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January 2019

Trunk Gaming

Resident Evil 2

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Resident Evil 2

Initial Release Date: January 25, 2019

Publisher & Developer: Capcom

Genre: Survival Horror, Action/Adventure

Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Why We’re Playing It: We played the original Resident Evil 2 way back in ‘98 when it was released, and we loved it then, so we could not resist the chance to slip on those familiar gaming sneakers that once carried our imaginations through the late ‘90s of horror survival.

What’s It All About?: The story follows rookie police officer Leon Scott Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield. The two accidentally cross paths on their journey to Raccoon City. Claire is looking for her brother, Chris Redfield (from the first Resident Evil) and poor Leon was supposed to start working for the RPD right before the zombie poop hit the fan. The game allows you to play as either Leon or Claire. They are both similar experiences but with different weapons, storylines and a few additional surprises.

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: You know what to expect from a remastered Star Wars movie – 1,000 Storm Troopers instead of 100, or a few extra CGI-based aliens here or there, but Capcom’s new take on their old classic is entirely different. Imagine taking the scariest movie you have ever seen, then, somehow making it induce 10x more anxiety, scares and cursing at your screen. That’s what you have with the Resident Evil 2 revamp. Whether it’s Mr. X’s relentless pursuit or zombies dropping out of ceilings, this game will have you freaking out in more ways than one. There is no poetic way to put it… you’re just going to freak the freak out!

Bonus Level: There are so many aspects to this version of RE2 that will have you drooling with gamer admiration, but one of the most impressive is the mix of lighting and sound effects. When you enter a dark room with your flashlight bobbing around and you hear the growl of a nearby zombie and the creak of a light hanging from the ceiling, you are on the edge of your seat even if there is nothing in the room that can do you harm. The atmosphere and full immersion into the Raccoon City apocalypse is beautifully done.

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

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Musical Mondaze

Tiny Ruins

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The latest Tiny Ruins album, “Olympic Girls” (set to drop this Friday from Ba Da Bing), is bigger and bolder according to Hollie Fullbrook, pack leader of the New Zealand-based quartet. Originally intended as a solo project, much of the critical praise following their previous recordings, including 2014’s “Brightly Painted One,” was deservedly heaped on the singer/songwriter, though she is quick to point out the band’s creative and personal significance.

The band motivates me, encourages me, cajoles me, teaches me, keeps me sane, keeps me active, makes me laugh, gives me a sense of camaraderie,” she told TrunkSpace in a recent interview. “My bandmates are hugely important to me, and they really made the record what it is.”

In other words, they are all Tiny Ruins.

We recently sat down with Fullbrook to discuss the roller coaster ride in bringing “Olympic Girls” to life, wrangling herself in and out of songs, and why she aspires to tell stories with her songwriting.

TrunkSpace: Were just a few days away from the release of your latest album “Olympic Girls.” As you gear up to share new music with the masses, what emotions do you juggle with? Does it vary album to album?
Fullbrook: Mainly a sense of lightness, like a weight is lifting from my shoulders. Release is definitely the right word. Weve been holding on to these songs for a while now. I feel some apprehension, nervous energy toofocusing on what we need to do to tour this thing over the coming months.

It’s an understatement to say this one’s been a roller coaster ride. With this one, I’m acutely aware of all the things that have aligned and all the people who have helped myself and the band get to this point. It feels great to be finally sharing it.

TrunkSpace: This is the third album by Tiny Ruins. No one is closer to the music than you. As you listen back to the earliest creative iterations of the band and compare it to what is on “Olympic Girls,” where do you hear the biggest differences? Were those changes by design or a natural progression?
Fullbrook: The band fully came into its own on this album. In that all our personalities are expressed more in the music. It has a more extreme palette of sonics, is bigger and bolder… both a natural progression and conscious decision. We discussed using broader strokes, more electric guitars, heavier drums – the songs really called out for those things, and I wrote with the full band in mind. But I also wanted to stay true to where we’d come from. I didn’t want it to be a departure into something we’re not. It was about being more ourselves than about a reinvention.

I do hear some difference in my vocal delivery. I pushed outwards in my singing and guitar playing on this album, tried to get better at both, and in many ways both the lyrics and delivery are the most ‘me’ they’ve ever been. Im older, my voice feels deeper, stronger – all that stuff. And maybe I’ve dropped my guard down a bit further.

TrunkSpace: The album was recorded over the course of a year. Did that allow for time to
tinker and perfect the tracks in ways that you didnt have the luxury of doing with your previous studio recordings?
Fullbrook: We recorded it in the same space as last time… in our practice space, actually, at (electric guitar player) Tom Healy’s studio at The Lab – an underground warren of small independent recording rooms. Tom’s a music producer by trade; he recorded and mixed this one and the last album too. With “Brightly Painted One” we blocked out two weeks and tracked everything quickly. We used a big studio room at The Lab for some songs, so there was more of a feeling of time pressure. We were greener – Tom’s kit set room was newly put together. I was in the throes of heartbreak, absolute heartbreak, so recording those songs was painful, but compounded in time.

Tom has since joined the band. This time ‘round, and with all of us juggling other jobs, touring, life’s ups and downs, these recording sessions were spaced out weeks apart. I was writing songs throughout. We didnt start out with the full track list ready and waiting – it was a sort of gradual workshopping process that felt very relaxed and methodical. For me personally, the recording sessions were little islands of joy, with my friends, when I got to make music and pour all this energy out. The sessions weren’t painful, they were the thing I looked forward to most.

We’d record in these beautiful little capsules of time, perhaps on a weekend or a public holiday, or a day that everyone was free… and things took a while for us to build. And it was like sole dedication to each song over the course of maybe two or three days, recording every part, and then we’d leave it and move on to the next song two or three weeks later. We didn’t listen to what we’d done until fairly far along – maybe five songs deep. I didn’t get weighed down with the details of it all. It felt like we worked very seamlessly, easily, on this record. It just took time to get there.

