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Happy Birthday to our photographer, Michael McGrath!

12/11/13

Forever 31! Audiovore would like to extend a very special happy birthday to Michael McGrath, our ridiculous and enigmatic photographer and friend. We are forever lucky to have this character around the Audiovore offices and live shoots, and wish him many happy years to come.

Check out our Photovore page for his awesome coverage of Audiovore’s live events.

We love you, Mike!

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Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore :: Echo Beds and Munly & the Lupercalians

9/20/13

Echo Beds joined Munly & the Lupercalians for the final installment of Audiovore’s Fortunate Listener series at Mercury Cafe on Wednesday. Check out these dark and mysterious photos from Michael McGrath.

 

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore :: The Outfit and Colfax Speed Queen

9/13/13

The Outfit and Colfax Speed Queen took the stage Wednesday at Mercury Cafe as part of Audiovore’s Fortunate Listener series.  Rock and roll, to the max. Click on any photo by Michael McGrath below for an awesome slideshow.

 

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore :: Varlet and Dragondeer

8/30/13

Varlet and Dragondeer graced the stage of the Mercury Cafe on August 28th, 2013, a fantastically intimate and delightful show. Check out photos from the evening below, thanks to Audiovore’s Michael McGrath.

 

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore :: Blue Rider and Clouds & Mountains

8/22/13

Blue Rider and Clouds & Mountains performed Wednesday, August 21st at Mercury Cafe for Audiovore’s Fortunate Listener series. Clouds & Mountains features musicians from Paper Bird, Princess Music, Chimney Choir, Ark Life and more. Super-duper group! Blue Rider had the Mercury crowd on its feet and DANCING by the end of their set, singing “too hip to dance” as the entire audience cut a rug. Party times with Audiovore!

Check out photos from the night below, by Audiovore’s Michael McGrath.

 

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore :: SHEL and Blake Brown & the American Dust Choir

8/16/13

SHEL and Blake Brown & the American Dust Choir kicked off the fall season of Fortunate Listener at The Mercury Cafe on Wednesday, with a rapt audience calling SHEL back onstage for more. A beautiful start to what we expect to be a fantastic fall series! All photos below by Michael McGrath.

 

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Audiovore’s Fortunate Listener series begins again!

8/13/13

Fortunate Listener is back! Join Audiovore this fall at Mercury Cafe in Denver for a live concert series featuring the best of Colorado-based bands.

Audiovore will record a video of one song from each band’s live performance, with audio from those videos cut onto a MEEP record available for presale at each show. These shows are a unique opportunity to be a part of the live recording process, while exploring Colorado’s incredible music scene.

Shows are all ages, with doors at 8pm and shows starting promptly at 8:30pm. Lineup below:

August 14: Vinefield Agency presents SHEL and Blake Brown and the American Dust Choir
            21: Collectible Records presents: Blue Rider and Clouds & Mountains
            28: Dragondeer & Varlet
September 11: Hot Congress Showcase
                 18: Munly & the Lupercalians
                  25: Holy Underground presents: Shady Elders and FLASH/LIGHTS
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Photovore :: Colorado Symphony Orchestra & the Beck Reader

6/28/13

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra paired up with local musicians during Westword’s Music Showcase to present interpretations from Beck’s recently released Song Reader, a collection of twenty songs released only as sheet music and never before released or recorded.  For the performance at Curious Theater, the CSO collaborated with Otis Taylor, The Hollyfelds, Seven Hats and Nathaniel Rateliff. Check out pictures from the rehearsal and performance below, and check back in with Audiovore in the upcoming weeks for live video! All photos below by Michael McGrath. Click on any picture for slideshow.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Ask Matty :: Will I find true love?

6/3/13

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Let’s be honest, all you hopeless hipsters out there need some serious advice, especially when it comes to dating. And who to better advise on true love than Denver’s most lovable Matty Clark — rock club owner, Zebroid, daredevil, and pretty smart guy.

Dear Matty,

Does true love exist? Will I ever find it?

Nope. You might think true love exists, but then true love leaves you for an improv comedian and you begin a series of relationships with girls much, much younger than yourself that, while certainly very entertaining, ultimately leaves you feeling hollow and empty inside.

Just kidding. My cold, dead heart aside I believe sure, you can meet that one special someone or whatever and be with them for the rest of your life. I think the secret is that you can’t go looking for it. All of my successful relationships started when I wasn’t even remotely interested in having a girlfriend. I think of it like that poster in your high school guidance counselor’s office “Happiness is like this fucking butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder” (which by the way is totally yoinks). If you’re looking for it, you aren’t going to find it. For example the classic bachelor move of cleaning up your dumpy single-guy apartment before you go out at night- making your bed for the first time in a month, cleaning up all the beard trimmings in the sink and the shit stains in the toilet, doing the week-old dishes- all in the chance that maybe, just maybe, tonight is the night you’re bringing someone home. Because that happens exactly never. You only bring someone home when your house is totally fucked and the entire place smells like your cat’s litter box. I guess my point is if you’re looking too hard, you aren’t going to find it. Not really anyway, not something that lasts. You might find something that’s okay for right now, but inevitably it shits the bed leaving you wondering what happened and you’ve wasted your time.

Being a bartender, I see the dance every night. All these people desperately flailing about to find love, even if for one night. These days so many of our interactions take place through a lens of some kind (Facebook, Instagram, text messaging, etc). Human interaction is becoming a lost art, and I watch the generations under me reaching and clawing for the attention they so desperately need, because guess what? There is no “Like” button in real life. Approval in reality is shown in different ways than just a click of a button. Conversation must be created right on the spot instead of carefully formulated bon mots on a keyboard. And since everything in life now happens SO FAST we want this true love thing and we want it RIGHT. NOW. And that is not how it works unfortunately.

So in short, true love, sure. Just take your time with it.  “Do you” as Russell Simmons would say. All that other shit will come to pass in due time.

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Have a question for Matty? Email audiovoredenver@gmail.com with your most pressing questions.

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Ask Matty :: Book my awesome band

Introducing……..
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Let’s be honest, all you hopeless hipsters out there need some serious advice. And who to better advise than Denver’s own Matty Clark — rock club owner, Zebroid, daredevil, and pretty smart guy. We’ll kick off Ask Matty with some advice on how to get a show at a rock club.

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Dear Matty,

When’s a good time to talk to you about booking a show at your bar/venue?

On a super-busy night when we are three-deep is the perfect time to ask me if your band Noone and the Whothefucks can play here sometime.

Sorry that was mean. Hey I’m fucking tired! Jeez. But I will tell you right now, talking to me or any other of our other bar staff about getting your band booked at the bar is useless. While I may own my place I, as many venues do, employ a booking agent. This is a guy whose job is managing the calendar and putting shows together. Shoot him an e-mail, he will get back to you about available dates, etc. And remember that pestering and perseverance are two different things entirely. Don’t give up, but don’t sour people by nagging constantly. If it’s a good fit I’m sure we will have a date for you somewhere. Normally if you are a new band and haven’t played out very often, you have to look at your show as a kind of proving ground. Promote in advance, crush it on show night and you’ll probably get booked again. You can’t just book a show  do nothing on your end and then expect people to come. You have to work at it. My band Zebroids has to trick people into coming to our shows with false promises of free drugs and pizza. Feel free to use that approach.

This reminds me of something I find very funny. One time a guy came up to me and asked if my band wanted to play a house party show at his place. I asked him when the show was and he just said “oh, I don’t know. We were thinking of having shows at our house sometime”. It made me laugh so hard. It was the most useless conversation. Hey do you like pasta? Yeah I love pasta! Wanna eat pasta with me? Hell yes I do! Well I’m thinking about making pasta sometime. Not right now, in the future. Just in general. NOW I’M HUNGRY FOR PASTA. Good thing it’s Tuesday and the baked pasta special is going down at Famous Pizza. Arrivederci!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photovore :: Kitty Crimes

4/23/13

Kitty Crimes headlined week 2 of Fortunate Listener, stars and stripes and all things nice. Check out these photos from Audiovore magician Michael McGrath, taken April 10th at Mercury Cafe. Fortunate Listener is an awesome live series partnership between Audiovore, MEEP Records, and Mountain to Sound.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore :: Ark Life

4/23/13

Ark Life took the stage for Week 2 of Fortunate Listener on April 10th at Mercury Cafe. Braving a snowstorm and barely-opened hi-ways, Ark Life graced Audiovore’s eyes and ears with a lovely and yee-haw performance. What a crew.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Audiovore Interviews :: The Narrators

Audiovore kicks off our new series called Fortunate Listener at the Mercury Cafe on Wednesday, March 27th, with The Narrators fronting the bill.  The Narrators is a monthly storytelling show hosted by Andrew Orvedahl and Robert Rutherford that  features comedians, actors, musicians, writers, and other creative types sharing true stories from their lives centered on a monthly theme. Fortunate Listener will borrow The Narrators from their home at Deer Pile for a special evening at the Mercury  with “Tales From the Road”. We caught up with Andrew and Robert early this week to talk storytelling:

Audiovore: How did The Narrators get started?

Andrew:  I originally created The Narrators out of a frustration with not being able to tell longer stories in my stand-up performance. I created it in Los Angeles and called it ‘Storytime’, but when I moved back to Denver I discovered there was already a jam band here called Storytime, so I changed it to The Narrators.

AV: Who were your first storytellers and what was the theme?

Andrew:  In its incarnation as The Narrators, the first theme was ‘Poverty’, and some of the storytellers were: Dan Landes, Ravi Zupa, Adam Cayton-Holland, Sam Tallent, Chuck Roy, and Roger Green, to name a few.

AV: There seem to be storytelling nights popping up across the country, with some podcasts like the Moth Podcast becoming extremely popular. What’s the big deal with storytelling?

Andrew:  Without intending to sound pretentious, I think storytelling is part of this oral tradition that goes back through human history. I bet cavemen huddled around a fire loved a good yarn as much as I love hearing them every third Thursday. Real stories from real lives are fascinating because there’s an emotional resonance behind them, they’re coming up and out of a person who experienced them, not just created from an imagination.

Robert: One of the best things anyone has said about The Narrators (and I think this applies to storytelling shows in general) is that everyone goes home feeling less alone. There is something about the removal of performative artifice through telling a true story that helps people to connect on a very basic level, and listening to others articulate their everyday struggles and triumphs somehow validates your own.

AV: What makes a good story?

Andrew:  I’d say the greatest component to the stories I enjoy is truth, both truth in the telling (as in not embellishing to falsely inflate the tale), but also truth in yourself and your emotions. Sometimes telling a hard story is a very vulnerable experience, and it’s weird to stand on stage and be outwardly and truly sad, but if that’s what’s real in the story, then that’s what the story deserves.

