St. Pete darlings Veiny Hands have been kicking ass for a year-and-a-half now, but they’ve really turned up the heat on this new song/video. The video, directed and edited by Michelle Primiani, features the foursome ripping through the “Mountain Goat” while their movements blur beneath a saturated filter. Enjoy.
I’m going to assume you already know, or at least have seen, Jason Kimmins. He’s hard to ignore. The charismatic Orlando figure often shows up to local events in designer fashion and gold chains. As a musician, he fronts local noise-dance duo Shania Pain and has just released his first EP under the name J.A.S.O.N. Although I’ve considered him a friend for years, I’ve never stopped being interested in the way he presents himself online and in person. He’s an ORL enigma and I was excited to learn more about him. Enjoy.
w/ Shania Pain
(Paintings by Casey Hayes)
matthew warhol: Jumping right in, your first solo show is coming up. Are you going to be playing the J.A.S.O.N. stuff?
Jason Kimmins: Well, I have different stuff I’m going to do. The first part of it is going to be something else that I’ve created for a split tape with this guy named Necrotizing Fasciitis. He’s like gore core. So I created … kind of like a noise set.
matthew warhol: Oh yeah, because it’s a noise show, right?
Jason Kimmins: Yeah! And so I was like “Yeah, that’s perfect. I’ll use that in there.” So that’ll be different.
matthew warhol: And what’s the other stuff you’re playing?
Jason Kimmins: Well, I’m really not performing or using any vocals until the end. I’ll probably do “BFF.” But it’ll be more … just like me like … it’s not going to be good.
matthew warhol: Oh no?
Jason Kimmins: Yeah, I’m not going to try to be good or anything at it. It’s going to be like … more of a thought piece, I guess. Um … the concept of what I’m trying to do is called “Fulfillment Simulation Sequence One.” And it’s going to be a play off of self-help workshops that people go to and learn from someone about how to make their life better, but it’s going very interpretive. Like a negative skew on how people want better for themselves. But it’s not literal or anything.
matthew warhol: You’re not aiming for that. It’s just what you were thinking when you made it?
Jason Kimmins: Yeah, it’s really just my thoughts on how you have to change who you are to be fulfilled in your life and how you have to cover negative parts of yourself. And that’s what is social acceptable. Not being yourself is social acceptable.
matthew warhol: Do you think that’s who you are? I feel like I don’t get that from you, though. I feel like you’re someone who is themselves all the time.
Jason Kimmins: I mean I try to stay true but also, there’s a time and place for everything. You have to use social cues. And part of interacting with society is holding back who you are, unless you’re really comfortable with the people around you. A part of [the performance] is like, there’s a segment that’s geared everyone not wanting to see someone cry. You know, it’s a very bad thing to do. Because it makes everyone else uncomfortable.
matthew warhol: Do you think you’re really naturally more anti-social or introverted? Do you have to push yourself you get out there?
Jason Kimmins: I’m definitely extroverted, but I feel drained a lot of times when I’m in that sort of environment. I feel comfortable, but I don’t feel happy necessarily. I’m more introverted as of lately.
matthew warhol: Everybody feels like that when it comes to being out. Especially in an environment where you know people, but you don’t really “know” people.
Jason Kimmins: Yeah, I will definitely say I know how to navigate social environments. I’ve learned how to get along with anybody, and maybe that’s skewed some of my vision of what I’m presenting in this performance. But, of course, it’s very interpretive.
matthew warhol: Cool. So like, why did you choose to release your own EP before Shania Pain had any official recordings?
Jason Kimmins: I’ve been doing music since I was in high school. The first thing I made was literally … I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. My uncle gave me Fruity Loops V2. He’s kind of a person like, “The goth scene was so cool back then.” So he gave me that and I played around with that, but it sounded shitty so I just turned the bass so it sounded like, “BRRRRRR,” because that shit really annoying.
matthew warhol: So even from the jump, you were experimenting with making something loud?
Jason Kimmins: Yeah, well not even just loud. My creative process has always been me going to the extreme, and then I learn where the in-between is. I only know what’s a good medium by going zero to one-hundred.
matthew warhol: So like, even with Shania Pain or your own stuff, do you think that’s going back to the medium?
Jason Kimmins: Of everything that I’ve done so far, sonically, I feel like the J.A.S.O.N. is the project that I’m working on meeting that happy medium.
matthew warhol: Between melody and discourse?
Jason Kimmins: It’s not intentionally discourse. It’s something more texturized and something more layered. I want different sounds to shine through, but to be in a very easy to digest way.
matthew warhol: And I think with the J.A.S.O.N. EP, it’s more all over the place. So there’s stuff that wouldn’t fit in with Shania Pain. Like that second song has like a lounge instrumental.
