Zia Zine Issue 2 December 2018
By Maggie Cooksey
"Just give me a scene where the music is free and the beer is not the life of the party. There's no need to talk shit or impress, 'cause honesty and emotions are not looked down upon."
This issue is for my dear grandfather, Herbert M. Grossman (1931-2017). To everyone we knew, whether it was family or not, this was “Grandpa." I feel like Herb was responsible for raising so many… between my mother, uncles, siblings, even our friends.
Camping and fishing were always the goal for Herb. We had gone almost every year until he just couldn’t go anymore. One memory I have camping with him…he had an itch to drive all the way up to Navajo Lake in the Northwest part of New Mexico. We took some friends and relatives with us. After a long night of driving, poor sleep in an ancient camper, jack-knifing the trailer, and going on an expedition for a decent campsite, it finally began to downpour before we had a chance to set up. It seemed like even when everything was going to complete shit, we managed to move along and make things interesting. That’s one huge lesson I learned from him; to remain composed in what feels like the tensest of situations…. We stayed in the camper throughout the storm, I remember him and I reminiscing of my mom, and how good things were when she was alive. That was his baby, and it broke my heart when he’d talk about how much he missed her after her passing. The tears that would well up when he’d think of her seemed to crush me. But the love he had for her gave a sliver of peace when I knew they’d unite somewhere beyond…someday…
This issue goes out to you, because you were the only person I can accredit to raising me right. Picking me up every weekday, constantly teaching me more than I would’ve ever learned in school. It was a shame that I couldn’t ever pull it together in academically, but in hindsight, that was the least important of my accomplishments.
Now, we simply take pride in knowing him as Grandpa, a true light in our lives, that taught us the most important lessons. Herbie was the purest man I have ever known. Thank you for continuously making everyone around you thrive. We love you and miss you so much. Thank you to all the same folks we thanked in our last issue. You still mean the world to us, and the passion we share for this project is something that keeps a fire in our hearts. We love you.
ZIA ZINE A QUARTERLY PROJECT: ISSUE II DECEMBER-FEBRUARY
Zia Zine is back for the second issue! We’re so grateful to have received an out-pour of excitement from local fans and artists. The love and support is what made this project possible. We created Zia Zine issue #1 on a whim, and so far, it’s become one of our most successful projects. Understanding the work it took to publish independently, and seeing the craft of other fan zines, we wanted to start something simple. Diving in head first, we couldn’t help but create something big…Something that could facilitate all the information we wanted to provide about music and creativity of Albuquerque.
Our initial small idea became unappealing, so, we took the time to make something we’d be very proud of. The beginning works of Zia Zine began in late July, and after that, issue #1 was on shelves by September 4th. All of it was independently crafted, which taught us a couple things: we need a proofreading editor that will take the time to make appropriate adjustments (we’re still looking for someone…), and that we needed to find a more reliable source for printing. Thanks to one amazing supporter, Not Mike You, that’s become a possibility. We’re pleased to present this issue in color!
We’re so incredibly honored that locals have discovered the potential of ZZ. Most of the folks backing us claim that the local music scene isn’t covered enough, and that this is a publication which finally does that, with interviews that are in-depth, and genuinely intriguing to our readers! All of our interviews, past and future, will be covering artists that have some sort of connection to New Mexico, primarily focusing on artists that do performance often, or that have a consistent career. If you have an artist in mind that hasn’t reached our radar, please reach out to us! This project is primarily intended for musical artists, but we also want to showcase painting and photography from locals. That may also include short interviews. Or links to more of their work. With that said, please enjoy this edition of Zia Zine!
P.S.: if you have met or associated with any ZZ team member, and you start giving us unsolicited input on how we can improve our zine, just please know that this input is falling on deaf ears. We do not care what YOU want us to be. We care about what WE want to be. This publication has no intention on reaching any demographic or income. We sure as fuck don’t have any desire in gaining input from anyone AND we do not deem you as a reliable source in our already underpopulated field. As Greg Sestero’s character, Mark says in the film The Room, “leave your stupid comments in your pocket!”
A Letter from Our Sourcemaster Brad Frye...
