Tight Genes Orlando Interview
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Tight Genes: Sarcastically Screaming Through the Pain.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people about the state of Orlando punk. Although ORL classics like Wet Nurse and hardcore new-comers Flamethrower push the culture forward, the consensus is that it’s not quite as abundant as it once was — whether you agree with that or not, you have to admit that the loss of Vivian K., False Punk, GAG, Butterqueen, etc. were upsetting.

But there’s one group that absolutely will not stop. Since forming in 2011, Tight Genes has cycled through many different characters, always being a vehicle for Noah LaChance and Kayo Roguez. Tragically, two of those past members have since passed, one in a drug overdose and the other in a motorcycle accident. And throughout all this hardship, they’ve pushed forward releasing their latest seven-inch Prison Wallet in late February. I sat down at three of the four (Eddie appears via cellphone) punks in the current iteration of Tight Genes at the band’s animal-filled house. Enjoy.

Upcoming Appearances:

3/26 @ Uncle Lou’s w/ Sonic Graffiti & Stuyedeyed (The Vinyl Warhol Presents)


Tight Genes Orlando Interview

matthew warhol: How long have you guys been in this incarnation of the band?

Noah LaChance: The band has been together now for five years, quite a history. [Kayo] and I are both original members, but I started the band with my friend Owen. And uh, he was in and out of rehab and was in jail for a while, so it kind of stunted stuff. Before any of that happen, we released album that was put out by Goodbye Boozy, an Italian record label.

matthew warhol: What year was that?

Noah LaChance: 2011. So that was about six years ago.

[laughs]

Alexis Simon: Wow.

Noah LaChance: Then Pat joined the band. Owen ended up coming down and stayed with us for a while. He ended up passing away from a drug overdose. Then Pat continued the band with us; then unfortunately, he ended-up dying in a motorcycle accident.

Alexis Simon: That’s why I’m in the band. It’s kind of bittersweet.

Noah LaChance: Eddie had also been in the band for a while. He was our bassist. And after all this happened and I decided to continue the band — it was a tough decision, two people who are incredibly essential…

matthew warhol: That’s an incredibly hard thing to go through. I can’t imagine that.

Tight Genes Orlando Interview

Noah LaChance: But the first seven-inch we had were songs that I recorded and demoed myself for a while. I showed my friend Owen and he was like, “We need to make this a thing.” From that moment, I felt that this was my outlet from whatever I’m feeling. All the lyrics are really satirical. We have a lot of songs about movies. I have one about Predator, Big Trouble, Little China.

matthew warhol: How have they changed throughout the everything the band has gone through?

Noah LaChance: That happened a while ago … that was like two or three years ago?

Alexis Simon: Owen was like three years. Pat was like two years.

Noah LaChance: When we started we wrote slower, poppier stuff. It’s changed with Eddie on guitar and Alexis on bass.

matthew warhol: Was that in Orlando?

Noah LaChance: Yeah.

matthew warhol: Who else was coming up in that time?

Kayo Roguez: Golden Pelicans.

Noah LaChance: Wet Nurse was around in that time.

Alexis Simon: Odd Movers.

Noah LaChance: Pat had a band around that time called Sexcapades.

Tight Genes Orlando Interview

matthew warhol: That’s a lot of names. I guess this is a two part question because two things are going through my mind — because I’m stoned — so like, answer these in whatever order you want to, but how has Orlando punk changed and how has the music also changed, having gone through all that other stuff?

Noah LaChance: For the most part, even though it’s a punk scene at its core, it’s always been pretty open to a lot of things. I don’t know if you see this button. This is Todd. He’s a part of Tam Tam and The Sandwich Man — they were around back then.

Alexis Simon: They still play random shows.

Kayo Roguez: They’re  in hiding.

Noah LaChance: Thee Wilt Chamberlin has been around.

Kayo Roguez: I don’t know if they’re a band anymore.

matthew warhol: To me, False Punk was a huge loss. So that’s the thing I was thinking. There’s not as many as there used to be.

Noah LaChance: But even then, that was only like two years ago. And like five years ago, there was a good rise in popularity. Before this band started, Kayo and I were in a band called Lazy Boys — when he was like 16. Even if it was smaller, everyone had a band at the time. There was a lot more going on musically, and I feel like that’s way cooler, to have everyone actively pursuing music in some shape or form then even there being an active scene of a bunch of people. I’d rather everyone be playing music so you see everyone’s creative juices flowing. It was cool when there was a bunch more bands going on.

