Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Dead & Company/Jam band thoughts

Hi all! Had a busy weekend that consisted of driving and walking all over downtown L.A. I visited museums, went record shopping, had good food, and went to a concert. I mentioned earlier last week that I picked up a cheap ticket to see Dead & Company at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night after a friend told me about it. It was a brutally hot day, and I arrived at the stadium after about 5 or 6 hours of walking around in the intense heat. Let's just say that it didn't go too well...

When I finally reached my seat after 2 hours of walking among the stoners and boozers you'd expect to see at a show like this, I was way exhausted. The heat had taken so much out of me, but I was hoping that the show would bring my energy back and I would end up having a good time.

The minute this show started, I knew that that wasn't going to happen. I found the band to be exceptionally lacking in energy and, worst of all, the sound was consistently very, very low. It was quiet enough that the people around me were able to carry out normal discussions without having to shout in each other's ears. It was as though the music was merely there in the background, as an accompaniment to the conversations of the people around me (sort of like what you would experience when going to a coffee shop that has live music). I tried to focus all of my attention on the music, but quickly became just as disengaged as everyone else near me. I found myself wanting it to be over, and that's not a good thing. The only thing I cared about at that point was getting home and taking a shower. When that happens, I know that all bets are off. After the first set, I simply stood up and left, and took a taxi back to where I parked my car. Since I didn't stay for the whole show, I'm not going to give it a rating.

I have mixed feelings on these "jam bands" as people call them. There seems to be two types of people when it comes to jam bands: people who absolutely love them, or people who just don't get them at all. I find myself to be one of the few in that gray area, where it largely depends on the band. While I appreciate the experimental tendencies of bands like Phish or Umphrey's McGee, I have one major problem with jam bands: their music tends to wear out their welcome with me very quickly. As a prog fan, I love a good, long session of jamming here and there, but to me, these bands can sometimes take that a bit too far, to the point where the music loses its impact on me. You can only jam the same chord progression for so long, or so I think. Eventually, I stop noticing the talent and begin wondering when this jam is going to be over. If I'm going to see a band that takes this approach, then it needs to be consistently high in energy, and I'm happy to say that, for the most part, I get that experience out of Phish and Umphrey's McGee (more often from the latter band, personally). With Dead & Company, the energy just wasn't there for me, which is why they lost me so fast. What keeps me engaged with a show is not just the quality of the music, but the volume, and the energy displayed by the band members and the audience. The reason I enjoyed, say, Franz Ferdinand so much, was because their music filled the entire venue, and the chemistry between the band and the audience was totally on point. 

I'm going to see Phish next week in Washington with some friends. Having already seen them twice, I trust that the experience will be far more enjoyable than what I got at Dodger Stadium.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

7/4/18

Not really sure of what to call this entry, so I just won't give it a name. I'm not up to much this Fourth of July, other than trying to stay out of the heat and spending the afternoon prepping food for the evening.

I spent all of yesterday afternoon listening to a number of tunes while I sat in my room working on a latching kit my grandmother gave me. I played the three Ghost studio albums that I own: Prequelle, Infestissumam, and Meliora (my personal favorite). Truthfully, my dad and I both seem to be in a phase where we can't stop playing their music. Their music seems to be all I hear coming from my dad's office, and I currently have my Prequelle CD in my car. It seems as though the more we listen to them, the harder it is for us to accept the fact that we have to wait another 4 months before we see them at The Forum.

I'm not just enjoying the music, but I'm also enjoying the whole idea of this band, particularly the theatrics and the anonymity of the band members besides Tobias Forge. Anonymity within a band has always fascinated me. The decision to make your band, or "project" as some call it, solely about the music is one that I really appreciate. I think about bands that take a similar approach by not showing their faces on stage or in interviews like Daft Punk or Buckethead. Too often, when I watch videos of bands performing, I see a large amount of comments that focus on the physical appearance of the band members, and not a word about the music they just played. With the prevalence of the Internet and social media, it can be hard to protect one's identity completely, but these bands manage to make it work.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday update/ Events for July/YouTube channel

Hi all! Happy July! Amazing that we're now in the second half of 2018! It's about 10:43 a.m. right now here in SoCal, and I thought I'd give you all an update as to what you can expect from me this month.

