I caught up with singer/songwriter Tom Quell from the East Bay area after filming the Earth Day concert for Local Music Channel. Tom’s “dreamy-pop” sound combined with his lush voice reveals his 20-something life experiences of love, heartbreak and what it’s like to suffer incredible heat while touring on a bicycle with the Biketopia Music Collective.
Local Music Channel filmed Tom Quell’s live show in Berkeley, CA which can be seen on localmusichannel.com
BIKE MUSIC TOUR AND THE NEW ALBUM
LMC: Tell me where you’re from and what brought you back to the Bay Area?
Tom: I’m from 20 miles north of Seattle, WA in a town called Mukilteo. I went to UC Berkeley from 2012-2016 and studied English. After graduation I did some travelling– I was in South America, Spain and Paris. I also spent some time at home living with my parents.
Between 2016 and 2018 I was exploring and trying to figure out my life. What brought me back to the Bay was that one of my friends who I went to Berkeley with, was part of the Biketopia crew and he told me about the bike tour. He hit me up about it in May 2018. “Hey, we’re going to embark on this tour next month”. And I was like, I want to do that, it sounds amazing. He said they needed more riders, so I ended up joining the tour and I got to know everyone else. Went on this long tour and I had a musical explosion.
I wrote a bunch of songs and got used to performing a lot and saw the power of collaboration. The tour ended and we were in the Bay again. This was last summer August 2018. I was back in the Bay and it felt right to be here so I stayed. I started recording a few months after I returned. I had never recorded anything before so that’s when the process started for the album.
LMC: Tell me about the album? When is it coming out, details?
Tom: There’s so much frustrating bureaucracy with copyrighting and stuff, so it will be out this summer [June 14]. There are 11 songs on the album and I’m going to release it all at once. It’s called “Marrow” as in bone marrow. I’ve always wanted to have something to show to venues and people.
LMC: Who are your musical heroes, and do you take any inspiration from them and put in your songs?
Tom: Yes, for sure. I do take inspiration from lots of people, lots of artists, consciously and subconsciously. I would say, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke. Soul and pop music and the whole spectrum of that kind of genre is something that I really like . Even present day I went through a big Justin Beiber phase. I still have lots of respect for Justin Beiber and love his voice. I think he’s got a beautiful voice.
And then in terms of current day artists: Daniel Caesar, HomeShake, Mild High Club, SZA.
I would say that any artist that I really like I’m probably getting some inspiration from them. Because the more music that I listen to and the more music that I take in, just means the next time I sit down and pick up the guitar there’s going to be some different stuff floating around in there. So I think that any artist that I really enjoy is also an artist that inspires me in some way.
LMC: The music scene in the Bay area is great, there’s lots of diversity. Are there any local artists that you think are cool that you work with and may feed off each other?
Tom: I just moved back to the Bay less than a year ago, so I’m not quite plugged in as I should be. But in terms of local musicians, there’s definitely the groups that are part of the Biketopia Music Collective. Bicicletas Por La Paz is one I definitely connect with. There’s a mutual support that goes on between us. Mijiliani, Heather Normandale, and Salami Rose Joe Lewis. She’s an Oakland artist that’s coming up right now. I had a celebration of album completion show back in April, and she played a set there. She’s really special.
LMC: Let’s talk about your music. It has a light pop sound to it. What kind of people do you see listening to your music and who is it written for?
Tom: That’s a great question. I would say “Dreamy soul pop”. That’s kind of the “genre” that I’ve come to call it. It’s not totally accurate, but it has elements of a few different things that are accurate. In terms of who I’d like to listen to it?
It’s not written for anyone, definitely not. The songs that come out of me and I don’t have so much control or agency of who they appeal to, because at the end of the day it’s just something that kind of comes out of me. I think if I were trying to think too hard about who it’s for, then it would come out inauthentically.
But I do think, definitely people my age, people in their mid 20s, I think there probably will be some degree of (laughs) middle-school girl fans if they heard it.
LMC: When you are writing your songs what are you channeling? Where does it come from?
Tom: I can’t really write a song that’s not true about what’s going on with me at the time. A lot of my songs are love songs because I’ve experienced a lot of love and heartbreak and a lot of my songs. Heat-Induced Lethargy was written on the bike tour when I was not feeling heartbroken, and my mind was in a more free and easy space. That was totally a true song about how I was feeling, but it was so simple and didn’t have the heaviness that some of the other songs have.