Jason Kimmins: I will say that one thing I’ll never be is consistent. There’s no way. My main drive is boredom. I have a very high tolerance for pleasure, so it takes me a lot for me to feel like, some good feelings. So I need a lot of different stuff. I need a lot of stimuli to be able to feel comfortable with myself.
matthew warhol: Musically, what does that mean? How do you reach that place where you’re happy?
Jason Kimmins: Ummmm … It definitely translates to every song being like two-and-a-half minutes, because I have a short attention span. [laughs] I’m like, “Oh this is done. I don’t want to add another chorus because it’ll get boring.” But other than that, I don’t know. I’m still learning about myself and what I like. Maybe one day I’ll be consistent. For instance, I’ve been consistent about clothing. Like, pieces that look good on me — cuts and stuff like that — that I know that I’ll always go back to. So I feel like, yeah, I’m trying to actualize something. But I really can’t say what that would be.
matthew warhol: With your clothes, that’s one part of you I really admire, that you are always 100% yourself. You’ve even pushed me to want to expand [my wardrobe]. Even before I knew you.
Jason Kimmins: How did we meet again? Where’d you see me first at? Where’d I see you first at?
matthew warhol: It was probably The Space.
Jason Kimmins: Definitely, that’s where I met everyone.
matthew warhol: You were Body LSD then too. What was that exactly?
Jason Kimmins: Okay, so I had graduated from high school and I was really rebellious. I was living with my mom at the time in Merritt Island. My mom is really nice, but because of that — and because I was coming from living in tension with my dad — I was really rebellious. And because of that, I got kicked out. So I was like, “I guess I can move to Orlando.” And, of course, I didn’t know anyone. But I was trying to find, like I said, pleasure in things because I was bored as fuck. Witch House and Scene Punk were really popular at that time — it was like 2013. And they would have nightlife people in New York and I was like, “Yeah, what if I had a nightlife persona?” So I did that and I would literally go to like Firestone. I still thought that was cool. It was the only thing I knew at that time. Then people started introducing me to other things.
matthew warhol: What was the first thing in this sort of scene?
Jason Kimmins: Body Talk. I met Jahre and he said, “Come to this really cool show.”
matthew warhol: Then you started doing your own shows, and they were all very centralized around a theme like Hydrate, the one about water.
Jason Kimmins: I would come up with a good concept and actualize the idea of decorations, making it kind of interactive, and maybe post a couple things [on the Facebook Event Page] that would make people’s minds sway in a certain way like, “Oh, I get it. This is what I can expect.” And then let people have at it. So they are set up to create their own experience, instead of having to conform to it.
matthew warhol: I think you do that in Shania Pain too — playing with props, having big costumes, moving around.
Jason Kimmins: Actually, the whole time I’m on stage, I’m just thinking, “Holy shit, what am I going to do next?” It’s more like live poetry more than anything else — for what I do at least. And for Andrea, it’s her rhythmic flow that she does with all her instrumentation.
matthew warhol: Are you improvising?
Jason Kimmins: Yes, as of recently though, I have been writing down a few things. Before I’ll go on, I’ll write down a few excerpts that I think will sound cool. At the core of everything that I do, I really love lyrics and the meaning behind lyrics. And that fits in with the actual atmosphere of the music and how it creates a whole image of it.
matthew warhol: Can you give me an excerpt?
Jason Kimmins: Well, I’ll just like think of something to say. Like, what was the show we had?
matthew warhol: The last one was Will’s.
Jason Kimmins: Yeah, actually, I have this shirt that I scribbled all over. When I’m at my desk at work, I’ll grab a piece of paper and write train of thought, free-form thoughts over and over again. So I did that on a shirt. *gets up and grabs an old button-up shirt covered in scribblings done in permeant marker* Part of it was like, “All I ever wanted was to feel your flesh brush against mine and to feel your lips pressed against my fingers.”
matthew warhol: That’s beautiful.
Jason Kimmins: I was also inspired by this homeless guy on Colonial and Goldenrod. He writes out really weird, religious tropes on pieces of cardboard and sticks them around. They’re just like randomly scribbled, “Everyone is going to burn in hell,” some really crazy stupid shit. I have to pee.
(Jason stands up.)
matthew warhol: So when you’re actually performing, do you have a sheet of paper.
Jason Kimmins: Last time we played, I just wrote it on my arm.
matthew warhol: And so how are you involving it with what Andrea is doing? Are they two separate entities completely?
Jason Kimmins: Yeah, she has no idea what I’m doing; I have no idea what she’s doing. We don’t really talk about it.
matthew warhol: Really?
Jason Kimmins: Yeah, I don’t think Andrea likes that. She just likes to do whatever. Andrea doesn’t like what to be told what to do.
matthew warhol: Is she improvising too?
Jason Kimmins: Yeah. She practices five minutes a day or whatever. She doesn’t like to have rules. I’m really inspired by her view on music and like, for what it is, thinking that music shouldn’t have rules.
matthew warhol: Do you think it’ll be more structured when you record?
