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July 2018

Musical Mondaze

Static and Surrender

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With their self-titled debut, San Francisco based Static and Surrender are beginning a new leg of their journey, which to date, has included many twists and turns. For starters, when frontman/guitarist Jeff Campbell first came together with guitarist Adam Schuman to mess around with a few old song ideas, they never imagined it turning into their full-time creative focus. Now fully invested in their new musical endeavor, the band, which also includes drummer John Schuman and bassist Lauren Stockner, is planning for a future that involves touring, videos, and of course, more tracks.

We recently sat down with Campbell to discuss expectations, what success in music means to him, and why the push and pull of their writing works.

TrunkSpace: Your debut album is due out July 13. What emotions are you guys juggling with as you gear up to release new material to the world?
Campbell: Great question, what with us being the artsy types and all. You always want people to respond to it, so there’s that. But just the same, we’ve been putting out little tidbits and playing the songs live for a while now and people have really dug them so I’m cautiously optimistic that people will dig the whole thing when they hear it. The tricky part is getting them to take action, share it, promote virility, etc. And also, to have it land in the right hands in terms of radio, tastemakers, etc. So, I guess it’s a combo of excitement and anxiety. 

TrunkSpace: Did you feel any pressure in the studio with this particular project knowing that it is, more or less, Static and Surrender’s introduction to the world?
Campbell: Nah. When we made it, we were just kind of doing it to do it. We knew we had something good in working with each other so it was worth going big with production and stuff, which we did. Spent all our lunch money on this one.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Campbell: The fact that we recorded the whole thing in four days, kept and used basically all the scratch vocals and scratch guitars (vocal and guitar takes usually just recorded and used for reference while trying to get keeper drum takes in the very beginning stages). We were a pretty tight band before we had ever really even played live, which is an awesome feeling.

TrunkSpace: What was the journey like for you guys creatively? There’s nine songs on the album, but did you go in with more that ultimately didn’t make the cut?
Campbell: Yeah, we have three or four left over from the initial writing sessions we did that will likely make an appearance later. The journey was cool because it initially just started with Adam (Schuman) and I wanting to record some old ideas he had that we would then try and get placed in film and TV (which is one of the biggest ways musicians make money these days, and sometimes are discovered). It wasn’t until we started recording that we were all, “this thing has legs.” The whole thing started with just a handful of computer/drum machine demos Adam had lying around and turned into a band that’s basically our whole lives today.

TrunkSpace: The band came together because of a conversation about feeling stagnant in your careers. How soon after coming together did you feel that creative spark ignite. Was it instantaneous? Did it make you fall in love with making music again?
Campbell: Yes, I guess the name and the advent of the band are kind of one in the same, aren’t they? The first three songs we recorded were exciting to us when we recorded them, but when we started listening back, there was something missing. That something ended up being Jim Greer, the producer that took us on after he heard those initial recordings and saw the potential that we kind of weren’t seeing in ourselves yet. He made us get into a rehearsal studio instead of a recording studio and play together a bunch before we went to the studio, and listen back to new ideas, song structures, etc. on the first three we did. Then once we got into that groove, the other songs all came super quickly.

TrunkSpace: Do you believe that there are creative soul mates when it comes to music and art? Could the energy and vibe of Static and Surrender only exist in its current form because everyone involved clicks on various levels?
Campbell: Yes and no. Writing with other people is hard for me particularly as a guy that’s always been the primary writer in everything because you have to accept the push/pull of ideas from the others involved and that you’re not always going to get your way and end up playing/singing something that’s not ideally what you would have done if left entirely to your own devices. But I think the thing that makes this band so cool is that Adam and I especially come from VERY different schools of thought when it comes to what makes a song great sometimes. And we push/pull quite a lot. But it works because we both respect each other a ton.

TrunkSpace: Is there something creatively inspiring about working in a band atmosphere? Does the democratic approach to songwriting spark new ideas that, individually, you never would have come up with outside of Static and Surrender?
Campbell: Hearing the way two guitar parts and a bass part and a drum groove that all came from different brains lock up together and make orchestral music vs just playing and singing an idea yourself is an irreplaceably cool feeling. See previous answer.

TrunkSpace: What do you get from creating music that you don’t get from being a listener alone? What does the experience as a whole give you that keeps you in the game?
Campbell: When you make something cool enough that you know you’d listen to it on repeat yourself, you get a win.

TrunkSpace: What has been an unexpected side effect of your musical career that you could have never anticipated? What have you received from the experience that you never thought possible?
Campbell: Personally, I’ve now been self employed as a musician for a decade, which isn’t a way I’d ever looked at it before. I work for myself. I answer to no one except my business partners (bandmates, our management and label), until it’s done and it’s time to answer to the fans, who totally control the trajectory of what happens next. When I was a kid, I guess I always thought of it like, “You work a day job and play music on the side until you ‘make it’, and THEN you quit your job and live off of music.” I never realized that you have to make the art your full-time job for a very long time before any of the make it stuff ever even becomes a possibility.