LMC: Sounds like it was hot!
Tom: It was. Do you know about the bike tour?
Tom: We were in Eugene, OR and we were playing this bar. It’s an outdoor bar, cool setting but it was so hot and nobody was interested in the music at all. That happened a few times over the tour that people just cared less about the music and we were a bit frustrated cause we set up a whole sound system, and were performing and there were people drinking beer and not coming over and engaging and pretending like we weren’t there.
So there’s this combination of “I’m tired of this” cause we’ve been playing shows and they don’t care, and it’s so hot I can’t even move and there’s not enough shade. So that was the setting for that one. It was making light of a jokingly miserable situation.
Tom: That song was the chords first. Like “Heat- Induced Lethargy”, what started that song was (sings) HEAT-INDUCED LETHARGY. That was it. That was the words and the melody whereas “Fervor” I had all the chords first, I was in the zone and the chords seemed like it had to happen. It took me a few days to come up with a melody. Then trying to find lyrics that fit the melody.
With “Fervor” it was more like this feels right and these words seem to fit together and I found meaning in the lyrics after it was complete. That often happens with me. I write what feels right and then upon listening back to it I have an interpretation.
It’s about love and the first two lines “Shall we come to peace and walk down the good line, is it time to leave our dark wildly sad sides”. It’s about being in a relationship with someone and being your own demise of your relationship. You get to a point where making a big deal out of things and being over-sensitive and forgetting that the person that you are with is also just another human being. You perceive them as so special in your eye you kind of tap into your dark side a little bit and see the worst in things. So that’s kind of our dark wildly sad sides.
LMC: Do you plan to go on tour?
Tom: I do. That’s a good question and one that I need to ask myself more seriously too. I would like to go on tour definitely. I don’t know if that’s the kind of lifestyle I want to have ultimately. I think in general I love the Bay and I love the scene in the Bay and want to be in a place that feels like home where I have community and collaborators. I’m plugged into the network.
BAY AREA MUSIC SCENE
LMC: Tell me about the Bay Area music scene. What’s so special about it?
Tom: I would like to distinguish San Francisco from East Bay cause I’m in the East Bay music scene and that’s the one that I know well, and I don’t know the San Francisco music scene and I think they are two very different things.
I think the East Bay music scene is surprisingly small world. Since I’ve been back here, it seems like every couple weeks I meet a talented musician who knows someone who I know, or some strange connection where it seems like the web is already interwoven, but I’m like finding out about these junctions in the web as I go. But it’s almost as though the web has already been spun and it’s just a matter of finding out about it for myself. It feels very small. Art in general and in music, it seems like a small scene which is really nice. It’s nice to know people support one another.
LMC: Do the people in the community go out and support the live music scene?
Tom: Yes, they definitely do. I’m realizing a lot of the people I spend my time around are musicians, so I guess I have a bias because I’m always hanging out with people who are interested in it and all about it.
But, I certainly do think there is huge support for the music scene. In general, it’s hard to know the struggle of the musician life in the Bay because if you are not one, it’s so expensive and it requires a lot of work and individual promotion and working for yourself.
I would say those who aren’t musicians don’t have an acute understanding of that. It doesn’t mean that they are not supportive. I feel a huge support from pretty much everyone.
THE CURRENT MOMENT
LMC: Are you able to make your living making music?
Tom: I’m not right now. I would like to. I haven’t been playing many shows, because in the recent months I’ve been focused on the recording aspect of things and trying to get the album done. Once it’s done, I’m hoping the album can help me to play more shows, which is the main way a musician can make a living these days. I want to be excited about playing shows because I don’t want it to turn into something where shows are a means to a financial end, cause that’s where all the luster fades and things start getting really wrong and backwards.
I do substitute teaching in the Berkeley Unified School District, I do nude modeling for figure drawing classes, and I do Spanish interpreting. I’ve got various gigs that keep me on my feet.
LMC: Each of those things are very different.
Tom: Yeah, for sure. But it’s fun.
Tom Quell plays live around the San Francisco Bay Area. You can check him out at www.tomquell.com
Lead singer, Daniel Larlham, of the post-punk rock band, Now The Changes, dares to challenge your psyche with straight up in-your-face poetic lyrics about political unrest, climate change and the daily BS that affects your life. Looking into the future while contemplating the past, Now The Changes, merges message with melody while inviting you to rock out.
