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January 2017

Sit and Spin

Alex Clare’s Tail of Lions

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Artist: Alex Clare

Album: “Tail of Lions”

Label: ETC Recordings

Format Reviewed: Vinyl

 

 

Lyrics of Note:
I am contemplating, just stating
No procrastinating, time wasting
Doing what I need, revealing the lies
Smashing the darkness and bringing the fire

Prestige Worldwide once shot a video on a boat, but even those trailblazing step brothers can’t stake claim to recording on a boat. British singer/songwriter Alex Clare did just that with his third album “Tail of Lions,” which is a fitting process for a selection of songs that feels, at times, as if they’re riding out a particularly rough patch of sea. Heavy in theme and washed in emotion, Clare tackles complicated subject matter, from mental illness (“Basic”) to the vanishing middle class (“Surviving Ain’t Living”), and does so in a thought-provoking way that enables the listener to ride the ups and downs of the rolling waves with him.

Many times people will say an artist has “matured” when their art takes a serious turn, but the truth is, if art really does imitate life, then maturing is the only way to stay honest. After all, the more we travel this winding and confusing path, the more complicated things get. “Tail of Lions” simply shines a light on a handful of those complications and does so in a way that proves Clare is a songwriter unafraid to show his own vulnerability.

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Sit and Spin

Jesca Hoop’s Memories Are Now

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Artist: Jesca Hoop

Album: “Memories Are Now”

Label: Sub Pop

Format Reviewed: Digital Advance

 

 

Lyrics of Note:
I can carry this weight
I can stand up tall
Look you in the eye
You haven’t broken me yet
You don’t scare me to death
You don’t scare me at all though you try

Singer/songwriter Jesca Hoop’s latest album, “Memories Are Now,” is a mood-inducing collection with versatile weightiness that attaches to your subconscious and acts as a trigger to past emotions long suppressed. Hoop’s voice, ethereal and intimate, lures you in like a soft lullaby and leads you on a track-by-track audible embrace that is almost comfortingly maternal, particularly on songs “Cut Connection” and “Animal Kingdom Chaotic.”

In listening to “Memories Are Now” you are reminded that music is not only for the now, but instead, something you will long remember in the future.

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Trunk Bubbles

Fernando Peniche

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Trunk Bubbles Profile

Name: Fernando Peniche

Website: fpeniche.deviantart.com

Hometown:  Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

TrunkSpace: You’re serving as artist on the first TrunkSpace exclusive comic book, “Imprinted.” Can you tell us what you wanted to bring to the series stylistically?
Peniche: Well, I wanted something a little realistic and detailed, leaving space for the colorist to do his magic as well. I have managed different styles in the past, from super heroic to the very grim with a lot of blacks to the more cartoonish.

TrunkSpace: Your art style seems to be a bit of an artistic chameleon. Is it important for you to be the kind of artist who can adapt to a project as opposed to the project adapting to you?
Peniche: I think a little of both is important. I love to work with different styles based on the kind of comic I’m doing. I always like to adapt and try new things with styles, mixing something new with my own. I like putting detail into the backgrounds and the playing with the cyber stuff as well.

TrunkSpace: “Imprinted” involves the supernatural, and by the looks of it, some pretty interesting-looking characters. Do stories in a heightened sense of reality make working on a book more interesting for you?
Peniche: Yes, always! I like to draw real stuff and environments, but at the same time, adding in some of those elements makes books more interesting to work on.

TrunkSpace: Who is your favorite character to draw in “Imprinted” and why?
Peniche: I really like to draw the character Montray. He has a style that is always inexpressive. He is confused with the human things, which makes him really enjoyable to draw. I love when he appears in the scripts.

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on some classic comic book characters in your career, including “The Phantom” and “Joe Palooka.” Is it more exciting working on an established brand or on a new title that nobody has ever seen before?
Peniche: It’s great to work with established characters, especially those that I admire. When you have liberty with them as well, that’s fun to play with. That said though, I also love to work with new characters and create new universes where I can let my imagination run free.

TrunkSpace: You previously did some work on the DreamWorks Animation “Megamind” comic book. Again, the style is very different than that of Imprinted. Is there a style of art you prefer working in?
Peniche: My favorite style to work with is kind of a mix between the cartoon look and the more realistic style. I can play a little with the proportions and the expressions of the characters, but at the same time, can keep it looking realistic… like Joe Mad, but less exaggerated.

TrunkSpace: What’s your dream project?
Peniche: I don’t know yet. I think my dream projects are those where I can draw and color the entire book because I always envision how the final art will look. Those kind of projects are really hard to do though because of scheduling. It would take double the time to finish a book. I also enjoy comics with fantasy, science fiction, and cyberpunk elements. If they have all of them, even better! (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: When working, do you have music spinning in the background, and if so, who’s been spinning lately?
Peniche: I think I get trapped in the rock of the 80’s and 90s… AC/DC, Metallica, Bon Jovi, and others. They make me work faster.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2017?
Peniche: We have many other stories that we’ll be releasing through TrunkSpace, many with different themes and styles that everyone can enjoy. People can track my work and fan art on my Instagram and at Facebook. And there’s always my old but still great DeviantArt account where I have tons of work that people can check out.

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Bottled Up Emotions

Boffo Brown Ale

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Brewer: Dark Horse Brewing Co.

Beer: Boffo Brown Ale

Alcohol Content by Volume: 7%

I like my beers like I like my long-lashed emojis… nutty and full bodied! (Which is odd because we emojis have no bodies!) What isn’t odd is how good the Boffo Brown Ale is. It’s familiar and yet original at the same time, making it accessible to a beer novice but welcoming enough to a beer snob who prefers to venture far away from the big brand coolers. My favorite thing about sipping these particular suds is that there is a slight kick in the aftertaste, almost pepper-like, that grabs hold of you by your twigs and berries and reminds you why you drink beer in the first place.

DRUNKEN EMOJI RATING

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Musical Mondaze

Julian Acosta

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Musical Mondaze
Julian Acosta

You don’t have to be in a funk just because it’s Monday. Instead, get funky!

TrunkSpace brings you another edition of Musical Mondaze. This week we’re sitting down with Julian Acosta, a singer/songwriter from Austin, Texas who has been pounding the pavement to ensure that his music reaches the masses, a feat made less difficult thanks in large part to his inclusive, human-to-human lyrics that speak to those emotions we can all relate to. We picked Julian’s brain on the business of art and the art of business while also discussing the trend of releasing singles as opposed to albums, a practice that harkens back to the origins of commercial music.