Tight Genes Orlando Interview

matthew warhol: You cherish it a little bit more. Alexis, when exactly did you join the band and was it already a little more sparse?

Alexis Simon: I don’t know, I guess I haven’t been around as much. When I moved to Orlando, I lived near UCF. And I liked punk music, but I never knew of anything going on. I think the first show I went to was a Lazy Boys show. But I was in a random goth band. As far as the scene goes, there’s always something whether it’s raw punk or grindcore or the opposite side of the spectrum. There’s always something happening and Orlando is accepting enough where you have a bunch of different genres mixing.

matthew warhol: I mean the show next Sunday, the bands are kind of like that. Stuyedeyed are a little more psychedelic. Sonic Graffiti are a little more rock n roll.

Alexis Simon: It’s cool that everyone is coming out. Not just musicians, people coming out to shows are open to listening to different stuff. Not everyone likes Tight Genes, but more people like them than I would expect, usually.

[laughs]

Noah LaChance: The thing I think makes Orlando unique, and is a part of why I’ve stayed here so long, is Uncle Lou’s.

Alexis Simon: I love Lou.

Noah LaChance: That guy has let me do so much shit in his bar. One time, I had someone jump on my back and ended up falling backwards and breaking a mirror, and he was cool with it. When I first started going to shows there, he’d always have his headphones on, be watching the sports game. He didn’t really pay attention. Now, you go and he knows everybody by name. He’s a character of Orlando. You got to love that. He’s let us do whatever we want. We’ve thrown Valentine’s Day shows …

Tight Genes Orlando Interview

matthew warhol: Was that the Tittie Thyme one?

Alexis Simon: We love Lou.

matthew warhol: By the way, what up zine community? Shout out Tittie Thyme. So then going to the other side of things, which is the question I asked before we divulged into that, how has the music changed too? Losing two people but continuing on, that has to change a person and that has to change the music.

Noah LaChance: Before we go into that I want to say one thing. One of the biggest losses, was The Space. It was so DIY. And we’d respect the place. Everyone kept it nice and didn’t steal anything. That was a big part of our band and what allowed us to connect to people from Jacksonville and Savannah. We were able to like, bring them down, have a keg, charge people five bucks, make 100 bucks to pay this band.

matthew warhol: And how were those shows?

Noah LaChance: Oh, they were awesome. It was like a house show.

Alexis Simon: Insane. It was so hot.

matthew warhol: And no one cared.

Alexis Simon: Carrying all the equipment up all those stairs.

Kayo Roguez: We could be there however late we wanted.

Tight Genes Orlando Interview

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Noah LaChance: But to answer your question, and Kayo has a lot of input with this too, what is cool is that with Eddie being in the band, we’ve gone in a harder direction.

Kayo Roguez: We’ve always had a revolving door of people, in and out.

Noah LaChance: In the beginning, especially with my friend being in and out of rehab, a lot of songs were kind of stagnant. All together, we have three seven-inches so far. We have two on the way. One that is recorded and just needs to be mastered. And the other that we worked on just this weekend. Our latest seven-inch Prison Wallet …

Kayo Roguez: … is the first where I’ve played drums.

Alexis Simon: Even though you were the original drummer.

Noah LaChance: This is the first one with this lineup. And some of the songs are from previous lineups, but some our newer. “Bathroom Baby” is a poppier song that Eddie wrote. We’ve been able to flourish a lot more with this lineup, without everyone’s other interests, whatever they may be.

matthew warhol: It’s more focused?

Noah LaChance: Definitely is.

Alexis Simon: But the music is darker, especially after Pat passed.

Noah LaChance: There are a few songs that are a reference to them.

matthew warhol: Is it darker even outside of the lyrics?

Alexis Simon: I’d definitely say some of the songs are darker. But I definitely think that we’ve gotten more aggressive. I think the tone of the instruments has gotten more … I don’t know how to explain it.

Noah LaChance: But a lot of our lyrics are still satirical. Like I was saying, we have a song about Predator, the greatest piece of American cinema.

Tight Genes Orlando Interview

matthew warhol: Real quick, what are your favorite movies?

Noah LaChance: Predator. Big Trouble In Little China. Rambo. Besides that, I’m really into Wes Anderson. Of course, another one of my favorite is Mad Max.

Kayo Roguez: I like Alien.

matthew warhol: Do you guys like Alien Vs Predator. Did your friendship join on that movie?