I met with Now The Changes, lead singer, Daniel Larlham and guitarist, Aaron Schiller, to find out why their activist music helps to change the way people think, what makes the band united, the Bay Area local music scene, fashion and hear about some of the songs on their new EP coming out this fall.
Local Music Channel filmed Now The Changes live show in Berkeley, CA which can be seen on localmusichannel.com
Creation of the Band, and Inspirations
LMC: Tell Me about Now The Changes: the band, the members and their roles?
Daniel: I’m the one who started Now The Changes. When it comes to the operation of running the band and also writing the songs, it’s me. I write the chord structures, vocal melodies and lyrics. Then I bring those to the band to develop. Usually I bring them first to Aaron [Schiller] to develop guitar parts that give the song an identity, and then we’ll go to drums [Eyal Gurion] and bass [Biko Nagara]. This project emerged out of a desire to create a band that was doing emotional, political work in the world, and that I associate with certain artists that were big inspirations of mine in the past.
The band was a little bit of a hole in a vacuum, at least when it comes to the territory of rock. A kind of sharp, heartfelt political rock. That was the motivation of my reaching out to get this project going. The first two pillars of the project were Aaron and Eyal and there have been some shifting membership over time, but it’s been us three as the nucleus.
LMC: How did you meet? Aaron, why did you decide to work on this project with Daniel?
Aaron: I think it’s been about 2 and a half years since I met Daniel. I responded to a craigslist ad that Daniel had posted looking for someone to play guitar with specific influences. U2 jumped out at me and other kinds of 80s bands. I’m not a guitar hero and I’m not looking to shred or that kind of stuff. So when I saw the political stuff and the musical influences, I thought “yeah, this is something I could get behind”. Then Daniel and I met, talked about it and I got really excited by his vision. Working on an original project and music with a purpose and a vision.
LMC: Who were your musical heroes and how did you think they changed music? How did that influence your music for the future generations?
Daniel: I think there are a lot and I think I’ve taken different kind of inspiration from each of them. A big one is U2, another huge one is the Australian band Midnight Oil. They have such a huge body of work and such a long career and the albums are so well written and so well produced, it’s kind of insane to me that they are not better known.
LMC: They [Midnight Oil] are politically and environmentally motivated which is somewhat what you are doing too, right?
Daniel: That’s true. And they also have songs that are very global in that perspective but some that are very Australian centric. They have the lyrics, the energy of their songs is very ferocious and fierce, more so then U2. U2 gets there a few times like in the song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” but Midnight Oil is kind of delivering big hammer blows again and again. Kind of righteous hammer blows. But with lyrics that are really nuanced and sophisticated, and that’s something that inspired me because there is so much energy out there. There is so much oppositional adversarial energy of fight, fight, fight in the culture right now, and at the same time the political discourse was often getting dumbed down so that people are kind of flailing at each other with very blunt instruments.
Also, Bob Marley was a big influence for me during my teenage years. Reggae was my favorite genre. I go to a meditation group and I wouldn’t say I’m any expert on Buddhist principles or scripture, but it’s affected me a lot. The perspective on existence: like the impermanence that everything will pass; that everything is changing. That was the inspiration for the name of the band Now The Changes.
Each of us has this eternal now that we reside within, or eternal within the scope of our own life. We’re really just in this now, and a lot of what we think of as time is just a construction. It’s really just changes happening in the now. Of course there are political references too– like we want these changes now. I think that the songs that we are working on wouldn’t have their character if I hadn’t moved to the Bay Area and been exposed to the culture of mindfulness and the Buddhist inflected culture here, which has given me a more realistic perspective about what is going on within human experience.
LMC: Those ideas you are speaking about are in your songs “On The Mountain” and “Activation”. Why is it important to convey those messages and where did it come from?
Daniel: I think the song “On The Mountain” came quite a few years ago and during the process where I was putting together Now The Changes and we were all meeting each other, getting things going for the first time, and I had a lot of doubt if it would even be possible to create something in the real world, a collaborative effort with other real human beings that would approximate this vision that I had for a band that could deliver a real powerful, energetic impact.
So that song was a big song and it’s about a journey, a kind of individual life journey. Using the metaphor of climbing the mountain and meeting doubt along the way and knowing that you could turn back, but knowing that the life you would return to would be unsatisfying and kind of emptied out.
