Exclusive Premiere // SUMif 'Body' Music Video

If you don't know SUMif, get ready to fall in love with her dancey, vibrant sound + electric energy. After obsessing over her EP Pretty Cage, released earlier this year, we're so stoked to bring you a first look at her music video for Body. + we caught up with Steph Wells, the mastermind behind SUMif, on the making of the vid.

 

Asymmetric Magazine: We love the minimalism, use of color and choreography in the video for Body. How did this concept come about?
Steph Wells: Thank you! I had been watching Hayley Kiyoko's Curious video on repeat when I got the first mix back of Body, and thought 'damn, I wonder if I could pull off a choreographed dance for the chorus...' Then when I sent the song to my friend Luke, he said unprompted, 'you and I are doing a choreographed dance to the chorus for the music video'. So, I figured if we both had the same idea, we had to make it happen. We both love Robyn's Call Your Girlfriend video, so we used that as the jumping off point for the vibe of the video.

AM: We noticed it aligns with your use of color on the album art for each of the singles BodyDisco LoveSay and Love Shop. How do your visuals parallel your sound?
SW: My music is too fun and dancey to keep with an all-black aesthetic, so to keep it interesting and make it feel more on brand with the music, I love to add in color in very specific ways. When I play live shows, I always wear black, but I also wear colorful LED shoes and have my LED logo on stage. I think my music sounds colorful, so I try to be intentional with it and use color to help bring the songs to life.

AM: What themes do you typically pursue through your music?
SW: The theme of my most recent releases and the theme of my upcoming EP is freedom–whether it be sexual freedom or freedom from a toxic relationship or freedom from social situations where you feel trapped. I hope this collection of songs make the listener feel free. I hope they make people want to move outside of their comfort zones. 

 

 

I hope this collection of songs make the listener feel free. I hope they make people want to move outside of their comfort zones. 

 

 

AM: How do your latest singles compare to your EP Pretty Cage?
SW: I think they are a nice evolution of my music. Some of the songs from the Pretty Cage EP, I wrote in 2015/2016, so I'm excited about my latest singles and upcoming releases having an evolved sound, especially since I'm collaborating with more writers and producers these days.

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AM: What other musicians/artists are currently inspiring you?
SW: Scandinavian pop is my one true love. All things Tove (Lo + Styrke), Dagny, Anna of the North, Sigrid–to name a few.

AM: What can we expect to hear (and see!) from you next?
SW: I'm looking forward to releasing new singles in the coming months and another EP by the end of the year.

// listen to pretty cage here:

// video by Steph Wells: Director, Nick Testa: Cinematographer/Editor, Luke Henesy Anderson: Dancer, Annemarie Estess: Choregrapher
// photos courtesy of Tallulah MGMT
Listen to more SUMif on Spotify + SoundCloud.

 
Posted on August 14, 2018 .

Music Spotlight: Rotana

we'd like to introduce you to pop artist Rotana. born and raised in Saudi Arabia, rotana began to pursue her music after she moved to the states. She recently put out an unedited and unfinished EP Demo Love Series, ending with the final track Side Effects that was released today. throughout her visuals, we see a lot of her signature locket engraved with scripture from the Quran, which serves as a reminder that we can discover new grounds while not forgetting where we came from. we've got to say, the unfiltered EP is so beautifully refreshing, and we're so stoked to hear what else is in store from Rotana.

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Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your EP release! Tell us about Demo Love Series.
Rotana: It's an EP about love and heartbreak. Nothing revolutionary, but it kind of was to me. It was an inner revolution to embrace myself as a human being with a heart that breaks and not just a Saudi girl with a protest story. It’s crazy because as this EP is released and closes the chapter with Side Effects, which is a song about meeting someone new and asking them to move slowly because you have baggage. That’s exactly what is happening in my personal life right now.

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AM: To accompany your EP, there is a lo-fi animation for each track. What made you choose to create these visuals? What was the process like?
R: I smoke weed and watch these videos by a YouTuber named Neotic. I've always loved the Simpsons and Lisa in particular. I think she's so smart and such a little shit. So, I combined those two things and made these visuals in an afternoon with my best friends.

AM: How does this EP compare to your previous work, including your singles like Daddy and Over You?
R: I would compare them, but what you are watching is an evolution and true process. These songs are raw, unmixed/mastered and definitely not completed. They are raw feelings I decided to put out. And the music coming next is finished and polished and has a very specific sound. I needed to make Daddy, Over You and the Demo Love Series to get to where I am.

 

 

It was an inner revolution to embrace myself as a human being with a heart that breaks and not just a Saudi girl with a protest story.

 

 

AM: How would you describe your sound?
R: Come to a show.

AM: What themes do you typically pursue through your music?
R: The body, sexuality, sensuality, freedom, intuition, and love (duh).

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AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
R: Sade, Alaanis, Fairouz

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
R: It plays a huge role in a sense that my collaborators are here. But I think I would be writing similar shit no matter where I was. It's coming from inside, you know? Not some external thing that happened to me in a city.

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
R: On stage.

AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
R: New music–we're gonna talk about sexuality first. It's going to sound like world music. It's going to be dope.

// listen here:

// photos courtesy of Tallulah MGMT
Listen to more Rotana on Spotify + SoundCloud.

 
Posted on August 10, 2018 .

Music Spotlight: Babe Parade

We'd like to introduce you to LA-based indie rock band Babe Parade composed of Jon on drums, Raul on bass + vocals, Matt on guitar + vocals, and Angel on vocals, guitar + keys. The band released Fortune back in June, and we still have it on repeat (trust us, it'll be your new summer soundtrack). We caught up with them on the story behind the EP, how they inspire each other + what's next.

  // photo courtesy of the band

// photo courtesy of the band

 

Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your recent EP Fortune! You mentioned it's loosely based on the Greek myth, Pygmalion. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Babe Parade: For those who are unaware of the myth, it’s about a sculptor who falls in love with one of his creations, a sculpted woman. Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess, brings her to life, and the story goes on. Having this concept wasn't something that was planned, and though it is a pretty common trope, it helped with the writing. Fortune is an adaptation of Pygmalion, starting right at the moment when his creation, the Lovely Lady, comes to life. In the four-track EP, we explore the four stages of the sculptor's relationship with his new found love. Track one, Good Time, is the honeymoon period where our once lonely sculptor expresses his excitement for the future with his Lovely Lady. Track two, Chubby, blind faith—though there are naysayers towards their relationship, our sculptor is confident that his new found love is solid. Track three, Divisions, trouble in paradise. He may have created her, but she's not totally sold on him and his ways. Track four is Honeycomb. After the love has perished, our lonely lover seeks therapy for the reality he's face—to have been rejected by his own creation.