Robert: I agree with Andrew. I think the best stories are the ones that ring with authenticity. It’s a singular quality of all of the best stories we’ve heard on the show. It has nothing to do with whether the story is funny or sad or difficult for the storyteller to dig through, the audience knows when they are hearing something real and honest and that is what they respond to the most favorably.

AV: Who have been a couple audience favorites so far, and why were they so effective?

Andrew:  One of my all-time favorite stories was from Timmi Lasley. She told a story about a gift her mother made her, and brought it along and passed it around. And the story sort of began on this lighthearted note, and everyone was laughing at the homemade gift, but by the end, there was so much emotional resonance in the story, the gift was like a sacred object to all of us. It was so fascinating to see context change in just ten short minutes. Another recent favorite was a story by Mara Wiles, and in it she talked about her nightmares since going on dialysis, and Mara is this super funny person, but the story was very sad and terrifying and moving. You could definitely feel her emotions through the story.

Robert: We’ve been fortunate to have so many storytellers give so freely of themselves.  The Narrators is a free event in a community space. The people who come to tell stories and the audiences that come to hear them come together because they all believe in that singular power of truth-telling, and we’ve heard a lot of that during the show’s run. I’m always blown away by the wit, honesty, and bravery that the storytellers bring every month.  Having said that, I’m a huge fan of playwright Ellen K. Graham, who is a regular guest.  Her writing is dense and unflinchingly intelligent and her storytelling style is direct and nervous and subtle. I turn her stories over in my mind for weeks after she tells them.  Kent Shelton is another favorite.  He is gifted with a classic knack for naturally spinning a good yarn.  Every time he takes the stage he just pulls people in and takes his time, and people love being along for the ride.

AV: Do you tell stories each week?

Andrew:  The show is monthly, and both Robert and I tell a story each month. We alternate hosting and choosing themes.

AV: Since starting The Narrators, do you live or act any differently so that you develop compelling story material?

Andrew:  I do not. I think it would ruin an experience to go into it ‘looking’ for a story.

Robert: Me neither. I have faith that I’ll always be capable of making poor decisions, strong comebacks, and fantastic failures just like everybody else.  I’ll be fucked if I get to a point where all I can talk about is what I did at the gym or how my high school years were a golden age.

AV: What do you have planned for The Narrators in 2013?

Andrew:  The Narrators has definitely settled into its new home at Deer Pile, and the podcast is kicking butt. We’ve also received a number of offers to bring The Narrators to other events, which is cool. I love the storytelling scene in Denver and it’s getting stronger and stronger.

Robert: I want to keep growing our cache of storytellers and turn more people on to the amazing storytellers who make our show what it is.

AV: Tell Audiovore a story around the theme “Instinct” in 100 words or less:

Andrew: Instinctually I’d have to say a good story probably can’t be squeezed into 100 words.

Robert: I can do it with 15 words: I failed to heed my instincts when I paid for that Winnie the Pooh tattoo.

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Photovore :: Nathaniel Rateliff and Joe Sampson

3/6/13

Nathaniel Rateliff took the stage at the Mercury Cafe on Thursday, February 27th 2013, wooing an appreciative, sold-out crowd. Nathaniel’s performance served to record a live album with Mighty Fine Productions. Joe Sampson opened the show with a captivating performance, showcasing his remarkable lyricism and songwriting. Truly a wonderful evening. Click on any picture below for an awesome slideshow of photos by Audiovore’s Michael McGrath.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Audiovore and Fellow Creature Recordings present: MISS AMERICA live recording session

On Thursday, March 7th Audiovore and Fellow Creature Recordings present Miss America, in-studio at Mighty Fine Productions! Miss America will be recording a live record during the show at MFP. Shhhh! Wynkoop Brewing Company and Divino Wine and Spirits are sponsoring the event, so come thirsty. Space is limited, please RSVP to mfp@mfpcolorado.com to secure a spot. Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm, young and old people welcome. Don’t be late we won’t wait.
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Photovore :: Devotchka & the Colorado Symphony Orchestra

12/19/12

Audiovore’s Michael McGrath caught Devotchka’s in-store performance with the Colorado Symphony, live at Twist & Shout, on Tuesday, December 18 2012. The two groups celebrated the release of  the album ”Devotchka Live with the Colorado Symphony” in front of a packed crowd at Twist and Shout. There is a Santa!!

 

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Interview: Andy Thomas and Bryce Merrill of WESTAF

11/1/12

WESTAF is a Denver-based, regional non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, advancement and preservation of the arts in the West. WESTAF recently launched the Independent Music on Tour (IMTour) program, which offers resources to touring independent musicians and grants to nonprofit organizations to present independent musicians. In its inaugural year, IMTour grants were awarded to the following six Colorado musicians/bands: Ian Cooke, Mane Rock, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, The Changing Colors, Paper Bird, and the Photo Atlas. Read on as we interview Bryce Merrill and Andy Thomas from WESTAF.

Audiovore: Tell me about how the IMTour program came about.

WESTAF: The program came out of research WESTAF conducted in 2008-2009 on the Creative Vitality™ of Denver’s independent music community. The study, Listen Local: Music in the Mile High City, identified the geographic and financial challenges Denver musicians face in touring regionally and proposed the development of a grant-funded program to support independent music touring. WESTAF then convened a Denver Music Task Force consisting of members of Denver’s non-profit and for-profit music sectors, and the Task Force worked together for nearly three years to develop IMTour. Many of the Task Force members were also part of conversations in 2005 to develop a “sister-city” touring program, where bands from, for example, Portland and Denver would trade shows and develop mutually beneficial tour routes. In many ways, IMTour and the work of the Denver Music Task Force represents the cumuluative efforts of many committed supporters of the Denver music scene over a number of years! We are quite happy that IMTour is the result of all of this work and dedication. In future years, we hope to extend the program to include musicians throughout the West and, eventually, the nation.

AV: What kind of musician or band was eligible to apply?

WF: We encouraged musicians of all genres to apply, but we asked that they fit the following criteria: Artists had to be tour-ready, have high artistic merit, be excellent musicians, and have a career trajectory and a plan for growth. Additional information on eligibility and selection criteria is available at http://imtour.org/eligibility.

AV: Who picked the bands?

WF: We had over 60 bands apply to the inaugural year. While WESTAF staff were not involved in the selection, many of us reviewed all of the bands and remarked on the high quality of nearly all of the applicants. We felt like the number and quality of the applicants spoke very highly of the vibrancy of this community. (To say nothing of the volume of bands willing to complete a grant application!) The selection process involved members of the Music Task Force evaluating all 60 artists on how well they fit the program. The evaluators then ranked the top 20 bands, in no hierarchy (e.g. the evaluators were asked simply to identify the best 20 of the 60 bands). A national panel of music industry experts–including Erick Carer of Uncle Booking, Craig Grossman and David Priebe of Green Room Music Source, and Stefan Goldby, Executive Producer at Buzzine Networks–were given 1) materials for all sixty applicants and 2) the Task Force panelists top 20 recommendations. The national panel then were asked to recommend their top five picks. There was a great deal of consensus among the national panelists, but we ended up with a list of six instead of five! Rather than extend another round of review, we opted to include all six bands, as they represented musical and professional excellence and musical diversity.

AV: How does the IMTour program benefit bands?

WF: The primary focus of the program is to support independent musicians and nonprofit presenters in the West. This year, Colorado musicians are benefited by receiving opportunities to perform for new venues and audiences for artistic fees that are higher than those to which they are typically accustomed. IMTour also provides technical support to the bands in the form of merchandise support, booking, and public relations work for a tour. In this way, IMTour helps to strengthen music infrastructure. IMTour is dedicated to building a solid foundation for independent music and nonprofit presenting that is comprised of like-minded businesses, innovative nonprofits, and individuals with a commitment to support musical vitality.

AV: What is required of the selected musicians?

WF: The selected musicians have to book a tour within 18 months of being selected into the program. Along this route, the bands will stop at a minimum of two presenting nonprofits. Some venues may ask the musicians to take part in a community outreach program, engaging a different group from their community. 

WESTAF will also convene these bands monthly (starting in November 2012) in order to engage in professional development activities and to help the bands acclimate to the nonprofit presenting world. IMTour is much more than a grant to help bands tour. The program is really focused on professionalizing a community of musicians that achieve high levels of artistic vibrancy but often lack the business and professional acumen to sustain musical careers. In contrast, the nonprofit presenting world is very robust in terms of professional and business infrastructure and does more than the commercial sector to nurture and grow musicians and community. Our hope is that participants in IMTour will develop the skills and contacts needed to flourish in both the non-profit and for-profit presenting worlds.

AV: What kind of nonprofits are the bands paired with?

WF: The venues where the bands will be presented will be very diverse, as will the crowds and communities. The shows range from massive outdoor music festivals to quiet, community-driven performances at libraries. Because we have such a diverse roster of bands, we will work with the presenters to make sure that each performer is paired with a show and venue that makes sense for them. 

City of Kent (WA) is bringing in an IMTour artist to perform at their “Thursday on the Lake” series–an outdoor music festival at the shore of Lake Meridian Park. The City of Las Vegas is presenting their Arts Connection Program, which travels throughout the city presenting accessible cultural experiences in different neighborhoods. Churchill Arts (NV) is planning their annual “Tractors and Truffles” event, and we’re not exactly sure what it entails, but it sounds like a great fit for Paper Bird. 

AV: Have any bands already toured with the support of IMTour, and if so, how have they fared?

WF: So far, the only show that has occurred has been Ian Cooke traveling to Evanston, WY to play for the organization Young Musicians, Inc.  Ian said the show was filled with an attentive and interested crowd. Most of the tours will be scheduled for late spring and summer 2013. 

Moving forward we hope to document exactly how these shows go by offering up blogs, videos, and other content created by the bands, hopefully encouraging fellow musicians to take place in this groundbreaking program. Stay tuned to the IMTour website for regular updates from the bands!

AV: Will this program run in future years?

WF: Yes!

AV: What has been the most challenging part in organizing this program?

WF: We really prepared ourselves for both nonprofit presenters and indie bands to approach the program with a lot of skepticism. We imagined bands like Photo Atlas balking at playing a small nonprofit arts organization in Whitefish, Montana; we also imagined that same organization questioning the sanity of our suggestion that the Photo Atlas would be a good fit for Whitefish! But we couldn’t have been more wrong. The most surprising part of this program is how open both sides have been to the idea. We’ve met big indie bands touring out east that have asked how they can get involved in our program. (Sorry, it’s a Western thing for now!) Of course, many of the local bands we’ve discussed the project with couldn’t be more supportive. In addition, at two of the major conferences for nonprofit presenters in the West-–Arts Northwest and the Western Arts Alliance–IMTour has been the hot topic of conversation. At this point, the challenge is growing and sustaining the program to match the enthusiasm for it! We have no doubt that we could launch an IMTour program in every state, if we had the resources. Anybody want to give us money to franchise IMTour? We kid. We kid.