TrunkSpace: On the opposite side of that coin, the music industry is not all positive and inspiring. It has broken many artists down over the decades. What is an aspect of the industry that you could do without completely?
Campbell: The internet has made people less inclined to do pretty much everything, because now you can have a comparable/truncated experience without leaving home. It has effected the music business in many ways: concert going, and the experience of going to the store to buy the new record from a band you love and actually holding it in your hand. Everything has to happen now now now, and as with as little effort as possible, and people don’t even realize it as they watch live footage on YouTube vs going to an actual show (and I think people tend to think, “I’ll go see them someday” as they watch), and just download or stream a song vs going to the mall and buying the hard copy art, that still very much exists, and that artists still put a lot of time and effort and creativity into and is sadly lost by many that would actually enjoy the experience.

TrunkSpace: Finally, what’s on tap for Static and Surrender for the rest of 2018? What should fans be on the lookout for?
Campbell: Lots of shows on the west coast, more singles and videos eventually and hopefully some radio play thanks to the efforts of our amazing management team, label and PR team, and the ensuing national touring once markets start to play our stuff. So if you hear “Fall on the Blade” on a local station, let us know! And request that they play it again so we can come play your town, which is our favorite thing to do.

The Static and Surrender self-titled debut is available today on Funzalo Records.

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Musical Mondaze

Matt Muse

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From shy kid to confident artist, Matt Muse reflects on growth in his personal life and his music. The introspective rapper is embracing who he is and what he’s all about with his latest album, “Nappy Talk,” which is an audible representation of him coming into his own both lyrically and in the messages expressed within those words.

We recently sat down with Muse to discuss talking about what he feels, if he was ever in creative conflict with himself in the studio, and why those he grew up with would be surprised by the path he has taken.

TrunkSpace: “Nappy Talk” feels very personal. Was it meant to inspire others through your own experiences?
Muse: Yeah, definitely. I wanted to have the feel where, when you hear what I’m talking about and my confidence in myself, that it makes you feel that same self confidence, or repeating those words that I’m saying will subconsciously make you feel great.

TrunkSpace: We read that the album as a whole was inspired by your decision to grow out your hair, and through that, be the person that you wanted to be and not the person that other people wanted you to be. Was that pressure to be someone you were not an experience of life in general or was it specifically the music industry, where it seems everyone has an opinion on how artists should present their art?
Muse: I think naturally it was more so a life thing, especially when I was not a full-time artist, when I was in school. I was rapping when I was in school, but I wasn’t taking it as seriously as I am now. I was kind of doing it, and I’m like, “Yo, I really want to do this,” without saying it a lot, and not doing it. Then there was this pressure, this social pressure almost, where I could just tell that there was… I wasn’t being taken as serious because of the way that my hair looked. Then the combination of that, and me being a dark skinned black male in a world that does see color, regardless of what people say… I think that was the strongest influence.

Then I think when it comes to the sound and what it is sonically, it is the most me project that I have done. It is the project where I let go of anything… kind of what you were saying about influences and people’s opinions. I didn’t really take that into account when I made this. I had an idea of how I wanted it to sound, and I just did it. I think in the past, there’s been a lot of raps that I’ve written where I’m like, “Yo, how can I appeal to this person?” Or somebody wants me to be more conscious, or be more like this, and be more like that. It’s like, “No, I’m just going to talk about what I feel. I want this song to feel this type of way, and that’s what it’s going to be.”

TrunkSpace: And that’s a great way to be as an artist… to put your point of view forward. We worry that for the next generation, the one that is growing up in the social media age, they might care more about what other people think instead of what they themselves think, and that will be reflected in the art. As a teacher of young creative people, have you seen any of that?
Muse: Yeah, and I think you just have to be able to weed out the negative influence of social media, and find all the positives that it does have to offer. I didn’t grow up in the social media age. I was already maybe 18 or 19 when Twitter and Instagram really became a thing. When I was in high school and I was a kid, there was none of that. There were no iPhones. It was right before the wave started, so I can’t relate to a lot of the ways that my students move. But what I can relate to… I use social media, so I can relate in that way, but also there’s this sense of, I see so many different lives being changed through social media in so many different ways. It can make your voice bigger. It can keep you connected to people. I think that it does something, even in my travels that… I went to Toronto last year during my tour, came back a year later and the only reason why it didn’t feel like I left, was because I was able to stay connected with all those people on social media.

TrunkSpace: Yeah, as an artist, it can become a tool in your toolbox.
Muse: Yeah. So it’s really just letting them know, don’t pay attention to any of the garbage that may distort your idea of self image and self love. Just focus on the fun you can have using social media, and things like that.

TrunkSpace: In the studio you were both creator and producer. How did you balance the two, and were they ever in conflict? Did writer Matt Muse want something different than producer Matt Muse did at times?
Muse: That’s a great question. Wow, nobody has ever asked me that.

