An Interview with Little Comets

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I’m thrilled to give you all this post! Little Comets, an English indie-rock band that formed in 2008, have been one of my favorite bands since high school. I’m ecstatic to have interviewed lead singer, Rob Coles, for my blog.

Little Comets, made up of brothers Rob and Michael Coles, plus friends Matthew Hall, Matt Saxon, and Nathan Greene, released their debut album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets in 2011. The next year, the band released their second album, Life is Elsewhere, (my favorite!) under Dirty Hit records. If you’re unfamiliar with Dirty Hit, they’re an award-winning, British, independent label (and happen to be my favorite record label), whose artists include The 1975, Pale Waves, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, and more. Little Comets were signed with Dirty Hit until 2017. They independently released their third album, Worhead, that same year.

Matty Healy of The 1975 mentioned his friendship with the guys in an 2013 interview.  Little Comets even helped produce some of The 1975’s early tracks.

“Little Comets took us out on the road when we were in our very embryonic stages of our old band and just let us open up for them. We started getting fans off the back of that…Then they helped us produce ‘Sex’ the song, and ‘You,'” -Matty Healy

I discovered Little Comets in 2013 when they performed a show at a small, intimate venue in Portland. I got tickets to the show out of curiosity, and after just a few minutes, I fell in love with the band’s unique sound. Echoey, driving drums, beachy guitar riffs and vivid lyrics that can be interpreted in a variety of ways…that’s Little Comets.

Little Comets started out by playing small college gigs, cafes, and other unusual venues in the UK. Since then, the guys have come a long way. Just this last year, the band teamed up with Catfish and the Bottlemen (another fave band of mine) for a sold-out arena tour. After that, the band spent the winter writing and working on new music in none other than singer Frank Sinatra’s former summer home in California! These days, album number five is in the works, and the guys are planning out their next tour–it will be the first time they’ve hit the road in two years.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how Little Comets got started. Have you all been involved in music-related projects since you were young?

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Little Comets (Rob Coles): Mickey are I brothers, so we’ve been writing songs in the house since we were very little. Once we’d finished Uni, we decided to see if we could make a living out of being creative, musically, so we set about finding other musicians to form a band. That was the start of Little Comets with Mark (our original drummer), and Matt, our bassist.

APP: One of my favorite songs of yours is “Bridge Burn.” It’s a super special song for me and a few friends. Can you tell me a little bit about the story behind it?

RC: Ah thanks, that’s nice to hear! That’s a song I wrote in my bedroom while Mickey was mixing songs for our second album. I kind of wrote/recorded it roughly and had lots of lyrics almost immediately for it. The coast is pretty great for providing lyrical metaphors. Theme-wise, it’s just about two people who realize that their time is up. When Mickey heard the song, he really molded the landscape. Initially, it was just a B-side, but in hindsight, we probably should have put a little more faith in it, as it seems to be a pretty popular song.

APP: Your sound/genre has been described as “kitchen sink indie.” Do you agree with that?

RC: Haha, I don’t really mind–as long as people are polite and constructive, they can describe our sound how they like. I suppose that it could mean, in terms of subject matter, that we write about kitchen sink-related things, which was certainly true of album one. In a sonic sense, though, we do use a lot of percussive instruments which are also kitchenalia, so if the cap fits…

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APP: If you could invite one artist/band to be in the crowd at one of your shows, who would it be and why?

RC: We got really excited once at a gig in Oxford because somebody asked that Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) be put on the guest list. It spoilt the gig, though, because we spent the whole evening looking for Jonny Greenwood despite him not actually being there, and probably never having any intention of being there. So I would choose Jonny Greenwood because I haven’t said “Jonny Greenwood” enough in this answer.

APP: Your latest music video, “American Tuna,” is super creative and visually complex in how it was filmed. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience filming? How did you come up with the idea as it relates to the song?

RC: It was fun, but stressful. We had received an email telling us, despite our very polite request, that we explicitly couldn’t use the building. So the whole process was based around being very secretive. This definitely hampered the final product, as we couldn’t redo shots or control timing or lighting. Mickey was in a Paternoster lift in an 18-floor building with the camera. As the lift travels up, each floor is a different scene which tells the story of a relationship. Mickey was in that lift for about 6 solid hours while we chased him ’round the building, doing scenes in non-chronological order to avoid security cameras. We were happy with the final video, but I just wish that people could see the levels of effort and time that just three people were involved in executing. It looks pretty pro, and the DIYness doesn’t come through. I think that given the constraints, it’s amazing. But I’m biased.