Hi Zia Zine, Albuquerque's newest hardworking label here, Desert Records! This is a one-dude DIY operation. I started this label as a way to release my band Red Mesa's second full-length LP "The Devil and The Desert" in June 2018. Upon releasing the record, I started getting contacted by bands to see if I'd be Interested in releasing their albums. I passed on a lot of bands, mostly due to the fact that I was unsure if I wanted to go full-on as a record label. Everything changed after Aaron from the band When the Deadbolt Breaks, based in Connecticut contacted me. They were looking for a label to release their 6th album "Angels are Weeping...God has Abandoned." I had them send it over, I listened to it, and I decided to start this motherfucker up. I signed them in mid-September. In November, Desert Records will release their album on 250 deep purple vinyl. This will be the soundtrack for the winter! Crushingly beautiful, heavy Doom. Now…for the local Albuquerque news. The first band that Desert Records signed was 'Burque's very own The Horned God. This happened in early September after I spoke with Dominic from THG. The band had already recorded, mixed, and mastered their killer debut album, Volume 1. They had ordered vinyl records and were looking for a way to get it out there. The Horned God and Desert Records teamed up. This was a no-brainer for both of us. Red Mesa and THG have been doing shows together for years. Those guys are super talented. This record is Ancient Celtic inspired Stoner Rock! Talk about a genre all on its own! The artwork for this album is incredible, done by Simon Bisley who did the original artwork for the classic comic Slaine: The Horned God. The Horned God is slated to come out in December 2018. This will be released in digital and vinyl format of 500 LP's. Lots of local bands have expressed interest in working with Desert Records. And although I'd like to, it's not possible to release everyone's album. So, I cooked up an idea to help bring all the heavy rock bands together for a Desert Records release. "The Land of Enstrangement" compilation! This is going to be a very rad release of 20-30 New Mexico bands showcasing one song of their choice. It's the band's choice to put forth a song that represents their sound and attitude. Lots of the songs have been previously released. However, many of the bands on this comp are recording a new song for this album! Very exciting. Some of the bands confirmed are The Talking Hours, Rock Jong Il, Black Maria, Prey for Kali, Coma Recovery, Lilith, Sugarmotor, SuperGiant, Cobra vs. Mongoose, Sun Dog and many more! What I love about New Mexico bands and the rock and roll scene here is that all the bands are original and unique. No one is trying to copy one another. It's a very refreshing experience to hear and watch these bands live. True creativity and expression coming through. The Land of Enstrangement will be released on Desert Records Bandcamp page as "name your price". This will help bring exposure to the heavy rock scene in New Mexico. Get the music into the ears of people who would never have a chance to listen to these great bands. The release date is still TBD. Definitely this winter of 2019. "Into the desert I go To lose my mind and find my soul."
Rock and Roll,
Brad Frye, Founder and CEO Desert Records, Albuquerque, NM
INTERVIEW WITH SUGARMOTOR
INTERVIEW IS FROM OCTOBER 6TH, 2018 By SWAN
This day was rather charming. I was able to participate in the annual ABQZineFest, this was their 8th year running, and it was a perfect opportunity to see a gang of creative forces working together, presenting a variety of publications. I was pleased to be a part of it; however, my favorite part of ZineFest wasn’t the event itself. It involved my own distracted antics…running around the corner to Arise Music & Coffee with my friend Anthony. Our friend Mike Trujillo treated us to some delightful cold brews (you know, coffee), and talked about endless varieties of music and other topics, all while Red Light Cameras’s LP was the soundtrack to this experience. There’s something truly special about Arise...I’ll have to dedicate more time to elaborate on that someday.
Later in the evening, I found myself at Moonlight Lounge to catch a few bands, one of which I scheduled an interview with.
Pre-interview music on the way: Primus: Professor Nutbutter’s House of Treats. I decided to listen to this track on the way home as well, and that song is a definitive example of addictive sound. I found myself getting a chill in my cerebellum a few times. I feel like it was comparable to a drug like experience. It’s like doing lines (or bars, if you will) of music. I love when a song does that for me…
I got to the bar right at the time of equipment load in, which led the bouncer to question how I slipped in. I talked to Ray of Manhigh for a moment before running into Adam Saidel from
SugarMotor - Adam has quite the passion for local art and performance like myself. He always makes time to catch shows and promote people that are creating art and entertainment every day in this community. Not because he must, it’s because he is caught by the magnetism of these events.
After a long-awaited drink at the bar, Adam and I ended up talking to Adam Liston, vocalist of local metal band, Ashes of Jupiter. We immediately hit it off, and I could tell that these two had a lot of respect for each other’s work. The kindred spirit of these artists really makes for a welcoming experience.
Myself and the collective of SugarMotor stepped outside of the bar to strike up an Interview. Adam, Chris, and Justin were each wearing some variety of checkered pattern…I was disappointed in myself. I was wearing a yellow checkered sweater earlier and changed later in the day. I would have rescheduled and made a mandatory checker patterned memo if the night hadn’t launched me into such an elated mood…
ZZ: Who are the Members of SugarMotor?
Chris: Oh, well, let’s think…we have John Petrucci…
Adam: I’ll be giving the straight answers…The three of us, Justin Curtner on bass (but actually, a guitarist in a bassist role) Chris Moffatt on drums, and myself, Adam, on guitar - also thrust into the lead singer position.
ZZ: Can you give me some details on how you got thrown into vocals?
