The BLT Q&A: Dave Foster by Nivea Serrao

Posted on May 15, 2014 in BLT Musician Q&A, News

  Burnt out on electric grunge and looking to do something acoustic, songwriter Dave Foster found himself a band of like-minded musicians, and so the indie pop band known as ‘Bubble’ was formed. Twenty years later and they’re still together, writing and producing their own songs (they have an album in the works) and playing shows where they cover whole Beatles albums – even performing at Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Though before any of this, Foster was just a love-struck teenager trying to impress the girl he liked. But while the girl didn’t stick, the song writing did. We asked Dave a few questions in advance of his appearance at Beauty Love Truth this Friday May 16th, 2014 at Standard Toykraft.   What is your first memory of beauty? Probably my mother…or the first time I saw the ocean.   Tell us something you love. My 3 sons…not the TV show…actual children.   Where do you find the truth in music? In the vulnerability of the voice…and the picture the words/melody paints.   Have you known other people who have done Beauty Love Truth? My friends Lianne Smith, Matthew Caws and Lee Feldman   What are you expecting? The unexpected   What are you looking forward to? Watching how the improvisers riff off my songs.   When did beauty get you in trouble? When did it not?   What is something you’ve loved since you were a child? Batman   What is the greatest truth you learned as an adult? Parents and teachers are real life superheroes.   It’s the end of the world and you’re asked to explain an instance of beauty/love/truth from your life. Which would you pick and what would you say? Holding my first son just after he was born and looking into his eyes. He still looks at me like that with those eyes.   Where is the most surprising/unexpected place you’ve found beauty? An abandoned house on the Williamsburg waterfront in the mid-90s (filming a Bubble video). It was like being in a cabin in the woods with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.   What is something/someone you love that would surprise people? The Food Network. I have missed it ever since I ditched cable TV.   What is a truth about you that would surprise people? I am ¼ Sicilian. So don’t mess with me (or at least a quarter of me).   Which is easiest for you to sing about, beauty, love or truth? Love songs…nothing but love songs (with intermittent truth).   DAVE FOSTER will be joined by Rembert Block at Beauty Love Truth, Friday, May 16 at 8pm at Standard Toykraft. ______________ Nivea Serrao is an entertainment journalist and sketch...

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The BLT Q&A: Stranger Cat by Nivea Serrao

Posted on Oct 17, 2013 in BLT Musician Q&A, Featured, News

You can take the musician out of the wilderness, but not the wilderness out of the musician. That’s how Stranger Cat was born. The latest project from Cat Martino, it is the result of Martino’s brief sojourn in the Sierra Foothills in search of a respite from city living, writing and recording songs that blend together synthesized instruments and electronic beats and layering it with her powerful voice. Still an organic quality is retained. A few years ago, the Brooklyn native was afflicted with an undiagnosed neuromuscular condition that left her isolated in her bedroom. Physically constrained, she turned to her microphone and loop pedal for musical expression. Now, having fully recovered, Martino has thrown herself into her music, employing the loop effects she’d taught herself in her songs, giving them an almost dream-like quality. However, she notes these new songs balance an ethereal layering quality with a rawer and more aggressive energy. She’s also spent the last few years touring and recording with friends – first fellow songstress Sharon Van Etten, then frequent collaborator Sufjan Stevens and now, Stranger Cat co-collaborator Sven Britt. In fact, they’ve even recorded an as-of-yet-to-be released EP together. We asked Cat a few questions in advance of Stranger Cat’s appearance at BLT this Saturday, October 19, 2013 at Standard Toykraft.   Tell us something you think is beautiful. Our bodies are a mini-verse to the macro universe. Inside of us is mostly water, and the elements oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. And essentially we are the same stuff of the stars. Scientifically and metaphorically this is beautiful to me. What is your first memory of love? My father holding me as a newly adopted child. I was only 3 months old, so perhaps it’s just I’ve envisioned the story so many times… I don’t remember it in my mind, but definitely in my body. What is something you know to be true since you were a child? Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the best cereal. What do you love most about making music? The constant return to being a curious and playful child, and having a raw expression through sound. Also, the fringe benefits are off the hook, never-ending hummus… Have you known other people who have done Beauty Love Truth? What are you expecting? What are you looking forward to? Nope! No clue, surprise me, bring it ON! I am looking forward to what I just found out about improvisation and comedy – improvisation has always been a huge part of my creative process before a song becomes fixed. It allows one to be completely in the moment, and find intuitive truths come out when there is no time for plotted thinking. I...

