Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog
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No Love Lost: Zoya Zafar

In a lot of circles, including my own, “singer-songwriter” is a dirty phrase. It reeks of cheap coffee and poorly-written songs, performed in 15-minute bursts and introduced by an unfunny guy in a tacky shirt. But in actuality, this descriptor should be reserved for only the finest solo artists. Ones who blend lyrics, melody, and instrument(s) in a way that makes bystanders stop whatever they’re doing and listen to the lone person, spilling their experiences out with only their voice and a guitar.

People like Zoya Zafar. The 22-year-old has made me look at solo musicians differently. Every time I’ve seen her perform, people are transfixed. I’ve never heard a more delicate voice get such attention. Her songs are hand strung melodies, personal and relatable. They work in dark bars or Sunday afternoons under a tree. I had to sit down with this incredible talent and see how she seemingly makes time stop. Enjoy.

Upcoming Appearances:

2/10 @ Will’s Pub w/ Sugarplum, RV, & Pathos, Pathos

2/18 @ The Dumpster in Gainsville w/ Tiger Fawn, DONKNG, & Theo Burrows (The Vinyl Warhol Presents)

2/26 @ Spacebar w/ TV Dinner (The Vinyl Warhol Presents)


Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Okay, so the first thing I wanted to talk about is what originally struck me about your music, which is your voice. You have this very delicate, personal voice. When did you discover it?

Zoya Zafar: Um, I guess when I was like 15. I was taking choir in school, so I think that helped with understanding how to breathe properly when you sing, what vowels sound good. I don’t think too much about it now when I sing because I’ve been doing it for so long. But yeah, I think it happened around then. And like, figuring out where I’m most comfortable singing, in range or whatever.

matthew warhol: When did you start to find your niche in music?

Zoya Zafar: I was always into folk music, even without realizing what it was. I remember, when I was really young, listening to late-‘80s, early-‘90s stuff — what my parents listened to.

matthew warhol: Like what?

Zoya Zafar: Wilson Phillips or Bonnie Raitt. I didn’t really like it that much, but I really didn’t have anything else to listen to. One day, my mom brought me a PJ Olsen CD. No one knows about him, but he’s like ‘90s alternative folk. He had long hair — I thought he was a girl at first. I listened to his record a lot, that’s all I listened to from like nine to thirteen. That’s when I realized I was more into acoustic music.

Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: What about when you started playing music?

Zoya Zafar: As I got more into finding new music on the internet, I started listening to music like Bright Eyes and Death Cab [For Cutie]. And that’s when I started having an interest in singing and playing guitar. At first, I took Guitar as a course in middle school. I was like okay, I’ll try it and see if I like it. And I hated it. I didn’t want to do guitar at all. But then the summer after, I was bored and decided to try it again. I was 14. Singing, I liked it, but I didn’t think I had a special voice. I didn’t really like the sound that came out of my mouth. It was just like whatever.

matthew warhol: So when did you start performing live?

Zoya Zafar: Around 16 or so, it was shortly after.

matthew warhol: What was the first time?

Zoya Zafar: I played was an open-mic at Natura. This was 2010. I’d been playing at home and for friends, never in front of strangers. It was cool. The guy who hosted it asked me to open for his band a couple months later. Definitely a good confidence booster.

Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Had you written your own songs up to that point?

Zoya Zafar: Yeah, I started writing as soon as I started playing guitar. I always liked writing. Before it was music, it was poetry or short stories. So it’s always been an interest of mine, and as I got older I had access to a guitar and started singing … it was more of a natural progression.

matthew warhol: I think a lot of your music up ’til this point has focused on the songwriting aspect. It’s your voice and the words first.

Zoya Zafar: Yeah, for sure. I don’t really think of myself as a talented guitar player. It’s just something I can sing with.

matthew warhol: Where do the songs come from? Because your music seems extra personal, like it’s coming from your own life. You’re being very specific with what you’re talking about.

Zoya Zafar: I feel like when I was younger, my songs were more abstract. My first EP is very whimsical, very full of ideas and memories. I feel like, as a whole, different experiences shape you into a new artist.

Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: What are most of the songs you write about?

Zoya Zafar: Definitely like, how I react to certain situations, my own personal feelings about something. That’s very vague, but it’s really about me. Everything that’s going to be on my new album is very personal.

matthew warhol: Could you give me an example?

Zoya Zafar: There’s this one called “Go Kiss Your Girl.”

matthew warhol: Yeah, tell me about that one. I know it’s a song people really gravitate towards.

Zoya Zafar: [laughs] That one’s really personal.

matthew warhol: Is it? … just as much as your comfortable talking about.

Zoya Zafar: I was upset over someone. It’s very sassy and angry in a weird way, but also very sad. There’s a line, “I’ve decided that we’ll never be, not even if we lived in the same city.” It was a long distance thing. And I think the hardest part of letting go of a long distance thing, is that you think the distance is why it’s not working out. And there’s always the hope that if we’re in the same city, that things will work out. But, I think thinking like that makes you never get over the person. So for my own closure, the song is saying, “This is never going to happen, ever. Not even if we lived in the city.”

Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog

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matthew warhol: Wow, that’s really mature. I wouldn’t have thought of it that way. In reality, it’s always other things too.

Zoya Zafar: It definitely was a lot of other things. The chorus is “I know you never cared about me, so please just let me be. Go kiss your girl.” Because … there was another girl. [laughs]

matthew warhol: When you’re writing, are you working through the tough situation or do you think you’ve already got it figured out?

Zoya Zafar: It’s definitely a process. Now, looking back, I’ll write songs and know what they’re about, but I’ll listen to them months later and be like, “Oh shit, I knew what I was talking about.” With that same person who the song was about, we had done music together and a lot of the songs were really sad. And it was because I was sad about the whole situation, but hadn’t realized it. Songwriting is very natural for me. It just comes out. Sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes it makes sense later on.

matthew warhol: So when you’re playing the heavier stuff live … I guess, my thing … the thought of doing that scares me.

Zoya Zafar: There’s a reason why I don’t do eye-contact. It’s so awkward for me. I feel like the more the songs become personal, the less I can really look at people. I’m in my own little world in a sense. I was really scared at first. I puked before every show. I would have intense anxiety attacks, it was an ongoing thing.

Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: So then why do it in the first place?

Zoya Zafar: I love performing live so much, the entire experience of it. Even though something makes me nervous, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. I love playing live especially, as opposed to recording. It’s just another thing. And a lot of people connect with it. One of my friends once told me, “Your songs are really sad, but you’re really happy.” You wouldn’t assume I write sad music.

matthew warhol: When you are playing live, do you feel any of that old emotion?

Zoya Zafar: I think, because I’ve been playing them so much, it doesn’t really affect me. It’s like a friend that you had close feelings for but you don’t anymore. But you still have fondness for.

matthew warhol: And so…

Zoya Zafar: That was a really poor analogy. [laughs] Don’t put that in.

matthew warhol: I thought it was a pretty good analogy. I liked it. [laughs] You have to. I feel like if you kept feeling sad every time you played … that’s not really what music is. Music is therapeutic …. See, that was bad too. That was stupid as well. So were both saying dumb things.