TrunkSpace: We found that you cant just listen to “Olympic Girls” you feel it as well, which is not something that many artists can achieve. The emotions weaved into the various tracks are multilayered, which makes each song a journey. Was that something you set out to achieve in the studio to prompt empathetic response from the listener?
Fullbrook: I wouldn’t say that’s something we were thinking about. You have to be careful about manipulating emotion for an audience’s sake, both with recording or performing, as it can really backfire.

When I’m recording I’m not thinking about how a listener might respond. I’m just responding, and choosing. Thousands of decisions based on our immediate responses. We always choose the take that personally makes us feel something. There might be imperfections in a take, but something about it just has the feeling. It’s strange that you can sing the same song a bunch of times, but one of those times, it clinches it. It affects you differently. Cass’s bass line goes somewhere weird which she just can’t replicate or make any better. Or Alex’s drum fill that makes you surge with adrenaline. You’re always chasing this magic phantom sound. And when you do find it – holy shit it’s the greatest feeling! So it’s just our own gut instincts we’re always checking in with. And then hopefully, that translates somehow, to the listeners, in the end.

Photo By: Si Moore

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with “Olympic Girls” as you prepare to share it with listeners?
Fullbrook: Some of my favorite songs on the album are ones that have not been released as singles. A track called “Sparklers” is one that I’m pretty proud of. And the second half of the album is kind of wild. Tom went next level on the mixing, getting all these big expansive soundscapes to really open up, and I think for listeners who’ve been waiting for the next Tiny Ruins, it’s going to be really exciting for them, listening in the dark with headphones or whatever. I love imagining that. Of them hearing the songs they don’t know yet.

TrunkSpace: As a songwriter someone who is expressing themselves through their art in various ways do you ever second-guess yourself as to if youre putting too much of yourself into a lyric or overall performance, and in the process, leaving yourself too exposed?
Fullbrook: Hmm, maybe yes, occasionally. Some writing is too raw, and it doesn’t actually get across what you want to say in a coherent way. Not that everything always needs to be coherent. (Laughter) But…I guess you can splurge a whole lot of writing when you’re in a distressed or exuberant state, and when you come back to it a day or so later, it feels overwrought, or full of pretense, or it’s just way too general. So it’s about channeling the truth of that experience or emotion in a way that still feels like you’re honoring it, but honing it into something that has more a life of its own, more specificity. I feel exposed with every song I’ve ever written – when I play one to the band, for instance, for the first time, it’s excruciating. I feel so nervous giving songs their live debut… it’s always going to feel intensely personal – that’s the nature of the beast. But in terms of the craft of writing, yes, I do try and wrangle myself in and out of songs sometimes.

TrunkSpace: A novelist will take thousands of words hundreds of pages in an attempt to perfect a beginning, middle and end of a story. Meanwhile, a songwriter does the same thing in just a few lines. When done right, its magic. Do you see yourself as a storyteller, and if so, what is the greatest story youve ever told?
Fullbrook: I have always loved being read to, and I love reading stories aloud. I have worked as a nanny at certain points of my life, and I enjoy kids, because they drink up stories. For me, there aren’t many songs that can really compete with a powerful story told to an enraptured audience. I was a lucky kid that got told many stories by various adults in my life. Stories are so important to us humans that they were made into songs, to make them even more memorable.

I think I do aspire to tell stories; certainly it’s an important part of how I make sense of a song to myself.

TrunkSpace: What do you get writing and performing within a band, and this band in particular, that you cant access from a solo mindset? What are the benefits for you personally in having a group of people fighting the fight alongside of you?
Fullbrook: This is such a good question and doesn’t get asked enough. My band mean everything to me. They’ve basically been there with me from the beginning – we could just never afford to tour as a full band in the early days. We are all old friends now, and have been playing music together for eight or so years.

I’m the leader of the pack, but it’s a pack. My writing is a solo activity and something I do alone, but getting those songs to their best version – that’s as a group, and we all listen to each other, it’s pretty democratic. I trust them. They are all incredible musicians. They all come up with their own parts. The band motivates me, encourages me, cajoles me, teaches me, keeps me sane, keeps me active, makes me laugh, gives me a sense of camaraderie. Music would not be nearly as fun without Cass, Alex and Tom. It’s not easy making a band sustainable, especially when you’re based in New Zealand. So we’ve had to be flexible. I’ve toured a lot solo. I’ve collaborated with others. We manage ourselves. We tour manage ourselves. My bandmates are hugely important to me, and they really made the record what it is.

Photo By: Georgie Craw

TrunkSpace: Can you envision a day when music is not a part of your life?
Fullbrook: No.

TrunkSpace: Outside of another artist, was there someone in your life who inspired or supported your creative endeavors that you feel was important to you getting where you are today with your music?
Fullbrook: Early on it was a couple of friends who encouraged me to do an open mic night and record some demos. Aaron Curnow at Spunk Records really believed in me and got my career going. Then my band came along. Simon Raymonde at Bella Union also instilled a lot of confidence in me. And now the great people at Milk! Records, Ba Da Bing Records and Marathon Artists. A solid team is really vital.

I owe a lot of my tenacity and strength to my parents. They raised us with humor, openness, emotions all out there, quite chaotic. Our childhoods were pretty free and idyllic. They’ve always really had my back, always listened and given support. They’re pretty amazing.

My partner of several years. He’s not musical, and knows me completely separately to my ‘career’. From the sidelines he’s the voice of reason and of love I often need to hear. He goes to every show he can, has tour managed us in the past across the US, and often sells our merch. He’s an absolute champion, not of my career, necessarily, but of me. He refuses to offer feedback on songs or a performance. Which can be frustrating. But in the long run I appreciate that. He doesn’t prop me up in any way. He has made me a much stronger person. It means I only listen to myself and my band, I don’t go seeking approval from anyone.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your musical journey looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Fullbrook: No… that idea just doesn’t appeal to me at all.

Olympic Girls” is available Friday from Ba Da Bing.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jill Morrison

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Photo By: Liz Rosa

Jill Morrison is kicking off 2019 right. With two projects reaching the masses in January – the UFO-themed series “Project Blue Book” at A&E and the recently-released sequel “Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls” – the British Columbia native is enjoying the contrast in tone of the two converging projects. And while delving into the real-life intrigue of the alien mystery was an enjoyable journey, “Benchwarmers” allowed her to do the thing she enjoys most… a trait she inherited from her dad… making people laugh.