Well, first of all, I have quite a few concerts happening. As it turns out, I have shows happening every week this month. It all kicks off next Saturday, with Dead and Company at Dodger Stadium. My friend Dylan informed me of a bunch of $20 tickets that had just been released for that show, so I decided to give it a try. A week after that, I have a ticket to see Harry Styles of One Direction at The Forum. I'm not big on One Direction, mind you, but I did pick up a copy of Harry's first solo album recently since I heard so many good things about it, and I liked it quite a bit. On July 18, I will be flying out to Portland, Oregon to visit my friend Dylan. From there, we will be driving up to George, Washington, to see Phish for three nights at the Gorge Amphitheatre. We traveled out there two years back the last time Phish played there, and we had a blast, so I'm very much looking forward to going there again. I will return from Portland on the 24th. The day after that I have a ticket to see a childhood favorite of mine, Jesse McCartney, at The Belasco. So, this is shaping up to be a pretty eventful month!

Next, I have decided to bring ProgBook to YouTube for the first time. I just put the finishing touches on the new channel a few days ago, and it's looking pretty good. I'm not new to having a YouTube channel, though. I've had two other channels in the past, one of which still exists. On my first channel, I made movie reviews, and that lasted from the time I was about 11 years old until I was almost 13 years old. I gave up on that and started another channel where I posted guitar covers and videos of me performing at small shows. That channel is still up but has not been updated since 2011 or 2012. I'm still brainstorming what kind of videos I will want to make. I can be a bit camera shy, so I'm not sure if I will do audio-only videos or not. I'm thinking I may do concert reviews, unboxing videos, travel vlogs, and lots of other ideas.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure exactly when I will be able to start making such videos. Yesterday, I broke out my old camera and recorded a video of me showing certain aspects of my record collection. After I filmed this, I realized that my camera is much too old to be compatible with my laptop, as I couldn't get the video file to transfer. The camera is so old that I actually found photos and short videos on it from 15 years ago! I tried to switch to plan B by recording a video using the Photo Booth app on my laptop, but my laptop is on its last legs as well, as Photo Booth kept crashing on me. My laptop is due for a replacement sometime this summer. Since I already have so many videos stored on my phone, I can't use that either. So, until I can get my hands on some adequate recording equipment, it looks like I will have to make do with iMovies or audio-only videos. Anyway, here's the link to the new channel!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa88sh14cPX-YDczuhma8Gw

Friday, June 29, 2018

Thursday, June 28, 2018

I'm back!

Hi all. Sorry it's been a while since I last wrote to you. There's a lot to catch up on, so let's get right into it.

First of all, I'm very excited to announce that I will be attending next year's Cruise to the Edge! Next year also marks the ten year anniversary of my introduction to prog, so in my opinion, there's no better way to celebrate that.

I think I should let you all know why I stopped posting for a while, and what I was doing in that time. Well, I just finished my third year of college, and I've been home now for a little over 2 weeks. School was getting very demanding, and since I had a part time job on top of that, I started viewing my blog posts as being more of a chore rather than something I did for fun, so I decided to take a break. It's been almost a year since my last blog post, but that doesn't mean that my passion for music has slowed down. I have been going to lots of concerts lately, which I hope to start reviewing again, as well as discovering plenty of new bands and artists. Having said that, though, I have been spending a lot of my time on bands or artists outside of prog. I have been finding myself delving more into genres that I either haven't listened to in years or have never really listened to. I realized that, at 21 years old, I can't live off of prog alone, and that there is so much great new music out there that I'm missing out on. So, to be honest, I haven't really been listening to much prog lately, especially in the last 6 or 7 months. Instead, I've been listening to more R&B, alternative, and even metal. I have also started revisiting some of the people I listened to long before I was listening to prog. These are the people that first sparked my desire to begin playing music. I'm mainly referring to the big pop stars of the late 90's or early 2000s like the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Kelly Clarkson, you get the idea. I know it's supposed to be blasphemous to mention these people in a blog about progressive music, but that was where it all started for me. And to be honest, I still like those people even as a hardcore prog fan.