[laughs]

Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Going into what you’ve been working now, you’re hoping to have an album out later this year. At another time, you told me that you were working with DONKNG in Gainesville?

Zoya Zafar: That hasn’t happened yet. I definitely want to go up and jam with them, but I’m generally unsure what I want out of the album. I definitely want to do something different than my last EP.

matthew warhol: Is the sound going to change? Is there going to be more instrumentation?

Zoya Zafar: It’s not going to stray too far from my minimalistic stuff. Because I feel like some of my songs sound better with just me and a guitar. But It’ll be fun to see where it goes. I don’t really play acoustic guitar anymore, so I definitely want to have a moodier sound — dreamier guitars, reverb pedals. I want synths to add texture. It’d be nice to have percussions or something soft, like a drum machine. So I still want to have a lo-fi feel, but a bit more than a home recording.

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matthew warhol: What has happened between your first EP and now? How have things changed for you?

Zoya Zafar: When I did that EP, I already had songs written that will be on the album. The songs were written anywhere from 2014 to now.

matthew warhol: Can you tell the difference between the songs? Are some more mature?

Zoya Zafar: I’ve noticed that my writing style has definitely changed a bit. Before, I feel like I was more wordy and verbose. I think I’m better at saying something in a simpler way than I was before. I’ve noticed that a lot of songs I’ve been writing are like three verses or something, very simple, more minimalistic. But they still capture what I’m trying to say. Also, I think I want to focus more on the music behind the song. The words are important, but I want something that’s more interesting.

Zoya Zafar Interview Orlando music blog

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Jason Kimmins Orlando music blog
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Who the Hell is Jason Kimmins?

I’m going to assume you already know, or at least have seen, Jason Kimmins. He’s hard to ignore. The charismatic Orlando figure often shows up to local events in designer fashion and gold chains. As a musician, he fronts local noise-dance duo Shania Pain and has just released his first EP under the name J.A.S.O.N. Although I’ve considered him a friend for years, I’ve never stopped being interested in the way he presents himself online and in person. He’s an ORL enigma and I was excited to learn more about him. Enjoy.

Upcoming Appearances:

as J.A.S.O.N.

2/2 @ Spacebar w/ Loser Boy, Pulsatile Tinnitus, Child One & DJ Deviant Art 

w/ Shania Pain 

2/6 @ Uncle Lou’s for Pre-INC 2017

2/20 @ Uncle Lou’s w/ We’re All Doomed & Pass/Ages

3/4 @ Spacebar w/ Astari Nite

3/5 @ Sandwich Bar w/ Period Bomb, Problem Child, Mother Juno, & Disgender

(Paintings by Casey Hayes)


Jason Kimmins Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Jumping right in, your first solo show is coming up. Are you going to be playing the J.A.S.O.N. stuff?

Jason Kimmins: Well, I have different stuff I’m going to do. The first part of it is going to be something else that I’ve created for a split tape with this guy named Necrotizing Fasciitis. He’s like gore core. So I created … kind of like a noise set.

matthew warhol: Oh yeah, because it’s a noise show, right?

Jason Kimmins: Yeah! And so I was like “Yeah, that’s perfect. I’ll use that in there.” So that’ll be different.

matthew warhol: And what’s the other stuff you’re playing?

Jason Kimmins: Well, I’m really not performing or using any vocals until the end. I’ll probably do “BFF.” But it’ll be more … just like me like … it’s not going to be good.

Jason Kimmins Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Oh no?

Jason Kimmins: Yeah, I’m not going to try to be good or anything at it. It’s going to be like … more of a thought piece, I guess. Um … the concept of what I’m trying to do is called “Fulfillment Simulation Sequence One.” And it’s going to be a play off of self-help workshops that people go to and learn from someone about how to make their life better, but it’s going very interpretive. Like a negative skew on how people want better for themselves. But it’s not literal or anything.

matthew warhol: You’re not aiming for that. It’s just what you were thinking when you made it?

Jason Kimmins: Yeah, it’s really just my thoughts on how you have to change who you are to be fulfilled in your life and how you have to cover negative parts of yourself. And that’s what is social acceptable. Not being yourself is social acceptable.

matthew warhol: Do you think that’s who you are? I feel like I don’t get that from you, though. I feel like you’re someone who is themselves all the time.

Jason Kimmins: I mean I try to stay true but also, there’s a time and place for everything. You have to use social cues. And part of interacting with society is holding back who you are, unless you’re really comfortable with the people around you. A part of [the performance] is like, there’s a segment that’s geared everyone not wanting to see someone cry. You know, it’s a very bad thing to do. Because it makes everyone else uncomfortable.

Jason Kimmins Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Do you think you’re really naturally more anti-social or introverted? Do you have to push yourself you get out there?

Jason Kimmins: I’m definitely extroverted, but I feel drained a lot of times when I’m in that sort of environment. I feel comfortable, but I don’t feel happy necessarily. I’m more introverted as of lately.

matthew warhol: Everybody feels like that when it comes to being out. Especially in an environment where you know people, but you don’t really “know” people.

Jason Kimmins: Yeah, I will definitely say I know how to navigate social environments. I’ve learned how to get along with anybody, and maybe that’s skewed some of my vision of what I’m presenting in this performance. But, of course, it’s very interpretive.

matthew warhol: Cool. So like, why did you choose to release your own EP before Shania Pain had any official recordings?

Jason Kimmins: I’ve been doing music since I was in high school. The first thing I made was literally … I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. My uncle gave me Fruity Loops V2. He’s kind of a person like, “The goth scene was so cool back then.” So he gave me that and I played around with that, but it sounded shitty so I just turned the bass so it sounded like, “BRRRRRR,” because that shit really annoying.

Jason Kimmins Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: So even from the jump, you were experimenting with making something loud?

Jason Kimmins: Yeah, well not even just loud. My creative process has always been me going to the extreme, and then I learn where the in-between is. I only know what’s a good medium by going zero to one-hundred.

matthew warhol: So like, even with Shania Pain or your own stuff, do you think that’s going back to the medium?

Jason Kimmins: Of everything that I’ve done so far, sonically, I feel like the J.A.S.O.N. is the project that I’m working on meeting that happy medium.

matthew warhol: Between melody and discourse?

Jason Kimmins: It’s not intentionally discourse. It’s something more texturized and something more layered. I want different sounds to shine through, but to be in a very easy to digest way.

matthew warhol: And I think with the J.A.S.O.N. EP, it’s more all over the place. So there’s stuff that wouldn’t fit in with Shania Pain. Like that second song has like a lounge instrumental.

Jason Kimmins: I will say that one thing I’ll never be is consistent. There’s no way. My main drive is boredom. I have a very high tolerance for pleasure, so it takes me a lot for me to feel like, some good feelings. So I need a lot of different stuff. I need a lot of stimuli to be able to feel comfortable with myself.

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matthew warhol: Musically, what does that mean? How do you reach that place where you’re happy?

