Hey RUST fans, we’ve got a new video from the Devil City Angels, made up of Rikki Rockett, Tracii Guns, Rudy Sarzo, and Brandon Gibbs. We’ve actually been watching this band for a minute and we’re super happy to hear the freshness from them, old school style! You can order their new self-titled album plus some really killer gear HERE.
Heads up RUST fans we have an Industrial Black Metal band from Grenoble, France on our playlist today that we want to spread the word on. The name of the album is Legio Axis Ka and – like many albums we’re getting from France – the band has an intelligence and a unique style that breaks them out of the pack. There’s a freshness to this music, an immediacy and a velocity that is admirable. You can really hear the individual personalities at work and this is clearly a band with a vision of greater things. Pavillon Rouge’s first album, Solmeth Pervitine, was released in late 2011 and it has gotten serious critical acclaim. The production sounds great and the whole packaging and concept are first rate. Check them out!
Counterparts rocked the house at Center Stage in Atlanta on July 26th, along with Real Friends, Every Time I Die, Gnarwolves, Gatherers and Brigades on the Common Vision Tour and these guys killed it. The whole night was jam-packed full of jams and the tour will continue across the country with dates until late August. This show not to miss – take it from us! Photo by Travis Blake.
Tour info here http://commonvisiontour.com/
RUST Magazine wants to give a big thank you to Brigades who let us snap a few pictures of them at Center Stage in Atlanta on July 26th, despite last minute van trouble before the show. They’ll be on the road with Real Friends, Every Time I Die, Gnarwolves, Gatherers and Counterparts on the Common Vision Tour with dates until late August. This show not to miss – take it from us! Photo by Travis Blake.
Tour info here http://commonvisiontour.com/
Seattle scenester Gretta Harley’s debut solo album is a true treat for the ears on several levels. It sounds great, thanks to fantastic production by KRAMER but there’s a lot more to this whole project than that… there’s an intimacy and a real sense of one person sharing themselves with another. You really feel like you’re right there in the room with Gretta as she’s playing, moreso you feel that you’re there with her in an alternate realm that she has created through her musical craftsmanship. It’s in the fine details that the real beauty of this album, and this artist, are exposed. We were so curious about the making of Element 115 we sought out Gretta who graciously answered a few questions for us here.
RUST: Gretta thanks for talking to us here and congratulations on a job very well done. We’ve been spinning your vinyl and we’re particularly enthralled with the closeness that comes through. Were you prepared to be so open and to go so deep with your ideas when you first imagined the whole album?
GH: First of all, thank you so much listening to the record. I am so happy that you like it. These days I think it’s a tall order to ask someone to listen from start to finish to a 45+ minute song cycle in one sitting. That’s how it was written to be heard, so thank you.
Yes, the record is very intimate. And I think for some, almost uncomfortably at times. When I played this piece to an audience for the first time with the 10-piece orchestra at the release concert in June, I could feel people squirming during the first few songs—and I think it’s due to the intimacy of the lyrics and also the bareness of some of the arrangements. But as the music unfolded I really felt the audience relaxing into the place that I had hoped to bring them to. It was always my hope that in revealing a large amount of vulnerability, and strength, and with some degree of humor, I might have the honor of earning the listeners’ trust—in recognition that we all have those dark places that we never or rarely admit to.
Perhaps I read an abundance of Joseph Campbell in my youth, but I have always been fascinated with uncovering the dark underbelly that lives within the layers of our being human. Specifically to the themes on the record we are collectively so ashamed of weakness, and rejection (which we’ve all felt), and I think that the associated shame can come out in destructive ways. I have for a long time held a curiosity around the questions of what happens when we reveal those dark places and go deeper? Does naming them take their power away? Does it give you a key? If you open that door and go down the hole do you learn more about yourself and find your superhero power? Anyway, it’s just a theory and I could happily go on a long time about this topic over a bottle of wine and some good interactive company.