2017 was pretty much a "getting to know you" year for me and the band Marillion. I spent all of that year buying the rest of their albums, and learning more about what a truly wonderful band they are. When they announced their 2018 tour of the US following their performance on Cruise to the Edge, I decided to travel to see them, and on February 9, I flew to Atlanta, Georgia, where I saw them up front at the Variety Playhouse. But that's not all I did. It didn't take me long to realize how truly caring and sweet they are towards their fans. Their album FEAR has become very special to me, so special that I bought around 17-20 copies of that album from their online store to send to my friends. After I did that, I thought I would buy one more to hopefully give to another band or musician. I decided to give a copy to Al Stewart, who performs out here in SoCal quite frequently. In short, I got the opportunity to give Al a copy after a show he did back in November. I handed him the CD, and he immediately recognized the name "Marillion." He then told me about how he had watched their performance at the 2014 Cropredy festival, where they had performed right before he had. I also brought a vinyl copy for him to sign for the band, which I presented to Steve Rothery after their show in Atlanta. He seemed surprised by it. Regardless, it was a very rewarding experience, and I'm exceptionally proud to call to call myself a fan of both their music and of them as people. Hopefully, I can make it to a Marillion Weekend someday.

Next, I'll talk a bit about some great new musical discoveries I've made this year. The first one is the band Ghost. I'd known about this band for a while, actually. My dad saw them open for Opeth back in 2012 at the (now demolished) Gibson Amphitheatre. I remember him texting me when they first took the stage. I don't remember the exact words, but it was something about this "weird band whose singer is dressed like the pope," followed by a slightly blurry photo. Metal is typically a genre that I pay no mind to. We talked about seeing them for a while, and they finally announced a tour this year, with their first show being in my college town. My dad drove down and we went to that show together. Walking in, I basically wasn't expecting a ton. Personally, I tend to find metal music too noisy. When I think of metal music, I think of mindless vocals, guitars that are so distorted that I can't even tell what chords are being played, and plenty of headbanging. So, in short, that's what I thought I was going to get from Ghost.

I was wrong.

They put on a delightful performance ("delightful" isn't a word I thought I'd use to describe a metal band). From start to finish I was pulled in by the theatrics, the passion, the clean vocals, and their ability to engage with the audience. I see that they like to take the anonymous approach that bands like Kiss, Daft Punk or Tool have adopted, as everyone in the band wears a mask that covers their entire face. When my dad saw them in 2012, their singer was known as Papa Emeritus (either the second or the third, I don't remember). After doing a little research, I discovered that, when we saw them together, I wasn't watching Papa Emeritus at all. Instead, I was watching a new persona known as Cardinal Copia. I've heard that some believe that the band changes singers every time the persona changes, when in fact it's actually the same guy (Tobias Forge) every time, just with a new look. Back to the performance, this band doesn't possess the qualities that typically turn me away from metal bands, as I mentioned earlier, so this is the first metal band that I've ever really truly enjoyed. We're already in the process of buying the rest of their albums and I look forward to seeing this band again at The Forum this November. These guys are getting a 10/10 from me.

