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Feature: Padraig O’Connor

The beautiful thing about Reflection and Response is that it is about experienceinteracting with as well as observing life and the cycles it presents. When it comes down to it there is a special chemistry that bonds people to their environments and likewise plugs us into a matrix of aesthetic circulation. It’s a dance—romantically passionate with a sort of rhythmic groove, a backdrop scene set by a flow or mood and daring to go wherever creativity leads you. Here, Padraig O’ Connor eases the Collective onto the dance floor of artistic expression as he spins a tale full of energy and intuition. This is great, almost reminiscent of an amazing first date. Enjoy…

Padraig O'Connor

As a songwriter, there´s a constant battle to capture those little moments of magic where you get an idea for a melody or a phrase…So the reflection is that first inspiration… your mind making sense of the world… and how well you respond [to that initial engagement] influences how well the song comes out. It´s a matter of not getting in the way of the inspiration. The best songs just flow.

– Padraig O’Connor

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

PO: Where I´m from is a village called Kill in Co. Kildare, which is close to Dublin in Ireland. Difficult place to hitch-hike to. Picture holding up a sign that says KILL on it. I moved up to Dublin after college. It´s a great city, and has always been a big inspiration for me. It´s full of history. We´ve had writers like Joyce, Wilde, Yeats, Kavanagh, Behan who´ve lived in the city and written about it, so the streets are alive with stories and verse. Where I´m at is Madrid; Malasaña to be exact. I´m recording an album about Dublin over here in a friend´s studio in Goya: Rob Green and Richard Harris’ Spaceland.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

PO: As a songwriter, there´s a constant battle to capture those little moments of magic where you get an idea for a melody or a phrase. Those ideas can come first thing in the morning, when you wouldn´t mind sleeping in a bit longer, or when you´re away from home with just your phone to record them, or before you go to sleep late at night, and you have to write them down there and then or lose them forever.

So the reflection is that first inspiration… your mind making sense of the world… and how well you respond [to that initial engagement] influences how well the song comes out. It´s a matter of not getting in the way of the inspiration. The best songs just flow.

I like to collect little words of wisdom from other songwriters, and there´s something John Lennon was supposed to have said to George Harrison that ties in with this. The gist of it was: as soon as you get the idea, try to finish it. Write an extra verse, try to write a bridge, because that original inspiration might not come again, or if it does it may have changed into something else.

So that´s my approach. The reflection is very important, but you don´t really have control over that, it just happens. The response, to try to stay true to the essence of it, is probably more important. It´s that old adage: “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”.

How does your song Free fit in with that definition?

PO: This song I wrote, Free, is about a weekend I had in Ireland. I was back for a friend´s stag party in Carlingford, but before leaving, I met up with some friends to sit out on the grass in front of The Pav (The Pavillion, the bar in front of the cricket pitch) in Trinity College, Dublin, where I did my Masters in Music & Media Tech. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I spent a few hours just enjoying that with friends. You don´t get so many [sunny days] in Ireland, so when you do, you have to take advantage of them. I had already written the melody, but when I got back to Madrid, I woke up quite early the next morning (unusual for me) with the song playing in my head and went straight to the piano and guitar, finished the new lyrics, and recorded a demo of it. It sounded something like this:

The first verse is about my hometown, Kill. There´s an old pub there called The Dew Drop Inn, and as a kid I loved the double meaning in the name “Do drop in…” I always pass by it on my way into Dublin and that´s where I was going that day.

The second verse is about walking by the Grand Canal, where one of my favourite poets Patrick Kavanagh was inspired to write some of his best poetry. It´s a nice spot.

The third verse is about sitting on the grass by the Pav in Trinity College as the sun goes down, after the exams and deadlines were all over with. Nowhere you have to be, nothing you have to do, taking your foot off the pedal and letting the world take care of itself. Some days are just perfect like that.

It features Woody Woodman on drums, Karl Twyford on electric guitars, and on backing vocals along with Amber Stiles. Still needs a bass and a couple of other instruments.

 What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

PO: I´m constantly writing, but mostly I´ve been working on the album, which will be called The Lights of Dublin. A lot of the songs I´ve written about down the years were about my experiences living in Dublin, so it seemed natural to use the city as a theme for my first album. They´re mainly written from first hand experience, and songs name check different parts of the city. Some songs are about good times in the city, others about struggling to pay rent and keeping your head above water, other about characters I´ve met, places I´ve been.

One of the songs, Porcelain Doll is like a modern fairytale, inspired by working in an office, and seeing some really two-faced behaviour going on there. It´s about a woman who pretends to be all sweetness and light on the outside, but as soon as a person´s back is turned says something horrible. People who act that way are never truly happy though, so she meets the same fate as Humpty Dumpty, but unlike him she has the opportunity to pick herself up and start again.

That one wasn´t written recently, but it´s a finished song that I´ll be including on the album. It features Julien Lonchamp on bass, Adrian Hart on violin, and me on guitar, melodica with some glockenspiel thrown in for good measure.

I´ve had help from some great friends and great musicians too: Rob Green, Richard Harris, Woody Woodman, Karl Twyford, Amber Stiles, Lionel Gray, Clem O´Regan, Sean Twomey, John Leo Carroll among others. And I´ve even recorded my dad playing harmonica on one track. The goal is now to finish it. At the moment I´ve got most of the basic tracks done, so I´m looking to record extra instruments like trumpet, sax, trombone, violin, viola, cello. It´s taken me a little bit longer to locate those musicians, but I´m hoping to get most of those tracks down in the next couple of months.

After that, I want to move on to album number two. I have a big backlog of songs to record, so it´s a matter of getting them down and moving on to the next ones.

 Who or what inspires you?

PO: Anything and everything inspires me. It´s all about feel. It´s like Keith Richards says:

“The thing about being a songwriter is, even if you been fucked over, you can find consolation in writing about it, and pour it out. Everything has something to do with something; nothing is divorced. It becomes an experience, a feeling or a conglomeration of experiences…”

As I said above the album will be called The Lights of Dublin, and it´s going to be a kind of concept album. When I fly into Dublin at night, it´s all lit up, and on my way home to Kill I look back at the lights of Dublin from a distance. When I lived there, I was in a band called The Lights, and this was one of the songs we recorded, and another song that´ll be on the album is a tribute to that band. It was made up of three of the most creative people I know, and yours truly. Conor O´Hara on drums, Julien Lonchamp on bass and Karl Twyford on guitars and vocals, while I sang and played keyboard.

