Q&A: GARTH TRINIDAD, MUSIC CURATOR

Garth Trinidad‘s presence is soothing. Notice how our sizzle word was ‘presence’? While we can’t get enough of his deep baritone voice that prompts us to religiously tune into his nighttime international mix of future soul, deep dance, indie rock and jazz vibes on KCRW’s 89.9  audio vibes, meeting him in person over dinner had our whole crew realizing one unified fact: we’re dizzy over this music man.

So, we invited him to be the new Music Editor for LA CANVAS. He obliged.

A few days later, we zoomed over to pick his brain about his real self, what he plans on bringing to the table as an editor and what he wishes he had a hold on more tightly, back in the day, when digi-spheres weren’t a must:

LA CANVAS: How long have you been at the station? What were your first days like?

GARTH TRINIDAD: I started as an office volunteer in ’94 and gradually moved to helping DJs in the studio. The whole experience was groovy. I was mentored by Liza Richardson. My first shift was Friday midnight – 3am in October of ’96. The next DJ didn’t show up at 3 so I had to wing it til 6am.

LAC: So, what’s Trinidad-Senolia all about? You say you’re developing a sound called lit-house. Do tell. 

GT: Trinidad-Senolia is me and producer Mateo Senolia. We’re developing a sound we call lit-house. The idea pairs literature with deep dance music, prose and narrative rather than spoken word. Our debut EP Postcards From Strangers dropped last December on Osunlade’s Yoruba label. We just did a remix that was well received for Kelis’ latest project on Ninja Tune and are working on some provocative new things.

*He realizes we understand house music. Listen to this killer remix they conducted here

LAC: What do you hope to bring to the table as our new music editor?

GT: An intimate, first person perspective based on my experiences as a DJ, journalist, music lover.

LAC: In your first launch interview for our Opulence Issue, what were a few details behind your conversation with Syd Tha Kyd?

GT: The whole thing was sparked when we bumped into one another in the neighborhood; she was walking her dog. I walked to her house and we sat on her porch for the interview. She’s an extraordinary young lady.

LAC: You ten years ago. Some words? 

GT: Don’t get too comfortable, pay attention to tech and the coming market shift!

LAC: What are some thoughts on the ‘music boom’ in LA?

GT: No place like LA for music right now. There’s been a wonderful creative renaissance happening as LA grows. There are some visionaries here doing great work – visual artists, bands, producers, labels. It’s the place to be at the moment.

LAC: What are you listening to right now? Do you have a favorite music genre? Loaded question, we know. 

GT: Hollie Cook’s album Twice has been my summer soundtrack. Can’t say I have a fave genre, but I gravitate to sultry, emotive, dynamic compositions; music with soul, doesn’t matter the genre as those elements can be found in most genres.

LAC: How was FYF?

GT: I enjoyed myself even though I missed Todd Terje and Slowdive. Caught up with Little Dragon. They are lovely human beings.

Catch Garth’s FYF recap and make sure to follow him on Twitter.

KLAPP KLAPPING: FYF FEST 2014

It was after 6pm when I parked at the California Science Center. A brisk walk and 20 minutes later the familiar sonic textures of Swedish band Little Dragon’s “Klapp Klapp” slowly echoed with increased volume down Vermont as I stalked the entrance. The band closed with Only One, a slow burner from their latest album Nabuma Rubberband as I made my way toward the stage dubbed “The Lawn”. Not a second after the final note played, a few thousand people moved away from the stage in unison, creating that well known stampede like festival shuffle. Frogger.

My VIP pass and suave speech didn’t get me backstage as initially hoped. Suddenly, the band’s manager appeared out of nowhere, as if God willed it to be so. Front woman Yukimi Nagano posed for snaps with fans while patiently waiting for security to approve backstage privileges for her mom. Dead ass. Upon seeing the band, hugs and smiles circulated with talk of family and sprouting children, the lost art of making full length albums, and their recent 7 days around the world, including multiple dates in Japan, Australia, and the west coast. They were exhausted but exceedingly gracious, genuinely pleased and looking forward to more. Before being whisked away to eat and rest, Yukimi mentioned how LA’s beloved palm trees make the band feel like they’re on vacation. She then introduced me to her mother, who promptly thanked me for my support. Smile.