Jason Kimmins: Ummmm … It definitely translates to every song being like two-and-a-half minutes, because I have a short attention span. [laughs] I’m like, “Oh this is done. I don’t want to add another chorus because it’ll get boring.” But other than that, I don’t know. I’m still learning about myself and what I like. Maybe one day I’ll be consistent. For instance, I’ve been consistent about clothing. Like, pieces that look good on me — cuts and stuff like that — that I know that I’ll always go back to. So I feel like, yeah, I’m trying to actualize something. But I really can’t say what that would be.

matthew warhol: With your clothes, that’s one part of you I really admire, that you are always 100% yourself. You’ve even pushed me to want to expand [my wardrobe]. Even before I knew you.

Jason Kimmins: How did we meet again? Where’d you see me first at? Where’d I see you first at?

matthew warhol: It was probably The Space.

Jason Kimmins: Definitely, that’s where I met everyone.

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matthew warhol: You were Body LSD then too. What was that exactly?

Jason Kimmins: Okay, so I had graduated from high school and I was really rebellious. I was living with my mom at the time in Merritt Island. My mom is really nice, but because of that — and because I was coming from living in tension with my dad — I was really rebellious. And because of that, I got kicked out. So I was like, “I guess I can move to Orlando.” And, of course, I didn’t know anyone. But I was trying to find, like I said, pleasure in things because I was bored as fuck. Witch House and Scene Punk were really popular at that time — it was like 2013. And they would have nightlife people in New York and I was like, “Yeah, what if I had a nightlife persona?” So I did that and I would literally go to like Firestone. I still thought that was cool. It was the only thing I knew at that time. Then people started introducing me to other things.

matthew warhol: What was the first thing in this sort of scene?

Jason Kimmins: Body Talk. I met Jahre and he said, “Come to this really cool show.”

matthew warhol: Then you started doing your own shows, and they were all very centralized around a theme like Hydrate, the one about water.

Jason Kimmins: I would come up with a good concept and actualize the idea of decorations, making it kind of interactive, and maybe post a couple things [on the Facebook Event Page] that would make people’s minds sway in a certain way like, “Oh, I get it. This is what I can expect.” And then let people have at it. So they are set up to create their own experience, instead of having to conform to it.

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matthew warhol: I think you do that in Shania Pain too — playing with props, having big costumes, moving around.

Jason Kimmins: Actually, the whole time I’m on stage, I’m just thinking, “Holy shit, what am I going to do next?” It’s more like live poetry more than anything else — for what I do at least. And for Andrea, it’s her rhythmic flow that she does with all her instrumentation.

matthew warhol: Are you improvising?

Jason Kimmins: Yes, as of recently though, I have been writing down a few things. Before I’ll go on, I’ll write down a few excerpts that I think will sound cool. At the core of everything that I do, I really love lyrics and the meaning behind lyrics. And that fits in with the actual atmosphere of the music and how it creates a whole image of it.

matthew warhol: Can you give me an excerpt?

Jason Kimmins: Well, I’ll just like think of something to say. Like, what was the show we had?

matthew warhol: The last one was Will’s.

Jason Kimmins: Yeah, actually, I have this shirt that I scribbled all over. When I’m at my desk at work, I’ll grab a piece of paper and write train of thought, free-form thoughts over and over again. So I did that on a shirt. *gets up and grabs an old button-up shirt covered in scribblings done in permeant marker* Part of it was like, “All I ever wanted was to feel your flesh brush against mine and to feel your lips pressed against my fingers.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sb30kaS6yw

matthew warhol: That’s beautiful.

Jason Kimmins: I was also inspired by this homeless guy on Colonial and Goldenrod. He writes out really weird, religious tropes on pieces of cardboard and sticks them around. They’re just like randomly scribbled, “Everyone is going to burn in hell,” some really crazy stupid shit. I have to pee.

(Jason stands up.)

matthew warhol: So when you’re actually performing, do you have a sheet of paper.

Jason Kimmins: Last time we played, I just wrote it on my arm.

matthew warhol: And so how are you involving it with what Andrea is doing? Are they two separate entities completely?

Jason Kimmins: Yeah, she has no idea what I’m doing; I have no idea what she’s doing. We don’t really talk about it.

matthew warhol: Really?

Jason Kimmins: Yeah, I don’t think Andrea likes that. She just likes to do whatever. Andrea doesn’t like what to be told what to do.

Jason Kimmins Orlando music blog

matthew warhol: Is she improvising too?

Jason Kimmins: Yeah. She practices five minutes a day or whatever. She doesn’t like to have rules. I’m really inspired by her view on music and like, for what it is, thinking that music shouldn’t have rules.

matthew warhol: Do you think it’ll be more structured when you record?

Jason Kimmins: No, I think we’ll always be dynamic. I don’t think Andrea is the type to be structured, ever. That’s her personality type.

matthew warhol: I would assume that that comes from you, that spontaneity.

Jason Kimmins: Andrea has been involved with the noise scene since before I was even in Orlando. That’s her style. I’m just kind of like a texture to it. I think really, out of everything that Shania Pain is, she really wanted to experiment with electronic music.

(Jason has now been standing for 10 minutes.)

matthew warhol: You can go pee.

Jason Kimmins Orlando music blog

SugarPlum Orlando music
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A Sweet Treat w/ SugarPlum

I became aware of Chelsea Ybarra after my friend Henderson Nguyen sent me the music video he had just finished for a song called “All The Time.” The video featured a new ORL artist who went by the name SugarPlum. The visuals were bright and SugarPlum was bubbly; her voice joyfully sung the sweeeet chorus. After meeting her a few times and seeing her first two live performances, at Will’s Pub and Spacebar respectively, I became more interested in uncovering who this SugarPlum really was. So we scheduled an interview in Stardust Video & Coffee to talk about her upcoming, currently-untitled EP. Our talk even led to a visit to the ice cream parlor where “All The Time” was filmed. Enjoy.

Upcoming Appearances: February 10 @ Will’s Pub w/ Zoya Zafar & Pathos, Pathos.


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matthew warhol: I wanted to ask you, straight off, who exactly is SugarPlum? Is she, you? Is it kind of like a morphed version of you? How do you see it?

SugarPlum: … it’s kind funny how SugarPlum started. Ever since I was little I wanted to do the music thing, but I was never like, ballsy enough to do it. I needed that push. And my best friend Sarah — who’ve I’ve been best friends with since we were three-years-old, she does all my cover art — she always had my name in her phone as SugarPlum. So I was said that if I ever made music, I would use SugarPlum. [She’s] kind of like the girl who could. And I always said SugarPlum could be so much more than music. But essentially I am SugarPlum.

matthew warhol: So aesthetically, what is that? What is the vibe around SugarPlum?

SugarPlum: She’s like the goofy side of me, I think. The one who’s cheery and happy all the time. And even when things are hard she’s like, “Whatever, let’s go out!” I think she’s the version of me that pushes me to do all the things that are out of my comfort zone. Maybe I can’t do it but SugarPlum can.

SugarPlum Orlando music

matthew warhol: When did she start to take shape?