Album Art _Fortune_ By Babe Parade.png

AM: How would you describe your sound?
BP: We call it 'Goldilocks Rock'. It’s not too hard—not too soft—fits perfectly in that sweet spot. A little in between indie rock and alternative rock with some surf and shoegaze influence. We take those genres, blend it with groovy bass lines and rhythmic percussion, and then top it off with jangly guitar interplay, melodic leads, and sly vocals.

AM: What's your biggest inspiration as a band? What themes do you typically pursue through your music?
Raul: To be able to create with my friends is more than enough inspiration since we all share the love of music—it’s in our DNA.
Jon: I get inspired by my bandmates when we come up with new music—it pushes me to make something fun and original. I just want the music to be fun but have substance/true emotion to it, so those are themes I dig.
Angel: Personally, I get inspired by visuals—it can be a picture, a painting, or a film. Also, phrases or words—I like to build off that when writing lyrics or when trying to capture a tone for our songs. As a band, I think we are inspired by other artists we listen to and each other. We all bring a different flavor to the table so when we meet; it’s kind of just us feeding off one another.
Matt: I think we lean on each other for inspiration. If one person in the band is stoked on playing a certain guitar riff or a beat, we all feed off that energy and then build a song around it. I don’t think we typically pursue themes, but we definitely do our best to create a type of feeling through our music. On our first self-titled EP, we experimented with synth-pop grooves, funky guitar rhythms, and some sampling. I think we wanted the songs to feel chill, laid back, and dancy. Our second self-release, Lush, was a short three-song EP with sounds of lo-fi synth-pop, indie/alt rock, and dreamy/shoegazey guitar riffs. With Lush, I think we wanted our audience to feel like they’re on a vacation. In Fortune, we solidified our sound with groovy/aggressive rhythms and clean jangly guitar tones. Each song on Fortune carries something different. The transitions from track to track feel like you’re on an adventure.

AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
Jon: Right now, I dig Joe Henderson's Black Narcissus—heard it on the radio, and it may me feel some type of way.
Raul: Currently, I’ve been listening to a few artists: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tame Impala, Toro Y Moi, and Mac Demarco.
Matt: Mostly friends that are in bands and have been in the game for as long as we have. The Bay Area homies, Commissure, have been together for years. They’ve been killing the post-rock scene up north and always put on a great live performance. Also, LA bands like the War Toys, Thriller Party, and Good Ruin. We’ve played a couple shows with these bands in the past—it’s inspiring to know they’re still creating and writing new material year after year.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
BP: LA is home. It's definitely full of artists and bands—a lot of great ones and welcoming venues. The music industry is massive in LA. It plays a big part in networking with other musicians, playing shows, and collaborating with like-minded artists.

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
Angel: My room or with my bandmates.
Matt: For me, I have to be in my own personal space. It can be anywhere. I come up with the best ideas when I’m in the shower, in bed, on a walk—I just need to be isolated and away from distractions. But it’s different when we create as a band. When we’re all in the same space, it’s easy to get into a realm of creativity.

AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
BP: Right now, we’re working on two music videos: One for Good Time and one for Divisions. You can expect to see those videos within a couple of months. Also, we’ve recently spent time in the studio and recorded a few new tracks which we plan on releasing in the fall. We aim to play more local shows and then possibly go on a short west coast tour at the end of fall. After that, we plan on making a full-length record.

// listen here:

Listen to more Babe Parade on Spotify + SoundCloud.

 
Posted on August 8, 2018 .

Music Spotlight: The Ready Set

Jordan Witzigreuter aka The Ready Set is back with a new single Stitch off his upcoming EP V2. We chatted with him about the inspiration behind the track + what we can expect to hear on the EP.

// listen here:

 

Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your recent release! Tell us about Stitch.
The Ready Set: Thank you! It's about coming to terms with your flaws and recognizing that a change needs to take place. It's a concept I've touched on before; I think it's a pretty basic human feeling.

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AM: What else can we expect to hear on your upcoming EP V2?
TRS: It's sort of all over the place, which is something I always place a pretty high value on. I don't think any of the songs sound like each other, aside from some consistencies in the production elements. Overall, it's a bit more lyrically honest and a genuine representation of where my head has been this year.

AM: How does it compare to your previous work, including V1 and I'm Alive, I'm Dreaming?
TRS: I think with everything I release, the project starts to define itself more and more. I like to think it's just a positive progression. The main difference with this EP is I'm not leaning super hard into overly pop structures and formats, which is fun. Also, a lot of the songs are pretty short. I've been really into that lately–just keeping repetitiveness to a minimum when I can.

AM: How would you describe your sound?
TRS: Happy sad electronic pop

AM: What themes do you typically pursue through your music?
TRS: Lately, a lot of internal things masked as external experiences. This is probably the least 'positive' sounding collection of songs I've put out in a long time, but there's usually always some underlying theme of hope and forward momentum that I try to keep prevalent.

AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
TRS: I listen to sort of everything and try to just let whatever inspires me do it subconsciously. There are definitely some times when I'll hear a song and instantly feel like I need to write something right that second. Over the past couple months, I've been listening to Kids See Ghosts, Hunny, Trove Sivan, No Rome, and I love the new Kanye record.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
TRS: Probably a bigger role than I realize. My entire life and career is here now. It's definitely the type of place where you can find anything anywhere. People like to complain about aspects of it, but I feel like the best thing is that nobody really cares about what anybody else is doing, which sounds cold, but I love the idea of not needing to think about what people think of me or what I'm doing. I feel simultaneously connected and disconnected at the same time. I think that's good for songs.

 

 

I feel simultaneously connected and disconnected at the same time. I think that's good for songs.

 

 

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
TRS: Just alone in my studio. I don't leave the room too often. I end up just locking myself in there and letting stuff happen. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it isn't, but when it is, it's super rewarding.

AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
TRS: I'm just trying to do everything. TRS, side projects, production for other artists. So really just a lot more.

// photos courtesy of Tallulah MGMT
Listen to more The Ready Set on Spotify + SoundCloud.

 
Posted on July 30, 2018 .

Music Spotlight: Yoke Lore

  // photo: Wes and Alex

// photo: Wes and Alex

 

Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your EP release! Tell us about Absolutes.
Yoke Lore: Thanks! Absolutes is an EP about the trouble of living in extremes. I often fall into the trap of looking for purity or demanding perfection. But the more I go on doing life, the more I realize that things are usually a mixture. People aren't usually all good or all bad, and I think that's pretty true with everything. And If we insist on viewing things as one-sided, we lose an entire dimension of information and, thus, experience. A life of absolutes is no life at all. 

