Music Interviews: A Hearty Conservation With Little King

1. Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?

We are Little King…Ryan Rosoff (me, Guitar and Voice), Manny Tejeda (Bass and some Voice), Eddy Garcia (Drums and no Voice).  Since 1997, I have been the sole writer (music and lyrics) and producer of the last 6+ Little King albums, and this is Eddy’s 4th album on drums and Manny’s 2nd on bass. For the first time in 23 years, I have kept a lineup together for back to back albums…more on that later!

2. Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?

Eddy and I met at a club he co-owned with his brother called The Attic (which changed to Debut Records) in about 1995.  He has always been the drummer and founder of Pissing Razors, the legendary Texas Metal band.  He and his brother Danny opened the Attic in the early 90’s in El Paso as a place where local original bands could play for a few people, or sometimes a lot of people.  Little King actually had its first CD release party there in 1997, and Ed and I have been friends ever since. But he didn’t start working on LK records until 2003 when we recorded Virus Divine at his studio, Krank Records.  After that, he played drums and engineered on Legacy of Fools (2008), OD1 (2014), Occam’s Foil (2019), and now the upcoming release, which is titled Amuse De Q. 

Manny and I met in Delaware, where until recently I lived for the last 7 years.  Manny is originally from the Dominican Republic but has lived in the States for about 15 years, and we met through mutual friends in the little music scene in Rehoboth Beach.  Just hit it off, probably because we are both a little nuts and more ambitious than the average cover band musician!  So, when we met and I was like, “Yeah, I’ve made a few records and I’m working on another one” in 2017, he jumped on board.  Glad he did…he is the bass player Little King needed.  Great vocalist, too.  And we are very close friends, as are Eddy and I.

3. What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

Ha! You tell me?  I guess it’s Melodic Progressive Dynamic Rock. Lots of moods, so little time. I have been around the block, and the thing I always try to achieve with Little King records is to touch on a wide variety of genres and feels while still sounding like US.  I think we’ve gotten really good at that, and after just listening to the playback of the raw tracks from Amuse De Q, I think this is next-level.  Very pleased…we just got out of phase 1 in the studio in El Paso, and I think our fans are gonna love it.

When you’ve made as much music as I have through the years, one thing you are conscious of is not to be repetitive. That can be difficult, as I am drawn to certain styles and riffs and progressions.  I even copped one from my first album for the new record (no one will know, because no one gets to even HEAR that first abomination!)  So, through using different musicians, arrangements, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, and purposely trying to change things up, I think Little King remains dynamic and original.  Again, different styles but STILL LITTLE KING!

4. What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

We are all good friends, and Little King was born from a desire to make music with my friends!  After all this time, the thrill is still fresh for me.  I love the possibilites, the tangible progress, and the realization of a goal.  Having a completed project is something no one can ever take away from you, and if people like and appreciate that, so much the better.  We are all very different people with different skill sets, but without a doubt this lineup compliments each other in an incomparable way.  I think Occam’s Foil from last year showed that, and this new record is an extension of that chemistry and infused with comfort and familiarity. 

5. What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

I have a degree in Creative Writing and I was an English teacher for a bit, so I put as much care and effort into my lyrics as I do with the music. This is my LEGACY, dammit…the words have to have meaning and be as timeless as possible. It’s important for me to listen back and still be able to relate to what I was thinking and creating at that milepost in my life. It’s even more important to do so when we play live…if I am not in touch with a particular message or sentiment from a past album or song, it will not make the cut, no matter how much fun it might be to play or how much our audience want to hear it.

For every album, there is a through-line.  I won’t go into detail here, but you can read about each of them in our bio at www.littlekingtunes.com.  For the new record, I was inspired by the quarantine and all of it’s gnarly repercussions.  Solitude, domestic abuse, sobriety, the BLM and counter-movements, sickness, the upcoming election, social media wars, and more.  I mean…if you are an artist and can’t find inspiration from current events, go find another hobby!  So Amuse De Q…inspired by and during the quarantine, and the Muse Melpomene (the muse of tragedy and chorus) makes a couple appearances on the new record. She’s been a fickle witch this year, no?

6. Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

I always cite Rush, Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Floyd, and Talking Heads.  They are always in there and it’s in my DNA.  But I want people to know that I love and take inspiration from some very different sources as well.  Tupac, Peter Tosh, Vivaldi, Mozart, Jerry Garcia, Widespread Panic, Phish, King Sunny Ade, Paul Simon, Sting…they all are in regular rotation right now.  Snoop is always on in my house, too…his reggae album as Snoop Lion is one of my favorite records ever.  Listened to a lot of Allah Las and Tame Impala this year as well.

