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Fat Night’s Dan Hanson on his ORL-to-CHI Transition

After I got off FaceTime with Dan Hanson–singer n’ guitar player for ORL-to-CHI soul/R&B band Fat Night–me n’ my ol’ friend continued to chat up n’ talk about his new life in Chicago. In this post interview dialogue, Dan told me a story that served as a great climax of his acclimation story, one that is laid out in the interview below. I wish it would’ve gotten captured, but I wanted to paraphrase the ending before you hear about the story that built up to it. EnJoY.

Dan went to an intimate 200ish person vinyl release show for Noname’s Telefone. It happened to be on top of a roof and had an open bar. He ended up talking to a local trombone player that happened to be Frank Ocean’s trombone player. When Noname first came onstage, she introduced her band and went back into the crowd to let them warm up the Chicago night and happened to start talking to Dan’s new friend. Then Dan happened to be singing along to the D’Angelo song the band was playing …ended up being pushed onstage by the 26-year-old rapper to finish the song.

Cover photo by Hannah Mae.

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Fat Night Interview Orlando Music Blog The Vinyl Warhol
Photo by John Keen

matthew warhol: Yo dude, how’ve you been?

Dan Hanson: I’m pretty good.

matthew warhola: How do you like Chicago?

Dan Hanson: Chicago is pretty good. I’ve been up here for 9 or 10 months now.

matthew warhol: I can’t believe it’s been that long!

Dan Hanson: Yeah, time has flown by, and city life is definitely a lot quicker, more fast paced than home.

matthew warhol: What do you think the hardest thing to adapt to has been?

Dan Hanson: We moved in December so it was winter time and even though it was a mild winter, there was a lot to get used to. You do a lot of walking in general, getting better sneakers or boots that hold up as much walking as you do is important.

matthew warhol: Damn.

Dan Hanson: Also, the climate is dryer up here so I had noticed within the first few months my nose was so dry, and it would get cracked. Not to get to involved with that, but it was to the point where I was using lotion on parts of my body that I’ve never had to use lotion before. It was getting real dry.

matthew warhol: I think we should have a 45 minute long conversation about lotion [laughs] and dry noses… What do you think the cultural differences are? Are you as involved as you were in Orlando.

Dan Hanson: Not yet, it’s a little bit more expensive up here and there’s so much more going on, so you have to really figure out what’s attractive to you. I would say that I haven’t gotten to the ideal place where I want to be here, just because it takes time to get involved and get to the point where you start noticing the same faces and realize your a part of something. It’s a lot more established. Chicago being one of the birth places of blues and jazz, it’s pretty well instilled in the live music here.

matthew warhol: You were the last Fat Night to move up there, right?

Dan Hanson: Nik, our drummer, was actually the last one but he came up right after me.

matthew warhol: Did you feel like you were starting over in Chicago?

Dan Hanson: Not really, just because we played up here a few times already and once we did get up here, we started making our way into lineups pretty quickly. It was just kind of another step, rather than starting over, a bigger step rather than figuring the whole thing out again. It’s just on a bigger scale.

matthew warhol: Are you finding it easier to get into your own niche—where as Orlando, with the smaller amount of musicians, are you finding yourself in a pocket more?

Dan Hanson: Um, I think it is very easy to find a niche here. I don’t know if we’re there yet. We’re still open minded with shows that come our way, but there have been a couple of pretty cool shows. One was with Durand Jones & The Indications who is on Colemine Records. We have a record out onColemine and they’ve been on the up and up. They brought a sold out show to a really cool venue up here called The Empty Bottle. And the same thing happened with another band on the label called The Dip. It’s been really having connections like that where if someone comes through, we can be like, “Hey, we’re here if you’re interested.” That seems to be a lot of what we’ve gotten into since we’ve been here as apposed to putting together lead slots for shows. That’s the one big difference I’d say. We’re kind of back to square one, opening up for bands before we can start laying down our own thing up here.

Fat Night Interview Orlando Music Blog The Vinyl Warhol
Photo by Lara Warman

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matthew warhol: I bet there’s something exciting about that though, especially since you’re not a new band. You kinda feel like you need to prove yourself, but you already have the chops as a band.

Dan Hanson: It’s been reassuring that we are heading in the right direction. We are toying around with some new sounds and getting a little more openminded towards what we’re doing.

matthew warhol: What are those new sounds?

Dan Hanson: About five months ago, we started on a new album, a full-length, and it’s the most songs we’ve had ready in a specific time where we’ve paired all the tunes together and it makes sense as a body of work. We’re starting to use a little more synth in some of the songs. We’re getting a little more comfortable with trying more for recording. We’re not afraid to do stuff that we wouldn’t be able to do live, like putting a bunch of vocal tracks on a song. We’re just focused on making a good recording.

matthew warhol: Do you think being in a new city has helped foster creativity?

Dan Hanson: I think so. The level of musicianship here is really diverse and really high caliber. You’ll find people in any genre killing it on any night of the week. It’s really cool to see how humble a lot of those people are too. Everyone’s just trying to make something good.

matthew warhol: Does the new album have a name yet?

Dan Hanson: It’s tentatively, but mostly likely, going to be called Live For Each Other, which is after the name of a song.

Fat Night Interview Orlando Music Blog The Vinyl Warhol

matthew warhol: Anything else you can divulge about the new music?

Dan Hanson: No release dates right now. We’re still wrapping out recording but I’d say we’re about 80% there. We did a huge chunk of the tracking while we were all in town. Colemine Records, who released one of our singles in the past, is going to be working with us on a release.

matthew warhol: Now, Gabe [vocals/keys] just moved to LA, right?

Dan Hanson: That’s correct, for about a month now.

matthew warhol: Part of me thinks that I would be frustrated with that, since you had all just gotten to Chicago. Does that mean anything different for the band?

Dan Hanson: It slows things down just a little bit, but everybody still has a pretty strong input on what’s going on. And it’s something that we’ve practically always been experiencing since this band started. We started—when it was just me, Nik, and Ted—Ted was in Tallahassee going to FSU. When he was in town, we’d just jam and make some music for fun. Then eventually, Ted was back in town, but Gave was going to school in North Carolina. When we could, we’d just make music for fun. Then Ted moved up to Chicago. And Gabe moved up to Chicago. We’re used to those kind of hurdles, but I think accepting that we can take as much time as we need is kind of comforting. It just feels like family. We all support what the others are doing. And we’re all just as interested in music.

matthew warhol: I imagine you have to have a pretty strong relationship to be able to do that.

Dan Hanson: Yeah, and we all go back… Gabe and Ted to go back as far as middle school and the rest of us since high school…

matthew warhol: Are you picking your nose on this webcam right now?

Dan Hanson: What’s that?

matthew warhol: Are you picking your nose on this webcam right now?

Dan Hanson: I might be. I kind of give no fucks when it comes to picking my nose. I think it’s a very natural thing to do. We come from apes, man.

matthew warhol: What do you usually do with the booger? Do you wipe? Flick them?

Dan Hanson: I mean… usually it’s just enough so if it’s itchy I’ll get it out of the way. If I am in a public place, I’ll try to find the most tactful way to expose of it.

matthew warhol: My thing is I just gotta get it off my finger as quickly as possible, caution to the wind. Getting into more of the music itself, there seems to be a lot of nostalgic sounds, reaching back into the past and pulling the music forward. How do you make sure it sounds new?

Dan Hanson: It’s barely conscious. A lot of the songwriting itself can be pretty in depth; we’ll get down to the nitty gritty detail-wise. But I don’t think there’s too much focus on making it sound a specific way. I think we’re just very aware of what we all like to sound like within the group. Everybody listens to what they like to listen to—we all really like old soul music—but a lot of it comes down to the way we’re playing it. It goes back into our relationship as a group. We understand where everyone is coming from when we’re making a song, trying to keep space for each other. I think that’s something indicative of those old soul bands, everyone gives each other enough space to let the song groove.

matthew warhol: With the vocals, specifically, how do you decide who’s going to sing what between you and Gabe?

Dan Hanson: Generally I or Gabe will come in with a formed song. We’ll play around with it and from there, we’ll come up with harmonies and bounce stuff off each other. Like, “I think you would sound good on this,” or “We should do a three part harmony here.” With “Honesty Man,” Ted wrote that song and he knew that he wanted Gabe to sing the lead on the verses and he wanted me singing the bridge and the chorus melodies. I think that goes back to us having a pretty good understanding with where everyone’s heads our at.

October 7: Fat Night at Ten10 Fest w/ Bask, Wet Nurse, Wolf-Face, & More.

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Unknown Unknowingness: The Electro-Soul of Chakra Khan

Alexandra Love and DiViNCi have been making music together for over a decade now. After numerous albums as half of hip hop quartet Solillaquists of Sound, last year the two released their first album, Love Is At The Core, under a new banner, Chakra Khan. This explosion of electro-soul was quickly followed up by The Cope Aesthetic, released earlier this year. The three of us met via computer screen to dive into this mysterious project. Enjoy.

Upcoming Events:

August 14: Chakra Khan w/ Emily Fontano @ Timucua Arts White House

matthew warhol: I know the two of you have been working together for very long time in Solillaquists of Sound, but coming together for Chakra Khan, how did that come about?

Alexandra Love: We’ve been talking about doing something together like since we started. De, I think the first thing we did together was we made an album just you and I.

DiViNCi: Yeah, that’s actually how we met, through Swam. Swam and Alex came down to visit. When she was living in Chicago and came to Orlando, her and I made an album the week she was here.

Alexandra Love: And then, we’ve just been talking about trying to do something—not like that album again, but just something the two of us.

DiViNCi: Yeah because, on each Solillaquists album, we would do a song where it was just her and me. There was Beautiful Catastrophe.” There was “The Curse.” And we’ve always said, “We need to make an album of this stuff, stuff like that this.” And then when it came time to do Chakra Khan—it wasn’t even called Chakra Kahn—it was just a show. When we when we went to prepare for the show, we made a bunch of material for the show. Those songs kind of kick-started the idea of like, “We can just make this into an album, now.” And at that show, Alex was like on stage and she said, “We’re going to call ourselves Chakra Khan.”

[laughs]

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matthew warhol: Did you know about the name before she said it?

DiViNCi: Right before we went stage she mentioned something about it. I thought she was joking a little bit at first, but then when she said on stage I was like, Well that’s it.”

matthew warhol: Having worked together in the past on these one-off songs, was that kind of the basis for writing new material, or were you trying to do something completely different?

Alexandra Love: It was kind of like that, but we have developed a sort of way of making music that’s not really forced. So it was just kind of what happened in the moment, kind of combination of the past and future.

DiViNCi: If you listen to the stuff that was just her and I on the Solillaquists albums, it all sounds like it could have been on the same album. We have different tastes, but when it comes time to make something for either one of them, it’s like the stuff that we overlap on. So if like I’m gonna making something for Swam, it’s going to be a lot more in the hip hop realm. But when I make stuff with Alex, it’s going to be a lot more etherial or ambient or soulful. At the time when we’re making this stuff for the Chaka Khan album, I finally found a pocket of music that combined a little bit of a hard element with that. I was exploring and it kind of became the sound of that album and a template for the future stuff.

matthew warhol: When you were working on the album, is it a completely collaborative thing where you’re in a studio together or is it sending ideas back and forth?

Alexandra Love: It’s back and forth.

DiViNCi: But we live together, so there’s that. So when you say we’re in the studio, you know we’re in our separate studios.

matthew warhol: Wait, so you’re in the same house right now?

Alexandra Love: Yeah!

[laughs]

DiViNCi: I’m downstairs, the air conditioning is broken so I’m not working in my studio.

Alexandra Love: I’m upstairs because I like my cave.

matthew warhol: That’s funny. So where does that start? Is it always one person having a thing and sharing it with the other? Where are those sparks coming from?

Alexandra Love: It’s really random and based on inspiration. So it could be I have an idea for song and I just record it to a click track, and then I give it to him, or he has stem of something and he gives it to me and I write to it. It’s just kind of always whatever it is, that sounds so lame but thats just what it is.

matthew warhol: With the most recent project, how was it different than the one you put out before? Was there a reason for the quick turn around?

DiViNCi: We only took a couple of weeks off between finishing the first record and starting the second. We’re pretty much doing same thing again. I think it’s pretty much separated by a couple of days a year apart, the first and second album. And when we were finishing up production for the second album, I was already putting stuff in our Dropbox folder for potential stuff for the new album.

Alexandra Love: It’s like it’s part of the same expression just because we’re always expressing where we are in our lives, but it’s a different part of the same expression. If the first record was one place then this new one would be like the bridge that’s leading to the next place.

DiViNCi: While there was very little time in between them, each definitely captured a moment productivity together—like and where we are at. And the second one totally has its own sound. They’re slightly different from each other but they live in the same universe.

matthew warhol: Could you put those differences in words… or even feelings?

Alexandra Love: For me, Love Is At The Core is about being in this new comfortable place of like awareness and self-expression. And then The Cope Aesthetic is more about venturing out of our comfort zones and how learning to cope with things can have a beauty to it. But it’s also got more tension to it. So Love Is At The Core is definitely more subtle, andThe Cope Aesthetic is sort of reaching into this new place and trying to illustrate the beauty in our journey.

DiViNCi: Sonically they differ a little too. Love Is At The Core there’s a little bit more electronic elements and, dare I say, a little bit more trap elements. Then The Cope Aesthetic its a lot more jazzy. It’s Jazz, but it has a mature sound to it too that we both didn’t purposely engineer.

matthew warhol: With those kind of more, for lack of a better term, natural elements, Alex, for you writing on top of that does it pull different emotions out of you?

