Tag Archives: Washington

Artist Feature: Shawn Speakman

We met Shawn Speakman back in Seattle in 2010. At the time, I learned that he was a writer, and I’ve been eager to find out more about his work ever since. In our interview, Shawn discusses writing about subjects that are relevant to our surroundings, but placed in fantasy, and how that juxtaposition can lead to a better understanding of the present reality. In the past few years, he’s published his book THE DARK THORN and a fantasy anthology he edited, UNFETTERED – and has recently been busy responding to requests for more literary work. We’re excited to have Shawn Speakman’s voice contributing to the Collective!

Shawn Speakman

Every story that I write comes from a “what-if” seed that takes root and grows.

– Shawn Speakman

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

SS: I grew up in the wilds of Washington State, near the southern base of the volcano Mt. St. Helens. It is a heavily conservative [area] and I fled, to Seattle, as soon as I was able. I have lived in the Emerald City ever since. Although I am just flippant to the second part of your question with, “I live in denial, as all writers do.”

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

SS: I am a fiction writer. In order to write believable fiction, it takes reflection. It is important to write about subjects pertinent to our world — to put those subjects in a fantasy world, add a bit more pressure, and see what happens. In this way, I gain a better understanding of my world. It costs less than therapy, I assure you. And I hope when someone finishes one of my stories that it leaves them thinking.

How do THE DARK THORN and your other Annwn Cycle tales fit in with that definition?

SS: Every story that I write comes from a “what-if” seed that takes root and grows. For THE DARK THORN, I thought “What if the first Christian crusades were not against the Middle East but, instead, against very real Celtic fey creatures in Britain?” Most of my work is influenced by the dichotomy in my mind between religion and faith. They are very different, in my opinion, and I like to explore that in my writing. Answering the “what-if” question is my response. I took a look at the good and the evil inherent in the Catholic Church as well as the relationship between a broken man, his past, and the faith it requires to overcome such hardship.

The Dark Thorn - Shawn Speakman

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

SS: Since the publication of THE DARK THORN and my fantasy anthology UNFETTERED, I’ve received a number of other short story anthology requests from other editors. I have written a short story and a novelette in the last month for those books. THE UNLOCKED TOME is the short story and its seed grew out of: “What lengths would a 10-year-old boy who has lost his family go to in order to assert some kind of power over his life?” It was a fun short story, featuring a character I will use again in a future novel. For the moment though, I am working on THE EVERWINTER WRAITH, the sequel to THE DARK THORN.

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Mike Gervais

Mike Gervais is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and  lifelong resident of Seattle, Washington. As he witnesses a changing city climate, Mike writes image-based music that inspires feelings in the mind of the listener, preferring to position his creative output within the physical dimension of response. In the interview below, Mike describes the natural imagery behind one of his songs Aurora Borealis and some of his inspirations such as impressionism and Chuck Close. Working extensively with his brother Matt as “Mikey and Matty,” the two have begun a busy 2014 playing dozens of shows and writing new songs they look to record over the next few months.

Mike and Matt Gervais

I don’t want to change or rearrange anything. If I could be successful at songwriting at all, I’d hope that what I came up with put a picture in the listener’s mind. I’d prefer to be an impressionist or even a Chuck Close to being a Jackson Pollack. Even though I envy that type of work.

– Mike Gervais

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

MG: I realized recently that I’ve experienced 21% of the entire history of Seattle as a life-long resident. Imagine the time elapsed since the Denny party first settled here- 163 years, as the price of your dinner date… My age is the tip. I suppose that I should consider this when lamenting the construction projects that seem to be replacing all of the old brick and 70’s architecture with steamy hot-yoga windows under impossibly expensive “mixed-income” apartments. I walk around mostly humming tunes and looking for plants coming up through the cement. Even though we’re so close to the mountains, it seems like it’s getting harder to feel that they’re so close. I think we could all use a good long walk up there.  

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MG: I think a reflection is a response. I’m mostly about the tangible, equal-opposite reaction type of response. If light waves are bouncing on a puddle in the road, I want my music to be that reflection. I’m only looking for images that convey feelings. I don’t consider myself worthy of interpreting and translating events and relationships- I don’t want to change or rearrange anything. If I could be successful at songwriting at all, I’d hope that what I came up with put a picture in the listener’s mind. I’d prefer to be an impressionist or even a Chuck Close to being a Jackson Pollack. Even though I envy that type of work.

How does your song Aurora Borealis fit in with that definition?

