As an avid reader of LA CANVAS (as I know you must be), I am sure you are familiar with the vastness of our colloquial music taste here at the Clubhouse. Everything from the latest indie rock, to our hip-hop fan boys, we cover it all—and in this case, we’d like to add black metal to the mix (surprise!).
Hailing from San Francisco, Deafheaven was founded by singer George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy. They started off as duo which shortly there after became the full 5 piece that you see before you today. Reigning influences from various genres and formats within the umbrella of “metal”, the band has created a unique sound that is absolutely identifiable to only them. Sometime during their 2011-2012 tour, I had the chance to catch the guys in one of my personal favorite intimate concert settings: the basement of a punk house in the Northside of Chicago named The Albion House, and it was there where I experienced what I’d refer to as a musical epiphany. Either it was the cold winter night, lack of breathable air (this basement probably fit about 50 people, in a space meant for 20), the copious amounts of alcohol consumed from 40oz’s in paper bags or a true musical moment where the crowd really felt what was happening right in front of their eyes. I am pleased to say it was the latter situation (with maybe a little of the other mixed in).
From that point forward, Deafheaven’s music has drawn the jaws of spectators downwards into utter silence after each song as they flow seamlessly together, such as a classical masterpiece made up of a multitude of movements. The methodological build up and flow of each individual song provides not songs that you can “sing along” to, but songs that are genuinely amazing to listen to in themselves.
Fast-forward: 2 years later to 2013, the band put out their most recent album titled Sunbather. Gaining critical reviews from the likes of SPIN and Rolling Stone and general world-wide acclaim, the band has become a true example of how the hustle pays off. From the muggy and overpacked basement in Chicago to rocking the stage at FYF Fest, the band doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. During the festival, I had the chance to sit down with the band and talk shop prior to their big performance:
LA CANVAS: You guys have come a long way over the past couple years, I remember the first time I saw you guys was in a squatter house basement in Chicago.
ALL OF THEM: Oh yeah! The Albion House!
LAC: Yeah! So from there, now you are playing FYF, how does that feel?
KERRY MCCOY: It feels great, I think it has a lot to do with a lot of hard work, and non stop touring and a good healthy portion of luck.
GEORGE CLARKE: Yeah, lots of luck, definitely a lot of hard work. We’re a touring band, we do this consistently, and I think we are very mindful of our musical direction and I think if you invest enough care into it, things will sort of fall into place, with luck aside.
LAC: Did you guys think when you started that you would follow through with this genre which I see to be a mix between the melodic and metal styles?
“Lets throw this Morbid Angel influence part in here or this Radiohead influence part in here” then we all kind of just sit there and bang our heads against the wall for a couple days.
GC: The original idea years and years ago when Kerry and I were first toying around with the idea was sort of our take on post-black metal. Since then, I think our sound has evolved a lot. I wouldn’t call us that nowadays, I think that we still have that influence a lot, but we have expanded in different directions, and at this point I really know exactly what to call it, but I still feel that we are somewhat in that family that we started out originally wanting to be a part of.
LAC: With Sunbather coming out last year and being rated as one of the top metal albums of 2013, what kind of successes have you guys seen from that?
GC: I think we mostly just had a variety of people in the crowds, people you wouldn’t see before, that maybe found out about us through Rolling Stone or SPIN, or more mainstream avenues such as that. So I think seeing people that normally wouldn’t have access to that style of music.
KM: The shows have been doing really well.
GC: The shows have been going better, more interesting, more variety.
LAC: Awesome, so being that you guys are from California, I take it you guys have been to LA more than a few times now. What are some of the things you like to do while you have free time
KM: Well, George and I live here now, so most of the stuff I do while we’re not on tour is go to Cha Cha a lot, go to Brite Spot and Alcove a lot,
GC: Good food and good drinks.
STEPHAN LEE CLARK: I like going to Hollywood Amoeba, place is huge hah, so many records there.
GC: Plus our manager, lives here, so we always have a home base to hang out at.
KM: Usually when we are at home, or when in LA, which I consider to be a second home from San Francisco for the most of us, It’s just a time to relax and enjoy friends and people that we’ve gained relationships here. Nothing really out of the ordinary, just hanging.