To speak on a less ideological and more technical side to things, when I first started sending demos to KRAMER, and talking with him about our approach, it became apparent that the record would sound very intimate. He kept asking me to sing softer. He wanted to hear the songs with just piano and voice or just guitar and voice. In the studio with the use of his pre-amp and custom microphone, and with his consistent reminders to sing even softer, we were able to create this kind of almost one-on-one conversation to the listener. The music itself is letting the listener into the heart and head of someone talking to herself after she got dumped so unexpectedly. Each song addresses a different moment or day inside the mixed up head of the broken-hearted. Some days are better than others. At first you’re devastated, sad, then humiliated. Then you get pissed off and go between blaming yourself for being so open in the first place and then pissed off at the person, and then you decided he is making a big mistake (in your head). Ultimately you need to find your way back to yourself in order to forgive. It’s kind of an exorcism. We’ve all been there, right?
RUST: Technically, this is such a treat for the ears, what was the working relationship like between you and KRAMER while the songs were being compiled?
GH I came to KRAMER with the song cycle nearly completed. He didn’t have input in compiling the songs or the order of them, but his signature is all over the recording. Working with KRAMER was a pleasure and an honor, because he truly is so good at what he does; plus he is really funny, very smart, and he travels with delicious imported teas. We liked each other right away. We quickly discovered that we work similarly in that we both do a fair amount of sonic painting, improvisation and experimentation. We are both perfectionists to some extent, but we also sing praise to the Eno wisdom of unintended consequence. We each have no trouble putting out a bunch of crap before it gets good. Every suggestion that either of us made was tried, and most kept and a few mutually rejected. We are both good at working long concentrated hours and we both love the recording process. We both adore comedy, too, so when we needed a break we’d retreat to a dose of British humor.
RUST: Now that the album is out, how do you feel about it? Was it what you had envisioned or did it go into different directions in the studio?
GH: KRAMER absorbed all of the demos I made in my living room and I felt that his ideas brought to life the style and voice I was going for, except he made it all so much better than I could have imagined. He didn’t redesign anything. He helped to broaden the colors and make them brighter and more dimensional. He got me. He got my humor. He got my freakiness. He got my intention. And he encouraged that timbre in my voice that I hadn’t used a lot in my heavier rock music. “Sing even softer.” And that was right.
The recording process was truly a splendid experience. I had always envisioned making a record with no day-to-day distractions. It was just the two of us with the music all the time. There are always things you have to let go of in terms of performance and production when taking limited time and money into account. That’s a given. That said, I think it sounds great. And it looks great. (The artwork is something that I worked very hard on with Tim Silbaugh and these visuals play a strong role in the vinyl experience, and the live show. There is a visual collage on a screen behind the orchestra that plays adjacent to the music in the same way a good film score would support a film but never detracts.)
RUST: Who are some of the other people that helped make Element 115… what was it about them that made them so right to join you in the creative moment.
GH: The writing of the songs was just me. The instruments on the record are played by myself and KRAMER only. However, during my writing process my friend Elizabeth Kenny listened to almost all of the demos as I made them, and in those birth moments that are sometimes accompanied with self-doubt it was great to share the music with someone who got what I was doing. Even when I wasn’t sure what I was doing, she encouraged me. (Creating is always a process and this record certainly unfolded itself to me.) She turned me on to an NPR story about Element 115 that I eventually used as the title to the record.
Xian Fulghum, the owner of the now defunct Fin Records was the first person who said, “Yes, this is great. Let’s make it happen.” Although his label folded during the pre-production and he wasn’t able to release it in the end, his willingness to do so and his initial financial support got the ball rolling. Emotionally, the music was so vulnerable to me too, and it was fuckin’ scary to play it for people and have them go, “Um. I don’t get it,” which did happen. So Xian’s support was key.
Before and during the recording process with KRAMER (which was two sessions over a span of 6 months) I put together a rock band called Mettle. I never let these guys hear the work I was doing with KRAMER because I wanted the band version to be its own thing. (The analogy I used in my head was the theatre version and the film version of the song cycle.) Dave Pascal, Mike Katell and Ben Morrow (and for a short time Brian Emery) played this material for almost a year in a little practice space and a few shows, and I am sure that what we did together influenced some choices I made in the studio with KRAMER.
RUST: Is there anybody that deserves some special thanks for helping you along your journey to get the project finished?