SugarPlum: It [happened] after I met Henderson. He was a fan before I even met him. I would post little videos of me playing guitar and singing on Instagram. And he would randomly comment on them saying, oh this is good. And when I finally played for him, he instantly shed into tears and was like, “No, you have to do it!”

matthew warhol: Was Instagram the first platform you started putting your stuff on?

SugarPlum: Yes.

matthew warhol: And when did that start?

SugarPlum: That was my first semester of college, so roughly a year ago. So like the end of 2015, I started posting videos of me playing.

matthew warhol: Were you playing your own songs?

SugarPlum: No, I was just doing little covers. I was too scared to post my songs. And I was obsessed with Frankie Cosmos at the time. I would go to my friend’s house, who had all these instruments and a studio, and record myself playing all of her songs — the guitar, the main and backing vocals, the whole thing. I was trying to get a feel of what it was going to be like to record songs. And then randomly I met my friend Alex, and he was super about recording.

SugarPlum Orlando music

matthew warhol: Your first song, “All The Time,” was that recorded with Alex?

SugarPlum: Yes.

matthew warhol: There are drums on that song. Who did those?

SugarPlum: Those were all done on the computer. I’ve been looking for a drummer for the longest time. They’re like hiding from me!

matthew warhol: Maybe you’ll be able to find one through this interview.

SugarPlum: Scouting drummers!! I really am looking!

[laughs]

SugarPlum Orlando music

SugarPlum Orlando music

matthew warhol: With “All The Time,” a lot of the lyrics seem very direct. They sound like we’re hearing actual experiences. Is that the case?

SugarPlum: Yeah, yeah! 100% real. I think the moment I started “All The Time,” I already knew what I wanted it to be. The writing process for me is like … I can write a verse in seconds, but the chorus is what gets me — the repetitiveness, writing something catchy. But “All The Time” like basically wrote itself. It was about the scenario when you’re with someone and you end it. And they keep calling you. And you like that they keep calling you. It’s that good feeling that they still want you, but you have so much you have to do.

matthew warhol: And even the chorus came together quickly?

SugarPlum: It was super fast. I was honestly just rushing it because I wanted to get it out! I knew my first song wasn’t going to be my best song, so like I’m not going to over think it. But then it like, blew up and I was like *screams*.

matthew warhol: Where was that reception coming from?

SugarPlum: I was always random people who always wanted me to do it and were waiting for me to do it. One of those people, who I appreciate and admire a lot, is Scott. He runs a music blog, 53rd & 3rd. And Sarah, who I mentioned earlier, worked with him at Barnes n Noble. She showed him “All The Time” when it came out. And he wanted to meet me and post the song. From there one of those blogs that automatically reblogs songs it sees potential in reblogged it.

matthew warhol: Was it Hype Machine?

SugarPlum: Yeah!

matthew warhol: Really? That’s really good!

SugarPlum: I was like “WOW!” I didn’t know what that meant at the time.

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matthew warhol: Do you know how many listens it has?

SugarPlum: It just hit 1,000 two weeks ago. And “Maybe, Baby” has only been up a week and it’s already at 100.

matthew warhol: Tell me about “Maybe, Baby.” I listened to it on the way here and it has a different sound. Were you wanting to make something different?

SugarPlum: After I came out with “Clover Pt.2” with EMRLDTRACE, I got a feel with a different vibe. Then Andre Thomas — who is an amazing, amazing musician and producer — reached out to me and wanted to work together. All of the music on “Maybe” is by him.

matthew warhol: So was it already done and you came in and added melodies to it?

SugarPlum: Sort of. He sent me a little snippet of it and thought I would like it. I loved it.

matthew warhol: Did you tweak it together?

SugarPlum: Yeah, I went to Miami to see him. I’m actually going this weekend again. It was all a very good feeling. We would do things in one take. We’re like two puzzle pieces and musically, we fit perfectly.

SugarPlum Orlando music

matthew warhol: Is he producing more on the EP?

SugarPlum: Yeah, the EP is all me and him.

matthew warhol: So is “All The Time” going to be on it?

SugarPlum: “All The Time” will be a bonus song. I think the EP has a different vibe — “Clover” will be on the EP. But “All The Time” and an interlude I wrote on the ukulele are going to be the bonus tracks. Because they’re more, more …

matthew warhol: You want the EP to have its own sound?

SugarPlum: Yeah.

matthew warhol: So is it going to be more synth-based with more beat production behind it?

SugarPlum: There’s definitely still going to be guitar incorporated in the EP, but we have a more synth sound.

matthew warhol: How many songs?

SugarPlum: Five songs and we’ll all have the two bonus songs.

matthew warhol: Does it have a name yet?

SugarPlum: NO! I can’t come up with a frickin’ name. I’m seeing Andre this weekend and we’re like, “We have to get a name!” At the same time, I was bugging my friends like, “Do people name their EPs, or is it self-titled?”

matthew warhol: I mean it could be SugarPlum EP.

SugarPlum: I though the same thing with the interlude I wrote. I was like, should I just have it as “Interlude?”

matthew warhol: I think it can be either one. It can also be like … “[something] Interlude.”

SugarPlum: I had a name for the interlude, but it’s so long.

SugarPlum Orlando music

matthew warhol: What was the name?

SugarPlum: So when I recorded the interlude, it was on Christmas Day and I was eating Japanese food. So we just named it “Japanese Food on Christmas Day.” Everyone was like, “It has nothing to do with the song.” And I was like, “But it’s true!!”

matthew warhol: So the EP comes out … ?

SugarPlum: It should be early February. I’m going to be releasing it before the show on the 10th.

matthew warhol: Now the previous show at Will’s Pub, that your first show?

SugarPlum: Will’s was my first show. And it went surprisingly well.

matthew warhol: No, that was an amazing show. And so many people came out.

SugarPlum: Yeah everyone was so amazing. Zoya. Tiger Fawn was amazing. I remember smoking with Tiger Fawn before I went on, and I was like, “This is my first show! I’m so nervous.” And she was like, “MY FIRST SHOW WAS HERE!”

matthew warhol: And you had never performed on a stage before?

SugarPlum: Never, ever, ever, ever. I don’t think I had even played for most of my friends.

matthew warhol: How did it compare to what you thought going into it?

SugarPlum: I remember posting “All The Time” and thinking that I would be so happy if 10 people listened to this. I remembering looking into the crowd and hearing people sing along and it a different kind of feeling. To hear people singing along to my first song ever.

SugarPlum Orlando music

B8ta interview orlando
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Developing B8TA: ORL Producer/DJ on the Past/Present/Future

Ever since he started making noise in the Orlando music community, B8TA has stayed busy. If you’re at all familiar with local DJ nights, chances are you’ve already seen him. He DJs every Thursday at Patio’s Talk Yo Shit, books his own nights under the Labwrk brand, and pops up on bills by TMD and Body Talk. Additionally, B8TA’s Soundcloud is filled with his own smooth tunes that are heavily influenced by the sound of eclectic hip hop label, Stones Throw Records. I had yet to kick it with the guy, so we sat down, dug through all of his projects, and listened to some music, all while ORL glitch artist MalRea provided a backdrop of twisted anime. Enjoy.