No, there was no conflicts because the first step of the whole thing was telling all the producers that I worked with exactly what I wanted. I literally refused any sound or beat that didn’t match that sound. Then if there was a beat that I enjoyed but it needed a little tweak or a little change, we just made that happen. But because I put word out from day one to the producers that I worked with like, “Yo, no samples. I want it upbeat. I want heavy bass. I want this. I want it knocking.” That’s all they sent me. We worked from there, and that made it way easier to sit down and write to the beat, because I was able to clearly tell them what I was looking for when going in to releasing this project.

TrunkSpace: With wearing all those different hats throughout the process, personally what are you the most proud of with the album?
Muse: I love the way it feels. That’s what I’m the most proud of. I can rap, and I really am proud of my rap skills. That’s something I’ve been proud of for a very long time, so I think the easy answer would be, “Oh, I wrote a good rap, and I have bars.” That’s really not how I feel, because I always feel that way. (Laughter) There are few rappers who will say that they don’t think they can rap, so that really means nothing.

What I’m really proud of is the way the project builds, and that it ended up being exactly what I wanted from day one. From start to finish, it gives a feeling of energy, and confidence, and just like, “This is heavy,” in a good way. I’ve never released a project that had all upbeat songs. Now I have a project with seven of them. I was doing another interview, and I was telling them how much I love “Dirty Sprite 2” by Future. I’m a huge Future fan, but I’m also a huge Common fan, and so how do I blend… they both have influences on me, so how do I blend those influences where lyrically I’m still being true to myself and who I am, while having sound and feelings that when you play this, automatically the energy is going to flow through you before a word even comes out of my mouth? I think I accomplished that with every single song, and so that’s what I’m the most proud of.

TrunkSpace: What you accomplished too with the album is that there really is just a great flow from track to track. It’s got a front to back feel to it.
Muse: Thank you. That’s so important. Thank you.

TrunkSpace: Are you somebody creatively who can shut off that part of your brain, or is it always sort of working? Are you always finding new stuff for future songs?
Muse: No, I be chilling. I am very… I’m changing now, but I’m a very… I don’t know what the right word is. Let’s just think about the last year, 2017. It was 2018 when I was working on the project, maybe, let’s see, March? I dropped the EP March 2017, and then March, April, May, June, didn’t write a single song in that whole time span. I went on tour, did some other cool stuff, was enjoying my life, and I’m very happy that I didn’t write. I didn’t feel bad that I wasn’t writing.

I wrote a song in July, dropped a song in July. That was cool. Then a month after that, I still just relaxed. Then in September, the idea came to me to do this project, started writing, getting to it. Then from September to pretty much when it got done in about May-ish, I was working on that project. I’m probably not going to write no more songs until maybe September of this year, because I want to focus on video.

I’m okay with compartmentalizing my time like that, because I’m not just a rapper. I am a rapper, but I’m not just a rapper. The visuals, the production, I have a hand in all of it. I want to give focus to all of those things, so I’m not letting one lack. With music videos for example, I would never, and this is just me, I would never say to a videographer, “Yo, come up with a video idea for me,” and just leave it in their hands, never. I would work with them. I would love to co-direct something, but I always want to have a hand in everything that is associated with me as an artist, and as a brand.

To answer your question, yeah I don’t struggle with that at all, because I have no problem not working on art, because I think artists need breaks, and I know I need breaks.

TrunkSpace: From a lyrical standpoint, it’s important to live life in order to say more on the next album anyway, right?
Muse: Exactly! Yes! Wow! Yes, literally somebody said that to me last year after I played them my EP. They hated the EP. (Laughter) That was their advice, live life, and so yeah, definitely!

TrunkSpace: If we sat down with some of the friends you grew up with, would they be surprised that this is where you ended up today in 2018?
Muse: Yeah, definitely. 100 percent.

That’s a great freaking question. Wow! This is a side note. I have been doing some amazing interviews. This was great. I really love that question.

So they’d definitely be surprised. It’s funny you asked that, because I had just did one of our local news stations here in Chicago and it blew a lot of people’s minds. Not in a negative way, but there was so much positivity and love from a lot of people from back in the day when I posted it to my Facebook and things like that. Yeah, they would be surprised. I think the reason being is that I was a very, very shy person growing up. I didn’t become my fullest and truest self, and I didn’t really find self love and the ability to really hone my powers until I got to college. I loved who I was at that time, but I’m just not the same person, in a very good way. So I think yeah, people who grew up with me would be like, “Wow, look at how he’s blossomed.” Or, “Look at the growth. Look at the ability.” I’ve always been smart. I’ve always been intelligent, but, “Look at the ability to influence, and to open your mouth and let the world hear you.” I think that would be where the surprise would really be… the confidence. I’m a confident person, and I think that energy always rubs off positively, I hope, on others.