TrunkSpace: You’ve studied business and marketing… two important traits needed for an artist to have a successful career and to retain ownership in their own art. How do you personally apply that knowledge to your music career?
Acosta: There’s a lot of times where I don’t know how I’m applying it, it’s just one of those things where it comes out naturally because I’ve got experience. It’s not until talking to someone that may not have the same experience where I’m like, “Well, maybe it did help to go to school.” I think where I can consciously and clearly say, “Okay, it helps me in this fashion,” is in the communication. Business is a language and being able to decipher that language and speak and communicate it professionally or even when you’re networking or talking to a potential sponsor or talking to someone who is in business… I just think it makes them look at me in a whole different light. They go, “Whoa, he knows what I’m talking about.”

TrunkSpace: A lot of artists don’t necessarily view their music having a business component.
Acosta: No, you’ve got to kind of… I mean, that’s how I pay my bills. That’s what I do full time is music and I’ve always liked to do it so I look at it from a business perspective, 100 percent. Now, when I perform or when I actually play music, there’s a hat that turns on and there’s the art side of me that I love and I get to explore, but, yeah, it helps in terms of the communication.

TrunkSpace: Have you learned any valuable knowledge in the act of your career that contradicted or forced you to rethink what you were taught in a classroom?
Acosta: Oh yeah, man. There’s all sorts of stuff that I learned and things that I have that I didn’t learn in the classroom. One hundred million things. And I don’t think it was purposely done. I just think it’s just one of those things where you don’t know until you know. I think a lot of teachers are very experienced at teaching… very experienced at the theory and what goes into a theory and case studies and a general educational model. I think what they don’t teach you is the experience part. They don’t teach you how things really work and they don’t teach you a lot of times how business really, really works. Or at least at my school… I went to a very subjective, very bureaucratic one… so, it was never, “Hey, it’s okay to be subjective.” Because, man, in the music industry, I go into some meetings with some of the heaviest hitting people in their industry here in Austin… I got a meeting tomorrow with the Governor’s office… and I can go in confidently as myself and I don’t have to suit up and I don’t have to, you know, pretend, like they teach you in school. “Go put a big smile on.” It’s almost like a cookie cutter thing to, what I call bullshit, but what they don’t teach you is that it’s okay to just be yourself and shine the best you can with what you can and quit trying to be this cookie cutter thing that frankly, I think sucks.

TrunkSpace: Being relatable in business, particularly in the arts, is never a bad thing. If there are 500 artists in one city doing music and someone you’re looking to do business with can in fact relate to you over another artist, why would they choose the other artist?
Acosta: Well, you know, it’s funny, man. You get different strokes, different folks. I get a lot of goodness, but I also sometimes get some heat from the people in my industry because they’re like, “Oh, you went to school for the business stuff,” and I think sometimes they’re just like, “Maybe you’re not a true artist because you know business too and art is supposed to be art.” And I’m just like, “No, business is an art.”

TrunkSpace: How much of success in music is grinding it out and hard work, and how much of it is luck and being on the right stage at the right time?
Acosta: I think it’s a perfect and beautiful mix of both because working hard and just the hardworking grind, it never stops. If you stop grinding, technically, you’re not really working anymore. If you’re not working in this business or have someone working for you… let’s say you have a day off or want to take a day off, yeah, you can do that, but at least make sure that the interns are working for you or the people who are doing promotions or PR or management. Make sure those people are working for you. It’s a mix of both, man. I wouldn’t call it so much partying, it’s the networking. The partying comes with the success of getting along with the people that you’re networking with and then you just happen to have a good time fostering these relationships. The grind itself… it’s a nonstop, entrepreneurial, working and developing. I think it’s the hardest to start. With a music entity… I think the hardest part is the beginning.

TrunkSpace: You’ve released a handful of singles, most recently “Cinnamon.” Releasing singles over full length albums seems to be a more common practice these days. How does that benefit you as an artist?
Acosta: You know, that’s a very, very, very interesting question, because that’s a topic that is discussed a lot. But what I think that people forget is, you got to just do what works for you. No one else is you. No one else is gonna be the same. Looks. Sound. Everything should just be what works for you and when you find out what works for you, you need to stick with that and develop it, foster it, and let it grow. For some people, a full album works. For some people, singles work. I think it just depends on where you’re at, what you want to do, and what your goals are. Just a 100 percent, it’s what works for you. I think what people should stop doing is comparing. “Well, they released this, maybe that’s what we should do.” I feel like this industry can be a very monkey see, monkey do… very like, “well they did it so it’s what we got to do now.” You should probably focus on what works for you.

TrunkSpace: Studio-wise, what do you have forthcoming?
Acosta: I am working on an EP right now. Gee, I don’t know if I’m gonna do a full album yet. I don’t know when I’m gonna do the full album, but I’d like to, but what works for me is just coming out with the best product that you can and focusing on that. I did this EP the first time around and there were some songs I didn’t really get to look into marketing or promotion-wise because two of them just kind of kept us really busy. And then this next song “Cinnamon” we released… we’re still working on it from the marketing perspective and the promotion side. So, that song should have a nice long life and then with the EP we’re doing four or five songs, but they’re going to be four or five songs we put a lot of stuff into for each song.

TrunkSpace: Stepping out of the studio and onto the stage, it seems like that’s a place where you seem extremely comfortable. Was that something that just came natural to you… being able to perform in front of people?
Acosta: Man, I don’t know if I was ever that comfortable. I feel like with my friends in college I was always just the guy with the tenacity and who was a little fearless. I’ll never forget the first open mic I did. A buddy comes up to me afterward and goes, “Dude, I had no idea you were so vulnerable, buddy. You looked so nervous.” I don’t know what it is now, that it’s just like a second nature that it’s becoming, but I wouldn’t say that it has become. It’s becoming a second nature where you just know it’s your work and everything I do is to play live. I’m still exploring that. I like to say that I’m at the start of a career right now. A great career, but I’m still at the start of it.

TrunkSpace: You’re the son of immigrants who has captured the attention of quite a few people through your music. Do you ever use your platform to comment politically, especially in light of the spotlight that has been shined so brightly on immigration?
Acosta: I don’t know if that’s something that I get into in the sense of… (pause) Man, I do have a song that I’ve written and I’m trying to lay it down in the studio, but… I’ve got my beliefs but I haven’t really been an activist. I can’t consider myself an activist in the sense of really going out and organizing and really doing it doing it, you know? But, do I want to? Would I like to? I’ll stand up for it if the time comes or if it needs it. I guess maybe I’m just beating around the bush by saying no, I haven’t really explored that. I’m not saying I don’t want to. Maybe I haven’t found the best way to look into that. Maybe one of the things I haven’t done is get too political. I don’t want to be that opinionated person. If I do get political, I think the best thing I could do is just sing a song about it. And when I have the ears and have people listening… that’s probably the best thing I can do.

Follow Julian on Facebook and Twitter.