Upcoming appearances: Cultural Canopy at Spacebar.


B8ta interview orlando

matthew warhol: Let me just say, thank you so much for doing this, because I have been a fan of your shit for a while. I really like the stuff you’re doing with Labwrk, the Talk Yo Shit stuff you’ve been doing. [In addition to DJing] you’ve been doing the design too, right?

B8TA: Yeah, I’m not … I’m just stealing shit from The Internet and just putting words on it. [laughs] Thank you, though.

matthew warhol: No, you’re just repurposing. [laughs] But yeah, we’ve never gotten to talk, but that’s why I like doing these interviews. I get to learn more about the artists I cover. So … Starting off, are you from here?

B8TA: I’m originally from the Virgin Islands, Saint Thomas. But um, I’m by way of here. I’ve been here all my life. I just turned 30 in October, and I’ve been here since like  ’95. Actually no, ’96.

matthew warhol: How old were you?

B8TA: Nine or ten?

matthew warhol: And you came to Orlando?

B8TA: Straight to Orlando. 

B8ta interview orlando

matthew warhol: Why did you move?

B8TA: In ’94 we had this crazy hurricane, Hurricane Marilyn, and it was a Category 4 or 5. I remember being in the closet with my mom, my two aunts, my grandma, and my sister, who was a newborn. [We] were all huddled in this little closet. And throughout the whole storm, we could see our ceiling peeling off; we could hear glass breaking, windows breaking.

matthew warhol: And after that they were like, we need to leave?

B8TA: Yeah, our home was completely messed up. And we were eating army rations at school for like a year. We didn’t have actual power for like a year. We were running off generators.

matthew warhol: So you moved here when you were nine. Did your parents bring that music and culture with them?

B8TA: When I was younger I remember her listening to things that were popular back home but when I got here, that’s when I got into hip hop. Like, the first song that I heard that was hip hop where I actually understood what that was, was Fugees “Killing Me Softly.”

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matthew warhol: Oh cool. Where did you hear that?

B8TA: Funny story about that, I was on the way to the dollar theater with a guy my mom was dating at the time. He was taking us to see Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and it was on the radio.

matthew warhol: Was it an instant love? Did you try to find other things like it?

B8TA: Naw, it was just one of those things where it was like damn, this a new sound. Because when you’re young you just listen to what your parents listen to.

matthew warhol: So when did you start finding your own music that you liked to listen to?

B8TA: Probably like the start of middle school. I think the first album I bought with my own money was the Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes…, that had “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See.” And that summer was when that the Missy Elliott album came out, and the Will Smith Big Willy Style.

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matthew warhol: Man, I had [the Big Willy Style] CD in my car fairly recently. [laughs] When did you realize you wanted to start making music?

B8TA: You know what? When I was in high school, I was like trying to be a rapper. Or I would just write stuff and me and my friends would freestyle. But nothing really serious. But actually making beats and producing music … my boy Jeff, who was in algebra class with me, he brought in this CD that had instrumentals on it. So we’re listening to it in class, on his walkman, and we’re like, “Yo, this is hot. Who made this?” And he’s like, “I did.” And you know, we’re like, “You’re full of shit. You can’t make this.” He’s like, “No I did. I made it with this program called Fruity Loops. And you just download it. It’s like $99 or some shit, but you can get it for free.” From then, I went home and got the program. I think my first beat was like all bells. But I thought it was the hottest shit ever. I think I was like 15, 16.

matthew warhol: When did you start wanting to put it out there?

B8TA: Immediately.

matthew warhol: Immediately? What, for your friends? Did you have CDs you would pass out?

B8TA: I used to burn a new little mixtape or album every other week, or every month. I was just super excited about it at that time.

B8ta interview orlando

matthew warhol: When did you start getting your name out in Orlando, or even start going out?

B8TA: I think it was like, a couple years ago. I was going out to the Beat Battles at Spacebar. And all the producer-heads used to come out and show face. It was one of those things where there was nothing like that in Orlando. I was probably 25 or 26 … I started getting out there late. Up until I was like 25, I was concentrating on work, and I was going to college too. I kinda got lost in the everyday type thing.

matthew warhol: Were you not making music at the time?

B8TA: I was, but not as consistent. I was in Altamonte for a while, but when I moved back to Orlando I didn’t see the scene the same. Everything had changed. People were actually doing cool shit. And I started doing the Beat Battles. I think I won one or two. That’s how I met Allan Duncan [native feel] and Side C.

matthew warhol: How soon did you start booking your own stuff? Because that’s what Labwrk is, right?

B8TA: Labwrk was basically me and my buddy sitting and watching Boiler Room videos and we were like, it’d be so cool if we did something like this. Not quite Boiler Room per say, but just add different elements like visuals to tweak it just a little bit. And that’s when we started doing the parties.

B8ta interview orlando

matthew warhol: And with Labwrk, were you going to play a certain kind of dance music?

B8TA: Naw, we were like, fuck a whole format. You gotta touch everybody, right? Everyone wants to have a good time. No one wants to be alienated. So play what you whatever the fuck you want. Somebody is not going to feel it, but it’s not that serious.

matthew warhol: What about The Left Field Theory? You’re affiliated with them too, right? Explain that.

B8TA: Yeah, I’m the DJ. It’s mostly rappers and producers. There’s 15 of us? It’s me, Blue Novemeber, METVLMOUTH, Alfonso X, LFT Solis, Lauren’s Truees, Nelson, ZAE THE PHILOSOPHER, illfigure, j. robb … there’s so many of us.

matthew warhol: How did that get started?

B8TA: We actually all met at this open mic thing called The Sesh, like 2014. Some of them performed. And we were all like, what do you have going on?

matthew warhol: So you formed a collective. What do you do in that?

B8TA: We all do our own individual thing. But right now we’re doing a Left Field LP or tape or whatever you want to call it. I think the single, “Ay Mane,” was played on the radio last Sunday, on 104.5 The Beat. But some of the guys I mentioned don’t even live here. They’re in Baltimore, Boston, Miami.

B8ta interview orlando

matthew warhol: What’s your role on that tape?

B8TA: Producer.

matthew warhol: The whole thing?

B8TA: No, I’m mainly doing interludes and intros/outros with Metalmouth. And I think the main sound will be coming from Jay Rob, to form the vibe.

matthew warhol: Is there a vibe yet?

B8TA: Yeah, that song they played on the radio is probably what they’re shooting for, upbeat and feel-good. Because a lot of the stuff I make isn’t very upbeat. It’s more chill, smoke a blunt.

matthew warhol: Who all have you produced for?

B8TA: Blue November, Donny Blanks, this guy over here, [Zuhaven], Duckworth, a whole buncha cats.

matthew warhol: What’s the difference when you’re making music for someone to rap over, versus something purely instrumental? Is it a different process?

B8TA: I like to sit down with people and listen to different music before. A lot of times I’m two tracking it with people, sending stuff through email. But if I have you in my space, we’ll listen to music for a while then go into it.

matthew warhol: Do you play off them and adapt to what they do?