LAC: Just to kind of wrap up, being that, at least in my opinion, your music is extremely complex and intricate, what are some of the things that go into your writing process when you guys are deciding your future tracks?
KM: It used to be me and George sitting down and working on riffs and lyrics together and bringing them to Dan. Now that we have a full band, all of us get into a room and bring various riffs to the table and get a general idea of what we are going for, i.e. “lets throw this Morbid Angel influence part in here or this Radiohead influence part in here” then we all kind of just sit there and bang our heads against the wall for a couple days. Then eventually we put it all together, and George puts his spin on that. It’s a very collaborative thing now, so a lot of heads just putting in as much as they can to get this weird product out of it all essentially.
SLC: It’s oddly very fluid
DAN TRACY: Probably from the constant touring and playing together every night for a year straight it’s easy for us to gel, and flesh songs out. We’re Cosmically in-tune.
Purchase/listen to Sunbather digitally here or pick up a vinyl copy at your favorite local record haunt.
Ever sat glued to your television anguished over your inexplicable decision to flip to the Food Network or Top Chef Masters when you were just lamenting the pitiful state of your empty fridge? If so, chances are you’ve spotted culinary, multi hyphenate Curtis Stone on the screen, doing everything from cooking to judging and hosting. We caught up with the prolific cookbook author and host of Top Chef Masters as he dishes on his new restaurant Maude, the LA culinary scene, food-obsessed television, and his recent nuptials.
Everyone is excited about your new restaurant purchase in the Los Angeles area. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired the new venture?
I am really excited about it too. It has been a dream of mine for quite a few years to have a tiny, little restaurant that I could just work with a talented group of guys on, who could focus all of their energy into cooking beautiful food. Not having a huge menu or throwing huge numbers. The concept of the restaurant revolves around produce around Southern California. We are very lucky. We are up there with the best markets in the world. I want to pay homage to some of those ingredients. Each month I am going to choose one ingredient and do a seven- or eight-course tasting menu around that ingredient. I want to be as versatile and creative as possible. It will be a set menu, which allows me to put more detail into each dish, rather than having hundreds of courses.
Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures that often translates into unique fusions of flavors. It is also a city that embraces over-the-top, glamorous plates. As someone who is committed to letting great ingredients shine without too much fanfare, how do you envision your new restaurant fitting into the Los Angeles landscape?
I think LA has gone through such a huge culinary revolution. It was all about the scene, glitz, and glamour not too long ago. But now, look at the restaurants that are popular. They are the ones that really get their hands on great quality ingredients and come from a more humble place—like spending the entire morning in my garden. I have a bit of an experimental garden, so I grow all sorts of different things. You know, that’s the place that I play with different varieties of stuff that you can’t get your hands on commercially. Also, the culture around great growers—that’s something that makes me happy. Honoring the farmer that works his ass off. That’s what my restaurant will be all about.
Any favorite taco spots in LA where we might spot you after a late night?
Oh god, absolutely! I love tacos and the beautiful thing about this city is that they are everywhere. The one that I sort of hit most often is Pinches on Sunset, which I am sure many know. ¡Lotería! is really good as well. We go down to East LA for tacos too. Too many spots to remember the names of. But with tacos, it’s usually the dirtiest hole-in-the-wall with the best offerings.
Okay, one night in LA—where is Chef Curtis Stone going to eat and why?
I just ate at Lukshon in Culver City a couple of nights ago, and, I’ve got to say, it is one of my favorite dining experiences in this city. It is so innovative and Chef Sang Yoon cooks really beautiful food—same guy from Father’s Office. He’s one of my favorite chefs.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH CHEF CURTIS STONE IN OUR NEW ISSUE HERE
Jacco Gardner is a Dutch musician whose ornate soundscapes are like something out of the 60s. Lush instrumentation and a distinctly analogue warmth cultivate a softness and eery intimacy our 80s-born souls aren’t quite sure what to do with. Still, we’re left intrigued. Read below as Jacco shares his insight on what began his 60s obsession and his journey into the distinctly baroque and neo-psych sound of his new record, Cabinet of Curiosities.
LAC: You just came out with Cabinet of Curiosities. What’s the story was behind the title?