Jason Kimmins: No, I think we’ll always be dynamic. I don’t think Andrea is the type to be structured, ever. That’s her personality type.
matthew warhol: I would assume that that comes from you, that spontaneity.
Jason Kimmins: Andrea has been involved with the noise scene since before I was even in Orlando. That’s her style. I’m just kind of like a texture to it. I think really, out of everything that Shania Pain is, she really wanted to experiment with electronic music.
(Jason has now been standing for 10 minutes.)
matthew warhol: You can go pee.
In my heart, Fat Night will always be an Orlando band. And I can’t wait until the next time they come to town to rip a dancefloor into funky pieces. Their latest is already a live staple that kicks erry time. If you’re in Chicago, you should consider yourself lucky.
Happy 2017 everybody! Hope everyone had a good holiday season *yadda yadda yadda*. So, The Vinyl Warhol is going to change a bit this year. We’ll be focusing more on big features and interviews. I’m going to try my darndest to have a new one up every Wednesday. I’ll be continuously booking interviews for every Monday, so hit me up if you want to talk.
For ORL “cool” rock kids RV, 2017 has started off right. The band just played their second show at Will’s Pub, are working on their debut album (set to come out in Spring), and are set on their first tour up the east coast. I remember being blown away the first time I heard their demo — as far as lo-fi go, no one nails it more. Then I met them and they were cool af. There’s something so natural about how they present themselves that I want to be a part of it. So I met up with three of the four (Justin Burns, Sean Labree, & Camden Pink). We complimented each other’s styles and shot the shit for the better part of an hour. They’ve got their sights set high, and I don’t see anyone standing in their way. Enjoy.
matthew warhol: I didn’t do much research. You don’t have much research out there yet. I listened to the demo and I’m like, “That’s about it.” Do you only have the demo out right now?
Camden Pink (bass): We only have the demo out right now. We’re working on the album right now.
matthew warhol: And did everybody work on that?
Camden: The three of us did.
matthew warhol: So is this all of RV? Do you have a permeant drummer?
Camden: We have a permeant drummer, but he’s kind of in a … situation where he can’t play with us for a while.
Sean Labree (lead guitar): His mom is like a famous gospel singer, really like “God” and everything. She caught him with weed and now he’s not allowed to play with us. She still has full control over him.
Camden: We have Caden from Teen Baby filling in for the next few shows we have.
matthew warhol: So your drummer is grounded, currently?
Camden: That doesn’t help with the whole “high school” thing.
matthew warhol: So [the “you’re still in high school” thing] started with just a thing people put on the Facebook Event. That sounds like a Jason Kimmins thing, honestly.
Sean: That’s who I thought it was.
Justin Burns (vocals/guitar): No, I think it was Harryson.
matthew warhol: So, [for the record] you’re not in high school?
matthew warhol: Are you in college?
Camden: I’m the only one in college right now. I’m going for culinary.
matthew warhol: What kind of food do you like to make?
Camden: I work in a pizza place so probably Italian. Sean works there too. We’re pizza pals. I flip ‘em; he drives ‘em.
matthew warhol: What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened in a delivery?
Sean: Some old couple tried to get me to like become their dealers. They gave me their number and I never responded, so they never ordered pizza again. I guess they thought I had ratted them out or something.
matthew warhol: How long have you known each other?
Camden: I’ve known Sean since like…
Sean: …junior year or something? And then Justin I met…
Justin: … 2014. I met Cam before Sean though. We had like a band before RV, but that just kind of stopped.
matthew warhol: That was with the three of you then? What’s with the name change?
Sean: I don’t think any of us were like, as dedicated as we are now, or really understood [what we were doing].
Camden: It definitely didn’t have the same type of sound.
matthew warhol: What did it sound like?
Camden: Kind of like… old Joyce Manor?
Sean: It was more basic surfy music.
Justin: It was wack. I don’t even think we had a band name. We had like three songs and that was it?
matthew warhol: How did you start making music together?
Sean: [Camden] showed me his singing, so I messaged him through Facebook and asked if he wanted to be in a band.
Justin: I remember [Sean] asked me if I wanted to be in a band similar to like really cheesy bands. I was just like what the fuck is this kid talking about?
Sean: I thought it was going to be a thing for me to practice guitar every day. Then we got one track that we all wrote together and we were hyped about it. So it became like the main focus. Because me and [Cam] always have written our own stuff, but just never did anything about it. Once we started working with Justin, it stuck.
matthew warhol: When was that? When did RV actually form?
Camden: That was May or April.
matthew warhol: And were you adamant about wanting to get out there really quickly?
Camden: Oh yeah. We started practicing and got like five songs and then started playing a bunch of shows.
Sean: The second we got enough songs to be enough for a set, we were just like “let’s get out there.”
matthew warhol: What um… you were talking about an album that’s being worked on. How far along is that?