This song, Daydream, started out as a stream of consciousness thing, where I wrote lyrics that suggested a melody as Karl simultaneously came up with daydreamlike chords on a guitar. We used to record all our ideas on Dictaphone tapes, and somehow we managed to lose the only recording of this one for about a year and a half. When we eventually found it, it took us another half a year to work it out, write the intro, and bring it to the band. It was recorded on the Roland Multi-track recorder live with the band and then we overdubbed vocals and samples from the television, traffic, and the Dictaphone. Very oldschool. 🙂 It starts off with the sound of waves recorded on the seashore at Dublin Bay.

For me, that track is about the process of inspiration, about a smell, a taste or a sound that brings you back to your childhood, or somewhere you´ve been, about the half dreaming state before you fall asleep, building castles in the sky, possible worlds, echoes of something you once heard, a memory of a time or a dream, or a daydream…

My biggest musical inspirations would probably be The Beatles, Velvet Underground, Dylan, Randy Newman, The Beach Boys, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Pixies, Love, 1970´s punk, jazz, Gershwin, Rogers & Hart, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Ennio Morricone, Henry Mancini, Debussy, Satie, Beethoven, minimalism, anything and everything.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

PO: I do a Song of the Week blog here on wordpress where I choose one of my favourite songs, and go into a bit of the background behind it. It´s not always as weekly as it should be, but I try to post there most weeks.

Shout out to…?

PO: All the people I mentioned above who´ve helped out with the album etc, along with all the talented people who play every week in the Triskel Tavern/Café La Palma/ Toast and other bars around the city. I´m sure I´ll forget someone, but Richard Harris, Amber Stiles, Victoria Bolorinos, Woody Woodman, Michael Dixon, Sally Smith, Miguel Gonzalez, Vivian Garcia, Sean Twomey, Jorge Bee, Alyssa Rasmussen, Francisco Hernandez, Mary Elaine Jenkins, John Leo Carroll, Rico Adventura, Rob Green, Taylor Mann, Rob Bertels. There´s a really good scene going on at the moment.

Thanks a million to Peter Muller for the interview too, and keep up the great work with Fede Valenciano doing the open mic on Sundays in Café La Palma.

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Keenan Hartsten

For this week’s installment in the Feature Series, we’re honored to present one of our true inspirations: artist Keenan Hartsten. First off, just know that if you’re open to experiencing something new, this one will touch you. The organics of Keenan’s feature are pure and well cultivated—Reflection and Response really gets moving here! It may take a little bit longer to process the energy, but when it hits it’s sure to activate appropriately. You may find yourself off balance at first as it bumps you off the rhythm of the everyday hustle and bustle – don’t sleep though, cause it pounds a direct message—this one packs a big punch. Independence is at the core of the LIFESTYLE movement and the dude Keenan is definitely putting down his indie grind as he creates new spaces and waves in the world. So sit back, kick aside the stress of the week, put on some chill tunes if you please, and digg on his interview along with photos of his various creative endeavors. This one deserves two green-thumbs-up in approval…enough from us though; enjoy and watch it blossom. Peace.

Keenan Hartsten

Reflection and Response is really part of a larger set of processes including absorption/assimilation, digestion, and growth…I feel that to be a well rounded person/artist/liver/lover, you are constantly receiving, receiving, receiving.. especially if you are consciously open to it. I feel like life is there always willing to give, whatever it is that you need to see, hear, think, taste, and ultimately feel…I think that the most interesting thing is the way in which one takes all these seemingly disparate bits and actively responds with whatever is right there, here, now.

– Keenan Hartsten

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

KH: I originally hail from a town in the middle of the state of Oregon named Bend. It was a beautiful place to grow up with an abundance of opportunities to be close to nature… rivers filled with trout, crystal clear lakes, epic mountains, overall a really amazing place to cut one’s teeth. Needing to see new sights and meet new people I moved to San Diego 7 years ago and have worked to make this place feel like home.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

KH: Well, for me Reflection and Response is really part of a larger set of processes including absorption/assimilation, digestion, and growth. I think you could liken it to the act of eating. In order to fuel my body I take in calories through my food consumption. So I’m eating, eating, eating, everyday, all day, chewing, chewing, chewing. Chewing along with saliva, which helps to start digesting the starch in the food, are the first acts of accepting consumable molecules into my body—the first acts of digestion. Once the food is sufficiently chewed, my internal systems start to work by taking those larger molecules and breaking them down into smaller more manageable bits. These manageable bits are then further broken down and ultimately used for their energy potential. I think Reflection and Response are the second and third bits of a trilateral experience of being alive, especially for someone pursuing creative endeavors.

I feel that to be a well rounded person/artist/liver/lover, you are constantly receiving, receiving, receiving.. especially if you are consciously open to it. I feel like life is there always willing to give, whatever it is that you need to see, hear, think, taste, and ultimately feel. For me, the Reflection part of the tertiary equation is that process of digestion; taking these different particles and breaking them down into smaller bits, being present to and appreciating what I have received by letting those things not only come into me but also become one with me. We are given much in life to reflect on and the feedback is always there if I want to look. The Response part of the equation is that process of using what I have taken in and doing something with it. What is interesting for me about Response is that there are all these little bits banging around from all of the time that we are all tapping into. I saw something when I was five, or had a particular experience, only to find that years later in my twenties that experience is still with me and I am responding to it at some level, consciously or not. I think that the most interesting thing is the way in which one takes all these seemingly disparate bits and actively responds with whatever is right there, here, now.

Keenan Hartsten - When To Water

How does your piece When to Water fit in with that definition?

KH: Well, “When to Water” is an installation/exhibition I have up now at my buddy’s coffee shop, the Coffee & Tea Collective. The exhibition is twofold in that I have made an installation on the walls of the space consisting of these floating shelves that accommodate planters which contain all these different variety of plants that work together to create a very crisp, alive essence in the space. The name of the show “When to Water” is very in line with this notion of Reflection and Response. When one is attempting to nurture and take care of a plant, a very important thing to know is when to water. That water is crucial to the energetic functionality of that plant, without it it will eventually wither and die. When you water that plant, the plant is involved in its own version of Reflection and Response: the taking in of that life giving substance to the plant, its cells pulsing with new liquid, and its response in the form of lifting its arms to the sky and driving its roots deeper and further into the soil. The connection between human beings and plants is amazing. There have been countless scientific studies that have pointed to the fact that there is no separation between us and plants; we are both completely sentient beings, and interconnected, affected by our surroundings, in the process of reflection at all times, and responding to all that we are feeling, sensing, etc.