Strangely enough, when the person in the song gets to the top of the mountain, which is the bridge, and sees that perspective, what they see is also devastation, desecration. And there is a line in the song which is “overhauling this earth we’re fitted for”, which was a lyric I was very happy with because we are the organisms that have emerged from this system which is this earth– so we are perfectly fitted for it. But we emerged from it and now we are changing it haphazardly, so we’re not fitted for it anymore. And so the other forms of life are not fitted for it because there will need to be a process of adaptation, and adaptation doesn’t happen that fast– so there are consequences to that.
LMC: Then you talk about hope and wisdom and turning it around asking is anyone paying attention?
Daniel: Yes, Yes.
LMC: Questioning the idea of (it can be there but what can be there?) are you listening and are you paying attention?
Daniel: Right, and I think there was also doubt about how the music would be received knowing that my prime influences are from bands that were active in the 80s or even before that– like Paul Simon or Billy Bragg. Things have moved on. Like does anyone really want to hear these words like “sanity, clarity, wisdom, hope”? And also does anyone really want to hear this kind of music? It’s at least honest.
Aaron: I can talk about how I approach these songs. Daniel will give me a sketch and there’s both a lot of room and direction there. There’s room for the guitar to do what I want it to do. Generally, I try to come up with something especially when the song is stirring, I’m thinking in that direction in trying to provide an emotional center to the instrumentation. Something with some aggression usually.
And in “On The Mountain” especially in parts where I’m chugging away, there are parts that are more driving. One thing about that song in particular is there’s a lot of changes, there’s a lot of things that happen, there’s a lot of different kinds of parts. The concept of it was, the different elements are sort of getting closer to the top of the mountain. We go back to that metaphor and add to the complexity and trying to keep the momentum of the song going. Then we get to the bridge, things open up more. It really feels like things open up and expand. I think we try very hard to do that in the music. We hope that the music and lyrics marry up that way, and I think we do a good job on that song.
LMC: Tell me about why you wrote “Activation” and who are you trying to reach with the song?
Daniel: There are two songs that we play now that were written in the aftermath of the events in Charlottesville, VA, the Unite the Right rally of 2017. I felt such outrage and such anger, and both “Activate” and another one we just recorded for our EP, they are very angry songs but they’re also wondering about how this anger can be channeled, and a little bit wide-eyed about what it means to deploy this anger in an artistic medium.
Aaron: I was thinking that we want to activate anyone who is listening, or anyone who is open to the idea of being activated to a political message. I think so much of music is supposed to take you away from your day-to-day concerns. It’s really about getting lost in some other world where nothing that you do day-to-day matters, it’s escapism of a kind. I think this song like a lot of our songs is meant to activate people’s sense of where they are now, and where things are now. So that’s how I imagined that song. Activate the listener so that they are paying attention to what’s around them. It’s not escapism.
Daniel: That’s right. I often imagine where the song might have it’s impact,. I’ve been to a lot of rallies and demonstrations in the last three years and I think about playing in a scenario where people are coming together already with some shared values and a sense of what kind of action they might take in the world, and the song giving them an energetic boost or being a kind of fuel.
It’s like [the songs] are formed from ideas and emotion, thoughts and perspective that are in circulation out there already. I was watching and reading a lot of James Baldwin and you’re taking these perspectives, take some of this stuff in and it sparks insights, “oh yes, that seems right to me– put those into songs”.
In a way you’re preaching to the already converted, but they are trying to refresh perspectives and give an energetic boost as part of a whole machine. There needs to be a whole machine of social and cultural transformation– like politicians need to do their thing, grass roots organizers need to do their thing, the everyday citizen needs to do their thing in terms of voting and maybe volunteering and donating to causes, and music needs to do its thing and its part. So we are just trying to do our part.
The Local Scene
LMC: Where are you guys from and why do you live in the Bay Area?
Aaron: I’m originally from San Luis Obispo, California. I ended up here for a job, long story.
Daniel: Aaron, you have a degree in Philosophy, how about that?
Aaron: That is true. That’s part of the longer story, ha ha.
Daniel: I am originally from South Africa. That’s where I grew up until I was 10 years old, and then my family immigrated to here to Southern California and I have been in the USA since then. I was in NY for a while then I moved to the Bay Area in 2013 because I was tired of the East Coast. NYC had worn me down and I wanted to come to a place where it was more beautiful and there was a bit of a saner kind of approach to life. Not quite such an over-driven approach to life.