Justin: It’s pretty much done. We just need like two more songs and to finish recording.
matthew warhol: When’s that coming out?
Sean: That depends on our drummer now. Because his mom is Christian, she hasn’t known about our band. He’s just like kept it a secret. And um, once she found out, she took it as a rebellious move, so like she’s kind of weird about having us over. But we’re working on it. We’re just waiting for her to back off of him.
Camden: Hopefully Spring.
matthew warhol: Are the songs on the demo going to be on the album too?
Camden: Yeah, and they’ll be redone with live drums and new tones and everything.
matthew warhol: Yeah, that demo was awesome, really fucking good demo. I remember when I was planning the show with Ugly Orange, we were talking about the Brooklyn bands coming down or whatever and were like, “We gotta get this band to play.” I hadn’t seen you at the time, but I had just heard the demo and was like, “This is cool. This is tight.”
Camden: Yeah, thank you. Really fun show too.
matthew warhol: Yeah, we want to do another one together soon. You should be on it again.
Justin: I’d like to play another Ugly Orange show. That’d be sick.
Camden: Any show at Spacebar is amazing.
Sean: They’re just so nice. And what Ugly Orange does is crazy. I don’t know how you bring the people out that you do. It’s always packed.
matthew warhol: So what’s been the best shows you’ve played?
Justin: I’m going to say… we played a house show in Gainesville with Donkng and Sad Jeremy.
Sean: We’ve played at their house twice, and they’re always great shows. We spend the night there, and a bunch of people always come through. For me, I definitely have to say the Gainesville shows and the Spacebar shows have been my favorites.
matthew warhol: I heard that house is really sweet. Weren’t they worried about the floor caving in or something? What was happening with that?
Justin: We weren’t at that show, but I had the same feeling when we played there. It’s on like a support, so all these people are jumping up and down — and it’s a pretty old house too.
Sean: Yeah, it’s a really old house. They have like crazy neighbors too. This old guy will come over and say what’s up. He’ll drop off a pizza, stuff like that.
Justin: This one guy barged in. He busted open the door and was just like freaking out.
Sean: They all seem like crackheads.
matthew warhol: At least there’s no noise complaints…
Sean: Yeah, nobody cares. This guy rushed up to and asked for 20 bucks. He told me if I gave him a $20 bill, he’d give me a $40 check that I could deposit at the end of the week.
matthew warhol: Have you played many bullshit shows?
Sean: Whenever we first started, it was mainly the idea of like… we should just get out there; play whatever shows we get hit up about. Now it’s just like, we can be a little more picky about the shows we play. We would definitely have a few nights of playing at the same place and there would be like two people there. Our set would be at 1:00 a.m. or something. But now that we’ve been playing less shows, they’ve been going pretty well. We just had a show in Deland the other day. It was outdoors…
matthew warhol: Oh you played that? How was it?
Sean: It was really nice. They had a keg for all the bands to get free beer all night. They had someone making fresh soup all night.
Camden: The soup was alright. It was a squash soup.
Sean: I didn’t try it. I don’t know who’s eating soup at a show.
Justin: I don’t like soup.
Camden: I would have preferred a Campbell’s chicken noodle.
Justin: Don’t tell ‘em though.
Sean: You have to say pause quote.
matthew warhol: What are you thinking for the album? Is it still going to be lo-fi? More spacey?
Justin: It’s not going to be like the demo, but it’s definitely still going to be lo-fi.
Sean: I just want to have the whole post-punk, lo-fi vibe. I don’t know, that sound is just like timeless to me. Anything that sounds classic never gets old to me. That’s my favorite type of sound and I think if there’s a band that masters that in their own way, people are gonna go like crazy about it.
matthew warhol: How’s what you’ve been listening to affecting the album?
Camden: I’d say, for my bass parts, I’m taking influence from like [old jazz standards]. I’m not writing the typical punk basslines. I think it definitely puts a different sound on it too.
Sean: Yeah, I got kind of into Bossa nova like a few months ago, learned a bunch of jazz chords and found a way to incorporate that and stuff.
[Camden & Justin laughing at Sean]
Justin: I just kind of write until something feels right. I don’t like think about something — I just kind of let it happen. If I think about it, it doesn’t come out good. That’s what I’ve come to learn about my writing process.
matthew warhol: So do you sit down and write, or just wait until something hits you?
Justin: I just kind of like… sit with my guitar for a few hours and start messing around. Then like, something will hit me; I’ll like record it really quick. With lyrics, sometimes it’ll hit me out of nowhere so I’ll write it down. But I don’t know what to use it for. Then I’ll go back and add it to something later. I like write lyrics to match the leads so it’s like kind of catchier.