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The BLT Q&A: Common Prayer by Kaitlin Fontana

Posted on May 31, 2013 in BLT Musician Q&A

The BLT Q&A: Common Prayer By Kaitlin Fontana The original Book of Common Prayer—first issued in the 1500s to clergymen in the Anglican Church—was intended to formalize and tighten the rules around the dissemination of the church’s teachings. It did so, but it also had another effect, more widespread and completely in opposition to the church’s intent—the rites, rituals, words, and meanings of the all-too-omniscient church were suddenly available to people all over England to read. Prayer, and its attendant power, was democratized. Whether you’re a religious person or not, you have to admit that’s pretty cool: The Book of Common Prayer was the 16th century’s internet. The band Common Prayer shares some of the spirit of its namesake. No, this band is not the internet (I bet that’s not a phrase you’ve read today), but their ability to communicate the rites, rituals, and power of music to the masses is indisputable. Common Prayer is a Brooklyn-based, sometimes folk/often rock outfit led by Jason Sebastian Russo (formerly of Hopewell and 90s alternative gods Mercury Rev). The band’s first album, There Is A Mountain, was released on Neil Halsted’s Big Potato Records in 2010, and hailed by the BBC as one of that year’s “most recommended under-the-radar releases.”   Common Prayer’s second album, Frame The River, will be released this October. Buy it then, but see them live, Saturday, June 8, as the musical guests on this month’s Beauty Love Truth. BLT recently chatted with Jason, and tried hard not let our teen-in-the-90s-alternative-leanings make us squee with delight. The aliens have landed and one asks you to explain beauty, love, and truth. How do you explain these to them? Jason Russo: I’d pantomime it. Like Mummenschanz. Tell us something you think is beautiful. JR: It’s beautiful that you can send me this question through the air. And that we can engage in the same conversation at different times, both presumably sitting at desks, having never met. It’s pretty beautiful that I can hit send and a little electronic bird drops a bunch of 1’s + 0’s onto your desk that carry meaning from me to you. Most people say they don’t like computers, but I think they are beautiful. Every day my 77-year-old father emails excerpts from the books he is reading to a small list of people. Full of misspellings and typos. That’s beautiful, too. When did the truth get you in trouble? JR: When I thought I knew it. Do you know other performers who have done Beauty Love Truth? What are you expecting? What are you looking forward to? JR: Man, it’s just great to play a show outside the music scene. It will be nice to...

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The BLT Q&A: Stephan Said by Kaitlin Fontana

Posted on Sep 23, 2012 in BLT Musician Q&A

The BLT Q&A: Stephan Said By Kaitlin Fontana The great tradition of the folk music hero is one that has, over the last few decades, diminished. Or, if not diminished, then dispersed—parts of it fleeing to hip hop, parts to literature, parts to the internet and the global uprising. But there is still a strong through line from the Woodie Guthries of our past to the truth-telling, peace activist singer songwriters of our present and future, and that’s where Stephan Said—activist, organizer and folk hero—comes in. Born one of four kids in Cleveland to a Muslim Iraqi father and a Catholic Viennese mother, his story is one of self-discovery and examination of peace not just in the world but within himself. Along the path of a long and incredible career Stephan has played in punk bands alongside SST records legends like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., he’s traveled the country playing everything from thrash to folk, and—oh yeah—he has a Masters in International Affairs from the New School. So he’s knows a thing or two about what he sings. His new album, difrent, is out now. We sat Stephan down for a Q&A in advance of his appearance at BLT. Tell us something you think is beautiful. A pure voice singing the truth, that is love. The child in each of us that sees the world the way that it could be. Tell us a lyric of yours that includes the word love. “We don’t need a revolution. All we really need is evolution. And we don’t need a new messiah, we all got the answer down inside us. We don’t need a new distraction. We just need to get to action. All we need is love.” What’s your first memory of something beautiful? Nature. I grew up in Appalachia as a little kid, in far western Pennsylvania, in the country. I remember distinctly the joy of being surrounded by trees, swimming, sweet air, rivers, breezes, mountains, birdsongs, blue skies. What’s one thing in your life that is beautiful, you love and is true? My most beautiful wife and friend in the world, and a daughter, both of whom lighten every day and keep me moving ahead. How did you become a musician? Why do you keep doing it? I never became a musician. I was sort of born one, I started writing songs by the time I was three years old on the piano and could pick up any instrument and teach myself how to produce melody on it quickly. So I guess music sort of chose me, and I’ve never been able to get away from it. Have you ever played during a live theatre show before? What...