Keenan Hartsten - When To Water

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

KH: I’m also currently working on some large private garden commissions. I really love that, helping people live with more aliveness in their lives.. plants and creativity and all.

Keenan Hartsten Installation

Keenan Hartsten Installation

Keenan Hartsten Installation

Keenan Hartsten Wood Wall Design

Keenan Hartsten Wood Wall Design

Keenan Hartsten Plant Installation

Too, as part of the exhibition I have currently, “When to Water,” I am throwing a musical gathering and making a crazy handmade instrument to be a part of the event. For the instrument, I have been going to thrift stores buying all kinds of kitchenware/utensils that will be transformed into a percussion instrument. Pots, pans, lids, cookie sheets, silverware, cups, dishes, and utensils are all coming together to form this original percussion instrument. For the gathering I am hosting, I am inviting a bunch of talented musicians to come together and play a percussive set on this instrument, them having never played this instrument before, completely improvised. I am really excited to see how this turns out, the way that all these different pieces sound are amazing.. Wish you could be there to hear!

Besides that, I have a line of limited edition clothing, one off clothing I am making called ffiisshh, which can be found at ffiisshh.com. I am taking retro patterned sweaters and cutting them up and remixing them into one of a kind creations.

Keenan Hartsten - ffiisshh sweater

Keenan Hartsten - ffiisshh sweater

Keenan Hartsten - ffiisshh sweater

Who or what inspires you?

KH: I am inspired by much… I think we live in a pretty wondrous world. I am inspired by the hummingbirds that I have been seeing nearly every day without fail. Wow, those little creatures are magic to me! I am inspired by music, always. I am inspired by the people I encounter each day that just seem to be open to connecting, whether through a smile in passing, a quick conversation, or a heart to heart with a friend, sibling, or parent. I know I have talked a bit about this but I am really inspired by plants, I think they are magical and worth being close friends with.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

KH: That I am proud of what you guys are up to!

Shout out to…?

KH: My mom: Probably first on the list because without her I wouldn’t be half of me.. or me at all in that case!

My dad: Thank you for being a barometer in my life!

My sisters: You always give me room to be but are amazing and supportive.. Thank you!

My roommates: For being great inspiring people to be closely related to.

My Teachers: The many they may be, for helping and encouraging my growth.

Vicken: You’ve been a crystalline example of what a solid man can be in this world.. keep doing your thing and thanks for inviting me into the collective!

Driftwood Wave installation

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Veronica Jones

Yo, here we go—here we go—here we go again. Hope everyone had a great week. We at the LIFESTYLE are hosting Veronica Jones today as she explores her identity within music as well as in her professional pursuits. Through a blend of soulful sounds, icons, and inspiration, Veronica shares her thoughts on and relationship to Reflection and Response through music. She also names a few great artists to look up and plug into if by any chance you haven’t already. We especially want to take the time to thank Veronica for making space for us in her schedule and wish her the absolute best in her pursuit of Law. That’s enough from us; lets dive in!!

Veronica Jones

Reflection & Response in a musical context means that you are taking a really personal, introspective look into your feelings, your life, your relationships, and also taking time to empathize with & understand the lives of others.

– Veronica Jones

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

VJ: Hey, I’m Veronica, I’m 25 y.o. and was born & raised in Houston, TX (like Beyoncé!!!!) but I am currently living in New Orleans attending law school at Loyola New Orleans College of Law. After law school I am not sure where I will end up or what type of law I want to practice, but considering practicing criminal law, business law, international law, or entertainment law.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

VJ: Reflection & Response in a musical context to me means that you are taking a really personal, introspective look into your feelings, your life, your relationships, and also taking time to empathize with & understand the lives of others. After taking time to really understand your emotions and also see all kinds of conflicts & joys that occur in life, you are able to meaningfully convey your experience, or the experiences of others through music.

How does your music fit in with that definition?

VJ: Although I have not recorded any of my original pieces, I am a fan of jazz and have recorded a few jazz standards (Mood Indigo, Lullaby of Birdland & Fever). Also, while living in Spain I recorded a song called “Let the Music Play.”

“Mood Indigo” is a very melancholy song. It is about a person whose lover left them and is now dealing with loneliness. This song fits perfectly within the theme of Reflection & Response because when it comes to someone you love you have to first recognize your feelings with the situation and understand them and only after that should you decide how to react to them.

“Fever” is pretty self-explanatory, but just focuses on how a guy is giving her that special feeling.

“Lullaby of Birdland” uses a metaphor about birds singing to describe how she feels about the one she loves. Sometimes being direct about a situation is not the best way to explain how you feel.

“Let the Music Play” is all about losing your inhibitions and just experiencing the music and having a good time.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

VJ: Sadly, recently, I have not been working on anything. Since I am in my first year of law school, I find myself too busy to be involved in recording/gigging. But I certainly do sing around my house in my spare time!! Looking forward; I plan on staying in New Orleans for the summer & hopefully finding opportunities to gig/record while here.

Who or what inspires you?

VJ: My family inspires me so much, in particular my mother. She is one of the most generous people I have ever met, and has been supportive of my musical talents since I was a child.

Also I feel that my life experiences and those of others inspire me to think about situations more in depth and convey them in a way that really expresses the true meaning of a song.

Musicians that influence and inspire me are Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, The Weeknd, Adele, Brandy, and Lianna La Havas.

In particular Beyoncé inspires me because she has some of the BEST vocals known to man. Every album she puts out shows her progression and she has not been afraid to venture outside of her comfort zone.

Amy Winehouse inspires me because of the pure emotion she can put in a song with her voice. Its gritty, rough, soulful, and at the same time relatable.

Lianna la Havas inspires me because she has a very pure tone and uses tons of acoustic guitar, which I love. Her voice conveys tons of emotion as well.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

VJ: Just want to say that I have grown so much from my experiences and have come to realize that music can be very personal. When I was younger, I never understood that, but now that I am older, and singing about topics and situations that have affected me or my loved ones, I know that it takes courage to be able to be so transparent and share your stories with so many people you don’t know.