Adam: I’m a guitarist first, I’ve been playing guitar since I was fourteen. This probably goes into how the band formed long ago, I had moved here from Southern California, and I met a drummer named Jim Miller on an online musician forum called Bandmix, I would go over to jam and he introduced me to Justin, who plays bass. Bassists are difficult to find. So, we’ve been playing together since 2007. For a couple years, we were just jamming, with no vocals. I was never a singer, but we wanted to be a rock band. I sang in the shower, stuff like that, but eventually, someone had to do it.
Justin: We had to have played a show around that time, didn’t we?
ZZ: Is there evidence of this?
Justin: I must have some kind of diary entry that pertains to such things happening…
Chris: Even when I joined the group, Adam still wasn’t entirely comfortable being a full time singer, I was almost about to fill in that position for a minute, but I can only sing high pitched. Plus, I have to drum differently if I’m singing. I cannot sing to the early SugarMotor songs that they wrote without me. But, "Dream Gods"* feels natural. Also, I can’t take my drum set into the shower… ZZ: How would you describe your style?
Chris: Oh, what was it? Schizophrenic Elevator Punk!
Justin: I was going with Old Weird Guy Jazz Psychedelia.
ZZ: So, Jizz Jazz?
Justin: That’s a new one…
Chris: I mean we have songs where we’ll change genres mid-song.
Adam: Well…Um, we play rock. Rock-n-roll is made up of whatever you want to do.
ZZ: Well yeah, rock is such a broad spectrum of different styles.
Adam: Well, we don’t really care what others think of our style, or how we play.
Justin: We like having feedback.
Adam: We like it, but we continue to play whatever we want.
Chris: I know that after twelve years of playing slow post rock, it helped us write Dream Gods, I mean, I don’t know much about the beginnings of SugarMotor…
Adam: You were the next beginning of SugarMotor, You fit in really well as soon as you joined.
Chris: Yeah, as soon as I met these guys, we kind of sat down, and got to know each other. I discovered they were very similar to me, so…
Adam: The important thing is that each one of us puts in what we love to play, and that makes the music.
ZZ: So, what does the process look like for your music, writing, and playing?
Adam: So, we have these rehearsals and practices (note: a heavy use of air quotes) and we just play whatever come out. It can be Justin first laying down a bass line--
Justin: Spontaneous and contradictory at the same time…
Adam: Then Chris will come in on drums. We’ll find a consistent beat that we can all stay on top of, and then I’m trying to figure out what’s going on and if Justin will stay in the same key.
Justin: Probably not…
Adam: So after a few notes, we click, we play it out for a while, then Justin will make a change, and we have to figure out how the hell to follow him…But it’s a genius change every time he does it.
Chris: And most of the time, when he does that, it’s a song that we keep. The change happens both ways, you guys can alternate to different modes and different keys, but you manage to do it at the same time, and that’s how we know it’s a keeper.
Adam: Yeah, we definitely read each other pretty well, especially considering how erratic our music can be. So that’s how all the instrumental parts of our songs come up, then I’ll listen to the recordings on my commute, and I can find that small point, it could be as much as five seconds, where I know part of our souls come out.
Chris: I’m not sure if we’ve ever been together on a riff for more than five seconds, that’s what makes it SugarMotor!
Adam: Well, definitely not six seconds, but at least five…I get that segment stuck in my head, and sometimes, I’ll have experiences where I dream about a harmony and sometimes nonsensical lyrics that will go along with it. Unless I have something in mind that’s more passionate. I’ll wake up, grab my guitar, and play the riff, sing what I’ve just heard in my head. I’ll bring that idea back to Justin and Chris, and we’ll build a song from that seed.
Chris: Then when we play it, finish it, and have five more ideas on top of that…
“When we can put images behind our words, that association makes it more memorable. If what we come up with has that connection with our fans, then that’s love.”
ZZ: Can you give us some musical influences?
Adam: I think we’re all gonna have some different answers on this.. which is pretty awesome.
Justin: *clears throat and doesn’t skip a beat*…REM, Faith No More, Nirvana, Matthew Sweet, Jesus Jones.
Chris: My favorite band in the world is Mogwai, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Modest Mouse & At The Drive In, my biggest drumming influence would probably be the drummer for The Appleseed Cast. He was amazing, and totally changed the way I played after that, I probably have about twenty more influences…I can’t forget The Cure.
Adam: The first time I heard “Man in the Box” when it was released, I became an Alice in Chains fan, and have been ever since. I also absolutely love funk, so George Clinton, Parliament, Funkadelic…The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. and other 80’s stuff, I’m a big REM fan as well…I’m in a major Faith No More and Ween kick lately.
ZZ: So, when can we expect an album?
Chris: We do have The Epic Root Beer Cat-Astrophy, which we will release to nobody because that sounds worse than a Germs album…
Adam: There was one night where we were particularly intoxicated, inspired, and energetic, and we recorded an entire album on the spot, but yeah that probably wont be in anything…Our first single is going to be "Dream Gods." We’ll be releasing that on Desert Records**. [The CEO] Brad heard the song live and wanted us to be on a compilation. We’re going be recording that at Empty House*** very soon. But we will have a Full EP out, as late as summer 2019.