APP: That’s mind-blowing. Writing music is super different from filming a visual interpretation of a song through a music video. Has that ever been a challenge for you as a band?

RC:  I think we’ve learned to separate the processes quite naturally. We also like learning new skills, so the challenge of making a video or a piece of artwork is an opportunity to do that. The only problem is time. We are three people, yet we have to record, write, and release the music on our own label, then promote it whilst making the videos and artwork. Because we are novices in many of these areas, it takes us longer to produce these assets. That often puts us behind, as artists at a commensurate level have teams of people and pools of financial resources that we don’t. It does make the task psychologically difficult at times as well, compounded by the fact that we are in a industry that gives credence to having a machine in tow. We often get overlooked and dismissed because we don’t have a manager, record label, publisher, art director, plugging team etc. I think this is where the real challenge lies for us.

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APP: You haven’t toured for two years, but you’re making plans to head back onto the road soon! Do you have a favorite/funny memory from being on tour in the past?

RC: Probably when Matt broke his foot in Texas. We spent the next five days telling him he was fine, but then talking privately about how he was really hamming it up. By the time we got to Missouri, he got an X-ray and found out he had a hairline fracture. We felt TERRIBLE! He completed the rest of the tour perched on a bar stool during the gigs, and he became my hero.

APP: Are there any songs you feel you’ve outgrown that now seem to stray from your current sound?

RC: Ah no, they are all our babies. They popped out for a reason and we can’t really turn them away even when they become slightly haggard/annoying. That would be bad song parenting!

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Rob!

Listen to Little Comets here:

 

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My Dream Job: A Career In the Music Industry

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I’ve been feeling nostalgic, excited and reflective these past few days as I enter my last term of college. As a result, this blog post is a little different than the usual, which I thought would be fun. 🙂

I’ve always loved to create. Whether it be through writing, art, or music, creating something that I can then share with others is a passion of mine. Since I was old enough to read and write, I’ve loved to create my own publications. It started with “Sophie Magazine,” when I was nine, then led to my first blog at twelve, “DottyZine,” which I named after my pet hamster. “Sophie Magazine” usually featured interviews with my little sister, lists of my favorite books and music at the time, fake advertisements, and “letters to the editor” submitted by my babysitter. 😉

IMG_4324I am now entering my last term of college. I’ve studied journalism for the past four years with a focus on public relations, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I feel so lucky to be able to say that I love what I study every day. It has absolutely been the right fit for me. My dream is to someday work in the music industry doing PR. This could mean serving as a PR rep for a band, label, music venue…who knows? Although I’m unsure of where exactly I’ll end up as of now, I’m beyond excited to get started. “Sophie Magazine” may be out of print, but I still have the same passion and drive to create that I did when I was nine!

I remember the day I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the music industry. It was one sunny, adrenaline-filled afternoon during my sophomore year of high school. My high school was located in the middle of downtown Portland, so I was surrounded by a vibrant community where things were always happening around me. I heard about a small, free concert venue through my local radio station that was just a few blocks away, and I started going to shows during my lunch breaks. As soon as the bell would ring for break, my friends and I would burst through the high school doors and race down the block. The shows were always short, usually ranging from 30-40 minutes, and the artists would often do a meet-and-greet with the audience after the show–the perfect amount of time to fit a high school lunch period or quick, after-school activity. 😉

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After meeting Ed Sheeran, October 2012

The first time I met one of my favorite artists there, Ed Sheeran, I walked outside afterward and sat on the curb, taking in what had just happened. A newfound level of joy washed over me–I could hardly contain myself. (If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember my previous post about this experience/venue.)

This joy eventually developed into a passion for meeting the people behind the lyrics–the artists who changed my life, face-to-face. I remember grinning so hard that day my cheeks ached. I thought to myself, I want to be involved in this world. I want to help other fans feel this way. But how could this translate into a career?