Shout out to…

VJ: Just wanna give a quick shout out to Peter for asking me to do this. I appreciate the involvement! Also, to my supportive/loving family and friends. And a shout out to New Orleans, for being the city which is my first stepping stone to becoming the successful lawyer that I want to be!!

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Jessica Quick

Aright y’all it’s again that time! This week the Collective welcomes Jessica Quick to the Feature series dialogue! Jessica is coming from a place and space unable to be captured by one setting or time. She brings a perspective shaped through elbow-rubbing experiences traversing time zones across the globe, expressed through her creative writing. Anchored in mood and narrating through observation, Jessica takes the time to dive into her interpretation of Reflection and Response, providing a pint of insight into her path thus far. Take a look at her interview and her poem Daffodils below. Enjoy the ride; Bon Voyage.

Jessica Quick

A city’s mood, its mannerisms, its charisma (or lack thereof) reflect in its inhabitants and its architecture, and I like those things to feed into my reconstruction of a city through words.

-Jessica Quick

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

JQ: I’m from Simi Valley, California, a synclinal suburb squatting outside of Los Angeles. Its geography and demography made it perfect for routine brush fires and a large population of conservative right-ists when I was growing up. It’s an awkward little city, and I’ve come to appreciate its quirks. In doses.

 In the past few years, I’ve lived in Harlem, Seoul, San Francisco, Madrid, and I’ve just relocated to Brooklyn a week ago. I’m looking forward to sticking around and getting back in touch with some old literary haunts, as well as my writing projects. I’m juggling a few ideas, and I think New York is the perfect place to explore them.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

JQ: Reflection! A necessary trait of response that’s learned with time, I suppose. I’ve traveled a bit, and it always takes me a long time to arrive at a place where I feel I can appropriately reflect on a city. What I like to do is feel out (and up?) places through my writing. I love infusing their bodies into my poetry. A city’s mood, its mannerisms, its charisma (or lack thereof) reflect in its inhabitants and its architecture, and I like those things to feed into my reconstruction of a city through words. Like getting to know someone new, attaining depth of a place just takes a little time. I wrote about New York when I was in Seoul, about Seoul often when I was in Madrid. And I still haven’t touched my hometown.

How does your writing fit in with that definition?

JQ: Although I like using my travel experience in my writing, I try to avoid relying too heavily on personal perspective. For example, I like creating stories that are not necessarily my own, but in a setting with which I’m familiar. Or I’ll use a mood that I may have felt in a certain city, but explore new lyrical narratives in a poem. I strive towards creation and embellishment over accuracy in retelling my response to a place. Maybe that makes me a liar. But I like telling stories. I think it’s boring and a bit vain if they’re all mine.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

JQ: I’m working on my first poetry collection, The Liminal Parade. It’s about spaces between here and there. I like writing about travel limbos, like subways, elevators, long plane rides. I’m also paying attention to certain psychological in-betweenness that mirror in those subways, elevators, and long plane rides – traveling for long periods of time without destination, waiting for someone to arrive, and indecisiveness are things I’m teasing out in my poetry. I like writing about hybrid existences because it hits close to home, both with my travel and with my mixed ethnicity. I’ve dwelled in the in-between and it’s an awkward, beautiful place.

I have a few other projects in mind for the future and the now. I’ve been talking to a few artists about comic book ideas and collaborations on creating some illustrated poetry, which I’m very excited about. I’m a huge comic fan, and the prospect of writing one makes my nerd heart skip a beat.

Who or what inspires you?

JQ: On the topic of comics, Daniel Clowes and Jason Lutes are my favorites for their dark humor and stark aesthetics. The Hernandez Bros. and Chris Ware are also stunning, although Ware makes me want the world to be a better person.

For poets, my current obsession is Frank O’Hara because I spent so much time writing about him for my MA thesis, which compared O’Hara and Lorca’s poetry in New York. I appreciate his unabashed exhilaration with life in his poetry, and how much his personality shows. And if O’Hara were still alive, I’m pretty sure he would be the coolest person in the world.

Of course, big cities inspire me as well as the people I meet. I am indebted to the city dwellers – from the rush hour flautist in Tokyo to my life-long companions. They accompany my memories of the cities I have grazed in my wanderings.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

JQ: We are poised in an interesting moment in history. From the state of the world economy, to the persistent race for technological advancements and subsequent dependency, we are witnessing rapid change in the world around us. We are responsible for how we choose to respond to these changes. To artists, I encourage you to create something beautiful in reflection of the environment around you.

 Shout out to…

JQ: Big love to all the creators and rabble-rousers. You make the world go round. And a big shout to a very talented jazz musician, my inspiration, and my husband-to-be, Daniel Stark.

Daffodils by Jessica Quick:

Daffodils

The first poem I ever wrote

was written by Wordsworth,

a posture of lines followed by

a school teacher’s request:

“Please see me after class.”

 

I never showed and

swallowed my first D –

literary theft on record

as enraged or defensive.

 

Years later, I found myself

writing poem after poem about daffodils.

Bought them any chance I could get.

I filled large suitcases with piles

of laughing heads and moved

to distant corners of the world.

 

Every town I visited,

I left solitary specimens

behind nondescript buildings

and cheap hotel rooms.

I remember one figure

splayed out like a brown

carcass of envy squatting

on the menu of a fish restaurant

in old Beijing.

 

After the last, I moved to an island at the edge of a map,

where (they said) daffodils could never grow.

I spent my days planting gardens near tough rocks.

At night, I counted holes in obscure constellations

where great, big, burning stars used to be.

Keep up with more of Jessica’s work at her website: www.jessicaquick.wordpress.com

Also check out Penumbra Magazine, which Jessica co-founded in 2012. She is currently the Poetry Editor for the magazine: www.penumbramagazine.wordpress.com

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Mark Mann

Today the Collective is as proud as we are humbled in the presentation of the following feature. Looking back, we’ve had a greatly diverse range of Arts and Artists bring us to this point. Now, the texture of the fabric from which the LIFESTYLE is built gets only richer with the incorporation of Mark Mann‘s Reflection and Response artist feature.

