August 2020

Sit and Spin

Pete Kronowitt’s Roly Poly


Song Title: Roly Poly

Single Sentence Singles Review: Music is an escape, but it can also carry a message, and in “Roly Poly” Kronowitt reminds us all that we can either be part of the problem or the solution, and he does it while entertaining – not haranguing.

Beyond The Track: Kronowitt’s latest album, Do Something Now (pictured left), is available September 25.

And that means…

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Listen Up



Christopher Lee Lewis, former frontman for The Kinison, has put himself out there – good and bad – for the world to examine with his new solo project, aptly named LEWIS. And while he admits that there is a considerable amount of vulnerability in his writing these days, he’s wearing the personal reflection like a badge of honor.

Saying to the world, ‘Hey everyone, I am a fucking nervous wreck!’ wasn’t easy, but I am certainly not hiding anything,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

LEWIS’ debut solo album, Son on the Floor, is available today via Sona Baby Records.

We recently sat down with Lewis to discuss pacing around his garage, leaving a democracy behind, and… opening for a future hologram?

TrunkSpace: Your debut solo album is set to drop today. For you, what has the experience been like releasing a new album in the middle of what will go down as a pretty dark and stressful year for not only the country, but the world?
Lewis: It has been quite worrisome over all; I keep pacing around my garage wondering to myself “is anyone going to hear this?” Since live shows aren’t a thing, beyond Smash Mouth, I cannot go out and support the record in front of people, that part has been frustrating and foreign. What does an artist/band do when you have an album done – you jump on stage to showcase your tunes.

TrunkSpace: Music has been an incredible escape for people during the pandemic. In a way, do you feel like you’re contributing to that feeling of “checking out” for people by giving them new music to listen to?
Lewis: Goodness, I would certainly like to think that I can contribute a bit to the art of “checking out.” Music serves a different purpose for different people. Some listen for lyrical content; others just for background groove while driving. When approaching this record, Paul Fig (my producer) and I decided early on that whatever we do together should be honest and I believe that prevails on this album and allows the listener to go where they desire.

TrunkSpace: Outside of prepping the release of the album, what has been your escape during this time? Have you turned to songwriting more than you normally would have?
Lewis: Paul and I set up a mobile studio rig in my garage so that we could ping-pong ideas for the next record. I generally write music all of the time and the material was building up; we needed a way to file the songs away and work on them remotely. I would not say that I have been writing more than before, but I certainly have not been writing less, but I have been escaping by studying health and experimenting with extended fasts.

TrunkSpace: You’re no stranger to music, but a solo album is a new endeavor for you. How did the experience of writing and recording the album differ from what you already knew? What were the pros and cons of going solo in your eyes?
Lewis: The main difference is that I am the main songwriter – it is not a democracy where a band makes decisions as a whole on vision and strategy of the music. This is why I decided to use LEWIS as my appellation – there is no hiding when you call yourself your last name. When I set out to do a solo record, I knew it was going to all be on my shoulders. I suppose the con is not being able to blame the three or four other guys when something goes array.

TrunkSpace: You’re also a producer. Did songwriter Christopher and producer Christopher ever butt heads in the studio? Is there ever inner conflict when you’re wearing both hats?
Lewis: I assumed that this would be an issue, so I planned ahead and hired Paul to take the helm at producing. Paul and I go back almost 20 years to his days in Amen, even before he started at Sound City. He helped facilitate early Kinison demos as well as showcases before we had ever even toured. I chose Paul due to trust; I knew that he was going to put his heart into the album, as he does for every project he agrees to. Being that our relationship stood the test of almost two decades, I knew he was the one I wanted dialing the record in.

TrunkSpace: If someone sat down to listen to your album front to back, what would they learn about you both as an artist and as a person?
Lewis: There is a considerable amount of vulnerability on this record lyrically. I did not steer away from my anxiousness, my newly found sobriety or the impact of watching my neighbor take his own life. I didn’t shy away from my personal idiosyncrasies like knocking my knees together when I am uncomfortable or biting my nails and spitting them on the floor. In a way I think it is sweet and comical, to be honest. Saying to the world, “Hey everyone, I am a fucking nervous wreck!” wasn’t easy, but I am certainly not hiding anything.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Lewis: I had a lot of help on the album. Sam West, a good friend of Paul’s, came in to do the drums as a session player and he and I ended up hitting it off and becoming buds. I also had close friends (Brian Duke and Frank Figueroa) of mine play bass and keys (Bryan Swarthout). I am proud that the group of musicians we chose to help out all understood the meaning behind the record. I couldn’t have asked for a better pool of players to assist.

TrunkSpace: It can be tough for aspiring creators and musicians to stay the course and follow their dreams. If you could instill one lesson in those who want to pursue a life in music, what would it be?
Lewis: I suppose I should practice what I preach: I believe in consistency and momentum. Don’t stop, trying to realize your dream, you may not end up exactly where you intend, but the journey is well worth the ride.

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?
Lewis: Isn’t everyone playing this hypothetical game right now, perhaps more now than ever? I intend on writing continuously and have a handful of records out in the next 10 years. Maybe by then, live shows will be safe and I can open for Prince’s Hologram Tour.