B8TA: Yeah, definitely. Then I come in and add my little thing.

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matthew warhol: You have to similarly adapt when you’re DJing, depending on what type of event it is. What’s the difference?

B8TA: At Talk Yo Shit, I definitely can’t slip in a Mac DeMarco track all willy nilly. That would not fly at like 12 o’clock. But maybe [it would] at Cultural Canopy. I can do that with ease and mix it into like Lou Reed or something and people would be like, woah.

matthew warhol: What are your personal goals for music?

B8TA: For this year, I really want Labwrk to develop into a brand that’s more than just throwing parties. Becuase that’s not really my scene … I can’t even say that. I like being out. And I like having fun. But it’s not about partying. And I eventurally want it to be a thing where I can take other artists and help them get out and do their thing, essentially the Stones Throw Records of Orlando.

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matthew warhol: Were they an early influence for you?

B8TA: They were a huge influence. MF Doom. Jay Dilla. Madlib. Madlib is my all-time, next to The Neptunes. I’m sorry Jay Dilla.

matthew warhol: What attracts you to that kind of music?

B8TA: I think it’s the “I don’t give a fuck,” vibe. Because it sounds gritty and dirty. There’s so much more tape hiss and hella dust on the record when they’re mixing it. But it still sounds like … I can’t even explain it.

matthew warhol: Raw?

B8TA: Yeah, raw.

matthew warhol: How do you add that same feel into your music?

B8TA: Man, I just try to emulate what these cats are doing, and just add my own thing to it. And I think at the end of the day, me transitioning from a producer to also being a DJ has made me realize where I see myself. It has helped me discover my sound.

matthew warhol: And that’s because you’re taking so much in?

B8TA: Yeah, constantly having to find what’s new. Because a lot producers do this where they’re like, I’m not going to listen to no new music; I can’t be disturbed. But you start to put yourself in a box. And before you know it, you put your shit out and you’re 10 years behind what the new sound is, instead of progressing with the sound.

B8ta interview orlando

RV band Orlando

Everything in Slow Motion: Parkin’ w/ RV

Happy 2017 everybody! Hope everyone had a good holiday season *yadda yadda yadda*. So, The Vinyl Warhol is going to change a bit this year. We’ll be focusing more on big features and interviews. I’m going to try my darndest to have a new one up every Wednesday. I’ll be continuously booking interviews for every Monday, so hit me up if you want to talk.

For ORL “cool” rock kids RV, 2017 has started off right. The band just played their second show at Will’s Pub, are working on their debut album (set to come out in Spring), and are set on their first tour up the east coast. I remember being blown away the first time I heard their demo — as far as lo-fi go, no one nails it more. Then I met them and they were cool af. There’s something so natural about how they present themselves that I want to be a part of it. So I met up with three of the four (Justin Burns, Sean Labree, & Camden Pink). We complimented each other’s styles and shot the shit for the better part of an hour. They’ve got their sights set high, and I don’t see anyone standing in their way. Enjoy. 


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matthew warhol: I didn’t do much research. You don’t have much research out there yet. I listened to the demo and I’m like, “That’s about it.” Do you only have the demo out right now?

Camden Pink (bass): We only have the demo out right now. We’re working on the album right now.

matthew warhol: And did everybody work on that?

Camden: The three of us did.

matthew warhol: So is this all of RV? Do you have a permeant drummer? 

Camden: We have a permeant drummer, but he’s kind of in a … situation where he can’t play with us for a while.

Sean Labree (lead guitar): His mom is like a famous gospel singer, really like “God” and everything. She caught him with weed and now he’s not allowed to play with us. She still has full control over him.

Camden: We have Caden from Teen Baby filling in for the next few shows we have.

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matthew warhol: So your drummer is grounded, currently?

Camden: That doesn’t help with the whole “high school” thing.

[laughs]

matthew warhol: So [the “you’re still in high school” thing] started with just a thing people put on the Facebook Event. That sounds like a Jason Kimmins thing, honestly.

Sean: That’s who I thought it was.

Justin Burns (vocals/guitar): No, I think it was Harryson.

matthew warhol: So, [for the record] you’re not in high school?

All: No.

matthew warhol: Are you in college?

Camden: I’m the only one in college right now. I’m going for culinary.

matthew warhol: What kind of food do you like to make?

Camden: I work in a pizza place so probably Italian. Sean works there too. We’re pizza pals. I flip ‘em; he drives ‘em.

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matthew warhol: What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened in a delivery?

Sean: Some old couple tried to get me to like become their dealers. They gave me their number and I never responded, so they never ordered pizza again. I guess they thought I had ratted them out or something.

matthew warhol: How long have you known each other?

Camden: I’ve known Sean since like…

Sean: …junior year or something? And then Justin I met…

Justin: … 2014. I met Cam before Sean though. We had like a band before RV, but that just kind of stopped.

matthew warhol: That was with the three of you then? What’s with the name change?

Sean: I don’t think any of us were like, as dedicated as we are now, or really understood [what we were doing].

Camden: It definitely didn’t have the same type of sound.

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matthew warhol: What did it sound like?

Camden: Kind of like… old Joyce Manor?

Sean: It was more basic surfy music.

Justin: It was wack. I don’t even think we had a band name. We had like three songs and that was it?

matthew warhol: How did you start making music together?

Sean: [Camden] showed me his singing, so I messaged him through Facebook and asked if he wanted to be in a band.

Justin: I remember [Sean] asked me if I wanted to be in a band similar to like really cheesy bands. I was just like what the fuck is this kid talking about?

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Sean: I thought it was going to be a thing for me to practice guitar every day. Then we got one track that we all wrote together and we were hyped about it. So it became like the main focus. Because me and [Cam] always have written our own stuff, but just never did anything about it. Once we started working with Justin, it stuck.

matthew warhol: When was that? When did RV actually form?

Camden: That was May or April.

matthew warhol: And were you adamant about wanting to get out there really quickly?

Camden: Oh yeah. We started practicing and got like five songs and then started playing a bunch of shows.

Sean: The second we got enough songs to be enough for a set, we were just like “let’s get out there.”

matthew warhol: What um… you were talking about an album that’s being worked on. How far along is that?

Justin: It’s pretty much done. We just need like two more songs and to finish recording.

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matthew warhol: When’s that coming out?

Sean: That depends on our drummer now. Because his mom is Christian, she hasn’t known about our band. He’s just like kept it a secret. And um, once she found out, she took it as a rebellious move, so like she’s kind of weird about having us over. But we’re working on it. We’re just waiting for her to back off of him.

Camden: Hopefully Spring.

matthew warhol: Are the songs on the demo going to be on the album too?

Camden: Yeah, and they’ll be redone with live drums and new tones and everything.

matthew warhol: Yeah, that demo was awesome, really fucking good demo. I remember when I was planning the show with Ugly Orange, we were talking about the Brooklyn bands coming down or whatever and were like, “We gotta get this band to play.” I hadn’t seen you at the time, but I had just heard the demo and was like, “This is cool. This is tight.”