Coming out of BK, hailing from Oklahoma City and Santa Fe; here is a Man as Eclectic Americana as the craft of his production. Check the interview and original artwork below!

Mark Mann

Reflection is self-awareness. We are continually considering our thoughts, experiences and the people that are significant in our lives. The process of reflection is vital to my understanding of who I am and is a guide to looking forward—staking out the future. My artistic interests are a response to these collective ideas…

-Mark Mann

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MM: I was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. During my college years, I found a second home in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was later drawn to the energy and diversity of New York City. I currently live and work in Brooklyn, although I sometimes feel like I still reside in all three– if that makes sense.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MM: To me reflection is self-awareness. We are continually considering our thoughts, experiences and the people that are significant in our lives. The process of reflection is vital to my understanding of who I am and is a guide to looking forward—staking out the future. My artistic interests are a response to these collective ideas and as a result, my work has focused primarily on family relationships and the American experience.

How do Median Family and Breakfast Special fit in with that definition?

Median Family

Title: Median Family
Artist: Mark Mann
Year: 2000

MM: In the most basic of terms, my artwork finds its origins in the sampling of Americana postcards from the mid 20th century. One image entitled Median Family comes to mind. It depicts a family of four caught between two points— where they are going and where they have been. There is an underlying insecurity in their position and posture, but at the same time they are bound together in a protective group. The curve of the road and lack of information adds an amount of tension I am drawn to in most of my works and it seems to be the perfect mixture of my suburban and city experiences.

Breakfast Special, The Mother Road

Title: Breakfast Special, The Mother Road
Artist: Mark Mann
Year: 2012

Another example is Breakfast Special, The Mother Road. An image created from the fading of newsprint that focuses on the idea of seeking comfort and diversion in one’s life. Highlighting the freedom and clarity gained from travel is the central element, but there is the presence of branding and commercialism that pervades this experience–even in the wide-open spaces of the American west. This contradiction is interesting to me.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Wish I Could Stay Longer

Title: Wish I Could Stay Longer
Artist: Mark Mann
Year: 2012

MM: Lately, my work involves experimenting with a variety of materials and alternatives to drawing. I’ve made it a priority to not get comfortable with past processes and continually take up new techniques. From invisible ink to white wine, I am searching for materials that conceptually reinforce the subjects they render.  In addition, I’m currently setting up a new studio space, so I look forward to working in a larger scale and “hands on” way that will be very different from my earlier computer-based imagery.

Who or what inspires you?

MM: Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to meet up with some other Brooklyn-based artists who are doing compelling work. I’m always inspired by their creative vision and there’s a camaraderie there I haven’t had since art school. I look for any opportunity to collaborate with them on a future curated show or event.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

MM: The Amsterdam-based magazine, Eyemazing, will include my recent artist feature in their “Best of Eyemazing Book” due out this year. The article and other works may be viewed at http://www.markmannmade.com

Shout out to…?

MM: The entire family. All the in-laws and out-laws. They have always been there for me and I’m thankful.

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Jaime Echagüe

Gente! Es otro viernes y aqui en la serie de Features estamos muy entusiasmado de dar el bienvenido a una nueva voz. Jaime Echagüe nació en Madrid y sigue viviendo una vida artistica muy activa. Ha sido parte de grupos como “Flamenco en el vagon,” como multi-instrumentalista. Abajo se encuentra pensamientos y su perspectiva unica de Reflección y Respuesta!

People! It’s another Friday here at the LIFESTYLE and we are excited to pass the mic to a new voice. Jaime Echagüe is from Madrid and continues to live an active artistic life in the city. He has been a part of various groups such as “Flamenco en el vagon,” as a multi-instrumentalist. Peep the dialogue below for his words and unique perspective on Reflection and Response!

Jaime Echagüe

Reflexión hablando de las personas para mí significa mirarse en uno mismo, adentro. Y además lo asocio con paciencia y planificación...Respuesta para mi es exteriorizar, pero hacerlo como “respuesta” a unos estímulos externos, y como siempre estamos recibiendo estímulos estamos en constante respuesta.

Speaking in terms of people, reflection means to look within oneself, and is also associated with patience and planning…Response is to externalize and to do so in “response” to some outside stimulant. Because we are constantly receiving these stimuli we find ourselves in perpetual response.

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicos, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?


Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

JE: Soy originalmente del Madrid, he nacido en esta ciudad y me encanta. Lo anterior es en términos geográficos, pero cambiando de tercio y hablando de realidades personales estoy en un momento muy intenso de mi vida, tanto por lo que pasa alrededor como la gran energía y entusiasmo que tengo actualmente para hacer cosas. Cómo todos estoy buscando mi realización personal o acercarme a ella lo más posible, he hecho muchas cosas en la vida y me entusiasman muchas cosas, pero solo hay una cosa clara del todo La música para mí es muy importante y me acompañará toda mi vida, no dejaré de tocar nunca. No me cuesta asegurar esto pues es algo que me sale automático.

 JE: I am from Madrid, I was born here and I love the city. That’s in geographic terms. Speaking for myself, personally, I’m at an intense stage of my life because of what is going on around me and the great energy and enthusiasm I feel to make things happen. Like everyone, I am searching for personal meaning or at least to get as close to that as possible. While I have done many things in life and there are many things that interest me, only one thing remains clear above all. Music, for me, is very important and will accompany me all my life. I’ll never stop playing. This isn’t a difficult proclamation because it’s something I know to be true, something automatic.

Que quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?

What does “Reflection” and “Response,” mean to you?

JE: Reflexión hablando de las personas para mí significa mirarse en uno mismo, adentro. Y además lo asocio con paciencia y planificación. Para mi dos de las habilidades y capacidades más importantes que puede tener una persona para acometer sus objetivos en la vida

Respuesta para mi es exteriorizar, pero hacerlo como “respuesta” a unos estímulos externos, y como siempre estamos recibiendo estímulos estamos en constante respuesta. Somos emisores de respuestas que producen estímulos a nuestro alrededor. Lo que lleva a la interacción y como hablamos de música diré que esta es una de las respuestas más grandes que se puede dar en el “canal” de los humanos (en el que nos vemos sintonizados y nos entendemos)

JE: Speaking in terms of people, reflection means to look within oneself, and is also associated with patience and planning. For me, these are the two most important qualities one can have in accomplishing goals in life.