Jacco: Most of the songs I’ve written over a ten year period. I remade a lot of the songs, and the final versions I did about two years before the album. They are scattered all over, like experiences scattered over my life–it’s bizarre. It turned into bizarre stories, all of them combined to me were like a cabinet of curiosities because its also like things that you pick up while on a journey, and which you think are very strange, collected into a cabinet.
LAC: Your sound has been described as baroque and neo-psychedelic, would you agree with these kinds of genre labels? And where did these influences come from?
J: Well, I could definitely understand those labels, especially the Baroque one because there are not that many artists doing harpsichord stuff and using instruments like you hear in baroque pop, so it is kind of an obvious label, in a way. I got into 60s music when I was about thirteen years old. I heard Syd Barrett, his music, and the early PInk Floyd stuff really caught my attention and I couldn’t let it go. It was like when finding the spirit of the ’60s embodied in one person, in one band, the main thing of the ’60s. When I found out [about the 60s], I really had to hear everything that was the ’60s. I was completely lost in time I guess.
LAC: Did your parents influence this at all, or was this something you discovered through other people?
J: Mostly other people. I had a good friend, who is still one of my best friends, and when we grew up we kind of shared everything that we found musically. He saw a documentary on Syd Barrett and he told me about it because we were always on the same page, music-wise. That’s how it all started. His parents actually had the early Pink Floyd albums and Soft Machine albums and things like that. I think his parents were mostly the biggest influence.
LAC: If you had to name 3 records from the ’60s that most influenced you, what would they be?
J: That’s a very difficult question … That’s a hard one. Well, I’d say New World by the Zombies is a big one. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn from Pink Floyd and Present Tense’s Sagittarius.
LAC: You have a very distinct sound right now, but how do you see your sound evolving in the future?
J: I think that the reference to the ’60s or baroque pop kind of stuff won’t be as obvious as it is on the first record. I won’t be using as much harpsichord or strings–those things to me sound a little bit too obvious now if I would do it again. So, I would like to use more sounds that you are not really sure if it’s a synth or some sampled instrument or something, it has to be a little bit more obscure, sound-wise.
LAC: Do you have any projects or collaborations coming up? I know that you also do production for other people. is there anyone we should be keeping an eye out for?
J: I just finished working on the record for Earth Mk II (a reference to the second earth in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), which is actually the same guy I was talking about that–friend of mine who I grew up with. I was also in a band with him, a duo, which was very ’60s influenced as well, like very garagey, [with] organ and drums. And his band that he has now is more like the garage-y part of that–I took the melodic part and made it sort of in my own solo stuff and he took the garage part to another level. I think his record could be something to look out for. I think he really writes greats songs.
LAC: After the success of your sound and your record, have you seen other projects pop up with a similar sound? Do you think there is a kind of a revival of this ’60s sound?
J: Oh yeah, definitely. I don’t know if it has anything to do with me though. But, there is a lot. I do realize there is a powerful wave of a lot of bands who I think may be influenced by the ’60s because of the internet. The generation where this kind of music is easily accessible and because it is so great. And there is so much underground stuff, [it] was not possible to discover that kind of stuff before 10 years ago. So I think to some people it is really new, really fresh and interesting. That’s really why there is such a revival. [So] I definitely think there is one.
LAC: What has it been like to play in the US? Where do you think you have had the best reception and why do you think that is?
J: I had the best reception, I think, in the biggest cities like New York and Austin. Mostly because I think in those cities there is a lot of musical stuff going on. So the response has been really good there. I think that in Austin it has been really great because of the SXSW festival. [There’s] so much in the air and everyone is so excited about all the music going on there. Everybody is so open-minded. That has been really great. We also played in Cleveland which had like five people there who were watching a basketball team while we played. But it has been good in other places, [which are] also in Cleveland, so I’m not too sure what could be the reason.
LAC: We read online that your studio is quite far from the city, and a little bit isolated. Do you think that gives you a particular sound or quality to your production and creative process?
J: Well, I have always been kind of isolated wherever I was, just kind of being myself, I guess. Part of the record, the biggest part of the record, was actually done in the middle of Utrecht, which is a bigger city and a lot is going on around there. But I mainly work on my own. When I start working on a song I just don’t think about anything else. It doesn’t really matter where I am I guess but maybe the environment in the industrial zone where I live now has something to do with creating another world, I don’t know.