Camden: Yeah, thank you. Really fun show too.

matthew warhol: Yeah, we want to do another one together soon. You should be on it again.

Justin: I’d like to play another Ugly Orange show. That’d be sick.

Camden: Any show at Spacebar is amazing.

Sean: They’re just so nice. And what Ugly Orange does is crazy. I don’t know how you bring the people out that you do. It’s always packed.

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matthew warhol: So what’s been the best shows you’ve played?

Justin: I’m going to say… we played a house show in Gainesville with Donkng and Sad Jeremy.

Sean: We’ve played at their house twice, and they’re always great shows. We spend the night there, and a bunch of people always come through. For me, I definitely have to say the Gainesville shows and the Spacebar shows have been my favorites.

matthew warhol: I heard that house is really sweet. Weren’t they worried about the floor caving in or something? What was happening with that?

Justin: We weren’t at that show, but I had the same feeling when we played there. It’s on like a support, so all these people are jumping up and down — and it’s a pretty old house too.

Sean: Yeah, it’s a really old house. They have like crazy neighbors too. This old guy will come over and say what’s up. He’ll drop off a pizza, stuff like that.

Justin: This one guy barged in. He busted open the door and was just like freaking out.

Sean: They all seem like crackheads.

matthew warhol: At least there’s no noise complaints…

Sean: Yeah, nobody cares. This guy rushed up to and asked for 20 bucks. He told me if I gave him a $20 bill, he’d give me a $40 check that I could deposit at the end of the week.

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matthew warhol: Have you played many bullshit shows?

Sean: Whenever we first started, it was mainly the idea of like… we should just get out there; play whatever shows we get hit up about. Now it’s just like, we can be a little more picky about the shows we play. We would definitely have a few nights of playing at the same place and there would be like two people there. Our set would be at 1:00 a.m. or something. But now that we’ve been playing less shows, they’ve been going pretty well. We just had a show in Deland the other day. It was outdoors…

Camden: Festodome.

matthew warhol: Oh you played that? How was it?

Sean: It was really nice. They had a keg for all the bands to get free beer all night. They had someone making fresh soup all night.

Camden: The soup was alright. It was a squash soup.

Sean: I didn’t try it. I don’t know who’s eating soup at a show.

Justin: I don’t like soup.

Camden: I would have preferred a Campbell’s chicken noodle.

Justin: Don’t tell ‘em though.

Sean: You have to say pause quote.

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matthew warhol: What are you thinking for the album? Is it still going to be lo-fi? More spacey?

Justin: It’s not going to be like the demo, but it’s definitely still going to be lo-fi.

Sean: I just want to have the whole post-punk, lo-fi vibe. I don’t know, that sound is just like timeless to me. Anything that sounds classic never gets old to me. That’s my favorite type of sound and I think if there’s a band that masters that in their own way, people are gonna go like crazy about it.

matthew warhol: How’s what you’ve been listening to affecting the album?

Camden: I’d say, for my bass parts, I’m taking influence from like [old jazz standards]. I’m not writing the typical punk basslines. I think it definitely puts a different sound on it too.

Sean: Yeah, I got kind of into Bossa nova like a few months ago, learned a bunch of jazz chords and found a way to incorporate that and stuff.

[Camden & Justin laughing at Sean]

Justin: I just kind of write until something feels right. I don’t like think about something — I just kind of let it happen. If I think about it, it doesn’t come out good. That’s what I’ve come to learn about my writing process.

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matthew warhol: So do you sit down and write, or just wait until something hits you?

Justin: I just kind of like… sit with my guitar for a few hours and start messing around. Then like, something will hit me; I’ll like record it really quick. With lyrics, sometimes it’ll hit me out of nowhere so I’ll write it down. But I don’t know what to use it for. Then I’ll go back and add it to something later. I like write lyrics to match the leads so it’s like kind of catchier.

Sean: I don’t know how you write like that, just sitting for hours. I like, dwell on my porch. And I’ll like smoke a bunch of weed, a few cigarettes, go inside, try and write something. If it goes bad, I’ll play it back a bunch of times, listen to it, smoke a lot more cigarettes, go back inside, write something, get happy about it, get high again, and go to sleep. That’s pretty much it.

[Camden continuously laughing at Sean.]

matthew warhol: I’m guessing the ideas that come out are different. You’re not just sitting down like, “Alright, I have to write this kind of song because this is what RV is.” So where does it become you?

Justin: It’s kind of weird, actually. I don’t think about what I want it to sound like.

Sean: It’s basically like, I play exactly what I want to hear in a song. Whenever I hear a part in a song that really gets me hyped, those are the type of things I’m trying to write. Anytime I’ve tried to forcibly write a certain type of song, it just comes out bad.

Justin: It should always be a natural process.

Sean: …from the soul.

Justin: That’s too cheesy.

[laughs]

matthew warhol: Edit that out! Cut that!

Camden: Music’s from the heart man.

[laughs]

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Sweater Fest ticket giveaway

Sweater Fest : 10 Years of Cheer *ticket giveaway*

Lemme tell you a story about Dave Hanson — the brains behind Sweater Fest and Event Coordinator at Spacebar. The man approached The Vinyl Warhol about giving out some tickets (enter below) and releasing interviews with a few of the bands playing the holiday festival’s tenth year (one with sexy space elves PLEASURES is up rn). He ended up going in and getting six full interviews. Since Sweater Fest is this Saturday, and releasing six full interviews seems like overkill, I’ve taken the best bits from everyone and compiled them into a big Sweater Fest sweat fest. Enjoy.

WINNING TICKETS TO SWEATER FEST IS EASY. SHARE THIS POST ON FB, RSVP 2 SWEATER FEST, & MAKE SURE YOU LIKE TVW ON FB. WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED ON SATURDAY.

What are some of your favorite Florida/local/bigger bands and why?

DONKNG: “We always love playing with our friends in RV and Slumberjack. Not only because they make amazing music but because it means we get to hang out with them and talk shit at breakfast the next day.”

FayRoy: “After coming back from San Francisco, we were totally seduced with the St. Pete music scene. Sonic Graffiti, Veiny Hands, Johnny Mile and the Kilometers, all the roser house bands, etc. are such crazy good musicians and performers and just genuine awesome people. Orlando mirrors that with Someday River, Day Joy, Thrift House, and Saskatchewan just to name a few. There’s also this Long Island band called Lemon Twigs that we’ve been on a kick with. They’re so good, and so young. Came out of nowhere like a slap in the face.”

Jollan (Luckily I’m The Hunter): “Antarctic is my favorite band from Florida and one of my favorites of all time. They have only released one album, but it’s this amazing instrumental album that moves seamlessly to each track and they have definitely influenced me as a musician, especially with the way they play and write.”

What do you hope people get out of a [insert band name] show?

Will (Luckily I’m The Hunter): “We love for people to let the music consume them as it does us. We hope the listeners are delighted by unexpected sounds and song structuring and hope it gives them a new perspective of what music can be from just a guitarist and drummer.”