ZZ: We got a couple more questions, I’ll be quick..What kind of effects do you like to use?
Steven****: Oh, you just opened up a huge can of Canadian Night Crawlers…
Justin: See, you said it was gonna be quick, but now it’s not…the amount of time we spent so far…we’ll need that again.
Chris: That is not a quick question…
Adam: We’re gonna need at least another hour..
ZZ: Okay, so in a nutshell…
Justin: I have a guitar pedal board and I play bass…*nods to Adam* over to you!...
Adam: No, go ahead…
Justin: Alright, I’ve got my Poly Chorus Pedal, and a SansAmp pedal because of Kurt Cobain, I have three Electro Harmonix pedals, I’ve got a Soda Meiser, which is made by Devi Ever, loosely, it’s a Big Muff, essentially, very heavy fuzz, then there’s the glitch computer pedal, which Adam loves...which I’m also not allowed to turn on ever, because of the range it has.
Adam: It’s not just that, it increases the volume like literally 1000%.
ZZ: But, does it also increase the possibilities to infinity?
Chris: It increases the face melting by about 500%.
Adam: YES! Which is why sometimes I’m happy about it, most of the time, [not so much]…
Justin: I have a Frantone Sandwich Compressor, a frequency analyzer and a clone of an Ampeg Scrambler that I sort of made myself.
Chris: Between the two of them, they use more pedals than my previous band, and they were known for their pedals…
Adam: I always like to have Fuzz, and Distortion, I have a modified Blues Driver, it’s an overdrive, but it can also be kind of fuzzy. For the heavy distortion, I like RAT, a Japanese HM II. Occasionally I like the Big Muff for the fuzz, and then I like to modulate with a Yamaha Flanger, that I have from when I started playing guitar in 1989. My favorite pedal is a Moog MuRF 105, the Mooger Fooger, so you’ll hear that tonight…the EHX Freeze Pedal, and my DOD envelope filter, it’s like a reverse quack, and of course a lot of delay!
ZZ: Tell me about your lyrical content…
Justin: On my side, I have two deliberate directions: philosophical and introspective.
Chris: The most I’ve contributed lyrically was two lines in "The Dream Gods"…
Justin: No, there’s this song, it’s called “Lemon Water.”
Chris: Oh NO. Oh god…for the most part, anytime we start up and Adam doesn’t sing, I’ll start singing something, but the content is already bad to start…like, “Here’s a song about water with lemon,” or, I take the D&D route, which I haven’t played in over 30 years, and singing about rabbits and orcs...
Adam: It’s a difficult time to be alive right now I think, especially if you’re paying attention. So, if there was something I was particularly angry about, or in love with….“Struggling like a jellyfish cemented in a peanut butter sea," the lyrics to a chorus of ours, I was trying to imagine the most constricting struggle you could imagine. Every time I sing that, I know it’s something every being of consciousness deals with. We’re a visual species. When we can put images behind our words, that association makes it more memorable. If what we come up with has that connection with our fans, then that’s love.
*Dream Gods is a single to be expected from Sugarmotor for a Desert Records Compilation, Desert Records Presents: The Land of Enstrangement
**Desert Records is a NM record label for vinyl and digital releases, Focusing on heavy and experimental music. (@desertrecords)
***Empty House is a recording studio in Albuquerque, originally from Omaha, Nebraska. (emptyhousestudio.com)
****Steven is a good friend of mine, and a frequent show attendee, usually if I’m downtown for something, there is a very high change I will run into him, You can expect an interview with Steven in Zia Zine Issue #3.
INTERVIEW WITH THE TALKING HOURS
THIS INTERVIEW IS FROM OCTOBER 11TH, 2018 BY CORONA
Another night downtown, I feel as though I could never get sick of it. Constant assemblies of pure magic at almost every venue. Even on a weekday! I always find myself in this very predicament; if I’m at one great show, I know damn well I’m missing something equally good right down the street. That’s just how this town is. Fortunately, artists here are so consistent, you have a chance to make up for preoccupation…only to miss something else. It’s truly an infinite cycle.
I really wanted to catch The Talking Hours for an interview, and this seemed like the best time to catch them. I can’t say enough great things about Karie and Mo. The first time I caught The Talking Hours was on September 29th for Launchpad’s 21st Birthday, I feel a bit ashamed that I hadn’t caught them earlier than this. Better late than never! Upon introducing myself in person, they were very welcoming and talkative, something I love when it comes to artists. Mutual respect is such a beautiful thing. Acknowledging one another’s purpose in this community, and accounting for it gets all of us so much further along. (On that note, artists that have attempted to treat me like a desperate fan girl have successfully created a really poor impression. I’ll be sure to stay far away.)