I began exploring options within the industry as I entered college, and eventually settled on the path of journalism. My parents are both writers, so I’ve grown up around pen and paper, journals, and books my whole life. (The Tripod Trilogy, A Wrinkle in Time and The Golden Compass are a few of my favorites.) It was an area in which I was familiar, but I wanted to explore the branding, promotional, client-interactive side of the journalistic field. I discovered the world of public relations, and quickly realized I could apply my passion for music, and the excitement I felt that day meeting Ed Sheeran, to that area.

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Chatting with The Paper Kites, March 2017

I considered pursuing music journalism, but decided I’d like to be even more involved in the industry (both PR and music) than that. I want to help artists,’ and bands’ visions come to life, meet PR professionals, collaborate, learn, and create a brand, plan, or event that will not only benefit a client, but allow fans to feel that same joy I did that first time I met a favorite artist.

Music is such a huge part of what makes me who I am. It sparks an excitement, joy and enthusiasm in me that nothing ever has before. It drives me to take risks, venture outside of my comfort zone, meet incredible people, and continue on the path to becoming a PR professional. I’m thrilled to have found an area of study in college that I can connect to this passion. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Want to read more about PR/journalism in the music industry? I created a blog about this specific topic for a class I took last term! Check it out here.

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My first “concert review”? LOL.

8 Songs That Will Trigger the Deepest Depths of Your Memory

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Lately, there’s been a genre of posts going viral on Instagram/Twitter that feature pictures of old games, toys, movies, and TV shows from the childhoods of late millennials like me. People typically comment on them, saying: “woah, this just triggered the deepest depths of my memory.” These kind of posts inspired today’s blog post! I compiled a list of 8 songs that were a big hit on the radio a decade or so ago. You’ve probably forgotten about most of them, but you’ll remember as soon as you press play.

1. “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Sheik

This song was released in 1996, but I remember hearing it on the radio in the early 2000’s on the way to school. It was the first single off the debut, self-titled record by American singer-songwriter and composer, Duncan Sheik. Originally, it was a last-minute track added to the album to finish the record, but the song ended up becoming Sheik’s breakout hit, entering the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard charts, peaking at #16, and remaining on the chart for 55 weeks. It even landed him a Broadcast Music Incorporated Award for Most Played Song of the Year. Since then, Duncan has focused more on composing. In 2016, he wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway musical version of American Psycho. I heard this song in Trader Joe’s last week, and was instantly transported to 2006.

2. “Boston” by Augustana

This song was released in 2005 on Augustana’s debut record, All the Stars and Boulevards. It’s been used in quite a few TV shows, like Scrubs, One Tree Hill and The Big Bang Theory. Since then, the band split and reformed again in 2012. In August of 2016, Augustana’s social media sites changed their names to “Dan Layus,” which is the name of the founding member and lead singer/songwriter of the band. Their most recent record was released in 2016.

3. “Porcelain” by Moby

Moby, an American electronica musician, released this song as the sixth single from his fifth studio album Play in 2000. According to his website, “Its melancholic lyrics describe the break-up of a relationship based on Moby’s own reflections on past romantic affections. The song incorporates reversed string samples and piano rhythms into its instrumentation.” Moby’s real name is Richard Melville Hall. His middle name and his nickname/stage name, “Moby,” were given to him by his parents because of a distant ancestral relationship to famous author Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick. He was Hall’s great-great-great-grand uncle!

Fun fact: the song samples the song “Fight For Survival” from the 1960 film Exodus.

4. “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones

This song, by British alternative dance band Jesus Jones, was released in 1990 on their album Doubt. It was semi-successful in the UK, but ended up being more successful in the U.S.–it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of 1990. It was even named the most played song on college radio in 1991! Jesus Jones is set to release a new record this coming April.

5. “Take a Picture” by Filter

This song, by American rock band Filter, was released in November of 1999 on their sophomore album Title of Record. In the beginning of 2000, it peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Lead singer of Filter, Richard Patrick, has said that the song is about him getting drunk on an airplane and taking off all of his clothes. The band split in 2003, then reformed in 2007. They are currently working on a new record, but haven’t set a release date yet. I remember playing this song with my friends in middle school on the old video game “Band Hero.” 🙂

6. “Satellite” by Guster

This song landed Guster their first gold record just last year. It’s the second single from their 2006 album, Ganging Up on the Sun, which received a lot of radio play, but didn’t quite make it up on the charts. (I love the album artwork for this record.) I remember my local radio stations playing it a lot as a kid. Guster just released their a new record, Look Alive, in January of this year.