MG: I work exclusively with my brother, Matt Gervais. Most of our work fits somewhere into the imagery=feeling spectrum. This is the first time I’ve had an interview without him, so I chose to highlight a song I can speak to more personally, Aurora Borealis. I tried to tell this story exclusively through pictures, and I normally look to nature for the best ones. The tide goes out twice a day and these squishy, delicate animals are exposed to the seagulls and the sunshine. You could write a thousand songs about that. Or the chaos of Saturn missiles going off on a dock at dusk in summer. I love the grandiose and the hopeless.

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

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Artist Feature: Mina Fitzpatrick

I first met Mina Fitzpatrick in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We stayed in touch over the years and it was dope to connect over a LIFESTYLE Artist Feature about her filmmaking work. Mina has been living in Seoul, South Korea for the past two and a half years working on Two Together, a documentary film following the lives of 3 single mothers in South Korea, where single mothers often face significant social discrimination and pressure to give up their children for adoption. This is Mina’s first film and she notes the importance of taking the time to learn as much as possible about the craft while she works on the product itself. For this artist, Reflection and Response involves slowing down and giving the required time to reflect instead of responding immediately. Mina and her co-documentarian Tom Krawczyk are currently starting the editing process, so peep the Two Together website for updates on a release date!

Mina Fitzpatrick

To me, reflection and response reject the idea of immediacy, and instead demand time and patience from your work. So often we are caught up on the idea of responding to something, that we forget to reflect on it first. 

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

MF: I’m originally from Seattle, Washington. I was born in Vermont and moved to South Korea when I was five years old. I spent most of my young adult life growing up in Seattle, and went to college in Houston, Texas. Now, I’ve found my way back to Korea, and have been living here for the past two and a half years. I love living in Seoul, with its fast-paced lifestyle, delicious food, and lively people. Definitely a place I’m proud to call home.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MF: To me, reflection and response reject the idea of immediacy, and instead demand time and patience from your work. So often we are caught up on the idea of responding to something, that we forget to reflect on it first. 


Two Together Documentary TRAILER: http://twotogetherdocumentary.weebly.com/

The decision to raise a child as a single mother is never an easy one. In Korea, where unwed motherhood is highly stigmatized, the decision is especially difficult. For many years, the Korean government played no small role in influencing this decision. Instead of offering financial and social support to unwed mothers, the government opted for a system that seemingly swept the problem under the rug: overseas adoption. Today, Korea has the largest adult population of adoptees in the world, and the vast majority of Korean adoptees are the children of unwed mothers.

This documentary follows the stories of three different women. While their stories are different, each demonstrates the need to give women back the right to decide. It advocates for a society in which mothers can choose to raise their own children. 

(http://twotogetherdocumentary.weebly.com/about.html)


How does your work with the documentary “Two Together” fit in with that definition? 

MF: As a novice filmmaker, this project has been a huge growing experience. I feel excited to have found a profession in which I feel just as excited about the “artistic process” as I do about the finished product. You know that old saying, “Anything worthwhile is worth the wait”? Taking time has not only allowed me to reflect on the characters, and their stories, but also on myself, and my role as a filmmaker. As I reflect, I am able to create a response that is deeper, and more meaningful to me, and hopefully to my audience. 

Two Together Documentary - Process

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

MF: At the moment, most of my energy is focused on this project, as we are just beginning the long editing process. When I’m not working on the documentary, I usually spend time doing things that will help me become a better filmmaker, whether it be reading, writing, taking photographs, watching other documentaries or practicing Korean. When I move back to the States, I hope to work on some more local projects, maintaining a focus on social-political issues, and giving a voice to those who are rarely heard. 

Two Together Documentary - Process

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Andréa Harris

Andréa Harris is a visual artist based in Seattle, Washington, who has also spent time in Washington State, Boston, Florida, and France – each of which has naturally impacted her artistic practice in different ways. Andrea describes Reflection and Response as an interaction between the artist and their work — with each entity active in the dialogue. Her work is a result of this ongoing conversation and she uses various mediums such as painting, photography, collage, digital video, and sculpture. Along with her words, Andréa presents specific pieces from her incredible collage and sculpture projects EXPERIENCING THE CENTURY and OUR EYES THAT ARE EVER MORE MY OWN. Peep the dialogue below and stay tuned for more exciting projects from her workshop!

Andréa Harris

Making work turns into a conversation between reflection and response — sometimes the artist is the one responding in the work, but other times the work talks back and makes its own demands to be heard.

– Andréa Harris

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

AH: I am from the Pacific Northwest, and grew up in several towns near Tacoma, WA.