7. Where can someone looking for your music, find it?

Everywhere online, really…but particularly on our web site.  All of our last 5 albums are available to stream from YouTube and Apple Music, and there are streaming links etc. on our web site.  Only the last couple albums are on Spotify, for some reason, but I’m working on that.  But if you look up Little King, there are a couple others out there, so make sure you cross-check it with our catalog at www.littlekingtunes.com

Some guy in 2018 in Texas decided to call his band Little King.  I mean, really?  I had been making albums in Texas for 21 years prior to that, and he didn’t even bother to check?  Lazy and shitty. So every once in awhile a fan or press person will email me and say, “Hey, is this you?  Doesn’t sound like you!”  And I have to explain that some people lack the creativity to name their band properly.

8. What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances?

I barely remember!  We haven’t toured properly in a long time, as I have been busy as a single dad, business owner, and hermit. But I love playing on the road…you get to try and win fans in person every night, and even if you have a mediocre show the night before, you get a clean slate and a chance to win the day.

With so much music out there now in the streamingverse, anyone can make a record and distribute it. I try to keep an open mind, but there’s something about a guy with a computer and a mic making and album and releasing it that just rubs me wrong. I mean…do you have any idea how long it takes me to write and edit and write and edit and perform actual instruments in an actual studio?  And along comes Joe Shit The Doofus with an album that was completely computer-generated?  It probably sounds great, too!  So actually…hmmm…I quit?


But no one can defeat an awesome live performance. It’s the Great Divider…almost anyone can make a song sound decent with Pro Tools, but can you deliver it live? How’s your stage presence…are you entertaining?  Can you be dymanic?  How long can you hold someone’s attention for?  It’s a bit like theater vs. movies. That tense feeling of walking the tightrope in a live setting, for both performer and audience, is palpable. Will they fuck up?  What improv wizardry or douchebaggery do they have in store?  I miss that vibe…and it WILL be back.

9. What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?

Think more deeply, question everything, challenge yourself and expand your vision of what happiness and kindness really means. Do not just take things at face value, and that includes your musical choices.  I don’t know if Little King is every gonna be the soundtrack for a casual listener, and that’s totally okay with me.  But listen closely, find what works for you, and dive in.  You only get one go-round and anything less than full investment into your own life and happiness is a waste of time. And also…rock the fuck on.

10. Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are you future plans for the band?

I’ll be over in 20 minutes for lunch.  Thanks for the hummus!

DC FanDome – Attending My First Fan Event.

Being a big fan of comic books since childhood, one of the biggest disadvantages of living outside the US has been that I have never been able to attend any Comic-con or any similar fan event in the past. And I have always have been DC boy over a Marvel boy, tough I kinda like both. So when it was announced a couple months back that DC was hosting their own first-ever virtual fan event online, it is needless to say that I was pumped. I cleared out my schedule for the whole and pulled off an all-nighter, just to watch the entire event live. And oh boy, it turned out to be one of best experiences I have had (certainly the best this summer).

The event was perfectly coordinated and each segment edited perfectly to make it all smooth – the people at in-charge at DC can pat themselves at the back for conducting a true fan experience. And not not just the big movie panels where all the big reveals came from, even the smaller panels and so much good content that kept me entertained throughout. But talking of the big panels and reveals – yes, they were amazing! And the last panel with Matt Reeves talking about the movie and The Batman trailer, it just brought the house down.

I was so happy with this event and would want DC to make this into an annual global experiences. I would be covering some of my favorite trailers and reveals from DC FanDome this week, so make sure to check in!

Music Interviews: Tarah & Coralie From Tarah Who?

1. Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?
CH: My name is Coralie and I’m the drummer of Tarah Who?TGC: HI! I am Tarah, founder, singer, and guitar player of Tarah Who?

2. Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?
CH: I joined the band 3 years ago, Tarah and I were friends on Facebook. I messaged her when I was moving to LA and a few months after she asked me if I wanted to try out for her band Tarah Who?
TGC: I started Tarah Who? in 2006 when I moved to LA. II went through a lot of musicians over the years until I met and auditioned Coralie. We hit it off right away. Musically she is a really good drummer and on a personal level, we are really close friends. We are on the same wavelength when it comes to working on the project and making things happen.

3. What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?
CH: The Tarah Who’s sound is a mix between different genres like rock/punk/alternative but at the same time we have our own sound. We have a raw and heavy sound.TGC: Yeah… It is really hard for us to put us in one category. I write how I feel and I stay as authentic to the emotions as possible. I am a child from the ’90s so I have those sounds and noises in my blood but I am not trying to sound like anyone. I like what we do right now. I think that we gave Tarah Who? its own sound. I play drums and bass in other projects and it is all in different genres of Rock. 

4. What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?
TGC: I write all the songs and send the drum tracks to Coralie. She then adds her own touch and solos for the live performance. I love working with Coralie because she is professional and she knows when to follow the song and when she can add her own fills. I have worked with drummers in the past, their ego was so big, you could not tell them anything or they didn’t take their role as a musician seriously. They would just come to the show unrehearsed, assuming they knew the song because “It’s just RockBoom, Chak Boom Boom Chack” Turns out, if you don’t know the song… you are going to be lost and put all of your bandmates in a really awkward situation. Coralie is always prepared for rehearsal and for the show. She is reliable and that is truly ALL that you need to keep moving forward

5. What are some of your favorite themes to explore through your music?
TGC: I don’t really have a favorite theme per se but I think I go around the same ones unconsciously. People, reflections over life, events etc… It is very autobiographical. 

6. Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?
CH: My favorite band is Nightwish, a symphonic metal band, more generally I love classic rock and metal.TGC: I was a big Alanis fan growing up and I am sure that I was influenced by her singing and freedom of writing. Then I discovered Motorhead, Pantera, The Distillers, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Hole, L7, Garbage, TOOL, RATM, etc… I love that 90’s sound and I am totally stuck into it.


7. Where can someone looking for your music, find it?
TGC: The easiest way would be to google TARAH WHO? and pick your favorite media. Basically, we are on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, youtube, etc… We try to be everywhere people seem to be looking for new music.

8. What’s your favorite part about touring/ doing live performances?
CH: Playing music, having a good time, and giving people some fun.TGC: Connecting with people, meeting new musicians and bands, traveling, discovering new cities, cool venues, the adrenaline and the rush of the show. Experiencing a moment that you can never truly describe. The kind of stories that all you can say is ” you have to be there to understand!” 

9. What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?
TGC: I would love for people to relate to our songs, whether it is musically, where people get the fast pace, loud drums and we all headbang together, or if it is through the stories. We can connect and think ” I totally know what you are talking about!” or if it is a more serious song like “Unbalanced” or “Human to be” I hope to inspire kindness towards each other. No matter what race or sexuality, just be kind to each other. It is super cheezy, I know.. but as I see the world we live in right now, I can tell you we are not so kind to each other. I am shocked to see what is happening in the world and how unfair people are against one another. I think that if you have a good amount of followers, it is your DUTY to influence people in the right direction. 


10. Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are your future plans for the band?
CH: Making music and touring all around the world.TGC: Our immediate plans are the releases of our live sessions: https://youtu.be/tcMErspjMy8Music video: https://youtu.be/4xfeNfJJwAsThen episode 4 of docu-series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vi4OT7QdOI
and after that, we will be headed back to the studios to record a new ep! 
All of our tours and festivals have been canceled so everything will have to be online at the moment. 

Music Interviews: A Chat With Miles From Miles and The Chain Gang.

Would you please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?

Hi I’m Miles. I sing and write songs, play guitar. The other band members are Billy Hickling (drums), Tim Bruce (bass) and Alan Dawson (guitar).  We also have a few friends that have been helping us with recording. 


Where did you guys meet and how did you form Miles and the Chain Gang?

We met in 2018 through a series of coincidences, playing open mic nights in York. Billy and I were at Ruby Tuesday one night and played together. Then we did a music and poetry gig and Tim was there, and we got chatting in the pub afterwards. Alan walked into The Three Legged Mare one night in York, en route from Scotland to Love Supreme Festival in Brighton. It was weird how it came together. 

What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

I guess it’s just rock ‘n’ roll. Singer-songwriter stuff, a bit of soul, a bit of new wave, a bit of pain, a glimpse of sunset. 


What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

The best bands work in a collaborative way. You all bring your skills and talents and you combine them to make something fantastic. The best bands did this – The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who. They all brought something to the party. We have been recording recently and it’s a really creative process because Tim helps with the arrangements, plays a bit of keyboards, and Billy always has ideas for percussion and rhythm patterns. My role is to come up with good songs and sing them as well as I can. There’s nothing quite like being in a band. There was a book about The Clash, called Last Gang in Town. It is like that. That’s why we are Miles and The Chain Gang. 

What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

Relationships. Sadness. Melancholy. Connection. Reaching out. Memory. Loss. Pain. Brief moments of rapture. A little joy. Those moments when the sky opens and your soul rockets upwards. 

Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

Bruce Springsteen. Bob Dylan. Van Morrison. Jackson Browne. The Who. Pink Floyd. Thin Lizzy. Del Amitri. Counting Crows. Billy Bragg. Joan Jett. Taylor Swift. The Jam. The Pretenders. The Police. Stone Roses.  ACDC. Rolling Stones. Bruce Cockburn. Stevie Wonder. Sam Cooke. Elvis Presley. Chuck Berry. Taylor Swift. Kim Wilde. UB40. Nirvana. The list goes on… 

Where can someone looking for your music find it?

We have a facebook page. And our video is on youtube. Just search ‘Miles and The Chain Gang’ – we’re around. 

What’s your favourite part about doing live performances?

The chance that sparks might fly. 


What kind of message would you like to give your fans through your music? 

Live now. Death is close at hand. Darkness crouches around us. We are specks in the universe. Be here now. 


Where do you guys see yourselves in the future? What are your future plans for Miles and the Chain Gang? 