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Opening Act

The Devil’s Twins

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ARTIST PROFILE

Artist/Band: The Devil’s Twins

Members: Nicole Coogan & Jeremiah Louf

Website: www.thedevilstwins.com

Hometown: Boston, MA

Latest Album/ReleaseConsequences

 

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Louf: Your bipolar sibling. Moments of absolute madness followed quickly by moments of bliss. Or, “Feel good to be bad music.”

TrunkSpace: At times it almost feels like the vocals, which are shared, are combating each other in a friendly game of lyrical warfare. It makes for a really compelling dynamic. Is that something the band set out to achieve or has the relationship between the two voices grown organically since The Devil’s Twins inception?
Coogan: I feel that this observation really reflects J and I as a pair. Our dynamic on stage and our interactions with each other really are friendly games of warfare. In our writing lyrically, we really play off each other’s emotion and come back with full, uninhibited power in response. Over the years I feel that we’ve really woven into each other through the music and our “at each other’s throats with a crooked smile” interactions have become much more apparent through our lyrical conversation and physical movement between us on stage.

TrunkSpace:  Outside of the classic punk sound that seems to be at the core of The Devil’s Twins music, there is also a strong sense of classic rock n’ roll… and by classic we mean Carl Perkins, not Lynyrd Skynyrd. Is that a fair assessment?
Louf: Absolutely. We’ve always wanted to write music that is boundless and modern but we see if through a very classic lens inspired by music from the 20’s through the 50’s. We see the visual expression of our songs looking through the window of a smoke-filled seedy bar in the city on a rainy night.

TrunkSpace:  Everyone says that promoting music, at least self-promoting, is easier now than ever thanks in large part to social media. However, when everyone is doing it, it muddies the water.  How does the band view promotion and, how do you attempt to stand out in a landscape that is dominated by bands and artists all trying to bring as many eyes and ears to their music?
Coogan: While in some ways social media has made self promotion more accessible for artists, at the same time it is becoming less and less effective. Facebook as a promotion platform for example is limiting the reach of artists’ posts more every day. For each post you make, only a small handful of your listeners will even see it appear in their feed. We’ve been extremely fortunate to have access to Jeremiah’s talents in design and knowledge of branding. A strong web presence is extremely important in keeping in contact with your followers. We have also restructured ourselves in the way we book and present ourselves in the live format. Rather than performing  numerous times every month, we have  put a lot of work into creating more meaningful experiences. By planning larger events further apart with intense promotion and care, we are able to create more intense and special D2s experiences live for our 2crew to attend and remember.

TrunkSpace:  Music has always been a balancing act of recording and live performance. What do you prefer, and, can a band survive (and thrive) without spending sufficient time on both?
Louf: To me, the studio feels like a space to tell a story, performing always feels like a demolition site where anything can break at any moment.
Coogan: I agree. Personally, time spent recording is very valuable to me. It’s a quieter, more vulnerable experience for me and often the time where I can really understand where J was when he wrote certain parts. Nothing can hold a candle to live though. I completely unravel and lose myself in those moments and really feel like I’m being held together by every member of our crew. It’s complete madness.

TrunkSpace:  You were recently named Rock/Indie Artist of the Year at the Boston Music Awards. Does receiving that kind of recognition help to put a stamp of success on all of the hard work you’ve put into the band?
Louf: I’ve been in bands since I was a kid and one of the most important things to me was to gain respect from my peers. Our whole crew, family and friends were there. We were in tears of joy when they announced us the winner. It was a truly special moment to get the nod from our hometown. There was certainly a feeling that that respect was finally accomplished.
Coogan: This night was definitely a big moment for me as well. I’ve always felt that one shouldn’t need approval to truly feel accomplished but this really did feel great. After all the years of hard work we’ve put in, it was incredible to gain the confirmation that Boston believes in us as much as we do.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from The Devil’s Twins in 2017?
Louf: Our next release is a collaboration that is two years in the making. It’s a song called “Satan Stone” featuring the hiphop artist Slaine. We’re co-headlining a show at Opus in Salem (Massachusetts) on February 18th which is the week we’ll be shooting the music video directed by HIVE.studio. This will be the first release off of a fuller album that we’ll tour the states on in the summer.

*Featured image courtesy of HIVE.studio.

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Wingman Wednesday

Danny Nucci

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Wingman Wednesday
Danny Nucci

TrunkSpace sits down with Danny Nucci to discuss the latest season of “The Fosters,” being funny in front of Carl Reiner, and the advice that has stuck with him throughout his career.

“The Fosters” premieres January 31st at 8pm ET on Freeform. © 2017 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

TrunkSpace: You’ve had a career that has spanned decades, and yet, if we’re not mistaken, Mike Foster, the character you portray in “The Fosters,” is the one you’ve spent the most time with. What’s the process like… being part of a character who develops over the course of years?
Nucci: In television, this long, each season you have new information and new ideas on who the character you’re playing is, so that’s kind of fun. And also, there’s a sense of you really know who this guy is without thinking about it because you’ve been playing him for awhile, so the minute they say, “Action!” you kind of have a pretty good idea. You’re not even thinking about who Mike is, you’re just playing the scene.

TrunkSpace: When you jump into a new season of the show, do you know what’s going to happen for Mike and the rest of the characters?
Nucci: No. Here’s what it actually looks like… and I’ve talked to the other cast members and they basically have the same experience that I do, which is, somewhere we have spent time either socially on the phone or something with one of the three executives (Brad Bredeweg, Peter Paige, or Joanna Johnson) and at some point they have said something or have given us an idea or a clue as to what may happen this season… just kind of off the cuff conversation… and that’s about the extent of what we know is going to happen. And a lot of times what they’ve said is, “we have a pretty darn good idea of what’s going to happen, but we’re open to seeing where it goes and what happens in the writers room and having it change.” So, sometimes they haven’t really known what was going to go on… they had a really good structure… but at the end of it, what was happening in the 11th episode of that particular season… they’re not exactly sure. So we’re all kind of trying to figure it out together. What they do know is kind of what the overall arc is and where it’s going, but how that happens, that kind of gets discovered when they’re working on it.

TrunkSpace: What’s interesting about Freeform is that it seems like it’s the kind of network that knows it’s audience and is willing to let their shows find their legs. How is that experience different for you in terms of working with a network that focuses on a specific audience demo as opposed to a network that will develop shows that aim to be a little bit of everything for everyone?
Nucci: I think you said it. Our show started off as an ABC Family show before it was Freeform and that had a much more homogenized audience. Freeform is a little more, I think, to use an old person’s word… “racy.” (Laughs) I think they’ve allowed, certainly our executives, to make the show that they want to make and yes, it’s geared towards that audience but that’s the show that they wanted to make anyway. Our major characters are 16, 17, 18-year-old kids and the issues that they deal with in this world and I think that is something that the majority of the audience that watches really relates to. I think it all works out. It’s not like we’re trying to shape a show for our audience. It naturally is that.