Son on the Floor is available today via Sona Baby Records.

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The Featured Presentation

Ashley Romans


While pop culture has always been a great distraction, what little new content making it to screens these days feels like stepping into an oasis while trekking through a desert. NOS4A2 fans have surely gobbled up Season 2 – which culminates in its finale this Sunday – and for star Ashley Romans, being a part of that momentary escape for people is a rewarding experience.

For me, being on television and entering people’s homes, minds, and hearts feels like an honor and a responsibility now more than ever,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Romans to discuss changes in her character, baking a cake in the dark, and discovering her deeper self.

TrunkSpace: New series premieres/seasons seem few and far between these days due to the state of the pandemic. With Season 2 of NOS4A2, is it nice to be a part of people’s escape during these tumultuous times – to be their outlet to what was “normal” once?
Romans: For sure, during quarantine it felt like every time I started a new series, show, or some entertainment, those performing were providing a much needed emotional and spiritual service. For me, being on television and entering people’s homes, minds, and hearts feels like an honor and a responsibility now more than ever. I remember when I was younger, between grade school and middle school, the characters on some of the television shows I watched felt like my best friends and confidants. That said, simultaneously the social uprising and the pandemic have given me a gentle reminder of just how unimportant our individual aspirations are except in the context of how it is in service of others and oneself. This reminder is freeing because suddenly the baggage I carry doesn’t seem as heavy. With everything going on we can’t take ourselves as individuals so seriously.

TrunkSpace: In terms of plot, there’s an 8 year gap between Season 1 and Season 2. As an actress, how do you prepare for your character to make that kind of leap because a person can change a lot in nearly a decade? How did Detective Hutter change?
Romans: The big changes in her life are her relationship with Maggie Leigh, her promotion to the FBI, and her partnering with Maggie’s supernatural abilities to catch dangerous strong creatives. A lot of preparation was about personalizing Tabitha’s new priorities in life and her point of view on how her view of the world has changed. There is a certain amount of internal dissonance because although she believes in and wants to serve the FBI, she knows more about the world than her peers and still less about the world of thought than her partner Maggie and Vic. She’s been stuck in this in-between place for a while and this season she has to learn the limits of the bureaucracy she’s been serving.

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, NOS4A2 is the longest time you have ever spent with one character. What is it like getting to have an extended stay with a character and building on what you’ve done week to week, episode to episode?
Romans: Challenging and rewarding because episode to episode you’re thrown into new circumstances that test your point of view and character’s outlook on things. Just as in all our lives there are situations this season that Tabitha has never imagined she’d find herself in and she has to decide who she wants to be and how she wants to behave in those situations. Very often we don’t act as our highest selves in challenging or new situations so I get to witness and participate in a lot of the times Tabitha gets it wrong and all the times she gets it right and it’s all new to me too.

TrunkSpace: For the viewer, the end product is always the most memorable, but for those involved in the project it must go much further than that. What’s the most memorable aspect of getting to work on NOS4A2 that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your life and career?
Romans: Getting to work with such an awesome cast, crew, and fans. In creating any kind of art at this scale it can feel a lot like baking a cake in the dark. You can have all the right ingredients but in the end you really don’t know how it will come out. But we were already steps ahead because we have such amazing leaders in production, cast and crew that set such an incredible tone at the top of the chain that trickled down to the product of the show and the quality and enthusiasm of the fans. Very grateful to witness formula pay off.

TrunkSpace: What has been an unexpected bonus or reward – something you could have never anticipated when you first started your journey as an actress – to a career in the arts? What is an aspect of your life that you wouldn’t have now had you not taken this path, but at the same time, one that you can’t imagine your life without now?
Romans: Wow. Of all the interviews, this is one of the most original questions I’ve received. Well, one reward of acting is finding out different aspects about myself. The path to becoming a good actor is the similar path of knowing yourself deeper. It’s the path of growing in emotional and spiritual intelligence. I have found that success in one area of my life mirrors alignment in seemingly unrelated areas so I’m grateful for acting to exposing me to that. I definitely don’t think I would have moved from New York to Los Angeles if it wasn’t for acting and it’s hard to imagine my life without the family I’ve made here on this coast now.

TrunkSpace: There are ups and downs in any career, but certainly the entertainment industry is known for delivering peaks and valleys. Was there ever a moment where you considered walking away from acting, and if so, what kept you on your path and looking forward?
Romans: For sure. I think it’s possible we’re all smarter when we’re younger. I believe I knew my purpose in life and had a very clear vision for myself when I was a child. Through time and experience my vision gets blurry and I forget. The blurry vision comes and goes but when it’s around for a little longer the voice of self doubt creeps in and spreads. I often think about quitting all my artistic expressions and moving away somewhere remote. And there’s nothing wrong with that choice either. But I practice pausing and asking myself, “Well, who’s voice is that? Is that my voice? Is that what I want or is that the spirit of fear telling me to hide from the bigness of my purpose?” I recognize that voice that tells me to quit is resistance outside of myself and it becomes a little easier to stay focused on what I want.

