Since 2005, Will Rhoten has spun some of Dallas’ hottest tracks under the moniker DJ Sober. Since its inception, the DJ Sober project has been a solid stable in Dallas’ arts…Read More
GvsB VI with headliner & co-curator WASHED OUT
Jessy Lanza, Jacques Greene, She-Devils, DJ SOBER
Sat, August 12, 2017
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm (event ends at 12:30 am)The Bomb Factory
This event is all ages
PRESENTED BY SOUND ON SOUNDhttp://www.thebombfactory.com/event/1504881/
For many millennials, life can be overblown and over-dramatized to the point of absurdity. Their ways of distracting themselves from the insecurities they face on a daily basis are just as absurd, from social media and fantasy to drugs and music. Mister Mellow, Washed Out's first fully immersive multimedia experience playfully guides the listener through the highs and lows of this often ridiculous struggle, and shines a light on the humor in this paradox — how we can be so bored and unhappy in what is often a very privileged, contented life? This theme isn’t entirely new to Washed Out: Greene started exploring way back in 2009 on the Life of Leisure EP; but the new visual album, which he conceived and spent two years creating, provides a fresh, modern perspective, musically and thematically.
Mister Mellow moves further away from the synthesizer-heavy sounds of the recent Washed Out releases and more band-driven sound of his work on iconic labels Sub Pop in America, and Domino in Europe. On Mister Mellow, Greene draws from the experimental collage techniques of musique concrete and plunderphonics artists such as The Residents. Combining styles as diverse as free jazz, house, hip-hop and psych together with interlude-esque voiceover samples, often pulled from anonymous YouTube vlogs, he creates a busy, chaotic, and caricaturish mix that mirrors the claustrophobic, hyper-stimulated psyche so familiar to young adults.
As Greene tells it, he and his sole collaborator, Grammy Award-winning engineer Cole MGN deliberately avoided polishing the songs: “My previous albums were very clean and traditional in the sense that most of the music was composed of live instrumental performances, and recorded in a way that was very high-fidelity and modern. With this album, the idea was to bring some chaos to the mix - and to try my best to make songs out of the strangest sounds and textures I could find.”
As he continues to carve out his innovative sonic identity, influenced by the world around him but unafraid to buck trends, it’s fitting that Greene has partnered with legendary hip hop label Stones Throw Records, long a home for beat-loving musical rebels. His approach to releasing music is every bit as individual, too: in an environment where compiling singles into an album format or working with a single video director are the norm, Greene has chosen to commission eleven different artists to bring the visual aspect of his fully-realised album project to life.
Integral to the Mister Mellow project is the full-length visual counterpart that utilizes almost every form of animation (collage, claymation, hand-drawn, stop-motion.) Inspired by a handmade / human feel rather than the pristine hyper-realism of purely computer generated visual art, these rich, detailed patchworks give the Washed Out compositional process its purest visual counterpart to date. Much as Greene meticulously stitches together sonic collages, his visual collaborators use collage, fabric puppetry and claymation to come up with the beautiful, unique vignettes featured in the film. Much like the music, Greene says, the visuals are “imperfect and distressed”, helping to create “a very skewed, impressionistic view of the world.”
On Mister Mellow, Washed Out steers clear of emotion to empathise with the minutiae of the world around him. “I’ve been much less interested in sentimentality and emotion for the past couple of years,” says Greene, “In some ways, I think its a reaction against getting older and having more responsibilities. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for a time in my life where I could just relax and block out the world for a moment.” Though Mister Mellow is an intensely personal album, its ideas and observations speak to the lived experience of so many young adults, an experience that we come to see as both funny and sad. Take a hit and get lost June 30th.