There is something to be said of place and creative work. Everywhere I’ve lived has had a specific head-space to it. It’s been easy to make work in some places, but nearly impossible in others. Having lived in Seattle, Boston, Sarasota (Florida), and three summers in South-West France, I have experienced a variety. However, I have yet to find the place I work best with.

Right now I’m in Seattle, WA. It’s the city I consider home. I have a feeling there are some explorations ahead of me though.

Andréa Harris - Experiencing Century 12

Andréa Harris – Experiencing The Century 12

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AH: As an artist and general introvert, the majority of my time is spent in reflection. Reflection isn’t a place of comfort. It is a place of unstable ground and a catalyst for change. Reflection is the foundation of Response, but the creation of work contains both. Making work turns into a conversation between reflection and response — sometimes the artist is the one responding in the work, but other times the work talks back and makes its own demands to be heard.

Andréa Harris - Experiencing Century 10

Andréa Harris – Experiencing The Century 10

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AH: The overarching concept I find myself fixated on is the idea that reality is malleable, fluid, and constantly created. I explore the flexibility of reality through: the relational boundaries between the body, consciousness, psychological states, ideologies, and perceptions of the self, the other, and the transcendental. My work operates in a space of questioning experiences and concepts. It is the product of reflection and response, the push and pull between the two. I enjoy working across disciplines, letting the concepts I’m working through dictate or have influence on whether I use painting, photography, collage, digital video, sculpture, etc.

Andréa Harris - Experiencing Century 01

Andréa Harris – Experiencing The Century 01

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

 

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Artist Feature: Ayo Dot

Ayo Dot is a rapper and songwriter who was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and currently lives in Seattle. A seasoned artist, he now performers throughout the Northwest with his group Ayo Dot & The Uppercuts, featuring keys, drums, guitar, bass, and backup vocals. In his Feature piece, Ayo breaks down the importance of silence and mental Reflection leading to positive, organic Response. He also comments on the constant improvement in our Responses as we continually get to know ourselves better as people. Check out the dialogue below to read about his tracks My Dreams, Thinking About You, and Mo Ti So, along with an upcoming EP from the band!

Ayo Dot

Response is how I react to everything I’ve internalized or reflected upon. It should be organic and natural. The more you know who you are as a person, the better your response.

– Ayo Dot

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

AD: Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria – West Africa. Now a resident of the great Northwest. Seattle. I represent the West 2x.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you? 

AD: Reflection to me is a time out. Silence. It’s when I get to take a mental stock of things. I break things down. Good or bad. Determine how to take the good and build on it or take the bad and make it better. I’m in my head a lot. That’s my happy place.

Response is how I react to everything I’ve internalized or reflected upon. It should be organic and natural. The more you know who you are as a person, the better your response. I’m getting there.

Ayo Dot

How do your songs My Dreams, Thinking About You, and Mo Ti So fit in with that definition? 

AD: The song My Dreams really just latches on to the idea that you should never really let people dictate what you can or can’t do. Build your own ship and sail it.

With Thinking About You, I wanted to do something that was borderline dark. If you check out the video, you’ll know what i mean.

Mo Ti So is my Ode to smack talking and also recognition of my Nigerian roots. I opted to keep part of the chorus in Yoruba, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria.

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

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Artist Feature: David Boman

I first met David Boman during college in Seattle jamming out with him rocking the drum set. His Feature with the LIFESTYLE has been a long time coming and David goes in- setting up a unique journey through the physics of Reflection and Response and the “allure,” of Response as a self-exploratory medium that elicits emotions from within us. From discussing the biological phenomenon of our reactions as people to music, Dave goes on to explain how his music is currently focused on the image- he currently has several soundtrack projects finished and coming up. Be on the lookout for more on these ideas and an in-depth discussion of pieces Overture (Save the Wails), Lowflyer, and his score to Handmade in our discussion below!

David Boman

Much like intermingling sound waves, personal reflection is constructive and destructive…The catch is that you don’t always walk away feeling good, the allure is that you always walk away feeling. Period.

– David Boman

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

DB: I am from Seattle and I am at Seattle. I was born and raised here, went to school here and work in the city. Next year I expect to be elsewhere for some time, very possibly Southern California…

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

DB: In physics, reflection is the propensity for sound or light to bounce off of a surface rather than to be absorbed by that surface. In audio production, we try to avoid this because sound waves that are reflected off of a wall, for example, can interfere with the sound waves coming from the original acoustic source destroying the quality of a recording. A technical (and pretentious) answer like that isn’t really relevant to the question, but it’s an interesting place to start; after all, when we put on headphones and hit play on our stereo, the surface of our eardrums rumble and vibrate, a signal to our brain is sent and processed. Consciously, something happens – it is absorbed and internalized, those of us who vibe with ‘The Metaphysical’ feel the melodies, harmonies, words and throbbing beats sink into our souls. Is that enough? Absolutely! Music is incredible, partly, if not mostly for exactly that reason. You don’t need to know a thing about it to feel its gravity, to be brought to tears or fits of erratic physical movement (shout out to the EDM guys) solely from the controlled vibration of some four-dollar ear buds.