In the beginning, when I first got to Los Angeles and I was waiting tables, had three different jobs, no car, and trying to make it across town to auditions, class, and rehearsals via public transit – I remember I hardly ever thought of quitting acting at that time because I had already silently accepted that would be my “normal” for a very long time.

Ashley Romans as Tabitha Hutter, Virginia Kull as Linda McQueen, Jonathan Langdon as Lou Carmody, Ashleigh Cummings as Vic McQueen, Jason David as Wayne McQueen, Jahkara J. Smith as Maggie Leigh – NOS4A2 _ Season 2 – Photo Credit: Zach Dilgard/AMC

TrunkSpace: As an actress – a profession where you generally are required to work directly with other people in a scene – how have you kept the tools in your toolbox sharp during this extended period of isolation?
Romans: Keeping up with a lot of self inventory and understanding my own behavior and thus better understanding human behavior. So a lot journaling, reading novels, watching great acting performances in moving storylines. Right now I love shows like Killing Eve, I May Destroy You, Ramy and others.

TrunkSpace: Beyond the pandemic and the social unrest, what will you remember most about 2020? For you, what has been the light in all of the darkness?
Romans: I will most remember the stillness and peace I found in the solitude of quarantine. It didn’t last long but there was a period of a week or so where I felt as though I was living moment to moment in hyper presence. It was hard to hold on to and the moment is also constantly changing and shifting.

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?
Romans: I would hope that I’d have the willpower and focus to decline a trip like that. Mainly because the answer, outcome, and destination is changing moment to moment. It’s my actions that determine my future and my thoughts that determine my actions. IF that glimpse is fixed and not possible to changing than there would be no point in seeing the place I’m going to end up at anyway. And if the possibilities are open to changing there is equally no point in seeing the place I might not end up at all. Ultimately it’s not about the destination but who I become along the way.

The season finale of NOS4A2 airs Sunday on AMC.

Featured image by: Eric Tronolone

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Sit and Spin

Lorenzo Mohr’s Harry Wants To Be Free


Song Title: Harry Wants to Be Free

Single Sentence Singles Review: With a smooth and playful voice reminiscent of Elton John, Mohr provides a spark of energy to our burned out 2020 brains, setting the table for an anticipated self-titled debut that we can’t wait to lay our ears on!

Beyond The Track: What does the song mean? Let’s hear from Mohr directly on that. “It talks about breaking free from the constant presence of digital technology in our lives. It tells the story of Harry, a character who is tired of being constantly surveilled and monitored, a person dreaming of reuniting with nature and a reality that is truer and more alive.”

And that means…

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Sit and Spin

Lydia Loveless’ Wringer


Song Title: Wringer

Single Sentence Singles Review: Previewing her first album in four years, “Wringer” prickles with the pain of divorce and remains on brand with the open book approach to Loveless’ songwriting that we have never been able to get enough of.

Beyond The Track: The upcoming album Daughter (art pictured left) will be released on her new label, Honey, You’re Gonna Be Late Records, on September 25.

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Listen Up

Spun Out


Not every ending is a new beginning, but for ex-NE-HI members Mikey Wells, James Weir and Alex Otake, the death of one band meant the birth of another. With Spun Out, the musicians are leaving it all on the table creatively, bringing everything but the kitchen sink to their songs, and in the process, turning old partnerships into new musical magic.

It always feels special when we work together and I think as a group we really put ourselves out there,” Wells said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

The band’s debut album, Touch The Sound, is available this Friday on Shuga Records/Spun Out Productions.

We recently sat down with Wells and Weir to discuss adjusting in the moment, exploring the visual components of their music, and accomplishing their artistic vision.

TrunkSpace: Several members of the band were together previously in NE-HI. How did having that familiarity, and yet, incorporating new voices and opinions into the mix, impact what Spun Out would ultimately become musically?
Wells: Well, we definitely had the advantage of knowing how to play off of each other. I think we knew how to compliment each other’s playing, but we were really focused on changing up the writing process and learning how to adjust in the moment. Once we knew that we could be constantly changing that element, it was easy to bring other people’s viewpoints into the mix. There’s a lot of spontaneity happening, and making bold choices was always at the forefront.

TrunkSpace: Is there such a thing as creative soulmates and is it evident with the fact that the three of you (Mikey, James, and Alex) continued your artistic journey together? Is it easier to click creatively with some people more than others?
Wells: Starting this project, the three of us had a lot of talks about how we could make this project work. We were very reliant on each other and open about our opinions, but in very good spirits. It always feels special when we work together and I think as a group we really put ourselves out there.

TrunkSpace: Touch The Sound is due to drop August 21. What kind of emotions do you juggle with when releasing new material to the masses, and is the experience different this time around given that the entire world, essentially, has ground to a halt?
Wells: It feels interesting looking back at that time period when the writing and recording for this record was happening. The one thing that connects to the world now for me is the content of the recordings. I think there’s a universality of emotion to the lyrics, which I think plays to the tension of humanity a bit. This record feels very cathartic, which I think is positive.

TrunkSpace: Normally you would tour to support a new release, but that is not something that is possible in every state right now. How has promoting the upcoming album changed? How do you get the word out when people can’t get out themselves?
Wells: I view it as an opportunity to explore visual art in conjunction with the sounds. Making video work and collaborating with visual artists can be really exciting. Live performance is definitely a different and beloved experience, but if it’s not possible, might as well sharpen other skills.