Sean: I don’t know how you write like that, just sitting for hours. I like, dwell on my porch. And I’ll like smoke a bunch of weed, a few cigarettes, go inside, try and write something. If it goes bad, I’ll play it back a bunch of times, listen to it, smoke a lot more cigarettes, go back inside, write something, get happy about it, get high again, and go to sleep. That’s pretty much it.
[Camden continuously laughing at Sean.]
matthew warhol: I’m guessing the ideas that come out are different. You’re not just sitting down like, “Alright, I have to write this kind of song because this is what RV is.” So where does it become you?
Justin: It’s kind of weird, actually. I don’t think about what I want it to sound like.
Sean: It’s basically like, I play exactly what I want to hear in a song. Whenever I hear a part in a song that really gets me hyped, those are the type of things I’m trying to write. Anytime I’ve tried to forcibly write a certain type of song, it just comes out bad.
Justin: It should always be a natural process.
Sean: …from the soul.
Justin: That’s too cheesy.
matthew warhol: Edit that out! Cut that!
Camden: Music’s from the heart man.
Lemme tell you a story about Dave Hanson — the brains behind Sweater Fest and Event Coordinator at Spacebar. The man approached The Vinyl Warhol about giving out some tickets (enter below) and releasing interviews with a few of the bands playing the holiday festival’s tenth year (one with sexy space elves PLEASURES is up rn). He ended up going in and getting six full interviews. Since Sweater Fest is this Saturday, and releasing six full interviews seems like overkill, I’ve taken the best bits from everyone and compiled them into a big Sweater Fest sweat fest. Enjoy.
WINNING TICKETS TO SWEATER FEST IS EASY. SHARE THIS POST ON FB, RSVP 2 SWEATER FEST, & MAKE SURE YOU LIKE TVW ON FB. WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED ON SATURDAY.
What are some of your favorite Florida/local/bigger bands and why?
DONKNG: “We always love playing with our friends in RV and Slumberjack. Not only because they make amazing music but because it means we get to hang out with them and talk shit at breakfast the next day.”
FayRoy: “After coming back from San Francisco, we were totally seduced with the St. Pete music scene. Sonic Graffiti, Veiny Hands, Johnny Mile and the Kilometers, all the roser house bands, etc. are such crazy good musicians and performers and just genuine awesome people. Orlando mirrors that with Someday River, Day Joy, Thrift House, and Saskatchewan just to name a few. There’s also this Long Island band called Lemon Twigs that we’ve been on a kick with. They’re so good, and so young. Came out of nowhere like a slap in the face.”
Jollan (Luckily I’m The Hunter): “Antarctic is my favorite band from Florida and one of my favorites of all time. They have only released one album, but it’s this amazing instrumental album that moves seamlessly to each track and they have definitely influenced me as a musician, especially with the way they play and write.”
What do you hope people get out of a [insert band name] show?
Will (Luckily I’m The Hunter): “We love for people to let the music consume them as it does us. We hope the listeners are delighted by unexpected sounds and song structuring and hope it gives them a new perspective of what music can be from just a guitarist and drummer.”
Cosmic Roots Collective: “A nagging sense of unease and disorientation, with sporadic bursts of ecstasy and an occasional glimpse into the void.”
DONKNG: “Their kicks.”
FayRoy: “Positivity is probably the ultimate goal. Our music may have dark elements but the subject matter usually results in some sort of triumph or realization.”
What advice do you have for people that want to start a band up?
Cosmic Roots Collective: “Go for it! But remember, a career in air conditioning and refrigeration will most likely provide a steadier income.”
DONKNG: “It’s hard work. Being in a band isn’t that different from being on a road trip with three people who usually disagree, to a certain extent, on the destination. It’s about compromise. The results, if they’re from honest intent, are always worth it. But to quote Maroon 5’s hit song ‘Sunday Morning,’ ‘ITS NOT ALWAYS RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES.'”
Jollan (Luckily I’m The Hunter): “It will never be easy if you want to play something original, but don’t let anyone stop you. Sometimes the time has to be right, but as long as you are willing to sacrifice the time and effort, you can do it. Don’t let anyone stop you, even if you have to be a two-piece band. As Shia Lebeouf says, ‘Just do it!'”
Any strange holiday traditions?
PLEASURES: “It’s the only time of year Roger eats cheese.”
FayRoy: “Every year about this time we buy every tickle me Elmo we can get our hands on and hope it becomes a hot commodity for Christmas again. One of these years were going to make a fortune.”
DONKNG: “Matt keeps bringing Mistletoe to all our practices.”
Cosmic Roots Collective: “We wear animal masks … It’s a pagan thing and entails worshiping megaliths, dressing in Druid robes, and ingesting candle wax.”
IRONING: “I don’t think so.”
What are you looking forward to most about Sweater Fest?