Alexandra Love: Yeah, for some of them it was like just a piano or just a loop of piano for five minutes. And I record to it and then I give it back to him and then he would engineer around it. It’s a beautifully independent comma co-creative process.

DiViNCi: That process was something we did for both albums. The song “Love Is At The Core” is literally a two bar piano loop that I made in 2011. She heard it, and I always liked it just the way it was, and when she heard it, she said, “Ooo, I really like that.” But if I showed that to anybody else they would be like, “Are you going to do anything else to it?” She wanted it just like that. And when she recorded to it, exactly as you hear her vocals on there, it’s exactly how she recorded to the track when it was just the piano loop. And I took that and put drums to it, put bass to it, put everything around it. I like that process so much because I always felt compelled to get an idea out and just stop. That’s how I would describe the consistent approach to this material, get the things that feel like the embodiment of the mood.

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matthew warhol: Alex, when you’re writing over the instrumentals, are you sitting down with a pen and paper or is it off the top?

Alexandra Love: It’s so interesting because I don’t feel like I’m actually answering your questions, because I’m saying it’s everything for everything.

[laughs]

matthew warhol: I don’t know if that means I’m good or I’m bad.

Alexandra Love: I think that means you’re spectacular.

matthew warhol: I hope.

Alexandra Love: It just depends on what I feel in the moment. What I learned about myself is that when I try it one way, it doesn’t work all the time. But if I stay open, it always works out.

DiViNCi: I have a question actually? Are there any particular songs that you remember having a certain process that kind of stood out to you?

Alexandra Love: Yeah, “Bravery Today” and “Stay” and “Notice” are all freestyled.

[matthew and D together] Wow…

DiViNCi: Lyrics too?

Alexandra Love: Yeah, oh yeah, everything.

DiViNCi: So kind of like Wu Tang and Jay Z?

Alexandra Love: I don’t know about Wu Tang.

DiViNCi: No, I know RZA would go into the studio and freestyle and just stop when it fell off. Then he’d come back to it.

Alexandra Love: For those songs, I freestyle the whole thing at once and went back and recorded it in a way that was the same, but sounded cleaner.

DiViNCi: That’s really cool.

matthew warhol: Have you always been able to do that?

Alexandra Love: Yeah, I’ve always been able to do that. For me, when I tune into an emotion it’s easy for me to express the perimeters of it. Not easy, but it’s natural.

matthew warhol: I always thought, especially when it comes to singing, it always reminds me to painterly expression. Impressionistic painters painted Ala Prima where it’s just them in the moment. Nothing is planned. They’re capturing the light at one specific moment.

Alexandra Love: Yeah, and what’s so beautiful about the music that De gave me for this album; it made that easy.

DiViNCi: It’s cool to hear you say that, because a lot of that music was made in the same way. A lot of that stuff is stream of consciousness music writing. I did this talk in Berlin last year about submitting to your body, surrendering to your body, as apposed to thinking about it. This is a practice I’ve been trying to get better at. That’s what I’ve learned from performing, my best stuff comes out when I’m losing myself.

Alexandra Love: I think all of life is better when we do that.

DiViNCi: I’ve been talking about this a lot lately. Even people who are atheists, they don’t have to believe in a greater power. You can just believe in something bigger than yourself. A lot of people think of their mind as themselves, but you have to think bigger. And your body is bigger.

Alexandra Love: Even if it’s just your future self. Our future selves our bigger than our present selves.

matthew warhol: I think it’s really cool that we’re getting into this high level, spiritual talk because I get a lot of that from your music. Is this how you guys talk when it’s just the two of you?

[laughs]

Alexandra Love: Totally!

matthew warhol: I love that.

DiViNCi: I guess a lot of people don’t talk about it to much, but it’s our career to address these things and wield them.

matthew warhol: And to me, that’s a good conversation, that’s a good painting, that’s a good piece of music, something where you can get beyond superficial. Talking about the next project, what’s the next place? What’s shape is it taking at this current time?

Alexandra Love: It’s developing, for me anyway, into… If The Cope Aesthetic was about how we deal with things and the beauty that can come when being in the moment and dealing with shit, then this is about arriving in a new place and exploring it.

DiViNCi: Well that’s cool to hear you say that. It’s always funny—us working together for so long and becoming in tune with our relationship with each other and what “us” is—it’s so easy for us to hear the intention in each other’s music. We don’t have to speak about it. This is the most Alex and I have talked about these projects. [laughs] We don’t plan it out, so much as we’ve been planning it out for 15 years. It’s cool to hear us being charged with the task of putting words to these things.

Alexandra Love: So thank you for asking the questions because it makes a huge difference.

matthew warhol: Aww…

DiViNCi: Or, no thank you, and you just ruined everything.

[laughs]

matthew warhol: You’ll never write a song together ever again.

[laughs]

Alexandra Love: No, it’s a great thing.

DiViNCi: Finding a new place is cool because, sonically, the more albums a project put out, the more I feel free to explore new territory. The way I always think about producing albums, I think about the story a catalog tells of an artist or group. I think the new music—again, very beginning stages—is that much more of a departure, dare I say, weirder.

August 14: Chakra Khan w/ Emily Fontano @ Timucua Arts White House

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Sparkling Dance Party: Kira Kira Pop Brings a Variety of Japanese Genres to ORL

It’s hard to ignore the brightly-clothed, friendly-faced character that adorns Kira Kira Pop’s event artwork. The bubblegum idol has become the face of the recurring dance night’s brand for good reason; she reflects the high energy music found in the J-Pop and Idol culture their audience finds so addicting. (It’s not surprising to learn “Kira Kira” translates to “sparkling.”) Behind this colorful imagery are four co-producers Sam Harris, Joy LaFleur, Jason Rosa, and Cherry Wallflower. I met the four of them in the middle of Anime Festival Orlando to talk about the community they’ve fostered and the music they love. Enjoy.

Upcoming Events:

6/24: Kira Kira Pop — moistbreezy @ Bikkuri Sushi


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matthew warhol: I wanted to start off with a super general question. If someone had never heard of Kira Kira Pop before, how would you describe it to them?

Cherry Wallflower: Sparkling dance party! And… inclusive. And… welcoming. And… colorful. And… safe, happy, good vibes. Some people hold themselves back from going to an event because they don’t have a friend they can go with, but we hope that when people come here, they feel like they can be friends with everyone.

matthew warhol: Were any of you doing stuff before, whether it be in music or putting on events?

Jason Rosa: Yeah, Sam and I used to do a J-Pop dance show together for a brief period of time. It doesn’t need to be brought up [laughs]. And there was a show called Play It Loud that turned into a label I run. I stopped doing shows for a while, and [Sam] said, “Hey, do this show!”

Sam Harris: I was really passionate about doing something to promote Japanese music and culture. I had DJed at the show that [Jason] was originally doing, but we were interested in coming up with a new concept.

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matthew warhol: Is that where Kira Kira Pop started?

Sam Harris: Yeah.

matthew warhol: How did everyone else come together?

Jason Rosa: I knew [Cherry] from the old show at Bikkuri that she actually performed at.

Cherry Wallflower: You were friends with the person that was in my group. It’s all so embarrassing.

Jason Rosa: This was all based on a good foundation of cringe.

matthew warhol: Kira Kira was to get away from cringe?

Sam Harris: Reborn out of the embers of cringe.

Joy LaFleur: It comes with the culture, though. You have to be cheesy enough to make fun of yourself.

matthew warhol: How did you get involved Joy?

Joy LaFleur: I had attended the shows and would hand out flyers for them and stuff like that. Then I was like, “Hey if you need some more help, I really love this event.”

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matthew warhol: Really quick, let’s go down the line and tell me what you do for Kira Kira Pop.

Sam Harris: I guess we all consider ourselves co-producers, but I’m also considered the resident DJ.

matthew warhol: What is your DJ name?

Sam Harris: Hoshikuzu Kid, which means “Stardust Kid,” basically.

matthew warhol: What do you DJ?

Sam Harris: Basically, a mixture Japanese music styles: J-Pop, Japanese Hip Hop, Japanese Idol music, and Japanese electronic—like the underground electronic music.

Jason Rosa: I’m the executive producer of the show, basically responsible for everything that goes on at the show. The booking decisions are between all of us, but the actual communicating with the artists happens between Sam and I. I bring a bunch of connections from the label.

Cherry Wallflower: Let’s see… I do a lot of the video commercials we put on.

Joy LaFleur: You do all the idol research.

Cherry Wallflower: One aspect of our show is idol, which is a type of J-Pop genre. How do I describe it? It’s primarily people dancing and singing bubblegum pop songs. We try to have at least two idol acts per show. I guess my role is making friends and inviting them to perform.

Joy LaFleur: I’m an associate producer. I do some odds-and-ends and day of stuff, some talking to artists and getting information.

matthew warhol: Have you found that Orlando has been accepting of you?

Sam Harris: Yeah, we were completely surprised.

Jason Rosa: Orlando has changed a lot in the last few years, especially the people here. Maybe it’s just the area we’re in, but there’s more of a loving feeling, more of a community feel.

matthew warhol: Are you familiar with or have you seen people at your shows from Body Talk… or Jeff Marks—he does Hyperclub.

Joy LaFleur: Oh yeah, he’s a friend of ours!

matthew warhol: I love him. He got me into Nightcore and that’s probably how I found out about Kira Kira Pop.

Joy LaFleur: [banging on the table] I LOVE NIGHTCORE! Make sure you include the banging on the table.

[laughs]

matthew warhol: [banging louder] I LOVE NIGHTCORE!

Cherry Wallflower: Woah. [laughs]

Sam Harris: One of the first people who guided me with DJing was Phil Santos. When I first started, he showed me the ropes a little bit.

matthew warhol: Shout out Phil Santos. That’s really cool.

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Jason Rosa: When we started the show, we had some stuff we wanted to do and didn’t know how the Orlando community would take it. On the first flyer, we had it listed as “safe space.” We wanted to lay it down like, “This is what it is. We want this to be a welcoming environment.” It’s kind of difficult when you’re marrying those ideas with like idol. Where it’s very poppy and pretty and we love parts of idol culture, it also comes from cultural backgrounds that aren’t screaming towards inclusivity.

matthew warhol: You’re making your own thing.

Cherry Wallflower: That’s the goal.

Jason Rosa: You’re trying to make your own thing, hold up a bunch of things you’re passionate about, but not be appropriative at the same time, which is really, really difficult. Everything is nail-biting.

matthew warhol: That’s smart that you do that. If you didn’t you would be opening yourself up, and if you’re not handling it carefully, something bad could happen. Acceptance is important at shows in general, and I’ve been to Orlando shows where it doesn’t feel like that, and that’s not good for anybody.

Joy LaFleur: We are out to have a social agenda.

Jason Rosa: We have a very heavy social agenda that we keep well under wraps. We don’t market it.

Joy LaFleur: You feel it.

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matthew warhol: [Cherry], you were talking about how a lot of people are afraid to go to shows alone and not feeling accepted.

Cherry Wallflower: A person posted on the event page like, “Oh, I really want to go but I don’t have anyone to go with.” Then, someone responded, “We’re all friends here. It’s fine!” It sounds super cheesy but it’s so important. It always feels warm and tingly.

matthew warhol: I think that’s a stigma a lot of people hold towards local music—especially when people are building their own things—that they take themselves too seriously. And there are people who do that in every city and every culture.

Jason Rosa: Most things are run by a promoter, and the promoter is just…

matthew warhol: An asshole. I’ll say it, an asshole. Not all, but I’d say that is unfortunately far too many people’s experience dealing with promoters.

Jason Rosa: I’m trying to not continue that narrative.

Sam Harris: Their goals are completely different from ours.

Cherry Wallflower: I like to think of this not as just an event, but as a community that is consistently building. Through Kira Kira Pop, people have made friends with each other, gotten into relationships with each other.

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matthew warhol: Wait until you have a baby come out of it, a Kira Kira Pop baby. [laughs] Are there any guesses as to why you’ve had such great success so far?

Joy LaFleur: It’s because they feel safe and we create that family feeling so they want to come back. It’s not just people coming if they have work off. People make arrangements. People book hotels to come to this. People have flown from out of state because it’s an experience. The first show that I went to before I was a part of the team, I went with one friend that I knew. I didn’t know anyone else, but by the end of the night I was dancing with people and exchanging phone numbers and Facebook friend requests, making connections, making community. And I needed that so bad.

Sam Harris: The fact that you come out, makes you belong. You don’t have to do anything else.

matthew warhol: Another part of that, I think, is bringing people from out of state. It doesn’t feel like the same thing.

Cherry Wallflower: I also think it’s because we try to put on such an eclectic lineup. There are so many different types of people, you can’t really have cliques.

Sam Harris: We’re definitely pulling from different audiences. It’s all about diversity and quality.

Joy LaFleur: Diversity, not only showcasing really cool artists that might not always get noticed, but also bringing people that the audience might relate to more.

matthew warhol: That’s so important because at a lot of shows you only see one kind of person performing.

Joy LaFleur: It’s a lot of white dudes.

matthew warhol: Or I’ll go to shows and it’ll be all white people.

Jason Rosa: Every time we put together a KKP, we try to do everything we can to make sure that’s not the case. That has always been a the forefront of why we do this. Even the art, this isn’t going to be an anime who’s a traditional pale-skinned character.

Joy LaFleur: She’s a plus-sized person of color.

matthew warhol: The last thing I wanted to make sure we talked about was… on Facebook we were talking about doing the interview at the convention—we haven’t even mentioned we’re at an anime convention—but you said that this culture inspires you, but you wanted it to be clear that you’re separate from it.