TrunkSpace: If someone sat down and listened to Touch The Sound front to back, what would they learn about you guys and where you’re at as a band and as songwriters in 2020?
Wells: I think a listener would find that we’re a team of music makers interested in crafting forward-thinking tunes for this new decade.

TrunkSpace: Outside of the music itself, what did you want to accomplish with the production on Touch The Sound – which is so rich and full of energy – that perhaps you were unable to achieve on past projects with other bands? Did you accomplish your vision for the album as a whole when you called wrap on the process?
Weir: Great question. The kind of foundation of the band was that we wanted to just throw every idea we had at a song rather than limit ourselves to recording everything live as a band, which is basically the process we had been doing for the last four to five years, so the production end could not have been more important to us just to be able to fully experiment. I think we definitely accomplished our vision and I wouldn’t change anything.

Photo By: Tim Nagle

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Weir: I’m very proud of all of the collaboration that took place with family and friends and also just imagining this album from the beginning and feeling like the demos reached their fullest potential.

TrunkSpace: What has been the most rewarding aspect of creating within Spun Out thus far?
Weir: The growth we’ve experienced on the studio production end. Really coming into our own not only as musicians, but also as “still amateur” producers. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Looking forward, what do you envision Spun Out’s musical journey to be album-to-album? Will the follow-up to Touch The Sound be a departure musically from the songs we hear on the debut?
Weir: We’ve actually been pretty productive throughout quarantine by just creating demos through stems, so we have a nice chunk of the second already done. There will be some similarities, but overall I’d like to take it in a more organic direction, sonically.

TrunkSpace: When you’re not performing or creating music, how do you recharge the creative energy banks?
Weir: Digging for records and jogging works for me. Constantly looking for new sources of inspiration in music and running is a nice way to set everything back to square one.

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?
Weir: I wouldn’t! Important to live in the moment and trust the process.

Touch The Sound is available this Friday via Shuga Records/Spun Out Productions.

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Listen Up

Drug Couple


When Miles and Becca, real-life spouses who moonlight together creatively as the duo Drug Couple, collaborate musically, they strike a balance between their artistic selves and the married couple that fell in love beyond songwriting. And while that magic is apparent on their recently-released EP Choose Your Own Apocalypse, even they admit to having off days.

No better way to ruin a studio day than getting in a couple’s fight with your songwriting partner,” Miles said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with the couple to discuss soothsaying in song, escaping to Vermont, and releasing music into a void.

TrunkSpace: Couples don’t always see eye-to-eye on day-to-day stuff, so how do you manage your creative relationship together? Do you keep a clear separation between who you are together as songwriters and who you are together as significant others?
Miles: I think the only dissonance stems from the fact that I’ve been in bands for a long time, work in studio recording professionally so I can, at times, be more terse in the studio or rehearsal than I normally would be in the confines of a loving romantic relationship. So, every now and then, I have to distinguish or draw a distinction between those two things. It’s hard though, because we also originally formed our interpersonal relationship in the studio, but Becca’s band was paying me to make them a record and I pamper clients a bit more than other collaborators. It’s honestly not much of an issue though on that level, though. That’s the subtle and complex part. The far worse thing and the one that seems more insurmountable is when we’ve just had a stupid fight and are being pissy with each other before we get to/go into work. No better way to ruin a studio day than getting in a couple’s fight with your songwriting partner.
Becca: Yes and no. In general, we work really well together, both creatively and on day-to-day stuff… that’s not to say that we never disagree, but we tend to be really collaborative, and to respect each other’s input. I’ll also say that Miles is being way too hard on himself and he is an incredibly nurturing bandmate. It’s more like, sometimes we’re in the studio and he’s like, “Bec, I need you to set up the mics before you eat dinner” and then I get huffy in a way that I maybe wouldn’t if he wasn’t my significant other. We do try to put relationship dynamics aside and relate to each other as artists when we’re working – that said, Drug Couple is fundamentally us, and it’s us together as partners, so it’s impossible to separate that completely… and I wouldn’t want to because it’s part of what makes it all work.

TrunkSpace: Your new EP, Choose Your Own Apocalypse, has an overarching theme about falling in love during the darkest of times. You started putting these songs together in 2016, but here we are in 2020 and the middle of a pandemic, and we can’t help but think that many of them have become more relevant than when you first started writing. Have they taken on new meaning for you now given everything that’s happening in the present?
Miles: Songwriting can often feel prophetic, and I think that’s because when you’re writing a song you’re hopefully tapping into deeper truths and excavating the ether of human experience. It’s not like our current predicament came out of nowhere… it’s a confluence of events that were fully identifiable and perceivable four years ago.
Becca: I wouldn’t necessarily say that the songs took on new meaning, but I did feel that it was slightly uncanny just how prescient they turned out to be. “2027” is about NYC turning into a ghost-town after a 2020 apocalypse. “Ain’t that Heavy” and “Missing 2 Mars” both have a narrative element about fleeing town in the wake of disaster (which we literally did when we left NYC in March and waited everything out in Vermont). So, they’ve had a bit of new life for me these past few months.