TrunkSpace: So did you see a big difference in the content of the show from ABC Family to its transition into Freeform?
Nucci: The truth is, it felt like a natural progression. It felt like they were both going in the same direction. The more sort of edgier stuff we wanted to do with the show coincided with where the network was going anyway.

TrunkSpace: And as the kid characters grow up, they’re naturally experiencing more adult-themed situations.
Nucci: Yeah. And I think it all sort of worked. But, in comparison to more of a network show… I just think a lot of the shows… that I have done… there’s so much more riding on it that it has to please way more people. It needs the audience for the numbers. It has to please what the network wants it to be. It has to please the producers and the writers in what they’re doing. The stakes are much higher and there’s way more people trying to shape the show into what they think will work. And I think that’s where things get wonky.

TrunkSpace: So does that mean the feeling on set in the case of “The Fosters” is one of ease in comparison to a network show?
Nucci: Well, it’s like a lot of the shows that have a strong executive producer or strong show runner… you get the sense of that this is their show and it’s going to work or it isn’t. “They’re either going to like it or they’re not going to like it. It’s either going to get an audience or it’s not going to get an audience, but this is the show we want to make.” I think that’s really the way to go because then it really comes from the best creative place. And if you have executive producers like ours who are open-minded and are looking to expand their own vision as opposed to being closed off, then it really gets fun because they’re taking input and you’re watching it happen.

TrunkSpace: And in that case, a show isn’t forced into a certain set of margins.
Nucci: Yeah, and there’s a certain creative humility where they’ve seen things that they could have not foreseen develop through being open and being collaborative. And they value that. That’s what I love about our producers. They just really value the magic of collaboration.

“The Fosters” premieres January 31st at 8pm ET on Freeform. © 2017 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

TrunkSpace: The new season is set to premiere January 31st. What can fans expect from Mike and the rest of the show this time around?
Nucci: For the most part, I think the manner in which all the unanswered questions from last season… they get answered in a way that is extremely entertaining. (Laughter) Entertaining, dramatic, and unexpected. I know that’s a very generalized description, but it’s true. One of the great things about our show is it’s very cliffhanger-based and there’s a lot of open-ended storylines and circumstances for the characters. Part of the way that the show is structured in that you have a winter premiere and a summer premiere… you have to sort of wait to see where it goes and I think it’s really satisfying for an audience. And also for us to kind of go, “Yeah, this is how we’re dealing with that… this is how we’re answering that question… this is where these two are going…”, I think it’s fascinating. But, there’s also some unexpected stuff, and, as usual, a tremendous amount of drama. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: You mention the cliffhangers and it’s certainly an interesting device to use because you tend not to see it utilized in family dramas.
Nucci: Where we left the audience in season 4A… there’s a lot of questions to be answered. And if you look at the preview, you can kind of start to see where it’s going, but you have no idea. (Laughter) You have no idea! And the execs… they love coming up with stuff that’s unexpected. They love it. They love the rug pull. They’re huge fans of the rug pull.

TrunkSpace: In this day and age, where everyone is online leaking and speculating… it’s hard to keep a rug pull until the actual pull.
Nucci: Well, that’s what has changed. At first, we would get our script and we would do the read-through and we would shoot the episodes and then at some point the interest in the show became so acute that they were trying to find scripts and storylines that would be leaked out. So just in terms of being able to shoot pictures or say things on social media about the show… that got severely limited. And then, just in terms of the scripts, whether it be digitized or a physical paper script, it has your name on it and everything is tracked because that’s such an important part of the show. So things have shifted for the best of reasons because people are really interested and they want to get ahead of it.

TrunkSpace: Which again, is not something you tend to see with a family drama.
Nucci: No. At this point, what’s fascinating to read and sort of participate with on Twitter for me is just how real these people are for the audience. They’re just people that they know of. (As viewer) “Twice a year, for ten episodes, I look into the window of these people.” And that to me is the best part of being an actor. I love the passion of the fans for this show. They’re so awesome… just in their desire for understanding and wanting more.

TrunkSpace: Having spent so much time portraying Mike… does the brain ever blur your own experiences with those of his fictional experiences? Does a scene ever feel like a memory?
Nucci: Well the truth is, that line never blurs for me because otherwise I’d be insane. However, I will say that as a result of playing the same character for such a prolonged period of time, just like in real life, I kind of get to discover who he is as time goes on. He becomes different. He changes. It’s similar to life. One of the things that I’ve had the most fun playing is that Mike has not had a lot of luck with romance in his life. (Laughter) Now that we get to this part of it where he’s become involved with Ana, you can’t separate the history of the relationships that he’s had… certainly with Dani who ended up sleeping with his son. (Laughter) Or the fact that he married a woman and had a child and a relationship with someone who was gay. Obviously he has not had a lot of good fortune and being able to take that experience that he’s had into what’s happening next is really fun.

TrunkSpace: Because people are a product of their experiences.
Nucci: Yeah, and generally speaking, when I’m doing a film, most of that information is stuff that I had to either come up with or had to sort of find as opposed to actually having experienced it. I didn’t get to actually play it. I didn’t get to do scenes where that happened. It’s not visceral. It’s not something that happened in 2014.

TrunkSpace: So they say nothing is stranger than life. That being said, who has had more unbelievable life experiences… Danny Nucci or the many characters you’ve portrayed?
Nucci: I don’t know. I think that’s a judgment call. However, it hasn’t been dull in my world. I can tell you that.

TrunkSpace: You’ve appeared in a number of huge box office successes, including “Titanic,” “The Rock,” and “Eraser.” What’s the one project that you wish more people had seen?
Nucci: I want you to know something. In all the years that I have done similar interviews, nobody has ever asked me that question and I think it’s a great question. (Laughter) “What would you have wished had done better?” But that’s not what you asked. You asked, “What do you wish more people would have seen?” and the answer is “That Old Feeling.”

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific reason why you wish more people had seen it?
Nucci: I don’t think I’ve ever been as unselfconscious as an actor as I was in that film. I just did not care if I sucked, if I was over the top, if I was good, if I was bad… it didn’t matter. I was just so free, A., and B., I just think it’s a really sweet, entertaining film. Dennis Farina and Bette Midler have tremendous chemistry and it’s got my wife and I playing romantic characters in it. It has a lot of meaning to me. But more than anything, I just love that character and how free I felt playing it.

TrunkSpace: Is it because you went into the project with a particular mindset?
Nucci: I think just the circumstances regarding the project and the time in my life… I read the script for “Titanic” while shooting that film, so that was sort where my career was on a real upswing. And also, the process of getting that film was having to audition a number of times and having to compete with all the guys who could do that role and in essence, winning that role is sort of the way it felt. Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s the way it felt. And then having somebody like Carl Reiner go, “that’s funny.” The ability just to depend on the fact that he might know what funny is… made it so free. I just didn’t have to pay attention to anything. I just had to do what I do and if he thinks it’s funny and it works… it probably does. (Laughter) I’ve got Carl Reiner going, “Yeah, that works” or “Let’s try it this way… this might be funny.” He might know what he’s talking about! And just, going back and forth with Bette Midler… it’s like a dream. Doing comedic repartee with Bette Midler? Does it get better? I don’t know!