We recently sat down with Morrison to discuss how being responsible with the truth feeds a performance, her opinion on life beyond the stars, and the importance of our funny bones.

TrunkSpace: You have kicked off 2019 in style with two big projects, the film “Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls” and “Project Blue Book” for A&E. Is seeing a series or film released just as exciting as doing the physical work or have you already emotionally moved on by the time they see the light of day?
Morrison: Filming and being on set is the best thing ever. But when the project comes out, it’s really fun. It can depend on the project and how excited I might be for that particular show. But it’s pretty wonderful to see your work come to light, and to be appreciated. Starting the year off with these two amazing contrasting projects feels pretty great. “Project Blue Book” is so complex and interesting. And “Benchwarmers” allowed me to do my favorite thing, making people laugh. So it’s really fulfilling to see that happen.

TrunkSpace: “Project Blue Book” is based on the true story of U.S. Air Force-sponsored investigations into UFO sightings that spanned decades. As an actress, does working on a project that is steeped in reality bring a different set of responsibilities in terms of performance?
Morrison: What a fantastic question. Yes it does. I think one of the most important aspects of being in a period piece is to pay attention to society at the time. A woman like Faye must have had to work very hard in the U.S. Air Force to have this position. Understanding the real Dr. Quinn helped me form the strength and intelligence his assistant would have. Being responsible with the truthful story feeds your acting. It’s fascinating. I want to be as loyal to that as possible, because I want the audience to believe I am that woman. The production is so incredible and thorough with being as truthful to reality as possible, down to the tiniest detail, that it’s impossible not to learn from that and to feel like you are in another world. On set I would feel like I was sitting in a museum sometimes. It’s beautiful the art behind this project.

TrunkSpace: What can you tell us about your character Faye and where she fits into the ongoing storyline of “Project Blue Book?”
Morrison: Faye plays the assistant to Michael Malarkey’s character Dr. Quinn at the U.S. Air Force base. One of the cool things that I loved about filming was the secrecy of it. I didn’t always know what Faye knew. I got to find out as filming went along. Which was such a cool process for me as an actor. She protected secrets and was very selective with the information she released. She is allowed to be a part of a small circle of people in this, and her part is to stand guard to her boss and her country.

TrunkSpace: We’re sure this is part of the playbook when you star in a project that revolves around aliens and it would be a real swing and a miss for us not to ask, SO, do you believe in life beyond the stars? Is the truth out there?
Morrison: I absolutely believe in UFOs! I can’t imagine that in this vast, incredible universe that we would be alone. I also think there is just too much proof, especially after being so educated from working on the show. I don’t want to meet one… but I believe yes, we are not alone….

TrunkSpace: Speaking of swings and misses, “Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls” is a baseball comedy. Looking back on your work in the film, what moment – in terms of laughs – are you most looking forward to an audience seeing?
Morrison: I’m really excited for the montages!! (Laughter) So fun to film. Shots of us being just terrible at baseball, and then when we improve! We had a blast filming this and watching each other get up there and be fun and silly. Some of us were nervous when we had to actually be good at ball, but we had practiced so much in between takes, that we nailed it!

TrunkSpace: Do you feel more pressure when performing in a comedy given that comedy, especially nowadays, feels very viewer-specific? Is it hard to find the beats and deliver on a joke that a broad audience will be able to laugh along with?
Morrison: I guess I just figure if the kind of comedy I’m doing isn’t up one person’s alley, I know there are a lot of people who will enjoy it. I myself love broad comedy, watching it and acting in it. I really crack myself up a lot, and am mostly just having a great time being silly. Feeling very grateful that I get to do this for a living, and mostly worry about all the people who will laugh!

Photo By: Liz Rosa

TrunkSpace: We’re suckers for “Supernatural” here, which is a series that you appeared in and has employed actors in and around the Vancouver area for well over a decade now. How important are shows like “Supernatural” and others that call Canada their home to the development of the talent pool in and around the city?
Morrison: I think the talent in Vancouver is pretty insanely versatile! So many talented people! The community here is very grateful for shows like “Supernatural.” We have all gotten to play so many unique kinds of roles on sci-fi shows like this. It’s our bread and butter. But, I also think they are lucky to have us! Dedicated, hard working, true actors in this town. As well as our crews. They are the bees knees!

TrunkSpace: Lots of characters have met their demise in “Supernatural” and often in memorable ways. Yours was no different. Have you had any other unfortunate on-camera endings that beat out death by photocopier?
Morrison: (Laughter) Death by copier was pretty fun! I have died in a number of ways. It’s for sure one of my favorite ways I have died! I have been shot, electrocuted, drowned, stabbed, neck broken… you name it! Though, I think I really enjoyed “Van Helsing” most. It was challenging to be shot in the head from behind and to have my body slump down. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It was cooool! I also enjoyed being electrocuted because I got to fall down some stairs and shake about!

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Morrison: The highlight of my career? Wow! Well, I’m gonna have to say working on the sitcom “Package Deal.” It was the most wonderful time of my life working with Andrew Ornstein’s creative mind. Being in a sitcom has always been my dream. I was part of such a fun one, with the most amazing funny family. I miss them all the time. It was the best – I would drive to work with the biggest grin on my face. I loved my character, Nikki. I loved the format of the four camera, the excitement of the ever-changing script and the live audience. It was a special time, and I truly hope to be able to do something like that again.

TrunkSpace: Jim Morrison. Van Morrison. Matthew Morrison. Grant Morrison. And the list goes on. What is with all of the super talented/creative Morrisons?!?!
Morrison: Ah! That’s so nice! It’s a pretty cool last name isn’t it. Well, my favorite Morrison was my dad. That dude made me laugh, and taught me all about comedy by just being him – his silly self. Where would we be without our funny bones?

Project Blue Book” airs Tuesdays on A&E.

Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls” is available now on DVD and VOD.

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Opening Act

The Rayo Brothers

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Photo By: LeeAnn Stephan

Artist: The Rayo Brothers

Socials: Twitter/Instagram/Facebook

Hometown: Lafayette, LA

TrunkSpace: We’re about two months away from the release of “Victim & Villain.” As you gear up to share new music with the masses, what emotions do you juggle with?
Rayo Brothers: Gratitude and anticipation. We’re truly grateful for the support of our fans. And we’re grateful for the super talented people who were willing to work with us to make this album our best work so far. We can’t wait to get it out there for everyone to hear.

TrunkSpace: This is the band’s third album. No one is closer to the music than you. As you listen back to the earliest creative iterations of the band and compare it to what is on “Victim & Villain,” where do you hear the biggest differences? Were those changes by design or a natural progression?
Rayo Brothers: We started out much more on the folk side of things. Mostly acoustic instruments – guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin and drums. On our second album, we started to expand the sound and dynamics: including electric guitars and bass, and instruments that provide sustain and texture like violin and pedal steel. On this album we’ve moved even further in that direction with string arrangements and horn arrangements, which is a first for us. It has been a natural progression – as we get more comfortable presenting our songs to the audience, we get more confident in trying out new things.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with “Victim & Villain” as you prepare to share it with listeners?
Rayo Brothers: We’ve always put a lot of focus on the lyrics and songwriting, so we hope that people will appreciate that. But with this album we’re especially proud of the production value. Working with such expert professionals like our engineer Tony Daigle and producer Louis Michot, not to mention a handful of other truly great musicians, really took this album to the next level for us. When we were writing and rehearsing these songs before the studio sessions, we really couldn’t imagine how great the final result would sound.

TrunkSpace: The roots of the band stretch back to Lafayette, Louisiana. Do you believe that a geographic location can directly influence an artist, and if so, how did your hometown have an impact on the music that the Rayo Brothers create?
Rayo Brothers: Our region is steeped in a unique blend of cultures and their music – French, African, Cajun, blues, jazz, country, rock n roll. Music is an integral part of life here. Growing up, playing music was a part of everyday family life. With our parents, and also at any family gathering with the extended family. There’s a lot of bands and a few Grammy wins and nominations in our extended family (including our cousin Louis Michot of Lost Bayou Ramblers, who produced this album). We feel solidly rooted in music here, and this album is just the next branch extending out from that tree.

TrunkSpace: There is no false advertising in the name of the band. You guys (Jesse and Daniel Reaux) are actual brothers. How does that impact the writing process? Is there a creative kinship that exists between you two?
Rayo Brothers: Very much so. We both write songs for the band; sometimes we’ll write on our own but often it’s a collaborative process. Being brothers, we have a shared history and memories, a lot of the same influences. We easily know where the other is coming from with an idea, and we help each other build on those ideas. And we tend to agree on the lyrical and aesthetic direction of the songs.

TrunkSpace: On the opposite side of that songwriting coin, does sibling rivalry ever seep into the creative process? Do things ever go full Oasis/Gallagher brothers for the Rayo Brothers?
Rayo Brothers: We’re not really rivals when it comes to music. We each do our thing and it compliments the other. We have the typical sibling rivalry when it comes to other things though – working out, martial arts sparring, stuff like that.

TrunkSpace: Is there something creatively inspiring about working within a band atmosphere? Does creativity inspire creativity?
Rayo Brothers: We almost always do the lyric writing with just the two brothers. But when it comes to musical arrangements that’s a collaborative process with the whole band. Each of the guys has their own set of influences and ideas, so we have a broad range of possibility when we start working on each song. It’s a lot of fun working that way.

TrunkSpace: Many musicians say that writing is a form of personal therapy. Is it that way for you? Do you find yourselves saying and expressing things in song that you wouldn’t be able to do as easily in real life?
Rayo Brothers: Yeah, it’s easier to express and explore emotion in a song than in real life. Sometimes songwriting is a way to try to take a feeling and figure out why that feeling is there, try to understand it – so in a way it is like therapy.

TrunkSpace: When all is said and done and you hang up your instruments for good, what do you hope you’re remembered for? What do you want your musical legacy to be?
Rayo Brothers: Just that we made something beautiful and honest, even if only a few people ever hear it.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could just ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your musical journey looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Rayo Brothers: No – we’re enjoying the journey of creating without knowing where it’s going. And anyway, if we knew the future it would influence our decisions and the future would change, right? Isn’t that how time travel works?

Victim & Villain” is available March 29 from Nouveau Electric Records.

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Musical Mondaze

The Bottle Rockets

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Sonically, The Bottle Rockets are a different band than they were when they first began writing and performing together in 1992, though lead singer and guitarist Brian Henneman admits that the musical metamorphoses that they’ve gone through are never as profound to the listeners as they are to themselves.

With a cleaner, crisper vibe, their latest album “Bit Logic” (available now from Bloodshot Records) may be their biggest leap yet, but at the same time, it’s a sound that they feel closer to than the distorted “fist fight” that had come to define them over their nearly 30-year career.

We recently sat down with Henneman to discuss fan families, the far off drunken days of their youth, and why you’ll be hard-pressed to make present day ZZ Top comparisons.

TrunkSpace: The band has been at this a long time. Are there still firsts for you out there in terms of experiences for the band? Does it still feel fresh when you hit the road?
Henneman: No. Not after 25 years. We’ve pretty much have seen everything that you can see. It’s just always fun to get out of town for a while, but no, there’s really nothing fresh anymore. I don’t think so. I think we’ve done it all.

TrunkSpace: Your personal time in music stretched before The Bottle Rockets. Has your artistic point of view changed as you’ve grown older and experienced more of life?
Henneman: Oh yeah. Sure. It’s just… you see things different when you’re older than you do when you’re younger, that’s a fact. The view from here is different than the view from 25 years ago, that’s for sure.