 

The raw power of music

Girls Rock Denver

10/15/12

Every sweaty summer in Denver,  girls ages 8-18 gather for the love of rock and roll at Girls Rock Denver. During their week-long lady adventure, campers receive instrument instruction, form a band, write an original song, participate in workshops designed to build self-esteem and encourage self-expression and perform their songs in a public showcase. All in one week!! One such dedicated camper is Molly McGrath, 11yrs old and in 6th grade at Denver School of the Arts where she majors in Creative Writing. Molly has been playing bass for over 4 years, and I’ve seen her shred out the Pixies’ “Gigantic” at a party and really bring the house down.  Molly writes about her experience over the years at camp below. Photos by Michael McGrath.

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     There are a lot of things I don’t know, but I do know that Girls Rock. Especially one week in July where volunteers, rock stars, and young girls get together and play music. Girls Rock Denver is a non-profit organization dedicated to making girls music dreams come true. You can play bass, guitar, keyboard, drums and sing. Activities include screaming, head-banging, rocking out and expressing yourself through music.
     Three years ago I just liked music. Then I was taught to play music by fun and creative people. It was awesome that I didn’t have to have any musical experience. I not only played music there, but I also wrote songs. And if that’s not enough we also did exercises to boost up our self-confidence and teach us about powerful women throughout music. To top it off, there’s a big musical showcase at the end of camp where you get to perform in front of hundreds of people.
     Imagine, hanging out with rock stars, having workshops on how to be awesome, and being able to write and play songs all day. This isn’t a world in your imagination, this is Girls Rock Camp. My experience at Girls Rock has been phenomenal (partially because I don’t have to hang out with my annoying little brother.) When you go to camp you find people who share your love of music. One of my friends name is Karen. She is the bass instructor and the bass player for the band “Hemicuda.” Karen is a mixture between a role model and a friend.
     Girls Rock isn’t your average summer camp. Have you ever heard of Punk Rock Aerobics and a scream circle? These are some of the loudest activities at Girls Rock, and by loud I mean ear-shattering! In Scream Circle you scream your guts out and in Punk Rock Aerobics you listen to the “Runaways” while doing jumping jacks. We also have workshops on songwriting, stage presence and all different types of music.
     Girls Rock Denver is a flippin’ awesome part of my life. Girls Rock inspires me to continue to write songs and play music. It is important that Girls Rock continues to show girls how to rock because I would like every other girl in Denver to have the chance to pick up an instrument and feel the power. Girls Rock has truly influenced me and many other young female rockers, and as they like to say at camp, “Girls should be seen…and heard!”

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Audiovore Interviews: Princess Music

9/1/12

Princess Music has been up to a lot recently and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. Tyler Ludwick took some time to sit down and answer our silly questions and was probably our most genuine interviewee this whole season. Read on to find out what Princess Music is going to be up to in the next few months, how Tyler sometimes likes misery and for an actual link to the music from what he considers to be the worst band he’s ever been in. It’s actually not too bad.

AudioVore: If you could have any person or animal to be your band mascot, who or what would it be?
Tyler Ludwick: It would be a beautiful, big, great Pyrenees named Juny. She served as the highlight of our music video for White Wave that we just shot, as well as my future wife when re-incarnated after her death, as macabre as a thought as that is.

AV: Would you choose invisibility or flying for your super power?
TL: Flying. Invisibility is just down right creepy.
AV: What would you do with it?
TL: I would just fly. I couldn’t imagine really wanting to do anything else with my life but fly, unencumbered by the confines of gravity and all that comes with it.

AV: Are you recording? Releasing something soon? Just released something? Touring?
TL: We are indeed recording. Tracking the band’s parts to prepare for tracking a full chamber ensemble. We’re scheduled to release that recording in December of this year… fingers crossed! Also we just released “White Wave” which you can check out at http://princessmusicband.com. We plan to tour early spring 2013 through the summer.

AV: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
TL: Teaching guitar lessons when I was seventeen and washing dishes. Although at first they seem like different things, they are the same in that I have actually no aptitude for either. I always felt very uncomfortable, tired, hot and poor in posture. It’s not that I don’t have work ethic or like misery sometimes, it’s just that enduring those things day in and day out when I don’t have to is a bit much.

AV: How long have you been a band and how did you culminate into what people are hearing these days?
TL: I would say about 2 years in its most recent form. It’s always just sort of been a matter of connecting back into that 9 year old that I was when I started playing tunes out of a Beatles songbook. There’s something about connecting with that instead of other people, or even your own ideas of what you should be creating or being that is very exhilarating. Two years ago is when the incredibly talented group I’ve surrounded myself with now came into the band and my life has been so different ever since. I’m so grateful for them.

AV: What’s the worst band you’ve ever been in?
TL: Define worst… Purevolume.com/luvbite

AV: What is the best place besides the MCA rooftop to play in Denver?
TL: The walnut room and my friend Griffs grandma’s house. Although at first they seem like different things, they are the same in that they have potentially two of the best sound guys I know. The Walnut Room because of Eric Loomis, who does an amazing job with live sound, and Griff’s grandma’s because of Griff, who does the best job with recorded sound of anyone I would consider someone I know. Not to mention her incredibly comfortable pool table.

AV: Who’s your favorite band in Denver?
TL: P. Hochi
AV: What other bands in Denver would they beat in a kung-fu fight?
TL: Although at first they seem like similar things. I think that performing arts and martial arts are very different things. But I think P. Hochi would win over everyone!

AV: Can you think of any movie sequels that are as good as their original?
TL: Lord of the Rings. Two towers and Return of the King are just as good as the Fellowship. I guess I can’t really say until the Hobbit comes out though. So we’ll see in December.

AV: Favorite hot dog place in Denver?
TL: Mile High Vienna Stand

AV: How many servings of fruit do you eat per day?
TL: Regretfully, I’m actually not too big of a fruit guy. You should ask our cellist Psyche, She eats a lot of intermittent meals that frequently involve fruit. We don’t call her, “Psy Psy the Psnackster!” for no reason you know.

AV: Who’s body is nicer when exposed on stage: Aaron Collins from A. Tom Collins, Avery Raines from Mr. Pacman, or Iggy Pop from The Stooges?
TL: Aaron Collins. Without a question. He’s my homie. I love Aaron.

AV: What is the one thing you want people reading Audiovore to know about your band?
TL: That nothing can mask our desire to emotionally connect with people as much as we do each other, or the music itself.

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Photovore::The Yawpers

8/28/12

The Yawpers, all the way from Boulder, CO, rocked some feel-good, straight-up awesome rock and roll on the rooftop of MCA Denver on August 26, 2012. If only we’d had some tube tops, watermelon, and a school-girl crush.  For a super rad slideshow, click on any photo below. All photos by the talented Michael McGrath.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Audiovore Interviews: The Yawpers

8/24/12

Nate Cook is the lead singer of The Yawpers, a Boulder based country rock band that doesn’t eat enough fruit. Through our interview we learned that although they just had their one-year anniversary, the romance is all gone. We also learned that Nate has a filthy mouth, dropping the first-through-third fuck words we’ve had up here on Audiovore. Watch out FCC, here come The fucking Yawpers.

AudioVore: If you could have any person or animal to be your band mascot, who or what would it be?
Nate Cook: Woah, uh. Wallace Stephens.
AV: Why Wallace Stephens?
NC: I don’t know, he kind of embodies the badass indie artist all in one. I kind of like that.

AV: Would you choose invisibility or flying for your super power?
NC: Fuck. Can I choose laser eyes?
AV: Yes, yes you can.
NC: I’m going with fuckin’ laser eyes then, no doubt.
AV: What would you do with your laser eyes?
NC: Oh I don’t know, check out chicks probably. (laughs)
AV: Just laser chicks all the time?
NC: Well, I don’t know if I’d ever use them but it’d just be one of those things. I’d just be able to say I had. I wouldn’t use them for good or bad, just like a party trick or something like that.

AV: So you guys just got back from tour right?
NC: Correct.
AV: Where’d you guys go on tour? How was it?
NC: It was great. We did a pretty extensive tour of the southeast and kind of like, the Midwest. I don’t know what you call like, Tennessee. It was a blast man; those people know how to get down.
AV: What was your favorite?
NC: Well we had a string of shows in North Carolina out on the outer banks and we got to take some psychedelic mushrooms and watch the meteor shower from the beach.

AV: What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
NC: Well, there have been a lot of them. I guess when I was 13 years old I worked illegally as a dishwasher in this shit-fucking diner in my hometown. I got paid like $3 an hour and worked 60 hours a week all summer.

AV: How long have you been a band?
NC: We celebrated our one-year anniversary a month ago, so 13 months.
AV: Did you do anything special or romantic for it?
NC: Um. No. Mostly just avoided each other. (laughs)

AV: What’s the worst band you’ve ever been in?
NC: I was in a band called (intelligible) Von Cleavage when I was 15 and we played like ‘80s hits as covers. That was pretty shitty.
AV: I don’t know, I think that sounds good.
NC: It had the worst effect too because I joined a band initially to get laid like everybody does but it had the opposite effect. It was an anti-aphrodisiac playing in that band.
AV: Wait what was the name of it again?
NC: Cupert Von Cleavage. Cupert was what I called my penis back then, and everyone else in the band was chicks, thus cleavage. Never thought I’d have to explain that again.

AV: What is the best place besides the MCA rooftop to play in Denver?
NC: (laughs) Well it depends. If we’re going for a grimy, sweaty show we like the Larimer. But if you’re going for the more sophisticated crowd, the Bluebird is always a blast.

AV: Who are your favorite bands in Denver?
NC: In The Whale is definitely one of them and then the West Water Outlaws are pretty solid. There are tons of them but those are probably my two top guys.
AV: Who would win in a kung-fu fight?
NC: Shit. I don’t know. The drummer of In The Whale is pretty athletic so I’d probably have to go with them.

AV: Can you think of any movie sequels that are as good as the original?
NC: Oh there are tons of them! Aliens is better than Alien, Terminator 2 is better than Terminator, The Godfather Part II is better than the first one in my opinion.
AV: That’s pretty good, right off the top of your head.
NC: Well it’s something I’ve discussed with people before.

AV: Favorite hot dog place in Denver?
NC: I live in Boulder so I don’t get down there to the hot dog places all that often. My favorite place to eat is Pete’s Greek diner though. That’s the best I can do.

AV: How many servings of fruit do you eat per day?
NC: (laughs) You should probably ask me per year. And that would be about four.
AV: How about the rest of the band?
NC: Well one of them is a meditating yogi type so I imagine he eats like 4 servings a day. And everybody else in the band is pretty much an alcoholic cigarette smoker like me so…
AV: That seems like a little cultural clash there.
NC: (laughs) Yeah he definitely helps balance it out a little bit.