AM: How does it compare to your previous work?
YL: I think Absolutes is the next step. In the words of Thomas Kuhn, I'm doing 'normal science'. I am following the road that gets extended a little bit every time I make a fan, or release a song, or play a show. I'm just writing, releasing, touring, and repeating, and it feels natural. So, I think Absolutes is a space and a time that I need to occupy in order to get to the next place, which I have actually been creating in the studio this week. It's a continuum–this music thing. It's a becoming.

 

 

If we insist on viewing things as one-sided, we lose an entire dimension of information and, thus, experience. A life of absolutes is no life at all. 

 

 

AM: How would you describe your sound?
YL: Gentle Grit. Heavy drums, heavy vocals, but with height. Deep levity.

AM: We love all your visuals, too! How does your artwork parallel your sound?
YL: I make it all usually. But even when I don't draw it out myself, there is an esoteric quality to the kind of artwork I want to represent the music and vice versa. I hope the artwork runs parallel to the music, but at the same time, I want it to stand on its own. Whether it's abstract or a specific subject, I draw not to create, but to chew something–something to put your hands to. A way to organize the shapes that minds take to make movement. I think I write for a similar reason. 

AM: What themes do you typically pursue through your music?
YL: I'm slightly embarrassed about this, but I am a huge theme in my music. I am a bit self-centered, or maybe I'm a bit overly aware of my own perception. Either way, I write a lot about how I see the world. I like to tackle my own fears. Making music assuages the harshness. I try to capture as much specificity about my feelings so that people can see themselves in me and in my stories. 

AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
YL: Amen Dunes, Beat Happening, Labi Siffre

 
  // photo: Wes and Alex

// photo: Wes and Alex

 

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
YL: In the woods in Maine 

AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
YL: After Absolutes, I have a couple collaborations coming out. I don't think I'm allowed to tell with who yet, but look out! Then, you know, I keep rolling. I got new music that's almost done–we've got lots to do.

// listen here:

Listen to more Yoke Lore on Spotify + SoundCloud.

 
Posted on July 27, 2018 .

On Repeat: Mikey Mike // Cooler

 

We're feeling all the summer vibes with LA-based alt-pop musician Mikey Mike's latest track Cooler. His sultry vocals mixed with his acclaimed spoken word style and urban beats have us playing this one on repeat. Luckily for all of us in Los Angeles, he'll be playing at The Moroccan Lounge with In The Valley Below on July 24.

// listen here:

Oh, and we still can't get enough of Doin' Me or looking at the city through his lens in the music video:

Listen to more Mikey Mike on Spotify.

 
Posted on July 11, 2018 .

On Repeat: Elohim

 
  // A moment from Elohim's Coachella set, photo by Leah Perrino

// A moment from Elohim's Coachella set, photo by Leah Perrino

We've been counting down for Elohim's debut self-titled album with each of her pre-released singles over the year. The 15-track album was everything we'd hoped for and more. She flawlessly pairs raw, emotive vocals (tackling subjects like mental health) with her signature glitchy, lively production, and the album exudes nothing but love. We were lucky enough to catch her Coachella performance, where she performed some of the new tracks for the first time. We have The Universe Is Yours, Half Love and I Want You on repeat.

// listen here:

 

Listen to more Elohim on Spotify.

 
Posted on April 28, 2018 .

On Repeat: Lostboycrow // Traveler: The Third Legend

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We've been long awaiting the third and final part of LA-based singer-songwriter Lostboycrow's Traveler since Traveler: The First Legend was released last May and Traveler: The Second Legend following last October. The deconstructed album has been building a story of introspection, and we are transported along LBC's journey through each sultry track. Our ears are flooded with his illustrious, emotive vocals and sensual rhythms. Now we'll just be counting down until we can see him perform these tracks live. Check out the tour dates below.

// listen here:

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Listen to more Lostboycrow on Spotify + SoundCloud.

 
Posted on March 2, 2018 .

On Repeat: Arms Akimbo // The Wrong Kind Of Dance Party

  // photo courtesy of Mora/May

// photo courtesy of Mora/May

 

LA-based indie rock band Arms Akimbo dropped their EP The Wrong Kind Of Dance Party last week (February 23). The EP, named after a playlist they used to use to wind down their college parties, flawlessly brings together vibrant, catchy rhythms and moody vocals. The band, composed of Peter Schrupp, Chris Kalil, Colin Boppell and Matthew Sutton, is quickly making waves in modern rock having opened for The Animals, WALK THE MOON and Said the Whale. Whether you're looking for an upbeat tune like Seven Mirrors or want to mellow out to the emotional track Rearrange, this is for sure the right kind of dance party for us.

// listen here:

Listen to more Arms Akimbo on Spotify + SoundCloud.

 
Posted on March 1, 2018 .

Music Spotlight: Bird Concerns

  // photo courtesy of the band

// photo courtesy of the band

 

Bird Concerns first captivated us at a local show at The Satellite last year. The band, composed of bassist Marcus, guitarists Jake and Travis, and drummer Cooper, drew us in with their full rock sound, dancey rhythms and alternating vocalists. We caught up with them on their current projects + inspirations.

Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your recent tour! Can you tell us a bit about what you guys are currently working on?
Bird Concerns: Thanks! The tour was a blast. Once we got back, we were back in the studio. Now it’s the new year, and we’re releasing two new singles and a music video we shot before we left. Also we’re starting preproduction for a full length record we’ve been writing.

AM: How would you describe your sound?
BC: On the most basic level, we’re a surf rock band. Two electric guitars, rich vocal harmonies, and beach-dancing grooves. Below the surface we all have a lot of subtle influences. We all have experience with lots of different music from jazz to punk to classical. So inadvertently, those influences sneak there way into our songs and arrangements. Something like if the Beach Boys listened to more Deerhoof and Sonic Youth.

AM: What themes do you pursue through your music?
BC: Our last EP was a collection of love songs from different angles, from different perspectives in the journey. This next release is a little more introspective. Looking for one’s place in the world while fighting inner demons and trying to be a good person. But there’s always room for more love.

AM: We love how you guys alternate vocalists. Can you tell us a bit about that process?
BC: We’re all song writers and musicians with individual voices, but we’re also a very collaborative band. Usually whoever is singing lead on the song wrote the meat of the song. Travis and Marcus tend to write the most songs for the band–but not all of them. And we always arrange as a team, so the final product usually ends up being a bit different than the original song that got brought in. Also, we just like singing together. Its very fun to sing with your friends.