TrunkSpace: Taking into account that view from here, does present day Brian still relate to the songs you were writing 25 years ago?
Henneman: Amazingly, yes. That was just sort of a lucky break on my part 25 years ago, I guess. I wasn’t planning to be doing it. I wasn’t even thinking about that maybe I would still be singing those songs 25 years later. That was just something within, I guess – some self-protecting circuit.

TrunkSpace: When you play songs live that were written 25 years ago, do perform them for you, or is it for the fans? Are the fans growing with you or are you seeing new generations discovering The Bottle Rockets?
Henneman: Both. You know what we see a lot of is these kids of the original fans, so it’s like a family affair. You get these younger people coming, but they know everything because their parents were playing it. That’s interesting.

TrunkSpace: That is interesting. For the listener, you build a memory around a song or an album and it’s got to be cool to be able to see now that there is this connective tissue between various generations and that younger kids are forming their own ties.
Henneman: Absolutely, yeah. I know. That is interesting. It’s interesting to see the younger people have different songs attached to their memories. It’s funny. We’ll go to some town, I can’t really name them but you get into certain places where you realize that maybe this whole audience hasn’t heard anything that we’ve made since 1997. It’s kind of like they just want to hear all the old stuff. It’s weird. It does happen, and just kind of randomly. You can tell when it’s going on. You’ll play new stuff but they’ll just keep wanting the old stuff.

TrunkSpace: We’re certainly guilty of that. You put on your favorite record and you listen over and over again… trapped in a musical loop.
Henneman: Me too. I lost touch with Graham Parker after “Squeezing Out Sparks.” I’m the same way. It’s just how people do it.

TrunkSpace: Have The Bottle Rockets albums become chapters of your life?
Henneman: Yeah, for sure. It’s funny though because now, it’s like this version of the band with the current members has been together longer than any other version of the band. It’s like the old stuff, the really old stuff, was the other variations of the band and sort of just assimilated to memories of the new band now. “I have a new band, which is the oldest band that’s been running.” It’s like those really far off memories from the old wild drunken days and whatever. If you force yourself to remember them, you can remember them but everything just seems that this has been the only band. It’s been that long.

Photo By: Cary Horton

TrunkSpace: As you look over the catalog of music that you’ve created, where do you hear the biggest changes over the years?
Henneman: I think the biggest changes have come in recent times. Like the last two albums were both pretty big changes compared to the old days. There was a period of time where no matter what we did, I mean, even if we would made an effort to do something different, people would still hear it the same way. We wouldn’t hear it that way, but there was a period of years where no matter what we’d try to do, they’d still always put out ZZ Top references. And then you go back and hear it and go, “Oh, okay, I can see that.” It never is as different as we think it is, but I think the biggest differences have really come in the last two albums and it’s in motion. Like with this newest one, “Bit Logic,” it’s like that’s the direction things are going… cleaner. That big, loud, dirty guitar sound, I don’t do that anymore. I mean, I never say never of course, but I don’t see it coming back because it’s just… it’s changed. But still, it’s the same band. You’ve got landmarks. You know who it is.

Probably one of the biggest changes was when we first started doing those living room shows… just acoustic guitars, no microphones. We’ve been doing that for years now, but when we first started doing it, it was like all of a sudden we realized that people were maybe getting the songs for the first time. It was like all of a sudden people were like, “Oh, wow.” It was like they were talking about lyrics. And then we realized that all those years and all those loud guitars, that people weren’t even really hearing what the songs were about. That started steering the ship a little bit.

TrunkSpace: So going back a bit to the start of our conversation, what would Brian of 25 years ago think of “Bit Logic?” Would it seem like a stretch to him?
Henneman: Good question. Here’s a funny thing about this band is, 25 years ago, I didn’t even really think about stuff like that. It was just like everything was of the moment. It was like this is what we do, this is how we’re doing it and then somebody is going to capture this on a recording and it’s going to go out there and we’re going to go out and drive around and eat cheeseburgers and get drunk. It was just the simple, “Woo hoo, we’re out of the house!” I didn’t even really think about it. I think that the me now relates to the old thing better because the old me wouldn’t even think about the new thing, but if we had just done what we’re doing now way back then, I that would have worked too.

In those days, it was like, “Turn up the guitars, go man go!” The Neil Young influence was way heavier back then. It was like, okay, we wanted to sound like that, but it wasn’t like something that was, “We’re going to sound like Neil Young dammit!” That’s just kind of how it naturally was. We were loud and guitars sound that way loud and this is just how it goes. But you know, I liked cleaner guitar sound stuff back then too. In fact, I probably liked it better than the stuff we were doing as far as listening goes. I don’t know, I think maybe now we’re just living out actually closer to the stuff we used to listen to.

TrunkSpace: As artists, you always have to go back to doing what inspires you and makes you happy, because at the end of the day, why do it if it doesn’t?
Henneman: Right. Right! And that big loud thing, it was kind of a burden after a while. In the early days it didn’t matter because it was exciting and blah, blah, blah, blah, but it became sort of like a drag that was kind of like we’d go see other bands or whatever who didn’t do that and be kind of jealous of it. They don’t have to do that. Playing real tight together and everything sounds great and you can hear everything. And then we always knew that it would be like a fist fight when we’d get on stage. The sound of a frigging riot going on. And it took a long time to come around to changing that. In fact, we’re still working on it. We’re still perfecting that.

Bit Logic” is available now from Bloodshot Records.

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Trunk Stubs

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

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Photo By: Shervin Lainez

Artist: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

City Attended: Fall River, MA

Venue: The Narrows Center

Concert Date: 01-25-19

The Reason We Went: With a mesmerizing, grandiose voice that can transport you into any song, original or cover, Sister Sparrow, aka Arleigh Kincheloe, has wowed us with her studio recordings – including 2018’s Gold – so we made it our mission to observe her in the wild, uncaged and set free to fly above an audience.