I am looking forward to gigs, laughs, guitar solos, soundchecks, radio stations, microphones, merchandise, money,  hotels of varying quality, interesting crazy types in Dutch alleyways, moments of poetry, moments of exhaustion, moments of unalloyed joy, German promoters with big moustaches, hangers on, curry, beer, rip-roaring nights that you want to never end, sweat, showers, guitars and fireworks.  

Thanks for talking guys. Keep in touch. M x ……

Miles and the Chain Gang’s latest single ‘When It Comes To You’ is available on Spotify, GooglePlay, Apple Music and Amazon MP3. 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=V43RLsMBdWc

www.facebook.com/Miles-and-The-Chain-Gang 

An American Pickle – Double Seth Rogen Kills It In this Funny Satire.

An American Pickle; Dir. – Brandon Trost

Rating – //stream it once it’s free//

An American Pickle | Official Trailer | HBO Max

“An American Pickle,” a time-travel farce directed by Brandon Trost and adapted from a New Yorker story by Simon Rich, marinates crisp almost-timeliness in the mild brine of nostalgia. It’s not too salty or too sour, and it’s neither self-consciously artisanal nor aggressively, weirdly authentic. The subject, more or less, is what it means to be Jewish, and given how contentious that topic can become — can I get an oy vey? — the movie finds an agreeable, occasionally touching vein of humor.

The setup for most of the jokes is that, in 1919, an impoverished immigrant named Herschel Greenbaum, recently arrived in Brooklyn from a fictitious, Cossack-ridden anti-Anatevka called Schlupsk, falls into a vat of saltwater and cucumbers. He leaves behind a pregnant wife, Sarah (Sarah Snook). She has a son, who has a son, whose son, in 2019, is a sad-sack tech guy named Ben. When Herschel is fished out of his century-long bath, alive and perfectly preserved, he goes to live with Ben, his only known relative, setting up a cross-generational odd-couple situation brimming with comic potential.

All the more so because both Herschel and Ben are played by Seth Rogen, who does the bewhiskered Yiddish thing and the diffident millennial thing with equal craftiness. While the characters are recognizable types — from popular culture if nowhere else — Rogen brings more than mere shtick to the performances. Herschel is neither a sentimental schlemiel nor a twinkly old-world grandpa, but rather an impatient, sometimes intolerant striver with a violent streak. His pre-pickling experience of the world was hard and bitter, leavened only by the hope that future generations of Greenbaums would be better off.

Which is just what happened, of course. Herschel once confessed to Sarah that he hoped to taste seltzer water before he died, and Ben has a gizmo in his apartment that makes it on demand. He’s even less of a caricature than his great-grandpa — not a hipster or a nerd so much as a smart guy with a deep streak of melancholy. It turns out that what connects him to Herschel isn’t just genetics: it’s also grief. Ben’s parents are dead, and Herschel’s accident robbed him of the pleasures and consolations of family.


That’s some pretty heavy stuff, but “An American Pickle” is swift and nimble enough to avoid weighing itself down with schmaltz. It’s almost too thin to sustain its premise for the running time — a scant 90 minutes — and sometimes feels more like a stretched-out sketch than a fully developed feature.

The century that separates Herschel from Ben allows the story to leapfrog over quite a lot of history, including the Holocaust, Israel, socialism, and the complicated process of upward mobility, acculturation and self-preservation that is the movie’s very condition of possibility. The drama of Jewish male selfhood that preoccupied so many in the middle generations — the whole Philip Roth-Woody Allen megillah — is all but erased. Herschel had his beloved Sarah. Ben has no apparent sexual or romantic interests, or even any friends that we know about. There’s no room for women in this pickle jar.

But the flimsiness of the movie’s conceit also works to its benefit. At its best, it’s a brisk, silly plucking of some low-hanging contemporary fruit. Food trends. Social media. Unpaid internships. The inevitable conflict between Herschel and Ben turns a family squabble into a culture-war skirmish, a conflict played out in a way that feels both satirically sharp and oddly comforting.

And pickles can be comfort food. Not too filling, good for the digestion, noisy and a little sloppy rather than artful or exquisite or challenging. This one, as I’ve said, isn’t bad, and even allows a soupcon of profundity into its formula. The tough, pious ancestor and his sensitive, secular descendant have almost nothing in common, and the imaginative challenge is to find an identity that can include them both more or less as they are. What makes them both Jews? The answer turns out to be simple and, at least for this conflicted 21st-century Jew, persuasive: the shared obligation to mourn the dead.

Music Interviews: Lee Heir On The End Of Prime (UK Band) And Their Journey So Far.

Would you please introduce yourself and explain your role in the band?

My name is Lee Heir, the lead singer of Prime (UK Band). Although I have decided we won’t play live again, I am finalising our last ever recordings with Chris D. Bramley who is on lead guitar and backing vocals. 


Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?

I originally formed the group as a studio project in 2014, and in 2015 we began doing more live gigs, playing pretty much continuously for the first few years, until late 2019 when I wrapped up the band and decided no more shows.