Response is to externalize and to do so in “response” to some outside stimulant. Because we are constantly receiving these stimuli we find ourselves in perpetual response. We are human transmitters of response that in turn produce stimuli of our own in our surroundings. These responses make up interaction and music, which is one of the most important responses that come through human receptors (through which we recognize and understand each other).

Cómo se mete tu música en esta definición?

How does your music fit in with that definition?

JE: Lo he ido introduciendo un poco en las preguntas anteriores, la música es una forma de expresión y de comunicación con los demás, ahí se engloba la respuesta, que es inmediata. La reflexión no me es tan fácil encajarla en algo concreto, es más amplia, puede ser la reflexión durante el proceso creativo, tanto improvisando como en diferido.

JE: I have started introducing a few ideas in the previous questions. Music is a form of expression and of communication with others that demonstrates universal, immediate response. I find it harder to come up with a concrete idea of reflection; it is a broader concept, perhaps reflection takes place during the creative process, whether improvised or recorded.

Que más estás haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

JE: 
Mi actividad musical se centra en formarme, en técnica y armonía, para alcanzar la excelencia en mi sonido y técnica. Pero siempre dejo paso a la aventura, pues para levantar mi motivación necesito tocar, cuando no tenía nivel suficiente me defendía con la percusión y así conseguía estar metido en mundillo. Con todo esto lo que quiero decir es que sin tocar en público y otros músicos me aburriría y no me dedicaría a esto. Actualmente y aunque suene curioso estoy tocando en los vagones de metro flamenco de una cierta calidad con un cantor. Podéis escuchar algún tema nuestro grabado en:

 http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flamenco-en-el-vag%C3%B3n/409528255787146?fref=ts

Otros proyectos que tengo avanzando son:

Colaboración con Color And The Kids

 http://www.facebook.com/thecolorsandthekids?fref=ts

Una banda que podría pegar fuerte, Pendientes de inicio:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pendientes-de-Inicio/275486952535869?fref=ts

Y haber participado en la grabación del primer disco de Vivian García, cuyo trabajo conocéis bien en este blog

 JE: I am currently working on improving my technique and playing ability. However, I am always up for a little adventure and before I felt comfortable playing woodwinds I would get by on percussion – which is how I was first able to get into the world of music. What’s important here is that I would get bored without playing in front of people or jamming with other musicians. Without this interaction I wouldn’t be a musician. Though it might sound strange, I am currently performing flamenco with a singer on subway trains in Madrid. Here is a song we’ve recorded:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flamenco-en-el-vag%C3%B3n/409528255787146?fref=ts

Other projects I’m involved in moving forward:

Collaboration with Color and the Kids

http://www.facebook.com/thecolorsandthekids?fref=ts

A band that could do big things, Pendientes de Inicio

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pendientes-de-Inicio/275486952535869?fref=ts

I also have played on Vivian Garcia’s debut album, whose work appears on this blog.

Quien o que te inspira?

Who or what inspires you?

JE: Para en cuanto al saxofón me inspira el sonido de Stan Getz, el cual es sumamente peculiar. Y escuchar otra música, estoy escuchando mucho Nu Jazz pues me vuelven loco las rítmicas y el buen feeling que se consigue en esos temas. Es jazz para bailar, un toque de funk y buen rollo. También me vuelve loco la música de Nina Simone. Ahora mismo mi máxima sería sacar un proyecto en esa onda, tipo Saint Germain (muy recomendable), componer unas letras y hacer Nu Jazz con un poco de electrónica, mucho bajo y unas líneas de viento que hicieran moverse eróticamente a cualquiera . Ah y voz femenina…wow, eso sería genial¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

JE: In terms of the saxophone I find inspiration in the completely odd sound of Stan Getz. As for other music, I have also been listening to a lot of Nu Jazz; the intoxicating rhythm and groove drive me crazy. It’s Jazz that you can dance to with a touch of funk and good vibes. Nina Simone also drives me mad. Right now I would love to organize a similar project, perhaps something like Saint Germain (highly recommended). The idea would be to compose the lyrics and make Nu Jazz with a bit of electronica, a lot of bass, and some woodwind parts that would make anyone move erotically to the groove. Ah, and a female voice…wow, that would be sweet!!!!!!!!!

Hay algo más que quieres que sepa el Collectivo?

Is there anything else you would like the collective to know?

JE: Cualquiera debería dedicarse un poco a la música para ser más feliz

JE: Everyone should dedicate themselves [even] a little to making music in order to be happier.

Saludos a?

Shout out to?

JE: A toda la gente que me acompaña en esta aventura de la vida, que no es poca

JE: To all the folks that accompany me on this adventure of life, which is not a few.

Sin Ti (Letra original, guitarra: Alex Metroman / Vientos y percusión: Jaime Metroman)

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Festiva

Festiva is quickly making a name for himself as a producer/DJ in the techno/tech house/progressive house scene in the Bay Area. A local resident, he has started putting out releases on international labels such as Mandarine Music, Deux Minds Records, Spundae Black, and Proton Music. Releasing his first EP “White Leather Couches,” on Mandarine Music in October, he looks to finish a full length album by the end of 2012. When he’s not in the studio, Festiva can be heard spinning his grooves at some of San Fransisco’s biggest nightclubs, such as Ruby Sky and many other dance floors throughout the city. Check the conversation below, links to Festiva’s sound cloud and Facebook and check out his track “Take This (Original Mix).”

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

F: Born and raised in the Bay Area, United States. I’m currently based and providing grooves and bass directly to dance floors in San Francisco.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

F: I think any form of art, whether it be music, a film, a written piece, etc., that you as a listener or viewer can get an emotional, hormonal or thought evoking response from is Reflection and Response. Especially artist to artist because than we can inspire each other and hopefully help influence each others next piece.

How does your creative work fit in with that definition?

F: I try to make my music innovative, taking influences from all different types of genres and experiences while also staying true to the roots of techno, tech house and house. Alongside trying to putting together an infectious groove that just makes you want to step and bob your head, I try to tap into different hormonal responses from the crowd. In one of my recent releases, She Makes Me Animalistic, I attempted to “tease” the listener on the dance floor making them feel a particular hormonal release, even if it is just slight enough. With my latest EP release, which came out on October 22, 2012 on Proton Music, I wanted to make the listener feel like they are in a VIP party with white leather couches and glass tables, surrounded by promiscuous and mischievous people.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

F: I continue to work on my first full length artist album, which I am hoping to finish by the end of 2012. The majority of producers in the techno / tech house / house scene prefer to stick to the single or EP releases, which is a great approach, but I wanted to take a new approach and put together an album that progresses the same way a DJ set would. I also have started putting together a label of my own with a good friend of mine. We are hoping to have it ready and launched by early 2013.