What We Thought: Those Dirty Birds can chirp! While Kincheloe is clearly a star who effortlessly commands your attention, the band that surrounds her is flocking fantastic. Each member of the seven-piece musical ensemble had their individual moments to shine, including a rousing trumpet solo by Phil Rodriguez that brought the crowd to its collective feet. Keyboardist Nat Osborn also oozes star quality, which shined through as he handled partial vocals on a cover of Toto’s “Rosanna” while remaining an enchanting focal point throughout the set. Kincheloe meanwhile didn’t disappoint, moving us with her wide-ranging vocals and entertaining us with her natural stage presence. One thing was made clear by the end of the night… see this band live because they will exceed every single expectation.

Bonus Takeaway: The venue was fantastic for soaking in the sound of a live performance, including the opening act, Boston-based GA-20, who played a spirited blues set that inspired us to listen to some Buddy Guy on the ride home following the show.

And that’s why we’re giving this show…

Check out our interview with Kincheloe here.

The featured photo is not from the actual show. Courtesy of the Sister Sparrow Twitter page @SisterSparrowDB.

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Chilling Out

Chris Conner

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Chilling Out is where TrunkSpace talks all things horror and genre with those who work in the projects that give us the thrills and chills to keep coming back for more. This time out we’re chatting with Chris Conner, star of the new film “The Harvesting,” which is available now on DVD and Digital HD.

We recently sat down with Conner to discuss the horror of isolation, playing in the fantastical worlds he loved as a child, and inventing Edgar Allan Poe.

TrunkSpace: The isolation of farmlands has been terrifying us since we first saw “Children of the Corn” way back in 1984. When you initially read the script for “The Harvesting,” what was the potential that you saw in it? Was it psychological? Was it jump scare-based? Something else entirely?
Conner: Yes, psychological. I think it was the feeling of isolation. It seemed that this family was at a breaking point and instead of communicating and working together, Jake retreats to the country. The farmland should be a place of quiet solace…

TrunkSpace: In the film you play that man, Jake, a husband and father who is enthusiastic about the idea of getting “away from it all” as he heads out to the country with his family. Is part of the terror in a film like “The Harvesting” the idea of helplessness as a parent to protect the family, because as parents ourselves, that’s certainly the vibe we felt in watching the trailer?
Conner: Sure. And the need to reconnect with our own childhoods through our children. If they can see where Dad grew up maybe they will understand him better. If everyone could just slow down and listen, the family could be saved.

TrunkSpace: Isolation certainly increases the creep factor in a horror film, but how does it impact production? In shooting the film, were you just as “away from it all” as the fictional characters themselves?
Conner: We weren’t too isolated as a production or as actors. It was made on a shoestring so we all were a big messy family shooting it. Dan (Shultz), our producer, was a little like Jake in the film, just keeping the family together.

TrunkSpace: What was it about Jake that you wanted to help bring to life? What aspects of him did you have the most fun inhabiting for the duration of the production?
Conner: It’s fun to play in the horror genre in general. Playing into certain tropes or against them is always a good challenge. And young dad roles are a new thing for me, so it was fun with the kids as well.

TrunkSpace: For the viewer, the final product is always what’s memorable when it comes to a film or series, but for those working on the project, we have to imagine that it is the experience that stays with you. For you, what was the most memorable aspect of getting to work on “The Harvesting?”
Conner: Lancaster, Pennsylvania is a beautiful part of the country. I’ll always remember the rolling hills and the kind folk there.

TrunkSpace: Horror as a genre seems to have a built-in audience. Is it appealing working on a project knowing that, in a way, you’re going to have eyes on it based on the interest in the genre as a whole?
Conner: Totally. I recently wrote a western and that is exactly why I did it. You watch things growing up and you want to play in those worlds. Sci-fi, horror, westerns – all those genres are places I want to play. They have an audience AND I’m a big fan.

TrunkSpace: We loved your character Poe in “Altered Carbon” and we were sorry to see him – spoiler alert – go. Is that one of those roles that comes along and you instantly know it has the chance to be special from a performance standpoint?
Conner: Yes and no. Poe wasn’t in the books and we had to “invent” him as we went along. Really great writing helped with that. And it seemed to click for me.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Conner: Poe in “Altered Carbon.” It’s a really special character. And my first time getting to contribute more of myself in something that ends up on screen. You mostly get that in the theater, but I got a chance to do it on a really big Netflix show and that is just awesome.

Conner as Poe in “Altered Carbon”

TrunkSpace: Is there a character that you portrayed – perhaps even in a guesting capacity – that you wished you had more time to spend with and explore further?
Conner: Most everything I have ever done! A lot of TV and film gets rushed and I always think about how I would have done it differently. But then you gotta move on and be in the moment for the next story to tell.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Conner: Naw… I think being surprised along the journey is so cool. I turn to my wife all the time and say, “How did we get here?!” It’s been a helluva ride so far and in 10 years I’m sure I’ll be shocked at where I am.

Hopefully, in a good way.

The Harvesting” is available now on DVD and Digital HD.

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Sit and Spin

Kevin Devine’s Only Yourself

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Artist: Kevin Devine

Song Title: “Only Yourself”

Single Sentence Singles Review: Reminiscent of Jim Croce and his ability to infuse relatability into both the surface and the depth of his songwriting, Kevin Devine delivers the best three minutes of our day in a song that fully carried us away.

Beyond The Track: “Only Yourself” appears on the Devinyl Splits No. 11 (a split with Cavetown), set to drop on February 1 from Bad Timing Records. The song first premiered at BrooklynVegan. Tour dates are available here.

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Wingman Wednesday

Josh Cruddas

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Photo By: Tina Picard

After reading the script, Josh Cruddas fought hard to be a part of “Polar” – the new Netflix film based on the graphic novel by Victor Santos –  so hard in fact that he worried that he may have come on too strong when he first met with director Jonas Åkerlund and producer Jeremy Bolt. Calling the screenplay the most “exciting, badass, funny and promising” he had ever read, the Nova Scotia native’s tenacity paid off and he was cast as the assassin Alexei, proving that talent, when mixed with passion, is a powerful combination.

We recently sat down with Cruddas to discuss the universe he’d sell his car to be a part of, the terror of being trained in terrifying weaponry, and the unexpected benefits of his career as an actor.