TrunkSpace: While having Carl Reiner oversee it.
Nucci: Right! And, a lot of my scenes were with Paula Marshall, my lovely current wife, as I like to call her. And, I didn’t know this at the time, but she’s a comedic genius in terms of that kind of sitcom tone and timing and ability. There’s not a lot better.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned Carl Reiner, a legend in the business, but you’ve actually worked with a massive list of iconic directors and producers, including Oliver Stone, James Cameron, and Jerry Bruckheimer. Is there any advice that any of them gave you at the time of working together that has just sort of stuck with you over the years?
Nucci: There’s been a few great bits of advice. I remember Tony Scott who directed “Crimson Tide” essentially saying to me that sometimes you adjust your performance for how close the camera is. It’s a subtle thing, but during that filming, a lot of the scenes took place where people were talking in different parts of the sub so Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman were having scenes with other characters in different parts of the submarine so it was just their voice. And I would end up doing Gene and Denzel over a microphone with the actors that were there. I remember specifically I did a scene with Rick Schroder and I was playing the Denzel part. So I sat next to Tony with the six monitors and for a lot of the shoot I was the voice playing the other characters and I got to see how it all worked. And Tony would say to me, “Make it just a little bit smaller because I’m really tight. I got it. You don’t have to work so hard.” So that was one of them where I really sort of learned that sometimes you just make a small adjustment depending on what the size of the shot is.

TRUNKSPACE EDITOR’S NOTE: BE SURE TO FOLLOW TRUNKSPACE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER TO SEE MORE PIECES OF ADVICE DANNY NUCCI RECEIVED IN HIS CAREER!

TrunkSpace: Which is advice that must carry over to television, particularly with a show like “The Fosters?”
Nucci: Yeah, and just with television in general, a lot of it is close up. Sometimes it’s effective in certain things and other times it’s not an issue. It’s like the difference between being a stage actor and doing tight closeups for the first time. It’s just learning that there’s an adjustment that needs to be made. You don’t have to hit the back of the house. It’s just not necessary because the mic will pick it up.

TrunkSpace: You’ve been working since you were a kid. You read so many horror stories about kid actors who go the wrong path. How did you stay grounded?
Nucci: Who said I did? (Laughter) Don’t believe everything you see or hear. There were a couple of big hiccups. I almost didn’t make it, but I did and I’m glad I did.

TrunkSpace: Have you had a single interview since 1997 where you did not get asked a question about “Titanic?”
Nucci: No, and why shouldn’t there be? Everybody on Twitter that follows anybody on the show knows this to be true already, but every time there is a new cast member or a guest star on the show, and Teri Polo is in the scene, inevitably when it gets quiet Teri Polo will go, “Hey, did you know that Danny Nucci was in ‘Titanic’!” (Laughter) Every time.

The Fosters premiers January 31st at 8pm EST on Freeform.

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Musical Mondaze

No Small Children

MusicalMondaze_Issue01

Musical Mondaze
No Small Children

You don’t have to be in a funk just because it’s Monday. Instead, get funky!

TrunkSpace brings you another edition of Musical Mondaze. This week out we’re chatting with No Small Children, a trio of rockers from Los Angeles who have been taking the scene by storm both for their sound and their story. By day they’re educators in a classroom. By night they’re on stage performing as one of the fastest rising bands this side of a subwoofer. But for the next few minutes, members Lisa Pimentel (guitar and vocals), Joanie Pimentel (bass and vocals), and Nicola Berlinsky (drums) are TrunkSpace interviewees.

(We spoke to the trio while they were still at the school where they work prior to the dismissal of the students. Lisa joins us midway through the conversation.)

TrunkSpace: What a lot of bands lack, at least in terms of marketing themselves, is a story. That being said, No Small Children seems to have one of the best stories we’ve heard in a long while.
J. Pimentel: Thankfully it happened on it’s own and we didn’t have to invent anything.

TrunkSpace: And that’s the best way to have a story… to have it come together organically. How much of having that unique story… teachers by day, rockers by night… do you think brings people in and sort of acts as the introduction to your music?
Berlinsky: We’re appreciative that people are interested in our story and if it opens up doors to meeting new people or having new opportunities, we really welcome that. But what we really are happy with is that if people didn’t believe in the quality of our music and worth sharing and talking about it as well, we don’t think that they’d come and talk to us again. So, we’ve been invited back just about everywhere we’ve gone and played and on different TV channels. We appreciate the invitation because they’re interested in our story, but we also feel like people are validating us as musicians as well, so that goes hand in hand. We feel good about that.

TrunkSpace: Is the marketing aspect of No Small Children part of what the band looks at? You seem to have a strong sense of what the brand is, so we’re curious if that is something you focus on?
J. Pimentel: It is. Honestly, it is more work than most artists anticipate that they’re going to have to spend. It’s a very important part of spreading the word. You have to make it easy for people to find you and there’s a lot of things that we do that… some of it was started out of fun and some of it was started intentionally to spark interest, but in the end, it can’t be manufactured. It has to all come from a really authentic place. So, our brand speaks to certain elements of our personalities, our style of our music, our parallel careers… this is all part of it. Our story is part of our brand.

TrunkSpace: Has the brand changed and/or grown from your origins to where you are now? Do you take what you’ve learned, even from a business standpoint, and apply it to the band’s future?
J. Pimentel: Yes. There are some lessons we learned the hard way and some we learned the easy way.
Berlinsky: I think that when we started we said yes to every opportunity and now we have more of a vision moving forward and it helps us make choices. It helps us select when we say no. And, given that we truly are teachers, every opportunity that comes our way, we do have to think about how it fits into the larger context of our reputations as well. Our brand and our story is also with an awareness and protection of our careers as educators in these modern times, so it does help us to find some of the decisions that we make moving forward because our goal is to open opportunities, not to close them.
J. Pimentel: The good news is, we don’t have to do too much of that.
Berlinsky: Yeah.
J. Pimentel: Honestly, who you see online is who we really are. It’s not a watered down version of us or re-framed to be appropriate for kids. We’re pretty clear that, like the name of the band, not everything we do is for children, but we can honestly own every single thing that we do.
Berlinsky: What’s matured over time is how we walk that line with confidence so that the opportunities that maybe before we were not quite sure how we would take, we know… for example, we were invited to play the Women’s March in D.C. and we really want to be a band that is inclusive, and by choosing to do that, it’s definitely sending a message. But, it’s one that we can all really stand by in every aspect of our lives.