AV: Who’s body is nicer when exposed on stage: Aaron Collins from A. Tom Collins, Avery Raines from Mr. Pacman, or Iggy Pop from The Stooges?
NC: Oh come on. Iggy. No doubt. Jesus.
AV: I’m so surprised that everyone has said Iggy. He’s got the most leathery body in the world.
NC: I know but you just want to like, rub it. I mean the fact that he’s had it, the same one, for like 40 years is pretty astonishing too. His body is a dynasty and you can’t keep up with that, I don’t care who you are.

AV: What is the one thing you want people reading Audiovore to know about your band?
NC: Uh. We play good rock and roll. That’s about it. I’m out.

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Photovore::In The Whale

8/20/12

In the Whale is such an awesome band, even a praying mantis showed up to their rooftop show at MCA Denver on August 19, 2012. Seriously. Click on any photo below to see the slideshow. All photos by Michael McGrath.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore::ZEBROIDS

8/13/12

Zebroids make the world a better place, especially on the rooftop of MCA Denver as part of our Don’t Look Down series. Click on any photo below to pull up a breathtaking slideshow of Zebroids. All photos by Mike McGrath on August 12, 2012.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Audiovore Interviews: ZEBROIDS

8/11/12

If you’ve never seen the Zebroids live, there is going to be no better chance than this Sunday atop the MCA Denver during our Don’t Look Down series. In preparation for their raucous and somewhat insane show, we chatted with Mike Howard who bared the band’s soul and told us they loved the Twilight series. Yeah, it was pretty weird for us too.

Audiovore: If you could have any person or animal to be your band mascot, who or what would it be?
Mike Howard: Maybe John Elway? Or GG Allin? They would definitely have to be wearing KISS face paint (Gene, Paul, or Ace but NOT Peter) and nothing else. Iron Maiden is playing here on Monday. Maybe we could get them to loan us Eddie for our show Sunday afternoon! But actually we would never have a mascot. That would be gimmicky and wrong. We are musicians/artists who take ourselves and our artistic craftsmanship very seriously.

AV: Would you choose invisibility or flying for your super power? What would you do with it?
MH: We’d take either because we would really probably just use it to look at naked chicks in the shower.

AV: Are you recording? Releasing something soon? Have you just released something? Touring? Fill us in.
MH: We just got done recording some songs with the elusive studio wizard James Barone aka that guy from the band TENNIS. (No, not that guy, the other one.) We are going to let all the major labels fight over it and see which one offers us the highest amount of millions of dollars and which one really seems like they will be able to effectively market our musical artistry to the youth market while still being able to substantially cross over to the 25-40 year old suburban “tween” crowd. We don’t want to lose any of our artistic credibility, or “street cred” as the kids would say, but we do want to be able to buy hot tubs and jet skis.

AV: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
MH: Being in the Zebroids. But it’s the most rewarding.

AV: How long have you been a band and how did you culminate into what people are hearing these days?
MH: We’ve been a band for approximately 1 year, 9 months and 12 days. But who’s counting. We don’t know what the word “culminate” means but it sounds like something we’d be into.

AV: What’s the worst band you’ve ever been in?
MH: Definitely the Zebroids. But it’s the most rewarding.

AV: What is the best place besides the MCA rooftop to play in Denver
MH: We don’t want to ruffle any feathers here, but we’d probably have to say the basement of the Denver Art Museum. Or the lobby of the Clyfford Still museum. We only play 1st floors or top floors of Art Museums in Denver though so our view on this might be skewed. We’ve heard that the Lost Lake, Mouth House, Rhinoceropolis, Hi Dive, and 3 Kings are cool places to play, but that would entail us playing after 6 p.m., and that would mean we wouldn’t make it home to catch Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Gordon Ramsey and we’re just not willing to sacrifice that.

AV: Who are your favorite bands in Denver? And out of them, who would win in a Kung Fu fight?
MH: 1st place, always Big Head Todd and the Monsters.
AV: Really?
MH: Yeah but tied for 2nd Place would be Git Some, Negative Degree, the Conjugal Visits, the Dirty Few, the Nervous, A. Tom Collins, Pacific Pride, Il Cativo, Tjtjuna, Kingdom of Magic, Mr. Pacman, the Manxx and tons of other great friends/bands/artists.

AV: Can you think of any movie sequels that are as good as the original?
MH: We never thought there could ever be anything better than Twilight. Until we saw Twilight: New Moon. And then Twilight: Eclipse. Simply. Breathtaking.

AV: What’s your favorite hot dog place in Denver?
MH: Matty and I like Steve’s Snapping Dogs. Their California Dog, Chicago Dog and Atlanta Dog are awesome! Also, it’s directly across the street from where we work. Josh likes Sam’s Club because you can get a 9” hot dog and a soda for $2 dollars. Beau only eats at Country Buffet.

AV: How many servings of fruit do you eat per day? How about the rest of the band?
MH: We love fruit! We all eat at least 2-4 servings of fruit a day. We take the food pyramid very seriously. No wait, I’m thinking of vegetables. No wait, actually I’m thinking of Pizza. Nevermind.

AV: Who’s body is nicer when exposed on stage: Aaron Collins from A. Tom Collins, Avery Raines from Mr. Pacman, or Iggy Pop from The Stooges?
MH: Aaron is sort of like the bad boy/heartbreaker type that you know you shouldn’t like, but you just can’t help falling for his same old tricks and rippling muscles again and again. Avery is the nice one that will call you on the phone and talk about feelings for hours with you and the one you really should be with, but your mom has a mandatory restraining order against him. Iggy Pop looks like a fruit roll up that was left out in the sun for 40 years, but the fact that he is still alive (and ripped) considering the amount of partying he did is amazing. Plus he sang on Raw Power. We’re getting too worked up thinking about this. Maybe they should just leave their clothes on.

AV: What is the one thing you want people reading Audiovore to know about your band?
MH: We dig music….We’re on drugs!!!

 

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Photovore:: You, Me & Apollo

8/10/12

Photovore grabbed these photos of You, Me & Apollo during their August 5th performance on the MCA Denver rooftop. Good lookin’ photos of a great soundin’ band. Click on any image below for a super amazing slide show.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore::Jack White

8/10/12

Photovore documents the great big musical world of Colorado — and the other 49. While Audiovore aims to document the Colorado music community, we recognize what is happening locally is a part of a giant national and international music community that continues to grow, change and diversify. Photovore’s Mike McGrath  peeled his onions on Jack White at Red Rocks on August 8, 2012. Click on any ol’ image below for a super fantastic slideshow.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore::Force Publique

8/10/12

Photovore grabbed some party photos of Force Publique on the MCA Denver rooftop on July 29th, 2012. Titwrench was on hand for their festival afterparty as well. Click on any image below for a very awesome slide show of photos by Mike McGrath that will make you wish you were at the show.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Photovore::Ending People

8/10/12

Photovore captured Ending People on the rooftop of MCA Denver during their performance at Don’t Look Down, a partnership between Audiovore and MCA Denver. Click on any image below for super awesome slideshow. All photos by Mike McGrath.

Photoblogs are documentaries of shows, studio time and everything in between, recorded both onstage, and behind the scenes (and sometimes even in parking lots and green rooms). If you are featured in a photo you have the right to use the image wherever you'd like. To request removal, email removal@audiovore.us. Click on an image and navigate the shadow box with the arrow keys.

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Audiovore Interviews: Adam Lerner, Director & Chief Animator at MCA Denver

8/9/12

There’s something beautiful about getting a person like Adam Lerner, the director of the MCA Denver, to agree to an interview and then just asking him about Zoolander. It’s the type of absurdity that Adam seems to love. While he is a brilliant ideas man, sitting up there in the creative clouds way above where most of us are, he’s also amazingly down to earth. During our chat, we found out that he might like Carly Rae Jepsen more than Glenn Campbell and is surprisingly easy to fluster. We also got to talk to him about Denver’s collective art scene, pick some diamonds from his brain and even have him plan out the next two seasons of our Don’t Look Down series all in one little session. Adam Lerner, what a guy.

Audiovore: Through the grapevine, we found out your parents were lovers of square dancing.

Adam Lerner: Oh yes, of course

 

AV: Tell us how that influenced your musical discovery and who you are as a person now.

AL: My family’s square dancing history is the stuff of legend. My father was a holocaust refugee who came to America as a teenager and who always said “I knew immediately I had a talent for square dance. He was divided between raising us as orthodox Jews and raising us as square dancers. They danced like, four nights a week. They even had a camper in a square dance campground, and we lived in Queens so it was not typical for people to be square dancers. I, personally, at the age of 9 was the youngest member of the Brooklyn Squares square dance club. It runs deep. How did it affect my taste in music? Well, my favorite song was Rhinestone Cowboy of course, by Glen Campbell as a kid. I’m not sure if that has any impact on my future musical taste but I’ve got to say that I always imagined myself, my ideal someday, is to be a rhinestone cowboy. I think I might be close; I might be getting there.

 

AV: Well you’re in Denver, you’re that close at least.

AL: (laughs) It’s true! And I recently won a best-dressed award in Denver so maybe.

 

AV: Do you still like Rhinestone Cowboy?

AL: You know, it’s funny. I hadn’t thought about it in a long time and I went back and downloaded it to my iPhone and listened to it a couple of times but, I can’t say I’ve listened to it again since then. So it doesn’t work it’s way into my rotation.

 

AV: So tell us about the events and exhibits and talks and everything that the MCA does that supports the Denver music scene directly.

AL: The Denver music scene is really important to what we do at the museum. To me, the museum is never just a place to put things up on the wall or bring art and just have it in a gallery. That’s not how I think about the museum. We do put things on the wall and put things in the galleries but that’s only the starting point for what we do.  Really, the museum is more of an engine for generating our creative energy and I think that energy is coming out in all different ways. It’s partly visual art but it’s also innovation in any area. I feel that the energy that we’re creating here at the MCA really fuses nicely with the energy in the Denver music scene and I want those two to work alongside.  That’s why we have musical performances here, we’re not limited to visual arts in any way, and we’re about creativity more generally.

 

AV: Is the MCA rooftop the best rooftop in Denver?

AL: Yes, the best. It’s the best rooftop. I actually thought when we’re done with the Audiovore Don’t Look Down series we should do a Don’t Look Up series and we can have it in the fire lane. We also have the best fire lane in the city of Denver.

 

AV: That’d be incredible. You also have a giant elevator that you’ve had events in before right?

AL: Yeah, we should call that Don’t Get Off. (laughs)

 

AV: You have the next three years just planned out!

AL: As long as we have things to just NOT do.

 

AV: Do you have a favorite piece that’s up right now?

AL: That’s up right now? It’s like my children; I can’t talk about them like that. I could probably say what would be the most favorite work that I’ve exhibited in the course of my career?

 

AV: Yeah, let’s do that then.