Noah LaChance: Didn’t AVP end up cross-breeding?

Kayo Roguez: I actually did like the movie, though.

matthew warhol: Anyway, what are your favorite movies?

Alexis Simon: Mine are kind of different, I guess. My favorite movie is Magnolia. Anything that Paul Thomas Anderson directed. My first tattoo when I turned 18 references Magnolia.

Tight Genes Orlando Interview

matthew warhol: So how do movies make it into music?

Noah LaChance: Really, with action movies, they’re all satirical. They’re all phony. So it’s easy to write a cheesy song about cheesy material. It’s a time in cinema that will never be replicated.

matthew warhol: So like, I don’t know if this is getting too deep, but what’s satirical about your music?

Noah LaChance: Some of it. Our first seven-inch is called Cop Again. It was about turning tricks for heroin and going out. It was also a reference to a Mummies song because it was about stabbing a dude and taking his wallet behind a laundry mat. So the next song “Rats,” is about thinking rats are all throughout your house and that someone is recording you. It’s about paranoia, which, when you’re a heroin addict is something you feel.

Alexis Simon: I feel like he writes satirical songs about things that are really serious in his life to almost like, as a way to reflect on it that may not be as negative.

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Orlando Hannah Spector Art
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Moments, Moments, Momentum w/ Hannah Spector

Hannah Spector is a good kid who makes a bad grown-up. Her artwork is hypnotic, in no short part due to its playful colorful and shapes. It ignites flickers of memories that only appear before they hurl you into a dream.

(Note: This interview was recorded a few days after A Place Gallery, a DIY art venue by Time Waste Management, closed.)


Andy Andrade: I think the first time I became interested in your work when you held an exhibition titled  Moments, Moments, Momentum with Orlando-based artist Jacob Bailes at A Place Gallery.

Hannah Spector: Yeah I was really happy with that show, I love working with Jacob. His ethic is planned and methodical. When he approaches a work he’s precise and knows what he’s going to do, which I admire. When I do something, I don’t know when it’s done until it’s done. I make him loosen up and he makes me tighten up. We provide the pops of color that the other needs. We share the same aesthetics. He’s my favorite collaborator.

Andy Andrade: Are you from here?

Hannah Spector: Yes, but I’ve lived in DC for five years and some other places, France for eight months and Thailand for 3 months; by the Burmese border.

Orlando Hannah Spector Art

Andy Andrade: Was it a humanitarian effort?

Hannah Spector: Yeah, I was teaching art/music an English language to kids. Most of their parents were still in Burma, so they’d come here after school. It was a community center kind of deal.

Andy Andrade: How old were you when you did this?

Hannah Spector: I was a sophomore in college.

Andy Andrade: So you’re a yoga teacher, a musician, a poet, an artist, a humanitarian … what else am I missing here?

Hannah Spector: *pause* I think I’m pretty good at dancing.

Andy Andrade: Who inspired you to become an artist?

Hannah Spector: I think it was more of a slow building process. I was just good at art. I won the Winter Park Sidewalk Festival when I was in kindergarten. But I think it all started when I learned how to write. I would carry a little Hello Kitty notebook around my neck and only talk to people by writing what I was thinking or needed.

Hannah Spector Orlando Art

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Andy Andrade: How do you feel about the art scene in Orlando, given that we now have lost another DIY space?

Hannah Spector: It’s really sad. They had just made me a curator. There was a lot of people who would have helped out but just couldn’t.

Andy Andrade: That whole part of town is being heavily gentrified, what do you think the next move is for DIY spaces and culture in Orlando?

Hannah Spector: It’s going to just start being in everyone’s houses. That’s what I would do in DC, I would just throw gatherings in my apartment building. Bad things are happening in the Milk District too — landlords trying to get money left and right. There’s not a lot of funding down here for youth-oriented art anyway. The members of the art board, they fund particular artists … old established flamingo painters. It’s all about what can be consumed, what can they sell, and what people want in their houses. No one is going to buy the cage that Jacob Bailes and I created for Moments, Moments, Momentum. They don’t support the youth. Those board members, they’re stuck on this line of “Oh, as a kid you do face paints and then as you get older all of that is irrelevant. You paint landscapes and get rich.” Somewhere I got mad in that process. This is not why I’m making art. I don’t just want it to sit in people’s homes.  

Orlando Hannah Spector Art

Andy Andrade: When did you come to this conclusion?

Hannah Spector: I was meeting with a gallery’s board, and I kept meeting people that were in charge of their funding. It was a dinner and I started noticing how much they didn’t care about the artists, only about the wealth and profits that are coming from the work. I felt disturbed, kind of like in Fear and Loathing — when everyone was a lizard and laughing.

Andy Andrade: Do you usually represent yourself?

Hannah Spector: Yes. Always. So I can be unedited.   

Andy Andrade: What made you move back from DC?

Hannah Spector: I Just liked it better down here.

Andy Andrade: Why?

Hannah Spector: The people. They’re genuine; they care. They’re more genuinely creative. It’s a friendly competition, a community.

Andy Andrade: Everyone knows each other too. You can ask someone if they know so-and-so and they’re bound to say, “Oh, I write for that person. I paint with that person. I make music with that person.” 

Hannah Spector: I love that. I am happy to be here, in this moment. 

Andy Andrade: So what’s your current style? Preferred medium?

Hannah Spector: Painting and screen printing. They’re two different parts of my practice. Screen printing, minimalist color theory and focusing on shape and color, that’s it. I have a catalog of shapes that I’m going to stop using so I can be progressive. Screen printing is meticulous. You have to be virulent about your hands being clean, watching for the paint to not dry. Then painting, it’s chaos. Sitting with globs of paint … there’s still love for color theory, but it’s an amorphous color theory. It all depends on what medium I want to use in my next piece. That’s been my goal over the last four years, master the mediums through intense study. So when I have an idea, I can use the software, printmaking, woodcutting, music, whatever I need to get the idea out. I want fluidity. 

Andy Andrade: So if you had to pick, would you be a poet or a painter?

Hannah Spector: I really like the place I go with writing. If a voice asked me in the middle of the night, ”What must you do?” I would say, “I must write.” But it’s all part of the same feeling, I have to make things or I get upset.

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Hannah Spector Orlando Art

You Blew It interview Orlando music
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Grown-Up Dude: You Blew It’s Tanner Jones On His Development as an Artist/Person

I’m speaking with You Blew It frontman Tanner Jones in Greenwood Cemetery on a warm Tuesday morning in February. This isn’t the first time we’ve met or even the first time we’ve had a long conversation together. No, that day was almost five years ago in a Subway parking lot across the street from the University of Central Florida. We had been in two conjoining car accidents — I collided with the guy in front of me, and he was hit by the girl in front of him — and struck up a conversation about our shared advertising/public relations major, music, and his band, who had just released their debut album Grow Up, Dude via Massachusetts emo-revivalists, Topshelf Records.

Present day, the two of us — sitting on a small bench feet away from the grave of Orlando pioneer Joseph Bumby — are evolved forms of the people who met that day. Tanner and lot released their third full-length Abendrot this past November and have tremendously expanded their fanbase with continuous touring, both as headliners and support for rock icons like Taking Back Sunday and Coheed and Cambria. (And I’m interviewing him for Orlando Weekly. Our Advertising Copywriting professor Joan McCain would be proud.) Enjoy. 

Upcoming Appearances:

3/11 @ Will’s Pub w/ All Get Out & Free Throw

3/12 @ Will’s Pub w/ All Get Out & Free Throw


You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: I wanted to start with talking about how we met because I think that’s pretty interesting. That was four, five years ago? I was a Sophmore in college so that was like four years ago.

Tanner Jones (You Blew It): Yeah, because it was right when I started dating the girl I’m still dating.

matthew warhol: And we were in a car accident together, two conjoining car accidents. I hit someone, and then there was a gap, and someone hit you, right?

Tanner Jones: Yeah, yeah.

matthew warhol: We were talking because we were both into music. I don’t know if I’d started the blog at that point.

Tanner Jones: I don’t think so. You definitely didn’t mention it.

matthew warhol: But we were talking about You Blew It. I hadn’t heard of you at the time. But that was right after Grow Up, Dude came out. A lot has changed since then.

Tanner Jones: I remember being really h-angry. I was so close to going to that Subway.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: I did get the Subway.

Tanner Jones: Did I too?

matthew warhol: I think we all did. It was almost like a movie where people are stranded on an island together, so they start to bond. No one was angry with each other.

Tanner Jones: Everyone was really nice.

matthew warhol: That was probably the best car accident I’ve ever been in.

[laughs]

matthew warhol: And we met so that was cool. Since then, You Blew It has gone to a completely different level. The second album came out. And personally, I thought the second album tightened everything from the first album. The production was better. The songwriting was better. But it was very much on the same path. Then going from there, a friend of mine had said something like, “I really like this new album, but I’m afraid that with the next one … if they don’t do something different, they’re going to disappear as a band.” Was that something that you were aware of?

Tanner Jones: Yeah, but it wasn’t so much a conscious conversation. You put out two records that sound mostly the same; then at that point, a certain boredom or type of anxiety starts to set in. We could have written that record four times, you know? And it would have been easy because it’s what we were used to. But at the time of writing Keep Doing What You’re Doing, it was hard and it was challenging. You want to keep challenging yourself. Naturally, to challenge yourself you want to go to new directions, through new creative processes. So yeah, that’s the long answer but in short, we knew we had to do something different.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: What do you mean by challenging yourself? How did you do that, specifically?

Tanner Jones: One crutch we have as a band is that we like to use alternate tunings and time signatures. So if a part isn’t there yet, instead of changing it around and maybe putting it through a different instrument, we’ll just put it in 7/4 and it’ll be fine. Instead of doing that — this record we just put out — it was more of a struggle to try to do new things and to try to solve problems in different ways we haven’t before. For example, putting a guitar part on a vibraphone. Or maybe even scrapping a song altogether because it wasn’t up to par.

matthew warhol: And when you say that, do you mean that you were sinking back to the older music? Were you consciously trying to make it new? Because to me, it sounds like to push forward, you were pulling back a little bit. You guys were restraining yourselves from doing these really heavy songs.

Tanner Jones: Yeah, yeah for sure. Previously we were very maximalists. It was always three guitars playing different parts all at once. So yeah, that’s another big hurtle we had to get over, trying to scale the mountain with less equipment — if that makes sense. And it just ended up being really fun. It’s kind of one of those things where you hate doing it until you grasp how to do it the right way. Then it becomes rewarding.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: On the new one … it’s weird because I was reading what you were saying in another interview. You were saying that was about a very difficult time in your life. Can you go into detail about that — as much as you want of course?

Tanner Jones: A lot of it was self-induced as I’m realizing now. Having the whole third record looming, it’s kind of like a big. There’s a lot of pressure … I guess that’s just an easy way to put it. So I kind of stopped taking care of myself, physically and mentally. I let things kind of bore into my skin and stay there. And then the door opened for a lot of mental issues and past problems that I had never solved. They all kind of came out at once. So the writing was both the therapy and the cause, you know? So yeah, I guess that’s pretty much the brunt of it. For example, the song “Greenwood,”  a lot of times to calm myself I’d come ride around here on my bike and take time to let everything sink in. As you know, it’s just quiet here. You can hear the birds chirping. There’s no one yelling, no on talking. It’s just a nice place to be alone. And that’s how that song came about, just coming hear and letting everything overtake. And those lyrics just came out.

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matthew warhol: So the songs are coming from the issues that you’re dealing with, but in this case, how you’re dealing with them. That’s interesting. Was there anything else inspired by the healing process?

Tanner Jones: Not necessarily in the same way “Greenwood” was written, but there’s a certain thing that a lot of the songs tap that’s dealing with mental issues and whether or not they’re self-induced. I’d say “Greenwood” is the unique one, in the way it was written. The other ones are just kind of … more confessional.

matthew warhol: You’re very much looking in on the entire record. Where like, the previous albums were definitely pushing out. When I listen to it, it just sounds like you’re getting older. Where things that bother you when you’re younger, you’re just pushing it onto other things and other people. Saying, “You’re the problem. You’re the problem. You’re the problem.”

Tanner Jones: Exactly. I’m sure you feel the same way where it’s like, you’re 18 to 22 and it’s like, “Aw, I hate my classes; it’s got to be because of my classmates. Look at these jocks and these weirdos! Fuck them!” But really it’s just, you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. I guess getting older is gaining perspective.

matthew warhol: Was that a conscious thing in your writing?

Tanner Jones: It was one of those things where I realized it, but I wasn’t aware of it until after the record came out. After a record, I’ll listen to our stuff before it and see how it transitions into what we’re about to release. And I think that’s when I realized it. There’s definitely a perspective shift.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: Do you think you’re happier?