Who or what inspires you?

F: When it comes to performance inspiration, I get the majority from one of Ibiza’s titanic DJ’s Carl Cox. His ability to mix flawlessly night after night on any type of gear while being able to keep the crowds attention for hour after hour, day after day, is something I look up to. In this day and age, every DJ is beginning to just copy whatever the “bigger” DJs are playing in hopes to get the same attention those DJs get, it’s predictable and boring. Like Carl, you’ll never hear the same set from me. I will always be mixing in something new or different to keep the listeners on edge and playing off the vibe and energy of the crowd. My sets are always pieced together on the spot, nothing is ever premixed or predetermined. When it comes to my own productions, I get my inspiration from anything that catches my attention. I’ve found Latin and African percussion really influencing my drum loops recently. Some artists in particular that are inspiring me at the moment are Umek, Belocca, Pleasurekraft and Olivier Giacomotto.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

F: I like what you guys are doing here. It’s good to see you featuring all types of music, organic and synthetic. I think musicians and producers, today, benefit from being exposed to all kinds of music.

Shout out to…

F: The homies P. Muller and Sneaky V.!

Take This (Original Mix)

Hit the following links to check out more music from Festiva:

http://www.facebook.com/festivamusic/

http://www.soundcloud.com/festivamusic/

http://www.beatport.com/artist/festiva/184505/

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Michele Jules

This week’s Reflection and Response featured artist is Brooklyn-based writer, educator, academic, and social entrepreneur Michele Jules. With a focus on youth empowerment, Michele utilizes dialogue grounded in historical truths to build toward the future. We’re excited to have her voice participate in the ongoing global conversation on Reflection and Response. Check out her interview and an excerpt from her writing below!

Reflection: Is being able to take in and respect all aspects of art, word and music…

– Michele Jules

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MJ: Originally from California, Westside! My dad was a Marine… but was raised in Brooklyn, NY. Both, my parents families are live in Brooklyn. Im a New Yorker at Heart!!

I’ve grown here, failed and succeeded here. I still reside in Brooklyn, but I believe my time here in this city is ending, its time to start another chapter in a new setting, set a new foundation. My family will always be here, New York City is my home.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MJ: Reflection: Is being able to take in and respect all aspects of art, word and music seeing life through others’ eyes. If you can’t relate, you can in some way understand the emotion or point the person is trying to project.

Whether you agree or not, and how it makes you feel and think, your overall reaction is Response.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

MJ: I’m writing my first book, Yay!! I’m all about empowerment of youth, focusing my attention right now on young black women of all ages from their teens to late 20’s and maybe even older.

I see the world through a bigger picture, I’m not the only one on this planet, and I’m at point in my life where I’ve realized, I have to leave something behind and help in projecting better reflections, for the black youth in this world.

And I need help, so I’m sending out a global S.O.S. to black youth, women and men, all over the world. Its a basic interpretation of “If you don’t know where you came from, you’ll never know where your going”, aspect.
I love working with young kids they have so much energy and love for life and laughter. Its important to let them be themselves but be disciplined in teaching them realities of life, their world and the importance of education overall, starting with who they are and where they come from, with no holds barred honesty. That’s the first start to success and the best love story, which starts with yourself.
Young black children have got to see not just their world, but the whole world as a playground. There’s just so many morsels of beauty and genius to take in on this planet.
I’m in total love of this world, my history and I’m also aware of how small we all are compared to the universe, (Let alone the planet Venus), I think that keeps me grounded along with my brutally honest family and friends.
Keeping all this in perspective, I try my best to write realistically and honestly, no sense in sugar coating whats real.

What have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

MJ: Working on a business with a great partner, catering to fitness and pursuing my M.A. in adolescent psychology. Staying focused with writing, which is so hard when there are so many other distractions.

My next project would be focused on young black men, they are harder targets to reach, but i’m gonna give it a shot, with help of-course!

Who or what inspires you all?

MJ: Faith, inspires me, I have a real relationship with God, we have deep conversations. I also, have a great support system filled with family and friends that keep me on track when I lose focus.

Writing, watching children learn, and empowering confidence in youth, by educating them on their history. I feel I’m doing a devotion to my ancestors by educating young children and families.
And of course to me “life” is so great, If I wake up I’m a happy person, I don’t need much to be happy, it’s the little things that count. If it can be fixed, fix it!.. Life is hard..get a Helmet! 🙂

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

MJI have a dire, deep love for animals, they are they only living creatures on this earth who do exactly, what they were put here to do.❤❤

I am big on Education, it’s power, it’s key and it’s the only thing the government can’t take from you.

Shout out to…

MJ: President Obama and Michelle, I Love you Guys! You show us the true meaning of hope, determination and family…

My family and friends and anyone who have helped in anyway to get me where I am today… You’re Awesome! Hug A Tree, peace! God is Love!

The LIFESTYLE for giving an aspiring writer this opportunity…. You’re Awesome too!

Do You Know Your “Real” History? I Know and Love Mine!

Hello World! 

I’m a proud black woman with a passion for the betterment of my fellow black people, especially our children. I love all people, the world is full of beautiful people, but I hear a cry for help within our communities and in black youth and I’m destined to answer that call or at least reach a few cries before they become silent. I hope you enjoy the topics and please comment as your comments are what keep me aware and connected. 