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The BLT Q&A with Ko-Lition by Kaitlin Fontana

Posted on Aug 25, 2012 in BLT Musician Q&A

The BLT Q&A: Ko-Lition By Kaitlin Fontana This coming Thursday’s BLT performance will be a history making one; it’s the first time that the musical performers will be a hip hop group. In this case, the Brooklyn-bred brother duo known as Ko-Lition, whose influences run the gamut from hip hop to jazz to electro and back again, and whose production company, See It Live, encompasses not only their independent spirit but also their mantra: all music is better live. Fitting, then, to have them take to the stage at BLT.  No doubt this change in musicality will effect everything from the scenework to the tone of the show in ways that are exciting even to think about. And that’s really hip hop at its best: when we get excited about it, when it’s a vital, refreshing art form. Rock stopped being new a long time ago—when we get excited about it it’s usually because it sounds so like something we loved before. Hip hop still has a great capacity for surprise, and that’s why having Ko-Lition take the stage at Beauty Love Truth will be a unique experience. You should probably be there. BLT sat down with Ko-Lition for a chat.   Tell us a truth from your lyrics. Our song “Blindsided” has a lyric which says “Mom said show your heart let her see/Pops said never wear your heart on ya sleeve/So we’ve  always struggled with love both giving and receiving…” What’s your first memory of something beautiful? Us coming up with a dance routine to perform in front of our family and the look of approval they all had. What’s something/someone you love that it would surprise people? Broadway plays. What’s good is good—you can’t fight it. Tell us something true. Faith is useless without works. What’s one thing in your life that is beautiful, you love and is true? Madeline Johnson, our Nana. Beautiful and true. The aliens have landed and one asks you to explain beauty/love/truth [choose one]. How do you explain it to them? We tell them beauty is subjective and undeniable. You have a new album called Love Jazz Robotz. What is a love jazz robot?  Love Jazz Robotz is a representation of our start in the music industry thus far. It tells stories, makes love, and represents that stagnant feeling you get when you’re told to do music the way everyone else does—like a robot. You’re brothers. What’s hard about being brothers that work together? What’s easy about it? Well, we’re two different people so creative ideas are always flowing and don’t always mesh. But because we’re brothers we don’t have to worry about conflicts. At the end of it all, it’s...

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The BLT Q&A: Bob Dorough by Kaitlin Fontana

Posted on Jul 22, 2012 in BLT Musician Q&A

The BLT Q&A: Bob Dorough By Kaitlin Fontana How to sum up a man like Bob Dorough? He’s lived at least a dozen lifetimes in one go, played with great performers from Miles Davis to Allen Ginsberg and many more besides and—oh yeah!—he’s the brain and the voice behind the indelible Schoolhouse Rock! animated musical shorts of all of our childhoods (even a Canadian kid like me, who had no business learning about just bills, only bills, sitting there on Capitol Hill). But that’s but a small part of a man whose heart and sense of humour is a large as his talent. He has vocal tricks and jazz style to spare, and he can play the hell out of a piano. Did we mention he’s a two-time BLT guest? And that he’s 88 years young? Yeah, Bob Dorough is kind of our hero. We asked him a few questions before his guest spot on the upcoming BLT show, this Thursday at 8pm at the PIT. Tell us something you think is beautiful. A newly-spun spider web, bejeweled with dewdrops and sparkling in the rising sun. Tell us a lyric of yours that includes the word love. But for now I’ll just say, “I love you.” Later on there’ll be time for so much more…. (From “But For Now,” words and music by Bob Dorough, copyright Sincere Music Co.) Tell us a truth from your lyrics. When the day is through I suffer no regrets; I know that he who frets loses the night. From “Devil May Care,” words and music by T. P. Kirk and Bob Dorough, copyright Sincere Music Co.) How did you become a musician? Why do you keep doing it? Playing 3rd clarinet as a beginner in the high school band in Plainview, Texas, I discovered that my part was essential to the overall effect, as were all the other parts being played around me. The satisfying feeling that came from the total achievement drove me to inform my parents [of my intentions]. “I’m going to be a musician,” I said. This after one week of rehearsing with the band. I keep at it, as do all musicians, because, well, you never get it perfect; you just keep trying. I know this is your second time playing BLT—what made you want to do it again? I have a feeling of affinity for and with improvisors, whether it be hot jazz or comedy/drama. During my California wanderings I became friendly and conversant with members of [famed seminal ‘60s improv troupe] The Committee, and, later, of course, I watched some performances by Second City. My first show with BLT was quite enjoyable and in fact I wanted...

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