TrunkSpace: In a day and age where people are so sensitive to what others say and do, and in your case in particular where as educators you deal with parents every day, do you feel like you have to be extra careful with the choices you make, whether it’s politically, lyrically, or other?
J. Pimentel: Here’s the good news. As teachers you get really good at how to phrase things. That’s a practice you get into from the very beginning of your teaching career. And in general, we are just not mean or cruel people. That’s who we are, as I said earlier, in our real lives, so there’s not much watering down or rephrasing that we have to do because just being nice is something we would try to do anyway. We are very, very fortunate that, with the school where we work, we have tremendous support by our principal and the school community. And that includes the parents. It is very clear that not everything we do is for children. Just like any other adults, there are parts of our lives that are completely dedicated to children, and other parts that are completely dedicated to some other interests. So, within the school and with the parents, it’s really appropriate for the parents to be making the decisions about what they want their children to listen to. We do not direct our music at the students. We don’t say, “Go home and tell your parents to buy this album.” We don’t do that. There are parents who do come to our shows and they listen to our music and they themselves love it. And sometimes the kids get a hold of it and they end up loving it, but that’s absolutely a parental decision. It’s not our decision. We are really, really careful about how we approach that.

TrunkSpace: What’s great about music is that it can really bring people together. Often times, two individuals who may have nothing in common can find common ground and come together over the same song or band.
J. Pimentel: And they often do at our shows. At any show you come to for us, you will see a spectrum of people. That is a spectrum of age, gender, race, beliefs… everything. And economics too. People come to have fun and they want to kind of let go a little bit. A lot of our music is edgy and kind of a little reckless and some of our songs are kind of tongue-in-cheek and fun and funny and are meant to be just for fun.
Berlinsky: And just sort of those universal things that everyone can relate to and commiserate with and just sort of poke fun of themselves for taking themselves too seriously. We’ll be the first in line to make fun of ourselves, and it allows other people to laugh at themselves as well. We want people to be in on it, not feel excluded from it.
J. Pimentel: Yeah, this conversation is already more serious than we usually are. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: As far as origin stories for bands go, most of them start with, “we grew up together on the playground.” But for No Small Children, you were already grown ups on the playground.
Berlinsky: (Laughter) You know what’s true though, and what I love about those stories, that it didn’t just happen. It was the labor that went into it. Look at the Beatles just as a classic example and that shredding that went into it. In our first three months together, we played 55 shows locally as an example. And, for years we were nonstop.
J. Pimentel: Shredded… absolutely. And those gigs were in addition to two rehearsals a week on top of our full time teaching schedules. One of the benefits to coming to this group now with all three of us being teachers is that we’ve figured out a way to be very efficient in our rehearsals and also in how we break up the responsibilities of being in a band that are outside of just playing your respective instrument. We have to. We don’t have a choice.

TrunkSpace: We noticed how organized you were. Between booking the interview and getting promotional images… it was so fast and efficient.
J. Pimentel: (Laughter) You should see us at clubs when we show up with actually all of our gear.
Berlinsky: We’re a little early with everything. (Laughter)
J. Pimentel: Club owners are always a little surprised to see us.
Berlinsky: Yeah. And if anybody sort of tries to get away with things that they promised… set times, payment, or whatever… we pull up the emails in half a second. They just can’t get away with it.

TrunkSpace: What about your students? Do they ever feel like they think they can get away with more in your classrooms because you’re “the cool rock teachers?”
J. Pimentel: (Laughter) Well, to them, honestly we’re their teachers first. Sometimes these worlds do collide a little bit, but very, very infrequently. They see us as teachers first and then outside of school, they might hear some of our music or they heard us when they went to see the “Ghostbusters” movie or those types of things. They’re honestly our biggest champions. They love it but they see us as their teachers first.
Berlinsky: They also… we talk to them about how we practice.
J. Pimentel: Right.
Berlinsky: And we talk to them about when we’re personally stuck with something, how do we approach it and break it down. And so we’re talking to them in real time about things that we’re very passionate about. They feel that and respect that.
J. Pimentel: Yeah.
Berlinsky: So it’s almost just the opposite. They’re very good for us.

TrunkSpace: I would imagine that from the student perspective, it must be very refreshing to have teachers who are musicians, especially as many music programs are being cut around the country.
J. Pimentel: It is always a challenge when you work in a place when the arts are cut. And you get that with arts and athletics. And it can be frustrating where that’s not included as an important part of education or part of an overall curriculum. And like I said earlier, we are so fortunate, especially where we are right now… we’re kind of in the entertainment capital of the country… that there is really tremendous support for the arts and progressive teaching styles when it comes to the arts. The example that Nicola gave where she was talking to the kids about our process struggling through something and they respect it… it happens in a general classroom, it can happen in a music lesson, it can happen anywhere. In some ways it gives us a little more credibility with them because we’re asking them to do something that we are doing ourselves. We’re asking them to take a chance. To be vulnerable. To take a risk. To work really, really hard. And the emphasis is put on the work. That’s the part they can own. Not on your talent or your natural ability or anything like that. Just on the work.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned earlier that you played 55 shows in your first three months together. That must have been quite the crash course in learning as you do?
Berlinsky: Yeah. And today what we do is, we get somebody to record it. Not just the audio, but the visual because we are getting our larger stage show ready. We’ve had the fortune of playing some really big stages and we love it, so we just want to be always ready when we hit.

TrunkSpace: Going to the game tape!
J. Pimentel: (Laughter) Yeah. And we learned a lot about coffee during those first few months. Just how important and essential it can be.

(Lisa joins the conversation.)

TrunkSpace: Earlier we were talking about the parents of your students, and if we’re not mistaken, it was a parent who actually opened up the door for No Small Children to get involved in the “Ghostbusters” remake?
L Pimentel: That’s it, yeah. (Catching breath) His name is Teddy Shapiro. (Catching breath) I ran here. Sorry.
Berlinsky: (Laughter)
L. Pimentel: He’s a parent at our school. His name is Teddy Shapiro and he was a composer on the film. We recorded the song and we were like, “You know, I wonder who is working on this film?” And when we found out Teddy Shapiro was working on it, we were like, “Let’s just send it to him and with no expectations and no pressures. Maybe he’ll like it. Maybe he’ll pass it on.” Which is what we always do. As musicians, you’re just constantly passing things off and hoping they have a life and this one did.
Berlinsky: And just to dovetail what Joanie was saying before, so from that connection… he didn’t have to send it on but he liked it enough to send it up to music supervisor Erica Weis. And it’s great now that we have these relationships. She said, “Every time you have new music, send it to me first.” So we just sent those new songs and now she’s always keeping an eye out for placement for us. That’s another factor. We talked a lot about the work, but the other piece is about the relationship.
L. Pimentel: And the serendipitous nature of this business.
J. Pimentel: Well, the harder you work, the luckier you get, right?
L. Pimentel: Totally.
J. Pimentel: So it’s a matter of odds. If you put a million things out there, you get a few that stick.