The next band I discovered was Franz Ferdinand. Like Ghost, I had known about this band for a number of years, but only just got around to seeing them last month. I bought my ticket to see them on a whim, actually, as I didn't decide to go until about 3pm the night of the show. I bought a ticket in the last row of the balcony. Sometimes I think it's fun to just buy the cheapest ticket available and sit at the very top, watching everything unfold. But I'm sure glad I did that, because, of all the shows that I've seen so far this year (about 26 or 27, I think), this one may have been my most favorite. Unfortunately, I think Franz Ferdinand may be one of those bands that aren't as big as I think they deserve to be. They played at The Wiltern Theatre, which only holds about 2,000 or so people and was only about 3/4 full. People really don't know what they're missing, because this was one of the most refreshing and enjoyable concerts I've been to in a long time. It got me thinking about why I decided to take a break from the older bands and focus more of my attention on newer bands, because this band displayed a wonderful amount of energy that I don't get from some of the older bands I go see. I went to Amoeba Music in Hollywood that weekend and promptly bought all 5 of their studio albums. I've been playing those non-stop ever since and I will definitely be seeing this band again. Giving this band a big 10/10.

On a less positive note, this year I also saw the single worst concert I've ever been to in my life. Some of you may be surprised, and some of you may not be. Last month I saw Liam Gallagher at the Greek Theatre. I bought his solo album As You Were at the beginning of the year, and I thoroughly enjoyed that record. I was sorry to hear that I had missed his performance at the Wiltern just a couple months earlier, so we bought out tickets to this show the minute they were on sale (in the presale, actually). Wow. This show was pretty much the lowest energy show I've ever seen. All of the musicians practically sleepwalked through their performances. The entire show had such an unwelcoming, bitter feel to it. There was no heart or passion put into any of the songs, and Liam's voice was absolutely dreadful, except for maybe 2 or 3 Oasis songs. I don't it's too farfetched to suspect that the band didn't even rehearse for this tour. I wrote a review of this show on the Facebook event page, and someone commented something along the lines of "Well, what were you expecting?" What was I expecting? I was expecting a good quality show, just as I do for any other concert! You really expect me to believe that people go to see him while knowing that they're paying for a subpar performance? I read other reviews on Ticketmaster, and my opinion is clearly not an unpopular one. The thing that pissed me off the most was the fact that his entire performance was only 55 minutes long. With a discography as big as Liam Gallagher's, there's no excuse for this. I guess you could say that I didn't have to suffer longer than I needed to, though. I don't think I could have been able to stand hearing him barf out those songs for 2 hours or more. Anyway, terrible show. Would not recommend it to even the biggest Oasis fans. I'm giving this a 3/10. Epic waste of time.

I've decided not to review the people I've seen many times in the past (5 times or more). This includes Yes, Steven Wilson, and Al Stewart. Instead, I'll just give you my star ratings for the other bands I've seen this year:

The Killers - 10/10
Marillion - 9.5/10
Steve Hackett - 8/10
Demi Lovato - 7.5/10
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - 8/10
Wishbone Ash - 6/10
Ghost - 10/10
Liam Gallagher - 3/10
Franz Ferdinand - 10/10
Ian Anderson presents Jethro Tull - 7/10
Aly and AJ - 8/10

Upcoming shows I have for the rest of the summer and year:

Harry Styles at the The Forum - 7/14
Phish at The Gorge Amphitheatre - 7/20, 7/21, 7/22
Jesse McCartney at The Belasco (terrible venue) - 7/25
Panic! At the Disco at STAPLES Center - 8/15
ARW at The Greek Theatre - 8/29
Justin Hayward at The Rose - 9/8
Justin Hayward at The Canyon Santa Clarita - 9/9
Korn at The Palladium - 9/13
Arcade Fire feat. The Zombies at The Greek Theatre - 9/20
Bruno Mars at STAPLES Center - 10/27
Phil Collins at The Forum - 10/28
Ghost at The Forum - 11/16

That's about it, for now!



Friday, June 30, 2017

Interview with The Bedroom Witch

This is an interview I conducted with an up-and-coming performer from here in L.A. who calls herself The Bedroom Witch. She is a fascinating and insightful person and I really enjoyed reading her responses to my questions:


+How old are you and where were you born?