LMC: What is it about the Bay Area that enticed you to stay here?
Aaron: I’ve always loved Berkeley and the mystique of it. When I was in high school that’s when I started paying attention to the Berkeley thing. I was living in Sothern California at the time, and my parents, especially my dad, would always talk about Berkeley as this mythic place. I didn’t have the drive or the grades to even apply to UC Berkeley out of high school but I was able to transfer up here after some years. So I was an undergraduate here.
I love Berkeley; love the vibe of the city and the passion of the people. It’s also the sense that the residents want to live up the Berkeley reputation. I take pride in living in Berkeley and really love it, and that is what really keeps us here.
It’s super expensive to live here, so there are some times we feel it may make sense to look at other places, but also now we have a 4th grader and it’s important that he go to good schools and live in a vibrant city, so I think the quality of life here is really good. It’s also a good place for a band like this. It feels like the right place for me right now.
Daniel: While Aaron was speaking it made me think of the other band members too such as Eyal Gurion who plays drums. He’s from Israel originally, and Biko Nagara whose family is from Indonesia originally. But I’m the only person in the band who does not have a partner or kids.
And I really like the fact that I’m working with people who have households and kids, because that opens your heart in a way and grounds you and it opens up the perspectives on human existence.
We’re not the early 20s band that thinks that the most important thing is for the world to wake up and take notice of us. I think that there are more mature perspectives in the music which hopefully doesn’t mean that they are less idealistic but maybe more complicated.
LMC: Why is it important to play locally and where are your favorite spots to play?
Daniel: We had a gig at The Uptown in Oakland that we really enjoyed. The management were really excited for us to put together a line-up of politically oriented rock. We are looking forward to getting that going again.
We forged a good relationship with Luna Oxenberg from Taylor Street Production, and through them with people who book and produce various event in the East Bay and San Francisco. Through her we’ve had the opportunity to play downtown Berkeley BART Plaza and over at the Bay to Breakers foot race in San Francisco recently. And those feel like perfect fits for us. A kind of chance to share the music with the world at large. Come one, come all– whoever comes streaming by.
LMC: What is the response from the community to your music when you play live?
Aaron: The Bay to Breakers was an amazing experience because we felt like we were there to energize the runners and to make it a good party atmosphere, but it was also very gratifying because we felt a lot of love from the people streaming by. Sometimes people stopped and gave us thumbs up or took pictures. Overall it was really cool to see the smiles on peoples faces and nods of appreciation. I don’t think that we in general have the kind of sound that is overly aggressive and in your face. So that when we play out it’s not the kind of music that people will be turned away from.
Daniel: In terms of the verbal responses, people often say that it reminds them of certain kinds of post-punk or other kinds of epic 80s stuff, but with a more contemporary sound or more contemporary elements. If we play in venues where we have good enough sound, I’ve got a lot of comments about the lyrics where people enjoy and are grateful for the lyrics. I do spend a lot of time honing them so I can fully stand behind them and sing them. I’ve got some heartening comments about the lyrics.
LMC: Why is live music important? Why is it important for you to play live? Why is it important that we have a live music scene?
Daniel: We live in this time where there is so much media but we receive it typically through the same digital portals, and I think that there is something miraculous and special about live performance of different kinds but especially music, it can bring about a form of communion, it can awaken the heart. Maybe that sounds very Bay Area, but I don’t think that’s a woohoo sentiment.
I think live performance can remind us that we are in this together; that the world is not just our individual agenda and all these images we look at on screens, and all the things we have to do in the day.
The individuality of human beings, like in an audience if you are watching people perform on stage, you are getting such a unique perspective on things and you look around and you see all these incredible individual people dancing to the same beat or participating in the same energetic experience. I think it’s an important cauldron for waking up energies and waking up perspectives.
Aaron: I agree with all that. I would add that with so much of the live music we listen to you are getting a real experience. I think we are used to music that has been very highly produced and very planned out and designed for maximum impact. Hearing something live presents you with a different experience. It forces you to be more in the moment and to be taking in where the song and where the musicians and the show is going to take you.
I feel energized when I see live music and I love to hear bands that I wouldn’t have the patience to sit down and listen to a whole album of, but when I’m there I’m caught up in the experience. Live music is a whole different animal than recorded music. It’s something that we would really miss out on a lot if we didn’t ever take the time to see live music.