TrunkSpace: Was there any pressure that came with being involved in such a huge, iconic brand like “Ghostbusters?”
J. Pimentel: It’s funny because when we recorded it, we were just recording it the way we were already playing it. We really didn’t put a lot of thought into the way we played it. And then we played it and people were like, “Oh, it’s great.”
Berlinsky: Yeah. We didn’t try to make it sound like anybody’s expectation of what we were doing.
J. Pimentel: Right. We didn’t have that pressure.
Berlinsky: We did put thought into it about how we’d want to hear it…
J. Pimentel: Yeah.
Berlinsky: But we didn’t have other people’s expectations.
J. Pimentel: We didn’t think about… it didn’t feel like pressure. We were just recording it like we record every song, unlike Fall Out Boy who had the pressure of knowing it was going to be the version. That kind of pressure can be tough, but for us we got really lucky because we did it the way we play and then it just happened to fit what “Ghostbusters” was doing.
Berlinsky: We haven’t even seen this yet, but we just learned that in the director’s cut, Paul Feig talks about us.
J. Pimentel: Somebody who came to one of our shows over the weekend told us that and we had no idea. I’m definitely going to listen to that right away.

(Nicola excuse herself from the conversation to do dismissal duty with the students.)

TrunkSpace: You hear stories all of the time about female-driven bands and how club owners try to book them on bills with other female-driven bands. Have you experienced this?
J. Pimentel: Oh God, yes!
L. Pimentel: There’s one thing that happens at every show. I would say 8 out of ten times they play “Cherry Bomb” right before we go on.
J. Pimentel: (Laughter)
L. Pimentel: Or like the Go-Go’s coming on the house music. (Laughter)
J. Pimentel: Yeah.
L. Pimentel: We feel there are pros and cons to it. We try to look at the pros in that people aren’t expecting us to kick ass. So, in a way, we’re trying to use the low expectations to our advantage. But, for the most part, people have been really cool to us. There’s an occasional honest mistake where someone’s like, “Oh, I’m such an idiot. I can’t believe I just said that. Where’s the drummer?” Even though you’re the one standing there with the drum.

TrunkSpace: Even just in terms of labels it seems odd in that, when three guys start a band, it would be a band, but if three women start a band, it’s a girl band.
L. Pimentel: Well I’ll tell you what, to me, what I find more challenging… cause now it’s become less of an issue. With our kids, there’s as many girls and it’s not even an issue for them. But I’ll tell you what I find to be harder is… being in our 40s is the hard part.
J. Pimentel: Yeah.
L. Pimentel: No one wants to touch a 40-year-old.. people in their 40s… label-wise anyway. We have tons of exposure to labels and people are not interested because they are stuck in that older way of thinking. And at the same time, I feel like our band is defying all of the odds of being in our 40s and being a woman band.

TrunkSpace: It does seem odd that many labels continue to operate with an old school music industry mindset when so much has changed in how people consume music.
J. Pimentel: You tapped on this earlier a little bit, but what we have found is that there is a huge demographic that has gone very much under served… that love our music, that love our style of music, and they have money to spend.
L. Pimentel: Yeah. And they’re honest and pay for music. (Laughter)
J. Pimentel: That’s right. They pay for music and they pay to come out and see shows. That’s kind of something we have felt for a long time in that, at the end of the day, there’s nothing that speaks more loudly than people spending their money.

“I Feel Better,” the band’s latest single produced by Bob Marlette, will be released soon!

Follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.

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Remember When

Scott Nemes

RememberWhen_Issue01

Remember When
Scott Nemes

Scott Nemes, Senior Vice President Programming, Cinemax Photo Credit: HBO

It’s that time again. Let’s sit back, relax, and take a trip down memory lane with those individuals who inadvertently played a role in our childhood. This time out we’re chatting with Scott Nemes, who as a child, starred in “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Wonder Years” while also making guest spots on memorable series like “Punky Brewster” and in the film “St. Elmo’s Fire.” Currently, Nemes oversees original programming for Cinemax.

TrunkSpace: You have had an incredible career both in front of and behind the camera. Can you tell us a little about that path and how your early acting days shaped your approach in how you do your job now?
Nemes: In terms of the track, I acted until I went to college and then decided my passion was in jobs behind the camera. I really built a career, starting in the feature side for 15 years and then segued into TV about five years ago. I think where my past experience lends itself is that I have a real familiarity with the sets and how they work and how productions work from a different perspective. And I’m able to communicate, having done different jobs in the businesses, in a different way with creators and actors. It just helped me with gaining perspective.

TrunkSpace: So what was it that drew you to those jobs behind the camera? Was it seeing how it worked while you were acting?
Nemes: It was. When I was acting, I would often befriend the director and when I wasn’t in school, sit next to the camera and observe and watch and sit at video village and digest what was going on around me. So, I always had an interest in it, and then when I got to school I produced a couple of short films and really developed a passion for being involved in a project from its inception through getting made, as opposed to just being, albeit sometimes high profile work, for hire in front of the camera.

TrunkSpace: Because you had already established yourself as an actor and because people may have seen you as that, do you feel like you had even more to prove when you started your career in production?
Nemes: No, I never felt that. Although, even though having been an actor, it gave me a unique perspective as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think it ever gave me a leg up either. I don’t think it helped either way, in terms of my trajectory. In fact, my very first job in the business post-college was working for Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall as a PA (production assistant), and Frank produced the very first film I was in when I was seven-years-old, which was “Twilight Zone: The Movie.” So it was a bit of a unique situation being with Frank again. It was a lot of fun.

TrunkSpace: Cable television gets an incredible amount of attention and respect these days, but that wasn’t always the case. Do you ever look at your series “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” as a pioneer when it comes to cable television?
Nemes: Absolutely. I actually think that show, if you ask anybody involved in it, was way ahead of its time. Even though it had a great deal of success, it was nowhere near the mainstream, zeitgeist-y hit that I think it would have been five or 10 years later. And I do think, when I look back on the show and look at the limited cable landscape and how they had the thing called the ACE Awards, which were cable TVs version of the Emmys, and eventually that all went away and it all got merged into one Emmy platform… that seemed to me to be the signal that it was all mainstream.

TrunkSpace: The theme song to “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” is so iconic and infectious. Has that been one of those things that has sort of followed you throughout your life?
Nemes: Sure. It’s such an iconic song and it absolutely follows me around. I love it. It’s great. Alan Zweibel, one of the co-creators of the show, tells the story of how the song came to be written in an elevator up to a meeting in which he and Garry had to have a theme song ready and they didn’t have anything ready. (Laughter) So, it was as simple as that and it was a genius idea.