TrunkSpace: Choose Your Own Apocalypse dropped on August 14. What emotions do you juggle with upon releasing new material into the world and what is the experience like given the other emotional hurdles of the times – the pandemic, social unrest, etc.?
Miles: I juggle emotions of ambivalence and indifference. Releasing something is when it stops being yours, and often for me, it just creates a huge distance between myself and the material. It stops being personally meaningful – that’s been the only healthy way to navigate that exchange for me. But, then again, I’m someone who once had to tour an album that used my own, traumatic experience of September 11th as a metaphor for my recently-failed relationship for a year and a half.
Becca: In the past I’ve felt more emotional about releasing music. This time around, not so much. I think that’s partially because these songs are so old and we’ve been sitting on them for so long, and partially because of the nature of this moment and that life looks so different right now. We’re out in the middle of the countryside in Vermont, living this very pastoral life; not playing shows in Brooklyn, which is what we would ordinarily be doing surrounding an EP release. So I do feel a bit disconnected from it, but I also think that’s okay. Like Miles said, when you release music, it stops being yours and starts belonging to whoever is listening, and weirdly feeling so far away from it all makes me more at peace with that.

TrunkSpace: Normally you would tour or gig out to support a new release, but that isn’t entirely possibly right now. How has the promotion of the album changed as it relates to what you had originally planned to coincide with its release?
Miles: I would say that in the digital era, in the streaming era, releasing an album has become a very abstract thing. It just goes from being on only your computer and phone to being on everybody’s computer and phone. It’s not the same as when you would receive a pressed copy of your album, which had a certain thrill to it…[a weight, a gravity, a sense of import]…and at this time it feels even more removed. It feels like nothing. And talking to other artists who’ve had the same experience, it just feels like birthing something into a void. There’s a duality in art where you make stuff purely for yourself, but often there’s an expectation in the back of your mind of sharing it. Like things don’t feel real or complete until you give them away, and it’s even harder to tap into that sense of giving it away. So instead of an act of giving it feels like an act of forgetting… forgetting the old so you can imagine the new.

TrunkSpace: Outside of the finished product itself, what do you think is going to be the most memorable part of giving Choose Your Own Apocalypse life? Twenty years down the road, what will you think back on with the biggest smile?
Miles: It documents the beginning of our relationship. And we just got married. So it exists as a nice little time capsule for us.
Becca: Absolutely.

TrunkSpace: If someone sat down to listen to Choose You Own Apocalypse front to back, what would he or she learn about you both as songwriters and as people?
Miles: Nothing? I don’t know, ask our therapists…
Becca: (Laughter)
Miles: She’s a little bit country, I’m a little bit rock and roll.

TrunkSpace: What do you both get out of writing with each other that you can’t achieve writing alone? Where do you inspire each other most?
Becca: To put it simply, I genuinely believe that everything I do is elevated by working with Miles. I think that the way that we inspire each other is mostly through this creative mind-meld that happens when we’re working together: where we‘re in the moment, building off of each other’s ideas, articulating the other’s thoughts as they simultaneously reach the tips of our tongues. I gotta say, after all these years, it still feels like magic.
Miles: I have found the removal of the deep stench of solitary, narcissistic ego from the songs I write to be incredibly liberating. The magic thing Becca mentioned is real too. We can just kinda plug in and get to a place and it’s just kinda been what I was looking for with music my entire life until we got together.

TrunkSpace: We have all been in some form of lockdown for the majority of 2020. How much of your time spent social distancing has also been spent creating? Have you experienced a creative jolt during this period – and will it lead to another album?
Becca: Yes. We’re recording on our next album in our studio, Freelandia, that we set up out here in Vermont. I think it’s the best work we’ve ever done.
Miles: Very much yes. We bunkered up and got to work as soon as everything shut down. It took a few months to fully put the studio together, which occupied most of my time, and then we just dove into recording.

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?
Becca: If we could time travel I feel like we’d end up in some sort of Umbrella Academy situation where we’re jumping around trying to prevent the Apocalypse, so I don’t think we’d waste time navel gazing.
Miles: It’s not the destination, it’s the journey, man. We’ll find out sooner or later anyways, so no. I’m definitely more of a travel into the past to fix things type. I’m not super curious about the future. I just more dread it due to humanity’s apparent inability to ever deal with the task at hand.

Choose Your Own Apocalypse is available now via PaperCup Music.

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The Featured Presentation

Matthew Solomon


When the horror film Followed was released in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, it served as an incredible escape for individuals in need of a sense of normalcy, including its own star, Matthew Solomon.

Having the movie come out during the quarantine has been really great for me too; it’s been a bit of an anchor amidst all the craziness,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Solomon to discuss his relationship with social media, the long road to the big screen, and keeping his internal dictator in check.

TrunkSpace: Your latest project Followed was released in the middle of a pretty tumultuous time for not only the country but the world as a whole. In a way, is it nice to be a part of people’s escape during all of this – to be their outlet to what was “normal” once?
Solomon: I love that you asked this. Yes, it absolutely has. People have messaged me on Instagram saying they loved the movie and enjoyed having a fun distraction. It’s awesome seeing a new love for drive-in theaters and being a part of that feels special! Having the movie come out during the quarantine has been really great for me too; it’s been a bit of an anchor amidst all the craziness.