Tanner Jones: Yeah, for sure. It’s a weird solace knowing that you’re the problem, ya know? Because then you can fix it. Where as, othertimes, putting blame on other people for things is just so unhealthy and terrorizing for the mind.

matthew warhol: That’s deep. [laughs] That’s a real one. So … you guys have been very supportive of Orlando. You haven’t strayed away from being an “Orlando band,” and so thank you for doing that. Because I feel like there have been other bands that have gotten big and ditched Orlando for LA …

Tanner Jones: … for bigger ponds.

matthew warhol: Did you ever think about doing moving?

Tanner Jones: No, we kind of always expected to stay here just because I don’t think that the place that you’re from should have that kind of hold, or that kind of baring, on your art. I feel like a lot of people assume that if they go to New York or LA that there are more opportunities and therefore, there are more chances to get bigger. When really, the big opportunity is that you’re doing it. And Orlando is an incredible place for culture, for people, for art. So just being here and having this base to build on just seemed like the perfect spot.

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: Do you feel embraced by Orlando?

Tanner Jones: Sometimes it’s hot and cold. But I feel like that’s kind of a good thing. Sometimes we feel like outsiders, but I think that’s just a product of where we are now. New artists come in and new people come in so the focus is going to be on them. We can’t expect to have the spotlight on us the entire time.

matthew warhol: What do you mean by hot and cold, specifically?

Tanner Jones: The Orlando Weekly one is a really good one. We weren’t in the “Here are bands that represent Orlando of 2016” list. And it’s completely reasonable to not be in there, since we were there before. But in the moment, that’s one of those things that’s like, “Oh man, I didn’t win the popularity contest this time.”

matthew warhol: But you have to think you’ve outgrown it to an extent, don’t you? Because there is no band in that list that is on the same level as you guys — not that that’s a slight to anyone.

Tanner Jones: I always hate to say that we have outgrown Orlando because I never want to outgrow Orlando. But sometimes, I think feeling like outsiders is a good thing because we’ll always strive to be better. It can only be good for us. It can only be good for our art. And it can only be good for the city. Because as soon as we get comfortable, why put out a Pulse EP or why thank Orlando or why even live here?

You Blew It interview Orlando music

matthew warhol: So like, talking about the Pulse EP, was that an immediate thing where you just knew that you had to help in some way?

Tanner Jones: It was very immediate. It happened … and I’m sure you woke up to helicopters too. I live in Delaney Park. Not only was it a global thing, but it was something happening around the corner. So we felt like we were in a really unique position where we had these masters that weren’t owned by anyone. And I think that anyone in our position would have done the same thing — and others did — but we were fortunate enough to have a bigger platform for people to see it and donate.

matthew warhol: It’s strange. You see the city continuing honoring it; you see the memorials and the murals, and to think it’s been close to a year.

Tanner Jones: The number one interview question I get asked in cities outside of here is “How did things change after Orlando?” And my answer never gets printed because I feel like it’s not what they want to hear. My answer is like, “Nothing changed.” Because before, I feel like Orlando was already very uplifting for the LGBTQA+ community and minorities, and that happened and that feeling just came out. Everyone showed it a little bit more. I didn’t feel like there was more love or more acceptance because that was already there. It was just televised. and I think that’s an incredible thing. It’s just not a great answer for people trying to write a really good piece.

matthew warhol: That’s definitely something we’ll include [laughs] that was a good answer.

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You Blew It interview Orlando music

Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando
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Hello Happy Plants Makes Plants Cool Again

Anyone trying to turn a side hustle into a full-time job will find hope in Kelsey Ryder’s hard work. Starting off hawking plants in thrift store pots, her online store Hello Happy Plants has blossomed into a full-grown business where she sells a variety of handcrafted planters (air plants included) that take the shape of troll dolls, beer and soda cans, chip bags, cigarette boxes, and much, much more. She ships to customers and wholesalers all over the world, in big part due following she’s gained on her colorful, playful Instagram page. So I wanted to sit down with Orlando’s plant lady extraordinaire (and my close friend) to see how it call to be. Enjoy.


Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando

matthew warhol: I know we’ve been talking about doing an interview for a long time. And I like, I think it’s not only because you do super cool stuff that’s really successful, but also because you and I have had really good conversations in the past.

Kelsey Ryder: Because you’re a Virgo, and I’m a Virgo Moon. Did you know that?

matthew warhol: No I didn’t know that.

Kelsey Ryder: The majority of what I am is Virgo.

matthew warhol: So what does that mean for us?