Sam Harris: There’s a tad of irony that we’re here right now.

matthew warhol: You don’t want to limit your audience—that’s what I got.

Joy LaFleur: A lot of people that attend KKP go to anime conventions, but they’re not all from the conventions.

Jason Rosa: I’m just going to be real. A lot of people that we know make music that would be great at an anime convention. Anime conventions are not run by a lot of people that listen to music, nor care about the culture of the people that are in these things.

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Cherry Wallflower: They care more about money than anything. It’s understandable, business-wise.

Joy LaFleur: It’s a lack of social agenda.

Jason Rosa: I’m the oldest person here, and I know they used to be more community-based. What we’ve made is more like that community.

Cherry Wallflower: Before, conventions were more fan meet-ups. Then they grew and people are seeing that the can capitalize on it. They can use imagery that to bring people in. When people see Kira Kira Pop, they see an “anime girl” so they associate with cons, but we don’t want to limit ourselves.

Jason Rosa: We want all these people to meet and realize they have common ground.

Sam Harris: I think that what we have most in common with cons is our the fans’ passion for the culture, the music, bringing people together.

Cherry Wallflower: Once you become a regular at cons, you start to notice the skeevy things that happen. I wouldn’t say it’s accepted, but it’s common knowledge that there are predators that go after underage girls.

Joy LaFleur: We have zero tolerance.

Jason Rosa: We have people that host the show, oftentimes the maid cafe—shout out to Cafe Peko Peko. But when one of us takes the microphone, it’s kind of a break of the illusion of the night. When we do that we talk about what’s coming up, but also important things like people being safe and treated fairly and equally, and behaviors that are unacceptable. And you don’t have that at most shows. And it’s important to note that the venue has been incredibly supportive of that.

Joy LaFleur: Shout out to Bikkuri! Shout out to Tye, our security guard!

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A Shop Interview Orlando BLog
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The Birth of A-Shop: A Luxury Streetwear Boutique

Last November, Orlando said goodbye to A Place Gallery, a house for local and national art founded by not-for-profit Time Waste Management. An unfortunate blow to Orlando culture, one part of the space on the second floor of 647 N. Mills Avenue remained an art studio, a second part was given to new owners, and a third part was left empty. Empty, that is, until June 10, when it will house new art in the form of streetwear, luxury, and vintage clothing from Atlanta, Berlin, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New York City, and, of course, Orlando. A-Shop is curated and run by two local creatives, Vanessa Barros Andrade–Time Waste Management Vice President, DJ Deviant Art Heaux, & Creator of Puffy Pain–and Sarah Nicole Francois–founder and designer at 000SPORTWEAR. I was beyond thrilled to search through A-Shop get an in-depth look into how these two crafted this new kind of art gallery. Enjoy.

JUNE 10 GRAND OPENING EVENT


A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: I wanted to start by asking how the two of you met. How do you know each other?

[laughs]

Sarah Nicole Francois: The face we are both making right now, we’re both like, “Are you kidding me?” That’s the hardest question you could have asked. We’ve known each other for so long.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: I want to say since we were in middle school.

matthew warhol: Oh really? Cool. Would you say your senses of style developed together?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: I guess like, we were always into fashion and that’s what made us want to connect and made us closer. We noticed we were both weirdos who actually think about what we wear in depth, every day. [laughs] But they’ve definitely changed since we’ve known each other.

Sarah Nicole Francois: God, they’ve changed. I used to look so ugly.

matthew warhol: Hey, we all used to look ugly in middle school.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Oh yeah, truly. Now, Sarah strictly wears all black from head-to-toe.

Sarah Nicole Francois: Everyday. [laughs]

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

Vanessa Barros Andrade: You should see her closet. Um… and then I’m doing like a military, dictator, like… hoe.

[laughs]

Sarah Nicole Francois: I was waiting for that.

matthew warhol: Have you worked on stuff together before?

Sarah Nicole Francois: We’ve helped each other with projects, but that’s pretty much it. This is our first official thing together.

matthew warhol: So how did it go from an idea to this a shop?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Just as quickly as the idea came, this happened. Literally, over a cup of coffee, she was like, “Do you want to start a store?” And I was like, “Yeah!”

Vanessa Barros Andrade: That was literally it. I was like, “Well, I have this space and we both have experience in retail and both have brands.” I’m just like, “I need to do something with this space—it’s just sitting there and not doing anything.” And we drank a cup of coffee and were like, “Let’s do it.”

Sarah Nicole Francois: The coffee fueled us.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: How long ago was that?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Like three weeks ago.

Sarah Nicole Francois: For some reason, we gave ourselves this really short timeline. We still don’t know why we did that; it’s so crazy—we’re nuts. We were like, “We have to do this by June 10.”

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Our shop is a Gemini.

[laughs]

Sarah Nicole Francois: I’m still not about that.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Yesss.

matthew warhol: What has the process been to create this A-Shop?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We started off with inventory. We’re like, “Okay, so now we have to message a million designers.”

Sarah Nicole Francois: So many fucking clothes.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We know a lot of people that design so that was easy. I feel like that’s what made it possible. We knew like five off the top of our heads from Instagram.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: What was the next step after acquiring inventory?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: I guess interior design was next. We’re both minimalists. We need everything to be a canvas, white.

Sarah Nicole Francois: We have literally been painting anything you can think of white in the past week. There’s paint all over me. I’m like, “What else do I need to paint white?!”

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Everything needs to be blank because the clothes are going be very eccentric, costume-y, intense…

Sarah Nicole Francois: …fun.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Yeah, really fun, really flamboyant. So we couldn’t have busy hangers and fixtures. Everything has to be a canvas.

matthew warhol: The clothes are like the art on the wall, which is super appropriate because this used to be an art gallery.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Someone messaged me and said, “Oh my God, it’s wearable art now.”

Sarah Nicole Francois: Ah, we have too many slogans!

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: What are the other slogans?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Um, “URL to IRL,” because we’re bringing a lot of these internet designers together, creating a space for them. I’m a designer myself so I know the struggle of trying to be an independent designer and make a buck. It’s difficult. It’s difficult to get your foot in the door in this industry. It’s weird though because a lot of bigger brands feed off of people no one really knows. They steal their ideas but don’t give them the resources to build themselves. It’s hard to get into boutiques. So we’re creating that space for people.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Most of our designers only have online shops. Now they get to be in a physical space.

matthew warhol: Who from Orlando is included?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Um, meeee. My brand is going to be in here. We’re going to have some bags. I’ve been burning stuff a lot. I’m so obsessed; it’s fucked up. I can’t stop burning shit.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Gerry, he moved back from New York not too long ago. He just started designing clothes and I’m like, “I hate you!” His stuff is called Elevator, and it’s very, I want to say, luxury.

Sarah Nicole Francois: It’s really luxury, also minimal, like silhouettes. [Pointing] Those are culottes. He literally just made those and dropped them off like 15 minutes ago. John Jackson, he’s a local reseller. He resales BAPE and Supreme, but he also makes his own graphic tees and these super cool Mike Jones hats with the phone number.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

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matthew warhol: How have you organized everything?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Right now, it’s not.

Sarah Nicole Francois: This is the only rack that’s ready. It’s all by aesthetic really.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Everything is mixed in. There’s probably five different people on this rack. We have Elevator, Post-Market Vintage, John Jackson, RJ—he collects post-Y2K aesthetic.

matthew warhol: I really like that idea, though. If someone comes in just to see their friends stuff, they have to look through everything else.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Exactly.

Sarah Nicole Francois: That was the thought.

matthew warhol: How frequently are you going to be open?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: For June, we have Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 12-7—just because we’re lazy and want to sleep in.

Sarah Nicole Francois: No, that’s not true! We both have so much going on. We’re doing the most but we like it.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: That’s why I wanted to talk to both of you because you’re so active. [To Sarah] I know we’ve never met before, but I admire your work a lot. I love it.

Sarah Nicole Francois: Thank you so much—this is the second time I’m going to cry today.

[laughs]

Vanessa Barros Andrade: STOP! Oh my God, I’m going to cry.

matthew warhol: And of course, your DJing has been amazing. I’ve seen like two or three of your sets.

Sarah Nicole Francois: It’s so crazy! She just started. I don’t understand how you did that.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: I know. It’s soooo intense.

Sarah Nicole Francois: You’re so good already. It’s wild.

matthew warhol: Talking about the label of “streetwear,” because you’ve used the term to describe the store, what is it about streetwear that the two of you enjoy? What brings you to it?

Sarah Nicole Francois: I feel like that was the most fitting label. It’s sort of like a mix of everything, vintage, high street/low street fashion. What we think of is harajuku magazines where it’s a bunch of really cool Japanese kids in ridiculous clothing. They bite from everything. They’ll have Givenchy on with a grandma sweater. They mix it all, that’s their streetwear.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: It summarizes all the types of designers we have.

matthew warhol: So it’s just encompassing…?

Sarah Nicole Francois: Cool shit. Anything that’s dope.

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: Wow we’re breezing through this.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We have a lot of content. We talk a lot!

matthew warhol: Music, is that something that’s going to be a part of A-Shop? Are there going to be frequent events?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Yeah, we definitely want to throw monthly parties where we are celebrating a new shipment. We’re going to get some really great stuff from Berlin next month. It’s Mercedes’s Fashion Week and we’re getting new clothes specifically for that. We want to throw parties and have DJs. It’ll be chill because we share the building. We are also selling cassette tapes and 7-inches from Clandestine Channels.

Sarah Nicole Francois: We have so much coming in. We’re really excited.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Also, we should mention that we’re going to display different videos by different artists…

Sarah Nicole Francois: …anyone relevant to the clothes. Right now we have a music video Vanessa put together with Jason. We have a Mike Jones video to tie into the hats. We have my lookbook video, and we’re going to add Solange’s “Cranes In The Sky,” because we’re working on getting the designer that worked on the costumes for that video.

matthew warhol: Woah…. their actual work?

Sarah Nicole Francois: He’s a friend, but we’re still like “Uhhhh, I know you have a lot going on, but…”

A Shop Interview Orlando BLog

matthew warhol: What do you seed for the future of A-Shop?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: Right now, we’re just focusing on getting as many of our designer friends as possible, exploring more artists. We get so many each day.

Sarah Nicole Francois: So many people make shit. It’s so much fun.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: It’s fun to go through their stuff, message them, see them get excited. Basically, meeting new designers, talking to more people.

Sarah Nicole Francois: I’m excited to see my stuff on the racks. It’s all in pieces at home right now. This is going to be the first time my work is going to be in a physical space, like ever, ever.

matthew warhol: The last thing I wanted to talk about was the Bungalower thing. I thought that was hilarious. Let me read what you wrote.

Sarah Nicole Francois: I don’t want to hear it. From his voice it’s going to sound so bad.

[laughs]

Vanessa Barros Andrade: WOW.

matthew warhol: What did you think about this?

Sarah Nicole Francois: It was a very pleasant surprise.

matthew warhol: Hipster-friendly though?

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We thought it was funny but also thought the adjective was annoying to use, because we specifically used so many different ones to describe our store.

Sarah Nicole Francois: Streetwear, luxury, vintage, Pick one!

Vanessa Barros Andrade: There were so many adjectives to use and they chose hipster.

matthew warhol: It’s such an old term now. Hipster is like 2009.

Sarah Nicole Francois: That’s like a term for anyone that someone over a certain age use for anyone who’s young. Like, “Oh, you guys aren’t normcore so you must be hipster.” No, not fucking hipster.

Vanessa Barros Andrade: We’re weirdos. We were frustrated but, at the same time, we thought it was funny so we started posting and making a joke.

matthew warhol: And then they changed it.

Sarah Nicole Francois: They changed it and it was so condescending. I was like “WOW!” That was funny.

matthew warhol: But they really nailed your brand after they changed it.

Sarah Nicole Francois: Now you get it.

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No Pulp w/ ORL Promoters Ugly Orange

In June 2016, Orlando music promoters Ugly Orange hosted their first event, a tour kick off for Lakeland’s Swept with support from The Knick Knacks (R.I.P.), Dumberbunnies, and The Zigs. Even before its start, each of UO’s three heads were already seasoned veterans in the Orlando music scene. Nicole Dvorak cut her booking teeth playing in numerous local bands, most notably Transcendental Telecom. Hannah Fregger had been a key member of monthly dance night Body Talk since its inception. And Kaley Honeycutt was performing with/booked shows for her synth pop trio Island Science and crafting amazing artwork for local bands and shows.

Together, Ugly Orange quickly became a brand boosting local and touring music, booking an average of two shows a month and collaborating with the likes of Always Nothing and yes, The Vinyl Warhol. They’ve also expanded beyond events, releasing a series of live session videos. I kicked it with two of The Ugly Oranges—Kaley has since relocated to Boston to be a rockstar in BABY—to see why they’re so damn cool. Enjoy.

Upcoming Events:

6/1: Crumb, Lance Bangs, The Welzeins, & Room Thirteen at Henao Contemporary Center

6/23: No Thank You, Brave Face, Spirit Maps at Henao Contemporary Center


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matthew warhol: I wanted to start with asking my good friends in the Orange community, how did you get together?

Nicole Dvorak: Tell him about, “Where is this bitch?”

Hannah Fregger: I was booking shows and helping manage Body Talk at the time. I booked Island Science for a Body Talk and Kaley and I kept in touch after that. After I was asked to leave Body Talk, I was feeling really sad, and saw that they posted a Facebook Status saying that they wanted to start doing shows that were powered by girls. They asked me to come over to Nicole’s house, and I’m perpetually late.

matthew warhol: You were late to this interview. And it was at your house.