What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

We make rock music with blues, indie and punk influences. Now that the group is over, I want to compose more music for soundtracks and add electronic influences, but still keep the bluesy guitars in there, maybe like Ry Cooder meets Vangelis, who knows! 


What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

It’s always satisfying when a germ of an idea becomes a fully formed song, whether it starts off with just vocal and acoustic guitar or a guitar riff and drums. It gives you the same level of satisfaction if it turns out to be a quality song, it doesn’t matter how you get there. 


What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

I think realism is key. Be it realistic themes, events or even observations from afar from the outside looking in. On lyrics that come straight from my heart from personal experience I would never sing words that I wouldn’t sing in real life. I would also say that my music has become more autobiographical the older that I get. Maybe that will change in time, who knows. 


Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

I love people who put their emotions out there, so Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop are huge influences, as are sixties bands like The Kinks, the edgier or more sarcastic tracks of the Stones, and The Byrds. 


Where can someone looking for Prime’s music find it?

Look on google or any social media and you’ll find us as ‘PrimeUKBand’, apart from facebook which is @ukprime. Also check out our website primeband.co.uk which has all the music in one place. 


What’s your favourite part about touring / doing live performances?

I started to enjoy it less and less over the last few years, which is why I decided to make my future projects purely studio based. That hasn’t always been the case though… Playing live used to be everything, the buzz of playing to a new audience or venue that I’d never been to before. 


What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?

There’s no real message, I just hope you enjoy the honesty in the music, the hooks within the songs, and some pretty creative rock music. You’ll enjoy it better if you play it loud! 


Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are you future plans for Prime (UK Band)? 

My guitarist Chris D Bramley is a fantastic songwriter and I’m sure he will continue to create some very heartfelt music. His ballads especially have lots of passion to them. I don’t see any future for Prime though, this part of my life with my first real band is over, and all that’s left is some decent music. That’s enough for me and will do nicely. 

Prime (UK Band) ‘Art / Facts’ Playlist out now:

https://open.spotify.com/album/6hH240cdSmfHLrNbhessWXPrime (UK Band) CD Digipak ‘Art/Facts’ out now:prime4.bandcamp.com/album/art-facts-2014-2018-cd-digipak-pre-order-uk-postal-price
Official Prime (UK Band) ‘In Summer’ Music Video: 

Yes, God, Yes – a Smart And Funny Exploration Of Teenage Sexuality.

Yes, God, Yes; Dir. -Karen Maine

Rating –  “It’s great” / worth adding to your collection.

Yes, God, Yes is the directorial debut Karen Maine, and stars Natalia Dyer from Stranger Things, in the lead role. Developed from a short film that Maine planned on directing but later adapted it to feature-length, this is an extremely small film, in terms of budget, story, and even the run-time. Clocking at only about one hour and fifteen minutes, the film is an almost semi-autobiographical retelling of Maine’s first-hand experience of spending four days at a Catholic retreat.

Alice, played by Natalia Dyer, has been brought up in a very small town by her conservative religious parents and attends Catholic school, where sex-ed classes are taken by a priest. Not only is sex before marriage a sin, but also masturbation, and Alice is made to believe that she will go to hell if she even gets turned on by sex scenes in movies or hot boys in the class. Alice, like most girls her age, is pretty gullible and believes that she is actually committing sins by feeling emotions normal to any teenager. Set in the early 2000s, Alice experiences her sexual interaction over an online AOL chatroom, where she responds to a random dude’s creepy messages just because of curiosity and discovers masturbation. But then she is ashamed of herself and never talks about it to anyone.

At school, someone has spread a rumor about how she performed a very particular sexual activity with a guy from her class at a party, a sexual activity she that she doesn’t even know the meaning of. She asks her friend, but she has no clue either, and Alice spends a chunk of the film trying to find out what people are talking about her. But whatever it is, in order o get these accusations of her and compensate for her supposed dirty mind, she goes to a Christian retreat for four days. And this place is a straight-up horror mansion imo. Right from the beginning, with the overly friendly and enthusiastic attitude of everyone, something is definitely off about this place. Maybe it’s just my socially awkward self, but everything in the retreat is almost Get Out level creepy.

Yes, God, Yes, is a movie about masturbation and sexual awakening, but what separates it from other films of this genre is its female protagonist and conservative setting. It is not a raunchy comedy about horny guys trying to lose virginity, it is just a realistic portrayal of a girl coming to terms with her own sexuality. Maine sure finds funny moments throughout the story, but she never loses sight of realism in the central story, she rather uses the comedic moments to further develop Alice’s character and illustrate her struggles.