AM: What's your biggest inspiration?
Marcus: I started playing music when I was a child. My dad is a guitar player and he taught my siblings and I from an early age. We had a family band for a longtime. These days my writing comes out of my experiences and is filtered through the lens of my own world view or philosophy. Sometimes the songs are fantasy, but usually it comes from something that really happened. Sonically, it’s whatever I’m feeling that week.
Jake: Seeing live music is really what inspires me to go through the process of writing and performing. Some of my most productive times are after seeing a particularly moving set of music, whether it's a friend's at a house show or a big act at the Wiltern. There is something about hearing a new perspective or approach to music that has the power to stop people in their tracks and leave them energized. I think that's pretty rad. 
Cooper: I get most of my inspiration by listening to my friends’ music. We’re lucky to know a lot of incredible LA musicians doing cool stuff, and it all informs how I play. Apart from that, I get inspired by life happening all around me. Being alive is a trip.
Travis: I am most inspired by the challenge to create something meaningful with two basic ingredients: sound and silence. As a kid, music was not really a part of my life. I was always fascinated with the concept of learning, writing and performing music but thought one simply had to be a genius in order to even participate. It is the overwhelming mysticism, expression, and power of a truly great performance which I continue to chase. Now I know that all it takes is the right song with the right mental preparation.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
BC: Los Angeles is an incredible place to play music. All of us are full time working musicians; balancing freelance work, teaching music, and playing in other bands. Being surrounded by such an amazing community of musicians and artists is a dream.

AM: How did you land on the name Bird Concerns?
BC: We were in college on a road trip through Big Sur. We started feeling a little stir crazy and silly from many hours in the car, so we stopped at this meadow for a sunset hike. During our hike all the birds were singing around us very loudly. We started joking about what they could be making so much noise over. What were they trying to tell each other? What were their concerns? You know? I guess the phrase just made us smile. Bird Concerns–like what birds are worried about.

AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
Marcus: My favorite new stuff this year was Deerhoof, Solange, Big Thief, and Andy Shauf. Also we had to learn a lot of MoTown and 70’s soul for a gig this year, and I got really really into it. Those grooves are timeless.
Jake: Big Thief and Deerhoof are for sure two of my favorite currently touring bands. In LA, there are too many amazing acts of all genres to name. Some I try to see whenever I can include Jeff Parker, Fell Runner, Avi Buffalo, Chris Speed, Kidi Band, Knower, and Max Ox.
Cooper: I’m really fighting the urge to list off all my friends’ bands! There’s always gonna be some old classics that are stuck with me, but currently, powerdove, Dirty Projectors, Broadcast... Marcus already said some of my big ones, like Deerhoof and Big Thief, but I’m listening to them all the time, too. I’m always late with these things and just now discovering Mac Demarco—he’s pretty rad. 
Travis: The ones who got to me first are Robert Smith for his love songs, Paul Simon for his story telling, and Arthur Rubinstein who’s sensibility at the piano makes me want to do nothing more than play Chopin for the rest of my life.

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
Marcus: I like to play guitar in my backyard and watch the bees buzz around my garden.
Jake: I always feel very creative on the road. The back and forth between being inspired at shows and bored in the car tends to lead to a lot of new ideas and new writing.
Cooper: In the woods. I grew up in the woods, and I still get all my best ideas out in nature. Nothing beats that–especially where there’s running water and tall trees.
Travis: I like to be as far removed from distractions and excesses as possible when hashing out ideas or practicing. My ideal setting is a basic room with a piano and guitar, a few literary and musical books to sift through, and somewhere close by to move my legs and be with mother nature.

AM: What's one piece of advice that you live by?
Marcus: Surround yourself with people that you want to learn from.
Jake: Pay attention!
Cooper: Don’t stress, think twice, act once.
Travis: Nothing is permanent, so start each day brand new.

AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
BC: We’ve got a new single that just came out (February 1st) along with a sci-fi/thriller music video (with a release party at the Hi Hat on Feb. 1st). After that, we’ll be touring more and working on a full length record. 

// Listen to The Monster:

Listen to Bird Concerns on Spotify.

 
Posted on February 1, 2018 .

On Repeat: Robokid // Apart

  // photo courtesy of the artist

// photo courtesy of the artist

 

We've been long awaiting Robokid's EP after the release of his single Next Year (read our interview with him on the track here), in which he debuted his own vocals. The EP Apart (released January 19) didn't disappoint. The LA-based producer + singer-songwriter gives us all the feels with his unique combination of electro-pop beats and emotive vocals. If you're like us, you'll have Worth It on repeat. + Catch him live in LA alongside our other favorite artists at Moving Castle World at the Fonda Saturday, January 27.

// Listen here:

Listen to more Robokid on Spotify + SoundCloud.

 
Posted on January 25, 2018 .

On Repeat: Lostboycrow // I'm A Sailor Not A Salesmen

  // photo by Teren Mabry

// photo by Teren Mabry

 

We've had our eye on Lostboycrow for awhile now (read our interview with him back in 2016), and the indie electro-pop musician never ceases to blow us away. With dreamy vocals + the introspective lyrics he's known for, his single I'm A Sailor Not A Salesmen (released January 19), is the latest LBC track we have on repeat.

// Listen here:

Listen to more Lostboycrow on SpotifySoundCloud.

 
Posted on January 19, 2018 .

Music Spotlight: John Carroll Kirby

  // photo by Molly Lewis

// photo by Molly Lewis

Keyboardist + composer John Carroll Kirby released his first solo record (after working with artists like Solange, Blood Orange and Connan Mockasin) through his own label Outside Inside. Kirby's Travel LP + accompanying visual album is filled with his original compositions inspired by world travel. We caught up with Kirby on the project.

 

Asymmetric Magazine: We're so stoked about your visual album Travel! Can you tell us a bit about the LP?
John Carroll Kirby: Thank You! The LP was written primarily in a small town (population of 500) called Rio Hondo San Antonio in Belize. I stayed in a hut down there with an expat named Rod.  Rod created one of the first "Hobbit Houses" and was very into sustainable living. Wifi was practically non existent in the town, so I was forced to dig deep into my imagination to write the record!

AM: We love how the tracks are named after cities and landscapes. Are they inspired by your personal travels to these places?
JCK: Many songs are inspired by my personal travels, and some are places I traveled to in my head. Imagination is always the theme. Even if it's somewhere I've been before, I tried to take an imaginative perspective on the experience. When visiting Lamanai, I tried to imagine the civilization that lived there before. When I visited Shanghai, I tried to imagine snow falling on the city–I'm trying to make a snow globe that plays "Shanghai" for merchandise!

AM: How does Travel compare to your other work?
JCK: Travel is my most personal and concise work to date.

AM: What was your process for creating the videos for the LP?
JCK: The videos were inspired by favorite video Souvenir de Chine by Jean Michel Jarre. In that video, he portrays the people of China as compassionate, light-hearted and sensitive during a time when people in the west were meant to feel the opposite way. I tried to apply some of that playful curiosity when compiling my videos.

AM: Are the videos all compiled of footage from your travels?
JCK: All the videos are actually compiled from scouring the Internet, but that's a journey of its own!