24 years old. I was born in Tehran, Iran

+What was your introduction to music, or what music did you listen to growing up?

It started with my parents- they’re both musicians and I remember them constantly collaborating and composing traditional-folk Iranian songs with each other using very old Iranian instruments around me and my sister.  We came to the US from Iran when I was two years old and my childhood experiences with music here mostly consisted of the radio playing 90s pop stars.  I remember loving the chorus line of “What About Your Friends?” by TLC and obsessively reenacting the dance moves to “Oops I did it Again” while feeling so drawn to the space theme/tacky dialogue in that music video.  I don’t have that same attachment to the “classics” that people around me seem to have here.  Like, I came from a background of my parents only listening to Iranian musicians such as Ramesh or Vigen so whenever someone brought up a band like the Velvet Underground or the Rolling Stones or some shit back then I would just think “who?”  From then on, I don’t know, my interests were all over the place.  If I liked the song, I liked the song.

+ Your performance style is very unique, as it seems to incorporate theatrics into the music. This is reminiscent of the performance styles of artists like David Bowie and Peter Gabriel. Where did you come up with this approach to performing your music, as opposed to having a full band onstage with you?
My approach to performance is set on the foundation that I don’t and literally cannot perform my instruments live as a solo artist.  Considering the ways that my songs are structured and layered with so many melodies, it would be just too much to recreate alone and to be honest, I’ve never been interested in recreating my songs live.  That said, I decided to take being asked to perform as a place where I could combine all the different mediums of art I practice and apply them to a show. I also want to apply parts of my childhood into performance. Something I really bonded with my dad over as a child was spending time watching Charlie Chaplin films together and I remember being blown away by how much pantomime and facial expressions could tell a story. A huge part of me and my sister’s femme experience growing up came from creating these fictional girl characters with magical powers who we would say we were anytime we wanted to talk about boys or just to feel like more ourselves or whatever.  These interests I had as a kid stuck with me so I don’t see how imagined characters and expressive movement wouldn’t come out of me in a context where I’m being asked to “perform” in the first place.  I never felt as if shows had to just be a place where people are watching you recreate a song you wrote however long ago and that’s not me trying to dismiss this approach.  If that’s how you want to express yourself as a performer or that is what you lean more towards experiencing as an audience member, I’m all about it.  That’s just not the direction or experience I want to get out of my own performances. I don’t really know what I want out of my sets.  I don’t really even know why I get asked to play shows and in the back of my mind before each show, I tell myself that the set I’m about to do is a performance piece on endurance to see how far in I can go being so exposed before collapsing and experiencing a total meltdown.  The terror of that is what makes performing interesting to me.  What I do know though is that I want to share my stories whether they make sense or not.  They make sense to me and I want to tell them by moving and making facial expressions and by talking to inanimate objects to experience my own songs in that way with the audience


+ Have you ever played in a full band and if so, how does it compare to performing solo?

I’ve never played in a full band so I don’t have anything to compare creating or performing alone to, really.  I think the control issues in me mixed in with anxiety has always made the prospect of committing to being a creative with other people a little scary.  Like, a few months back I asked my friend Daniel (of French Vanilla) to put saxophone on a track I was working on and the whole time we were in the studio, my anxieties of being too controlling/demanding about what I wanted were coming out really hard and that actually made it more difficult for me to verbalize what I wanted to hear. I ended up obsessively asking to redo takes over and over again even though the initial recording he did was perfect.
Overall, I look at making music as breathing room for myself.  When I’m recording in my bedroom, everyone and everything behind my door and out my windows disappear.  I go into a manic trance where my imagination starts to scatter everywhere and then, when I’m back in reality, it’s suddenly too many hours later.  I can’t really imagine sharing a space with people when that’s happening and I definitely don’t want to subject people to that process.  When I’m performing, It’s just me dealing with me and the people who are just watching me deal with me.  I’ve gotten comfortable with knowing that I have to get vulnerable like that without anyone there doing it with me to rely on. I’m trying to get better at the idea of working with people though because performing alone is a terrifying experience for me each time, actually 