Made in her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, with production partner Jeremy Greenspan from Junior Boys, the plaintive, reverb drizzled mood of the first album has all but given away to a more direct, self-assured and joyful album. As with many artists whose hometown lie off the usual network of cultural hotspots, ‘Oh No’ is driven positively by the idea of making music that isn’t inspired by where she lives. Instead, the album resonates more with the philosophy of experimental pop of Japanese 80s electro outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra and Jessy’s breathless, pitched vocals are reminiscent of YMO collaborator Miharu Koshi. Playfully laced with cascading arpeggios, crispy drum machines and breezy songs, ‘Oh No’ has an infectious energy that has been brewing in her live shows since her first album. As Jessy says ‘I want to make people feel good and I want to make myself feel good’.
The album oscillates between the languid, coiled, arpeggiated slow jams of ‘New Ogi’, ‘GoingSomewhere’, ‘Begins’, ‘Could be u’, ‘I Talk BB’ and the low slung 808 groove of ‘Vivaca’, where Jessy’s vocal gymnastics run wild over minimal drums and synths, and the catchy upbeat boogie of ‘VV Violence’, ‘Never Enough’, ‘OhNo’ and the high point of ‘It Means I Love You” which has a sparse addictive bounce with a pitched up vocal refrain and a nod to Shangaan electro.
The trials of dealing with nervousness are also encrypted into the artwork, such as the plants that recur in the sleeve and videos.As Jessy remarked, “I became obsessed with surrounding myself with tropical plants. I’ve been convinced that the air quality in our house is slowly killing us. It might sound crazy but the plants have made a huge difference.”
Anxiety and botanical remedies or not, ‘Oh No’ is a bold second album from Jessy and a marked step forward for her sound. Catch her as shetours with Junior Boys in February, plays EU headline shows from May to June, and in July has a North American Tour.
Alongside her friend and bandmate Kyle Jukka, she has summoned ‘She-Devils’: a channel through which Audrey Ann and Kyle explore the sensory world, actualize aesthetic fantasies and alchemize pieces of history into entirely new sensations.
Through primitive electronic gear, hypnotist vocals, and an “amusement park of sounds”, the duo’s album constructs a fun-house world of beautiful chaos. The music is built from original sonics inspired by everything from Iggy Pop to Madonna to T-Rex to Can, as well as the romantic longing of ‘60s yé-yé.
The pair met four years ago while living at a music rehearsal space in the Mile-Ex neighbourhood of Montreal. “We were like wild animals, kind of fearful and just surviving,” recalls Kyle, “But we had certain obsessions and needed to build something out of them, to transcend our lives and express our visions and inspirations.” In this state, Kyle and Audrey formed a friendship based on a love of the dreamy and the beautiful. “She-Devils is a ship we built to sail us away to a better place,” says Audrey.
The band played gigs for about eight months though they did not record right away. Making music together meant following their own rules and taking things one step at a time. “I never sang before starting She-Devils,” says Audrey. “I have to learn just by doing it, through intuition. I learned vocal warm-ups I found online so I could train the reflexes of my body, since it’s kind of like training my body’s ability to respond to intuition.” Following instinct is a crucial part of She-Devils’ identity.
Striving to make music that feels “as visual as possible,” the band hopes to strap listeners into a rollercoaster ride “with Audrey’s voice as the centrepiece to cling to.” The duo are inspired by the cinema and art of Gregg Araki, Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, John Waters and Quentin Tarantino. They direct their own videos. Audrey creates the artwork that accompanies the music. Her self-taught style evolved by watching hours of Disney movies, The Simpsons and Powerpuff Girls. “Those influences are very present in my drawings and paintings,” she says.
Audrey is also musically self-taught. In fact, she had never even played music before forming She-Devils. “I’ve always seen music from the perspective of an artist or music lover rather than that of a musician,” she explains. “When I sing over a loop, I don’t feel like I’m in control of what I do, or that I am cerebrally engaged with making music, it’s more like my subconscious is completely taking over my mind and it just comes out of my dreams.”