“Nappy Talk” is available today.

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Musical Mondaze

Michael Mancuso

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Photo By: Monty Limon

With a number of new tracks set to drop this year, Michael Mancuso, the smooth POPerator with the equally-as-smooth voice, is poised to take the music world by storm. His latest single, “Give It To Me,” recently received the video treatment, which is an extension of the art that the California native not only revels in, but feels is necessary when investing back into his own musical brand. (View the video below.)

We recently sat down with Mancuso to discuss how they shot the entire video in one day, the reason he’s tapping into his own experiences when writing, and why a career in the music industry is the only place he ever envisioned for himself.

TrunkSpace: You’ve been promoting your new single “Give It To Me” and the corresponding music video since it dropped earlier this month. How important is it for an artist in 2018 to continuously be putting new material out into the world? This is no longer the days of putting out an album out every few years and remaining relevant through reputation alone, right?
Mancuso: I would say that it’s extremely important to keep releasing new content for your fans to hold onto. We live in a world where things are consumed and forgotten at a much faster rate than they ever have been before. Reputations can be built just as quickly as they can be lost. It’s important to remind your fans why they’re your fans! Releasing one new song every two to three months as a new artist is a great place to be.

TrunkSpace: What about the visual element? Clearly we no longer live in the age of actual music playing in regular rotation on MTV, but at the same time, music videos feel more important than ever. For an artist, is it imperative to marry visuals with your music?
Mancuso: I would argue that releasing a song without a visual element is a wasted release. If you invest in yourself and make a video, you have it forever. It will always be part of your brand and is just another way that your fans can feel connected to you. Additionally, by utilizing video-supporting social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, you give yourself a second opportunity to promote your song by releasing the music first and the video a few weeks later!

TrunkSpace: What was the process like in bringing the video for “Give It To Me” to life? Did you have a firm grasp on what you wanted people to SEE while they were LISTENING?
Mancuso: The entire video was shot in one day. One camera, a few lights, an awesome art studio, 20 extras, six dancers, and me. Everyone brought an amazing amount of energy to set and we are all extremely happy with the final results. We mapped out the video beforehand and decided we wanted the video to accentuate the lighthearted joke of the song. I keep going after this girl but she just won’t “give it to me”… but at the end she finally does.

TrunkSpace: Having a visual component to music can sometimes change perspectives. There are certainly times that we can recall where we had a connection to a song, only to feel like our insight into the meaning of it changed once an accompanying video was released. As an artist, is there ever concern that you’ll place a track into a constrictive box by giving it visual margins for the audience to follow?
Mancuso
: You bring up an interesting point, but I’ve personally never been worried about that! I’ve always found it interesting to see an artist’s perspective of their own work. Even if it doesn’t line up with what I might have originally pictured or imagined, I still enjoy getting to glimpse their world through their own eyes.

TrunkSpace: In terms of your music, particularly now with your solo career, what do want people to take from the experience itself? Not necessarily a specific track or album, but the vibe as whole.
Mancuso: I want people to relate to the songs that I write. I do my best to create a personal connection to anything that I put my name on. Every song that I will be releasing through the end of 2018 is written about something I’ve been through or a moment I’ve shared with someone. I want people who have gone through similar things, both positive and negative, to see that there’s someone else out there who made it through to the other side too!

TrunkSpace: You were a member of the a cappella group The SoCal VoCals. How much of an adjustment was it to go from a group atmosphere to a musical career where you called all of the shots, both creatively and from a business perspective?
Mancuso: I would say that it was a pretty seamless adjustment. I began my solo project while I was still a member of the group, and they were all extremely helpful, supportive and encouraging! By the time I graduated I was well into the swing of things and felt ready to take the reins and pursue music on my own.

Photo By: Monty Limon

TrunkSpace: Was there ever a doubt that a solo career would be your path? Did you always know deep down that you’d steer your career in this direction?
Mancuso: I have never been able to imagine myself happy anywhere else. Music has always been the only real option that I could see myself pursuing whole-heartedly. It’s definitely scary at times, but the highs and lows are part of what make this industry so special and forces you to keep growing and evolving as a human being.

TrunkSpace: Can it be a solitary experience creating as a solo artist? Do you miss having a springboard for ideas and the ability to go off on creative tangents based on the suggestions of others?
Mancuso: I would say that I collaborate more now than I ever have before! I feel like I do my best work in groups, and I actively seek co-writing sessions for my own artist project wherever I can find them. I would encourage every solo artist to write with as many people as they can!

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist?
Mancuso: I would say I’m hardest on my writing. I go into every session with the goal of beating my current “best song”!

TrunkSpace: What’s next for you? What can fans expect for the rest of 2018 and into the new year?
Mancuso: Lots of new music and music videos. I’m planning to release at least three more songs before the end of 2018! If you want to be part of my journey, follow me on Instagram – @michaelmancusomusic or subscribe to my website’s mailing list – www.michaelmancusoofficial.com!