7. “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega, DNA

“Da da da duh, doo da-doo doo…” …That one lyric that gets stuck in your head every time you hear it.

This song was released in 1981, originally written by American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega. The track was then remixed by British group DNA, which shot it up onto the charts. The song’s title and story is based off of Tom’s Diner in New York City, located on the corner of Broadway and 112th Street. (You may recognize it from Seinfeld.) “Tom’s Diner” been sampled in a ton of tracks since, like Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “Wings.”

8. “Hey Sandy” by Polaris

Were you a fan of Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete? (It first aired in 1989.) If so, you might recognize this one–it was used as the opening theme song for the show. Polaris, which was a band specifically commissioned and formed to create music for the show, released just one album during their time together in 2002, simply titled Music From the Adventures of Pete & Pete. (I highly recommend this album, by the way…there are some killer tracks on it that make me wish they were still a band!)

Fun fact: The intro to the song features a sound bite by actor Sorrell Booke. In the clip, he  discusses U.S. missiles designed during the Cold War. This sound bite is from “To The Moon: A Time-Life Records Presentation,” an 1969 audio recording about the first moon landing.

 

What songs did you remember? Tweet me!

2018 Concert Recap

2018 was a great year for new records and live shows. Here’s a little recap of the concerts I attended in 2018!

George Ezra: 5/8/18, Roseland Theater

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetI saw UK artist George Ezra perform in a small, local venue in Portland long before the success of his breakout single, “Budapest” in 2014. His booming, distinctive voice stuck with me after the performance, and I instantly became a fan. I won tickets to this concert in May through a contest his label created. I participated in various “fan activities” like watching George’s music videos multiple times, tweeting about him, and sharing his social media pages. I earned “points” that translated into number of entries, and I was my city’s winner! The concert was amazing–George played a full set of songs from both his debut record, Wanted On a Voyage and sophomore album, Staying at Tamara’s. I was thrilled when George performed my most favorite song of his, “Song 6.” This is a bonus track that appears on the deluxe edition of Wanted On a Voyage. It was magic to watch George perform it. Purple and blue lights on stage swirled around him as he sang, his eyes closed the whole time. I MAY have gotten a little emotional… 😉

Lucy Dacus: 5/26/18, Bloodworks Live Studio

Lucy, an indie rock/alternative singer-songwriter from Virginia, captured her audience from the very first song, “Night Shift.” (From her latest album, Historian.) Instantly, it became my favorite track. It tells a story of raw heartbreak and the conflicting feelings partners feel amidst the aftermath of a breakup. Immediately, Lucy reminded me of a few other of my favorite artists, like Phoebe Bridgers (whom she has performed with) and Courtney Barnett. Like these artists, she also seems to follow the “talk-singing” style, which reminds me a lot of when people read poetry out loud. I had the opportunity to meet her after the show, and she was so kind! (I’m not going to include the meet and greet picture here though, I look awful lol.) If you ever get the chance to see Lucy live, definitely check her out!

Dermot Kennedy: 5/27/18, Bloodworks Live Studio

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Dermot Kennedy, an R&B/alternative singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland, was the most unique artist I saw live in 2018. According to his online bio, “the young Dubliner draws inspiration from all the moments of brightness and darkness this world has to offer, crafting music that’s at once soaring and intimate, stripped-back and explosive. Stuttery hip-hop and R&B-influenced percussion underpins his weathered vocals as he combines organic and electronic elements into an arresting, emotional blend that calls to mind the adventurous arrangements of Bon Iver, and James Blake.” Dermot is a huge fan of Glen Hansard, another favorite of mine, who he ran into by chance on the streets of Dublin. A few months later, Glen invited Dermot to open for him on stage at a huge Christmas show! Dermot had a crazy strong stage presence when I saw him, and his voice really bounced off of the walls in the small studio. He mostly performed tracks from his 2017 EP, Doves and Ravens, plus  his most memorable song, “Young & Free.”

Death Cab For Cutie: 9/24/18, Hult Center

I’ve been listening to Death Cab since I was little, so when my friend offered me his extra concert ticket, of course I said yes! DCFC put on a great show, and engaged the crowd in between every song. It was so fun to hear some old classics in addition to new, like “Soul Meets Body,” which I’ve listened to forever, but also “Gold Rush,” from their latest record Thank You for Today.