AL: It was a guy that we showed at MCA Denver pretty soon after I came here. Achilles Risoli, and he basically did work in the 1930s, which is not at all contemporary, but it’s so amazing that I thought we had to show it. He was this architectural renderer and he created portraits of people as buildings. But the buildings were just buildings, they didn’t look anything like the person. It’s not like they, in any way, referenced the people but in his mind this is how people would look if they were buildings. He has such a pure spirit and in many ways he’s a true believer in art because he things that art has this power to capture someone’s celestial self, which has nothing to do with what they look like.

 

AV: How many hours do you spend at work each week?

AL: How many hours? Oh I don’t know, I spend tons of hours at work. If I had to guess I’d guess more hours than there even are in the week.

 

AV: How long have you been at the MCA?

AL: No comment (laughs)

AV: I didn’t mean today.

AL: Oh, right. Since 2009.

 

AV: How exciting was it talking at this years TEDxMileHigh conference?

AL: I have to say, I’ve defended my thesis at Cambridge University in front of these robe wearing Cambridge dons, I’ve defended my dissertation at Johns Hopkins University in front of a panel of distinguished professors and I have never been so terrified to give a talk as I had been when I gave my TEDx talk. I give public talks once a week and it was nothing like TEDx. That was like a performance and it was terrifying. It’s not just the number of people, there were like 2,000 people there, it was the fact that this was sort of my story that I always tell and it was also like a performance.

 

AV: It was good, we watched it online. We’ll have to link to it here in the transcription.

AL: Yeah, let people see just how nervous I was. I actually think, well, I looked at the video and I had to stop after about 30 seconds because I thought it was terrible, it was dreadful.

 

AV: So your acquaintances with Philip Glass, is he your favorite 20th century composer?

AL: I don’t know any other 20th century composers! But yes, I’m a good friend with his daughter and for several years we would vacation at their home in Nova Scotia. So I got a chance to spend a great deal of time with her dad and her mom who’s a distinguished playwright or theater director. And I have great respect for both of them. I feel honored or lucky that I’ve had the chance to spend time with them and feel what it’s like to be around someone who’s really changed or impacted the history of music. But that’s not my field, I wouldn’t be able to have anything intelligent to say about anything he produces. (laughs)

 

AV: So do you still get that churning feeling that people will hate the things you put on or have you sort of grown out of it and come into your own now that you’ve done a lot of things that you think people would hate and they didn’t?

AL: You know, I still get nervous when I’m doing something that feels like it’s a risk. And what else makes me nervous is when I haven’t felt that feeling in a while. When I feel like everything I’m doing is going to be accepted, then I feel like I have to start doing something that makes me scared about how people are going to accept it. It’s a weird feeling, it’s a combination of fear of being ridiculous with this other feeling of I kind of think this might be awesome. (laughs) And that combination is exactly what I need to feel for it to feel like I’m doing something interesting.

 

I felt that way when I did an exhibition of unauthenticated paintings. They could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if they were authentic but they could also be worth a couple hundred of dollars because there is no way to trace where they’re from. So exhibition was a terrifying exhibition to me and I thought I would be completely ridiculed by my colleagues and it turned out to be an amazing exhibition. I feel that fear probably once a year and that’s pretty good. To be able to do something that really pushes me outside of what I think is safe once a year.

 

AV: Every time you’ve talked about this feeling such as the TEDx talk that was pretty much all about this feeling, it seems you always come out on top. Have you ever actually failed?

AL: I’ve done some things that haven’t worked out but I must’ve blocked them out or repressed those memories because they’re not coming to mind in a very obvious way. But we’ve definitely done some programs that did not work. We did a series of lectures called C+, above average lectures on contemporary art and then we did B+, very good lectures on contemporary art and it felt like that concept was a great initial concept but I don’t think we fully executed that in a way that was really right. But that feeling of fear comes along with a feeling of doing something that I really feel is going to be awesome.

 

Those few times that it’s happened I feel like those have always come out okay. On some deep level I think I had some confidence about them even as I was also scared about being judged.

 

AV: Do you have a favorite little nook in the MCA?

AL: Back to the rooftop, I just take my laptop up to the rooftop and sit by the garden and I can work there in the shade and be there for hours. I don’t know why everybody doesn’t do that, but I’m glad they don’t because I like to.

 

AV: So what do you think about our rooftop series, what sucks about it?

AL: I think that on the downside, the rooftop is not this nice open space to have shows so you’re kind of cramming people in a bit which kind of gives it this quirky feel and many ways to have things be quirky is interesting and nice and some ways to have things be quirky is irritating. The layout lends itself to both.

 

AV: So we read your Twitter in preparation and wanted to ask how your Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe parody video is going.

AL: I have to say that this Call Me Maybe phenomenon, the idea that everyone is making their own video for the song, that gives me so much faith in the future of our country, the future of our civilization. I love them! They’re way better than we ever were as kids.

 

These kids are out there making their own art and taking it upon themselves to invent these scenes and film it themselves. The DIY energy used to just be the counter culture, just the punks. And now the DIY energy is so mainstream that I feel like when people talk about the future generations not having the same attention span or serious commitment to art or learning I say screw it, you guys don’t know what you’re talking about just look at how amazing these kids are. They learn what they need to know to produce something and they’re making these great videos, I’m just so excited by the whole phenomenon. But of course, I’m too old for that. We do our own little DIY videos and make our MCA holiday videos so that’s where we have our fun.

 

AV: Why do we always almost run into the door when we’re leaving the MCA? Can you speed that up a little bit?

AL: I think that the MCA Denver is a museum without a front door whose front door is always a problem. Think of the MCA as a little European. You know? When you’re in Europe and your grocer doesn’t feel like opening that day, they don’t open that day! Or your baker wants to take a lunch break so he closes the shop and you have to wait there. We’re a little bit like that; things don’t always work in that American consumer perfection. We’re a bit of an acquired taste here at the MCA.

 

AV: Okay lastly we’re going to do a lightning round. These are all “Favorite In Denver,” okay?

AL: Wait, wait hold on I don’t know if I can do that I don’t know if I’m allowed to do that. I’m like a politician; I have many constituencies that I have to please. It’d be too hard to choose one over the other, at least locally. Maybe I could do that nationally?

AV: We could do that, are you ready?

AL: Uhm, ahhh, I don’t know! (laughs) How about. Well. Uhm. Alright maybe I can do this.

AV: Okay, your favorite bar in Denver?

AL: In Denver?

AV: Yes

AL: The Club Charles in Baltimore.

AV: (laughs) Your favorite coffee shop?

AL: Via Cuadrono in New York

AV: Your favorite band?

AL: LCD Soundsystem

AV: Your favorite museum or art space that you haven’t worked at?

AL: The Schaulager. In Basel. (Mostly, I think I like the name.) Or you want Denver here? For Denver I’ll say the Kirkland

AV: Your favorite host on NPR or CPR?

AL: Terry Gross

AV: Your favorite typeface?

AL: Avenir

AV: Your favorite toilet?

AL: Oxford Hotel in Denver.

 

AL: (sigh) That was so stressful.

AV: Yeah, we can tell!

AL: You’ve got to continue asking me questions that I’m comfortable because if we left it at that, it’d leave a very bad feeling of the interview.

AV: Well we actually skipped over one we really wanted to ask. So if Warhol and Basquiat were going to have a Zoolander style catwalk battle, which one would win?

 

AL: Well the one thing I know is that the files are inside the computer but I think that the winner would be, obviously, I think…well actually it’s really tough. I think in some ways Warhol always wins. He’s the winner. He wins the 20th century. But on the other hand Basquiat was a pretty cool cat. Definitely the much hipper one. I think I have to stick with my team though and say Andy Warhol. You know I went to the same dermatologist as Andy Warhol when I was a kid.

 

AV: How was that?

AL: It was fine. I mean it was exciting to see him in the waiting room.

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Audiovore Interviews: You, Me & Apollo

8/2/12

Brent Cowles, pronounced Coals as his email signature calmly states, was the main creative force behind You Me & Apollo. That is until his friend Tyler Kellogg heard his tracks and they made a band. Well, they tried to. After some lineup changes they finally have a solid group and are making moves in the Denver music underground. In advance of their rooftop show at MCA Denver, we got to sit down and chat with Brent about fruit and hot dogs. It was a riot.

AudioVore: If you could have any person or animal to be your band mascot, who or what would it be?
Brent Cowles: A penguin
AV: Just any penguin?
BC: Ah, no. What are those called? The ones with the yellow mohawk-y ear things? I think they’re just called Awesome penguins.

AV: Would you choose invisibility or flying for your super power?
BC: Flying, definitely.
AV: Why flying? What would you do with it?
BC: Well invisibility, I mean you could do some cool stuff with that but I think it’s going to turn creepy no matter what. I mean, being able to see people who can’t see you can just cause some issues I think. I’d much rather just fly around, go wherever I want.

AV: So what’s going on with the band right now?
BC: Well right now we’re just doing the festivals that are left this year. We’ve got Higher Grounds Festival and Four Corners Folk Festival and a few more in the works. We did just release a 7” vinyl with two singles on it that we’re kind of pushing. We’re probably going to release more and hopefully have an EP with six songs out at some point.
AV: Did you release the 7” yourself?
BC: Yeah, we’re doing it ourselves since it is only two songs and we only made 500 so it’s a limited edition thing. We hand printed every one of the covers so their all kind of unique in their own way.

AV: Worst job you’ve ever had?
BC: That is a tough one. I would have to say it was being a barista, not that being a barista is necessarily a bad job but when you work for a very large coffee corporation it can be a little taxing on your hope in humanity.

AV: How long have you been a band?
BC: Well You Me & Apollo has been a project for the past five years and in the last year of that it just became a full band. In the last year myself and Tyler Kellogg met and got really excited about it and was like “lets make a band!” and we’ve had a few member changes since then but now we have a solid six piece lineup.

AV: What’s the worst band you’ve ever been in?
BC: In middle school I had this band called Seeds in Cement, which I think is an actual band which is why we broke up, because the name was already taken. We were just like “screw it man! We’re over.” It was a two-piece and we both played electric guitars with lots of distortion and we yelled a lot.

AV: What is the best place besides the MCA rooftop to play in Denver?
BC: Besides the MCA rooftop I’d say the best place to play in Denver is the Hi-Dive
AV: The good ole standard.
BC: Yeah for sure, it smells like a venue and it’s got a good bar and good food next door, not much more you can ask for.

AV: Favorite bands in Denver?
BC: Churchill is awesome, they’re killing it right now. JJ Matott and the Artic, I’m a fan of theirs. God there are so many. I mean The Photo Atlas, I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time.
AV: Who out of those three would win in a kung-fu fight?
BC: Oh man, definitely The Photo Atlas. They’ve just been in the game for a long time. I feel like they would have some good moves.

AV: Can you think of any movie sequels that are as good as their prequel?
BC: Uhm. Rarely. I’m trying to think of one. No. Yeah I don’t think there is. It just doesn’t happen, the original is always best. Maybe Troll 2.