Hannah Fregger: I was like seven minutes late, and I’m walking up to the door and hear Nicole go, “Alright, where is this bitch?!” And I knock on the door and everyone gets quiet. I’m like, “I’m right here.” We sat down and talked about music we liked and what we thought we wanted to do; we had our dreams in one little basket and they seemed to align. Here we are.

matthew warhol: What do you think the importance of it being female-powered is?

Nicole Dvorak: Oh, that’s a Hannah question. I didn’t even think about it being female. I’ve never even had that in the back of mind.

matthew warhol: But you’ve been in bands and stuff where you’re the only girl.

Hannah Fregger: At the same time, you’ve literally said that you’ve been asked to be in bands because your profile picture is you with a bass. This is an entirely sexist industry.

Nicole Dvorak: I should be promoting that fact.

matthew warhol: And you are, by default, just doing what you do.

Hannah Fregger: And at that time, the only people who were booking shows, besides Tierney, were a bunch of dudes. And they were putting on other dudes, which is fine, but there aren’t a lot of women. It’s a very male-dominated industry. People come up to us and say that’s one of the things they like most about our shows. And for me at least, I think girls are more visual. We want everything to look cool.

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matthew warhol: And that’s something that sets your shows apart. I think all good shows create a night, an atmosphere, something people are going to remember. How do you do that?

Hannah Fregger: We try to make things different each time.

Nicole Dvorak: I never want to put on a show of just locals. I want to have some fresh faces, and we’ve never booked a show without an out-of-town band as our starting point. We start with “Oh, we’re really excited about this band that hit us up,” and we go from there.

Hannah Fregger: Also, there aren’t a lot of venues to work with, and when that happens everything gets stale really fast. So you’re going to the Henao Center or Spacebar or Will’s, but I don’t want it to ever feel like you’re in those places. I want you to feel like you’re at an Ugly Orange show. We’ve never done the same thing twice. We reuse local talent but try to make sure everything is different on the inside, a little gimmick going on. We had macaroni n cheese one time.

matthew warhol: I’d say immersion hit its highest peak so far at the last show at the Henao.

Nicole Dvorak: Yeah, well that one was all Hannah Glogower.

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matthew warhol: She did an excellent job. With a space like that, it’s so big. I feel like to create an environment, you have to go all out.

Nicole Dvorak: But it’s also such a low-key, low pressure place, I don’t feel like I need to fill the space to make it a successful night. Will’s Pub, I feel like I need to bring in people.

Hannah Fregger: You can definitely feel it at Will’s if there aren’t a lot of people. And at the gallery, they have the big room where all the art is, so I think that takes the pressure because there is already some focal point. And the back room is bare bone, it’s guts like The Space used to be. Even if there’s only five people in there, you can still create really cool environments. That’s what Hannah did. She had one little idea as a jumping point, and she created the outdoor installation that was gorgeous.

matthew warhol: What’s been the most flattering moment so far?

Hannah Fregger: Freakin’ Cassie Ramone, dude. Oh my God, TONSTARTSBANDHT that’s crazy! I think, recently, a lot of people have been reaching out to us, which is crazy.

matthew warhol: What show have you been most proud of?

Hannah Fregger: I think that the coolest thing we’ve done so far is the one at the gallery.

Nicole Dvorak: The most recent one?

Hannah Fregger: Yeah. The Ace Metric show was super fun too, but I felt really stressed that night.

Nicole Dvorak: I feel completely the opposite. I was so stressed during the show at the gallery.

matthew warhol: Why?

Hannah Fregger: We’ve never worked with people with guarantees before. We never make a profit.

Nicole Dvorak: Also, Henao is still in its beginning stages. They don’t have a sound guy. We’re still figuring it out there.

Hannah Fregger: And that’s one of those things where I have no idea. I let Nicole do that.

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matthew warhol: Nicole, I remember we were talking at the Ace Metric show that that was one of your favorite moments, getting to do something at a bike shop.

Nicole Dvorak: Oh God, yeah.

matthew warhol: As someone who loves Orlando, seeing a local business, local music, and a local booker coming together…

Nicole Dvorak: That’s what really did it for me. I’m trying to bring everybody up with me—and she feels the same way. Michael at the bike shop has become a really dear friend of mine. And when we bring Hannah Glogower on board and seeing them profit off a show, that’s the rewarding part for me.

Hannah Fregger: There’s so much mutual respect within the community. Especially with The Vinyl Warhol, if there’s ever someone that reaches out to me that I think is more up your alley, I’m going to send it to you, same thing with Harryson and SR50. They have a grasp on different genres.

Nicole Dvorak: Also, shout out Hannah Spector, one of my favorite artists in town. She has had work at like three shows and has been a huge help.

Hannah Fregger: Always reliable, everything always looks so good.

matthew warhol: To what you said about everyone coming together, something I’ve said many times is that, because we’re so much smaller than a city like New York, to have the impact of a big city everyone needs to work together. That wasn’t really a question, but you want to agree or rebuke it, go ahead.

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Nicole Dvorak: Yes and no, I go to New York and they have their own little cliques and get caught up going to the same shows. I think it’s cool that you do stuff that brings different communities together, and I want to definitely do that too.

Hannah Fregger: I think what sets Orlando a part, even from cities like St. Petersburg or Tallahassee, is that the city itself doesn’t support its alternative community. That’s why all the good stuff dies, The Peacock Room, The Space. If the city were backing us, if we had more support, we could have a really strong community. It’s a big small town. Sometimes I step outside of my bubble, and am amazed. Like, the ska scene is alive in Orlando!

Nicole Dvorak: That’s why the death of Spacebar and The Space is so detrimental.

matthew warhol: It needs to grow, more and more venues. Not just replacing the one that dies.

Nicole Dvorak: It can’t be like that.

Hannah Fregger: We had A Place Gallery around for a year. The city didn’t support them as an art gallery so they had to stop. If there was more support and funding from bigger community members, it would be able to actually create a culture that could stay. That’s why everyone leaves because nothing good can stay here. You reach your ceiling and you have to bolt.

matthew warhol: What else would you improve?

Nicole Dvorak: The whole point of why we do this is to get artists that we like to come down here and see how cool it is. Hannah and I take care of them every time. She makes the breakfast in the morning. We already have artists coming back that are from Colorado and Iowa.

Hannah Fregger: Karen Meat is coming back. Hypoluxo is coming back.

Nicole Dvorak: Hopefully, they’re spreading the word for people to come down.

Hannah Fregger: We just want to create a place where people feel comfortable and safe. We don’t mind if only 15 people come out to a show as long as you had the best night, ya know?

matthew warhol: But that doesn’t really happen anymore for you guys.

Hannah Fregger: Not for a while, but now it’s going to happen. You’re jinxing us.

matthew warhol: So it won’t, what’s next on the horizon?

Hannah Fregger: I think especially because this was our first year, we weren’t saying no to much. I think we’ve figured our shit out now.

Nicole Dvorak: Personally, I like the video aspect. And she’s really good at interviews.

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Hannah Fregger: I want it to be more of an homage to different music publications… and collectives too. Like Hardly Art and Panache Booking, they all work together and make sure that not only that they’re doing well, but that everyone else is supported. We want to be that for Orlando. Hopefully, we can keep being a jumping off point for local talent and touring talent, making lasting connections.

Nicole Dvorak: And establish more of an online aspect, that’s important to me.

matthew warhol: What shows are coming up?

Hannah Fregger: On June 1, we have Crumb, Lance Bangs, Room Thirteen—who I’m super excited to have back from New Orleans—and, our friends, The Welzeins. It’s going to be a very cool show for The Welzeins because they are no longer a two-piece.

matthew warhol: I heard about that. They’ve spent like the last five years as a two-piece.

Hannah Fregger: It’s going to give them a really big sound. Their sound is big to begin with; RJ’s amps are bigger than him.

Jon Bartee [who’s been sitting quietly watching us talk]: They’ve practicing as a three piece for like two or three months now.

matthew warhol: That’s so good… am I interviewing you?

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[laughs]

matthew warhol: I’m just kidding.

Nicole Dvorak: That was so [clap] fucking [clap] good [clap] Matt.

matthew warhol: Any other solid dates booked?

Hannah Fregger: We have Tall Juan coming on July 5. He just played both weekends at Coachella and is on BUFU Records.

matthew warhol: Where’s that?

Hannah Fregger: It’s going to be at Deadly Sins Brewery. And then we have No Thank You on June 23rd with Brave Face.

Nicole Dvorak: And Frank Ocean is coming in July…

Hannah Fregger: …July 37th. He’s only going to play “Chanel” in different languages…

Nicole Dvorak: …to us two. Nobody else is invited. I’m so sorry.

Hannah Fregger: You know what I think we should do? I’m serious about this. Petition for Jack Black to come and play a show as Mr. Schneebly,.

matthew warhol: Ew.

Nicole Dvorak: For some reason I thought you meant Jack White.

matthew warhol: Petition Jack White to come play as Jack Black as Mr. Schnebly.

Nicole Dvorak: Next question.

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matthew warhol: Which School of Rock character are you most like?

Hannah Fregger: I’m Summer.

Nicole Dvorak: Dude, I’m Ned Schneebly, dude. Well, I’m Dewey Finn pretending to be Ned Schneebly,.

matthew warhol: Who am I?

Hannah Fregger: um… Billy.

[laughs]

matthew warhol: Is that the guitar player?

Hannah Fregger: No, that’s the fashion designer.

matthew warhol: Come on?!

Nicole Dvorak: “You’re tacky and I hate you.”

matthew warhol: You are tacky and I do hate you, Nicole.

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On God, On Family

Andy Thrasher. DeadMonBernz. Destiny. Loca Legend. Mario Manzi. Meka. Randy Santos. Valentin. These are the creative minds that make up rap collective On God Records. Apart, they’re talented rappers, singers, photographers, producers, promoters, video editors, and business people. Together, they’ve pushed each other to the best of their abilities through collaboration and savvy promotion strategies, crafting well thought out songs and videos with hundreds-of-thousands of streams. I got to see how they move and interact with each other, chilling with them outside of Stardust Coffee & Video, record shopping at Park Ave CDs, and smoking a blunt at an undisclosed location. Enjoy.

Upcoming Appearances:

Thursday, May 10 at Sandwich Bar, The Vinyl Warhol Presents w/ Transcendental Telecom & GRANT. 

matthew warhol: How did On God come together?

Valentin: I’ve known Randy since the fifth grade. We separated and got really close again after the senior year of high school.

Meka: I found Randy in the worst time in my life. He and his family are the most humble people, the most gracious people. I would not want to be with anyone else.

matthew warhol: So Randy, Randy, did you all meet through him?

DeadMonBernz: I met them through [Valentin].

Andy Thrasher: For the most part we all met through Randy. I was fanboying over this kid’s music, and one day he let me produce for his friends.

Meka: The most humble man you’ll ever meet. It’s scary how humble he is.

Mario Manzi: Cocky in his music but humble in his life.

Andy Thrasher: He’s drunk right now.

matthew warhol: When did it actually happen?

Randy Santos: We had a collective before — in high school — called “M.A.F.I.A.” It stood for “Money And Family Is All.” It consisted of me, Loca Legend, Meka right here, and a few other people. After a while, that fizzled out and we were trying to figure out a way to rebrand ourselves, right? I was thinkin’ of putting a collective of artist together and we couldn’t find a name at the time. One day, I called [Meka] up and he answers the phone — randomly he was just like “On God Records, Baby!” [laughs] I was like, “oh shit, say that again!” He’s like, “On God Records, Baby!” And I was like, “That’s it! That’s the million dollar name.” Like he said, I knew [Valentin] since like fifth grade. I heard he started makin’ music.

Valentin: I was already makin’ music. I ran into him at a party and started a fight with one of his close friends. It was weird as fuck! I had just started a fight a bunch of people on some dumb shit. I had run into him and [Mario] was DJing at night. He was there! You were there!

Mario Manzi: Was this Poinsettia?

Randy Santos: You remember that shit!

Valentin: I specifically told him, “Yo bro, I seen you doin’ shows. I wanna do shows too.”

Randy Santos: He was being the hype man for the whole party. [laughs]

Mario Manzi: Three, four months later he’s opening for 21 Savage.

Valentin: The day after that party, the next day, I got my car. As soon as I got my car, the first person I hit up was Randy like, “Yo bro, I need to link you.” And then right then, boom, linked him.

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matthew warhol: What all do you do for each other? I know you’ve said there’s a lot of collaboration, but take me through something specifically.

DeadMonBernz: Like, if him and him got a song, they hit me up for the cover, that’s my job.

Randy Santos: He does the covers. [Destiny] handles most of the visuals.

Mario Manzi: For example, he has a camera. He has a camera. I have a camera. We all try to produce content, but what’s dope is that if [Loca Legend] is working on a project he’ll have Randy as an Executive Director. Then I got [Andy Thrasher] doing production, and [Valentin] will do vocals on a track. I’ll be working on the campaign. It’s not like [Randy] is just a rapper, and I’ll hit him for rap shit.

Loca Legend: We just be all over the place.

Valentin: One thing we have though is that we push each other to the max. If something is not good, we’ll tell each other.

matthew warhol: What would you say to him if something he’s working on isn’t good?

Valentin: “Yo bro, that shit fucking sucks.” [laughs]

Randy Santos: He’d be like, “Yo, honestly, this is ass.” [laughs]

Valentin: You gotta be real with your friends. I love him, you know?