TrunkSpace: In the show you portrayed Grant Schumaker. Was that the longest time you spent portraying a single character as an actor?
Nemes: Yeah, that was the longest I was on a show. I did it for four seasons. I was on “The Wonder Years” as a recurring role for two seasons and then did a bunch of guest roles in films, but yeah, that character was the longest running character for me.

TrunkSpace: It must be interesting for you now because you can look back and sort of see yourself growing up on film.
Nemes: What’s interesting is showing it to my kids. I’m able to show them what daddy looked like when he was their age, at least with my oldest son. And it’s been fun watching it through their eyes. And while they may not get some of the more adult humor, it’s fun seeing Dad as a kid.

TrunkSpace: Garry Shandling is a legend in the business and in comedy, but at the time, he was still building his legacy. What did you learn from him, either directly or through osmosis of just being on set with him for those four years?
Nemes: What Garry taught me as a performer was, be ready for anything. He would often times go off script in the middle of a taping in front of a live studio audience and you’d have to follow him. I think that really taught me the skill of being flexible and improvising and really helped me as an overall performer.

TrunkSpace: What was so cool about that show, particularly in that time period where television wasn’t as admired as a medium, was that you’d always see big actors doing cameos.
Nemes: Garry had a lot of friends, and Alan Zweibel, haven written on “Saturday Night Live,” had a lot of deep connections like Gilda Radner and Dan Aykroyd. Folks like that. So, they were able to somehow convince all of their celebrity friends to come do cameos. It was a really amazing group of cameos, but not only in front of the camera, but also behind the camera. The talent assembled on that show, I would venture to assume hasn’t been seen in TV… in terms of the young writing talent behind the camera. The writers are now a who’s who in television and feature comedy.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned your work on “The Wonder Years” earlier and we can’t help but think that either before or since, no other series has really portrayed adolescence in such a real and genuine way. Do you think that’s one of the things that made that show such a hit?
Nemes: I think that the biggest strength of that show was in the tone and, how you say, real they made it. It was real. It was funny. And it was emotional all at the same time. I think that’s what grabbed a lot of people and that’s a really difficult thing to pull off in a series or a film. I think “The Goldbergs” is the most current example of something that has attempted a version of “The Wonder Years” and to a lot of success. People really like it, though I think that show is less emotional and more comedic-based than “The Wonder Years” ever was.

TrunkSpace: “The Wonder Years” was also taking place at a time in our country that may have forced the hand of that more serious tone.
Nemes: Absolutely. My oldest son watches “The Wonder Years,” now 20-something years later, and he’s able to relate to Kevin and all of the other characters on the show.

TrunkSpace: Do you ever get the itch to go back in front of the camera again?
Nemes: I don’t. I feel like that was an amazing chapter in my life that I look back on fondly, but I’m really entrenched in my career and love what I’m doing now. Even though I have all of the respect in the world for actors, it’s not something I feel like I want to back to.

TrunkSpace: Can you explain to people a little bit about what you do now in your current position?
Nemes: I am a programming executive at HBO, which owns Cinemax. I am a part of the team that programs original drama series for Cinemax. My current job is to identify, develop, and help oversee our original series slate.

TrunkSpace: What is the approach to creating a slate of shows and giving them the best chance at finding an audience in a day and age where the TV landscape seems to be continuously changing?
Nemes: The TV landscape is changing very rapidly with the addition of steaming platforms and all the different linear entrance into original programing. Our CEO Richard Plepler always says, “play our game.” I think in order to be successful, I think we just need to make the best version of the show that we can. And I think, ultimately, best content wins.

Patrick Fugit as Kyle Barnes in Cinemax’s OUTCAST. Photo Credit: Niko Tavernise/Cinemax

TrunkSpace: Does the popularity of television and advancements in technology make your job easier?
Nemes: I think one of the turning points for television going into it’s “Golden Age” is that TV is now making versions of films that were very successful and critically-adored 10, 20, 30 years ago. We’re able to make shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men” and “The Leftovers”… really thought provoking, interesting, character-driven dramas in a way that are not getting made on the feature landscape. That was one of the things that attracted me to come over to the TV side five years ago… the ability to take the movies that I was always passionate about and be able to make versions of those as series.

TrunkSpace: And for a viewer, particularly on the cable side of things, the shortened seasons help to make these dramatic series feel more like films.
Nemes: The way I envision it is, I don’t look at a series as an episodic structure. I really look at a series, a season for that matter, as one big piece of content and you have to figure out how you dice that piece of content. In the feature world you only have an hour and a half or two hours of a piece of a content and with a cable series it’s about eight to 10 hours per season of content. I think that allows you the depth and the time and the space to really dive deep into characters… into the scenes… and into the distinctive world of the show in a way you can’t accomplish in features.

TrunkSpace: What’s next for Cinemax on the original content side?
Nemes: We will be airing a series from Mike Judge in 2017 called “Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus,” which is a half-hour animated series that looks at iconic country music figures and their dysfunctional lives. That’s one that we’re excited about.

Antony Starr as Lucas Hood in Cinemax’s BANSHEE. Photo Credit: Fred Norris/Cinemax
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Sit and Spin

Butch Walker’s Stay Gold

SitAndSpit_ButchWalker

Artist: Butch Walker

Album: “Stay Gold”

Label: Dangerbird Records

Format Reviewed: Vinyl

 

 

Lyrics of Note:
I came from white trash, whiplash, road rash from a bike
You drank from a wine glass, stage pass, in your belt loop tied
Little baby made it out of here
When ambition was the only drug you tried

While the vinyl of today lacks that same Rice Krispies sound of the past (less snaps, crackles, and pops), it still offers more of an experience when listening to an album, especially that first time around. You’re more committed to the moment because vinyl grounds you in it. Something is also expected of you in return… as if the record itself wants a sacrifice for all of its spinning. It is your job as a listener to flip the record halfway through, and when it comes to Stay Gold, it is an action worth the sacrifice, even for those who prefer to remain stationary.

A songwriter who can lyrically relate to the listener even when singing about subjects that are not necessarily grounded in everyone’s reality, Walker’s greatest strength on Stay Gold is that he doesn’t stay with any one sound. Whether he’s forcing your head to bob along with the funky riffs of “Mexican Coke” or taking you on a roots-inspired journey in “Can We Just Not Talk About Last Night,” the album is a mash-up of genres, and yet, the ten tracks are woven in such a way that they still manage to compliment each other.

While Walker has had more personal records (Afraid of Ghosts) and those that infected your subconscious to the point of takeover (Sycamore Meadows), Stay Gold may very well be his most well-rounded. Like life, Butch Walker’s musical career has been less about the destination and more about the journey.

Have a little fun with this can’t-look-away lyric video for the title track.

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