 

Stuck in Blackberry mode with a smartphone in hand, I headed toward the front to grab a program. I heard my name shouted through the crowd and spotted fellow KCRW DJ, Raul Campos. He chuckled and reminded me I could download the handy FYF app. While chasing down the rest of his posse, we attempted to catch the last of Todd Terje’s set with no luck, absorbed the ‘boom bap’ of El­P and Killer Mike’s Run The Jewels collab, toured a couple of beer gardens, and hit a pretzel stand near the main stage as Julian Casablancas & The Voidz broke into to some classic punk bass lines and David Byrne tinged vocal inflections. “Hipsters Don’t Kill” was a friends comment after I mentioned feeling safer than usual at an LA event. All guffawed. We discussed pros and cons, like the opportunity for better organization, more art and whimsy, but mostly expressed sentiments of pride and appreciation being this was the first FYF at the Sports Arena.

We trekked back around, hoping to peep English shoegazers Slowdive. On the way I ended up meeting a cousin I never knew. Long story, small world. My new cuz and I exchanged info before we parted ways. The rest of my time was spent being indecisive about food trucks, soaking up Tycho’s modulated waves of bliss, and enjoying some rare psych rock selections from KCRW’s Travis Holcombe from the main stage. Would I do it again? F Yeah.

Photos by: Eric Reid

THE WEEKLY: ARTWALK X VAPES, POP-UPS, CRAZY LA + MORE

A rundown of the best events in our city this week. 

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ARTWALK LA PRESENTS: STREET / SAINT, A SOLO EXHIBIT BY STEVE PINEDA

WHEN: Thursday, January 9, 7pm-11pm
WHERE: Vape Supply Co. | 129 East Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
WHAT: The boys at Vape Supply Co. are getting their feet wet for their first Artwalk LA exhibit, Street / Saint,  featuring Nike designer-slash-artist Steven Pineda, otherwise known as ESPY. Pop in during your first of many  2014 Artwalks and indulge in complimentary drinks from Monaco, tunes from guest DJ Wendy City and check out some of the shop’s top-choice vape pens and juices. Oh, and did we mention there’s a rooftop lounge? |  more info

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YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE AT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

WHEN: Friday, January 10, 5:30pm
WHERE: 900 Expositoin Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007
WHAT: Poppy, funky and all things reminiscent of summertime and swimming pools, Youngblood Hawke was born out of late night musings between friends turned bandmates, Sam Martin and Simon Katz. The two had previous stints with another band, but out of yearning for a creative outlet sans commercial pressures, Youngblood Hawke was born. Bringing on songwriter Alice Katz, drummer Nik Hughes and Tasso Smith, the five friends have come to encompass what it’s like to be young and unsure of what life has in store — but not without a few dance parties along the way. | more info

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CHAMPION X TRIED & TRUE POP-UP / LAUNCH PARTY

WHEN: Friday, January 10th, 7pm-10pm
WHERE: 507 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
WHAT: Champion USA is set to debut their Fall 2014 collection during a week long pop-up shop at Tried + True boutique on Fairfax. Celebrate the launch this Friday where exclusive garments from Champion’s Street Active Collection will be available to purchase for both industry folk and civilians alike. | more info

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WILLIAM EGGLESTON OPENING RECEPTION

WHEN: Saturday, January 11th, 6pm-8pm
WHERE: Gagosian Gallery | 456 North Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
WHAT: Pioneer of color film and member of the prestigious permanent collection at MoMA,  photographer William Eggleston presents his collection At Zenith XI for the Gagosian Gallery through February 20th. Catch the exhibit’s opening reception this Saturday in Beverly Hills. | more info

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KCRW PRESENTS: UNFICTIONAL LIVE 

WHEN: Sunday, January 12, 5pm
WHERE: The Smell | 247 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
WHAT: As we Angelenos know all too well, you can’t live in this town for long before you rack up a few strange stories.  This Sunday, the local gods over at KCRW will partner up RIOT LA to present Unfictional Live —  an in-real-time installment of the Independent Producer Project, from the station that showcases odd, funny, and compelling tales indigenous to LA. | more info

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DWNTWN RESIDENCY AT THE SATELLITE