AV: Favorite hot dog place in Denver?
BC: I haven’t had a hot dog in like six years actually.
AV: Is it a conscious choice not to have a hot dog or is it just not your thing?
BC: I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to eat a killer hot dog, I think I just got sick of them as a child and I mean, it has to be something special for me to eat a hot dog these days.

AV: How many servings of fruit do you eat per day?
BC: Servings? I don’t even think you can call it servings. I think it’s just chaotic splurging.

AV: Who’s body is nicer when exposed on stage: Aaron Collins from A. Tom Collins, Avery Raines from Mr. Pacman, or Iggy Pop from The Stooges?
BC: Oh Iggy Pop for sure.
AV: Everyone likes Iggy Pop’s body.
BC: It’s because it doesn’t look real! You can’t not look at that guy when he’s on stage.

AV: What is the one thing you want people reading Audiovore to know about your band?
BC: Probably that we’re just trying to be real. Not trying to impress anybody with any gimmicks or anything. We’re just trying to play good music and be real people. That’s our goal.

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Audiovore Interviews: Ending People

7/14/12

Ending People are a newish band that staked their Denver claim sneaking into the UMS last year and stealing another band’s spot. Since then, they landed a record deal with Cash Cow Production and have been recording a debut EP that’s set to be released later this year. As part of our Don’t Look Down concert series we interviewed Jeff Davenport, a guitarist and bassist for the band and asked him a whole bunch of stupid questions. Luckily, he has a sense of humor about these things. 

AudioVore: If you could have any person or animal to be Ending People’s mascot, who or what would it be?
Jeff Davenport: Oh my god

AV: They’re all like this by the way

JD: Oh man, these are the worst questions in the world! Any person or animal?

AV: Remember you’re representing the whole band here.

JD: Oh okay, the whole band and one mascot. I’d have to say Falcor from Never Ending People.

AV: Oh that’s a very good one.

JD: That’s Never Ending Story, not Never Ending People, ha! You like that one?

 

AV: Would you guys, as a collective, rather be invisible or know how to fly?

JD: Or know how to play?

AV: (laughs) Fly, but that too.

JD: I think being invisible.

AV: What would you do with that invisibility?

JD: We’d lurk around and pinch people in the butt.

 

AV: So you just finished recording an EP, when is that going to be released?

JD: Our release date for the album is officially August 3rd but we’ll probably be selling it before then.

 

AV: And that record is on Cash Cow records right?

JD: Cash Cow Production. Not records.

AV: Who else is on the label with you guys?

Accordion Crimes, Buildings and Land Lines.

 

AV: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

JD: Cleaning carpets. When I was like 14 or 15 years old.

AV: Is that what drove you into music?

JD: (laughs) Something like that.

 

AV: How long have you guys been a band?

JD: About a year, but we all kind of knew each other before then more or less. I knew Justin just casually, Tim didn’t know Justin very well, but Tim, Erin and I knew each other very well. I guess I was the link to some extent because I knew Justin from Nathan And Stephen and was in bands with both Tim and Erin, but not at the same time.

 

AV: I guess that’s why we’re interviewing you and not one of the other members. You’re the lynchpin.

JD: I guess so, if they want to call me that. Yeah, Tim and I were in Dust On The Breakers together for about 5 years. He moved to Denver so we could play music together in that band. And Erin and I were in D. Biddle and Porlolo together and did the radio show (Local Shakedown on Radio 1190). So when Erin moved back to town we were just like “Hey let’s play some music together and drink beers just to catch up” and we were doing that a couple times and then I ran into Justin at a show and told him to come play. We didn’t really mean to start a band. It was kind of just something to have fun and drink beers.

 

AV: So what’s the best place besides the MCA rooftop to play in Denver?

JD: That’s a pretty great place to play. I’m pretty jaded because I haven’t been that excited. There are only so many venues to play in Denver, so I’ll definitely say the 16th Street Mall.

 

AV: Who is your favorite band in Denver?

Either Fairchildren or Sweet Tooth Meat Tooth

AV: Which out of those two would win in a kung-fu fight?

JD: Oh I’d say Sweet Tooth.

AV: Yeah, they’ve got the skills?

JD: I think they may win just because Andrew Warner is playing drums in Sweet Tooth and I feel like he’s got a lot of good tricks under his belt.

 

AV: Can you think of any movie sequels that are as good as the original?

JD: Uhm. Yes. There are a few of those. That’s a very good question. Definitely not Goonies 2. But I would say, Superman 2 or Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

 

AV: What’s your favorite hot dog place in Denver since there are like a hundred?

JD: Being a vegetarian I’m a little jaded, uhm. You know, there isn’t a good veggie…wait no, Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs. That place is the best.

 

AV: How many servings of fruit do you eat per day?

JD: A handful.

AV: A handful of servings or a handful of fruit?

JD: (laughs) A handful of fruit, but I eat a fair amount. I love fruit, it’s one of my favorite things to eat.

AV: Who in the band eats the least fruit?

JD: Man, everybody in this band likes fruit! Maybe Justin.

 

AV: Who’s body is nicer when exposed on stage: Aaron Collins from A. Tom Collins, Avery Rains from Mr. Pacman or Iggy Pop from The Stooges?

JD: I have to go for the aging Iggy Pop.

AV: Really? You’re going to pick Iggy over the two Denverites? His body is so leathery.

JD: It’s Iggy Pop, it speaks many tales, it’s the most fascinating to look at and see what’s going on with it.

 

AV: What’s the one thing you’d want to tell about your upcoming show or your band?

JD: We have t-shirts for sale.

AV: (laughs) In the back?

JD: In the back. We’ve only sold one, so we’re aiming to sell two.

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Don’t Look Down, a collaboration of MCA Denver and Audiovore

7/9/12

Audiovore, in partnership with MCA Denver, proudly announces Don’t Look Down, a series of rooftop concerts at  highlighting Colorado’s incredibly awesome music scene.

Concerts run every Sunday from 5-7pm on the MCA Denver rooftop. The view from the roof is amazing – mountains, cityscape, roller coasters and more. Plus, you’ll be able to drink coffee or beer or whatever else while feasting your eyes on some good looking and talented musicians playing really, really good music. We promise.

Audiovore will be posting photos on our blog, as well as a video performance of each band from somewhere inside MCA Denver. Check in regularly for new content!

See you next Sunday…

Kisses,

AUDIOVORE

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Audiovore Interviews: Kendall Smith of the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase

6/12/12

Kendall Smith is the Event Director of the Underground Music Showcase at the Denver Post. UMS is quickly approaching – kicking off this year on July 19th.  We are excited to learn much more about the inner-workings of the showcase and what to expect in years to come.

AudioVore: So let’s get real basic; what year of the UMS is this one?

Kendall Smith: This is our 12th year

 

AV: And when did you take over?

KS: Last year was my first year as the director of the event but I volunteered for a couple of years before that.

 

AV: Was your first year a trial by fire?

KS: (laughs) Yeah, somewhat. I am kind of new to this business so I’ve been in full on learning mode the entire time, which is a good thing.

 

AV: How many people attended last year?

KS: Last year we estimated 11,000, but that’s over the four days and it’s a little difficult when you’re dealing with a four-day wrist band, multiple days, and multiple venues. You have to try to estimate a little bit on how many people are coming every day but I was as scientific as I could be as a former finance guy.

AV: 11,000, wow, that’s a ton of people.

KS: Yeah over the four days it is. It’s a good crowd. And we’ve seen steady growth over the last four years or so.

 

AV: How many bands played last year?

KS: We broke 350 performances and so right now for this year we’re sitting at 300 and we’re still adding some people. We’ve still got a few more things up our sleeves.

AV: You guys have a super secret guest right?

KS: Yeah, there are some people we can’t really talk about yet. Some might be announced the last week of June, others we might sit on a bit longer. To keep it interesting, you know?

 

AV: So why did you choose for the UMS to be a non-profit organization and what exactly does that entail?

KS: Well when we brought the event into the Denver Post last year…it had been operated and associated with the Denver Post prior but wasn’t really a function of the Denver Post per se, it was a lot of really good hearted people moonlighting and building this thing up into the well loved institution that it is. But last year when the management of the Post decided to bring it in house, we looked at the look and feel of the event, and the whole vibe you have when you’re down there in the Baker district of South Broadway and Jerry Grilly, the CEO of the paper at the time, thought it was a great idea to add this to the Denver Post Community Foundation. We have a number of signature events that they put on throughout the year that benefit the actual foundation and he thought this was a good candidate to add to the portfolio. So all net proceeds of the event do go into the Foundation and every year we pick a couple direct beneficiaries that we’ll do grants to. Last year it was Flobots.org and this year we’ll do Flobots.org and we’ve added another, which is VH1’s Save The Music foundation. Two really great organizations that work with youth and are music based.

 

AV: So Flobots.org is local based, we’re guessing that VH1’s Save The Music a national organization, is that right?

KS: I believe they’re international but the grant that we will give them will be used locally. They already operate in some schools here and it’s a really cool program that I learned about. They go in and provide a grant to a school to buy the whole portfolio of musical instruments so that they can run a music program. So they help come in and create a music program in a school that otherwise wouldn’t have one. And when they buy that equipment, they buy it locally so that the funds are actually spent in the community that they’re putting the music program into.

 

AV: So what is the goal of the UMS and has it changed over the past 12 years?

KS: I can only speak for the last couple of years, but I think our goal for the event is to continue to provide the preeminent local music survey. If you come down for four days you’re going to get a really good cross section of what’s going on locally in our music scene. Ultimately I think the goal for this event is to build into a destination event. An event where people want to come to Denver in July, check out the entire event, check out what we have to offer musically, where artists in town and out of town want to come here and play and get the exposure, and where industry people want to come here and check it out. I mean, how often can you go somewhere and really check out the number of bands you can see.

 

AV: Definitely, there are very few festivals that provide that kind of opportunity to bands in their own community.

KS: Yeah, and again, we’re working to grow the audience for the event. It’s a good event, the vibe you get when you’re down there – the crowds, the bands, the fact that so many local bands actually get to hang out together for the weekend when their normally so far flung playing their own gigs and it’s almost a coming together or gathering of the tribes for them that weekend as well. I think that’s one of the main reasons it has such a great feel to it.

 

AV: What is the future plan for the UMS? Are you going to grow and have more bands? Are you thinking of moving it to another part of town? Are there any ideas for changing the festival inherently?

KS: Changing it inherently? (laughs) No. I think we’ll continue to evolve and it’s important to grow the event in a stable manner to ensure it’s longevity and we have a little bit of structure and stability being associated with the Denver Post and it being a charity event. I would like to grow it and allow more and more artists to participate, to have more and more people to enjoy the event. But it’s a challenge when you say that because people try to make that leap to commercialization or selling out or watering down and that’s not what we’re looking at doing at all. Again, we’re looking at providing the best survey of the local music scene and providing a good, safe event for people.

