ve had in my whole life!”

The four of them ran around the whole town, kicking down everything they had built. The brick explosions rang out across the plain. Once they had smashed everything in sight, they all left the town, and walked up the first hill they came across. Once they reached the top, they sat down and admired the view—they could see for miles. From a distance, the piles of bricks became multi-coloured puddles of sludge. Gus looked at his watch.

“You know, now we’ve got nothing, I think our journey is complete.”

“But we’ve got to turn our life around,” Jamie answered.

“Oh yeah!” exclaimed Sarah.

“What are we doing? We’re meant to be recording our next album!”

They got up and went home.


Read Kero Kero Bonito’s first entry here.

Residency

Kero Kero Bonito - Week 1

Residency-Kero

Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite creatives.

This week, read London-based trio Kero Kero Bonito‘s surreal short story about a quest for the perfect hangout.


One day, Sarah, Gus and Jamie were very hungry and had nothing else to do, so they went to find some special supermarket deals. They regularly bought cake, jelly and ice cream there, and they knew the aisles by heart.

“This is so boring!” exclaimed Sarah. “I wish I could fly away—everybody knows my name!”

Jamie agreed. “I’d rather sleep than stay awake… walking around here.” They stopped quoting their own song lyrics at themselves and pondered. Gus chipped in.

“There must be somewhere else we can go! Sarah, you’ve seen the world right? Where do you recommend?”

“I’d like to find somewhere new, to be honest. Like a forest!”

“Well, I Google ‘cool forest’ all the time and I get no results.” Jamie explained. “I think we’re gonna have to find one ourselves.” Gus nodded.

“Well, that’s it then. Let’s not go dancing, but exploring tomorrow instead. We’ll find a new hangout.”

“Yaaay!” Sarah shouted, turning the grey shoppers’ heads. She swiped her dragon fruit matcha at the self-checkout and they hurried out of the supermarket. They couldn’t miss the bus—it doesn’t come much.

That night, while the trio were fast asleep, something very peculiar happened. A great frog, made out of bright green bricks, visited them all in their dreams. He said only one sentence in a booming baritone.

“Always put your best foot forward.”

Sarah, Gus and Jamie set off the very next day. They climbed mountains, sailed oceans and endured deserts. They learnt subway maps, heard rap in a hundred different languages and analyzed the subtleties of far-flung convenience stores. They still couldn’t find the perfect hangout though.

After months of exploration, they found themselves in the middle of a barren plain, completely featureless apart from some hills peeking out of the misty blue horizon. Suddenly, Gus’s knees crumpled to the earth.

“This is wack. I’m so tired and we still haven’t found it. Camping SUCKS!”

They stopped. Jamie calmly surveyed the scene. His eagle eyes caught a speck in the distance.

“Yeah alright man. I think that might be something there you know.”
After walking a little more, Jamie became animated. “That actually looks like a person, just standing there. And there’s some stuff next to him, but I’m not sure. I reckon we should have a look. I’ve got a good feeling.”

Eventually, all three could clearly make out a man in a suit with a bowler hat, leaning on a cane. Beside him was a huge pile of bricks, of all shapes and sizes, in every colour of the rainbow. He remained perfectly still until they were so close they could count the wrinkles in his forehead.

“So how did you three make it out here?” he asked with a deep, educated voice.

“We’re looking for somewhere fun,” Sarah replied. “Do you know anywhere?”

“Not around here. I’m having some trouble with that myself…” Gus and Jamie stared at the man. Sarah’s eyes twinkled.

“I know, fun places are hard to find right?”

“Well, I was going to make my own, but I’ve been having some trouble…” He sighed, which seemed to energize Sarah.

“Why can’t you build?” she asked, tilting her head. The man gestured towards the pile of bricks.

“I just can’t get these to fit together!” said the man, laughing with frustration. Sarah looked cross.

“Mmm… your problem is that you’re not putting them together properly! Use your imagination!” Jamie and Gus, for all their curiosity, had no idea what Sarah was talking about.

“Well, dear, don’t you think I’ve tried that?” The man’s patronizing tone fired up Sarah’s competitive side.

“Haaaa! I bet I can use them.” Sarah picked up an electric pink brick from the top of the pile. She placed it firmly on the floor and looked up, grinning. “I build all the time.”


Read our reflection of Kero Kero Bonito’s debut mixtape, Intro Bonito, here.

Residency

Mister Lies - Week 2

Residency-Misterlies2

Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite creatives.

This week, Nick Zanca, a.k.a. Mister Lies, shares a private conversation with himself about the loneliness of tour.


You sit under the covers as you start writing. The window is open. You have just packed up for what will be your first tour in a over a year. You leave tomorrow for Vermont to rehearse with Tyler and Steven (bandmates) for a few days before kickstarting things in Boston this weekend. The only light sources in the room come from the lemongrass candle you lit an hour ago and your cluttered laptop screen. Three windows are open on your computer: this TextEdit document, a group iMessage with Warren and Emily discussing potential couches to crash on, and iTunes. You just put on Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden album and it’s turned up all the way. This was really the only thing you vividly remembered listening to when you were on the road last. You take a good long look at the album’s cover art before realizing how long it’s been. It’s a good thing you’re not in it unaccompanied this time around. It’s not that you couldn’t do it, it’s not even that you dread alienation—in fact, I see you’ve grown quite accustomed to it for someone who couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping alone as a child. Nevertheless, Christopher McCandless will tell you, “Happiness is only real when shared.”

Do you remember the night when you first played Vancouver? It was a showcase at a venue that had just been bought by a real estate developer and was slated to shut its doors the following week. That show was one of the busiest of the tour, but the drunken melancholy that came with the closure had overshadowed all the sets that night; the dancefloor full but distrait. After checking out with the promoter and getting back to the hotel room, you laid in the shower, remember? You let the cold water rain down your face, concealing tears of fatigue. When you got out, you looked in the mirror and watched your own ego inflate. You resisted all urges to take your phone off airplane mode, to succumb to data roaming charges. You resisted all urges to re-download Grindr for the third time since tour started in hopes of a brief encounter. You resisted all urges to think about how uninvested you were in the MP3s you played that night. At this point, it was ephemera, and at this point, you were doing it in your sleep. You might have joked with Rafa or Nolan back home that there was only so much you could do with a laptop and an Akai controller but you knew deep down that that wasn’t the root of it. You and I both know you were lonely; that you were homesick for a place where you only felt homesick.

And now here we are, companionlessness be damned. You brought two other strangers together and shaped a new family. You no longer hunger musical spontaniety or new reflexes because the other guys have helped cover that for you. You waited it out. You found the strength within yourself to wait it out. Things are going so well now and they’re bound to get better. As you get back on the road you must remember to trust the process, Nick. Don’t ever overthink it. Realize how fast things have happened. Breathe a little more deeply and smile. You don’t have a screen to stare at anymore. Keep your chin up. I’ll be here when you need me.


Read Mister Lies’ first entry here.