Loca Legend: That’s what I tell them all the time, I don’t want a fucking yes man around me. If I got some whack shit, I want you to say it to me.

DeadMonBernz: Word! If you give me something, “Yo, I need art for this.” “I’m not going to make nothing for that shit.”

matthew warhol: Because you know it’s not only his thing. It’s your thing. It’s your thing. It’s your thing. And you don’t want your name on something that’s bad.

Valentin: I feel like music, in general, what one person doesn’t like, somebody else does.

Meka: We all encourage each other. We don’t fabricate anything. I wouldn’t never tell Randy, “Put this song out,” if it wasn’t worth putting out. I could tell him that something sucks, and he’ll come out with something ten times better. It’s not a group. This is literally a brotherhood.

Randy Santos: If I hear something hard from him, I’m going to take that as motivation. Like, “alright, now I need to outdo him.”

Loca Legend: That’s how I be with him though. He sends me some hot shit, I got to outdo him.

matthew warhol: You’re pushing each other to be better.

Andy Thrasher: My favorite part of all of that is that I get to sit back and watch it. I’m producing and making beats, but I get to hear all these tracks.

Meka: Don’t sleep on him.

Loca Legend: I got to watch him now too.

Randy: Yo, [Andy] is fuckin’ spazzin’ too.

Valentin: This man made a song that I listened to for a week straight.

matthew warhol: What song was that? Is it out?

Mario Manzi: Nah, he’s always sitting on so much music.

matthew warhol: That’s good though, until it’s ready.

Andy Thrasher: I’m working on a project. I got inspired by some shit I went through. April was hard. I lost my aunt and some stuff happened with this girl. I was talking to Randy about it. With pain comes some sort of creativity. And I took that as not a burden, but to find a new sound. And I did that.

DeadMonBernz: Facts! Everything with them has made revamp my whole sound. I went on the Curren$y route because it’s what I sound like, smoking music. Listening to them I’m like, “I have to rewrite this whole thing.” It’s all love though.

Destiny: When I listen to their music, it’s actual situations that they go through. Nothing is fabricated. I listen to some of y’all and you be like, “I remember when this happened.”

Meka: As far as the competition goes, we will never be against each other.

matthew warhol: That’s something that I’ve noticed in hip hop more now. It’s more about people uplifting each other. One problem that the old heads have with the newer generation is that everybody is friends. When you hear Lil Uzi Vert, all he has to say is good things to say about Lil Yachty, 21 Savage. Just how you lift each other up.

Andy Thrasher: As much as we take the music as a competition, none of us ever take it as jealousy. If his shit get moving, I’ll never be upset because my shit isn’t moving. I will push their shit more than I’ll ever push my shit.

Loca Legend: The way we see it, if one of us blows, everyone’s coming with us. If I get on, I’m putting everyone in a position to eat.

Valentin: If you look at how Odd Future and A$AP Mob got on — I knew who Earl was before I knew who Tyler was, but then I got on to him.

matthew warhol: Did they inspire you to make a collective?

Randy Santos: Some of us had already been in the previous collective. But a lot of people don’t know — my first tape was directly inspired by Tyler. I sounded like a Great Value Tyler.

matthew warhol: What are you working on now?

Valentin: I have a project coming out. The only name I have in my mind right now is Broken Matter. We’ll see what happens.

Loca Legend: And then, [Randy] and I have a party EP coming out called The Party EP.

Randy Santos: It’s inspired by house. It has a more bouncy vibe.

matthew warhol: Does that include that song that was going around Twitter?

Randy Santos: That sound is what you’re going to hear.

matthew warhol: That song is great.

Randy Santos: We just want to take over the summer.

Andy Thrasher: I’m working on an EP, myself. It’s in the range of house, dance, EDM, cool trance-y vibes. It’s called I Thought I Might Get Right For You And I.

Loca Legend: For me, I think I have like 30 unreleased songs that are recorded that are for two different tapes. I want to sit everybody down and have them listen to it. The one is about female problems its called Time After Time. The other one is called Through The Madness. It’s more personal shit.

Valentin: I love his fuckin’ music. He sent me a verse yesterday, and I literally listened to it 50 fuckin’ times.

DeadMonBernz: Yo, that fuckin’ song! That fuckin’ song!

Loca Legend: I always say that we’re not making songs. We’re making music. Shit that’s going to be around forever.

Randy Santos: I’m trying to have that 2023 sound. I want you to have that same feeling like when you first heard it.

Meka: It’s not about Klout. It’s not about Klout. There is nothing we will put above this shit. All of us know that by luck or whatever, we came together and we really built something from nothing, no handouts.

Mario Manzi: Sleeping on the floor, being homeless, not knowing what to do. Bad omens yet so many blessings at the same time.

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Florida Is Loud: Harsh Noise w/ Glenn Stefani

Orlando Fashion Square Mall is a weird place for an interview with a member of a harsh noise/doom band. Like the isolation one feels in an empty mall that’s set to close soon(?), Glenn Stefani’s berating music has an unexpected peacefulness to it. Glenn, if you don’t know, plays in the bands Ad Nauseum, Deformed, and Uh, makes drone/noise music solo under the name Temperament, makes digital art, and was responsible for Florida Is Loud, the three-day celebration of Florida fringe music that happened in December. He’s an aloof character who doesn’t like take well to the spotlight or having his face online — which is why I’m so thankful that he was down to do this interview. Enjoy.

Photos by matthew warhol. Edits by Glenn Stefani.

Upcoming Appearances:

May 23 Ad Nauseum, Prisoner (VA), Disgender, and Acid Baptism @ Lou’s

June 23 Uh, Narvee, Gutter Girl, Deformed, Acid Baptism, & Burn to Learn @ K2 House Orlando


matthew warhol: From what I know about you, it seems you’ve done a lot of good for a side of music and a scene in Orlando that gets overlooked a lot, that’s on the fringes of things. You did Florida is Loud. You’re in a bunch of bands. I was wondering how that came about?

Glenn Stefani: Um … my friends and I got into Metallica and Misfits when we were in like fourth or fifth grade. I’ve been on and off with it for years, depending on what’s going on in my life, but I started hitting it really hard when we were getting out of high school. We had hardcore bands in high school, but when I got out and started meeting people who were older than I was and doing things, I realized that there is a mortality on who runs shows or plays in bands. I guess that’s when I started recognizing that I wanted to start really playing music. Initially, when people who book shows started moving away, people started hitting me up. I figured it wasn’t that hard to run a show. You stand there and hassle people for money, give them hard looks if they give you shit. Then you give it all to the touring bands and go home.

matthew warhol: Were you in a band at the time?

Glenn Stefani: When I was in high school, I was in a really short lived hardcore band. Grant [my roommate] and I started Ad Nauseum. That’s what I consider my first real band, and we’ve just been running with it since then. I like to stay as busy as I can at all times, so I kind of pick up whatever comes my way as I go along. If it sticks, it sticks. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. We had one ligament band and I started jamming with people. Before I knew it, I was in four or five bands.

matthew warhol: You said since high school. How many years has that been?

Glenn Stefani: Four or five.

matthew warhol: That’s a long time for a local band.

glenn stefani florida is loud interview orlando music blog

Glenn Stefani: The person who has stuck with me the most is the vocalist, Justin. He’s also in a band called Burn to Learn. Him and I, since the day we met, have been really like-minded. We met my sophomore year of high school and bonded on like Slayer and Morbid Angel. He’s one of those dudes where if we didn’t talk for six months, we’d pick up right where we left up. His patience and willingness to persevere have probably been the biggest inspiration I’ve had being in any of the bands I’ve been in.

matthew warhol: You were saying when you were coming up, that you recognized that there is a mortality to what locals could do. Is that because you think that Orlando people will move on, or is it an age thing?

Glenn Stefani: Orlando is definitely a transient place. People kinda cut their teeth here, and once they decide they want to pursue a job in a different state or something, they leave. It’s definitely a training camp.

matthew warhol: You come here and then you go to a bigger city.

Glenn Stefani: All that is a positive thing because people are going off and doing bigger and better things. While I get nostalgic for the way things were — like for the band Knife Hits and their first demo — things change. All my favorite bands lived and died within a five-year gap in the 90s and 00s. Once I was getting into music and going to record stores, I realized a lot of these bands are very short lived.

matthew warhol: Do you think it’s something about the music they make?

Glenn Stefani: People get old. You might have to go get a big boy job and stop playing music or have a kid or something. But then there are people who keep doing it. I feel like when you’re coming out of high school, which a lot of the bands were, you have a different idea of what it’s going to be. You go on tour a few times and realize it’s not for you. People, as they grow older, get different ideas of what they’re going to do.

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matthew warhol: What’s kept you in it?

Glenn Stefani: Stubbornness. And anxiety. I need music. Music is very important to me. If I didn’t have it I’d have no idea what I’d be doing. I’d probably be more of any idiot than I am now. It’s taught me to grow and understand different ideas and different things about myself. As far as the mortality rate, it was as seamless as someone hit me up and said, “Hey, my friend’s band from North Carolina is coming down and said to contact you because they’re not doing shows anymore.” At that point, I’d booked shows in high school and … I pretty much exclusively book at Lou’s because I love that place. It’s a home away from home.

matthew warhol: You kind of fell into it. You were kind of like the young person in the group and when the older people were gone, you were all that was left.

Glenn Stefani: Yeah, I was 17. I was going to see shitty metalcore, Hot Topic shows in middle school. Fortunately, I met people who showed me better stuff. That’s when I went and saw Knife Hits or No Qualms, two really important bands. That’s why Florida Is Loud was such a jarring thing because I brought Knife Hits back to Orlando.

glenn stefani florida is loud interview orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Had you known them before?

Glenn Stefani: I’d known Ben since I was in high school. Ben was their vocalist — he’s their bass player now. But I talked to Jake Smith the person who handles their booking. Florida Is Loud … I had the idea six months before it happened. And things maybe fell into place two months before it happened. I was lucky to have a more experienced promoter help me with the logistics of it. Like, “Hey, I got Will’s Pub for you.” I more handled booking Lou’s and getting all the bands together. But when it came to me starting to book shows, it was odd because I feel like there are way more charismatic personas in the community than I am. I’m more of a wallflower who’s having awkward conversations with people.

matthew warhol: You bring them together.

Glenn Stefani: Sure, and it’s fun. Nothing gets me more stoked than watching a room full of people watching a weird band from out of town. I enjoy that a lot of times more than playing.

matthew warhol: Was this the first year of Florida Is Loud?

Glenn Stefani: December was the first one. I was at work thinking, “Oh, I’ve met a lot of bands the past few years. Why don’t I try to get them all in a room.” Initially, it was supposed to be a two-day thing. I hate running shows with more than four bands. But with the response it was generating, by the end of the week I realized, “Oh man, I’m going to have to do bigger things with this.” I was nervous at first because I hadn’t handled anything that grand before. But it ended up okay, the worst thing that happened was when we knocked down the ceiling at Lou’s.

matthew warhol: And that’s pretty awesome. It’s shitty, but it’s like, “Wow I didn’t expect that to happen.” You’re making an awesome memory for someone.

Glenn Stefani: I was living purely off of coffee at that point. I hadn’t eaten anything the whole weekend. I wanted to pass out so bad and saw Niko bust out of Lou’s and drop his bass. I was like, “What happened?” I walked in and ceiling tiles were everywhere. That being the worst thing that happened all weekend made it a roaring success for me.

matthew warhol: There are certain bookers, I’ve noticed, that are more in it for themselves. They think that they’re the reason everyone is coming out. But you seem very selfless in the way you move. Does that come from your punk roots? There seems to be certain rules — like you said, the touring band gets the money.

Glenn Stefani: I’d like to go out on a limb and say that with any form of art, there’s always some degree of ego attached. I think I do a very good job of self-regulating. I think my personality to begin with — someone could throw me a compliment and I’m just going to subvert it entirely. From a very young age, I recognized that. If you’re booking a show, you help out the bands to the best of your abilities. From a young age, being exposed to Minor Threat and Black Flag and reading stories about them. Shit, these people are going far beyond where they’re comfortable to bare their hearts and souls to a room full of strangers. They deserve all we can afford to give them.

glenn stefani florida is loud interview orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Going from punk and metal to drone, how did that happen? What’s the progression there, I guess? They seem similar to me, but I don’t know the intricacies of the genre.

Glenn Stefani: There’s this band called Man Is The Bastard, probably one of my favorite bands just out of creativity. I related to people being like, “It’s cool but I don’t get it,” because that’s what I experience a lot with my music. Right when they started, they also formed a group called Bastard Noise which was focused on harsh noise. I liked a lot of the aspects of it because it reminded me of older movie soundtracks like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where Tobe Hooper was banging pots and pans and bowing cymbals and bass guitars to make these really weird ambient soundscapes. I had that pure artistic interest in it.

matthew warhol: It seems like a logical step.

Glenn Stefani: I was also living in a house with friends from high school. One of my roommates had a girlfriend who would lay around all day and would complain when I came in after working all day and played guitar or listened to records. So initially, I thought it would be hilarious if I started doing harsh noise in the house just to piss her off. And Ad Nauseam had started, but we couldn’t practice all that often. I had all the pedals and stuff, so I started doing it myself. I kept it mostly a bedroom thing. And eventually, I got sick of listening to power violence stuff and started listening to John Caprenter and Brian Eno. I started forming more ambient stuff that was a little more pleasant to hear.

matthew warhol: What do you get out of that kind of music? Is it the atmosphere it creates? Because I was at the TMD/TWMT Counterweight event at the church and to me, sitting there, your music made me feel very isolated even though I was in a room full of people. What does it do for you?