AV: Yeah, definitely.

KS: To address your question about moving, I don’t see any reason to move from South Broadway. That neighborhood has been so good to us and I think that if you had a snapshot of that neighborhood four or five years ago compared to now, it’s an evolving neighborhood as well.

AV: Is there a point in the near future where you see this event being too big for South Broadway?

KS: We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it and there are always solutions. To me, that neighborhood is a good piece of the event itself.

 

AV: As a huge event in the Denver music scene and with a mostly local lineup, how does it foster the scene itself? With more national artists this year than in past years, is that to try and bill it as a destination and give people a reason to travel here other than the local artists?

KS: It’s funny because I don’t think there are more national artists this year than in previous years. I think we’ve picked up a few that are a bit more ready than in the past. We’re proud of the lineups we’ve had in the past and there are always big bands that you instantly recognize but I’m not sure where a lot of that is coming from. If I look at the ratio of the performances and compare it to last year, the amount of out of town bands we booked compared to the number of local performances, I think it’s going to come in at about the same. Would I like to continue to book a few higher profile bands? Yes. Would I like them even more to be from Denver? Yes. But often times it doesn’t work that way and when you look at local bands, when they’re taking off they’re out of town during the summer or they’re preserving their local plays.

 

AV: What kind of contracts do you make with bands playing the UMS?

KS: We request that they try not to play a couple weeks before and a couple weeks after. Obviously with some of the bigger bands we like to have a radius clause but we certainly understand the music scene in Denver and that it’s difficult to try and close down the scene for an entire month.

 

AV: What opportunities or direct benefits do you think local bands have when they play the UMS?

KS: Obviously there is exposure. You’re down there playing an event that’s drawing fans of other acts and instead of your direct circle of followers you have, when you come down and play this event there are a lot of people that stumble upon new favorite bands. That’s the beauty of events like this, you end up in a place you weren’t expecting and suddenly you’re blown away by a performance. We’re also trying to encourage industry folks to come check it out and see what they can of the scene. I know people have picked up labels based on their UMS performances.

 

AV: In inviting industry people to come down, is there a specific effort or outreach to people in New York, L.A., Nashville or in some of these other big music cities?

KS: We’re still building that piece of it and obviously we’re not rolling in cash, as a non-profit we’re being conservative with the budget and trying to ensure the stability of the event. We do invite contacts that we have and try to create a few panel discussions here and there that might be intriguing. Last year we had some people come in that spoke at those panels and were actually from out of town.

 

AV: Oh! We didn’t know there were going to be panels this year, where are they going to be held?

KS: This year we’ll have a couple of different venues and we’ll be unveiling those probably here in the next few weeks.

 

AV: So let’s talk about the challenges of running the festival. Obviously you guys take over a whole neighborhood but what roadblocks have you overcome in the past years and do you have any this year?

KS: I don’t really see roadblocks. I guess when you think of challenges you think about how easy it is to have eyes bigger than your stomach. You just have to stay disciplined, set your plan and stick to it. Again, my biggest challenge in the past two years has just been the learning curve. I come from a business background and a pretty solid analytical background but there are nuances to this business that I, well luckily I have a team that’s helping me understand those things and guiding us through.

 

AV: What other festivals do you look up to or take inspiration from?

KS: I like them all! I know that’s a cop out answer but every event has it’s own mission, it’s own guide you know? The past couple of years, the things I’ve been to like CMJ and SXSW are fun and interesting and even just the general festivals like Lollapalooza, those are great but they all had their own mission and we’re just trying to carve our niche. We’re trying to stay true to the founder’s original vision and build the stability into the organization.

AV: So then you guys don’t look at other regional festivals near as much as you look at the national festivals?

KS: I’ve just spoken in terms of the ones I’ve been to. How could I really talk about something I haven’t seen?

 

AV: Do you get to see a lot of shows at the UMS or are you too busy running the whole thing?

KS: That’s kind of funny because as the booking team is putting it together I get so excited and so proud of the work they’ve done. I always like to think in the back of my mind that I’m going to carve out that thirty minutes to go see a band and every time I say that to myself, push comes to shove and I just have to go with it. If I find myself in a great place, it’s just a happy accident.

 

AV: So are you scared? Excited? Freaking out? How is your mental state right now?

KS:  (laughs) I’m probably at any point in time, one of those. Some points in time I’m all of those. More than anything though, I’m excited. I’m so excited about the work the team has done and this is something still new for me. In my past professional life there were a lot more returns on your work more often through the course of a year but this just builds and builds and then in that weekend you take time to enjoy it and when it’s over it’s just such a feeling of satisfaction.

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Audiovore Interviews: Bad Weather California

5/10/12

For more than a decade Chris Adolf has been making music. With Bad Weather California he seems to have finally found his footing and in 2009 it became the main focus and Denver’s most street-level band. Trading in the acoustic guitar for reverb and electricity, Chris Adolf has been leading Bad Weather California on cross-country tours and skateboarding trips when he’s not driving across Colorado to pick up plants for his day job.

AudioVore: We’ve been following you for a long time Chris and the first question we’ve wanted to ask you is, what happened that changed you from the solo folkie to the now country-tinged front man of a band?
Chris Adolf: Well, I’ve noticed over the years that I’m a reactionary person, a counter-ist. Whatever I see going on or is happening right now in music, I tend to be grossed out by and try to move the other way. Coming out of Grand Junction starting way back in the ‘90s, it seemed for a while that everyone was into playing real tough guy punk music. So my reaction to that was The Love Letter Band, which was real tender and not tough guy. Fast forward some odd years later, living in the city and now indie music is a more mainstream musical style. It feels like everything now is too tender, arty, somber and heart-sleepy and I’m moving the other way; at least that’s been over the last 8 or so years.

AV: So what have you been listening to that helped spur that reactionary change in you this time around?
CA: In the last year I’ve been listening to very extreme music like black metal or hardcore gangster rap. I love ‘90s gangster rap music, I think it was a real golden era and the music really moves me.

AV: Do you feel a connection to that music scene with your ideals of street-level music?
CA: Yeah, your “indie” music is really not from the streets. It’s for white college kids. I feel like even people that play the acoustic guitar and stuff, that’s not folk music. I honestly would say that Juggalo music is closer to folk music because it’s music actually made by your more average, normal people. I don’t dig Juggalo stuff but I do think it is the current day version of what’s from the streets. And hip hop too, hip hop is modern day folk music.

AV: So how much of Bad Weather California is a collective influence rather than your personal vision?
CA: It feels like that chemistry is organic when you get whomever together. It’s really hard to say what’s mine and what’s just that natural chemistry. I do send those guys a lot of YouTube videos and stuff like that; lately I’ve been on this Venice Beach kick with a lot of Suicidal Tendencies and such. I definitely have a lot of visions but those kids bring their own to it as well.

AV: What special qualities do you think the Denver music scene has?
CA: Denver is an island. It’s really isolated. I feel jealous of your more coastal bands. Denver is unique because if you’re a band here, you’ve got to drive at least 8 hours to play the next city where people do that kind of thing. I don’t know how it affects the Denver music world, but you know it’s got to. A lot of bands really concentrate on building within Denver instead of other areas. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad really, but it is unique to Denver.

AV: What other bands today do you feel have a connection to that street-level music idea?
CA: I think there are a lot of people making street-level music. Broncho is a band from Oklahoma City and it’s definitely street-level music. You can tell that stuff wrote itself and there is no pretention to it. I think locally, Pictureplane’s music is very out there and philosophical and he has an ideological aspect but he’s also really un-pretentious. I like watching Sauna too because they just got their friends to start a band with them and there is a rawness to that band. I’ve seen a lot of adults try to capture that energy of your first teenage band but Sauna actually is that, you know? (laughs)

AV: How good of a skateboarder are you?
CA: I’m not that good of a skateboarder, but I like to skateboard. Joe and I just went yesterday, I got a 4-foot 50/50 grind on the coping. I’ll be 35 this month and I’ve done it since I was 14 so it’s always been a part of my life but I never got that good at it.

AV: Who’s the best skateboarder in the band?
CA: Joe, definitely. And he’s older than I am too! For an old man, he’s really good. We’re both the stupid guys that just mess around but on the transitions and stuff, Joe is really good.

AV: How was playing behind Daniel Johnston?
CA: Up until the moment we were playing, it was very intimidating. Once we were playing though, it was great man. That guy is in the pocket with you. I was nervous though, I didn’t want to mess up with someone that I really look up to, someone who’s been a big influence to me over the years, truly one of our heroes. That’d be awful to mess him up on stage! So it was really nerve wracking, and when you listen to his earlier songs he’s just pounding those songs out on that little air organ or whatever and the rhythm isn’t always there, it’s more like his soul pounding these songs out. So we were worried that we’d have to follow his rhythm and watch him and when he skipped a beat be right there with him, but he’s a good musician. It was really great though. I just kept looking up and being like “Wow, this is happening.”

AV: Talk to us about the thought behind putting your album out on tape.
CA: Yeah, Sunkissed is available on CD/LP through Family Tree Records but it’s also available on tape called Wizard of the Ghost out of Seattle. I mean I’ve been around that North West DIY world since the beginning with The Love Letter Band, that was kind of the scene I came out of. But the tape world is legitimate. I’m really happy the new album is on tape.

AV: On 2009’s Young Punks, you revisited some of your older solo songs with the new band, do you have plans to do that on future releases or has Bad Weather California progressed too far?
CA: Back then I was so close to those songs. Now a days I’m so far removed from that. I don’t really feel those songs anymore; I’m not that into them and everyone’s like that about their own stuff. A lot of people like those old songs but I don’t. I’m more excited about new stuff these days. The first album was about me taking songs I wrote and arrange them for a band but now that we’ve got this band, now it’s like the band doing songs together.

AV: Do you think that the Daytrotter image of you captured your likeness?
CA: They did the beard way bigger than it is! I just had a little bit of stubble at that point but they made a big beard on me. But whoever draws those things did a pretty good job. I have this chip in my teeth and I think they even got that chip in there.

AV: How crucial do you think your relationship with Akron/Family is?
CA: Right now driving on the highway to go pick up some plants, not crucial at all. (laughs) However musically, they’re our guardian angels. They kicked the door open for us, we owe them a lot.

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Audiovore Interviews : James Irvine

5/10/12

James Irvine has been a mainstay of the Denver independent music scene forever it seems like. While he’s most known for booking your band a drunken crazy raging night at the Larimer Lounge, he is part of a new collective here in Denver hoping to make it possible for bands to tour, get national exposure and make things happen outside of the square state.

AudioVore: We think the question on everyone’s mind is, can my band play the Larimer Lounge?
James Irvine: (laughs) Absolutely! We don’t discriminate.

AV: What type of things do you look for in an act if you’re booking?
JI: If it’s local, I usually look for a band’s history, if they’re going to bring people into the venue. There are numerous things I’m looking for, if they have a nice drinking crowd that’s always a good indication that they’ll be playing good shows at the Larimer.