 

 

Hozier: 10/20/18, Roseland Theater

Hozier played this Portland venue two nights in a row, and I caught the second show. My friend and I are both huge fans of Hozier, so naturally we lined up early and ended up being in the front row. (While waiting in line, we pressed our ears against the doors and could hear him soundchecking inside) It was insane–standing that close to Andrew (Hozier’s real name) and his band was a dream come true. He started off the show with his hit single, “Nina Cried Power,” which I wrote about in an earlier post. Hozier also graced us with what was an unreleased track at the time, “Movement.” Andrew was accompanied by his incredible band which is composed of some insanely talented musicians from all over the globe, including Kristen Rodgers (backing vocals, percussion, keyboard) and Suzanne Santo (fiddle, guitar, vocals) from Ohio. Suzanne first sang with Hozier as part of the alt-country-blues duo, Honey Honey, when they joined him to perform Work Song at a benefit concert in May 2017.

 

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Concerts I’m attending in 2019 (so far):

The 1975, 4/27/19: This will be my third time seeing my favorite band, and I’m ecstatic! I’m crossing my fingers that they play a mixture of new and old material, especially a few of my favorite songs, like “Robbers,” “Paris,” “If I Believe You,” and “Inside Your Mind.” Each time I’ve seen The 1975, they sweep me off my feet. I completely forget where I am, and I get lost in the music. Matty and the boys put on an incredible show, and they always come through with a stellar stage setup.

Bad Suns, 3/1/19: This will be my first time seeing Bad Suns live, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been listening to them for a few years now– they were the first record I was gifted when I received my first record player for Christmas a few years back.

 

See you in 2019, fellow music lovers!

(All photos, videos and gifs are mine.)

 

Now Playing: Winter 2018

Albums:

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The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

I’ve been looking forward to the release of this record for a few years now, and let me tell you, The 1975 did not disappoint. This record (“ABIIOR” for short) marks yet another new style/era for the band. (Each album seems to be a wildly different sound than the last.) There are quite a few ballads on this one, including the mesmerizing, jazzy tune about fear of commitment, “Mine,” and the haunting “Inside Your Mind.” (My personal favorite.)

IMG_1734Other incredible tracks include the Oasis-esque “I Always Wanna Die Sometimes,” and intense scream-along, “Love It If We Made It,” which centers around pretty much everything wrong with the world right now. The band has filmed 3-4 music videos to go along with selected tracks which were released as singles prior to the full album release on November 30, and my favorite by far was the video for “Sincerity Is Scary.” In addition, Matty has uploaded a few incredible acoustic performances of the new tracks, plus two of the band’s older songs, “Paris” and even “102,” from The 1975’s Drive Like I Do days. Track 1, simply titled “The 1975,” has been present on every record the band has released so far–they reinvent the song each time, tweaking the style and overall sound. (Left: The limited edition poster I received after attending a The 1975 Listening Party at my local record store!)

ABIIOR touches on the consequences of technology in the modern age, lack of genuine connections between human beings, and the current political issues going on in our world. Long story short, I love almost every single track. The record has a variety of style and meaningful lyrics to fill your time dissecting, and listening to it all makes me even more excited to see them live next April. Also, reminder that the guys are planning to release another album early next year 😉

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Hozier: Nina Cried Power EP

This EP was released in October, and although it’s comprised of just four tracks, it’s jam-packed with some notable tunes. When asked about how this EP ties into the release of his sophomore album, Hozier says: “This collection of songs is an example of what I’ve been working on and is a small taste of what is to be expected from the upcoming album.” The first track, “Nina Cried Power,” which features Mavis Staples, strays from Hozier’s usual style and is a rad protest song. Hozier says that the song as well as the accompanying music video highlights the work of Irish activists, and famous Civil Rights activist Nina Simone. Can’t wait to hear the rest of his new material!

Singles:

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Horace Bray: “How It Ends”

This single combines soulful vocals and jazz acoustic/electric guitar with a driving, heartbeat-like bass. Horace, who began playing drums at the young age of ten, is a singer-songwriter from L.A. who grew up in St. Louis. He credits his love for jazz to an after-school jazz program he attended in St. Louis, the UNT Jazz Singers he joined at the Unviersity of North Texas, the Four O’Clock Lab Band, and a few other groups. “How It Ends” is his latest single, released just last month. My favorite lyric is: “I saw your light and now it’s gone…is this how it ends…with a flicker of how it began?” Using light as a metaphor for love is a powerful image.