Check out the video for “Give It To Me” below.

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Sit and Spin

Like Pacific’s Had it Coming

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Song Title: “Had it Coming”

From The Album: In Spite Of Me (art pictured left)

Single Sentence Singles Review: If Warped Tour wasn’t taking its final bow this summer, “Had it Coming” is the audible proof that Canada’s Like Pacific would be headlining the annual punk festival sooner rather than later.

Beyond The Track: In Spite Of Me is set to drop July 27 on Pure Noise Records. To stay on top of Like Pacific tour dates, visit here.

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Musical Mondaze

The 131ers

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Pringles may have cornered the market (and the trademark!) on “Once you pop, you can’t stop,” but the sentiment behind the catchy tagline applies to the catchy pop sound of the California-based The 131ers. Their latest album, “Nothing’s As It Should Be,” is chock-full of delectable audible delicacies, the kind you can’t help but revisit over and over again.

We recently sat down with the band – Kaleb Davies (vocals/guitar), Ryan Dawson (drums) and Chris Graue (bass) – to discuss the evolution of their sound, sewing Star Trek costumes at the eleventh hour, and why they’re poised to take over the world.

TrunkSpace: Your latest album, “Nothing’s As It Should Be,” is available now. Did you guys feel less pressure in the studio putting together the follow up to your debut knowing that you had already established your sound and who the band was sonically with your first album?
Davies: To be honest, no not really at all. If anything there was even more pressure. Our first album was a long time ago and I think we really see NAISB as this fresh start. This is us. This is our sound and it’s drastically different from our debut – which I like. I don’t think any artist should stay the same too long.
Graue: The first album was done much more quickly, mostly to get something out so we could play shows. We spent nearly three years getting NAISB just right.

TrunkSpace: Did you guys attempt to do anything different with “Nothing’s As It Should Be” that you didn’t set out to do with your debut, and if so, did you accomplish your goals?
Davies: The main differences are in the songwriting style. A lot of the music on this new record was built to be played live – it’s all about, “What will work in front of a room of angry teens?” ya know?
Dawson: We started writing songs based on the shows we were playing, which I think really changed our sound and how we accomplished certain movements.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Davies: I’m just really proud of Ryan to be honest. He did a really good job with the drums and everything.
Dawson: Aw Kaleb, that’s so sweet. 😉

TrunkSpace: You guys infuse a little bit of everything into your music. Does that genre-bending approach allow you to create without any self-imposed margins?
Dawson: Nothing is really off limits for us while writing. If there is a super dope trap beat we’re into, we’ll write a song to that. I think once you break the box of what your sound “could” be, you start to figure out that you can make anything your own sound.

TrunkSpace: If The 131ers are still together and churning out music in 10 years, do you think it will sound similar to what we’re hearing today or are you being continuously influenced by what you’re absorbing around you? Is “Nothing’s As It Should Be” part of an ongoing musical metamorphosis?
Graue: We’re always evolving. Already, our new songs we’re writing don’t sound like the record we just put out. If a band quits trying new things, they might as well just stop.

TrunkSpace: Where are you guys hardest on yourselves as artists? What is the biggest personal hurdle you have to overcome with each new song or album?
Davies: I think because of this band I’ve truly begun to hate myself.
Dawson: Hey Kaleb, I love you, okay.
Graue: It’s probably at least a little bit because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to top what we’ve done before. No one is really asking us to do anything more than play a couple songs, but then there we are sewing our own Star Trek costumes the night before a show…

TrunkSpace: Many people say that music is a form of therapy. Is it that way for you?
Davies: I’m not sure about that one, but I’m going to ask my therapist about it next Tuesday.

TrunkSpace: Can you imagine a day when music isn’t a part of your life? Is the act of creating a part of you, even if you were not releasing it to the world?
Graue: We’re all pretty creative, but not necessarily limited to music. Kaleb builds stuff, Ryan does visual art, I make videos, we all do a bit of writing. Personally, I don’t know if I would play music if no one was listening, but I’m always making something.

TrunkSpace: What do you consider “success” in music and have The 131ers achieved it? If not, what will it take for you to feel successful?
Dawson: That’s a loaded question. But I think it’s all subjective. There are times where I’ve felt we were and times when I feel we aren’t, and I don’t think that’ll ever change. Even the Killers feel that at some point too.

TrunkSpace: What has been the single greatest music-related moment of your lives thus far and why?
Graue: One time I got to crowd surf while playing a solo in Gainesville, Florida. I thought I would be too excited and jostled around to play it well, but it actually sounded all right.

TrunkSpace: Finally, what’s on tap for The 131ers for the rest of 2018? What should fans be on the lookout for?
Davies: I’m not sure exactly what the rest of this year looks like right now or even what 2019 will be. But there’s gonna be more music, and more shows and more crazy shit. Whatever happens, I know one thing for sure – The 131ers are gonna take over this whole fucking world.