TrunkSpace: Social media is given a horrific spin in Followed. For many people, social media can be a love/hate relationship with its own share of real-life scares. What’s your relationship with social media today in 2020?
Solomon: I have never been more addicted to it than now. (Thank you Covid.) It’s a double-edged sword. I find the activism, the more progressive influencers, the comedy, and the ability to connect from far away so rewarding. But I think there are certain aspects of beauty that can be damaging to people, myself included. If you understand that what you’re seeing from people is curated and not the whole picture, I think it’s a wonderful way to connect.

TrunkSpace: Walk us through what the experience was like to see Followed brought to fruition, because from what we understand, you originally worked on it back in 2016, correct? Was it a surprise to then see it released four years later and to ultimately find an audience?
Solomon: Not only did we work on it in 2016, I was cast for the project in 2015 before the script was finished, so I have had the unique experience of watching this project from the very beginning to the very end. I feel so attached to this team and this story, seeing it through, watching it get #1 in the box office, seeing how critics are receiving it – it’s the best feeling. But nothing about this is surprising because I know how hard this team works. Our director and producers are some of the most persistent people I’ve ever met so I knew no matter how long it took, that it would happen.

TrunkSpace: A person can change a ton in a four year span. What would the Matthew Solomon of 2020 have done differently with his performance in Followed? What choices did 2016 Matthew make that you wouldn’t make today?
Solomon: I believe if you talk to any creative about a project they made four years prior that they would have changes they want to make. Mike was such a fun role and considering who I was at the time, I’m very proud of the performance. I mostly wish I had the confidence back then that I have now. I would trust myself to carry the more emotional moments because it was all there, I just doubted myself. But also I wouldn’t be as confident now if I hadn’t played Mike in the first place. Getting to play the lead in my first feature film forced me out of a lot of that doubt because frankly, there’s no time for it.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on Followed thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Solomon: I think what I just said about trusting myself is the biggest takeaway. There are maybe 10 minutes of that movie where I’m not on camera so I had to just go, go, go. The other big takeaway is my friendships with the cast, especially Sam Valentine and Kelsey Griswold. Any time I get to see them is a gift. When we get together it’s that feeling of returning to summer camp.

TrunkSpace: As an actor – a profession where you generally are required to work directly with other people in a scene – how have you kept the tools in your toolbox sharp during this extended period of isolation?
Solomon: It is so hard! I would love so much to be in a studio working with other actors. Fortunately, my acting teacher, Joe Anthony, has been doing zoom scene work with us. Strange? Yes, but honestly it’s great practice for auditioning, and there are so many projects these days with video chats. Followed had so many video calls in it! So it’s an opportunity to sharpen a very specific acting tool. But I really miss being in a studio shouting at another actor and wondering if the office next door thinks we’re actually fighting.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist and how do you overcome those self-critical insecurities?
Solomon: Oof. Where does the list begin? I come from a family of go-getters, I went to very competitive schools, so I’m sort of hard on myself about everything. What I try to do is check that voice. I refer to him as the dictator. Those ideas and criticisms I have for myself come from external negative messaging, so I remind myself that they aren’t reality. I look that dictator in the face, smile, and say, “I’m good for now but thanks for your thoughts!”

TrunkSpace: If you could sit down and have a conversation with your 16-year-old self, would he be surprised by the trajectory of your career, and if so, why?
Solomon: He certainly would – firstly 16-year-old me wasn’t planning on a future as an actor. For most of my teen years I had given up on the idea and applying to theater school was an impulsive choice. I’m in the unique position where acting is my job, and nothing else is. I didn’t expect that to happen while I was in my 20s.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career as a whole thus far?
Solomon: I think this is the highlight right now; having my movie premiere during what could have been the slowest point for my career thanks to the pandemic, having the movie do well in the box office, and making Thrillist’s best horror movies of 2020. That’s all pretty cool! What’s so gratifying is that every step forward in my work has been a highlight, so I look forward to newer and bigger highlights in the future!

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?
Solomon: I want to be cool and say no, but I definitely would. Because there are small moves here and there that I can definitely go back and say, “You should have listened to your gut.” So yes I would like that glimpse, and hopefully I would be prepared for a few pivotal moments.

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Listen Up

Alicia Viani

Photo By: Laura Schneider

As smooth and as beautiful as Alicia Viani’s music is when it flows from her guitar, the emotions she pours into each and every song paints a more complicated portrait of an artist who celebrates the good and the bad that life has to offer.

Life to me is a beautiful, hilarious, sorrowful circus with incredible highs and incredible lows and unfairness and injustice and growth and evolution and hopefully some of those themes, if I expressed them well enough and people listen close enough, come through the ‘warm country folk,’” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

The singer-songwriter’s self-titled debut is available now.

We recently sat down with Viani to discuss the process of putting a record together, embracing mental health during the pandemic, and why she doesn’t hesitate to skip to the end of a book.