The teachers and elders in the story are used for jokes, but they are not the butt of jokes, they are all very misguided people themselves. If anything is joke it is religion and a society that expects young to suppress all their sexual urges, even though they know it is unrealistic. The guilt of always feeling like she’s committed a sin fills Alice with self-doubt that almost drives her crazy as she slowly starts to find out that people are doing those same things in hiding. She feels conflicted and doesn’t understand what she wants to do anymore and then she meets an old lesbian biker lady in a pub, who was once in a Catholic school too, which gives Alice a new perspective on the world. She understands that human beings are complex creatures, and it makes no sense to define them entirely by the supposed “sins” they commit. She understands that High School isn’t the end of the world, and it doesn’t matter what people are talking about behind your back, because those same people are doing equally fucked up shit when nobody is watching. She learns to give herself a chance – to finally figure out who she is.

Natalia Dyer gives the best performance of her career as Alice. So much of the movie depends on her, and she sells every moment she’s in. The rest of the cast is equally good. Wolfgang Novogratz as the lovable hunk is very charming and Timothy Simon is perfect as the strict father, a role very similar to his role from Looking for Alaska on Hulu. Karen Maine does an amazing job directing the movie. It’s hard to believe this is her first movie and she almost pulls off a Greta Gerwig, ala Lady Bird. Yes, God, Yes, is a beautiful little film about growing up and one of the best films to release this quarantine. So, if you have an hour and an hour to spare, check out the movie, you might end up reliving some your worst High School memories.

Now available in virtual cinemas and select drive-ins; available on digital and VOD from July 28.

Music Interviews: A Chat with Romeo, Lead Singer/Guitarist of Reaven.

Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?

“I am Romeo (lead singer & guitarist of Reaven). At the drums & back vocals you will find Vince. At the bass & back vocals, it’s Rudy. And François is playing the keyboards and do the back vocals as well.”

Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?

“It’s a long story of love ahah, but to cut it short, we started to make music together at school, years ago. It began with concerts in our hometown (a city called Troyes) for Vince (drummer of the band) and I (Lead-singer / Guitarist of the band).”

What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

“We’re playing pop/rock music with a touch of electro sounds. And I think we will keep playing it for a long time ahah!”

What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

“The feelings and vibes you get while doing it. You know, there is always this moment when you don’t need to say anything, you just look at each other while playing, and you know that this is good. You feel satisfied and unstoppable.”

What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

“I really don’t have special themes actually. I can write about anything. The most important to me is to always try to give a sincere message in my lyrics.”

Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

“We do have a very large panel of influences. Musically, from the Woodstock years, The Beatles etc… to more recent bands like Kings of Leon, Muse etc…
We also have Rhythm’n’blues, classical and jazz influences…”

Where can someone looking for your music, find it?

“Everywhere? ahah. We are on all digital platforms (Spotify, Deezer, Itunes etc…) and Youtube of course. So I guess it won’t be too hard to find us normally!!”

What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances?

“Living an experience. Touring, like being on stage is something unique. Each time it’s different. Different people you meet, different audience each night. It’s a wonderful adventure, and a very special one.”

What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?

“I think I would like to give a positive message. A message of benevolence. We need that more than ever in our world today…”

Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are you future plans for the band?

“On the road, touring worldwide I hope!! We will release soon our new album called “For Tomorrow” and we try to reschedule our tours for 2021.”

Instagram / Twitter: @reavenmusic

Youtube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/reavenmusic

Facebook Official Page:
http://www.facebook.com/reavenmusic/

Press Book Online:
http://reavenmusicworld.blogspot.fr/

Album Review: Folklore – The Quarantine Has Allowed Taylor Swift to Put Out Her Most Mature And Personal Work Yet.

Folklore; Taylor Swift

Rating – /Must listen if you’re a fan./

Taylor Swift – cardigan (Official Music Video)

Folklore hit like a surprise, both in how it was released and the contents inside it. The 16-song album was announced with little fanfare just a day before its release. “Most of the things I had planned for the summer didn’t happen,” she wrote in a statement, “but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen.” The way Taylor Swift tells it, folklore arrived in a rush of inspiration. “It started with imagery,” she wrote on Instagram. “Visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity.” Less than a year after 2019’s Lover, it marks a departure from the sharp, radio-friendly pop music that Swift spent the past decade-and-a-half building toward.

And this truly album is truly unlike anything Taylor has put out in the past. It is quiet, somber, introspective and very moody. There are no headbangers here, designed to make white girls go crazy in a party, these songs are way more personal and packs a much bigger punch. Her usual collaborators like Jack Antonoff and recording engineer Laura Sisk return in album, but she has also ventured out in look for other more intriguing and indie Collaborators.

There is the song exile, with Justin Vernon from Bon Iver co-writing and lending vocals, which one of my favorite songs Taylor Swift has ever produced. The National: drummer Bryan Devendorf and multi-instrumentalists Bryce and Aaron Dessner, with the latter co-writing or producing 11 songs. As a result, this is the most raw Taylor Swift has ever sounded, and blunt and subtle delivery on the lyrics and songs that are very much indie-folk.