Nothing’s As It Should Be” is available now.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jessica Green

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It’s always exciting to see new faces catch big breaks in Hollywood, and when those faces are as uniquely captivating as Jessica Green’s, you’re reminded that the “it” factor really does exist. As the lead of the new fantasy series “The Outpost,” the Australian native plays Talon, the last woman standing of a race known as the Blackbloods. She sets out on a mission to avenge her family using her newly-discovered supernatural powers, and in the process, audiences around the globe will be entertained.

We recently sat down with Green to discuss how her past MMA training helped her in the role of Talon, whether or not she has experienced butterflies in spearheading the show, and what the future could have held had “As vs Evil Dead” not been canceled.

TrunkSpace: Your new series “The Outpost” premiered lat night. As you were gearing up for its release, what emotions were you juggling with? Were you nervous? Excited? A combo of both?
Green: A combo of both. After five months of filming, I’m excited to see the final product.

TrunkSpace: The series is intense and very physical. How much preparation did you go through before you were ready to take on Talon and her many butt-kicking talents?
Green: It all happened very fast. I only had about three weeks intense training for the role in Utah, but having my previous training with MMA was an advantage.

TrunkSpace: In the series Talon is on a very personal mission to avenge her family. Throughout the course of the first season, how much of that mission does she ultimately accomplish? Will she find any peace throughout the initial arc of the character that we see in these upcoming 10 episodes?
Green: You will have to watch to find out but she definitely does kick some ass!!

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, what have you enjoyed most about getting to inhabit Talon? What aspects of her personality excite you every time you slip into the character?
Green: I love that she is a such a strong female role model.

TrunkSpace: Do you feel pressure spearheading a major network series, and if you do, how do you tamper those butterflies to make sure you’re also enjoying the moment and everything that comes along with it?
Green: I am so blessed and honored to lead the show, and yes, I do get butterflies but I’m super proud of what I have accomplished.

TrunkSpace: They say that work begets work in this business. Outside of enjoying what you’re doing in the present, is there a part of you that wonders where being the lead of a series like “The Outpost” could take you in your career moving forward? Do you look to the future at all?
Green: Of course. “The Outpost” has already opened many doors and I hope for it to open many more. I will be in the USA for the premiere and I’m very excited for the future.

TrunkSpace: Moving away from the future and instead, looking back into the past… if you could sit down with 12-year-old Jessica, what would she have to say about your career as it stands today? Would she be surprised by your work as Talon in “The Outpost?”
Green: I think she would be excited and proud to see that the years of hard, dedicated work have finally paid off and that dreams do come true.

TrunkSpace: You’re from Australia but moved to the States a few years ago to pursue your dreams. How big of an adjustment was it for you and how long did it take for your new home to feel like home?
Green: I’m actually based in Australia and only head over to the States a few times a year for a few weeks at a time. I filmed “The Outpost” in Utah, which was freezing – -6 compared to the 30°C sunny beaches of the Gold Coast, Australia where I’m from! The Utah climate did take some adjusting too.

© NBCUniversal International Networks

TrunkSpace: You’re starring in a big series that will be seen all over the world, but it has no doubt been a long journey for you to get to this point in your career. Was there ever moment where you questioned your choices in pursuing acting and did you ever consider giving up? It must be kind of crazy to think about now, given where your path has ultimately lead you?
Green: I feel you need to have a very thick skin as an actor. There are lots of ups and downs and of course there are the days where you feel like giving up, but in this industry, to succeed, you just keep focusing on the dream.
 

TrunkSpace: Finally, Jessica, we loved you in “Ash vs Evil Dead” and thought there was so much potential in the character Lexx. Were you as sad as us to hear that the show was canceled? As a performer, how do you handle that kind of disappointment… managing the aspects of your career that are out of your control?
Green: Yes, it’s disappointing. I would have loved to see where Lexx’s character would have gone, but that’s part of the film industry – out of your control. You just pick yourself up again and keep following that dream.

The Outpost” airs Tuesdays on The CW.

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Musical Mondaze

Soul Asylum

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Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, Minneapolis, July 15, 2012. © Tony Nelson

Soul Asylum and the band’s string of hits are often sloppily lumped into the Seattle sound movement of the 1990s. Dave Pirner and the original lineup first formed in Minneapolis circa 1981, nearly a decade before anyone had smelled like Teen Spirit or stared up at a black hole sun. More punk than grunge, the band scored multi-platinum success on the backs of singles “Somebody To Shove,” “Black Gold,” and “Runaway Train,” and have continued to chug along on those runaway tracks as many of their peers have given up on music.

Constantly looking forward, Soul Asylum is out on the road as part of the Rock & Roll Express Tour with 3 Doors Down and Collective Soul. For a full set of dates, click here.