Daniel: It’s also risky. The stakes are high in live performance. It’s exciting to participate, to take on those challenges as a performer and it’s exciting for the audience. As an audience member, you get to see performers like take flight and you get to see them make mistakes and crash at times.
Also taking music from the rehearsal room from a recording studio to performance, you learn so much by performing live because your whole psyche understands that this is very different from how you’ve presented this thing before. It requires more focus, more energetic expenditure. I feel like my mind and body are reorganizing themselves and developing each time we play live in a way that I can’t do by myself or when I practice solo, and in a way that as a band we can’t do by ourselves when we play in our rehearsal studio. Why that happens is kind of mysterious to me and always will be.
The Current Moment
LMC: Tell me what are you working on now?
Aaron: We have one EP called “Beginning” and this is the follow up. We were in the studio for 30+ hours. We tracked the drums, bass, and guitars for 6 new songs that we are hoping to release in the fall.
LMC: Who is producing the album, when is it coming out?
Daniel: The primary producer is Anton Patzner who produces a number of projects, but he also plays and produces with Foxtails Brigade which is also an East Bay based band. The EP is coming out in the fall of this year. We are thinking about one of the songs as a single. It’s called “No Other Life, No Other World” and it’s a very ecologically themed one, which feels like an important one to put into the world right now.
Aaron: “Activation” will be on there too.
Style and T-shirts
LMC: So tell me, are you guys plaid or paisley?
Daniel: Ha ha. Neither but if I had to choose one I’d choose paisley.
LMC: What would you choose if you had to choose a pattern for a design?
Daniel: Stripes. The racing stripe along the edge, like the outside of the arm or the outside of the leg.
Aaron: (laughing) I’m more of a plaid guy if those are my options.
Daniel: Aaron’s got the best style in the band.
LMC: Dude, you had some cool jewelry in that shoot we did.
Aaron: You know, you feel like the guitar player has to be making a statement. There’s a little bit of edge there.
LMC: It looked good. Tell me about those T-shirts. You made those yourselves. Why did you make them?
Daniel: Aaron, you were the ringleader with the T-shirts.
Aaron: I thought it was important that if we were going to do an Earth Day show, especially with you guys recording and filming it, it seemed important for us to have something to make it obvious about what we believe for Earth Day. So we had this idea of making our own message shirts for Earth Day and we each came up with our own sayings. We used freezer paper stenciling, and you iron on the freezer paper stencil and then you paint it. Mine said “Divest” because I think that a really important part of how we will deal with climate change on the individual level, divesting from dirty fuel, but you know, we all had range. What did Biko’s say? I think “One Earth”.
Daniel: Yeah, “One Earth”. The one I came up with was the slogan “Feed the Fire, Not the Fight”. I think it’s so easy to channel our frustration, our sense of outrage into adversarial dynamics and even structures, like thought structures. Like “all those people over there, if only they were out of the equation things would be so much better”, or “if only those of us who think in the right way could just dominate them and squash all of their impulses which are so wrong”. Often I think it’s just individual ego masquerading as some kind of collective outrage. But I think there is a very positive wholesome energy that has something to do with anger and aggression but is not directed at an other who is my enemy. So that was the idea of “Feed the fire, Not the Fight”.
Now The Changes plays live around the San Francisco Bay Area. You can check them out at www.nowthechanges.com.
The next generation of musicians is an all female rock group featuring 12-16 year olds called TemperMental. Quickly gaining notoriety in the Los Angeles music scene the ladies of TemperMental recently played the House of Blues, Wisky a Go Go and Universal City Walk. The song, “Far From the Tree”, addresses hate, intolerance, injustice and blame that leads to gun violence, racism and bullying. TemperMental astonish us with their performance and song writing. They are not afraid to address modern day issues.
TemperMental is Kristina Van Horst on lead vocals, Marilaine on lead guitar, Ruby Imes on bass and Carli Jensen on drums. They formed one year ago after meeting on a television series they were cast in together.They became fast friends. Now they are transforming the music scene with their powerful lyrics and rock sound.
WATCH “FAR FROM THE TREE” music video of TemperMental
CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT’s second video this month highlights the song “A-Six”.
A core duo creating riff oriented hard rock on the cusp of metal crafting a panorama of sound through the use of drums, guitar, triggers and effects. They sound like a band of six when in fact they are only two. Cairo Knife Fight is currently touring the United States and has a monthly residency in Los Angeles at R-Bar in Koreatown. A must see live act of power and excitement!