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Josh Gilligan: “Absent Mind”

This song has some serious Mac Demarco vibes going on–especially the intro and middle riff, which features a funky electric guitar and background synth. The song follows the story of two people who have previously been in a relationship (or perhaps never at all), yet one of them still believes they are a couple. Josh Gilligan is still a fairly new, up-and-coming artist from Nashville, TN. Surprisingly, he says he has been heavily influenced by artists like Paul Simon, Bread, America, Dawes, and The Real Efforts Of Real People–however, his music strays far from the style of these artists.

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Julianna Zachariou: “Subway Song”

This lovely, sleepy track snuck its way onto my Spotify Discover page last month, and it hasn’t left my head since. I find myself singing it at random times, and I’m even attempting to learn how to play it on my ukulele. It’s short, sweet and simple–Juliana paints a picture of an early morning subway ride in New York, where half-asleep passengers clutch the rails. They sway back and forth with the rhythm of the train, and it looks as if they are slow-dancing with one another. Julianna Zachariou is a indie singer-songwriter from Nashville, and her first full-length album, “Meanwhile,” made its debut last year.

The Power of Music In Film: An Interview with student filmmaker Anna Maestas

 

“Whenever I make videos, I rely heavily on the music I incorporate. I think the reason why people get so emotional over films is the combination of a visual and music component–without both, it just wouldn’t be the same.” -Anna Maestas

 

FullSizeRender-4By day, Anna Maestas is a sophomore at the University of Oregon studying journalism. By night, Anna directs and produces a series of moody, heartbreakingly beautiful short films. The first episode of her video series, “Would You Like to Leave a Message?,” premiered just last month.

The film, inspired by and centered around a real voicemail submitted by a friend of Anna’s, is as tragic as it is visually stunning. The accompanying track, Perfume Genius’ “Otherside” builds the film to an incredible climax, leaving the viewer with a sense of mutual longing and sympathy for the actors on screen. “Otherside” fits perfectly in terms of content and rhythm, complimenting the depth and complexity of the film itself. I chatted with Anna about her film, where she finds inspiration, and the ways in which music has largely contributed to her creative process. (Photo on right by Marissa Willke.)

A Perfect Playlist: What is your video series “Would You Like to Leave a Message?”, about, and how did you come up with the concept for it?

Anna Maestas: When it comes to art, I usually start with an idea that I think about for a few months. I put it into words, and then I don’t actually complete the project until like a month or so later. For this film, I got the idea in February of last year. I was going through life, things were pretty normal, but I was feeling some strong feelings of longing for different people, as well as longing for home. I decided to channel those feelings into an art piece by using voicemails.

When you call someone, your initial hope, of course, is that the person on the other line will pick up. When they don’t, there’s that “limbo” state you enter where your emotions end up spilled out into a voicemail. Voicemails are an expression of a very tangible, genuine longing. I knew that I wanted to use real voicemails in the film because it falls under the category of my favorite kind of art, which is called “relational aesthetic.” This type of art occurs when the artist curates real-life relationships and experiences through pieces. This can be expressed through performance, video, photography etc. The artist brings people together through an artistic depiction of a relationship or particular situation.

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Whenever I do art, I like to use themes from real life. So for this film, I wanted to take something that is very real–which is why I asked people to send me voicemails they’ve received. The voicemail I used for this particular film was between a girl and her boyfriend at the time. It’s so real and powerful…and in a way, if you listen to it, he didn’t really say anything in particular. It was just him rambling and hoping she would pick up. That stuck with me, because that’s how I was feeling about some of the people in my life at the time. So I crafted my visual interpretation of the situation and filmed it with some friends.

APP: How many voicemails did you receive?

Anna: So many. One of the most amazing parts of this project was the fact that so many people were willing to share such intimate parts of their life with me. It was so special that I got to hear the voices of their moms, grandmas, friends etc.

APP: Who were the actors in the film?

Anna: I had originally planned to film it in Eugene, but I ended up filming in my hometown of Denver, CO. Over the summer, I got my friends Ben and Kylie together, and we ended up filming it over the course of just two days.