Glenn Stefani: I’ve always felt like a weirdo my whole life. No matter how charismatic I try to be, I always end up sitting in the back of the room, staying to myself. I find it liberating to be able to — like you said — make people feel as isolated as I do sometimes. But that was kid shit when I was 18. Rather than trying to isolate somebody, as I grew older, I felt a tranquility within the introspective nature of the music. I would hope people feel a similar catharsis.

matthew warhol: There’s definitely a peacefulness in all the static. What are you working on now?

Glenn Stefani: Right now, I play in a grindcore band called Deformed. We’ve finally started writing again. I’ve been working on a lot more visual art lately. It’s something I’ve always been interested in. I’ve been watching more movies lately so I’ve been trying to knock out more graphic stuff.

matthew warhol: When you say visual art, what’s your medium?

Glenn Stefani: Digital. I can’t draw that well, but I can sure shit manipulate stuff. I like doing collage stuff, Zerox looking shit. Reflections of old horror movies that I watch. But musically, I’ve been working on a more ambient album. I’m way too particular so it could take months to do anything.

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DVWEZ Takes a Darker Trip to ‘Paradise’

It makes perfect sense that DVWEZ (pronounced: “Dames”) and I’s first conversation would be via FaceTime. So much of this smooth, neo-R&B voice seems to have taken shape on the World Wide Web. Last year’s Pastels garnered her a solid fanbase through premiers on reputable music sites like Stereogum. This strategy been implemented again with her upcoming Paradise EP, as the titular track first appeared on The Fader and she premiered “The Life” just yesterday on Noisey. In preparation for Paradise, she utilized Kickstarter to fund the album’s promotion and a unique live experience — we’ll get into that in a second. And one can’t overlook the songwriter’s own online branding. Her Instagram looks more like a curated art gallery than the meme-filled trash that I usually see.

With all the digital build up, I was eager to speak one-on-one with DVWEZ, to dig past the internet persona and see how it matched to the real Delia Albert. Enjoy.

Photos by Liv Jonse.

Upcoming Appearances:

FRIDAY, 4/28, ALWAYS NOTHING PRESENTS: FEMME HOP VOL. 2 W/ TIME & TIGER FAWN


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matthew warhol: It’s good to finally to get a chance to sit down and talk to you, because I’ve been a fan of yours for a while, and I’ve seen what you’ve been doing and like… oh you froze on the screen for a second…

DVWEZ: Where I live in Gainesville, I call it the boonies. The connection is weird so if that happens, I can totally call you back. We can make it work.

matthew warhol: Dope. So yeah, right off the bat, you had a Kickstarter a couple months ago to make a new experience, is it called “The Paradise Experience?”

DVWEZ: Yeah, for lack of a better, non-cheesey title that’s what it’s called. The whole idea behind it is like… have you been to III Points? It’s based off their philosophy of combining art, music, and technology. Living in Gainesville, there’s not a lot of electronic acts to begin with, let alone a different experience than just going to a show and seeing a band on stage. And that’s it. So I wanted to make it more interesting. I had seen some projection mapping at III Points, and the creative team that I worked with, I reached out to them and asked, “Hey, do you guys know anyone who does this?” And they mentioned David Lajas who lives in Orlando. I started talking to him and figuring out how much something like that would cost. In addition to raising money for the press behind my new music that’s coming out every month, I also want to have a really cool way to share the music visually — in an interesting way. 

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matthew warhol: Can you break down what the experience is live? What people can expect from that?

DVWEZ: So basically, David created these structural shapes that incompass myself and my drummer. He created them out of PVC pipe and wrapped a mesh material around them. So when he’s projecting video you can still see us. It’s really cool to watch. The footage that he’s projecting is expremely unique that we shot specifcally for the live show. With that in mind, we tried to create different visuals that felt similar to the project, so you could experience what I was thinking and feeling when making the music. 

matthew warhol: How was the process of putting that together? Were you working on it together or did you let him do his own thing?

DVWEZ: I gave him my music to listen to and was like, “I’ve never done anything like this before. I want you to use your expertise.” In regards to coming up with the structure concept, originally my band was a four piece. He had this idea to put me in a pyramid with my bandmates around me. And that kind of evolved. A week before the big show, I had a bandmate quit. And a couple weeks before that, we went down to a three-piece. 

matthew warhol: Wow.

DVWEZ: So when I spoke to him, we came up with the idea for the giant shapes. So it kind of evolved, it wasn’t the original idea. In regards to the video that accompanies everything, I left that up to Liv [Jonse]. I told her that the project is darker than Pastels and that I wanted something to visually represent that. 

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matthew warhol: That’s… that’s really interesting. Just thinking about the album cover on Pastels and comparing it to your new visual aesthetic, you can tell it’s much darker. Going into this new project, Paradise — that’s an album or EP?

DVWEZ: It’s a four track EP.

matthew warhol: Just listening to the single, I can tell that it’s darker, but also just much more experimental direction. What’s your head like for these new songs? What’s the difference, I guess?

DVWEZ: Sonically, things are very different becuase this project wasn’t produced by myself — it was prodcued by my friend KAIXEN aka Julian in Miami. He’s, simply put, a far better producer than I am. You can feel I went up a level from Pastels there’s more depth, sonically. And also, I think just the headspace that I was in while writing these songs was different. I had just moved back to Gainesville, and I was feeling this weird isolation, having a loving experience with my girlfriend in Gainesville, but also being totally separated from my friends and my family. And also feeling like I was in this area of being a new artist trying to find myself. I was struggling at the time when I wrote. So the concepts are darker, where Pastels was so lovey and airy.

matthew warhol: When you’re working with someone else, do you have the base of the song written, a demo that you bring to Julian? Or did he come at you with stuff he was working on?

DVWEZ: Moving forward, I would like to do it the first way, having an idea and lyrics and melodies and going to a prodcuer to help feel it out. But with this project, it was the opposite. He sent insturmentals that he thought he could hear me on and I worked around that. That’s usually how I do things. I think it’s really cool when artists have ideas and it gets produced out because I think there are more layers when that happens.

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matthew warhol: You can build from that. 

DVWEZ: But for this it was me hearing the instrumentals and being inspired. “Paradise” for example, I wrote in a car ride from Orlando to Gainesville. I had the instrumental playing in my car. I call it “John Legend-ing.” He would hear something and start mumbling crap that would form into a song. That’s kind of, exactly, how I wrote “Paradise.” I think that the melody gives way to lyrics and the context. That way the music is informing the lyrics. 

matthew warhol: You said with the last project was all you. In general, have you preferred making music with other people?

DVWEZ: Um, I think it’s, honestly, just experience. There are so many people out there who are extremely talented. I feel that I’m not necessarily up to par. But in terms of the whole creative process, I hate working with other people. I really like being by myself because it’s a very intimate, grueling thing. I’m challenging myself to be in a creative space with other people, but because I’ve been so solo for the past few years, it’s a little bit uncomfortable with other people in the moment. But that’s what I’ll be doing next.

matthew warhol: How do you go from this isolationist method of creating to then put something out into the world and play it live? For me, as someone who doesn’t perform for people, those two things are completely different. That sounds almost mental to me.

DVWEZ: I’m still figuring that out. When I think I perform best, it’s when I feel like no one is there. And what I mean by that is that there can be however many people in the crowd, but I’m so into what’s happening that I don’t see anyone. I always joke about how my eyes are always closed when I’m really into it. But you have to push yourself because a lot of artists aren’t outgoing people. Not that I’m not — but there’s a performer that you have to bring out of yourself. Once the songs are done, I don’t feel weird sharing it. Showing someone something that’s not done feels so weird. 

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matthew warhol: When you’re performing such emotional music, do you feel that in the moment? Do those feelings come back to you?

DVWEZ: It just depends. Everytime I sing “Celebrity,” I give myself goosebumps. *zzziiinnnggg* Sorry that’s my dryer. [laughs] I give myself goosebumps, which is so weird. But it happens a lot. I think it depends on the song and how comfortable I am with it, because if you’re still trying to make sure you don’t mess up, I don’t think you allow yourself room to really get into it, feel those emotions and have them transfer to the audience. 

matthew warhol: What is it about that particular song?

DVWEZ: “Celebrity” is the only song as DVWEZ that I’ve written lyrics first, then came the music. So it probably has something to do with that, because I was so inspired when I wrote the lyrics. Also, I’ve never heard a song like that before. I don’t know why? That’s the short answer. [laughs]

matthew warhol: How many times have you done “The Paradise Experience?”

DVWEZ: I’ve only done it once and we filmed it. So the idea is to stitch it together and pitch it to venues. Friday, I will have a broken down version of it. It just depends on the venue and the space. But if people are interested in seeing it, we’ll make some version of that work.

matthew warhol: How did the first performance go?

DVWEZ: It went well sonically and in terms of support from the crowd. It took a long time to set these structures up, more than I had anticipated. I would say that the venue we did it at needed to be darker. The videos and photos really capture the projections, but if you were there it was a little lighter, so that’s something to take into consideration. And we’ll be incorporating LED lights moving forward. There’s litttle things that we’ll add. I think it will keep getting better every time. 

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Harryson Thevenin/SR50: “Let’s See Where It Goes.”

How do you take pictures of someone who takes pictures? Harryson Thevenin has been bouncing around Orlando since 2011, shooting photos and video of anyone who will stand in front of his camera. He’s also worked heavily with local rap star TEDD.GIF and his record label, Retro Neon, to book and promote events that cross genres. Recently, Harryson combined his talents into SR50, an online magazine that covers all things Orlando through photo, video, and word.

After the initial idea of an interview, I ended up following him to three vastly different shows: An Ugly Orange rock show at local bike shop, Ace Metric Cycles, a rap show at art/party gallery Henao Contemporary Center and experimental noise duo Shania Pain’s EP Release at Uncle Lou’s. Enjoy.

Upcoming Appearances:

HARRYSON’S BIRTHDAY STAND-UP SHOW // APRIL 19 @ SANDWICH BAR

HARRYSON’S 26 BDAY PARTY // APRIL 19 @ SANDWICH BAR


The following is a night of culture, joints, & car talk.

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10:07 p.m.

matthew warhol: Tell me about what’s going on with SR50. What are you planning for it?

Harryson Thevenin: I have no idea yet. It’s random. Just kind of whatever I’m feeling at the time. I feel like the best approach to have with SR50 is to have like, almost no approach. Because if I get into to groove of things and have a formula, that could get old quick. If I have no expectations, I’m just like, “Yo, cool.” If it works, it works. If not, there’s another show tomorrow. It seems to be happening. There’s always a show. Mad different groups.

matthew warhol: You’re going to keep booking too?

Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, Sandwich Bar gave me Wednesdays so I can use that as a brain child, just for ideas for shows.

matthew warhol: How was Crock Pot at Henao?

Harryson Thevenin: Crock Pot was tight. It was our first big event. We had TEDD. We had The Left Field Theory.

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matthew warhol: There was a lot of people, right?

Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, Donny Blanks was the headliner. FIONA killed it outside. GRANT killed it outside.

matthew warhol: Do you think you’ll be booking more at the Henao?

Harryson Thevenin: Okay, I want to, but I worry that the Henao might get too oversaturated. Everyone that wanted to book a show that couldn’t for a while is booking Henao.

matthew warhol: What do you think… what’s the alternative though?

Harryson Thevenin: I don’t know.

matthew warhol: That’s why I’m really fascinated with a show happening at a bike shop.

Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, you gotta do something else. That’s why I loved Space Station. It’s like yeah, let’s go in this side room and set something up.

matthew warhol: So with SR50, is there absolutely no focus?

Harryson Thevenin: I guess just covering Orlando-based things, whatever.

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matthew warhol: You’re trying to do stuff other than music.

Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, for sure, for sure. Trying to do restaurants reviews. Literally anything.

matthew warhol: Are you going to write?

Harryson Thevenin: Yeah.

matthew warhol: Cool, I didn’t know you wrote too.

Harryson Thevenin: I can.

matthew warhol: Have you done it before?

Harryson Thevenin: No, but I could probably describe how something tastes. [laughs] I’m doing whatever. Whatever I can think of. There’s no motive. It’s just open format at this point. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet. I don’t want to have anything concrete because I don’t want to label it.

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11:59 p.m.

matthew warhol: Wait… Henao Center. Why are we going there?

Harryson Thevenin: There’s a rap show there. That’s the cool thing about this side of town, is you can skirt to everything. Yo, like the bike shop was tight.

matthew warhol: It was tight. Do you like, bounce around like this all the time? We’re going from the rock show to the rap show to a noise show.

Harryson Thevenin: Exactly.

matthew warhol: I appreciate that. I think that’s so cool.

Harryson Thevenin: I just fuck with them all. I can’t not go to one, you know what I mean?

matthew warhol: Something I’ve thought about in Orlando is that it’s too small to have separate scenes. That it needs one scene that’s all together and that’s how it’ll become a New York.

Harryson Thevenin: But I feel like in Orlando, people have the feeling that they have to separate from everyone, that they have to be “unique.” There’s so many micro-crews.

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matthew warhol: Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing?

Harryson Thevenin: I don’t know. I think it’s like a do-what-you-want thing. It’s cool, but at the same time is that really helping? Is it cool if only 10 people show up to your show because you only know 10 people? I don’t know. I think it’s cool to fuck with everybody and for everybody to fuck with you back. But, at the same time, to each their own.

matthew warhol: Is that why you started taking photos in the first place?