+Who are your major influences?
My sister, Sepand (of SBSM/Placentaur) is my number one for sure.  All the bands that are on my list of favorites and how I even got comfortable with making self-produced synthesizer music accessible in the first place came from her passing that knowledge over to me.  She’s so brilliant and I’ve looked up to her my entire life.  Genius friends making music such as Wizard Apprentice, Softdrink, Beast Nest and so many more also inspire me by reminding me of how important maintaining support systems and getting through the vulnerability that comes from putting your creativity out there is.  There are also the well known artists out there that bring storytelling/theatrical elements into performance spaces who definitely inspire me.  It starts with my infinite love for Kate Bush and stretches all the way to local acts I’ve seen in my teens like Anna Oxygen and Geneva Jacuzzi who validated the types of performance I was interested in doing and all the ideas in my head I thought would be rejected in conventional show spaces before I ever even started performing live.  Sound wise, everything and anything will do it for me.  Right now, it’s the sound of drops of water landing on objects that are hollow and made of tin or the sound of ice cracking in a lukewarm drink

+ When did you start writing your own music?

If we wanna go all the way back, I started writing lyrics at 11 years old to imaginary songs that I heard in my head but never actually did anything with.  By the time I turned 17, I was gifted with a synthesizer that I’m still using now and that was when I really started playing around with electronic music and making complete songs with my first project I later renamed The Altar She Goes    

+ How did you get the opportunity to perform at Play Like a Girl?

Kimi Recor (of Dr√¶mings) reached out to me asking if I was interested in performing their event to celebrate the collective existing for a year.  We have crossovers with friends/other creators and I remember Kimi telling me that our mutual friend, Anya (of Petheaven) introduced them to my music.  Everyone at the event was so incredibly supportive and considering how I showed up alone, I was really grateful for that        


Play Like A Girl is a great way for people to discover more acts that are fronted by women, as the music industry is still dominated by men. Have you faced any challenges as a woman in music and, if so, how did you overcome them? Do you have any advice for women who may be struggling in the industry?

I experience that in very layered and complicated ways.  Being a trans Iranian girl who can very easily be tokenized on a bill and being someone who people might dismiss because they’re confused by me doing more “performance” type sets and invalidating what they just saw as a “live show” because of that. I mostly just attribute this question to the occasional cis dude passing strange, slightly backhanded compliments after my sets.  There’s the “that was really…different” or the “I liked your hand dancing (with no mention of the sound)” or the “ you looked good (with no mention of the sound)” or the “who produces your music (mentions the sound but doesn’t wrap their mind around me creating them)” or the excuse to flirt.  I sometimes incorporate my culture/language in my sets which means that every so often there’s the “oh that was Farsi?  I have a friend who (white noise)” and I’m just like “great, and you are?”  I don’t know, I definitely have positive experiences and then these just really bizarre, meaningless interactions.  Just as much as I can be freaked out by people, I sometimes feel like people think I’m scary so it all just clashes..   

To all the queer, nonbinary, women, trans women (specifically TWOC) people are going to say weird, hurtful, and violent shit and not believe you because we exist socially and systemically in a world that wants to erase us but fuck that and keep creating. You and I already know that this is a part of our survival. Be invisible with yourself/your art when it feels like you need to be and expose yourself and your art as much as you want when it feels good. Create and take up as much space you can and have the capacity to do so. People who are threatened by your radiance, specifically shitty man bros, will try and dim that light in you but you’re actually magic so who cares about them

+ Talk about the lyrical content of your songs. What topics or ideas do you like writing about?
Trauma, obsession, apocalyptic worlds, questioning whether you are in love with or are terrified of your reflection, ancestors in the form of various insects, distrust in love, Exile as your current and Nowhere as home.  The topics in my songs tend to phase in and out of reality and fiction.  The real is me actually trying to process traumas and shit that’s going on in my conscious present through words but I find that sometimes when I can’t find the words to describe what I’m feeling literally, I turn to story telling to do so.  That’s where the bedroom witch world comes in.  It’s me referencing myself but through a “parallel universe” approach.  I feel as if the fictional aspects come out the most when I’m emotionally having a difficult time looking at my issues for what they really are and saying them out loud.  Like, I process being an Iranian immigrant here and wondering if I’ll ever see Iran or my family there again by calling it Nowhere.  I process feeling that undercurrent of sadness and isolated feeling of now being here in the US by turning my family from Nowhere into “alien” type characters who abandoned me here in Exile and erased my memory.  You know?  Storytelling is escapism and it works like therapy 

+ What goes into the writing and recording process when you record your albums? Does music come first or lyrics? What software or technology do you use when recording?

My lyrics are definitely the last equation to my process.  Most of the time, the words in my songs are informed by however way the music I had created made me feel and the general mood the sounds put me in.  Words and language are complicated for me.  I feel as if what I’m thinking and feeling throughout the day goes through so many mood swings and wormholes that by the end of the night my last thought is usually “how did I get here?”  That said, when I conceptualize a certain theme or story to accompany a song, the emotions that materialize the words to describe what I’m thinking are all over the place.  This is so opposite from the music part – melodies come out of me so lucidly that I end up feeling like that part is the “meditation” to my process.  Words can seem so arbitrary to me.. sometimes faces and pantomime can tell you just as much or even more than a sentence does

I use garageband.  I’m considering learning Logic and getting “better” recording equipment, but I’m not really ready or interested in going there just yet

+ Do you compose your own music and, if so, what instruments do you play?

Ya, everything I’ve made has been done alone minus a few songs my dear sister made beats for during certain periods of time when I didn’t have access to a drum machine.  My setup is just a couple of synthesizers (Juno 2/mikroKorg/casio cz 101), a pink electribe I’m borrowing and a few kind of broken toy keyboards that are sometimes haunted if you turn them on late enough at night.    

+ The visuals that you project behind you in your live performances are intriguing. Do you make them yourself? Is there a way to find them somewhere (YouTube, DVD, etc.)?

I do make them myself, the process that goes into my video art is usually me just staying up too late and coming up with nonsensical story lines for the Bedroom Witch world that end up making sense to me sometime after they’re made.  It’s one of those “press record on the video camera then step into the frame and play different characters because I’m doing this alone” types of experiences.  The Bedroom Witch started out as a main character of a 7 act video story I wrote a few years ago called The Alter Shegos (or The Altar She Goes) and the first album ‘Moon Bathing’ was meant to just be a soundtrack to that video piece.  They didn’t end up complimenting each other that well at the end of it all since the story line kept changing which I think made that album deviate from its initial intention and stood alone as just that- a bedroom witch album.  That’s kind of how Bedroom Witch ended up being an ongoing project and I have my background in video art to trace as the source so I decided to keep going with bringing these two elements together in performance.  The projection at the PLAG show was the 4th episode of a series I work on when I get the chance called Bizarre Times with the Bedroom Witch

Oh, also I have maybe two or three of these video pieces on Youtube  

+ What are your future plans at the moment? Do you have any live shows coming up or plans to record another album?

Right now, I’m in the process of self-mixing and releasing a little EP follow up of Injury that will be titled My Sacrifices, My Demands as a birthday present to myself in August.  If Injury was sourcing and calling out my traumas by name, this EP will put intention towards where I’ll go from here with them/how I’ll let them go.  I’ll be performing at Fuss Fest in Fresno on July 15th with other really great acts such as San Cha and Sister Mantos.  After that, there will be a couple of shows back in LA later in the summer. 

For future-future Bedroom Witch, I plan on making more episodes of Bizarre Times with the Bedroom Witch, releasing another full length that I’m already working on when the season of my moon sign – Capricorn – is happening, and practicing better habits of sleeping before 2 am. 

And for the future x3 Bedroom Witch, I want to do a music/art performance accompanied by a full on symphony at some point – no joke          

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

6/28/17

Wow, that was a busy week of concerts. 4 shows in 10 days. That used to be how many shows I would see in a year! I'm going to try to tackle all 4 of them in one entry, so let's do this:

On June 17, I joined some friends of mine at the Hollywood Bowl to see The Moody Blues on their Days of Future Passed 50th anniversary tour. I was originally not planning to go to that, but about 10 days before the show, a friend of mine kindly bought me a ticket to sit with her, so I happily joined her. With the way things are going at this point, this may or may not be my last chance to see them, so ti was an opportunity I could not pass up. This specific show was special, as it was the only one on the tour in which a full orchestra would accompany the band during the performance of the entire Days of Future Passed album. It was a blissful performance, as it made me appreciate that album more than I ever had. I already enjoyed it to begin with, but I became more aware of its profound impact on music as I listened to it live. It was definitely a more enjoyable show for me than when I first saw them in 2013, since I am now more familiar with their discography.

On June 20, I went with my dad to see Roger Waters at the Staples Center. This was my first time back at the Staples Center since November 2010, when we saw Roger for the first time during the first leg of The Wall tour. After hearing his new solo album, I wasn't entirely sure of what to expect for this show. However, as I suspected, I ended being thrilled with the two sets he played. He played a little bit of new material, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear most of Dark Side of the Moon along with tracks like "Dogs" and "Pigs (Three Different Ones)." What impressed me the most was how he was able to take all of those songs and make the audience aware of how relevant those lyrics were in today's world, particularly with the current political climate in this country. That proved to me the timelessness of those albums and made me respect them all the more. This is why Pink Floyd will always be my favorite band.

On June 21, the very next day, we also caught King Crimson at the Greek. Since I had some of my own money from my job on campus, I was able to buy my own ticket to this one, scoring a seat in section A to the right, where Robert Fripp would be seated. As I sat in my seat waiting for the show to start, I looked out and spotted my good friend Rachel Flowers and her mom Jeanie walking into the VIP section of seats, so I had to go over and say hello. Before I returned to my seat, Jeanie gave me a CD of Fish's album, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors, a gift from a mutual friend of ours. I am so glad they were able to make it to the show. A few other friends of mine were also present, and I got to say hello to them as well. This show was a bit different from their 2014 show, as it included an intermission and a much different setlist. In short, this show was most definitely better than the show I saw in 2014. They played more older material, and I was thrilled to hear tracks like "Lizard" and "Islands" featured. This tour was said to feature 4 drummers. It did, but instead of having 4 drum kits set up, one of the drummers was on keyboards instead. That being said, there was much more incorporation of Mellotron, one of my favorite sounds.

The same day as that show, I noticed that Roger Waters would be playing a third night at the Staples Center on the 27th. Since I had a little summer money from work, I decided to buy a ticket to see it one more time, for the same reason as I accepted to offer to see The Moody Blues. It's just so hard to predict how much longer these musicians will be around, considering that so many of them have passed on recently. I saw no reason for me not to go, since it's summertime and I had my own money, so I went for it, buying a ticket in the same section my dad and I were in during the first night. On June 27, last night, I went solo to see the third and final Los Angeles show of the tour. It was a little odd not having my dad there with me, but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was great to see Dave Kilminster again as well as Jon Carin, whom I saw with David Gilmour back in March 2016.

So, unless something else comes up, that's it for concerts until Yestival at the Microsoft Theater in August, which I will also be going to by myself. I bought my own ticket to that show too, scoring a seat in the second row behind the pit, in front of Steve Howe. I'm pretty neutral on the issue of whether it's "morally correct" for Yes to continue without Jon Anderson. As long as Steve Howe is still in the band, I will gladly buy a ticket to see them.