I picked up my friend Cristina, and we showed up right on time. We each grabbed a drink and some grub. With no time to spare, I ended up awkwardly eating tacos and fries to the left of the stage while Fad Vandals were playing. I felt out of place munching on bar food and trying to interact with the rest of the crowd, but it was somewhat comedic, and maybe a little inconsiderate on my part. Sorry Fad Vandals!
That night, I was introduced to Phoenix based Synth/Punk/Hip Hop duo, Snailmate (Ariel Monet and Kalen Lander). There was a unique style emerging from these two. Their genre alone could probably convey that. But their performance…A burst of neon splatters, provoking lyrics, tempo changes, and sound effects that still have a mysterious source…
Finally, the group I had come to see. It was really rewarding to catch an ENTIRE set from The Talking Hours...an immediate change in energy. A well formulated duo, their sound commanded our focus to the stage. The ideas that consume their fervent minds were being poured into every spectators’ ears. Such well-defined arrangement coming out of two people had rendered me into an energetic spirit. I was such a pleasure to be at the front of the stage observing this…
Later, after their set, we met on the patio of Sister for a quick interview….
ZZ: How do you guys feel about tonight?
Mo: Really good, we had a blast, we love Sister, the sound here is awesome.
Karie: The sound was perfect…
ZZ: So, when did you guys form your group?
Mo: We started in January 2015.
ZZ: Is it easier or more challenging having only two members?
Karie: I think it depends on how you look at it. It can definitely be a challenge to create the amount of sound we want to between just the two of us, it definitely takes a different part of your mind to fill the space.
Mo: To fill the sound with just two people, you have to get really creative with it.
Karie: If one of us loses it, that’s it, there’s no hope….
Mo: Yeah, if you mess up, there’s nobody to cover you, so that’s more challenging…The only part that’s easier is we’re able to tour and be available for most gigs, scheduling is easier…since it’s just the two of us.
ZZ: Karie, I understand you’ve only been playing drums for a short time; can you tell us more about that?
Karie: Sure! I’ve always wanted to try playing, and the Christmas before we started The Talking Hours, Mo got me a shitty, beater little drum set as a gift, and it was the best! Then we just started jamming! I’m a guitar player to start, but drumming is a different beast. It’s a different challenge and a different freedom.
Mo: We played our first show, about four or five months after she started playing drums, so she picked it up really quick.
Karie: It was terrifying, we almost didn’t do it, “This was a bad idea, let’s go home.”
ZZ: Where was that show?
Mo: It was a Low Spirits*.
ZZ: What is your favorite part about your live performances?
Mo: I love watching Karie and just feeding off her, seeing her hitting her drums, and cymbals…it gets me fired up!
Karie: I like looking up and seeing Mo pace around, just the energy we give off to each other… seeing how mad we can make each other, in a good way!
ZZ: Where did you record **Golden?
Karie: At Empty House Studio with Matthew Tobias.
ZZ: How did that go?
Mo: Amazing. Matthew is a great guy to work with, he’s a drummer, so he knows how to capture that sound. I can’t say enough about Matthew, he guides you, gives you good ideas to work on, and has an amazing place to record. One of my favorite places I’ve ever recorded at.
ZZ: Tell me about the experience recording the EP and the album.
Mo: The EP we did in one day, the album we did in two days. The EP was done really quick, so it’s super raw. We just needed to have something, so we recorded with John Anderson at ***Duke City Sound, it was our first time as a two piece.
Karie: We recorded it in September of 2015, so it was really early, and very scary to record drums.
ZZ: Tell me about some artists that have influenced the kind of music you guys make.
Karie: One of my favorite drummers ever, Eric Gillespie of Underoath, who is just a GOD, he has this fierceness about him, and he hits the fuck out of his drums, which I just love. There’s also this female band from the UK, The Savages, very dark. The drummer, her name is Faye, she plays the strangest things, but it’s brilliant.
Mo: I love The Kills, They’re a huge influence on me, Metz, Savages. I love Trent Reznor, I’ve listened to them since I was a kid. He’s a huge influence.
ZZ: Anything else you’d like to add?
Karie: Rock and Roll never dies man. Fuck yeah, let’s keep it alive!
Mo: Yes! Keep rockin’! Albuquerque’s got this amazing scene, with such a great mix of music, Lindy Vision, Supergiant, Sugarmotor, Red Light Cameras…There’s so many artists, so many genres, and SO much talent, and we all play together…I mean, we’ve played with hip hop groups, country, metal, it’s great to mix everything up this way.
*Low Spirits is a bar that is no longer in business. Once Located near 2nd St. & Menaul, they showcased an array of acts, both local and on tour. It was a very small place, ideal for getting to meet artists. **Golden: A 2017 album debut released by The Talking Hours. Voted among the Best Albums of 2017 in the Alibi’s Best of Burque. Their vinyl and digital copies are available thanks to Orange Whip Records, a local punk rock label. ***Duke City Sound Stage: A recording studio and stage in Albuquerque, NM. No longer active.