Harryson Thevenin: I think I started to take photos because I wanted to take photos. I was going to all these shows because I fucked with all of these people. I didn’t do it because I wanted to be a photographer. I did it because I wanted to shoot photos and I was at the shows already.

matthew warhol: So you didn’t take photos before then?

Harryson Thevenin: Not really.

matthew warhol: You had never had a camera?

Harryson Thevenin: Never. Yeah, it’s really weird.

matthew warhol: So what do you want to do?

Harryson Thevenin: I have no motive.

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matthew warhol: No, but where do you fall into everything?

Harryson Thevenin: Maybe I don’t. I guess I fall into the rap thing, but I’ll do an indie show. I’ll do a folk show. I don’t have a motive. I don’t have a direction. I think that’s the only difference between me and most people. I’ll do anything. I don’t care. It’s not drawn out. It’s not planned. I don’t know how to explain that.

matthew warhol: But people like it.

Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, people are bored. It’s like, even if I’m going to throw a show for no reason, it’s going to be a good show. I still thought about the lineup.

matthew warhol: Can I bring something up regarding that?

Harryson Thevenin: Yeah.

matthew warhol: This is something I thought. I remember I was in Savannah. And the day I came back, I came back to go to the TEDD, Shania Pain, GRANT, RV show because to me that was an amazing lineup.

Harryson Thevenin: But at the same time, the show did very poorly.

matthew warhol: Yeah, but that’s the thing… What do you take out of that?

Harryson Thevenin: I mean yeah, it did poorly but at the same time, there were so many people that wanted to go to the show that couldn’t go because they weren’t 21. So I had to put them on the guest list to get them in. What am I going to do, turn them down? No. I don’t care. I’ll put you on the guest list. You know what I mean?

matthew warhol: If it’s a local show. They’re not going to keep other people out.

Harryson Thevenin: But they try to act like that. It’s like, I announced my birthday party and someone from The Geek Easy said I could do my party for 18+. It’s like, “Well, we’re having a midnight special and lighting like 15 joints. Is The Geek Easy going to be cool with that?”

matthew warhol: And Sandwich Bar is cool with that?

Harryson Thevenin: I mean, they’re not “cool with it.” But Uncle Lou’s wasn’t “cool with it” last year. The next three times I went there the bartender was like, “Those were the best sales I ever had.” Don’t talk. Get your money. I guess my rational is weird.

matthew warhol: No, it’s like, “You provide the space. I’ll do everything else.”

Harryson Thevenin: Exactly, what is the problem?

matthew warhol: Yo, I’ve never been to the Henao. It’s going to be lit.

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1:09 a.m.

matthew warhol: Another one. Yo, how do you feel about turning 26?

Harryson Thevenin: It sucks just like getting older, ya know? The ideas are getting younger, but I’m getting older. It’s fine. I’m turning 26, but I’m like doing the same shit as I was when I turned 22. Where does the progression happen?

matthew warhol: How has the last year been? Do you think you’ve grown?

Harryson Thevenin: I mean, the whole event thing hasn’t grown, you know? The whole event situation for underground Orlando music is kinda not cool right now.

matthew warhol: Was it cool?

Harryson Thevenin: When Spacebar and The Space were open at the same time, it was very cool. You had options. You take whatever you can get at this point. You know what I mean?

matthew warhol: I agree.

Harryson Thevenin: It hasn’t been as cool ever since. Now, everyone books at the same place. It’s the same thing over and over and over. What’s getting done?

matthew warhol: Something that that made me think of is what Harry said to me when I asked him something similar. I was like, “What do you think it’ll take to make Orlando successful?” And he said that someone with a lot of money needs to come in and support people and build stuff. I’m curious as to what you think.

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Harryson Thevenin: I’ll say that we need some money, not even a lot of money. And they need to open something nearby where something is happening.

matthew warhol: A venue?

Harryson Thevenin: A venue where you can charge cover and have a good sound system and have ideas that can sprout from there. That is the immediate solution that I can think of.

matthew warhol: Wouldn’t that become oversaturated at some point too?

Harryson Thevenin: Maybe, but at the same time you have one more place, you know? If you charge $5 cover it’s a lot to break even if you have to pay the venue $200. There’s no fun in that. You have to do so much to just break even. You’re just helping them out at that point. You’re not helping yourself.

matthew warhol: And is that why you wanted to start SR50, to help the little guy?

Harryson Thevenin: I don’t mean to piggyback on the Harry interview but what he said in it is true, do it yourself. If no one is going to do it, I’m going to do it myself because that’s the only way I can see things done. I’ve done so many successful events and Orlando Weekly has never covered a single one. TEDD’s mixtape release was the littest event that happened the month it stopped doing events and there was no media coverage. I was like, “Where is the Orlando Weekly for something like this? I guess I’ll do it myself.”

matthew warhol: It needs to be covered. What is your goal?

Harryson Thevenin: I don’t have a goal.

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matthew warhol: But like, in your own life? Having nothing to do with what you’re doing now.

Harryson Thevenin: I don’t know if I have any goals. I think I’ll just do anything. Like cool, I can get a nice full-time job and not have to worry about money, but where’s the fun in that? I’m just working at that point, making sure I have security. I’d rather just be broke amongst my people, doing shitty events at small venues, making sure that people are accounted for because no one else is going to speak for them. That’s where SR50 steps in. We’ll cover it. It’s like what John Morgan said, we’re “For The People.” Because like, there’s no money in this. There’s no monetary gain. There’s no long-term goal because you’re not going to make any money long term. You’re just helping out the little man, which is fine.

matthew warhol: Do you want to stay here? If it launched you, would you want to stay here or leave?

Harryson Thevenin: I mean I guess I would want to stay here. At the same time, if I leave there’s going to be nothing else. There’s not going to be another person like me. There’s not going to be another person like Harry. If we both leave at the same time, the city is pretty much doomed — which happened before with the indie rock community. Remember Orange You Glad? Remember Total Bummer? Remember when everyone left?

matthew warhol: I don’t.

Harryson Thevenin: What’s left? Welzeins. Someday River. Everyone left. It’s like, we’re going to go to Shania Pain’s EP release at Uncle Lou’s… I don’t know, you do what you can with what you have.

matthew warhol: I don’t know why. I have hope for it. I see it fitting together and working.

Harryson Thevenin: I got hope, but at the same time, I’ve been in the scene since 2011. And I’ve seen the peak of it and I’ve seen the bottom. And we’re in-between, but how good is that? We’re super limited on venues and we’re going to oversaturate the one venue that we have that’s halfway across town. I’m down with it though. I’ll do whatever you guys want to do. I’ll ride the wave. I don’t know. I really don’t. For the time being, let’s get drunk. Let’s hang out. Let’s see where it goes.

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ART OR DIE: The Colorful World of Swirlsss

Swirlsss cares about Orlando more than most people. Even though she’s currently living in Kissimmee, she’s booking weekly events at Vinyl Arts Bar that feature local music, art, vendors, and more. Outside of that, she’s an incredibly talented painter whose swirls of color incorporate emotion and movement like those of the great expressionist painters. I wanted to meet up with this local person-about-town to talk all that shit and takes some pics of her and her art. Enjoy.

Upcoming Appearances:

Swirlsss hosts a night of music, art, vendors, and spoken word every Thursday at Vinyl Arts Bar.

Thursday, 4/6

Thursday, 4/20 (feat. Tiger Fawn)


matthew warhol: You were saying that, when you were younger, you weren’t really into art or music. Swirlsss: Not really. matthew warhol: Until you were 16, you said? When you took your first art class? Tell me about falling into it. Swirlsss: That shit fucking changed my life. Having an art class for the first time when I wasn’t in like Kindergarten. All I cared about was fucking school. So when I had a project that was art-based, I was like, “I’m going to go in on this art project.” It was a whole different portal that I never even knew was there. matthew warhol: Before that you hadn’t consumed much art, either? Swirlsss: I lost that whole side of me when I was focused on school. So it went literally went form one extreme to another extreme, only caring about school and wanting to be a perfect student to art. Art or die. [laughs] matthew warhol: And is that why you left Valencia? Swirlsss: Yeah. matthew warhol: What were you going to school for? Swirlsss: I majored in fine arts, but the first two semesters I was just taking prerequisites. The second semester I only took two classes, but I had a sociology class that was really interesting. Yo, my sociolgy teacher was wild. He’s a trip man. He was preaching like, “Fuck society. Fuck the norm. Don’t listen to society. Do what you want.” Every single day he would say this shit. And it really inspired me to fuck society. matthew warhol: That sounds like a real college moment. You have that one teacher that like, “Woah, this opens my eyes to the whole thing. This is what I want to do.” Swirlsss: Yeah, that shit was a trip because it inspired me to drop out. I didn’t take my final. Honestly, I was dumb because I didn’t take my final but I showed up to the last day of class. My teacher pulls me aside and was like, “Why didn’t you take your final.” And I was like, “I didn’t take my final because I’m dropping out.” And he’s like, “Why are you dropping out?” And I’m like, “Cuz society is telling me to go to school and I feel like I’m an artist. I want to focus on art.” And he was not havin’ it. matthew warhol: This was the same teacher? Swirlsss: The same teacher. He was not havin’ it. He was like, “Okay well, I know that you feel that way but I’m going to let you retake the final.” And I’m like, “I do not want to retake your final. I didn’t take it in the first place.” [laughs] “I don’t know why I showed up here. It’s the last day.” If I didn’t show up, I would have failed the class entirely. He would have withdrawn me from the class. matthew warhol: Did you pass the class? Swirlsss: I bullshitted the whole thing and got a “D.” I didn’t fail though. I don’t know if that’s better than failing. [laughs] matthew warhol: It definitely is. So you were saying that you wanted to focus on art. What is art for you? What did you quit school to focus on? Explain to me what all you do. Swirlsss: This shit, it comes in fuckin’ waves. It’s fuckin’ waves. My art career in the beginning wasn’t really an art career. I just wanted to make art. matthew warhol: What were you making? Swirlsss: At that point I was just painting. I would do more realistic things and I slowly got into abstract work. When I dropped out, I wanted to focus on abstract painting and showcasing my art. I think living in Kissimmee pushed me to do events which is what I’m focusing on now, coordinating events. Because there is nothing going on there at all. And I’m an artist living in Kissimmee and there’s no where to go. I’m either going to create that space to go or wait. So I tried to do events in Kissimmee and it guided me to do events in Orlando. And that’s what I focus on. matthew warhol: But your art right now is promoting and planning and connecting people. Cool. What do you like about it? Swirlsss: There’s a lot of people who don’t have a place to go and are intimidated to go up to anyone and ask to showcase their art. People are afraid to do that. But I knew a lot of those people, so I jus throw an event and ask them to come. So they don’t have to ask anyone. I’ll ask them. It’s nice to put people on and bring people together. I know a bunch of people from random places. matthew warhol: How I know of you is through Instagram. I feel like there are certain people in Orlando that are …. I’ll say local celebrities. Personalities that you see around. Those are the people I want to talk to because people know them already, but want to know more about them. And be there friend. And I think Instagram is a big part of that. You represent yourself as a person who is, uh … you’re creative even in the way you present yourself to other people. Swirlsss: Thanks. [laughs] I don’t know if I try to do that, but… matthew warhol: I think it’s just part of being an artist. Swirlsss: I’m glad that you feel that way because I love artists that do that, that live there life art as fuck. I love living art as fuck, enjoying everything as a form of art — eating food as a form of art, how you dress as a form of art, your aesthetic as a form of art. Even like captions on fucking Instagram, that’s art. You can use that. I try to write poetry on it sometimes. It’s all like a fucking form of art that you can express yourself through. matthew warhol: Was that something that also started later, like painting was? Swirlsss: Yeah, it was a slow process of growing into it. I felt like I was always … different! [laughs] I was always the weird quite girl that did her homework in the corner. Even though I was focused on school, I always dressed fucking different. Learning more about yourself pushes you to be more open in a way. I don’t know, you don’t really know too much about yourself. You’re holding everything in, but there’s so many different sides of you that you can experience. I feel like my life is experiencing those sides. Going through hair changes and style changes, all that shit is just learning different sides of you and just going through it. Sometimes you want to have long beautiful hair and dress girly as fuck. But then sometimes you’re just like, “nah, fuck it,” and cut it all off and be hardcore as fuck. matthew warhol: That’s why people do art in the first place, right? You’re hashing it out on a canvas, but you’re also figuring yourself out. But it’s cool, like you said, you want to take risks. Swirlsss: Yo, that’s crazy. Life is so fuckin’ art. matthew warhol: Isn’t it. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if it wasn’t for what we independently do and how it coincides together. Swirlsss: I feel like if everyone followed their passion, like bro, the world be so much fucking better. We would always be happy doing what we do and collaborating with people. matthew warhol: What’s the next thing you have going on? What are you working on now? Swirlsss: Um, honestly, just coordinating events. matthew warhol: Do you do stuff every Thursday at Vinyl Arts Bar? Swirlsss: That’s what my main focus is, doing events there. I’m focused on collaborating with people every Thursday because doing a weekly event is a lot. If I could choose to do an event, I would do it monthly and GO IN and make it more than an open mic night. matthew warhol: How has it been? Swirlsss: Honestly, it’s been great. People show up! You kinda see who is your crowd because there are consistant people that always come out. It’s become a family. We always know who’s going to be there and we always see new faces. It’s nice, you can actually see the community in people. matthew warhol: At your events you incorporate a lot of different mediums. You have live painting, music, spoken word, vendors. You’re bringing a lot of pieces of the community together and that’s really cool. Orlando isn’t big enough to have all these seperate things. It’s everybody supporting each other, coming out. Swirlsss: Yeah, yo, it’s great to see everybody doing it and supporting it. Like the fuck? That’s how you really grow a fuckin’ city. It’s one thing if one person is doing it, coordinating events. You can’t really grow a community that way because only a certain crowd will keep going. We’re all doing it. And if we all get together and do one big one, that’s some whole other shit. matthew warhol: So are you not currently painting? Swirlsss: I’m always painting. I’m always working on things that I never expose because I keep them in hiding. matthew warhol: *pointing to a stack of paintings against the wall* Are these them ? Swirlsss: Yeah, most of my shit is at my other place. My mom just brought these, bless her soul. These are a work in progress. This one I feel like it’s almost finished. matthew warhol: So like, what’s your set up when you’re painting? Swirlsss: I usually just lay on the fuckin’ ground. matthew warhol: And you just add a layer and let it dry, then do something else over it? Swirlsss: Yeah basically, I try to have a good first layer that is a good color that I want the whole piece to be. This one was different. I did a random layers over the whole thing. These two go together. matthew warhol: Diptych? Is that what’s it called when two paintings go together? Swirlsss: Sounds really sexual. Sounds like “dick.” I feel like these three (see photo) I was experimenting with. These are all new. I don’t have my older pieces. matthew warhol: In general when you paint, is it similar, hashing it out on the spot? Swirlsss: Yeah, I usually do the first layer on the ground. But I feel like — its crazy — I feel like each layer has layers within each other. A first layer is not even one layer because the first layer is just covering the canvas completely. And that takes so many layers. This I feel like doesn’t have a good first layer. matthew warhol: Because of all the white? Swirlsss: Yeah, I feel like this one is different. I don’t want to finish the whole thing. I just want to have a main focus. matthew warhol: What are you thinking about when you’re painting? Swirlsss: Honestly, I’m not really sure how it fuckin’ works in my brain. A lot of times I feel like I have something that I’m visualizing — but I don’t think I’m visualizing something — I’m visualizing a feeling. So when I’m looking at it I’m like, “is this pleasing to me right now? Is this the feeling that I want to express?” Sometimes I want it to feel brighter or darker. You can feel the colors of things. Like, “I need this to be a little more pink. It needs to have a little more pink feeling.” matthew warhol: Does that go from happiness to darker emotions. Swirlsss: Yeah, I feel like it does flow through emotions. I feel like the first layer is being like, “aw, fuck it!” I just pick colors that I like. matthew warhol: I love that. They’re beautiful. Swirlsss: I feel like I’m just trying to create portals that you can go into. matthew warhol: Yeah! Do you like going to museums? Swirlsss: Yeah. matthew warhol: Whenever I do that — in front of any painting, before really looking at it — I blur my eyes and take it in very broadly and see how it’s making me feel. Swirlsss: Yeah, I’m the same. When I go to museums, I step all the way back and see it from a distance. Then see it from one angle then go to the other. Then get extremely close to it. Really, I feel like I make abstract work. When I go to a gallery, that’s all I care to see. matthew warhol: Do you think you’re getting more abstract with your work? Swirlsss: It’s almost the same except now I have a vision. I know what I want to make and I’ve found the technique to make it. Before I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just feeling it. Now, I’m still feeling it but I figured out how I want to do shit. I wasn’t satisfied with my work before. It was almost there, but there was some things that weren’t working out. And I would honestly look up other abstract artists and see what they did. matthew warhol: Who did you pull from? Swirlsss: I don’t know any names. I would just look up, “famous abstract artists.” matthew warhol: On Google? Swirlsss: On YouTube. And I would just how they would paint and watch interviews. matthew warhol: That’s poetic. Swirlsss: A lot of female artists too. Most artists are male, but I didn’t want to be inspired by a male artist. I want a female artist who does abstract work to inspire me. They would get so spiritual with it. I’m like, “Damn!” They would just work with motion and color. So now I try to work with motion. matthew warhol: So you don’t show anybody this stuff? Swirlsss: I just don’t take pictures of them, and I don’t really showcase my work anywhere. I don’t know, I feel weird hitting people up. I feel like I’m still at that stage. And I don’t showcase any of my work at my events because I’m always putting other people on. Sometimes I’m like, “Damn, did I focus on putting other people on that I forgot to put myself on?”