GH: YES! I created an IndieGoGo campaign. There were over 130 donors who made it possible for me to press and release the record myself. Their names are published in a blog on my website. Also, my brother and his wife, Glenn and Jackie Kramer (no relation) had just bought their house in St. Augustine and generously loaned it to us before they moved in. KRAMER and I thought it a fantastic studio situation. Also I was first introduced to KRAMER by a mutual friend, musician, Matt Menovcik who heard the songs in the making and thought KRAMER would like the music.
RUST: OK, last question, what’s happening for you in the next moment in your life? Will you be touring? More recording? Thanks!
GH: I am playing this music in a solo set in NYC in September (The Bitter End on 9/13/15). I am writing another song cycle now and talking with KRAMER about it. We definitely want to work together again.
I am also plotting ways in which I can create another live multi-media experience with this music and the next song cycle. These productions are expensive to put out there, so there are logistics to work out and money to raise.
Thank you so much for giving this music attention and giving me an opportunity to talk about it with you and your readers. You guys rock!!
Get more info at http://www.grettaharleymusic.com/
Hey RUST fans we have a really cool album to talk about today, and this one has come all the way from France. The name of the band is Sunshadows, they sing in English, and their new album Red Herring is a fresh serving of very cool hard rock. There’s crazy hot heavy-rock scene happening in France that we’ve been hearing bits and pieces of for a while now and Sunshadows, like many of their peers, has a clarity in their musical message and an intelligence to song arrangement that impresses. It’s all about style and attitude with them. We’re impressed. We’ve got several other releases that we’ll be blogging about soon but we recommend you definitely check Sunshadows out – right now!
Gothenburg is the debut album from Kaiser Cartel’s Benjamin Cartel and it’s a great collection of contemporary Americana style songs with subtle songwriting and very personal instrumentation. Featuring songs written over many years, it’s got a feeling of completeness, and on several levels these songs have already travelled, grown and matured along their own life paths before being recorded here. There is patience, wisdom and resilience in Benjamin Cartel’s music and we were curious to talk to him about it – here he is in his own words.
RUST: Benjamin, thanks for talking to us and congratulations on a really well composed collection of music. We like it a lot and we’re grateful that we can ask you a few questions. Firstly, how do you feel about Gothenburg now that’s it’s done and out there? Do you feel like you accomplished what you wanted to with your music?
BC: Thanks for taking time to interview me. Gothenburg represents years of work. There are songs written last year, and songs written many years ago. Gothenburg is a great moment for me to put it all together in one album. I did my very best to make sure the songs came out well and told the stories is that I wanted to tell.
That being said, any good artist will always want to twittle the knobs, go back and tweak things out, and basically fix any recording or any collection of recordings that they’ve made. That’s only natural. But I put a lot of work into this album and I feel good about what I’ve created. It was a team effort with Kristoffer Regnstam and Joel Lundberg ( producers ) Ryan Kelly ( the mixer ) Kieran Mulvaney, Mike Cohen, and David Gould ( from my band in NY ). They were very much a part of this work.
RUST: There are songs here that are from very different times in your life, spanning over a decade… when you recorded them, what was it like to revisit these ideas? Did you feel that you had a new perspective on them or did they remain much as you had originally written them?
BC: The older songs have a new perspective on them. I don’t think I’d want to go back in time and make them sound like 2009 or whenever I wrote them. I looked at the older songs with new vision – as far as music and production. When it comes to the lyrics of older song, it’s not hard to look back and feel my way into emotions of the past. If the songs are carefully written the first time, then it’s easy enough to pick them back up again. That’s my hope for every song I write.
I feel grateful and thankful to be able to finally get some of these other older songs recorded. I feel like older have held up over time, and can hold their own next to the newer songs.
RUST: Can you tell us a little about some of the other people that helped make this album?
BC: Much this recording was made possible by the cheerleading of my good friends Joel Lundberg and Kristoffer Ragnstam the producers. Their enthusiasm was the spark that got the recording happening. Kristoffer and the Harbour Heads were label mates of Kaiser Cartel and fans of my songs. A few years ago they asked me if they could add some instruments to some raw recordings. We both loved the results. This lead to a recorded collaboration which became the sound of the Money and Love EP.
We decided to record together in the same place for the next release. Joel and Kristoffer invited me over to Gothenburg, their hometown in Sweden, to record an album. In Gothenburg, The backing band for most of the recording was Kristoffer and Joel, with help from a few other Gothenburg based musicians.The songs were American / New York Benjamin Cartel creations, but many of the sounds of the band were products of Gothenburg musicians. That’s why I named the album ‘Gothenburg’. Ryan Kelly, the mixer, had worked with Kristoffer and Joel, and was familiar with their studio. I was familiar with him through Kristoffer and Joel. I also made sure to make my NY based band part of the process of recording the overdubs.
RUST: This album developed in a somewhat unique way. It started with you, travelled away and returned again – was the making of this album it’s own journey?
BC: Yes, it was very much a journey. I am finding that this has become pattern with me. I often like to travel to make recordings. If I look back on my last few major recordings with Kaiser Cartel – I have recorded in Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, London, and now Gothenburg. But making the Gothenburg album was very much a personal journey, nobody else came with me to Gothenburg. And while I was there I was staying on my own in a tiny little apartment. I was literally left alone, and I purposely tried not to have a lot contact with anybody else in the world. Because of this, accidental or perhaps self-imposed isolation it was easy for me to focus and just let the recordings pour out.
It wasn’t as though I was out in the woods or anything. I was in a major Scandinavian city with public transportation, tall buildings, etc. But I still felt like I was off the beaten path. To be honest, coming from New York, most cities that aren’t London, Paris, Berlin, Chicago, or LA, seem like small towns to me. Being in the “small town” felt freeing for me. And working with musicians who first language is not English, and come from a different culture, put a different spin on the recording. So there was my own personal, and physical journey to another country, and there was also a journey of having another culture meet with me. I was in a far away land. And I was excited about where Gothenburg would take my music. When I came back and finished the recording, I added some of what Kristoffer and Joel would call American flavor to the recording, but in essence what remains for me are the recorded creations that happened in Gothenburg.
RUST: There’s a very integral piano/keyboard thing happening here – there are several people playing – what can you tell us about this?
BC: There were three keyboard players on this album. Joel Lundburg who was also one of the producers, played most of the keyboards. Emil Carlsson Rinstad played piano and keyboards on a few songs. On “Subway Breakup,” we recorded with only Emil and I. We also had Klas-Henrik Hörngren play piano on the song “Borderline” The idea to use keyboard and piano came from Kristoffer and Joel. I don’t know if I would have thought of using so much keyboard on my own. When started recording I found that all the parts on piano and keyboard suited the songs naturally, so I went with it. I guess it I could say was part of a subconscious effort to get the natural sound of the producers / band. We recorded all the keyboard and piano parts live as I was playing rhythm guitar and singing my lead vocal, so there wasn’t a question of whether or not to use them.
RUST: Now that the album is out, what’s next for you?
BC: Next for me is to be out in the world promoting the album with as many tours, press, radio support as possible. In two weeks Kaiser Cartel will play a one-off show in Brooklyn at Union Hall. Then I will be playing in Manhattan in August at Hi FI Bar. After that, I will traveling up and down the East coast. I have already done a west coast tour. I will be coming back to the midwest, and going back to Europe as well. And while at home I plan to work on more videos to support the new album. So far, we’ve made 3 videos for the songs “No One”, “Rockaway”, and there will be a video for “Subway Breakup” coming out soon. Although the album comes out on July 14th, I am inviting fans and friends to help support this promotion of this album on Pledge Music. You can help out by going clicking on this link: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/gothenburg
Recently RUST Magazine got together with ShaManic for a roadside rap session in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta and we have to say that this new artist has a smart wit, a fresh lyrical style and an individual approach to making music that is really admirable. Our shoot was down and dirty, powered with a mobile generator and completely devoid of studio tricks and ShaManic killed it on take one – twice – doing tracks Mindless and Ba Da Da Da off his new album The Artist. ShaManic deals every day with personal struggles, but when the mic is on, his experiences become his inspiration and he takes his ideas into uncharted and unexpected places. In a genre overstuffed with undertalented wannabe’s relying on studio tricks, ShaManic distinguishes himself with authentic and original ideas and he’s capable of rocking the stage even when the stage is a street corner and the audience is passing traffic. Check him out here http://www.shamanic-music.com/