Sincerely,
An 80’s baby doing her part to help…. 🙂

So… I have come to realize so many black people, no matter what background have no idea about thier history and how great it is. And as some of you may not understand how this comes to bother me so much, I say in my defense that it sets a person back when they have no knowledge of where they come from. The struggles of our people were the highlights of our education, while the unbelievable accomplishments and contributions we have made in history were seldom or irrelevant. I come to understand this from working with black children of all ages, now I single out black children only because I relate to them personally. Our futures are merely a reflection of our pasts and so many young children have a dreadful reflection to look at, but that does not determine who they will be if surrounded by the right influences. “It takes a village to raise a child” parents can do what they can, but sometimes it takes someone else to see the value in that child and encourage achievement.
Community is almost completely lost, hard times are getting harder and uniting seems out of the question! Get your hands dirty, learn about yourself , your history and what qualities you bring to the table. Improvise on them! I was once told if you can do something good then perfect it! Your twenties allow you to get to know yourself and the world around you, as young children our parents guide us the best way they know how, in adulthood is where you truly find your own balance and knowledge for your life ahead.Be proud of who you are and especially of where you come from, if you have children teach them this, dont leave it to the television or other young children to knowledge your child. Get involved! I know that it can be challenging to be a parent but with all brutal honesty, you made the choice or was given the blessing to have a child… Now lets get to work!
We must encourage our youth to love themselves, educate themselves and represent themselves!

Peace and love

Jules

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Taylor Mann

We are proud to continue the LIFESTYLE’s Feature series with Taylor Mann. Taylor has been an active creator- producing and writing music throughout Washington State and Madrid Spain. In Madrid he continues to perform throughout the city in various neighborhoods at venues such as Triskel Tavern, El Hombre Moderno, and more. As Fala Gringo, he released a self produced EP of original tunes this summer. Check the interview below for his unique perspective on Reflection and Response and links to his tracks Hole and The Bad Seed.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

TM: I’m from Seattle by way of Camano Island, Washington, a little rural island about an hour to the north of the city. It’s beautiful and quiet and everyone knows each other. It is a pretty typical American small-town sort of place in that guns, country music, church and high school football rule the day, but I enjoy roughly 50% of those things so it’s not so bad. I moved to Seattle at 18 to attend UW and have become depressingly urban, with soft hands and tendencies toward snobbery. Instead of going to law school, I moved to Madrid where I spent the last year working as an English teaching assistant. I like Madrid and I don’t know when I’ll leave (although I wrote this as I was visiting my home island, sitting in my parents’ house and realizing that my natural habitat is being surrounded by water and pine trees).

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

TM: It’s often hard to really absorb many of our experiences while they’re happening beyond that which is visceral and immediate. You could define reflection as a post-game breakdown of sorts, or like that part at the end of a political speech where men and women in suits argue about what it all means. I think the things that have happened to me that were the worst in the moment have provided the most interesting fodder for reflection. Response would probably be what your reflection leads you to do.

How does your music fit in with that definition?

TM: I suppose my songs are usually me trying to work through something, so they let me sort of look at what I’ve been thinking when I’m not in the moment. I don’t really know whether that’s reflecting or responding.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

TM: This summer I self-recorded an EP called The Swoon EP with the help of my friend Alex Madden who played most of the drums and percussion and the bass on Strange Physics. I’m calling myself Fala Gringo because it sounds more interesting than my name. The album is made up of 5 of the songs I wrote over the last year I spent in Madrid and you can download it for free at http://falagringo.bandcamp.com/ if you want. I’ve been recording myself since high school, but this is the first cohesive group of songs I’ve ever put out as a complete work. I’m back in Madrid and writing songs again, but I’m also beginning the planning for a second EP with at least 5 more of last year’s songs. I hauled over all the relevant gear in my suitcase so I can set up a recording room in my piso here. I’m also going to be helping my friend Sam with some electronic based songs he’s made which is something I’m really excited about.

Who or what inspires you?

TM: Hard-core drugs, mostly.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

TM: I don’t actually do hard-core drugs.

Shout out to…?

TM: The Soup House. RIP.

——————–

The Bad Seed:

Holes:

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: El Patio de tu Casa

We are honored to bring some new voices into the LIFESTYLE dialogue! El Patio de tu Casa was formed in 2010 when Ana and Mario Viñuela formed a band that had the goal of creating music that inspires emotion in its listeners. After adding Edu on guitar, the band filmed its first video for “Supositiones,” which was nominated for an Asturian Music Award (AMAS).  In 2011, the band released it’s first album “Punto de Partida,” on Espora. After finishing recording, the band started a nationwide tour of Spain and recorded a pair of new singles called “1,” and a new video for the track “El Camino de Vuelta.” After rounding out the lineup adding Jesús Colino on bass and Kiki Dee on drums, the band continues on it’s goal to keep creating and sharing music with those who want to listen. They are working on a new album that is set to be released in early 2013. Check the interview below, links, and the video for “El Camino de Vuelta”!

We always think about our songs as open works that may be rearticulated…This is a process of reflection that helps us to grow as a group and to find a personal language.

– El Patio de tu Casa

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

EPDTC: El patio de tu casa is a pop band from Gijón, a city in the North of Spain. We are three components (Ana, Mario and Eduardo), all of us had already some experience in music playing with other bands, and we had very clear the kind of music we wanted to do when we set up El patio de tu casa. We started in 2010, creating our basic repertorie and playing our first concerts. The project was constantly growing since the very beginning, and in 2011 we published our first album (“Punto de partida”), recorded several music videos and joined a tour for the main cities of Spain.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

EPDTC: It may be something related to the time you need to mature a song or an album. We guess the response is just the consequence of that process.

How does “El Patio de tu Casa” fit in with that definition?

EPDTC: We always think about our songs as open works that may be rearticulated, that may experience an evolution after several rehearsals, and even after playing them in concerts. This is a process of reflection that helps us to grow as a group and to find a personal language.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

EPDTC: These days we are in the studio recording our first long play, which we hope to present early next year. It is being a fascinating moment, because we have been working a lot on demos and we are always looking for different solutions to find the appropriate sound, instrument, etc. It is a very demanding work, but at the same time it great to have the time to develop this project.

Who or what inspires you all?

EPDTC: Well… it depends on many things. It is difficult to tell what or who may inspire you at a particular moment. It can be a place, a person, a conversation with somebody or a picture you find in a magazine or newspaper. Our songs speak of everyday life, of the kind of things that are common to human being, and they are always enough open to let the listeners participate in them, so they can make them part of their own lives.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

EPDTC: We would like to thank the LIFESTYLE and Peter for this interview that gives us the opportunity to get closer to other audiences. We invite you to listen to our music (www.elpatiodetucasa.com) and make it yours in order for you to take it to “el patio de tu casa”.

Shout out to…

EPDTC: Everybody who is reading this interview and listening to our songs 😉

Reflection and Response.

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