AM: Aside from world travel, what themes do you typically pursue through your music?
JCK: I like to explore imagination, sensuality, spirituality, and the humor that runs throughout.

AM: What's your biggest inspiration?
JCK: Hermeto Pascoal's Musica da Lagoa, @boonk.ig, Dries Van Noten, Twinkie Clark, Anderson "The Spider" Silva,  Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam.

AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
JCK: Loren Kramar, Molly Lewis, SK Kakraba, Solange, Mac Demarco.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
JCK: LA is my home and where I'm at my best! It's great to be around so many great musicians! LA is the mecca of reckless self expression and spiritual inquiry. It's so fun!

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
JCK: If the mind is clear, the food is good and the clothes fit right, I'm good anywhere!

AM: What's one piece of advice that you live by?
JCK: My guru Sri Dharma Mittra likes to say: 'Without determination, there is no progress!'. Simple but true as hell.

AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
JCK: I have a few records in the works! One is a bit more Balearic, and the other might sound something like Cal Tjader's Amazonas meets Uakti/Philip Glass' Aguas de Amazonia.

Buy Travel + view the full visual album.

 
Posted on November 13, 2017 .

Music Spotlight: Robokid

 Placeholder // photo source:
 

LA-based producer, DJ + singer-songwriter Ethan Budnick, better known as Robokid, is changing the game with the start of his new project and his continued work as cofounder of the well-known label Moving Castle. We caught up with him on his latest single Next Year, upcoming projects and the evolving label that's transforming the music industry.

Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your current work as a musician and your recent release Next Year.
Ethan Budnick: Right now, I've been working with a lot of musicians–different singers and writers. For a while I was just producing a lot of beats but not really putting anything out. I wasn’t happy with what I was making, but I felt pressure to release music because I was being booked for festivals and other gigs. I took some time off from releasing music and got back to the basics of why I started making music in the first place. Up until I wrote Next Year, I hadn't written a full song in a long time, and when I made it I knew I wanted to put it out as my first song to this whole new project I'm working on. I’m using the with the same sounds I used to make [as a DJ] but have been changing the structure to be more pop-oriented and adding my own vocals and writing. After working with a lot of singers and writers and watching how they work, it inspired me to sing on my own tracks. Next Year is about that feeling of not fitting in and wanting to be different but realizing that the most important thing in life is to stay true to yourself.

AM: How would you describe your sound?
EB: I originally started making music in an electronic/emo band in high school with my friends, but I didn’t really take production seriously until I got into EDM and dance beats. My sound is a mix of all of those elements and a variety of indie, pop and R&B influences. It's hard for me to describe my own music; it's really just whatever comes out when I write and has a lot of feelings.

AM: What themes do you typically pursue through your music?
EB: A lot of my music is about the human experience and my own personal life. I like to write about things that I feel a lot of people can relate to and things that might help others through certain situations. In Next Year, almost every line has a double meaning. I like writing music that isn't so literal and can be interpreted in a bunch of different ways. Next Year can be seen as me talking about or to myself, but it can also be viewed as me giving advice to someone else. Typically I’m writing about my personal life because that is like therapy, but sometimes it's fun to be in character and write from another perspective. Also, I really love writing diss tracks, but I haven’t put one of those out yet. I really just want people to learn my story by listening to my music.

AM: So, what advice would you give to aspiring musicians and artists?
EB: My biggest piece of advice is stay true to yourself. Next Year is the perfect song for that. For awhile, I was comparing myself to my friends and other artists who were really successful, making a lot of money and touring a lot. I was always thinking, what am I doing wrong?, and I would think I had to do things exactly how they did it. You don't need to be like everyone else or copy other people. Stay in your own lane, and do what you want to be doing. It's more fulfilling to be yourself and people will care more about what you’re doing, too.  People can tell right away when something is genuine or is fake. It's okay to want to be a popular musician and follow trends to an extent, but make sure you do your it in your own way. I make music because I love the stuff I make. When I first started making beats, I never thought I'd sing because I thought I was a terrible singer. But a friend had me sing on a track once and edited my vocals, and then I realized that you can do anything. I realized shortly after that I really do have something to say, and it's real to me. So much of the music out now has so many people involved in the writing process that you can't even tell whose idea or story it was to begin with. Music is so much more genuine when it's genuine and means something to the artist.

AM: What's your biggest inspiration?
EB: Musically my inspirations are all over the place. I grew up listening to producers like Kanye West, The Neptunes and Timbaland, as well as a lot of post-hardcore, indie and emo bands like Circa Survive, Chiodos and Death Cab for Cutie. In about 10th grade, I got really into hip hop, rap and pop music and was obsessed with Benny Blanco and Dr. Luke. I would research all these pop producers because I thought the productions were so interesting. Then I got really into electronic production, so those are the staple genres that inspired me to start making music. Anthony Green, Pharrell and Kanye West, and Skrillex are all huge influences. I really used to love how Skrillex sang on his own songs and chopped up his own vocals. I feel like a lot of people forget that he sang, and I wish he would more still. 

AM: What music are you currently listening to? 
EB: I was really obsessed with the new Toro y Moi album. Also, I just did a bootleg remix of Kelela's single Frontline–I'm such a huge fan of her. I also love the new Tommy Genesis single. I guess you could say I’m really into R&B at the moment.

AM: What role does LA play in your work?
EB: It's a huge melting pot for meeting people. People from all over come in and out, so living here is great to take advantage of working with so many different people. Also, being able to bring [artists from] the Internet into real life to collaborate is the best thing. There's such a huge network of artists here. I used to live in Boston, and it was hard to collaborate because it seemed like a lot of people dabbled in music, but it wasn't really their passion and no one took it as seriously. Coming out here, you get thrown in and are inspired by everyone around you.

AM: Speaking of working with different artists, can you tell us about starting the label Moving Castle and the work you guys do out here?
EB: Yeah! I met musician AObeats online, he showed me Manila Killa's music, and we basically just decided to start a little collective. Over time, things progressed, and we became more of a label. In 2015, we started signing and putting out artists' singles, and we made LA our home base. It's grown so much, and now we work on signing artists, creating merch, designing artwork, and helping artists develop and promote their EPs. We also have a storefront on Melrose where we started having pop-up events. It's a great time to have an independent label because the music industry is evolving a lot. It's shifting towards the listeners instead of the big labels.

 

 

I make music because I love the stuff I make.
I have something to say, and it's real to me.

 

 

AM: How did you land on the name 'Robokid' as your alias?
EB: It's a funny story. When I was a freshman in college, I really wanted to be a DJ, and my friends and I were really high and trying to come up with names. My one friend had a shirt that said 'Kid Robot' that he wore all the time. Also, one of my favorite DJs at the time was a DJ named Unicorn Kid. So, I combined those to come up with Robokid, and it just stuck. I've tried to change it before, but it's a part of me now.