LAC: Do you see yourself staying in the Netherlands? We’ve read that you don’t really identify yourself so much as Dutch.
J: Yeah, that is definitely true. I never felt really Dutch and the culture here is not really my thing. I don’t know where I would go though ’cause I would have to move the entire studio–it’s not really realistic to do at this time in my life. But if I could, I would really like to try some places like London, or the US. I’m really curious about the West Coast in the US as well, so I can’t wait to see LA and San Francisco.
Best friends and creative team, Smiley Stevens and Philippa Price, are the two designers behind one of the most bold and exciting menswear lines out there, Guns Germs $teal. Coming straight out of LA, a city that continues to struggle to find its own style identity besides tees and jeans (at least for mens), GG$’s innovative, bravado brand of dope, forward-pushing items are a much needed breath of fresh air. Just don’t call it streetwear. It’s menswear on a higher level. In a matter of two years, the brand has gone from a small accessory line to a complete clothing line that is now beloved by major artists like Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, and Haim. Currently, the label is getting ready to debut at New York Fashion Week in early September.
Smiley and Philippa, both former models, share their excitement as they chat with LAC to tell us more about their FW13 collection and the future of the brand.
LAC: Ok, so you both met at a birthday party in the Lower East Side of NY. What connected you two?
GG$: Our height. We were both like, woah you’re awkwardly taller than everyone else here, cool, me too … let’s be friends. But we realized pretty quickly we shared a creative connection that exists on a different wavelength. We’re Soul Sisters.
LAC: What eventually brought you to LA?
GG$: We both grew up here, so after college (mostly because we were broke) we moved back to LA. We still miss the grind and the energy of New York, but we know we wouldn’t be able to be doing what we’re doing if we had stayed out there. Besides, nothing beats L.A. weather. Mentally I don’t think we could handle the stress of starting a business on top of handling a New York winter … or a grimey New York summer for that matter.
GG$: Has LA changed the way in which you perceive menswear – would you be designing different items had you stayed in NY?
GG$: Our designs are whole heartedly and organically a product of the unique vision that the two of us share … I think this would be the same no matter where we were. We weave an eclectic range of experience and influence into each of our pieces and don’t consciously design with a certain type of person or trend in mind… in fact we try our hardest to stay away from that. Generally speaking, men’s style here is not exactly the best, but I think in that sense, being in LA has enabled us to really focus on developing our own style that remains true to the root of our vision.
LAC: Let’s talk about your new collection. It has an impressive amount of elements that work so well together. It was difficult to describe it. I almost came around to calling it “conceptual sportswear.” How far would I have been?
GG$: Exactly as you say, we layer so many different elements and influences together in our designs, that our “style” is almost impossible to define. It’s funny because people have been trying to define our brand since we first started, and I don’t think we’ve even figured that out ourselves yet. Yes, this collection could definitely be described as “conceptual sportswear” but we wouldn’t say that defines GG$ as a whole … just wait till you see what we have coming for Spring / Summer 2014.
LAC: So what then would you say defines GG$ as a whole?
We don’t believe in definition–definition is what has divided people for the entire course of human history. The only thing our collection defines you as is confident.
LAC: What was the concept behind the collection?
GG$: For this collection we focused on the concept of the uniform. We explored everything from military uniforms to astronauts, sports uniforms to royal regalia, even the idea of skin as a uniform. We expanded our interpretation of the term “uniform,” focusing on the idea that even personal style over the past century has become a uniform, used to identify you with a certain division of our culture. We blend elements from all kinds of subcultures, creating our version of a universal uniform.
LAC: Since showing the collection back in February at Project Las Vegas, what has been the feedback?
GG$: We’ve received really great feedback from those who have seen the collection … it’s only just available to the public this week so we’re excited to see the reaction. We’re particularly excited about the pieces we created with our amazingly talented friend and photographer Brianna Capozzi. We used a few of her photographs on the neoprene sweaters in the collection which thus far have been everybody’s favorite. Combining her bold images with our neoprene silhouette created a really unique optical illusion when worn as clothing and we’re excited to see how people interpret that.