WHEN:  Monday, January 13th, 8:00pm
WHERE: 1717 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
WHAT: Everybody knows Monday is the new Thursday. Next week,  twinkle electro-pop kids DWNTWN kick off their monthly residence at The Satellite. All of January, our favorite live-music destination in Silverlake will play host to the alt-pop quartet, whose debut EP “Red Room” has already received notable praise by the prophets over at Spotify. | more info

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ROBERT GRAHAM EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION AT KAYNE GRIFFIN CORCORAN

WHEN: Tuesday, January 14, 7pm-9pm
WHERE: 1201 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90010
WHAT: Robert Graham has long been known for his affinity for the human form in bronze. And as the first exhibit for the Kayne Griffin Corcoran, visitors will experience such, but on a miniscule scale and made of wax, which was the focus of Graham’s early work. The minute figures — complete with perfectly sculpted appendages and detail — twist and distort themselves in plexiglass boxes that leave context up to the viewers’ imaginations. |  more info

POUR IT UP: NYE PARTIES, LIBATIONS AND DELICIOUS FEASTS

It’s that time of year again – when we Angelenos freak out about the weather and realize we’ve only got three weeks to achieve the new years resolutions we completely forgot about once our post-NYE hangovers hit. But never fear, with each new year comes a fresh opportunity to make resolutions-we-won’t-keep. So, let’s toast to 2014 the only way we know how: by eating, drinking and partying to our hearts delight. Scope our list below to pick your poison.

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OMFG! NYE Los Angeles w/ Boys Noize, Madeon & More
WHAT: If EDM and electro music sound like your idea of a good time,OMFG! will be the place to be to. Prepare to display your fist pumping talents in front of many.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st | Doors open at 4pm
WHERE: Shrine Expo Hall | 655 W. Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90007
COST: $40 – $60

The Bazaar by Jose Andres
WHAT: If you can’t decide on an intimate dinner, or a raging party come NYE, get the best of both worlds. The 3rd Annual New Year’s Eve “Spanish Masquerade” will allow you to take part in traditional NYE festivities, but with a little less commitment to blackouts and more award winning food options.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st | 8pm – 1:30am
WHERE: 465 South La Cienega Boulevard
COST: $250 | limited number of advance-purchase tickets are available for $150 before December 26th | VIP table packages available.

Grand Park NYE
WHAT: Contrary to popular belief, LA has a park and this year it is adorned with large scale projections, art installations, food trucks and performances to satisfy your NYE cravings. You can also test your rebellious side by drinking in company with City Hall.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st | 6pm-12:30am
WHERE: Grand Park | 200 North Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012
COST: FREE

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WHAT: An ELEVEN course traditional Japanese New Year’s inspired menu with a complimentary clinking of champagne glasses at midnight – n/naka throws a party with a side of culture.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st
WHERE: 3455 S. Overland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034
COST
: $225 per person | $85 optional wine pairing | Call 310.836.6252 for reservations

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Chaya presents a Monte Carlo NYE
WHAT: As if you won’t be spending enough money on attire, alcohol, and appetizers, you can add a side of gambling to the mix.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st
WHERE: 525 S. Flower st. Los Angeles CA 90071
COST: $85 per person

Dustbowl Revival w/ The Record Company
WHAT: If you can’t be convinced to go to this event by the great performers, there is an open bar.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st | Doors open at 8pm
WHERE: The Mint LA | 6010 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
COST: $80 adv | $90 day of | $280 (Package of 4 tickets)

KCRW Presents: The Black and White Ball
WHAT: If you spent your last NYE on the couch in sweats, stop being lazy and make a little effort. KCRW gives you music, dinner, and a reason to rock your best monochromatic look.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st | 9pm – 1:30am
WHERE: Viceroy Hotel | 1819 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
COST: $175 General Admission | VIP Cabanas available

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RHONDAPOLIS at The Standard, DTLA
WHAT: The Standard is transformed into a polysexual playhouse with 13 floors, 4 discotheques, and 180 rooms  of pure party. Also, if you decide to book a room, you get to nurse a hangover by day drinking on The Rooftop.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st |  8pm- ???
WHERE: The Standard, Downtown LA | 550 S. Flower St. Los Angeles, CA 90071
COST: $30 – $50 | Rooms starting at $295 

Gordon Ramsay NYE Dinner
WHAT: Choose your level of gluttony, with an early three-course meal and a five-course availability for later in the evening. You still get the chance to hit up that downtown loft party after for a kiss with a stranger come midnight. But, if Gordon Ramsay’s vibes are right, there is an option to join in on a champagne toast right at your dinner table.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st | Three-course menu 5-8pm | Five-course menu 8:30-11:30pm
WHERE: 1020 N. San Vicente BLVD., West Hollywood, CA 90069
COST: $95 per person | $145 midnight champagne toast

Belle Epoque at Skybar
WHAT: What’s NYE without a little naughtiness? Get a skyline as a backdrop for the burlesque dancers, live music and DJs that will serve as your entertainment. But don’t take too much advantage of the open bar, we don’t want to be held responsible for any tragedies that could occur if you suddenly believe you could fly.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 31st | 8pm – 2am
WHERE: Mondrian Hotel | 8440 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood CA
COST: $125 – $150

Boys Noize photo cred: Jerry Lin

INTERVIEW: HIATUS KAIYOTE

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In a short span of two years, Australian band Hiatus Kaiyote has undergone something reminiscent of a global takeover, releasing debut EP/LP Tawk Tomahawk that earned them said worldwide acclaim and recognition from the likes of Questlove, Erykah Badu and Giles Peterson. The four-piece band pulls influences from every artist/genre from under the sun — J Dilla to Iggy and the Stooges to Oumou Sangare — that somehow emanates a familiar sound to our American ears, but you’d be at fault to try to slap a genre label onto the group.

Their self-proclaimed “genre” — multi-dimensional polyrhythmic gangster shit — is probably the closest you’re going to get to categorizing their music. But to put it more into perspective for you, imagine an aboriginal world music sound, throw in electronica riffs produced by Q-Tip, then slather on some Yukimi Nagano that just came from rehearsing with D’Angelo. Does that make sense? No? Yeah, it wasn’t supposed to.

To get a better idea of what the band’s about, we managed to catch up with the band for a very brief — and we mean brief — chat last week at their show at the Skirball. We chopped it up with singer/songwriter Nai Palm and the boys about Australia and why it’s so awesome, dope visuals, and how stupid genres are. 

LA CANVAS: How’s life? Excited to be back in LA?

Perrin Moss: Yeah, it’s our 3rd time back in LA and it’s great to catch up with the local family — we have met some amazing artists and friends here.
Paul Bender:  Yeah, we’ve made some amazing connections with people here.   This time we met a homeless wizard with elaborate face tattoos who did his own leatherwork.

LAC: What’s different between playing in Australia and playing in the US?

PM: I think one of the clear differences is the number of people in every city supporting music in every genre. For us, also the type of music we all listen to and has inspired us — a lot of it has come from the states, so the history and education is here, which I guess is why people can hear the influence in our music.
PB:  Australia is a giant landmass with a handful of cities separated by large distances, so touring is an entirely different experience.  It’s like flying across the entirety of Europe to play 5 shows and then you’re done.  So it’s kind of a bitch like that — not that we don’t care about more regional areas, but it’s hard enough finding enough people to support left-field or progressive music within the big cities. US audiences tend to be a bit more vocal; whenever we flip the groove real crazy on a track, the crowd is like “WOOOOOOOO”, whereas in Australia you’ll just hear one really enthusiastic guy scream “AWWWW FUCK YEAAAAAAAHHHH”.  I love that guy.


LAC: You guys are coming out at a time when Australia is exploding into the music scene. We’re curious, why do you think that is? Why now?

Simon Mavin: Australia has an awesome world class scene of its own, especially in Melbourne. Melbourne is kinda the musical hub of Australia. I mean for Hiatus, Bender is from Tasmania, Perrin is from the blue mountains, I’m from Melbourne and Nai is from country Victoria. I think the internet has played a big part in international recognition — we got a lot of love from places all around the globe just by putting our record on Bandcamp. (Other than that) I’m not sure why Australia is exploding… maybe its something in the water?
PB:  It’s because a lot of people there are super talented.

LAC: What creative process occurs when you guys are writing music?

Nai Palm: The beauty of this project is that there is no set form or method to our creativity; the common denominator in the process though, is trust — trust in the fact that what ever each member brings forth creatively will be nurtured and celebrated, or at least be given the time of day and worth the exploration. It’s very democratic allowing us all to be as connected and involved as possible, which results in the longevity of our emotional intention and less about who gets a solo.

LAC: You talk about how not only sonic pieces can be influential, but also visual can inspire music. What are some visual inspirations that went into “Tomahawk”?

NP: The opening track “Mobius Streak” is largely inspired by the artwork of M.C. Escher. He uses a lot of mathematical optical illusions in his works — namely the Mobius Strip, which is evident in his piece, “House of Stairs.” I used illusions as a lyrical theme, a myriad of metaphors through out the song, it was also a large inspiration behind the sonic layers of texture.

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LAC: What direction do you want your music to take in the future?

SM: Thats not really something that we are thinking about, I mean we haven’t really had a musical direction…just play stuff that we think sounds cool!
PB:  I know I personally want to do more with other instrumentalists in the future, like percussionists, strings, horns, different interesting sounds from around the world.  More of an orchestrated thing for certain shows and recordings…and I think as we go on the scope will only get wider, hopefully to the point where people think of us as something other than a “soul band, or “future soul” or whatever.  Like Bjork has no genre anymore, her genre is “Bjork.”  We want to make something that makes people forget those classifications and draw them into the intuitive abstract vortex where music becomes transcendent, instead of this thing you try to figure out or classify.  That’s the plan anyway.  Or maybe we’ll try to do an Electroclash revival, get asymmetrical haircuts and do songs about fashion while playing keytars and shit.

LAC: Who are you listening to right now?

PB: Teebs, The Stepkids, Kirkis, Gris Gris, Silent Jay
NP: Emily King, Fka Twigs, Oumou Sangare, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Alice Coltrane, Kirkis, Yaw, Skip James and currently revisiting D’Angelo for the billionth time but i give myself a rest from it so it can be kinda new again.

LAC: Favorite remix off of “Tawk Takeout”?

PB: Mine is Clever Austin’s remix of Boom Child. Clever Austin is Perrin, BTW. And he is very clever, isn’t he?

LAC: What are five things you need with you at all times while you’re on tour?

NP: The elements: water, fire, earth, etc.  White sage, Palo Santo, nurturingly totemic trinkets for sanity and ritual, bling.

Check out the band’s recent KCRW performance below:


PREVIEW: DESIGN INTERSECTS EVERYTHING MADE FORUM 2013

They say there’s a symbiotic relationship between a city and its people: a city generates a certain breed among its people, whereas it’s the people that construct the city–literally and culturally. Los Angeles is no different. LA has consistently pushed boundaries and toed the line between conventional and irregular, beauty and innovation, aesthetically appeal versus practicality, and all hybrids in between. This idea of duality especially manifests itself in the city’s creative industry and is seen in the ways in which we as a city face creative challenges.


rosetarlow2Photo cred: Rose Tarlow Melrose House

This Friday, the West Hollywood Design District further explores these ideas and more with DIEM: Design Intersects Everything Made — its second annual design forum aimed toward inspiring and encouraging integral design in all dimensions of art – from fashion to interior design and architecture.

Curated by KCRW Design and Architecture (DnA) host, Frances Anderton, the forum is geared toward LA’s growing creative and design industry with seminars discussing the convergence of intelligence and the beauty of good design. Spread across various showrooms in the West Hollywood Design District, the programs will feature speakers along the likes of design journalist Mallery Roberts Morgan, curator Mat Gleason, fashion designer Jonathan Skow, a.k.a Mr Turk, and a slew of additional design industry experts making DIEM an essential destination for visual and design junkies.

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Photo cred: Rose Tarlow Melrose House

Exploring topics like Instagram in art photography, the touchy ideas behind copying, and the rise of warehouse galleries, the one-day event is set up so that like-minded individuals can interact with one another in the hopes of generating a deliberate cross-pollination between all principles of art — providing an environment suitable for LA’s penchant for growth and innovation.

Because that’s what LA does — LA mingles, LA collaborates, and most of all, LA creates. Register for the event and check the full seminar line-up here.