AM: Where is one place you feel completely in touch with your creative self?
EB: At home sitting at my desk. I move around a lot, but I feel the best creatively wherever my own set up is. I'm comfortable to just be myself, and there's no pressure. I'd rather work out of my house than a studio.

AM: Is that where you do most of your writing?
EB: I write lyrics anywhere. In Ubers, out at night, wherever I am. I'm always writing lyrics in my phone when I think of something.

AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
EB: I have two songs coming out next week with singer-songwriter Phem. She's just starting a new artist project of writing solo and expressing herself, so it's really cool to help her with it. I should have another single with my vocals out soon, and I'm working on my EP out next year.

Keep up with Robokid on SoundCloud + Spotify.

The Feels + Union presents No Feels 010: Halloween Edition
ROBOKID
with Hoodboi, Drippy Dolphin + special guests

Saturday, October 28 // 9pm-2am
Union // 4067 W. Pico Blvd.
tickets

 
Posted on October 5, 2017 .

Music Spotlight: Mother Mother

  // photo courtesy of CO5 Media

// photo courtesy of CO5 Media

 

With the recent release of their EP No Culture: Live Sessions, alt-rock band Mother Mother show a raw side of themselves, putting out six live and acoustic versions of songs from their latest full-length album No Culture. Mother Mother is composed of Ryan Guldemond on guitar and vocals, Molly Guldemond on vocals and keyboards, Jasmin Parkin on keyboards and vocals, Ali Siadat on drums and percussion, and Mike Young on bass. We caught up with Ryan on their sound, inspiration and first live EP.

Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your tour and new EP! What can we expect to hear?
Ryan Guldemond: Thank you. We're excited about this EP, as we've not yet released anything live. The tracks I'm most excited about are the acoustic renditions of Love Stuck and Letter. On the studio album, they're both big songs in their production but work so well stripped down. It's always a good test–seeing how the melodies hold up without a fortress of sound behind them. 

AM: How would you best describe your sound?
RG: It's like a really pleasant day, but all the colours are different and things are skewed. The sky is purple, the trees are blue, the hands you shake have three and a half fingers, etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is there's something familiar or nostalgic about our sound, but it's bent somehow, or glitchy. Like you're at a picnic, and your mushrooms are starting to kick in. I don't know. It's a hard, almost intolerable question. If you ask a radio programmer, they would say "alternative". 

AM: What's your biggest inspiration?
RG: That which arrests the soul, I suppose, and that can be something either beautiful or horrifying, but both images have a way of elucidating how precious life is. Amazing songs do this, you know, the ones that encapsulate universal themes with lyrics so simple yet novel. And portraits of urban dystopia, or the smell of tomatoes on the vine, or leaving somebody who loves you or being left by somebody you love, or both at the same time. Good sex, bad sex. Being yelled at, being cradled. Amazing people. Shitty people. I think life is my answer. It's a very inspiring ordeal, life.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
RG: I spent a lot of time in LA writing for No Culture. I wrote the first and last songs on the record in LA while I was staying at a little artist apartment in Silver Lake. Can you hear it?

AM: What themes do you pursue through your music?
RG: On No Culture, the big theme was truth: finding it, denying it, and reconciling with the lies you may have been living or telling yourself, but also falling into longing for them or your old brain which believed in them. And like with most of our stuff, the central themes of any given album are often cloaked with existential, antiestablishment, or ironic overtones. The play between extremes and opposites is also common. It's important to me that, if a song is dismal, there's a silver lining, and vice versa. If the thematic lens is rose coloured, then dark clouds loom in the bridge.

AM: How did you land on the name "Mother Mother"?
RG: An Oedipus Complex

AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
RG: Perfume Genius, Angel Olsen, Fleet Foxes, Nick Cave, Vince Staples, The National, Karen Dalton, We Are The City, Blake Mills, Sharen Van Etten

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self?
RG: I really wish I knew where that was.

AM: Whats the best advice you’ve ever received?
RG: Be safe, but not too safe. 

Watch the music video for Love Stuck:

Listen to No Culture: Live Sessions on Spotify:

Tour dates:

July 14 @ Rapids Theatre // Niagrara Falls, New York
August 12 @ Front Yard Shindig // Smith Falls, Ontario
August 18 @ Bissell Park // Elora, Ontario
August 19 @ Pacific National Exhibition // Vancouver, British Columbia

Stay up-to-date on Mother Mother.

 
Posted on July 14, 2017 .

Music Spotlight: Wake The Wild

  Wake The Wild is composed of Chase Jackson (bass, guitar + synth), Forrest Mitchel (drums), and Zach Sorgen (vocals). // photo by    Craeg Macleod

Wake The Wild is composed of Chase Jackson (bass, guitar + synth), Forrest Mitchel (drums), and Zach Sorgen (vocals). // photo by Craeg Macleod

Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your current work as a band.
Chase Jackson: Our newest single, “Numb” is simultaneously a party anthem, as well as a social commentary on modern culture of intoxication. It celebrates the fun and energy of the weekend but is self aware of the irony and paradoxes that we all embody.
Forrest Mitchell: Right now, we are really honing in on the sound. We've been able to play a few shows and test out a lot of unreleased tracks and get a better feel for what works best. As of late, we are channeling a more funky/dance vibe and really trying to capture the more live band-like sound in our recorded music.
Zach Sorgen: We had the vision for Wake The Wild long before releasing a single song. We had had a more acoustic project back in high school, and as we graduated college, we were searching to incorporate more electronic elements and more mature lyrics to reflect our new taste and our new reality. We then worked with ZEDD's engineer, but it didn't sound enough "like a band," so we shelved those songs and spent over two years crafting and honing the current sound. Finally, I think we have stumbled on something original and modern yet with a nod to the past.
I think one of our main appeals is the detail-oriented musicality. This really comes across at the live shows. Forrest's background in jazz drumming is clear from tasty fills and pocket, as well as sometimes an extended smashing drum solo. I try to nail the notes with emotion and also improvise new parts at every show, rocking the stage with signature dance moves and, I guess, a humble swag. Still a little shy, but getting back into it! Chase meanwhile switches constantly between guitar, bass, and the malletkat: a synth vibraphone played with four mallets. We have a good time playing out and this seems to translate well as we want everyone to have a good time vibing with us.