LAC: How does the collaboration dynamic work between the two of you and do you ever wonder if guys will really dig what two ladies are creating?
GG$: Day to day, Philippa handles most of the design while Smiley manages the company operations. The way we work creatively is very organic. One of us will come up with an idea, and the other will add a new dimension, and we will go back and forth until we reach something next level. We’ve come to trust our combined aesthetic so we don’t really worry about what guys’ reactions will be … when we both agree on something there is no question… we just know it’s TIGHT.
LAC: For what kind of guy do you make your clothes for?
GG$: A guy with confidence. There couldn’t be anything more attractive than confidence (PLEASE NOTE: confidence is NOT the same as arrogance).
LAC: Out of a long list of celebrities that already wear your items who would you say best exemplifies your line and who else can you see wearing your clothing?
GG$: That is such a hard question. It’s pretty much impossible to pin it down to one person… our pieces have already been worn by such an ecclectic range, from Kendrick to Rihanna, and of course our girls Haim and Brooke Candy. They are all people who’s individual movements we respect and who we feel are leaders in this verging culture movement of our generation… I think that in itself is what best exemplifies our line.
LAC: You went from making accessories to menswear, any plans on creating more womenswear?
GG$: Oh just you wait… clothing is just the beginning for GG$. Right now, we are really focusing on our mens collection but like we said, we have come to realize that we have a strong following of women who wear our clothes. With that in mind we have definitely been focusing on developing more unisex pieces and fits. You will see this in our Spring 2014 collection which we are getting ready to present at NYFW this September … in two weeks actually. Fuck!
LAC: Finally, when and where can we get our hands on the new collection?
GG$: We are launching the collection this Thursday at 424 Fairfax in L.A., and by the beginning of next week the collection will be available in a few select retailers around the world –
US: 424 Fairfax / American Rag / Extra Butter
UK: Browns London / Machine A
JAPAN: Nubian / GR8
The lookbook was shot by L.A. photographer Adri Law.
Photo of Smiley Stevens and Philippa Price is courtesy of Diane Abapo / SUSPENDMAG.COM
Last week, on our never-ending quest to stay up on the new new and the new new new, we stumbled upon Austin-based Whiskey Shivers on the LA leg of their summer tour. Among a consistent stream of synthetic pop beats and the over-reaching disney-stars-turned-musically-inclined-sorta-kinda-musician, it’s incredibly refreshing to see these guys actually play, well, instruments. With catchy rhythms, killer energy and impeccable musicianship, Whiskey Shivers turns traditional bluegrass on it’s head and has become our fave new “freewheelin’, trashgrassin’, folk tornado” band (and they’re pretty easy on the eyes, ladies.).
Before they darted up north on the 101, the boys caught up with us for one hell of a Q&A:
So, what’s up?
We’re currently piled into a van en route to Portland, Oregon, finishing out the last leg this three week run up the west coast before returning home, and then eventually east again. Basically just trying to spread and practice friendship all across this great nation of ours.
Can we get you something to drink?
Sure. Know anything that cures hangovers? Maybe a purple vitamin water? Gatorade? Pedialite? Micheladas? Do you have those in LA?
Great name! What’s the story behind it?
Haha thanks! I think a lot of people think it’s the DT’s but it’s actually that feeling you get right after a shot of whiskey. That hot feeling that shivers up your spine as you realize the nights gonna get a whole lot radder.
Dream music festival?
Well, we’re playing Austin City Limits, which has always been a dream being as how we’re out of Austin. Aside from that, I’d say Coachella, Telluride, or anything with Insane Clown Posse.
Rock, paper, or scissors?
Scissors. See attached image for our matching scissor tattoos.
Do anything last night?
I’m glad you asked. As a matter of fact we did! We played The Silvermoon Brewery in beautiful historic Bend, Oregon and a good time was had by all. Shortly thereafter we had what we call a cartwheel party.
How late did you stay up?
Three maybe? After the cartwheel party, we were lulled to sleep by the sweet voices of Andy Griffith, Opie, and The Darlings (or the Dillard’s, which is our favorite bluegrass band who had reoccurring roles in the show).
Meals or snacks?
I think we’re all pretty indifferent so long as bacon is involved.
Craziest road trip/tour story?