IRONING: “I haven’t seen Blair Sound Design in two and a half years, so that’s exciting. Also stoked to experience sets from people I haven’t heard or seen yet before! “
DONKNG: “We’re excited to be sharing a stage with some really cool acts. We actually keep up with a lot of the artists on the bill (FayRoy, Tiger Fawn, Evil Virgins, Cosmic Roots Collective) on social media so we’re excited to finally experience their music in a live setting… Also, we heard that we get free entry. That’s nice.”
FayRoy: “… hopefully seeing Joey Davoli’s hairy chest. It’s obligatory.”
The last FayRoy music video I covered was really mysterious. The visuals were esoteric, moody, and subtle. The song itself, “LIFE OR DEATH,” contained the line “It’s these lessons that we learn can be hard and not immediately clear.” For their just released single and video, the Saint Petersburg duo instead craft a story that is word-for-word translated before our eyes — eyes that are then stripped away by an evil spirit to spare our soul.
Inspired by an episode of The Twilight Zone, “Take My Eyes” tells the tale of two men as they come face-to-face with death himself. Drew, guitar/vocals for St Pete band Sonic Graffiti, begs on his hands and knees before choosing to lose his eyes over his ears. Vocalist Zack Hoag concurs in the chorus, “I’d rather live in the dark, then the thought of living without a song. So take my eyes.”
The other man, played by drummer Kyle Fournier, is kind of like a crack addict but with books. He decides to instead lose his hearing. But as deals with the devil usually go, both men end up dead as death goes on a rampage, killing the band just for kicks.
The Fay-boyz have a few ORL dates in December. Catch them Dec 17 at Sweater Fest and Dec 28 with the reunited Le Blorr, Saskatchewan, and Tiger Fawn at Will’s Pub.
Sweater Fest is an Orlando holiday tradition of epically tacky proportions. Saturday, December 17 marks the 10th itchy celebration as The Milk District is transformed into a celebration of Central Florida music. Encompassing three stages (Spacebar, Sandwich Bar, and an outdoor stage), DJs will share the sleigh with psychedelic space bands; noise duos will toast eggnog with surf rock trios. TVW is previewing Sweater Fest in the form holiday-themed interviews leading to a Ticket Giveaway the week of the event. The first to take a seat on our lap is Sarasota-based Space explorers, PLEASURES. Enjoy.
TVW: How was the response to your horror movie tour? What spurred the creation of that film?
PLEASURES: It was an incredible experience to show the film across the country and the timing was perfect, it being Halloween. It was a great ice breaker at the least and some venues felt like they were built for us. At Ghost in Santa Fe, we played the film directly from the VHS onto their huge projection wall. Seeing the tracking and artifacts that large was glorifying. We had started selling short VHS tapes at our merch table and it was my turn (Greg) to make a video, so I thought it would be fun to make it about our audience leaving the show with the tape they just got. When we realized the timeline would work out in October, we went full ham with a popcorn machine and all. A collapsible screen was built and we brought a small projection crew.
TVW: What are you all up to nowadays and what’s in the works?
PLEASURES: We all took off separately from our last tour date in California and now we’re back home in Florida and getting ready for a bunch of local and semi-local shows. We’re getting excited to start writing a new album with our new drummer/member and see where the dynamic takes our music! We’re also working on a remix album of all the tracks from Fucked Up Dreams Come True, which our crew of friends and the musicians we’ve met on tours have been kind enough to contribute to. It’s called Deluxed Up Dreams Come True. There’s gonna be some other cool stuff on there too like the score we wrote for the horror film.
TVW: What is the songwriting process like for you all? How has that and your overall sound evolved since your band’s inception?
PLEASURES: The songs on FUDCT were written two ways: half by Morgan on a laptop — which we then converted into an organic live song experience by the band — and half as a group in a jam session. I (Katherine) write the vocal melodies and the lyrics that I sing and Greg writes what he sings. There are a couple new songs we’ve been playing out that aren’t on the record, and I’d say the newer material will be different in a few ways. I think PLEASURES will evolve into a band with more musicality and precision and not so much “wall of sound” all the time. But definitely sometimes.
TVW: There’s a lot of layers and abstract sounds going on with your songs. Without giving away too many secrets can you tell us a little bit about what all is going on musically at your show?
PLEASURES: Pretty much every sound we make is modulated or manipulated by something. We use delay pedals, live looping with a KP3, backwards stuff, random tones, oscillators, stuffed animals, and a fax machine. Nothing we do or use is outside of anyone’s reach though. We just combine it all in our own way.
TVW: What do you hope people get out of a PLEASURES show?
PLEASURES: We try pretty hard to create a separate universe outside of people’s usual internal space for them to hang out in for a while. Hopefully, it’s crazy and stimulating in some way.
TVW: You all are one of the hardest working bands I’ve come across. What helps you stay motivated?
PLEASURES: I feel like once you set personal goals and agree on a certain level you’d like to reach as a band, that’s kind of the only way to go about things. Constantly producing and moving, touring, etc. Moving from local to everything beyond. Plus, if you’re the kind of person who gets obsessed with touring it’s hard to quit that routine. Like the ragged old sailor who comes home only to be beckoned back to the sea by his ocean mistress the next morning.