You only have to listen to the album to understand what Audrey’s saying. Dig a little into her lyrics and this entrancing quality becomes even more palpable. “There’s a place where we can go / Right here if you let me take you in / I know that this is for real / I saw the look in your eyes,” she croons on ‘Never Let Me Go,’ over Kyle’s woozy, layered guitars.
Elsewhere on the album, standout tracks include ‘How Do You Feel’ - a swirling fantasia about adolescent love - ‘You Don’t Know’, with its trebly jangle-pop, and ’The World Laughs,’ which hits a high of creepy rock ‘n roll psychedelia.
Kyle and Audrey think they fit together perfectly. “I try to use my ears to travel, and like a traveller I want to feel sonic emotions and hear things I haven’t before, that’s the excitement of it,” says Kyle, “The challenge is to make that into a cohesive work, but Audrey makes it so easy because she has this vibe as a singer that immediately connected with my imagination.” The connection of these two friends—their tensions, harmonies and oppositions—is probably the most crucial part of all. Their debut self-titled album arrives this May.
Like many DJs, Sober took time to develop his talents in his basement and at house parties before stepping out into clubs. "I practiced for years and honed the craft before I ever deejayed out," he says. "It was never, 'I want to be a DJ' career-wise or to get attention. I just liked vinyl and collecting records and being around it." While working a job overseeing Dallas area promotions for Red Bull in the mid 2000s, he began organizing special events and deejaying more frequently on the side. In 2006, he combined his mixing and marketing expertise to develop The Party with fellow DJs Select and Nature. The Party bridged the Big D's musical and cultural gaps while bringing acts from Smif N Wessun to Justice to Blaq Starr to the city. "We kind of took over Dallas pretty quickly," Sober says. "Before, there were just exclusively hip-hop or house events, dance-related stuff. Nobody was really playing multiple genres or doing anything different. We started introducing new music like Baltimore club and different things that people weren't messing with here."
The members of The Party went their separate ways in 2009, but Sober is more active than ever in Texas' nightlife scene. His weekly Big Bang! party at Dallas' Beauty Bar, is consistently jam-packed and has attracted some of the nation's best DJs including Eli Escobar, Kon, House Shoes and Blade Runners. He also holds his monthly Top Notch event with DJs Dayta and El Roy Boogie every last Saturday of the month in Houston and runs a traveling event, Dope on Plastic, in which he only spins vinyl.
Over the last several years, Sober has opened for bands such as the Flaming Lips and Cut Copy, deejayed alongside ?uestlove and Pete Rock and backed up Devin the Dude on stage. Through his association with New York City's Scratch Academy, he has also taught youth deejaying clinics, including one memorable one alongside hip-hop pioneer Grand Wizzard Theodore at Steve Harvey's house. The most interesting of his many gigs might be his one at Cowboys Stadium, the world's largest domed stadium. "It gets pretty jumping in there," Sober says. "I'm a DJ, so I'm gonna rock the party. Even if the other team wins, their fans are gonna stay and celebrate. When New Orleans won, I played a New Orleans bounce set, and it was insane. There were Saints fans holding umbrellas and wearing crazy outfits. It turned into a dance party."
In 2010, Sober connected with Slim Gravy and Paris Pershun of A.Dd+ through producer PICNICTYME and became A.Dd+'s official DJ. He also provided the cuts on "I'm So Dallas," a DJ track made from snippets of classic Dallas rap anthems, on their debut LP When Pigs Fly. Having a consummate DJ like Sober in their corner has helped A.Dd+ elevate their stage show. With A.Dd+, he says, "it felt so natural once we got in the studio. We had a bunch of ideas we were bouncing ideas off of each other, and it was exactly how I thought it should be." In 2012, they toured the nation twice as openers for Black Milk and Talib Kweli, respectively.
With an amazing few years behind him, Sober already has plans to kick down the door to 2013 with the introduction of Booty Fade, a duo consisting of him and PICNICTYME. Look out for their debut, self-titled EP out this March.
The Bomb Factory
2713 Canton Street
Dallas, TX, 75226