Something involving way too much Bartles and James and a ripped frenulum. That’s probably as much as anyone cares to know.
Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
Tia or Tamera Mowery, Barney Fife, Genghis Kahn, and Rachel Many.
Your biggest fan?
This dude who calls himself Curtis McTurdis comes to all of our shows within about a 200 mile radius. He once walked from Austin to San Antonio to see us play.
If life could resemble any film…
Who would you hire to write your theme song?
Chingo Bling or Ke$ha. We can’t come to a consensus.
Blue or black ink?
Black. Like our souls.
Ever sit down in the shower?
Of course! That’s the only way all five of us can fit in.
When was the last time you really froke out on someone?
Thats hard to say. I froke at Andrew our bass player the first time I saw the word froke, which was right now. Does that count?
Oh, I met Paul Ruben once and froke the heck out. Not at him per se, but the same way that a 13 year old girl meeting Jonathan Taylor Thomas in 1993 might have reacted. Screams, cries, and awkwardly long hugs.
What’s the first thing you said out loud this morning?
I woke up to all the dudes singing This is How We Do It by Montel Jordan. I believe my first words were, “…so I reach for my 40 and I turn it up…”
Are you listening to music right now?
Yes! Chingo Bling.
Your dream project?
Literally, anything with The Muppets. Anything.
Where can we catch you next?
Well, I’m not sure when we’ll be back in LA quite yet, but if you’re worldly enough to escape to Texas, we’re playing Utopia Fest in Utopia, Texas on September 20th, and Austin City Limits on October 12th.
If you’re not worldly, Bobby’s going to be making his national television debut on Cops this fall. Oh, and of course, there’s always here: www.whiskeyshivers.com
If we gave you $50 what would you buy?
Cronuts!!!! Just kidding, those are awful. Realistically, probably $50 worth of Ranier Beer.
Last three google searches?
Taylor Swifts feet, “Taylor Swifts feet,” and “Taylor Swift’s feet.”
What are you doing later?
Practicing friendship up and down the coast!
Can we come?
We wish you would!
Visit the band’s website to sneak a peek at their upcoming tour dates.
The rapper/producer/writer/songstress answers our deepest inquiries.
Sonic multi-hyphenate and New York City native, TECLA began exploring her musical talent at a young age studying classical piano. The child prodigy has since expanded her repertoire to a battery of genres, ranging from hip-hop, to reggae and even punk rock.
TECLA recently dropped We Are The Lucky Ones, her second full length-studio album this March via Mayimba Music and has gotten more than a little play around the LAC office. We got a chance to catch up with the princess of underground, and here’s what she had to say:
So, what’s up? Chillin…just trying to keep this PMA
Can we get you something to drink? Always. Its 12PM somewhere
What are you wearing? Something that I got from the thrift store that looks hella expensive but is really under $10
Are you single/taken/heartbroken/hopeful/bored? Pretty much married without the ring (I hate diamonds)
Are you interested in anyone right now? Tupac
Do anything last night? I DJ’d at The Blind Barber actually. Had people rocking till the lights came on OF COURSE
How late did you stay up? 5am…every time I tell myself its gonna be an early night its not
Meals or snacks? I love a hot meal, snacks are annoying
How often do you consume alcohol? Somehow a beer or wine has been creeping into my mouth every day…I don’t know how it got there
You kissed a girl and liked it? Love girls
Please don’t touch that. I touch whatever I want
What’s on your feet? Nada! Keep them bare like a true Haitian
Blue or black ink? black
Ever sit down in the shower? Hell yeah. Especially in my “woe is me” moments feels so dramatic.
When was the last time you really froke out at someone? I don’t know what froke is but probably yesterday
What was the first thing you said aloud this morning? Cleared my throat and said “can I talk?”
Are you listening to music right now? Listening to the birds outside my window. Its actually a true hobby of mine
Will you text the person you like today? Everyone I text I like
If we gave you $50, what would you buy? Probably like 10 outfits at the thrift store, or some good food, or dranks
Last 3 google searches? I don’t google
What are you doing later? Getting Thai food in Jackson Heights for Pegasus Warning’s birthday…you should check him out. And check out Thai food in Queens in general.
Listen to TECLA’s music here: