Forced into femininity interview orlando music
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Forced Into Femininity: Fighting Corruption with Crazy

It isn’t too often that a show really surprises me — having spent countless nights at music venues, sometimes I think I’ve seen it all. But last week, I was thrown in truly undisturbed waters when Chicago avant-garde musician Forced Into Feminity turned Spacebar upside down. The music itself, semi-dancey electronic bangs, wasn’t too out-of-the-ordinary; it was the performance that left everyone looking around like, “WTF is happening?!” The set began with a pre-taped warning that cautioned anyone who was uncomfortable being touched, yelled at, or hearing lyrics about discrimination against transgendered people and other potentially triggering topics.

Jill Flanagan, the energetic bomb behind FIF, bounced around the audience screaming in people’s faces, giving piggy-back rides, climbing on top of the bar, and (in one case) stuffing a patron’s red beard into her mouth. And that was only when things were going according to plan. At one point the music and mic cut off, but Jill didn’t even blink. She proceeded to go outside (we all followed), climb onto the roof of Spacebar and start lecturing from up there. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to get into the head of this person. Enjoy.

Photos by Harryson T Photography & matthew warhol.


Forced into femininity interview orlando music

(I start recording in the middle of a conversation about Andy Warhol.)

Forced Into Femininity: I have this book he wrote about parties.

matthew warhol: Which one?

Forced Into Femininity: It’s just called Parties.

matthew warhol: Parties?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, it’s just about parties. He interviewed all these different party promoters in the ‘80s. It’s a really interesting book.

matthew warhol: That’s aweseome. I’ve only read A to B and Back Again which is just his sprawlings.

Forced Into Femininity: Oh I love that.

matthew warhol: Really? You’ve read that one?

Forced Into Femininity: That’s his biography, right?

matthew warhol: Yeah, I would say it’s kind of like an autobiography.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

Forced Into Femininity: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. It’s hilarious.

matthew warhol: So, for me, that’s the kind of writing I like to do. I’m just very — especially with the interviews — I keep it really real. So I’m recording now. How’s tour been?

Forced Into Femininity: Great, yeah it’s been really long.

matthew warhol: You’re from Chicago right?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, I’m from Chicago. I’ve lived their most of life. I lived in Oakland for a couple of years, but mostly in Chicago.

matthew warhol: How long have you been doing Forced Into Feminity?

Forced Into Femininity: It’s been like seven years … seven or eight years.

matthew warhol: And what was the initial idea behind it? Did you make similar music before?

Forced Into Femininity: Well, it was different. I mean, I was mostly in bands. This was the first thing I did that was digital — like on a laptop or editing sounds. I’ve been in bands since, but the band at the time … my band broke up and I was really trying like, to do music and stay motivated. And just make music out of a laptop, because I’d never done that. I hadn’t really made anything specifically about being trans, ya know? I had done stuff that had touched on that but like …

matthew warhol: You hadn’t done something that was fully about you?

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

Forced Into Femininity: No, fully me, but I felt like I wanted to focus more on being trans. because it’s a big part of my identity and I hadn’t really talked about it.

matthew warhol: Has it changed over the last seven years?

Forced Into Femininity: It changes a lot. I mean, musically, it’s changed a lot because I’ve learned how to make music on the computer. And what I’ve wanted to do is changing a lot — I don’t know. At one time it was more dance-based, but I still dance a lot when I’m performing. Yeah, it’s come through a lot of different iterations. It’s kind of like whatever I want to do, so I’ll just change it sometimes. Maybe just play keyboards and sing.

matthew warhol: That’s really interesting to me. I was just talking to one of my friends earlier tonight about how a lot people are leaving bands and doing it more by themselves. Because they can — the technology is there. And like, you’re more … like, not waiting on anyone else. Do you find that you’re more productive? Is it easier?

Forced Into Femininity: It’s not easier. I mean, it’s just different playing in bands. It’s like, you don’t really know a lot of times, when you do things, if it’s like, “Oh, is this good?” I don’t know. I don’t know until I play the songs for people, then I’m like, “Okay, this is good.” You don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of or to cover your mistakes.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

matthew warhol: And so like, how often, when you’re playing, does what happened tonight with [the sound going out] happen? Because at that point it’s really out of your hands to a certain extent. You can obviously adapt to it, which you did. But are you prepared for that?

Forced Into Femininity: I had this tour once where I played two shows where there was no P.A. or like all the power went out. So like, I learned from that. I like improvising and just talking, so I prepare like lectures and things I want to talk about.

matthew warhol: Does it change from night to night? Do you build on an idea? Like you have a topic and it evolves?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, a lot of times I’ll say things and they’ll get more developed and I’ll turn them into lyrics, or I’ll stop saying them. But I have a lot of material that I’ve built up and fall back on. When I don’t know what to do, I try doing something old again.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

matthew warhol: And does it happen a lot, where something will come unplugged and you’ll have to react to it?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, if something goes wrong, instead of trying to fix it, I’m like, “fuck that, we’ll just roll with it.” And we’ll have silence, or I’ll do something else. Because it can be anything, if you’re too focused on it being one way, then it gets stifled.

matthew warhol: Does that keep it exciting for you?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, definitely. Sometimes I enjoy not doing the songs more. Because it’s fresh. Because I can do whatever I want. Where as, since it’s electronic, the music is always going to be the same music. It’s nice to have freedom.

matthew warhol: That made me think of the interview I recently did with J.A.S.O.N., who’s the singer from Shania Pain. I did a story on him, and he was telling me about the reason he improvises. It’s because he gets really bored. Would you feel that way too, if it were to be the same thing over and again?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, I have a short attention span.

matthew warhol: That’s exactly what he said.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, I have a short attention span so a lot of times I’m like … “yeah, yeah, okay I gotta …” This time I’ve been … well, I’ve been on tour for four and a half months so I try different techniques to keep it fresh. Trying different songs, or now I have two different sets I play.

matthew warhol: What’s like, one of the craziest reactions someone has had to your performance?

Forced Into Femininity: I don’t know. I’ve had a bunch of weird shows. I had a show in a coffee house in Alabama where everyone got really upset and I had to stop. Yeah, everyone got upset. They were mad because there were children there and they got scared. So that was going on and there were angry parents and it was in a coffee shop, so they were more uptight about me climbing on tables, licking people.

matthew warhol: I mean, you have the warning at the beginning.

Forced Into Femininity: I have a warning, yeah but people are going to get mad. That’s what I realized about the warning, like if people are going to be offended, they’re still going to be offended. Like this guy the last time I played in Orlando, he was really mad that I licked him. And he wanted to fight me. And he was all mad because I didn’t mention it in the statement. He was like, “I heard touching! I didn’t hear anything about licking people!” I should make everyone sign a waiver.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

matthew warhol: So like, what was something that was sticking with you tonight? Was there something specific in your head?

Forced Into Femininity: Well, I wanted to talk about the drag show in Key West that was really problematic. Yeah, there’s always a lot of things to talk about but I usually draw a blank when I’m up there. But I wanted to toss in a lot of things about that. It made me think about getting a dollar bill from the audience. Because, symbolically, you’re getting money and that money buys approval. And the drag queens that are less passing or more heavy-set usually don’t get as many people watching them, or they get a pity dollar. It’s kind of like a system of capital approval.

matthew warhol: Thanks for sharing that.

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah sure.

matthew warhol:  It was really nice talking to you.

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, nice talking to you.

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Forced into femininity interview orlando music

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

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ORL Creative Henderson Nguyen Says Goodbye at Spacebar

Like many local creatives, Henderson Nguyen came to Orlando to study at the University of Central Florida. For his first couple of years, he stuck with the label of “student,” until a block party in the Milk District brought the Orlando arts community into the forefront of his mind. Since then, Henderson has fully submerged himself in the culture, modeling and shooting for local brands (NoXcape & CHROMATIQUE), filming music videos (SugarPlum & TOKYOxP), and creating his own niche as a photographer. His style is perfectly posed, bright images that tell a short, impactful story. One of his favorite subjects to work with is cigarettes; the aesthetic of the object and the multiple connotations — death, counterculture, cool — associated with smoking are all explored in his images. Sadly, this talent is off to LA to pursue his dreams, but he’s leaving us with a bittersweet send-off this Sunday (TODAY) at Spacebar, featuring rapper TEDD.GIF, DJ EMRLDTRACE, and indie pop sweetheart, SugarPlum. 

Featured Image by @anand.vision.

Each of the artists performing has deep ties to Henderson and his time in Orlando. TEDD.GIF was instrumental in Hendy’s introduction to the ORL creative community, and he says that the two share similar mindsets when it comes to personal branding. EMRLDTRACE and Henderson went to high school in West Palm Beach and grew close once they started at UCF — and they’re moving to LA together. Henderson heard SugarPlum before anyone else; she had always wanted to give music a shot but wasn’t sure if anyone would listen. We’re lucky she did. He perfectly captured her sunny, colorful persona in his video for her song “All the Time.”

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Poster by Maggie Scott.

Henderson plans to keep ORL on his tongue while meeting creatives in Los Angles. He looks forward to seeing the growth of (musicians) TEDD.GIF, SugarPlum, TOKYOxP, Tony Phat, Lanlord, (clothing brands) NoXcape, CHROMATIQUE, Phalse, (photographers) dy_n, daniel moncada, and (promoters) TSA Showcase. Come say goodbye to this awesome dude tonight at Spacebar!

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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.”

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.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band
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Rock the Vote: The Grizzly Atoms Reform Amid Political Turmoil

Breaking up is hard to do, but getting back together is even harder. After two years of hibernation, Orlando garage trio The Grizzly Atoms made the decision to reunite, start playing live again, and release a four-song EP of previously recorded material dubbed Witness. Those songs see the light of day this Friday at Spacebar, where the EP will be paired with cheatsheet covering the issues being voted on this November. See, the Grizzlies cite this election’s political climate as inspiration to reform. I spoke with Nik Sidella (vocals/guitar), Terran Fernandez (bass/backing vocals), and Nick Roe (drums) about all this and more over a bowl of Willie Nelson, a strain curated by the man himself. Enjoy.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: You guys were praising me in [the practice room] and I really appreciate that, but I wanted to thank you guys because you The Grizzly Atoms was one of the first shows I saw when I moved to Orlando. It had to have been like four or five years ago, but I saw you at Uncle Lou’s and you had just released an album.

Nick Roe: I know what show you’re talking about. It was one of the first or second Lou’s shows we ever played, right after we released the album. The last time we played Lou’s was one of our last shows with [Room Full Of Strangers], but before that it had been like a year-and-a-half.

TVW: Do you remember who else played that show?

NR: (After we all fumbled about trying to remember) Ricin House!

TVW: Yeah, that sounds right.

NR: Ricin House, us, and… one of these other fuckin’ bands. I remember because it was one of the first shows I saw Ricin House. There was a light bulb above him, and he hit the light bulb with his guitar and was it was going back-and-forth. And it looked fucking awesome.

TVW: They had some amazing shows at Lou’s. I remember him taking his guitar off, breaking it, kicking the door open, and running out. That wasn’t that show.

Terran Fernandez: We played that show. We were there. I remember freaking out like “Oh my god, this guy is…” because it wasn’t just like a show thing. He was definitely upset and decided to break his gear. Didn’t Danelectro send him a new guitar because he told him that story?

Nik Sidella: Nice!

TVW: Okay, first question…

[laughs]

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: So, why did the band separate in the first place and why did you get back together?

N: We were in the process of ramping stuff up. We had talked about a bunch of stuff we hadn’t thought about before, the marketing side. The night before what became our last show, I got a call from my parents saying that my brother was in the hospital and that he might die. We played the show and then that was a continuous thing for the next three months. After that happened, I straight up told the guys, “Listen, I can’t do this anymore.” Trying to finish school, managing a job, and also trying to play music and get shows, it was a lot of stress.

NR: And there was some stuff with the band, limbo stuff. We had two or three different recordings that were like half-finished. We wanted to play shows, but it’s hard to book in Orlando if you’re not in the scene a lot. And with us being so busy, it was hard to meet people and be active. The strain of being in a band for years, [took its toll]. Taking some time away, as much of a bad thing as it sounds, it’s actually pretty therapeutic in a way.

N: I think after a few years apart, we got everything else figured out and now we’re in a place where we just want to play music and enjoy it again, to be a part of something again. Especially since we’ve seen the scene flourish in the past two years.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: Playing together again, how have the older songs changed?

NR: We kind of like, fine-tuned everything. More vocal melodies, Nik’s soloing has gotten way better; the drums and bass vibe more.

N: We’re just a three-piece, so we have to maximize what we can do. And one thing you can really do with a three-piece is really play with the dynamics a lot. And that is what we tried to bring to the old songs, was focusing on the balance of loud and quiet.

TVW: Does it feel easier?

NR: Oh yeah, I think we can all say it feels better than before. Not having each other just makes us want each other more.

[laughs]

T: It’s definitely a different band, but I’m excited to see what’s happening now.

TVW: Different band, how?

T: Um, just the way we interact. There was a lot of disagreement back then about how to do things in the band. We’ve all come back with different gear and that makes a new sound. Nik has like seven-billion pedal boards. I’m like trying to keep up with him changing his tone so much. But it’s weird playing four-string again. I play six-string bass primary, because I play really technical metal [in my other band]. I can just settle and have fun. But as far as the future goes, I’m really excited to see where the music goes.

NR: I think we should take a four-year hiatus and think about it.

[laughs]

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

NR: yeah, we haven’t taken the time to write new stuff. We’re really playing our EP release show to release it and we’re going to go from there.

TVW: Is Witness new stuff?

N: This is stuff we recorded two years ago that we were playing live, but nothing we’ve released before. But with what Tarren said about new material, what I like about it is that we all have such various [tastes and styles] that I think we can bring that together and make some really, really cool stuff.

TVW: So take me through the moment where you actually decided to try this again?

NR: We would talk and jam once in a while. Nik’s really into Strangers stuff. He was doing the touring thing at the time. Terran is fucking touring. I’m kind of doing my own thing with two bands. Then I went out to drinks with Terran, and [Nik and I] would talk, but nothing really happened. Then they actually talked to each other and we decided to get together and have a meeting. It’s funny that the band broke up [behind Nik’s house] when Nik was going through all the stress and we decided to take a break. Two years later, we go back to the same spot and have the opposite of that conversation. We were also kind of nervous about the political situation, so that was another reason why. When shit is fucked up good music is made.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: So what does the political climate have to do with The Grizzly Atoms?

N: There was this one song I had written the lyrics to called “Witness.” I go down the rabbit hole with like conspiracy theories a lot, and I also try to educate myself on what the established idea of what things are. And the song was about seeing the bullshit that goes on, seeing how money kind of dictates everything in this country, how the corporate elites have power over everything, seeing that and doing nothing about it. “I’m a witness, yeah, but do I really see? I’m a witness, yeah, but I never speak.” So my idea was to play a show but also raise political awareness.

TVW: And that’s where the show in October comes in.

NR: Being in a band, you have a platform. If you have a platform, use it!

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: Let’s talk more about the cheatsheet that you’ll be giving out at the show. Take me through the process of coming up with that.

N: When you vote, you see all this language about bills or names you don’t recognize and some people Christmas tree it.

NR: It’s confusing, sometimes you vote for someone who has the best name. Amendment One for instance, “Yes on One for the sun.” That’s completely falsified. It’s run by the utility companies trying to one-up the right to have free solar energy.

TVW: So with the cheatsheet, it’s focusing on stuff other than Trump and Hillary?

NR We’re trying to take an unbiased view with the candidates, the amendments, the people running for different offices, and giving pros and cons. Giving the information in a non-confusing way where they can see it and know what it is.

N: I think if people understand what they’re voting for, then that’s truly a democratic society. But I want to put out a disclaimer, this was made by people who lean towards the left side of things. We encourage you to do your own research because ultimately it’s not a democracy if you’re just pushing your own opinion on people. It’s only a democracy if you have your own point of view, and we think about it and talk about it and compromise.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

Hypoluxo Orlando band The Vinyl Warhol
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The Vinyl Warhol + Ugly Orange Present: Hypoluxo, Wild Pink & RV (photos)

If there was a consistent theme running through Spacebar on Saturday, October 15, I’d say it was symbiosis — i.e. a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups. Whether it was Brooklyn and Orlando, Ugly Orange and The Vinyl Warhol, friends who haven’t seen each other in months/years, or new people coming together over a common interest, there was a wave of togetherness that was nice to be a part of — pardon my sappiness. Thanks to everyone who came out. Good luck to Hypoluxo and Wild Pink on their respective tours. ORL, keep an eye out for RV. If you want more info on the bands look here. Yeah. Enjoy.

RV Orlando The Vinyl Warhol

RV Orlando The Vinyl Warhol

RV Orlando The Vinyl Warhol

RV Orlando The Vinyl Warhol

RV Orlando The Vinyl Warhol

RV Orlando The Vinyl Warhol

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