Now, I’m not gonna do a deep dive into the lyrics on each song, trying to decipher every little detail about Taylor’s personal life. To be honest, I don’t really know much about her personal life and don’t really care, and also there are so many entertainment sites doing just that. So if that’s what you want, maybe you should check them out. But, this the most mature lyrics Taylor Swift has ever written, analyzing themes without her heavy pop filter. Don’t get me wrong, these are still songs of white girl problems, Americana, and nostalgia for the past and it has also the style and flair we associate with Taylor, only now, with more weight to them.

I have feeling that without quarantine we wouldn’t have gotten this album out of Taylor. The sort of isolation from the industry and fact she will not have tour with these songs or do numbers on charts, allowed Taylor to take a risk, and put out something has was immensely personal to her. For all the bad things corona virus has brought to us this year, Folklore surely isn’t one. I highly recommend this album, even if you aren’t really a fan of Taylor.

Fav tracks: //the 1/ cardigan/ the last great american dynasty/ exile/ my tears ricochet/ epiphany/ hoax//

Least fav track: //betty//

Blade Runner 2049: What It Means To Be Human.

Alan Turing once said, “Machines can never think as humans do. but just because something thinks differently, doesn’t mean it’s not thinking at all.”
Well, it’s a really pretty quote, except Alan Turing never said that. This quote is from the 2014 movie, Imitation games starring Benedict Cumberbatch. You’ve probably heard of it, it was in the Oscars and got a lot of recognition. But what about the man the movie is based on? Well, not quite. Much like any other person to ever walk the surface of the earth, Alan Turing, the father of Artificial intelligence himself, has been lost in time… you know, like tears in rain.

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But what it is about science fiction is particular that is so keen on exploring the idea of AI, dating back to the original Blade Runner in 1982, that it keeps raising questions like, “Can machines think?” or “Are machines human?”, over and over in the central theme of the story. Maybe, it’s because only by examining the abstract, we can understand the real. We explore the intelligence in machines, to delve deep into the notion of what makes us human.
But to me, the Blade Runner films have never been about whether machines are human, I mean for one, the artificial beings inhabiting the Blade Runner universe are not very machine-like. They always seem to hide a deeper question underneath.


“What does it even Mean to be human?”


The blade runner universe comprises of replicants and humans. The replicants look like humans, talk like humans and probably even feel like humans do, except they are made by humans themselves. So they are denied the right to be considered equal to the humans. Which is evident from how the Blade Runners are hired to “retire” them once they cross their expiration date or are of no use to their creators. The replicants are not killed or murdered, they are retired like an old piece of junk.
Blade Runner 2049 begins with Ryan Gosling’s Detective K, retiring an old replicant. Living in the almost uninhabitable dystopian version of Los Angeles, K is a replicant himself, working for the LAPD as a Blade Runner, following the orders of his human superiors and being mocked and bullied in and out of work. The humans hate him because he’s a replicant and the replicants hate him because he works for the humans, they call him a “skinjob” – probably the the n-word equivalent of blade runner universe, but K seems to have made peace with all the constraints put on him. He’s accepted his position as an inferior being in front of the more superior homo sapiens, and has build his own small world for him, with his partner Joi, a digital AI, yet another type of man-made consciousness. We’ll get to her later.


THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

Cogito ergo sum.
I think, therefore I am. It is believed only humans are capable of critical thinking, all other animals lack the ability to think rationally. But, the replicants are more than capable of critical thinking. K is shown to be the most intuitive detective in LAPD, and also trusted with the important case of finding out the lost child of Deckard. And K, doesn’t just investigate because he is ordered to, he is intrigued by the the idea of a replicant giving birth. He says…
“It means they have a soul.”
Throughout the movie K is actively searching for the truth, digging deeper to resolve the mystery. He understand the importance of truth, and actively questions his place in this world just like any human being. He believes in the notion of something bigger than himself, he thinks the truth is what will set him free.
Replicants throughout the Blade Runner films are highly sophisticated and empathetic creatures. Take Roy batty for instance, spilling out poetry in the face of death, reconciling with his whole life, going back to his memories. Even K, though played by a very wooden Ryan Gosling, shows a range of emotions. He is in love with his AI assistant, aspires to be something more, feels emotions like sadness, anger and hopelessness, all key to the identity of humans.
One could argue that those emotions aren’t real, they are programmed responses to situations that are installed in the replicant’s software. But how do we know, our emotions aren’t programmed biological responses to the sensory information picked up by our brain. For all we know, love is just a chemical reaction in our brain, how is that different from a computer generated prompt.