INTERVIEW WITH DUKE CITY RIOTS
THIS INTERVIEW IS FROM OCTOBER 20TH, 2018 BY LIZZIE MAE
The weekend just kicked off, and autumn is most definitely in full effect. Thank goodness! It’s tolerable to be outside, and the inside of my car isn’t like opening an oven! I began my Saturday making up for some lost time. I had somehow managed to flake on some very important plans I had to interview Duke City Riots. I feel as though I’m continuously forgetting crucial plans, only because I’m poor at scheduling, and I now have more shit booked up than I’ve ever anticipated.
Soundtrack on the way there: a Myrrors cassette, Arena Negra. My boyfriend acquired it at a Low Spirits show about three years ago. Psychedelic, experimental folk sounds… Anyway, I guess I’ll start with my first encounter DCR…Back in the late summer, when I was barely publishing the first issue of Zia Zine, there was a show at Moonlight Lounge, I was rather buzzed, and out of fucking cigarettes. I was that guy this time…but, with my luck and ability to exchange something in return, I met the fine folks of Duke City Riots, Charlton, Ron, and Shannon. I was then provided with not only nicotine, but some GREAT CD’s…
Their EP, OK to Burn, and their album, Land of Entrapment. These CD’s are available at Arise Music & Coffee, on Apple Music, and at the merch table at their upcoming shows. Some personal favorite tracks are "What’s Wrong With Me" & "Real American."
I was reunited with Charlton, Ron and Shannon at their practice space. Last time I saw them before this was September 23rd. They had graciously performed for the Zia Zine release party that Arise Music and Coffee and Moonlight Lounge had so kindly hosted for the debut release. It was an honor to showcase Duke City Riots among a variety of artists that make up our eclectic music scene…I had to know more about them, so, what better way to do an interview than to chain smoke our midday away before an excellent practice session?
ZZ: What inspired the start of DCR?
Shannon: Well, it was sort of an accident. Charlton and I had met in 2010. His wife used to work where I work, and she introduced us. We all hit it off. Then, about 2012, she called me and said “Hey, Chuck is driving me crazy, he’s in a really bad mood, and needs an outlet. Can you hang out for a while? I’ll pay you (jokingly)…” So he came by, and I had sort-of been playing on the acoustic. I didn’t play drums or anything. We had a good time hanging out! I’d grab the guitar and try to make something work, then he saw this drum set in the music room. He asked, “Can you do anything on that?”…Well, I’ve got rhythm, lets give it a shot…So we went in and had fun.
Charlton: Playing bass through a tiny amp, then hooking up a kids microphone, to the back of a chair (ZZ: You gotta start somewhere…) and then playing on a Wal-Mart drum set…
Shannon: I got the drum set as a gift for my wife a few years ago, and it was a cheap-o…after a while it was only collecting dust in the corner before he came over. But we decided to do it all over again the following weekend, and it went on from there. We never really planned on having a band, but after a couple months, we took things seriously. A little over a year later, we were gonna record some of it.
Charlton: After we recorded, we realized, yeah, we need a guitar player. We had already recorded our parts.
Shannon: Yeah, and if we’re ever gonna play live, we have to do that at some point. I had known him (gesturing at Ron) for a long time, I used to watch his other bands. He liked how we played, we were chatting, I said, “one day, down the road, we’re gonna be in our own band." Fast forward to 2012, we’re starting our recording, and I called him, he hadn’t played for a couple years, he borrowed a guitar I had..and had to learn all the songs….
Charlton: It was two weeks, we just decided to throw him to the wolves…”Hey, that’s great, you haven’t played in a while? We need you to learn all these songs…Oh and by the way, in two weeks we’re going into the studio.”
ZZ: Ron, how long have you been playing guitar?
Ron:…30 years now? Since I was thirteen. It’s been a while, that’s for sure…
ZZ: Tell me about your music style. How that all started, and how it’s developed.
Shannon: It came from Charlton. When we got together, he had some songs in his head, inspired by a *Hank III record.
Charlton: I had been in a band in Dallas, before I moved here, and I had nothing here. So, a lot of songs that I made had a country vibe. There was a cluster of songs that I couldn’t use. We kind of developed around that. But we settled, we’re not a punk band, or country band, we’re gonna play with intensity. We’ll do whatever fucking style we want, but with more of a kick.
Shannon: Our individual tastes are pretty diverse, so when you bring it as a collective, creativity-wise, is a pretty wide breath of influence. I think we have some country style on the new record, but it bends a little more toward a rockabilly, up-tempo…
Charlton: We got a little bit more soul in this record, which…I hesitate to call it that… Shannon: You could ask us, every day, "How would you describe yourself?" And we’d give you twenty different answers.