AM: How would you best describe your sound?
CJ: Our sound is a blend of electronic production using vintage and modern synths with our unique live instrumentation of drums, guitar, bass, vocals, keys and synth vibraphone. We utilize a lot of unique jazz influenced chordal harmony that showcases our roots in old school R&B and funk with memorable pop-inspired melodies.
FM: Our sound is a fusion of old and modern styles with an electronic overtone. It has elements of electro-pop, funk, r&b, Chicago house, future bass, and jazz. We are really trying to create a fun, dance vibe, that also has other aspects to the overall sound. It's hard to pigeonhole, and that's how we like it. 
ZS: It is what it is. We just want to create a vibe and share the stories from our lives. Live shows we tend to play more uptempo stuff to get people moving. We don't want to be anybody else or create something that's already been created. We all met playing jazz, and it's fun to incorporate that harmonically and rhythmically–getting back to our roots.  I think our individuality comes across. Zach the singer also loves pop so the toplines tend toward catchy hooks while the production stays left of center with heavy synths and syncopations.

AM: What's your biggest inspiration?
CJ: We grew up listening to classic Prince, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye, as well as modern jazz fusion artists like Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Weather Report, but we’re also hugely influenced by modern artists like Disclosure, NAO and Oliver Nelson who fuse electronic production with organic live sounds and funky feels.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
CJ: In my opinion, Los Angeles’s greatest asset is it’s diversity and energy. Almost everyone I know is from somewhere else and is extremely talented and passionate about what they do. There’s so much variety in art, music, film, food and industry, that it’s an amazing melting pot for new ideas and cross collaboration. Ideally, we’re utilizing these unique assets as influences for our music.
FM: It plays a huge role. There are definite benefits and drawbacks to being in LA, but that goes for just about everywhere. The pluses are of course being somewhere with a million incredible producers, songwriters, musicians, and music industry professionals reside. There's a real scene here, and it's great to tap into. It can also be a bit disorienting and overwhelming, too. Getting noticed in a sea of talent can be a challenge. And of course, everyone you talk to has a different opinion as to how to be successful, so it can be hard really knowing what's best for you and when to ignore the distractions. 
ZS: LA is one of the best places on earth to be in your 20s and in music. Tons of friends are also following their passions and in the industry, so it's cool collaborating with and supporting each other. There are also a bunch of great venues we plan to rock in the coming year. We have a sweet house together and studio space on the East Side. But there is also a drive toward Top 40, which we are keen to avoid–wanting to stay true to ourselves and our vision and not follow trends.

  // photo by  George Karalexis

// photo by George Karalexis

AM: What themes do you pursue through your music?
CJ: Relationships, sexuality, fun, ambition and energy are all common threads. We really want our audiences to have a good time, and when we play live, seeing positive vibes from a dancing crowd is one of the most rewarding things. We want our positivity and energy to be contagious.
FM: Dance, fun, youth, sex.
ZS: Anything that's dope and honest. It's hard to describe, you just know when you feel it. Last summer, we went on a wild Eurotrip including a stop in southern Italy. I had studied there during my semester abroad, and there was one insane night we had to write about. Specchia was the original rough title for Touch The Ground, remembering that elevated feeling, celebrating life and being together. Numb takes a kind of ironic stance on how we rage every weekend, celebrating life but we feel terrible the next day, and alcohol is technically a depressant, so in a way it's kind of to forget the workweek.

 

 

We really want our audiences to have a good time, and when we play live, seeing positive vibes from a dancing crowd is one of the most rewarding things. We want our positivity and energy to be contagious.

 

 

AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
CJ: Disclosure, NAO, Oliver Nelson, Thundercat, Anderson Paak, Laura Mvula, Snarky Puppy, The Weeknd & Daft Punk are all consistent inspiration and influences. Michael Jackson is hard to beat though!
FM: Right now, I've been listening to a lot of Kaytranada, Anderson .Paak, Empire of the Sun, and NAO. I feel like all of these artists are really strong in their personal identities and are creating some fire shit in their own right. Talent and originality pour from every aspect of their projects. I respect originality so much, especially when it is coming from a place of pure talent and hard work.
ZS: NAO

AM: How did you land on the name "Wake The Wild"?
CJ: I played a one-off show at an event called “Awaken The Wild.” Since that concert never occurred again, we decided to utilize and alter that name to fit our new band. The name speaks to the energy we strive for in our music and live performances. We want our audiences to feel like they are fully engulfed in the music and free to open up to the moment through participation.

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
CJ: We have a music studio in the back of the house where we all live. It’s completely crammed full of instruments and recording gear. We spend pretty much every weeknight from 7pm to 1am or so there jamming, producing and writing new music. We affectionally call it “The Chateau” or “The Bunker” depending on where we are in the music process, (haha)!
FM: I'm a firm believer in the idea that half of practicing is listening. Where do I do most of my music listening? Blasting music in my car in LA traffic. I learn so much about how different artists produce and piece together their music. I'll hear different mixing textures, or production ideas, or hone in on lyrical themes and how they intersect with melody. As long as I'm not late, I don't mind long drives because it's my personal time to just swim in music. 
ZS: Yosemite

AM: Whats the best advice you’ve ever received?
CJ: Hmmm, Great question. Because we listen to, like and are capable of making music in so many different kinds of music from so many eras and traditions, sometimes it’s been hard to know exactly what to create. After a few false starts with different sounds, a number of musicians and friends encouraged us to focus on making music that we really, truly enjoy listening to and playing rather than appealing to current trends. Our intent is that if we make what we think is the best product possible by our standards, then it will stand for itself and others will enjoy it, as well! 
FM: Nobody knows anything.
ZS: Persistence.

Listen to Wake The Wild's latest track Numb on SoundCloud or Spotify:

Posted on April 12, 2017 .

Music Spotlight: FYOHNA

  FYOHNA is the electronic duo composed of vocalist Katarina Gleicher + producer/multi-instrumentalist Elliot Glasser // photos courtesy of CO5 Media

FYOHNA is the electronic duo composed of vocalist Katarina Gleicher + producer/multi-instrumentalist Elliot Glasser // photos courtesy of CO5 Media

Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your current work as musicians and "Ghost Heart".
FYOHNA: We’ve been playing together for about two years. We devote almost all of our time as musicians to this project, so we are really excited to get to share Ghost Heart.

AM: How would you best describe your sound?
F: Reflective songs with slightly complex but moving rhythms and expansive and lush production.

AM: What inspires you most?
F: What inspires us always really depends. It’s a little bit mysterious. I try not to think about it too hard because I think most of the time I have to get out of my own way to become inspired. Inspiration is one of those things that just sort of sneaks up on me. There’s this very brief moment where I can either recognize it and grab onto it, or I can just let it sort of evaporate and very easily just go on with my day. Think inspiration is everywhere, it’s just about wether you’re able to see it.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
Elliot: I think the coolest thing about growing up around Los Angeles was the mix of cultures. Growing up, I went to a lot of electronic music and hip hop shows in LA. All different kinds of people with strong identities doing their own thing.

