The Passion Of Dustin Kensrue- An Interview With The Frontman Of Thrice

October 19, 2011

Thrice has been a staple in the alternative-modern-rock world for nearly ten years now. With no real need for introduction, Thrice is known for effortlessly and continuously releasing groundbreaking records. Their eighth album Major/Minor is no exception.

The Orange County, California quartet released their first proper full-length, Identity Crisis, in 2001 and quickly stormed to the forefront of the indie music scene as listeners rejoiced and formed what can only be described as a cult following. Thrice went on to release six highly praised albums – fan favorites The Illusion Of Safety (2002), The Artist In The Ambulance (2003) and Vheissu (2005), the brilliant and intricate four-piece concept album The Alchemy Index: Fire and Water (2007) and Earth and Air (2008), and the most recent band-centric masterpiece, Beggars (2009). Ample touring followed each release, and in the 13 years since their inception, the guys of Thrice have had the pleasure of sharing the road with the likes of Brand New, Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Manchester Orchestra, Circa Survive, Say Anything, Mewithoutyou and many more.

Major/Minor sheds light on a side of Thrice fans have yet to see. Comprised of eleven songs, the album possesses an analog warmth and organic landscape reminiscent of indie-music’s predecessor; one of the biggest music trends to come from the underground in the 1990’s. That’s right, grunge.

Thrice has never been bound to trends, and fans never know just what to expect from a new release. And that’s half the fun. – Thrice.net

The following interview was conducted on 10/18/11

The Dustin Kensrue Interview

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Catching Up With Paul Thorstenson Of Dissolve

October 13, 2011

Dissolve is heavy. Dissolve is brutal, and they are very, very good at what they do. My friend Steve Karp (of Yuppicide) summed up his experience of Dissolve quite nicely by saying “that band still scares the hell out of me to this day- so intense”. Any of you fortunate enough to have seen a live Dissolve show over the past twenty years know exactly what he is talking about. Even to call it a “show” isn’t quite accurate as it’s more of an experience, second only to few other live bands. While they haven’t exactly released a library of material over the years, Dissolve’s legacy to fans speaks for itself. As Paul states in the interview “Sometimes I wonder if people really care or even like us anymore but then we play a show and the way people react makes me feel really good, like there’s a real connection we’ve made with people. That’s success to me, a successful band does that” and I couldn’t agree more.

The Paul Thorstenson Interview

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Cycles And Turns With Johnette Napolitano Of Concrete Blonde- An Interview

October 6, 2011

Johnette Napolitano– Singer, Songwriter, Tattoo Artist, Psychic, Fashionista, Lover of Life.

Namaste– I honor that place in you where the Universe resides. And when I am in that place in me, and you are in that place in you, we are One.

I conducted this interview with Johnette on 1.18.11 but with cosmic universal life events being what they are, it’s not until now I’ve been able to transcribe and post this. It was all of two minutes into our conversation that the word Namaste resonated within me about the experience I was having. Johnette is a truly amazing and inspirational soul who should not only be celebrated for her work in Concrete Blonde, but also for her passion for life and it’s many mysteries. Enjoy.

The Johnette Napolitano Interview

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Endless Midnight- An Interview with Jeff Caxide of Crone

October 4, 2011

The pervasive shadow, this all moving darkness.” – Thomas Ligotti

None of us are privy to the film screening inside Jeff Caxide’s head, but we certainly have an idea of what that picture sounds like thanks to Endless Midnight, the debut album from CRONE. Yet it’d be lazy of me to describe the first post-ISIS project by the bass player as merely a soundtrack searching for a movie. Sure, Endless Midnight is cinematic, bleak as a Blade Runner soundstage and noir as a moonlit Mulholland Drive, but the record inspires imagery and more so—a state of mind—than it references the work of other composers. First to acknowledge the influence of filmmakers Terrence Malick and Andrei Tarkovsky, Caxide makes it clear CRONE’s intentions were never to mimic. “I was worried about emulating the music from some of my favorite films and had quite a few false starts,” he told me, “but eventually fell into a rhythm where I was thinking about mood and atmosphere and not technique.”  Surprisingly, Caxide’s new project draws inspiration not just from inimitable auteurs but literature as well, particularly the work of reclusive horror scribe Thomas Ligotti. “I wanted to bring to life the cerebral sense of dread and unease that are in his stories,” he explained. Indeed, a sense of melancholy and detachment pervades Endless Midnight, the music at times lush and majestic, elsewhere sparse and despairing…shifts in tone that often occur within a single track and call to mind the strongest (and strangest) qualities of Ligotti’s fiction. Although his love of soundscapes was partially explored by ISIS in interludes and segues, Caxide can trace the fascination to childhood. “As long as I can remember I’ve loved ambient sounds,” Jeff recalled. “I’ve slept with a fan on since I was a boy, and distinctly remember this big humidifier just outside my bedroom, the loud humming it made. It accompanied whatever I did, and even had a presence in my dreams.”

As creatively satisfying as Endless Midnight proved to be, the album didn’t come to fruition without its share of challenges. Working from a foundation of bass and keyboards, Caxide wrote CRONE material while simultaneously learning new recording techniques—two processes that weren’t always compatible with one another. And despite contributions from Candiria guitar player John LaMacchia, ISIS drummer Aaron Harris and multi-instrumentalist Cliff Meyer, the reality of a “solo” effort became a surprising source of frustration. “I’ve never been in a situation when I didn’t have people to bounce ideas off of,” Caxide admitted. “And that was more difficult to adjust to than I originally expected.”

Gaining confidence as a writer was complimented coincidentally by Jeff’s current home of Los Angeles. “I often took demos with me on hour-long hikes and nighttime drives. Usually it was during these moments when I discovered where certain songs needed to go.” It’s the artist as tactician, and much like a novelist plotting a book during a fit of insomnia or a director blocking a scene on the back of a cocktail napkin, CRONE is the result of many sleepless nights, eyestrain and bad posture, along with a healthy dose of what down south they call “mulling time.”

The results speak for themselves.

From graffiti-tagged neighborhoods to breathtaking canyon vistas, the perpetual thrum of a helicopter, sirens, street walkers, warm summer twilights and low-hanging smog, CRONE was shaped as much by Caxide’s affinities for fiction and film as it was the city of the project’s conception. But no matter where you might find yourself, Endless Midnight is above all else the perfect sonic companion to that “magic hour” loved by a Hollywood camera…and the darkness that follows.

Peter Farris

Cobb County, GA

 The Jeff Caxide (Crone) Interview (more…)
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Ken Susi Of Unearth- An Interview

June 19, 2011

unearth [ʌnˈɜːθ] vb (tr)- bring to light; “The CIA unearthed a plot to kill the President”

Ken Susi is a man who doesn’t mince words. He’s been playing guitar with the band Unearth since the late 90’s and has no problem speaking his mind. In the following interview Ken discusses Unearths new record, their upcoming tour, 80’s music, Jimmy Eat World and why haters need to shut the fuck up.

Interview conducted June, 2011.

The Ken Susi Interview

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