ZZ: On that note, any influences to your style?
Shannon: Well, collectively, the creative process is a little different. Charlton will start with a bass part, and I’ll try to match it with the drums, Ron will throw in something that fits. We’ll begin with that spark, and work from there.
Charlton: A lot of songs that we’ve done….usually I’ll have a word, or a phrase...then all of a sudden it’s there. Those are the best ones.
Shannon: As far as inspiration, I think without saying, we go out of our way to NOT be alike to something. Just let it be completely organic.
Charlton: I don’t listen to a lot of newer music, so I don’t find our music falling into any sort of trend. I’m influenced by musicians more than I am by bands.
ZZ: Okay, so I’ve been in trouble with this question, but I’ll ask it anyway. What kind of effects do you like to use?
Charlton & Ron: NONE
Ron: All I have is a wah-wah pedal, and a reverb. Most of the time the guitar is straight to the amp.
Charlton: In the studio, we call that sauce, we don’t want too much sauce. A lot of the time the sound is completely organic.
Shannon: We like the additions to our recordings, but we also like just the three of us, without anything else.
*We ended up discussing their recording process* Charlton: There’s at least three songs that were going to wind up on the EP, but we saved them for the next record. We thought these are the best songs that we have. We tried to do 17 songs to the album, and we moved some music to what we’re going to release in the future.
Shannon: I’m glad we gave that work a chance to evolve. I’m a big fan of an album; the first and last track matter, and everything in between flows...it’s a big, living, breathing thing. I’m glad some of these songs didn’t make record one or two. Because they will better fit this body of work. Stylistically. When you hear this third one, it will become clear that it all fits. There are other bands out there that do stretch the genres a bit and that’s just us by default, because our tastes vary so much. All of our preferences will seep out in a way.
Charlton: That mix is good. It’s good when those ideas blend well, otherwise you find a clove in your stew…
ZZ: What about working together?
Charlton: Our idea is that we should be able to jam the same way we hang out.
Shannon: Usually we’ll pregame, shoot the shit, then cap off with a follow up session.
Ron: We don’t practice like normal people. We’ll play the songs once, and if we fuck it up, then, oh well, onto the next song.
Charlton: Shannon has started playing drums after never having played before, then goes into the studio after a year, he’s made quantum leaps, to where he’s a pretty good drummer.
Shannon: He gets credit for that too, because I was intimidated to record with someone that does that kind of stuff professionally. Who am I to even be in the same room as this guy? But he was cool. When we were working, there were times when he knew I fucked up, but I also knew I fucked up, and he was patient. He never criticized, he let me evolve at my own pace.
Charlton: Even when he first started, he was already picking up on odd time signatures. Which is typically counter intuitive. Then it was just trying to get him to play in 4/4.
Shannon: I think why I play that weird stuff more naturally. I listen to a lot of stuff so those variations stick around in the back of my head, from old school music to modern, it’s easy to find a variation that fits into what we do without thinking about it.
ZZ: I notice your music has a variety of different topics ranging from personal experience to politics. Can you tell me about that?
Charlton: Well, Shannon came up with the name Duke City Riots. I’ve always kind of had it in my head that we’re in a very fragile situation. It doesn’t take a whole lot to notice that. A lot of it is inspired by what I’ve been reading lately. That, and paying attention to news outside of the mainstream media, and studying history.
Shannon: This wide range of topics, things that are wrong with the world, and some things that are right, I think one of Charlton’s gifts, is that he takes all of this stuff, and has a gift for distilling it into a song, that analyzes whatever we were talking about in a brilliant way. It doesn’t make judgement or cast blame, it’s just a painting of the information gathered.
ZZ: What do you have coming up?
Shannon: Coming up, the release to the new record, late sprint 2019, we’re putting a new video together for the first track of our album. And we’ll be doing some administrative stuff in the meantime, because nobody likes to go out in the cold!
THANK YOU, DUKE CITY RIOTS!
INTERVIEW WITH THE HORNED GOD BY LAURETTA
It was a Friday Night after the Halloween chaos. On the way downtown, I didn’t really know what to expect…I was spent, so, I figured everyone else was. I got to Moonlight Lounge a little early, which gave me a chance to catch up on some work for the zine. I walked in, grabbed a seat, and started working. Before I knew it, people started filling into the venue. To my surprise, most of the artists were in costume. I saw many folks that I expected and met some new people along the way. I came down to check out an act I had yet to see… L’uomo Nero, sharing the stage with Amped Owl Drive and Manhigh. The members of L’uomo Nero and The Horned God are one in the same.
The first time I saw The Horned God was August 31st at Side Effex. Described as ancient Celtic stoner rock, this band is usually found onstage in full costume, with music accompanied by concepts based from the 1983 graphic novels, Slaine: The Horned God. Not only am I eager to hear their upcoming album, I am very curious to look into this graphic novel!