APP: You chose the song “Otherside” by Perfume Genius to be the background track for this film. It fits incredibly well. Did you choose the song beforehand, or decide to use it as you edited?

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Anna: Whenever I make videos, I rely heavily on the music I incorporate. I think the reason why people get so emotional over films is the combination of a visual and music component–without both, it just wouldn’t be the same. That’s why people react so strongly to films with an incredible soundtrack. Whenever I look for songs to include in my videos, I look for a build in the song, where things are happening and they suddenly lead up to a certain moment that makes you go “holy shit.” So I heard this song by Perfume Genius, and I loved the build and the way it made me feel when I listened to it. I had it in the back of my mind when I was filming the video, and I knew it had to be that song.

APP: Is there a movie that’s had an impact on you in part because it’s soundtrack?

Anna: Call Me By Your Name. That movie is such a true and honest representation of love. I associate Sufjan Stevens’ music (which is in the film) with Eugene, since I watched it for the first time there with a lot of people I love. The music in that film partnered with the incredible story line all falls together so well for me.

 

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Thanks, Anna!

College & Local Radio is RAD!

KWVA_905As many of you may already know, I have a passion for radio. When I was a junior in high school, I visited my (now) college campus for the first time, and I was immediately drawn to the student-run radio station, KWVA. I loved the idea of a community of like-minded, music-obsessed students talking about/ playing what they love on the air.

The station, at the time, a small hole-in-the-wall studio that was once a women’s bathroom, was covered in stickers and band posters. Promo CDs were scattered among stacks of cassette tapes and vinyl, and hipster-looking students rushed in and out of the studio, welcoming me with giant smiles. I knew I had to get involved.

giphyI’ve been a part of my college radio station for 2 years now, and I will be heading into my last year in the fall. (That’s me in the studio on the right!) Since my first visit, the studio has expanded and moved to a shiny new space in the student activities center, located at the heart of campus. While on my summer break from school, I haven’t strayed far from the radio biz. I’m interning with the Portland Radio Project, a local radio station in Portland. I’ve met so many cool DJs, learned about some crazy talented local artists, and made some great connections.

According to Pitchfork, “college radio can reflect what local broadcasting should strive for: freeform programming that’s community organized and unentangled in market-based obligation. It is also a continually replenishing talent pool for the industry at large, and every part of the musical ecosystem can count former college radio DJs among their staff” (2017).

Both student-run and local, community radio provides music-lovers and radio enthusiasts the opportunity to think outside of the box. It’s an outlet for up-and-coming artists to receive recognition, listeners to be exposed to new genres, and a place for community members to share their music knowledge on the air without corporate involvement. This is how it should be when it comes to sharing the music we love!

According to FRG, “community and local radio stations focus on local areas they are an opportunity to give the community a voice. Community Radio Station’ staff are usually volunteers, and they are nearly always not-for-profit organizations. Funding is mostly given through donations or would incorporate fundraising in the form of events, pub quizzes and advertising.”

Kirsten at KATUKirsten Nicolaisen, a Portland-based journalist working in the social media and digital world of TV news, is a KWVA alumn and DJ at the Portland Radio Project! (We have a lot in common.) 🙂 Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kirsten made her way north for school where she spent four years working at KWVA Eugene. From production assistant, to DJ, to eventual News Director, Kirsten wore a number of hats at KWVA. A stint at Oregon Public Broadcasting brought her to Portland, which she now calls home. Now, Kirsten  works at KATU News. (Photo to the right.)

kirsten at KWVA“My favorite memories from KWVA are late nights and early mornings spent in the studio” Kirsten says. “KWVA was my library, my office space, my living room, and my little world tucked away down a long hallway at the student activities center. I loved diving into the music library in the wee hours of the morning when I first started DJ-ing during the Tuesday 4-6 AM shift, and sticking around afterward to catch up on school work… constantly distracted by all the messages and jokes scribbled on the walls. It was in those quiet hours that my love of music, radio and media truly blossomed.” (Left: Kirsten in the KWVA studio as a student.)

Kirsten believes that local radio stations like PRP provides music fans with the most unique music and best radio-listening experience.

“Without stations like PRP, I believe many talented local musicians would not have the platform to properly showcase their work. I feel lucky to be a part of a growing force in the local music community!” she says.

College and local radio is pretty rad. Let’s help keep it alive!

2014/365/351 On The Air At CFBX