Watch A-SIX music video by CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT:
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CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT hits hard altering ones perception of how a big sound is created from a guitar and drum hard rock duo. Cairo Knife Fight is vocalist/drummer Nick Gaffaney, (originally from New Zealand now in LA) who has played with New Zealand’s lead songwriters, and George Pajon Jr., Grammy award winning songwriter and guitarist working with the likes of The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Carlos Santana, Macy Gray, John Legend, Sting, Nas and Damien Marley. The duo was labeled “Best of SXSW” and Alt Press “Bands to Watch” in 2012. Cairo Knife Fight continually pushes the boundaries of music and video with the release of a new album SEVEN in 2017.
A-THREE, on the album SEVEN with a new live music video on LMC today, punches thought with the chorus “Living in America, Bleeding in America, Making Money in America”. It questions the desires and intentions of where the elite rulers and the struggling in this country are headed. We need thought provoking music as part of the checks and balances. They are currently touring around the States and have a monthly residency in Los Angeles at R-Bar in Koreatown. R-Bar gets packed so get there early!
Watch A-THREE music video of CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT:
Don’t watch live music or Local Music Channel unless you want a major frequency brain infusion.
Explore live music videos of worldwide talent in local venues.
I filmed PIEL on the first night of West Side Revival in Venice, CA last Fall in 2017. It was a magical night with bands such as Cairo Knife Fight (whose live video drops next week on Local Music Channel), The Gitas and The Absurd (watch on Local Music Channel) showcasing their amazing talent to the hardcore fans who came to support the local music scene west of the 405 in Los Angeles.
My camera crew and I entered the Townhouse Venice, down the long staircase to an underground den, dark and riddled with red and purple lights. The ceiling was low and reminiscent of an age past with its tin cover. It was atmospheric and energetic.
PIEL hit the stage and they rocked hard from the start. The fans were almost on top of the stage dancing and singing. They love this band! I chose to showcase their “Electro clash rock hit ‘Studio 54 (Contagious)’” on Local Music Channel. Their lyrics are catchy. The music pulls you out of your seats and on the dance floor possessed in the groove. Piel (prounced Peaelle-think French like elle with pea in front) is Tiki Lewis, lead vocalist who creates mesmerizing hooks, sings with a sultry yet vulnerable urgent voice powerfully roars her way into your soul.
“PIEL being a temple and vehicle for Lewis’s mantra’s, is supported by diverse pillars of accomplished musicians that epitomizes the rich city of artists that Los Angeles is known for. Natives of L.A.’s buzzing musical underground, co-founders of Woven (Interscope Records), Jawnee Burkes (bass/vocal/production) and Steve Abagon (guitar/sonic alchemist) forged a unique style and language of music all their own that lead them to other creative honors such as Burke’s fronting That Noise and Abagon’s touring with Perry Farrell and Rickie Lee Jones. That Noise/Paper Pills drummer, Kenny Ramirez (drums)” and Max Kienzel on keys and effects.
Watch CONTAGIOUS by PIEL here:
If you are in LA and want to be part of a revolution make sure to see PIEL and check out a show at the Townhouse Venice, Venice, CA when West Side Revival is happening.
This week features A REMINDER’S live music video performance of Fallen Angels, delivering seductive soundscapes that entrance right before an incredible climax of expulsion. Jawnee Danger’s churning vocals and fuzz-drenched bass guitar interlopes wailing sound effects further augmented by guitarist, Rich Abagon’s layers of textural distortion. Drummer, Kenny Ramirez delivers with heavy backbone and nuanced flourishes while keyboardist, Edwin Portillo, combines plangent synthesizer drones with aural surprises. All ingredients carefully plotted, give A REMINDER their signature sound.
A REMINDER was created by former members of Interscope recording artists Woven, and the indie rock band That Noise, in 2015. A REMINDER’s music and songwriting style encompasses dynamic melodies and evolving soundscapes that often stretch into carefully restrained yet cathartic fulmination. A REMINDER underpins the sweetness and light of Slowdive’s more delicate moments while uniquely pairing it with the deliberate aggressiveness of bands such as Failure and preserving the sonorously textural intricacies heard in moments of Radiohead. Live performance best demonstrates the culmination of their focus and their amplitude of force as a band.