AM: What themes do you pursue through your music?
Katarina: There is always a theme of mixing dark thoughts and transforming them into something empowering.  I like to say things that people don’t like to say-or are too afraid to say.

AM: How did you land on the name FYOHNA?
Katarina: We really wanted this project to be under a name that could represent both of us. Personally, I wanted to have an alter ego to take responsibility for my words. The name Fyohna gave me the freedom to say whatever I wanted without a filter. Plus, we simply love the way it sounds.

AM: What other music is currently inspiring you?
F: Tune Yards, St. Vincent, Fiona Apple, Sylvan Esso, Purity Ring, Santigold, Hundred Waters, Little Dragon, Gorillaz, Thom Yorke, Flying Lotus, Ametsub, Arca, Bjork, SOHN, SBTRKT, Shlohmo, DJ Paypal, Mount Kimbie, James Blake, Hudson Mohawke, Lapalux, Bonobo, Glass Animals, mum, Julia Holter, Clark

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self?
K: Honestly, wherever I happen to feel it.  I don’t usually write unless I have something to say, and I feel most creative when I have something to say. 

AM: What's the best advice you've ever received?
K: Don’t miss breakfast.

Listen to FYOHNA's latest track Ghost Heart on SoundCloud:

Tour dates:

April 18 @ Barboza // Seattle, WA
April 20 @ Hawthorne Lounge // Portland, OR
April 23 @ Hotel Utah // San Francisco, CA
April 30 @ The Echo // Los Angeles, CA (EP Release Party)

Posted on April 10, 2017 .

Music Spotlight: SAKIMA

  SAKIMA is a singer, songwriter and producer // photos courtesy of the artist

SAKIMA is a singer, songwriter and producer // photos courtesy of the artist

Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your current work as a musician.
Sakima: I have a lot of creative outlets, so my work as a musician usually encompasses a bunch of other art forms that all connect in an explorative way. I recently did a collab with one of my best mates and long term visual collaborator Rianne White for a piece made for VSCO. That collab was a sort of audio-visual exploration of my debut EP which drops on Moving Castle later this spring.  I’ve been working with a lot of other musicians such as AObeats (we also have a duo called SWIMS together), and I’ve been making a bunch of tracks with Jailo (my main outlet for making dancehall tracks!). I sing, write and produce, so I’m quite lucky that I get to do a whole variety of sessions and work with loads of different artists because of my flexibility, but I also don’t depend on other people to write or produce for me on my own songs, so I’m pretty much making new music daily (not to sound pretentious!).

AM: How would you best describe your sound?
S: I’m always out-running myself in terms of genre, which I think is fine these days. We all consume so many different kinds music on the daily that it’s kind of open the door for artists to be lots of different things at once.  For my current phase, one of my best mates, Slow Shudder, said my music was best viewed as hip hop. Though it dances with pop, r’n’b and electronic sub-genres, the lyrical content of my music is most effective culturally when viewed as hip hop, which I find kind of fascinating.

AM: What inspires you most?
S: Things that other artists don’t make! I know that sounds sort of dumb, but my best work comes from a place of God dam I wish there was a song that spoke to me as a gay guy in the way this Usher song does to others–that sort of thing. It often feels like gay artists are afraid to get turned into pop music or any kind of music that touches on being mainstream or accessible. That’s always been my biggest issue with music. Why do we have to sugar coat our identities or sexuality if we aren’t white and straight? Most days I’m like, fuck that and then write a mad ratchet pop banger from a queer perspective.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
S: I think it would be easier to as what role doesn’t it play. Although I'm currently in the UK, everything in my life is pretty LA centric, which happened in the past couple of years, thanks to AObeats and his scary big influence on my life. I always had a super romanticized idea of LA–I still have this low key fantasy of having an LA boyfriend and the film that we all make up in our heads about thoughts like that. It makes way into my music frequently. If my music was a place, it’s always going to be the UK, but the personality of my music is deeply LA. Psycho analyze that if you want.

AM: What themes do you pursue through your music?
S: I mostly pursue sex in my music, if I’m being honest (not that it’s hard to tell). Again, it’s this real injustice felt as a gay person–artist/brand/persona aside–just as a member of the gay community, the lack of mainstream, pop, accessible music that is by or targeted towards the LGBTQ+ community is just so fucking bleak. Of course, there are a handful of queer musicians in contemporary pop music that are incredible assets to not only the gay community but music in general, but it’s always so censored–so sugar-coated. How can straight artists sing about what ever they like and be as sexual as they want, but queer artists have to sit down when it comes to anything remotely non-PG? Not all of my music is queer exclusive, of course, and it’s not all of who I am, but I definitely feel a responsibility to get LGBTQ+ stories, specifically ones that talk about sex without being apologetic. If Justin Bieber can roll around on a bed and simulate sex with a girl, then I’m going to do the fucking same with a guy in a music video, because gay people have sex, too.

AM: We love that you stand for equality in pop music. How do you think music impacts social change?
S: In my opinion, music is always a reflection of the current sociocultural climate. The representation of different social groups has for a very long time been unequal, which isn’t cool. For me, it’s not about making protest songs that are overtly forcing an agenda for change, but I’m more interested in integrating into pop music as a gay artist and pushing the normalcy of queer stories. LGBTQ+ people are as sexual as straight people, so where is the queer sex in pop music? That’s what I want to bring. It’s not about change, it’s about integration and aligning queer stories with straight ones in music to an equal level.

AM: What other musicians or artists are currently inspiring you?
S: I’m mostly inspired by the producers behind artists' work. As an artist who produces most of their own work, I never really hook onto an artist for one specific reason. It makes it hard to have a clear idea of what is directly inspiring me because it’s just a constant stream of sounds that I’m like, Oh shit! I want to make something like that. I’ve been having a lot of those 'Oh shit! I wish that was my song' moments with Post Malone, Tory Lanez and Mura Masa.

 

 

Don’t ever let anyone tell you what other people want. Make what makes you happy, and it’ll make other people happy, too.

 

 

AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self?
S: To be honest, when I’m in the bath. There’s something meditative about sitting in hot water for ages; it gives me a direct path to my creativity to dream up whatever dumb thing I want to do next. Second to that, it’s my bedroom. What can I say? I like my own company.

AM: What's the best advice you've ever received?
S: Well no one ever told me this, but after years of being told not to ‘use male pronouns’ or ‘be homoerotic’, aka to not be myself, I’d say the best advice is don’t ever let anyone tell you what other people want. Make what makes you happy, and it’ll make other people happy, too.

Listen to SAKIMA's latest track What I Know Now (feat. AOBeats) on SoundCloud:

Posted on March 27, 2017 .