TrunkSpace: Who is Alicia Viani the artist, and, would the you who first picked up a guitar and started playing be surprised by the answer you’re giving today?
Viani: Nope, wouldn’t be surprised. I first learned C and G chords for a Joni Mitchell song while backpacking in the Trinity Alps at 15 and I’m still singing in the mountains! I’ve always had a full life with music as the consistent thread. Sometimes front and center like when pursuing classical oboe performance in high school and college, and sometimes background like singing songs with random people in random corners of the world. That’s still how it is.

TrunkSpace: You released your self-titled debut album on July 24. As far as moments in your life to-date, how big of an accomplishment is it for you to have this collection of songs out into the world?
Viani: While the debut is super gratifying, I mostly loved the process. Working with a producer for the first time and hiring musicians who put their own spin on things, which was an interesting exercise in trust and relinquishing control for the goodness of collaboration, being in the studio, forming a band locally to release it… I loved all the steps leading up to the release. It’s such a vulnerable thing to release original music and the positive feedback has really lifted me. It’s the coolest thing to know your songs touch people and when they recite lyrics back to you that meant something to them.

TrunkSpace: With the pandemic happening not only in the country but around the world, did you consider pushing back the release? How did what was happening with Covid-19 impact your roll out of the music?
Viani: We did push back the release. It was originally set for April. We had a lot of momentum just beforehand with it charting #4 nationally on folk radio so it was disappointing to feel like the release kind of crashed and died, along with everything else live and collective! But in the grand scheme of things it was okay. The band was still excited about the songs and we were committed to doing it somehow, so Scott Oliphant (drummer, part of the Color Study, and owner of Parkway Sounds) offered his studio. We did a live online release with fabulous sound. He did an amazing job. So while it was a pause, we figured it out. We’re still sharing live music that way.

TrunkSpace: While you were no doubt focused on the album and promoting that particular collection of song, have you found yourself to be creatively-inspired during the pandemic? Has isolation lead to increased songwriting?
Viani: I’m trying to get outside more to exercise for my mental health, and I do my best writing on trail runs along the river with my dog. So that’s been fruitful. I’ve been more inspired to write from the huge civil rights movement going on, so I’ve got some ideas kicking around my head wanting to come out somehow.

TrunkSpace: What could someone learn about you as both an artist and as a person in sitting down to listen to your debut, front to back?
Viani: I’ve heard feedback that even though it’s easy and pretty to listen to and my singing has been compared to Nora Jones (which annoys me, I wasn’t going for easy listening, but oh well), that my brain and emotions are actually complex as fuck! Life to me is a beautiful, hilarious, sorrowful circus with incredible highs and incredible lows and unfairness and injustice and growth and evolution and hopefully some of those themes, if I expressed them well enough and people listen close enough, come through the “warm country folk.”

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the upcoming album?
Viani: There is something so rad about a nice tidy bow on a completed project that is the fruition of many years of living, processing, crying, being in love, trying to jam big awkward concepts into a song, editing… it’s kind of the sum of my life to this point. In a CD case.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist and did that manifest during the creation of this particular collection of songs?
Viani: Performing and promoting the songs have always been the hard part. I’m a musician and a writer but have never taken much to the performance bit. I’m trying to embrace this concept that I have a “gift to share,” like people tell me! In between songs at a live show I have to remind myself to speak and tell some stories because it always stuns me when people want to hear from the artist. I’m always thinking we’re here for just the music, right? Also, releasing a record while there’s so much other important stuff going on in the world with the Black Lives Matter movement, the pandemic, people’s basic needs not getting met, was challenging because even though music makes everything better I wanted to be careful about how much space I took up.

TrunkSpace: This year has been an emotionally trying time for everyone and the divide between people – at least in this country – seems to be growing. What kind of hand can music have in helping people find an internal balance and possibly even bringing people together? We have always been drawn to the idea of music being a shared experience, regardless if we get something different out of it than someone else.
Viani: I love this question. Too many songs, especially political ones about social justice issues, tell people what to think. That’s not a good song. I wrote “Good man” after Trump’s election and had plenty of opinions to share about how white dominant culture wasn’t holding this man or ourselves accountable, but instead wrote the story of a guy named Jackson to explore racism and why one person wasn’t stepping up to interrupt racist acts. I was exploring through song something that was pissing me off in my life. Good stories enable us to feel empathy in places that surprise us, and while we’re holding ourselves and others accountable in this civil rights movement, we can all work on developing empathy to continue to see each other as human. I aim to write story-songs that draw people in and make them feel something about topics that usually repel people who are stuck in rigid corners about issues. And of course I go through the whole journey myself as the writer cause I can get rigid too, for sure.

TrunkSpace: What do you get out of songwriting on an emotional level? What is it about the process that most excites you even today?
Viani: Singing and writing puts me directly into that flow place where I’m in touch with my emotions but also being creative with them. Doing something about them. It’s just the best feeling. It’s precisely where the best songs come from. And then hopefully they prick at someone else’s emotions to help us connect to ourselves and each other. I live for that as an artist and a listener. When I get the chills or start to cry or think deeper from a song, there’s nothing better.