Kelsey Ryder: It’s because we are very like … you like things a certain way. I like things a certain way. We’re driven. Leo’s and Virgos get along because they are kind of alike when it comes to being critical, having an ego, and being set in their ways. But like, Leo’s need Virgo friends to show them how to be that way but with a little more tact and grace and a little less of an asshole vibe. Virgos need Leo friends to remind Virgos to let that opinion be heard and not take shit too serious. Virgos and Leo’s are bonafide hustlers.

matthew warhol: I’m so glad we were meant to be friends! So I wanted to start at our last real one-on-one, which was at the Always Nothing show like a year-and-a-half ago, because so much has changed since then. At that time, you had just gotten your job at Home Depot. I remember talking to you and everything was up in the air. You were like, “I want to make this my full-time job,” but you hadn’t yet. So do you feel better now? Are you more confident in what you’re doing?

Kelsey Ryder: Oh my God, I feel so much better. I have so much confidence in myself and Hello Happy Plants, but every day there is doubt. I literally wake up and walk 10 feet to my studio, and I paint all day long. It’s like, “Is this for real?” There’s definitely doubt in it, but I feel like I’m not supposed to be working for someone. I don’t ever mean to sound ungrateful, but I can’t have a boss.

Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando

matthew warhol: When did you get to the point where you felt like you could leave your normal job?

Kelsey Ryder: I don’t know if I ever told you about Home Depot. They totally tricked me, man. I was supposed to go to the Garden Center. When you work at Home Depot they have you start as a door greeter. I think I was a door greeter at Home Depot for almost four months. And I realized the first month I was there, “They’re not switching me to the Garden Center. And even if they did, I don’t want to be here.” So I busted my ass. And it wasn’t really about the money. It was about the connections I needed to make. And when I made those connections, the money would come. So when I felt like I was at a certain place with what I was doing, I was out. They didn’t want me anymore either. They knew I hated it.

matthew warhol: So now take me through the process of making a new planter. Because I saw a video on Instagram where you go through it, and I know a lot goes into it. And how do you even find what you want to make?

Kelsey Ryder: I think I definitely started down a path of snack foods. It’s something I’ve always related to and it’s what my friends liked. Yeah, my first mold ever was … well, it was a terrible shark. But the second one was a little troll. And I kind of just thought, “Trolls are so hard to come by now days. Let’s try to make a mold.” It is silicone mold making. You pour wet silicone into a cast with whatever you want to make and let it harden. The process takes kind of a bit, but you can take anything and make a bunch of it. So I made the troll, and I was like, “I kinda want to make a can.” And I can do so much with a can. I’ve made some cool molds. I’ve made some wonky ass molds. I’ve made some molds that I thought everyone was going to love and everyone was going to want one, and they take me five hours to make.

Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando

matthew warhol: What was one of those?

Kelsey Ryder: I had a lot of hope in the garbage bag. That shit never sells.

matthew warhol: What’s something that surprised you? That sold more than you thought?

Kelsey Ryder: The La Croix! Oh my God, it’s insane!

matthew warhol: You hit that right when it was becoming a thing.

Kelsey Ryder: Who knew? I literally made that for my grandma, because she hit me up one day like, “There isn’t a lot of things I would want in the house.” And I’m like, “Oh my God, she loves La Croix, that’s her drink.” I never knew anyone liked it before that. The first time I put one up, it sold and I got five messages immediately. “Do you have more?” And I’m like, “Hell yeah, I have more. Give me a day.” I sell a lot of those. Certain shops that I whole-sale with will buy 30 La Croix. It’s so strange, but I’m about it.

Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando

matthew warhol: So I know, Instagram is the biggest place you’ve amassed your following, because you have almost 10,000 followers, right?

Kelsey Ryder: Let’s have a party soon!

matthew warhol: Yo, 10K. Because then it’ll turn to “10K,” right?

Kelsey Ryder: I’ll get a “K.”

matthew warhol: I know you’re looking forward to that.

Kelsey Ryder: Hell yeah, I am. I’m a fuckin’ Leo. I want 10,000 followers. I’m done feeling weird about it either; I want that.

matthew warhol: So how did you get into a groove with that? You don’t have to reveal all of your secrets …

Kelsey Ryder: No, I genuinely will give this advice to people who are looking for a way to broaden their horizons with customers. I’ve sent probably over $2,000 worth of stuff to people. Sometimes they post it. Sometimes they don’t. Two years ago, I made a list of every person that I was inspired by — in any way. And I wrote out a message. I would make it personal to why I loved them, but I sent a message out that was like, “I’m tryin’ to get my business boomin’. I can only imagine that your following is as cool as you are.” And that has gone over well. I think a lot people would think that that was begging. But I’m sending someone something I made special for them.

Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando

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matthew warhol: But on your Instagram, you’re not just posting pictures of your planters. You’re building scenes and doing stop-motion pictures do. So where did that come from? Because that’s what huge brands do, that’s what Taco Bell does.

Kelsey Ryder: I think what my planters are … Them being chips or something, it’s easier for me to be able to spin and make it be more realistic. I don’t know if you remember this, but it was one of my last days at Home Depot. I knew I was going to be leaving, and everyone there thought I was a freak. But one day I was like, “Fuck it. I’m going to make this video that I knew I wanted to make.” I brought the chip bag mold in with me, and I pretended that I was pressing all the buttons to get this planter out of a vending machine. And that video ended up being huge. I got a shit ton of followers, and so I was like, “Woah, I could totally run with this.” So I started doing it with the Slurpees planters at 7/11, having the people working there pretend like they’re scanning the planters.

matthew warhol: You’re treating it like if it were real. And people at 7/11 know you as that person. They love you! The people at Home Depot thought you were super weird, but I think you make these people’s day.

Kelsey Ryder: I don’t mind, but they all look at me like, “What am I doing right now?” I made this giant foam Slurpee cup — it was like three feet tall. And I asked the guy if when I started a small cup if he would tell me, “No, no, no, stop.” And he went around the back and brought me this humongous cup. Things like that they’re like, “Yeah, sure I’ll do it.” And they have no clue what I’m doing or what they’re doing, but they see how excited I am. I never worry about making a fool out of myself.

Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando

matthew warhol: It’s just who you are, though. Hello Happy Plants is you. It’s your style, your personality.

Kelsey Ryder: I’m kind of a poseur now.

matthew warhol: Why?

Kelsey Ryder: Five out of the seven days in a week, I’m like no carbs, no sugar. So everything that I make, I don’t ingest. It’s my vice now.

matthew warhol: Do you ever get tired of looking at it?

Kelsey Ryder: Well, I don’t smoke cigarettes unless I’m really buzzed. So I’m like, “Can I get behind this?” But I see how happy things like snack foods make people. Maggie loves her chips. Bear loves his Red Hots at night. I watch that and I know they like it so …

matthew warhol: What do you think you’re tapping into with that?

Kelsey Ryder: It’s stories that people have with each other. Once a day, I have a message that comes along that’s like, “Oh my God, me and my best friend have gone and got Slurpees every Free Slurpee Day for years.” That’s cute to me. It is nostalgia for sure. I think the majority of what I sell is gifts for other people. And I’m all about that. I remember certain times of going to a certain gas station with friends and getting this candy, this chip, this beer. I think a lot of what I’ve made is drawn from those memories.

Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando

matthew warhol: And now you’ve expanded into t-shirts.

Kelsey Ryder: I’m Jersey Shore-ing it up! Got my heat press.

matthew warhol: Do you have ideas of stuff you want to do in the future?

Kelsey Ryder: I want to build a skate park one day. I want to work with cement on a really big scale.

matthew warhol: Really?

Kelsey Ryder: I love cement. I think it’s really cool. Some of Bear’s friends build skateparks. I don’t skate at all, but I think there’s real beauty in the way cement forms and the way we can use cement. It’s beautiful, big structures.

matthew warhol: That’s so interesting to me, because you were talking about how you are the only one of your friends that only has their AA and all that, but you’ve made yourself into an industrial designer. The way you talk about materials is the way I hear my friend who is in school for that talk.

Kelsey Ryder: This circles back to working with your hands. But I started with the troll doll. I never knew you could make a mold of something with silicone. Who would think? But you can, and it is cool as shit. So you’re like, “What can I do with this? Can I use porcelain? Can I use resin?” But as for the future, I want to get things dialed in before things get bigger.

matthew warhol: Do you have a big goal?

Kelsey Ryder: I would kind of like to have my own shop one day. Somewhere cool and just have it be plants and my shirts and stuff. There’s a lot of really awesome stores I’m fortunate enough to be in, but I feel like … what’s a plant store that you know in Orlando? I feel like we need to make plants cool again. We need to bring them back. And that’s in no reference to “Make America Great Again.”

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Hello Happy Plants Interview Orlando

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

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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

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.”