AV: So what is your new project, Holy Underground?
JI: Well, it’s a new collective that I’ve started. It’s basically a Denver based music and lifestyle collective that represents a couple bands around town.

AV: Who all is involved in the collective?
JI: Well it’s myself, handling the management and booking, Alex Anderson from Mancub who is heading up HUG records which is the record label that we’ll be starting, Chip Herter who is going to be doing the PR for us and helping our bands get that national exposure, Brett Rowley is our event coordinator with a background from the music industry down in Austin, Ethan Converse from Flashlights will be handling our finances and the glue that holds us all together and Dillon Morton is our creative director.

AV: It sounds like something that Denver absolutely needs. Something in Denver that can help take them outside of Denver.
JI: Yeah, we have about six or seven bands that we’re trying to take to that next level and beyond booking and management, we can offer them the record label and then PR as well. Trying to get them not only that local exposure but also the national exposure that’s so needed.

AV: So when does Holy Underground launch?
JI: We won’t launch until September but we’ll be presenting shows and that kind of thing.

AV: What benefit or launch events will we be seeing for Holy Underground?
JI: Well we “soft launched” by presenting Tiger & Woods and Flashlights at the Larimer in mid April. Until we are live, I think we’ll just be trying to attach our name to shows that fit the vibe of Holy Underground and garner exposure for the business. The two shows we have scheduled to “present” at this time are Mancub’s Release Party May 25th, and Flashlights Release Party June 16th. Both are at Larimer Lounge.

AV: You mentioned that you had a roster of six or seven bands, who are they?
JI: Well we book 3 of the bands and manage 3 other bands. The ones we manage are Flashlights, Force Publique and School Nights. Basically I’m involved in every aspect of the band and trying to get them up onto the next level. We book Achille Lauro, Mombi and the almighty Sauna. Since we’re based in Colorado we try to start out regional but then definitely trying to get them on the road as well.

AV: How do you pick the bands that you work with, is it at all like your experience booking?
JI: First and foremost it’s bands that we like. It started with Achille Lauro asking me to manage them and they really got to a point where I couldn’t say no anymore. Other than that, yeah, history and bands that we believe are ready to go to the next level.

AV: What do you say the impact of a nice website or developed web presence is for a new band that’d want to work with you?
JI: The more that a band is put together and has all of those assets, the more we want to work with them. It goes for the Larimer Lounge as well; the more professional a band is the better. If a band looks janky and we’re afraid they might not show for their gig, we’re kind of afraid of booking them. (laughs)

AV: Well in that aspect, besides having great music and professionalism, what is the best advice to bands to get repeat gigs at a venue?
JI: Promote, promote, promote. First and foremost. I think that’s how you can kind of work the circuit too, because if you start on an off night and bring a nice crowd then you can move up to weekend shows or supporting a touring band. Every step of the way you need to promote as much as you can.

AV: What about the idea of emailing to try to get on the bill with a band that you like or want to play with?
JI: Absolutely, just being driven and wanting a show while being persistent and contacting the buyer over and over again is a good way of going about it.

AV: So, even though you’re working with a lot of Denver acts right now, who is your favorite band or musician in the city?
JI: Gauntlet Hair is probably my favorite band of the last 5 years.

AV: So what is your general view of the Denver music scene right now? What is it doing well, what is it doing poorly, what do you think would be a great improvement for bands and other business people in town to work on?
JI: I think we’re in a comfortable spot, but we really need to work hard to gain the national exposure that’s so imperative to band’s success. Tennis and Gauntlet Hair are the ones that I’m thinking of. Both bands did it the right way. They had the story, they had management, they had PR, record label etc. The structure was there for them to succeed. And they’re both fucking great. 

There are a number of bands in Denver that have been putting in work for years, doing well in town, that I would love to strike out on a national level. Personally, I think a band like Achille Lauro should be making waves on a national level. And I think there are a lot of fans in Denver who would agree with me.

AV: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that bands have of booking agents or talent buyers?
JI: From the booking side, bands think they’re entitled to play shows. They think they don’t have to put in their work or promote really. It’s a business too, you’ve got to keep it as a business so when personal friendships collide with the business sometimes, it’s unfortunate.

AV: Who are some of the other people in the Denver music business that you really admire?

JI: As for individual people making a difference in the scene, I really admire Sarah Slater, The Vinefield Agency crew, Bocumast Records, Scott Campbell, Kendall Smith, Ben DeSoto  and all the great studios around town. Will Dupree is also one bad ass supporter of the local scene. Have to include him.

AV: Oh, and what are the names of those hot bartenders at the Larimer?
JI: (laughs) Stacey, Davey, Kaitlyn, Naomi, and Lauren. I think that’s all of them. Don’t let my girlfriend read that.
AV: We’ll try our best.

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Audivore Interviews : Fellow Creature Recordings

5/9/12

Jules and Blake of Fellow Creature Recordings are brave souls. They decide to start a record label over dinner, release one of Denver’s most prolific and respected songwriters and still confess they’re learning how to do it as they go along. After a two-hour conversation with them, it’s clear that they’re naturals at running a record label and Fellow Creature Recordings has heart, soul and a whole lot of potential.

AudioVore: So you two, what made you want to start a record label when the economy is still, well, kind of shitty?
Jules: We were looking for a non-profit. No, no.
Blake: I was over here for dinner one night and Jules looked at me and said “Hey, you wanna start a record label?”
J: No, no, no, you asked me!
B: No.
J: Really? I’ve been telling everyone that you asked me. (laughs)

AV: Guess this will be the definitive interview!
J: Well he has a much better memory than I do, we should always go with whatever Blake says.
B: Yeah, really what happened was that the opportunity came up with Joe’s album.
J: It wasn’t as if we decided to start a record label and look for someone. The idea was already being tossed around, kind of as a joke. But Nathaniel (Rateliff) and I had talked about putting Joe’s songs of Nathaniel’s website and letting them buy them there and setting up a Paypal account for Joe and not telling him.
B: And we were actually even working on Nathaniel’s web store, which is still not up, but we were exploring that by having maybe a Joe Sampson section of the store that’s kind of hidden.
J: So we were trying to think of ways to get Joe money basically.

AV: So are you planning to work with any artists outside of Denver in the future?
J: Well, we’re open to it. I’ve done lots of things in this industry but I haven’t run a label. Blake hasn’t run a label either, so we want to learn to do it right first. (laughs)

AV: What are your backgrounds then?
J: Well I’ve booked venues and been an event planner. I’ve managed a gazillion restaurants which has been what I’ve spent most of my time doing.
B: Web designer, general ne’er do-well. (laughs) What would you call my wine world?
J: He has a small vineyard.
B: Yeah, out in Paonia. And I work at Divino Wine and Spirits. Web and wine, we’ll say that. (laughs)

AV: What mistakes have you made so far? Or is it too early to tell?
B: This week, I noticed Joe at number 4 on OpenAir’s top 30. So for me, I feel like OpenAir is pushing and at the same time we don’t have quite the search engine optimization down. We didn’t start far enough in advance. So if someone just Google’s him they’re going to hit the Westword article.
J: Or there is a football player named Joe Sampson.
B: So, they will hit some music stuff maybe but it takes a little bit to find the album because it’s not up on CDBaby or iTunes yet, as that’s happening next week.
J: I think that’s the point, to capitalize on radio or something, you have to have everything else ready to go so you can make the most of it.

AV: Since you two almost self-released Joe’s album for him and it’s so easy to do such a thing these days, what benefits do labels actually offer?
J: Well, that’s certainly a topic of conversation around here but after spending how much time we actually spend on this, I can’t imagine doing it for myself.
B: Exactly, and still remember how to still play your songs.
J: And I think there are examples of people who can do it all which makes sense for them. But I can’t imagine it for a lot of people. I mean Joe is super helpful around here. We call him the intern, you know? He’s like “Who can I email, how can I help?” and I’m just like, go home and practice. (laughs)

AV: What kind of formats do you guys do?
J: Right now we only printed a CD for this; well that and a digital download. Since we couldn’t afford vinyl we came up with this other idea because people who don’t buy CDs anymore, don’t want a CD. But then people aren’t necessarily comfortable with just buying a digital download say, at a merch table. So, what if we had an artifact, some thing of interest. So, Blake’s fiancé Jamie made this really cool etching and it’s like a cross stitch of “Kill our friends, bury them out of sight” and then we had Aly over at Ironwood put them in a package together with some bullet casings and dropped a download card in there.

AV: How much creative control does Fellow Creature have in the final product? Do the label and artist work together in that aspect?
B: Well it was great with Joe. Because what Roger (Green) handed over was great but Joe really saw this as the chance to get a lot of himself out there. So we went from 11 songs or something to 17. But that was between Joe, Jules and me. Drinking a lot of wine, and doing a lot of listening.
J: We dropped one song from the original album and then we changed the order and had it re-mastered.
B: We also convinced him to add a title because Joe didn’t want a title and Roger had a different title.
J: But it was hard to take an album that Roger had spent over a year working on as an artistic piece, in a sonic style that Roger liked and although we left it alone at first, Joe was finally like “I don’t want to do it this way.” But yeah, it was touchy. I can’t even imagine what it’d be like if we’d been in conflict about it. We don’t want to be that label. We don’t want to be the label that gets ranted about in someone’s house.

AV: So you plan on being a more hands-off label?
J: Absolutely.
B: And our philosophy reinforces that, we believe in this music.

AV: It seems like you’re saying that the expectation of artists coming to a label is that there might be conflict but you’re going to be heard.
J: I think a lot of big labels won’t be like that. You’re talent with potential and they’re going to turn you into a product because they know so much about the industry.
B: But that philosophy squeezes out all of the quirkiness and the beauty of it. Homogenizes everything.

AV: What kind of concessions do a band or label have to make initially?
B: Well we have the indie blueprint of basically 50/50.
J: But 50/50 can mean anything because a lot of people will say that and not mean it. Joe doesn’t have to recoup with us regarding money we’ve spent thus far. It helps that Blake is the web guy and I’m the amateur publicist. We’re not paying other people to do this for us; it’s all just sweat equity. But I think the most important thing for us is to be honest about it all upfront.

AV: Do you think that the Denver, or even the world needs more small out-of-your-home labels?
J: I think right now it makes sense for there to be a lot of people trying to figure out different ways to do it. I’ve had moments of insecurity about this where I’m just like “What the fuck am I doi…this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, I don’t know what I’m doing” but it’s the perfect time to do this right now because nobody knows what a label is.
B: The large guys are dying, they’re the dinosaurs. And they deserve to die because they’re not innovating anything. I’d just say that whenever I have moments of doubt like Jules said, I just put on the record and listen to it and I’m completely inspired again. I just think, this is great, how lucky we are to be doing this with Joe.