TrunkSpace: “Polar” is based on the web-comic/graphic novel of the same name. Comics continue to be a well that Hollywood taps, both for film and television adaptation. As an actor, what is it like having that source material (and existing audience!) available to you, but at the same time, not having the pressure of stepping into a brand that the masses have been exposed to yet, like a Spider-Man or Batman?
Cruddas: To me, it’s incredibly exciting. New, quality IP in film is hard to find these days, with the traditional studio model less likely to take big-budget risks on content without a big built-in fanbase. I think Jeremy (Bolt), Keith (Goldberg) and the other brilliant minds at Dark Horse and Netflix have really stumbled upon a gold mine in Victor Santos’ graphic novels; here’s a fantastic comic world begging for a film adaptation, compete with some die-hard fans, but underground enough that the rest of us can still be surprised by everything when we see the movie version. And for me, as the actor, I can rest a little easier knowing that nobody’s comparing my version of the character to, let’s say, Daniel Day-Lewis’ 1994 Oscar-winning version, you know? That all being said, I’d sell my car for a chance to be in a Marvel movie.

TrunkSpace: The original comic was very stylized, and what’s great about the film adaptation is that a lot of that is carried over in terms of how it’s shot and the use of color. Visually, what makes the work you did on this project unique in comparison to previous roles?
Cruddas: I got VERY lucky in this film to work with Jonas (
Åkerlund), who’s a visual maestro, as well has his team of PäEkberg, Susie Coulthard, Lea Carlson and Emma Fairley. These people have created this brilliantly vibrant world that myself and the other actors get to live in. I think it’s a welcome rebuke of a lot of the grey, so-dark-and-shaky-you-can’t-even-see-the-fight-scenes cinematography style we see in certain big action movies and TV these days. The TV show I’m shooting right now is also very colorful too, but I’ve never done anything as stylized and sleek as “Polar” before. Usually the most colorful thing onscreen with me is the four strands of ginger hair I have left on my head!

TrunkSpace: The trailer definitely has that bad-ass, pump-you-up feel to it. Upon first glance, it’s sort of “Taken” meets “A History of Violence.” When you first read for the project, what excited you most about it and did it meet those first impression expectations when you called wrap?
Cruddas: I thought I had made a mistake, reading the screenplay before meeting Jonas and Jeremy last winter – it was one of the most exciting, badass, funny and promising scripts I’d ever read. So when I went to meet with them, I loved the role so much and was so desperate for the part that I thought I went completely over the top in my excitement for the job. Thankfully they gave it to me anyway, and I think the whole team (including our huge, incredible crew who worked longer hours and longer nights than I ever had to) really captured the magic I found in the script as we shot the film.

TrunkSpace: For the viewer, the most memorable part of a film or television series is the end product, but for those involved in it, we would imagine it’s the experience. For you, what aspects of working on “Polar” will you carry with you through the rest of your career and life?
Cruddas: Good point! There were a lot of memories I’ll take with me from shooting “Polar.” The A-Team (assassin squad) really bonded over the months, so we would go sing karaoke till the wee hours and post the results to our group chat… Johnny Knoxville once sank me in a game of pool by looking me dead in the eyes while he pocketed the 8-ball, and that kind of humiliation is something I’ll never forget. Also, being trained on the weapons was a terrifying and humbling experience – regular people like myself should have no access to those things! But more than anything, it gave me the confidence to play more action-oriented, stunt-heavy roles like this one in the future.

TrunkSpace: The film is a Netflix original. You also worked on “Cardinal” for CTV/Hulu, and will be appearing in “Wayne” for YouTube Premium. With so many platforms producing such incredible, character-driven content these days, how has that landscape opened things up for actors? Are there more opportunities today than there were even a few years ago?
Cruddas: Definitely. I was lucky to pop by on “Wayne” last summer and being in North Bay during the autumn for “Cardinal” was one of the coolest experiences of my career so far. It reunited me with my buddy Billy Campbell who was my first on-screen “dad” in “Copperhead” for Warner Bros back in 2012. So I don’t know if it’s just that I’ve finally figured out how to not be the world’s worst actor, or if there’s just more opportunity with Netflix’s incredible investment in Canadian productions and all these new streaming services (my next show is for another new streaming service) – but I’m just grateful to be working!

TrunkSpace: You’re also an award-winning music composer whose work has appeared in numerous projects. How do you balance your creative interests and do you view them as separate paths or one continuous path with different stops along the way?
Cruddas: I was super lucky that my parents decided to enroll me in piano lessons when I was six. I had an incredible teacher named Diane Krochko who didn’t punish me for not wanting to just play Mozart all the time. She actively encouraged creativity, along with a lot of other mentors in my early life, including my parents who home-educated me and my sisters who appeared in short films myself and my friends used to make. I think all of those experiences and people guided me to where I am hopefully going now, by giving me the chance to play – both musically and onscreen.

TrunkSpace: Creative people are always their own worst critic. Are you harder on yourself as an actor or as a musician?
Cruddas: Probably as an actor. But it’s fairly equal. I often think while I’m working on something that I’m the worst actor who ever lived and I’d be better off switching careers as soon as the cameras stop rolling. It’s only when I get up the courage to watch my work after it comes out that I realize it’s not abhorrently bad and I convince myself to keep at it. Musically, sometimes I’ll spend hours on four bars of a theme because it’s just not feeling right, but then I’ll often get carried away by the emotion when I’m writing – if I can make myself cry with a few notes, then I hope it can do the same for the audience.