We recently sat down with Pirner to discuss how there are still surprises to be had on the road, the reason he has a “let’s see what happens” battle cry, and why he prefers band life to that of a solo artist.

TrunkSpace: Are you somebody who has that gypsy soul and looks forward to life on the road?
Pirner: Well, unfortunately yes, I do have… there’s gotta be gypsy in me somewhere, because there’s wanderlust. I’m very comfortable sleeping in a moving vehicle. Things like that. The other side of it is, it’s fucking war, you know? It certainly doesn’t get easier. I know what to expect, which is sometimes comforting and other times just like, “Oh god!” Predictable, I guess, is the word I’m looking for.

TrunkSpace: Do you still experience firsts when you go out on the road?
Pirner: Yeah. There’s always something. This winter we played during the Super Bowl and it was 10 below zero and it was just the biggest snowstorm and we’re playing outside. I was walking towards the stage and there was like a blizzard going on, on the stage, and I was like, “I’d really thought I’d seen it all, but here it is, something else.” So there’s always something out there that you’re just like, “Alright, well I never would have seen this happen if I didn’t come here.” So I guess it was worth it. Sometimes it’s a tragedy and sometimes it’s a tragic comedy, but it’s always something that you just thought, “Ugh, I’d thought I’d been through it all.” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Does your creative brain work on the road? Are you somebody who writes while touring the highways and byways?
Pirner: Yes and no. I carry Dictaphones around with me and I try to keep it portable as much as I can. But yeah, you’re on a crowded bus and you’re in public spaces all the time and there’s not a lot of opportunities to get some quality alone time.

TrunkSpace: You hear all of the time about how creative people – songwriters – have a hard time shutting down the creative brain. Is your head always churning?
Pirner: Yeah. It can be annoying. And I like to quote Mitch Hedberg on this, because it’s just a perfect analogy to me. Mitch Hedberg, the great comedian from Minnesota, he goes, “Well, you know, I’m laying in my hotel room at night and I think of something and I have to decide whether I should get out of bed and go over to the desk and write it down or lay here and convince myself that it’s not funny.” And that’s the thing. I’ll get an idea in my head and I’m like, I got to record this, I got to write this down, or convince myself that it’s just not worth it. So that’s kind of going on all the time.

TrunkSpace: Because there’s always a chance that you could turn your back on a gem, right?
Pirner: I’m sure I’ve done it many, many, many times. That’s always in the back of your head. I lose a fucking Dictaphone and I’m like, “Oh, that’s the tape recording device that had the song that was really going to turn my life around and I lost it.”

TrunkSpace: On the opposite side of that coin, are you somebody who has to step away from music for periods of time to refuel the tank?
Pirner: Well, if touring is stepping away from music, yeah because it’s more visceral. You’re just cranking it out and I’m not really having a lot of opportunities to think about what comes next. You’re very frozen in a moment for two months, where you’re grinding it out and playing. It’s a shorter set, so you’ve got to play your stronger material. It’s always good to sort of… reckoning and stepping back and trying to see the big forest of trees, I think is kind of an innate part of songwriting.

TrunkSpace: The band first formed in ’81. Did you ever think that you’d be here all these years later, still discussing an entity that you created nearly 40 years ago?
Pirner: No. The modus operandi has been to keep your head down and go forward. I am not a nostalgic person at all. I don’t know what the Patti Smith line is… “I don’t fuck much with the past…”? It’s been a lot of that recently, because we’re re-issuing our first records – our first Twin/Tone records – and it’s a lot of trying to put all the pieces together as far as how we got to where we are. And man, it’s a crazy long trip that has been… I don’t even know what the right word is, but I learned a lot and I’m happy to be here and thankful that I can continue to do it.

We were coming from a Ramones era, no future kind of aesthetic, where it was just kind of, “Fuck it, let’s just do this and see what happens.” And that’s kind of still how it feels.

TrunkSpace: A living in the moment kind of thing?
Pirner: Yeah. It’s cool that we’ve been around long enough to have some interesting learning experiences. I tend to try to move forward.

TrunkSpace: It’s just got to be so interesting to look around and see how many of your peers the band has outlived, and beyond that, the clubs and venues themselves. So much has changed within the industry since you guys first started playing together.
Pirner: Yeah, it’s pretty hard core. You start to see the survivors and you start to realize that the people that were in it for all the right reasons are pretty much hanging on. The studio that I’m at in Minneapolis, is the first studio that we recorded at, and somehow, the owner managed to survive all this kind of stuff where studios were just dropping like flies all over the place, because of the new Pro Tools technology or whatever it is. And you find the same thing with clubs and club owners and… yeah, it’s a surprise when you walk into a club and it’s the same guy that you worked with 30 years ago. But you’re like, “Man, we made it. We made it through this and we’re still doing what we like to do.” That’s something because a lot of people just go, “No way. This is too much trouble.”