TVW: What has your experience in Orlando been like as a band thus far?
PLEASURES: Awesome! Lots of friends and fans. Nice scene building up it seems.
TVW: What are some of your favorite Florida bands and why?
PLEASURES: There’s a rad little thing happening in St. Pete — there’s Sonic Graffiti, Veiny Hands, Soapbox Soliloquy, Johnny Mile & The Kilometers, UFO Sex Scene (who recently split up but they were rad), Ask For Tiger, Fictional Friends. They’re all a group of friends playing in each other’s bands and keeping the scene going. It’s motivational. In St. Augustine there’s a rad stoner band called Cosmic Groove. All the sweeties in the Orlando groups like Timothy Eerie, The Welzeins, Someday River, and Slumberjack. We’re also just getting into the Miami scene thing after meeting Cammy from Period Bomb who is a hardworking babe and has been super supportive of us.
TVW: Got any strange holiday traditions any of you partake in?
PLEASURES: It’s the only time of year Roger eats cheese.
What are you looking forward to most about Sweater Fest?
PLEASURES: I think we’re playing on an outside stage? That’s always fun and interesting. You inspired us to have thrift store sweaters at our merch table with PLEASURES patches sewn on just for this event so that’s cool.
PLEASURES SWEATER FEST Interview by Dave Hanson.
DONKNG hasn’t been around long, but they’ve kicked Florida’s ass so hard in 2016. The slacker garage three-piece all grew up South Florida but have all since relocated to Gainesville. Orlando has been lucky enough to pull the boys over a lot this year. They’ve played Spacebar, Uncle Lou’s, and house parties with the likes of Slumberjack, RV, and Maximino. To end a hot year, DONKNG released their first ever recordings, a five-song EP titled Daydreams.
The first comment on the EP’s “name your price” Bandcamp page is from “axelito”; it reads, “wow bros, The Strokes cover band? My love for you guys can’t be expressed with five bucks but you know, go hit up that dollar menu or something.” First off, DONKNG is too good for the dollar menu — they deserve steak. But that first bit kinda makes sense. It wasn’t as obvious in a live setting, but Camilo Isaza’s voice has that low, moan that Julian Casablancas’s uses. But, “The Strokes Cover band?” The Strokes suck now, right?
DONKNG feel fresher. Camilo’s vocals are carried by a jangly, midtempo wave. The band’s South Florida shows in their surf rock temperament. Examples of this laidback, innocent nature are the “doo, doo, doos” in “Jesus Christ,” talk of the high school dance in “I Remember,” and the line “You had me on my ass” in “Title Fight.” There are tents of uncertainty and darkness under the cool paint, though. The title track attacks the dated establishment and warns us not to fall in line. “Daydreaming about all the things you could have been.” The young dads have collected a handful of solid pop tunes; it’s easy to hum along, but there’s more to it than just vibes.
Breaking up is hard to do, but getting back together is even harder. After two years of hibernation, Orlando garage trio The Grizzly Atoms made the decision to reunite, start playing live again, and release a four-song EP of previously recorded material dubbed Witness. Those songs see the light of day this Friday at Spacebar, where the EP will be paired with cheatsheet covering the issues being voted on this November. See, the Grizzlies cite this election’s political climate as inspiration to reform. I spoke with Nik Sidella (vocals/guitar), Terran Fernandez (bass/backing vocals), and Nick Roe (drums) about all this and more over a bowl of Willie Nelson, a strain curated by the man himself. Enjoy.
TVW: You guys were praising me in [the practice room] and I really appreciate that, but I wanted to thank you guys because you The Grizzly Atoms was one of the first shows I saw when I moved to Orlando. It had to have been like four or five years ago, but I saw you at Uncle Lou’s and you had just released an album.
Nick Roe: I know what show you’re talking about. It was one of the first or second Lou’s shows we ever played, right after we released the album. The last time we played Lou’s was one of our last shows with [Room Full Of Strangers], but before that it had been like a year-and-a-half.
TVW: Do you remember who else played that show?
NR: (After we all fumbled about trying to remember) Ricin House!
TVW: Yeah, that sounds right.
NR: Ricin House, us, and… one of these other fuckin’ bands. I remember because it was one of the first shows I saw Ricin House. There was a light bulb above him, and he hit the light bulb with his guitar and was it was going back-and-forth. And it looked fucking awesome.
TVW: They had some amazing shows at Lou’s. I remember him taking his guitar off, breaking it, kicking the door open, and running out. That wasn’t that show.
Terran Fernandez: We played that show. We were there. I remember freaking out like “Oh my god, this guy is…” because it wasn’t just like a show thing. He was definitely upset and decided to break his gear. Didn’t Danelectro send him a new guitar because he told him that story?