matthew warhol: You were saying that, when you were younger, you weren’t really into art or music.

Swirlsss: Not really.

matthew warhol: Until you were 16, you said? When you took your first art class? Tell me about falling into it.

Swirlsss: That shit fucking changed my life. Having an art class for the first time when I wasn’t in like Kindergarten. All I cared about was fucking school. So when I had a project that was art-based, I was like, “I’m going to go in on this art project.” It was a whole different portal that I never even knew was there.

matthew warhol: Before that you hadn’t consumed much art, either?

Swirlsss: I lost that whole side of me when I was focused on school. So I literally went form one extreme to another extreme, only caring about school and wanting to be a perfect student to art. Art or die. [laughs]

matthew warhol: And is that why you left Valencia?

Swirlsss: Yeah.

Swirlsss Interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: What were you going to school for?

Swirlsss: I majored in fine arts, but the first two semesters I was just taking prerequisites. The second semester I only took two classes, but I had a sociology class that was really interesting. Yo, my sociology teacher was wild. He’s a trip man. He was preaching like, “Fuck society. Fuck the norm. Don’t listen to society. Do what you want.” Every single day he would say this shit. And it really inspired me to fuck society.

matthew warhol: That sounds like a real college moment. You have that one teacher that like, “Woah, this opens my eyes to the whole thing. This is what I want to do.”

Swirlsss: Yeah, that shit was a trip because it inspired me to drop out. I didn’t take my final. Honestly, I was dumb because I didn’t take my final but I showed up to the last day of class. My teacher pulls me aside and was like, “Why didn’t you take your final.” And I was like, “I didn’t take my final because I’m dropping out.” And he’s like, “Why are you dropping out?” And I’m like, “Cuz society is telling me to go to school and I feel like I’m an artist. I want to focus on art.” And he was not havin’ it.

matthew warhol: What is art for you? What did you quit school to focus on? Explain to me what all you do.

Swirlsss: This shit, it comes in fuckin’ waves. It’s fuckin’ waves. My art career, in the beginning, wasn’t really an art career. I just wanted to make art.

Swirlsss Interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: What were you making?

Swirlsss: At that point, I was just painting. I would do more realistic things and I slowly got into abstract work. When I dropped out, I wanted to focus on abstract painting and showcasing my art. I think living in Kissimmee pushed me to coordinate events which is what I’m focusing on now. Because there is nothing going on there at all. And I’m an artist living in Kissimmee and there’s nowhere to go. I’m either going to create that space to go or wait. So I tried to do events in Kissimmee and it guided me to do events in Orlando. And that’s what I focus on.

matthew warhol: Your art right now is promoting and planning and connecting people. Cool. What do you like about it?

Swirlsss: There’s a lot of people who don’t have a place to go and are intimidated to go up to anyone and ask to showcase their art. People are afraid to do that. But I knew a lot of those people. They don’t have to ask anyone. I’ll ask them. It’s nice to put people on and bring people together. I know a bunch of people from random places.

matthew warhol: I feel like there are certain people in Orlando that are …. I’ll say local celebrities, personalities that you see around. Those are the people I want to talk to because people know them already but want to know more about them and be there friend. And I think Instagram is a big part of that. You represent yourself as a person who is, uh… you’re creative even in the way you present yourself to other people.

Swirlsss: Thanks. [laughs] I don’t know if I try to do that, but…

Swirlsss Interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: I think it’s just part of being an artist.

Swirlsss: I’m glad that you feel that way because I love artists that do that, that live their life art as fuck. I love living art as fuck, enjoying everything as a form of art — eating food as a form of art, how you dress as a form of art, your aesthetic as a form of art. Even like captions on fucking Instagram — that’s art. You can use that. I try to write poetry on it sometimes. It’s all like a fucking form of art that you can express yourself through.

matthew warhol: Was that something that also started later, like the painting was?

Swirlsss: Yeah, it was a slow process of growing into it. I felt like I was always… different [laughs]. I was always the weird, quiet girl that did her homework in the corner. Even though I was focused on school, I always dressed fucking different. Learning more about yourself pushes you to be more open in a way. I don’t know, you don’t really know too much about yourself. You’re holding everything in, but there are so many different sides of you that you can experience. I feel like my life is experiencing those sides. Going through hair changes and style changes, all that shit is just learning different sides of you and just going through it. Sometimes you want to have long beautiful hair and dress girly as fuck. But then sometimes you’re just like, “nah, fuck it,” and cut it all off and be hardcore as fuck.

matthew warhol: That’s why people do art in the first place, right? You’re hashing it out on a canvas, but you’re also figuring yourself out. But it’s cool. Like you said, you want to take risks.

Swirlsss: Yo, that’s crazy. Life is so fuckin’ art.

matthew warhol: What’s the next thing you have going on? What are you working on now?

Swirlsss: Um, honestly, just coordinating events.

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matthew warhol: Do you do stuff every Thursday at Vinyl Arts Bar?

Swirlsss: That’s what my main focus is, doing events there. I’m focused on collaborating with people every Thursday because doing a weekly event is a lot. If I could choose to do an event, I would do it monthly and GO IN and make it more than an open mic night.

matthew warhol: How has it been?

Swirlsss: Honestly, it’s been great. People show up! You kinda see who is your crowd because there are consistent people that always come out. It’s become a family. We always know who’s going to be there and we always see new faces. It’s nice, you can actually see the community in people.

matthew warhol: At your events, you incorporate a lot of different mediums. You have live painting, music, spoken word, vendors. You’re bringing a lot of pieces of the community together and that’s really cool. Orlando isn’t big enough to have all these separate things. It’s everybody supporting each other, coming out.

Swirlsss: Yeah, yo, it’s great to see everybody doing it and supporting it. Like the fuck? That’s how you really grow a fuckin’ city. It’s one thing if one person is doing it, coordinating events. You can’t really grow a community that way because only a certain crowd will keep going. We’re all doing it. And if we all get together and do one big one, that’s some whole other shit.

Swirlsss Interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: So are you not currently painting?

Swirlsss: I’m always painting. I’m always working on things that I never expose because I keep them in hiding.

matthew warhol: *pointing to a stack of paintings against the wall* Are those them?

Swirlsss: Yeah, most of my shit is at my other place. My mom just brought these, bless her soul. These are a work in progress. This one I feel like it’s almost finished.

matthew warhol: So like, what’s your set up when you’re painting?

Swirlsss: I usually just lay on the fuckin’ ground.

matthew warhol: And you just add a layer and let it dry, then do something else over it?

Swirlsss: Yeah basically, I try to have a good first layer that is a good color that I want the whole piece to be. This one was different. I did random layers over the whole thing. These two go together.

matthew warhol: In general when you paint, is it similar, hashing it out on the spot?

Swirlsss: I feel like — its crazy — I feel like each layer has layers within each other. A first layer is not even one layer because the first layer is just covering the canvas completely. And that takes so many layers. This one, I feel like doesn’t have a good first layer.

Swirlsss Interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: What are you thinking about when you’re painting?

Swirlsss: Honestly, I’m not really sure how it fuckin’ works in my brain. A lot of times I feel like I have something that I’m visualizing — but I don’t think I’m visualizing something — I’m visualizing a feeling. So when I’m looking at it I’m like, “is this pleasing to me right now? Is this the feeling that I want to express?” Sometimes I want it to feel brighter or darker. You can feel the colors of things. Like, “I need this to be a little more pink. It needs to have a little more pink feeling.”

matthew warhol: Does that go from happiness to darker emotions.

Swirlsss: Yeah, I feel like it does flow through emotions. I feel like the first layer is being like, “aw, fuck it!” I just pick colors that I like.

matthew warhol: I love that. They’re beautiful.

Swirlsss: I feel like I’m just trying to create portals that you can go into.

matthew warhol: Yeah! Do you like going to museums?

Swirlsss: Yeah.

matthew warhol: Whenever I do that — in front of any painting, before really looking at it — I blur my eyes and take it in very broadly and see how it’s making me feel.

Swirlsss: Yeah, I’m the same. When I go to museums, I step all the way back and see it from a distance. Then see it from one angle then go to the other. Then get extremely close to it. Really, I feel like I make abstract work. When I go to a gallery, that’s all I care to see.

matthew warhol: Do you think you’re getting more abstract with your work?

Swirlsss: It’s almost the same except now I have a vision. I know what I want to make and I’ve found the technique to make it. Before I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just feeling it. Now, I’m still feeling it but I figured out how I want to do shit. I wasn’t satisfied with my work before. It was almost there, but there were some things that weren’t working out. And I would honestly look up other abstract artists and see what they did.

matthew warhol: Who did you pull from?

Swirlsss: A lot of female artists. Most artists are male, but I didn’t want to be inspired by a male artist. I want a female artist who does abstract work to inspire me. They would get so spiritual with it. I’m like, “Damn!” They would just work with motion and color. So now I try to work with motion.

matthew warhol: So you don’t show anybody this stuff?

Swirlsss: I don’t know, I feel weird hitting people up. I feel like I’m still at that stage. And I don’t showcase any of my work at my events because I’m always putting other people on. Sometimes I’m like, “Damn, did I focus on putting other people on that I forgot to put myself on?”

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Follow Swirlsss: Facebook / Instagram

Follow The Vinyl Warhol: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Swirlsss Interview Orlando music