TrunkSpace: Is one of those reasons that you’re still doing it because you can’t be without it?
Pirner: Yeah, that would suck. I wouldn’t like that life so much.

TrunkSpace: You said that you’re not a nostalgic person, so in terms of a tour like this where, like you said, you’re putting your best material out there, do you long to get up on stage and play some of the new stuff that is sparking you creatively?
Pirner: Yeah. It’ll be exciting as far as stuff on our last record that we never could have played 10 years ago or 20 years ago. Playing it is a thrill. It’s not so much that I’m paying attention to whether or not the audience likes it, it’s just that I’m going, “Oh shit, I’ve never sang and played in this sort of rhythmic structure where I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m doing it. I’m tapping my head and rubbing my belly and singing at the same time to a whole new groove here and this is what I want to be doing, because what comes after this?’” I’m doing something that I couldn’t do before. And that is definitely exciting and definitely where I want to be going and what I want to be doing.

The other side of that is you go out and play a song, you play it 500 times, and it’s just very natural and there’s something to that also.

TrunkSpace: Plus those songs are generally greeted with such warmth from an audience and that must be a feeling that’s hard to duplicate.
Pirner: Yeah, and I know I’m not going to fuck it up. (Laughter) But you’re absolutely right. I can look out into a crowd and see a couple and their reaction between each other is relative to the music that we’re playing and I’m like, “Aww, they’re hugging during this song. This must be special.” I remember it just happened in Kansas City and I walked off stage and I looked at Winston (Roye) and I said, “Did you see that couple out in front there to your right?” And he’s like, “Yeah, I saw them.” And I’m like, “I bet you anything, they met at a Soul Asylum concert.” And he goes, “I bet you’re right.”

So there’s kind of charming elements to that.

TrunkSpace: And that’s the wild part of music, what a song might mean to you can take on a completely different meaning to the listener when it finally reaches them.
Pirner: Yeah. I always equated that with painting. Everybody sees something different in a painting and that’s the story behind “Runaway Train.” Once they put the video with the song, it changes people’s perception. I think that’s the beauty of it. And the situation of putting music videos to music… it’s a little disorienting and a little unfair somehow, because your visual becomes enhanced by this predetermined visual thing that doesn’t really have anything to do with the song.

TrunkSpace: The same kind of thing happens when a song winds up in a soundtrack. You start to connect the music to the film in a way that you don’t purposely set out to do.
Pirner: Oh yeah. We played at an After the Flood gig in North Dakota and we played “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers and the kids went crazy. And I was like, “What the fuck? I don’t understand what they like and what they don’t like.” And then somebody said to me, “They used that song in a big movie this summer that all the kids went to.” So they were identifying with the song through the movie.

TrunkSpace: You released your first solo album in 2002. Is there another one in you?
Pirner: God, I don’t know. That was a whole new learning experience and what I’ve basically learned is that I want to be in a band. It was a challenge and if I make another solo record, it’ll be because someone in the band died or something. It’ll just be a thing that will happen, not because I particularly want it to happen, but I’m still going to put a record out.

TrunkSpace: Did you just find the experience too solitary… too detached?
Pirner: Yeah. Well, it was all on me so it didn’t really matter what the player’s opinion was, because a lot of them were just hired guns and they were there to do whatever I told them to do. So when you’re traveling with a group of four musicians, I know it’s not the same for everybody, but I want input. I want the whole band to feel responsible for deciding to put that song on the record and not that song. And I want the band to be responsible for not complaining too late. Say something before. If you never ever want to go to Timbuktu ever again, you got to tell people that. Don’t come to Timbuktu and go, “I hate this fucking town,” because no one wants to hear it because there’s this commiserating thing that you either have to put on your big man pants and just do it or sit around and second guess everything.

So yeah, I just like the feeling of a team and a band. There’s only seven of us, I think, going out this summer. And that’s my family. That’s my team. I don’t want to do that by myself. It has to be an organization that is going to support each other.

TrunkSpace: Again, we know you said you’re not a nostalgic person, but if you could sit down with your younger self, the you that was first drawn to music, would he be surprised by the way your career and musical focus has gone?
Pirner: Yeah, I think so. I think I returned to New Orleans with all my fascination with music, and jazz music particularly, and none of it was relative to a job in music. I was pretty much raised to believe that that was not possible. So, I don’t know what I would tell me. Do I care that I dropped out of college to play music? So far so good. But, I don’t know what else I would do, so that’s a little scary. But it really does sound really corny, “Follow your dreams, man,” because you never know what’s going to happen. But it could have turned out so much worse for me. I could be dead.

Pirner is not dead. In fact, he and Soul Asylum are out on the road with 3 Doors Down and Collective Soul. For full dates, click here.

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Uncategorized

Happy 4th!

4thofJuly_TrunkSpace

To all of our friends here in the States, Happy 4th of July! We’re taking a brief hiatus from publishing to enjoy some summer R&R, but we’ll be back after the holiday with more great content!

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