Cosmic Roots Collective: “A nagging sense of unease and disorientation, with sporadic bursts of ecstasy and an occasional glimpse into the void.”

DONKNG: “Their kicks.”

FayRoy: “Positivity is probably the ultimate goal. Our music may have dark elements but the subject matter usually results in some sort of triumph or realization.”

What advice do you have for people that want to start a band up?

Cosmic Roots Collective: “Go for it! But remember, a career in air conditioning and refrigeration will most likely provide a steadier income.”

DONKNG: “It’s hard work. Being in a band isn’t that different from being on a road trip with three people who usually disagree, to a certain extent, on the destination. It’s about compromise. The results, if they’re from honest intent, are always worth it. But to quote Maroon 5’s hit song ‘Sunday Morning,’ ‘ITS NOT ALWAYS RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES.'”

Jollan (Luckily I’m The Hunter): “It will never be easy if you want to play something original, but don’t let anyone stop you. Sometimes the time has to be right, but as long as you are willing to sacrifice the time and effort, you can do it. Don’t let anyone stop you, even if you have to be a two-piece band. As Shia Lebeouf says, ‘Just do it!'”

Any strange holiday traditions?

PLEASURES: “It’s the only time of year Roger eats cheese.”

FayRoy: “Every year about this time we buy every tickle me Elmo we can get our hands on and hope it becomes a hot commodity for Christmas again. One of these years were going to make a fortune.”

DONKNG: “Matt keeps bringing Mistletoe to all our practices.”

Cosmic Roots Collective: “We wear animal masks … It’s a pagan thing and entails worshiping megaliths, dressing in Druid robes, and ingesting candle wax.”

IRONING: “I don’t think so.”

What are you looking forward to most about Sweater Fest?

IRONING: “I haven’t seen Blair Sound Design in two and a half years, so that’s exciting. Also stoked to experience sets from people I haven’t heard or seen yet before! “

DONKNG: “We’re excited to be sharing a stage with some really cool acts. We actually keep up with a lot of the artists on the bill (FayRoy, Tiger Fawn, Evil Virgins, Cosmic Roots Collective) on social media so we’re excited to finally experience their music in a live setting… Also, we heard that we get free entry. That’s nice.”

FayRoy:  “… hopefully seeing Joey Davoli’s hairy chest. It’s obligatory.”

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The Nightmare B4 XxXxXMas: PLEASURES (SWEATER FEST interview)

Sweater Fest is an Orlando holiday tradition of epically tacky proportions. Saturday, December 17 marks the 10th itchy celebration as The Milk District is transformed into a celebration of Central Florida music. Encompassing three stages (Spacebar, Sandwich Bar, and an outdoor stage), DJs will share the sleigh with psychedelic space bands; noise duos will toast eggnog with surf rock trios. TVW is previewing Sweater Fest in the form holiday-themed interviews leading to a Ticket Giveaway the week of the event. The first to take a seat on our lap is Sarasota-based Space explorers, PLEASURES. Enjoy.

TVW: How was the response to your horror movie tour? What spurred the creation of that film?

PLEASURES: It was an incredible experience to show the film across the country and the timing was perfect, it being Halloween. It was a great ice breaker at the least and some venues felt like they were built for us. At Ghost in Santa Fe, we played the film directly from the VHS onto their huge projection wall. Seeing the tracking and artifacts that large was glorifying. We had started selling short VHS tapes at our merch table and it was my turn (Greg) to make a video, so I thought it would be fun to make it about our audience leaving the show with the tape they just got. When we realized the timeline would work out in October, we went full ham with a popcorn machine and all. A collapsible screen was built and we brought a small projection crew.

TVW: What are you all up to nowadays and what’s in the works?

PLEASURES: We all took off separately from our last tour date in California and now we’re back home in Florida and getting ready for a bunch of local and semi-local shows. We’re getting excited to start writing a new album with our new drummer/member and see where the dynamic takes our music! We’re also working on a remix album of all the tracks from Fucked Up Dreams Come True, which our crew of friends and the musicians we’ve met on tours have been kind enough to contribute to. It’s called Deluxed Up Dreams Come True. There’s gonna be some other cool stuff on there too like the score we wrote for the horror film.

TVW: What is the songwriting process like for you all? How has that and your overall sound evolved since your band’s inception?

PLEASURES: The songs on FUDCT were written two ways: half by Morgan on a laptop — which we then converted into an organic live song experience by the band — and half as a group in a jam session. I (Katherine) write the vocal melodies and the lyrics that I sing and Greg writes what he sings. There are a couple new songs we’ve been playing out that aren’t on the record, and I’d say the newer material will be different in a few ways. I think PLEASURES will evolve into a band with more musicality and precision and not so much “wall of sound” all the time. But definitely sometimes.

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TVW: There’s a lot of layers and abstract sounds going on with your songs. Without giving away too many secrets can you tell us a little bit about what all is going on musically at your show?

PLEASURES: Pretty much every sound we make is modulated or manipulated by something. We use delay pedals, live looping with a KP3, backwards stuff, random tones, oscillators, stuffed animals, and a fax machine. Nothing we do or use is outside of anyone’s reach though. We just combine it all in our own way.

TVW: What do you hope people get out of a PLEASURES show?

PLEASURES: We try pretty hard to create a separate universe outside of people’s usual internal space for them to hang out in for a while. Hopefully, it’s crazy and stimulating in some way.

TVW: You all are one of the hardest working bands I’ve come across. What helps you stay motivated?

PLEASURES: I feel like once you set personal goals and agree on a certain level you’d like to reach as a band, that’s kind of the only way to go about things. Constantly producing and moving, touring, etc. Moving from local to everything beyond. Plus, if you’re the kind of person who gets obsessed with touring it’s hard to quit that routine. Like the ragged old sailor who comes home only to be beckoned back to the sea by his ocean mistress the next morning.

TVW: What has your experience in Orlando been like as a band thus far?

PLEASURES: Awesome! Lots of friends and fans. Nice scene building up it seems.

TVW: What are some of your favorite Florida bands and why?

PLEASURES: There’s a rad little thing happening in St. Pete — there’s Sonic Graffiti, Veiny Hands, Soapbox Soliloquy, Johnny Mile & The Kilometers, UFO Sex Scene (who recently split up but they were rad), Ask For Tiger, Fictional Friends. They’re all a group of friends playing in each other’s bands and keeping the scene going. It’s motivational. In St. Augustine there’s a rad stoner band called Cosmic Groove. All the sweeties in the Orlando groups like Timothy Eerie, The Welzeins, Someday River, and Slumberjack. We’re also just getting into the Miami scene thing after meeting Cammy from Period Bomb who is a hardworking babe and has been super supportive of us.

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TVW: Got any strange holiday traditions any of you partake in?

PLEASURES: It’s the only time of year Roger eats cheese.

What are you looking forward to most about Sweater Fest?

PLEASURES: I think we’re playing on an outside stage? That’s always fun and interesting. You inspired us to have thrift store sweaters at our merch table with PLEASURES patches sewn on just for this event so that’s cool.

PLEASURES SWEATER FEST Interview by Dave Hanson.