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?
Viani: Oh my god, absolutely. I cannot resist the temptation. I am the person who will read the last page of my book when I’m in the throws of a drama that’s just wrecking me with the suspense. I’ll still read the rest of the book of course, but let me know what the hell happens!

Viani’s self-titled debut is available now.

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Trunk Bubbles

Mauricio Caballero


Name: Mauricio Caballero Peza


Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: Spider-Man

Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Bat man

Latest Work: Inked: Lay A Price (Neymar Jr. Comics) – Premiering Today!

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Caballero: My art style is midway between manga, American and European style. I try to bring the dynamism of the manga comics, the charismatic expressions of the American style and the interesting proportions and experiments that many Europeans display.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Caballero: When I discovered the wonderful world of comics and the possibilities that I would be able to do with it, I decided that I wanted to tell my own stories to the world. After all, all I needed is my imagination and a lot of hard work. It’s the best decision I’ve ever do.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Caballero: There where many, but the first artist that absolutely inspired me was Todd McFarlane doing Spider-Man. It was like a big smack into your face. I wanted to see his art over and over. I tried to imitate his art style for a while. Great times.

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?
Caballero: I was very persistent. I had to start working in kitchens as an assistant cook when I was very young. With all the money I earned I spent it all on materials to keep drawing even after work. Since my parents saw that I was very stubborn with comics, they put me in contact with an old school artist, and I worked/studied with him for some time. Later on when I had many more artist friends, I was brought into an animation studio. Somehow the director of the studio saw potential in my comics and he decided that I would work in the animation studio as a layout artist. I did learn a lot from them – things that would eventually help me in comics. So from then on I’ve been working, some time in animation and some other time in comics. It has been a fun ride so far, although some times life is tough.

TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Caballero: When I worked on the comic Helm, which is an independent comic. To tell the truth, I didn’t know if it was going to have a future or not, all I knew is that when I saw the script I absolutely loved it and I decided to give my best effort ever. Then, surprisingly, we where nominated to the Will Eisner Industry Award in 2017. We didn’t win, but the mere fact that we where nominees was a big reward, so every time I need to introduce my work to a new client, that is my best reference I can give. I’m still producing a single page each week, by the way.

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?
Caballero: In my case I was very lucky. I finished my first work with the animation studio and I dedicated myself to create my own comics. After all, that was my very own goal in life. Since I did not have many obligations, I decided to make my own comic called Zeraky. Even my brother helped me bringing some ideas to life. It became a project so rich and I was learning so much – and somehow I did 10 comics before the release of the first one. So the lucky part comes when my brother met a very warm-hearted lady who fell in love with my art, comics and dedication – and she sponsored us for five comics, which we released in our country. We, as brothers, became famous for a short period of time for our comic. This was in the year 2000. I still think that I will come back some day with my comic, with a renewed art style. And I hope this time, we come back for good.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when you’re sketching or doing warm-ups?
Caballero: I rarely do warm ups, but when I do, I love to draw monsters out of me imagination.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that you’d like to work on in the future and why?
Caballero: I would love to draw Batman. I love the dark tones and hard shadows drawn into that comic, even if it is different than what I usually do. I also love the contrast of the classic architecture of Gotham against the high tech of Batman’s gadgets.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Caballero: I’m convinced that my subconscious has a plan that I’m not aware of, but somehow my destiny will be doing Zeraky again. I daydream that the people all around the world will look at it, and see potential in “the story of the heroes that nobody anticipated, and no legend foretold their arrival.” But before I do start with that, I need to buy my own house first, otherwise, the rent will haunt me forever. It does not matter if I start Zeraky at 70 years old.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Caballero: I hang on. For example…
1.) It does not matter my parents told me I had no future in it
2.) It does not matter if some people used to mock me for my drawings
3.) r not getting paid sometimes
4.) That I’ve missed parties or vacations

5.) Not having as much friends as I wanted to

I’ve resisted hard times. One animation director told me to hang on. I keep working tirelessly and I resist the difficulties of life. So far, everything has paid off. Good news: everything gets better, slowly and steady but it does. I hope it keeps that way.

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Caballero: I love working on paper, and sometimes I’m even faster and the artwork looks more alive. But the problem with it is that it is a lot of effort physically, so instead of doing three pages at day (my ideal), I do two or even one and a half. Maybe I need to get used to it because maybe in the future I will seriously work on it again.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Caballero: You have to be very, very stubborn. You will have to pass many hard trials that life will give you in order to earn one of the most beautiful and passionate jobs in the world – of all time. Be obsessed with it. Focus on improving your artwork in order to move people’s feelings – to tell a story that was born in the back of your head and in the bottom of your heart. And don’t forget, as an artist, sometimes you learn more from a motivational speech than a dull art class, because our art depends more in the motivation than technique. Have an iron will!

TrunkSpace: Making appearances at conventions: Love it, leave it, or a combination of both?
Caballero: I absolutely love to go, mainly to say hello to my colleagues, buy my favorite comics with a signature of my favorite artist, and (when I used to have my own comic) sell my comics and meet my readers. There is no better fuel and reward for your spirit than to hear your readers exited with your stories. This is the very best feeling you will ever have after love.

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