Nik Sidella: Nice!
TVW: Okay, first question…
TVW: So, why did the band separate in the first place and why did you get back together?
N: We were in the process of ramping stuff up. We had talked about a bunch of stuff we hadn’t thought about before, the marketing side. The night before what became our last show, I got a call from my parents saying that my brother was in the hospital and that he might die. We played the show and then that was a continuous thing for the next three months. After that happened, I straight up told the guys, “Listen, I can’t do this anymore.” Trying to finish school, managing a job, and also trying to play music and get shows, it was a lot of stress.
NR: And there was some stuff with the band, limbo stuff. We had two or three different recordings that were like half-finished. We wanted to play shows, but it’s hard to book in Orlando if you’re not in the scene a lot. And with us being so busy, it was hard to meet people and be active. The strain of being in a band for years, [took its toll]. Taking some time away, as much of a bad thing as it sounds, it’s actually pretty therapeutic in a way.
N: I think after a few years apart, we got everything else figured out and now we’re in a place where we just want to play music and enjoy it again, to be a part of something again. Especially since we’ve seen the scene flourish in the past two years.
TVW: Playing together again, how have the older songs changed?
NR: We kind of like, fine-tuned everything. More vocal melodies, Nik’s soloing has gotten way better; the drums and bass vibe more.
N: We’re just a three-piece, so we have to maximize what we can do. And one thing you can really do with a three-piece is really play with the dynamics a lot. And that is what we tried to bring to the old songs, was focusing on the balance of loud and quiet.
TVW: Does it feel easier?
NR: Oh yeah, I think we can all say it feels better than before. Not having each other just makes us want each other more.
T: It’s definitely a different band, but I’m excited to see what’s happening now.
TVW: Different band, how?
T: Um, just the way we interact. There was a lot of disagreement back then about how to do things in the band. We’ve all come back with different gear and that makes a new sound. Nik has like seven-billion pedal boards. I’m like trying to keep up with him changing his tone so much. But it’s weird playing four-string again. I play six-string bass primary, because I play really technical metal [in my other band]. I can just settle and have fun. But as far as the future goes, I’m really excited to see where the music goes.
NR: I think we should take a four-year hiatus and think about it.
NR: yeah, we haven’t taken the time to write new stuff. We’re really playing our EP release show to release it and we’re going to go from there.
TVW: Is Witness new stuff?
N: This is stuff we recorded two years ago that we were playing live, but nothing we’ve released before. But with what Tarren said about new material, what I like about it is that we all have such various [tastes and styles] that I think we can bring that together and make some really, really cool stuff.
TVW: So take me through the moment where you actually decided to try this again?
NR: We would talk and jam once in a while. Nik’s really into Strangers stuff. He was doing the touring thing at the time. Terran is fucking touring. I’m kind of doing my own thing with two bands. Then I went out to drinks with Terran, and [Nik and I] would talk, but nothing really happened. Then they actually talked to each other and we decided to get together and have a meeting. It’s funny that the band broke up [behind Nik’s house] when Nik was going through all the stress and we decided to take a break. Two years later, we go back to the same spot and have the opposite of that conversation. We were also kind of nervous about the political situation, so that was another reason why. When shit is fucked up good music is made.
TVW: So what does the political climate have to do with The Grizzly Atoms?
N: There was this one song I had written the lyrics to called “Witness.” I go down the rabbit hole with like conspiracy theories a lot, and I also try to educate myself on what the established idea of what things are. And the song was about seeing the bullshit that goes on, seeing how money kind of dictates everything in this country, how the corporate elites have power over everything, seeing that and doing nothing about it. “I’m a witness, yeah, but do I really see? I’m a witness, yeah, but I never speak.” So my idea was to play a show but also raise political awareness.
TVW: And that’s where the show in October comes in.
NR: Being in a band, you have a platform. If you have a platform, use it!
TVW: Let’s talk more about the cheatsheet that you’ll be giving out at the show. Take me through the process of coming up with that.
N: When you vote, you see all this language about bills or names you don’t recognize and some people Christmas tree it.
NR: It’s confusing, sometimes you vote for someone who has the best name. Amendment One for instance, “Yes on One for the sun.” That’s completely falsified. It’s run by the utility companies trying to one-up the right to have free solar energy.
TVW: So with the cheatsheet, it’s focusing on stuff other than Trump and Hillary?
NR We’re trying to take an unbiased view with the candidates, the amendments, the people running for different offices, and giving pros and cons. Giving the information in a non-confusing way where they can see it and know what it is.
N: I think if people understand what they’re voting for, then that’s truly a democratic society. But I want to put out a disclaimer, this was made by people who lean towards the left side of things. We encourage you to do your own research because ultimately it’s not a democracy if you’re just pushing your own opinion on people. It’s only a democracy if you have your own point of view, and we think about it and talk about it and compromise.