MEMORIES

Our memories make us who we are at present. It dictates our beliefs, choices and decisions in life. We grow and build experiences to help us survive in this world, each experience has it’s own importance in our memory, we learn from our mistakes and derive our understandings from our failures. We base our choices on our memories, bright happy memories gives us the pleasure of joy, and we are often reminiscing about them or trying to recreate similar moments in life only to feel again. On the other hand negative experiences, drive us away and fill our heads with dark thoughts, whenever we think of them it pushes us towards depression and anxiety, and we are very unlikely to do things, meet people, or go places, we associate with particularly bad memory.
So an artificial being can be given memories in such a way that dictate their personality, depending on the skills required of them. K’s memory of the wooden horse is a big influence to his rough and tough personality that makes him a detective, fighting to keep what’s his own. Albeit, all these memories are real, they are somebody else’s but to a replicant they are as real as they can get and they don’t even realise they are not real, like K convinces himself that he is the son of Deckard based on his memories. And sometimes they don’t even realise they are replicants, if they aren’t told that there memories aren’t real real, like rachel, or heck, possibly even Deckard. Their memories make them real, even if they aren’t real themselves.


LOVE

Humans by nature are the most capable of love among any other species known in this world. It might be hard to believe that, considering the amount of hate going on around the world right now, but it is true. Human beings nurture and take care of their off-springs like no other, participate in social activities and gatherings, build and break new relationships continuously, and hopelessly fall in love over and over again. Love is the purest of emotions felt by us, and at the end of the day everything a person is fighting for. Can’t the love between two machines be pure? I want to think so. I mean Rachel and Deckard’s love was so pure, it created a miracle – baby given birth by a replicant.
Blade Runner 2049 takes this idea a little further, by adding the character of Joi to the mix. Joi is an artificial being too, but she has no body. She’s like a more advanced, Holographic  version Alex or Siri, a digital assistant that can be a little more than assistant. I’ll be honest, Ryan Gosling’s relationship with Joi in the beginning seemed to be like a real red flag for me. And Villeneuve is such a smart filmmaker, that every time K and Joi share a romantic moment, he cuts back to a scene of Joi being advertised as a sex object, and it fills your brain with doubt and questions. But then it develops into one of the sweetest relationships in cinema history, and the fact that they are not humans or one of them doesn’t have a body never crossed my mind.


SEX AND REPRODUCTION

The Replicants more often than not, are portrayed as objects of sexual fantasy in the Blade Runner films, they either shown as prostitutes or sold off as slaves. Joi is practically marketed like a virtual girlfriend that will do anything you want, like a rpg game. But still, K and Joi overcome all the prejudices of thier society.
The scene where Joi invites a hooker, as host so she can get physically intimate with K, is without a doubt one of the best sex scenes ever put on film, a scene that is by the way very reminiscent of a similar scene from the movie Her. The way the three broken individuals come together to complete what each one them lack, is such a beautiful moment to witness. They are truly whole in this moment, maybe not in the way we understand it, but the feeling cannot be denied.
Sex and reproduction are an undeniable part of the human life, or life of any living organism for that matter. Our entire biology is designed a certain way to facilitate reproduction in an attempt to keep our species alive. It is our way of immortality, if you think of it, passing on the knowledge of our ancestors through our DNA to the progeny. And maybe that is life, passing on, from generation to generation. And that’s why the replicants think the biggest way for them to prove their equality to the humans is finding the child of Deckard and Rachel – a child born out of love, a miracle.


PURPOSE

For Aristotle, writing in the 4th century B.C., being human meant having a telos — an appropriate end or goal.
It is startling that such philosophical ideas were discussed centuries ago, I guess it just goes to show that man is a naturally curious creature, always questioning it’s purpose or place in this world. It is interesting how many actual living and breathing creatures roam around us, without ever actually finding their purpose in life, will they be considered human? I wonder.

K doesn’t have any purpose at the beginning of the film, he’s a puppet to the humans. He just quietly does his work and spends his days aimlessly until he finds himself engrossed in the mystery of Deckard’s child. He believes it is him and assumes his purpose in life. That’s why when he learns that he is not Deckard’s son, all his hopes come falling down. He feels lost in the world all of sudden, like he doesn’t know who he really is. He walks around the streets of LA aimlessly again, as be stands face to face with an hologram of Joi. He’s reminded of her death, and all he has lost to get to this postion. He suddenly finds a new purpose in life,  purpose that he is aware will mostly likely get him him killed, but he chooses has telos, an appropriate end. K might not be born naturally, he might not be a human, but at the end he evolves into something more.

Blade Runner 2049 is masterpiece of the cyberpunk genre, from Deakins’ gorgeous cinematography, to Vileneuve’s sharp driecting and Hans Zimmer’s moody music, it is sensory and visual overload, that can only be felt to be to be believed. It is a film that is not afraid to to take it’s time and meditate on it’s characters and aesthetics, and in the process exploring big questions about existence and life.

At the end does it even matter if something is human, or what it means to be one, as long as we are alive and living happily? There was a time when women weren’t considered human, who knows maybe one day machines will be more human than us. Soon, all of this will be gone and lost forever, only our memories of all that is happening right now will remain. So, sit back, relax and enjoy it all in bliss, while it lasts.

Understanding Life with Art

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