ZZ: Who are the members of THG?
Introducing themselves: Dominic, Tim, Robson.
ZZ: Tell us about the Horned God…
Dominic: It’s a concept based off a specific story in the graphic novels. It’s based off the narrative and dialogue of the comic book, Some nights we’ll dress up as the characters.
ZZ: So the lyrics are all based off the novel?
Dominic: All of it, it all goes in order and tells a story.
ZZ: What makes this different from any other group you guys are in?
Dominic: Well, our other bands are rock bands, but this is more of a concept project.
ZZ: You’re the very first band signed to Desert Records, when can we expect a debut?
Dominic: Hopefully in a month, it’s a full length 12’’ vinyl, we’re just waiting for the artwork to go through. We’re gonna do a release party soon, and then, another record!
ZZ: What else can we expect from you in the near future?
Dominic: The single will be premiered soon.
Robson: We’re on a hold until we do our release show. That’ll be the big event, and then we’ll do more shows after that.
ZZ: I know I’m interviewing you as The Horned God even though your act tonight is L’uomo Nero. Would it be okay if I ask you about that as well?
Dominic: We can do that now.
ZZ: Alright then, tell me about what’s going on tonight..
Robson: So, it’s the Dia De Muertos party we booked a few months ago.
Dominic: This is “The Boogeyman," same members, with more of a blues rock style.
Robson: It’s a softer side of The Horned God.
Dominic: Yeah, it’s Boogeyman, but it’s also like Boogie-man, you know, you can get up and dance to it. We’re working on a lot of new stuff too, so check it out!
ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH YUNG HEAR$E BY CHRISTIE
It may be important to note here that online interviews are going to be a staple of the Zia Zine material. We do a series of live interviews and find one artist that is interested in answering questions through the web.
YUNG HEAR$E has been on my radar for a very long time. This dude has an extensive and dedicated career as a rapper and producer. If that’s not enough for you, this interview covers the other self-taught skills he has under his belt. Though our friendship has been a long and odd one in our coming of age, there’s no dispute; this artist is not one to be fucked with. You will be defeated. Not only is his unique style unparalleled, his competitive nature is effectively intimidating. An incredibly open mind and the ability to devour the mic with reality, he tactfully sprinkles a garnish of ego evaluation. But don’t worry, that’s only reserved for the foolish, deserving recipient. Beware, this man’s crafted taste, and effective creativity is a blend of accuracy that you’ve been waiting for.
ZZ: Tell us about yourself.
YH: Well I'm YUNG HEAR$E as a rapper, and I go by GOHT (pronounced goat) as a producer. I used to like to call my little niche "Mortuary Shyt" until I realized my style just doesn't stay the same. I try to push my own limits by making music I've never made before in genres I’ve never learned officially. Which is why each of my songs sounds completely different from the last.
ZZ: Do you work with other artists? If so, who?
YH: I do work with other artists, matter of fact. I, along with Oseyerus, have a collective called Funeral Home Familia. Artists I've worked with in the past include Canis Lupus, Satchel VI, CBRD, YungWardenBuffett, Eden Ivy, Torchfvce, Weez, DexthWxsh, Vendetta VI, sixtwosix, Red-Le, 90s Bambino, Deth Mane, and tons of others.
ZZ: Stylistically, where do you draw your inspiration from when it comes to other genres?
YH: My beat style is a combination of everything I listen to actually. Little bits and pieces of everything. From Jazz, Vaporwave, oldies, Lo-fi Hip Hop, etc.- to black metal, death metal, punk, etc. My rap style is a combination of I like to say Lil Rob, Evil Pimp, and Bone Thugs all rolled into one, as weird as it sounds. But again, I draw influence from everywhere. And I'm sure you can hear that in the melodies I write for my beats. After I learned about sample clearance and the process, I decided to make my own melodies for all my beats instead of using samples.
ZZ: What sets you apart from other artists in your realm of work?
YH: I'd say the one thing that sets me apart is my work ethic and my versatility. Not only do I make my own beats, I write, record, master, design the artwork for all my songs. Not many people can say they do that.
ZZ: We found some tracks of yours on Apple Music. How else can we find your music?
YH: My recent music can be found on my soundcloud for free streaming and my discography can be found on bandcamp mostly for free!
ZZ: What’s the newest material that you’ve come out with?
YH: I recently dropped a tape called II I VIII and it's basically a collection of my 2018 singles that I really liked. All produced and engineered by me as well! It's a definite mix of rap styles and beat styles. But stays more to my own niche. My newer music I’m working on is another tape called O' HOLY DEATH. And this tape is an old school sounding phonk tape. And I also recently dropped a song called "I ain't give a fuck" that is COMPLETELY different from anything I’ve done thus far. I encourage y’all to go check it out!