Photo By: Tina Picard

TrunkSpace: What has been one of the most unexpected benefits of a career in the arts that you’ve experienced, but could have never anticipated when you first set out to pursue your dreams?
Cruddas: Cool question. Probably passing along the few things I’ve learned along the way. One of the greatest privileges of my life is my role volunteering at SickKids hospital in Toronto, reading stories and singing songs in the library there. I’m also very lucky to teach at a children’s performing arts/triple threat school called Stagecoach in Canada, and I never thought I’d enjoy that job as much as I do. I had turned down numerous teaching gigs in the past because I thought I’d be rubbish at it, but my talented friend Emma Smit convinced me to take over her class one day five years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I’m quite sure teaching acting has made me a better actor, and the kids keep me grounded – anytime I have to cut my already-receding hair for a role, I step into the classroom and get roasted more thoroughly than a Thanksgiving turkey.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Cruddas: That’s a difficult one! “Polar,” “Cardinal” and “Copperhead” are up there, as well as a film called “Duet” that I made a couple years ago with my best friend since age six, Andrew Coll. When I heard a violin section play music that originated in my head for the first time on a film called “10000 Miles,” that was insanely special too. And the project I’m shooting right now is extremely close to my heart but I’m not allowed to breathe a word about it or I’ll be dragged through the streets by my hair.

Hmm. I think more than anything, just being able to do what I love for a living is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and it’s not lost on me how lucky I am to be able to do that.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Cruddas: Great question. I think I’d want to keep my career a surprise for future Josh (hopefully I still have one), but I would love to see the state of the world in 10 years. We’re in a scary, pivotal spot right now, with social media, fear-mongering and gerrymandering the enemies of truth, democracy and our planet at large. I hope more than anything that in 10 years, we’ve invited empathy and facts back to the table, and we’ve started letting smart and compassionate people make the decisions again.

Polar” premieres Friday on Netflix.

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Trunk Bubbles

Bachan

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Name: Sebastian Carrillo (BACHAN)

Website: I’m all over the place. Probably best to just go hereYou’ll see there my two active webcomics and my Patreon. Other than that, my Instagram is here.

Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: Asterix the Gaul. (Followed by Valerian and Lucky Luke. My mom was into French comics.)

Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Never really had one. I’m a fan of artists and authors – characters never were that important to me.

Latest Work: 2018 was really active. I did two comics for Marvel: Monsters Unleashed #10 and Hulk #11 with Mariko Tamaki. And I did the backup ‘light’ story in Boom’s Power Rangers. Plus, my two webcomics.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Bachan: Too European to be American, too American to be European. Nuveau-Mexican? Whimsical?

Not totally cartoony, not totally realistic. Whenever I try to do “serious” stuff it looks sort of “light.” I’ve given up trying to define my work.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Bachan: VERY important, even before I knew exactly what they were. I was fortunate in that both my parents were into comics. My mom was into French Bande Dessinée and my dad into Charlie Brown (Peanuts) and OLD MAD Magazine. (Kurtzman) I grew up watching all those things and trying to draw what I saw. And I say “watching” instead of “reading” because back then I didn’t understand either French or English. It was just a totally visual experience.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Bachan: Really early on I was both creeped out and fascinated by the old Harvey Kurtzman MAD, particularly the Wally Wood stories. Then, as a kid, I got Spanish language translations of French comics, and loved those. I spent a lot of time drawing but I didn’t think I would DO comics. I always thought I would end up as an architect or engineer.

When I was 15, I came across superhero comics for the first time – DC mostly – and got really impressed, particularly with the work of John Byrne, Alan Davis and later, with Arthur Adams and his old stuff like Longshot. That’s when I decided I wanted to do this for a living.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career in comics? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Bachan: Not really. I didn’t think I would get to enter the American industry. Back then there was no internet and no real contact with the business outside of my country… Mexico, by the way. So all I wanted was to do comics here. I got my first job when I was 18 drawing in Novedades publishers here. I was nowhere near competent, but they produced so many comics back then, that they had really low quality standards, so I got in relatively quickly.

TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Bachan: I’m not sure I’ve had a big break as such. It’s been more like a very long list of better opportunities that start and then stop. But the next time I start again, I somehow end up in a better place. It’s been extremely gradual for me. And it still feels like a struggle sometimes.

TrunkSpace: A lot of people say that breaking into comics is the hardest part of working in comics. How long did it take you before you started to see your comic book dreams become a reality?
Bachan: I think the big thing for me was coming to the realization that I don’t need to convince anybody for me to do comics. Comics are just printed paper joined together with staples. I stopped trying to convince people that I was good, and just did fanzines. Those fanzines then became my portfolio and that work ended up opening doors, sometimes without me even trying. It’s the same thing today, only it’s webcomics instead of fanzines. I never spent a lot of time in the public relations part of this.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when youre sketching or doing warm-ups?
Bachan: Yeah. Bulbo. He’s just too easy to draw.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that youd like to work on in the future and why?
Bachan: I’d love to do Judge Dredd some day. I love the tone of that universe. Again, not quite so realistic or serious, but not that cartoony either. I’m really attracted to that in comics.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Bachan: Basically, I’d love to just do comics and live off of that instead of splitting my time doing storyboards or animatics for advertising. (That takes about 75 percent of my time drawing.) If I could do that with my own characters, and stories to boot… that would be THE DREAM!

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Bachan: The two things that kept me working all this years are speed and adaptability. And I think I can make my characters ‘act’ convincingly.

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Bachan: Not really. I went full digital back in 2006, and haven’t looked back since. I even still draw on an Intuos Wacom tablet. I developed the skill to draw looking at the screen while my hand is drawing out of my sight. I don’t think that’s needed anymore, but I still do it.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Bachan: Based on my experience, to just start. Do a webcomic, produce a LOT. Don’t worry all that much about getting permission from anybody to do what you love. Let the work develop and then let it find a place for you.

TrunkSpace: Making appearances at conventions: Love it, leave it, or a combination of both?
Bachan: Used to love it, now I’m a bit tired of it. But I love the opportunity conventions give me to meet peers and learn different ways to do stuff. Nowadays it’s the social element of conventions that keep me going to them.

TrunkSpace: What is the craziest/oddest thing youve ever been asked to draw as a commission?
Bachan: Two of my characters (male demons) kissing each other. (In my mind they had always been brothers – it never crossed my mind that readers would see them as lovers!)

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2019?
Bachan: I’m finishing the third part – and final – of Nirta Omirli. A science fiction series I’ve been working for AGES for Humanoids Publishing in France, written by the amazing JD Morvan. That should come out before the year ends.

Oh! And the second Bill & Ted book is about to come out in less than a week… I think!

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