Reflection is the optional step. It’s the part of the process that leads to response, which is the functional step. Much like intermingling sound waves, personal reflection is constructive and destructive – thinking deeply about what is being unearthed that is eliciting profound sensation; self-pity, inspiration, awakening, serenity. The catch is that you don’t always walk away feeling good, the allure is that you always walk away feeling. Period. It’s a product of all art, not just music – scratch that – it’s the product of being alive. Sometimes absorption and reflection happen simultaneously, but I don’t think the response part comes unless reflection has occurred. Response is reflection incarnate. It is the creation that spawns from pure or mixed up thoughts and emotions. It is the act of distilling those feelings through your medium; it is also the distillation itself.

How do ‘Overture (Save the Wails)’ and the score to ‘Handmade’ fit in with that definition?

DB: Beauty in everything. Overture (Save the Wails) is an ode to that sentiment; don’t make an item or experience trash until you’ve taken something from it. The idea was to take dissonant sounds, square synths, and harsh and heavy drums and set them to a pretty, bittersweet melody. It took a long time but ended up yielding one of my favorite tracks to date.

Another track, called Lowflyer, uses some familiar sounds to help set the atmosphere and encourage reflection.

I have been intrigued by film scoring since high school. The context given by a film clip provides reflective material that begs to be painted, or left silent, but in either case consciously sculpted. ‘Handmade’ is a two-minute short film with no dialogue, written and directed by Chris Winterbauer. No faces are seen, no words are spoken. Actions speak louder than words, especially when guided by music.

What else have you been working on recently?

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Artist Feature: Naïmah

I had the good pleasure of meeting Naïmah at a local coffeehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn a couple weeks ago. A Washington D.C.-based singer-songwriter, Naïmah is currently working on her own EP, writing songs for a handful of other artists, and playing shows in the DC and New York areas. We’re happy to welcome her to the Collective as she discusses her understanding and application of Reflection and Response, the creative process behind her song Wolf and I, and various other topics. We’re looking forward to a lot more dope work from Naïmah in the months and years ahead! Check out the dialogue below.

Naimah

Support each other. I’ve witnessed too much animosity in the art world, especially jealousy-driven. Everyone has their own gift, their own individual way of looking at something, and at the end of the day, no one can replicate that.

– Naïmah

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

N: I’m from Washington, D.C., and after going to boarding school in Boston, and college at USC in Los Angeles, I’ve made my way back to the District. A bit surprising to some, as I’m emanating those California vibes “for sure”, but it’s nice to be home and planting my roots and growing where I first got started.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

N: Within the harmony of those two actions I find the creative process at its best.  The thing about art as I see it, or at least how I approach my music, is that it is always a response to a reflection on a moment, a person, a feeling, and so on.

Whether I realize something is on my mind or not, songwriting helps me navigate through that process of reflection, and to figure out just how much that subject meant—or means—to me.  Each song is me saying, “This is my response about X. This is how I feel.”

And the incredible part is when that individual reflection and response, my response, captures the way someone else might also feel in their own reflection, or to allow them to see their feelings in a new light.

It’s hard to make this intangible transaction into a tangible explanation, but I hope that all makes sense.

How does ‘Wolf and I’ fit in with that definition? 

N: It doesn’t get more “reflection and response” than in Wolf and I. Well, it does, but prior to writing the song I’d been in a phase of day-dreaming and imagining and writing songs based on these scenes I made up when, after a trip to New York, I was headed back home on the bus, feverishly free-writing in my notes on my iPhone (let me say how restrictive auto-correct and that little screen is) as I attempted to capture how I felt about the events that had just occurred, and all the moments and experiences making up my relationship with this particular person and situation.

Wolf and I is a love song in its most basic interpretation, but I think the fact that it’s really so much more than that below the surface is why people have been able to connect with it. It’s about perception, the way you look at something, the good and the bad all at once.

Wolf is a simile I used to describe someone and something both close and distant, endearing, and in the process of change; and Wolf and I was my reflection, my attempt to articulate, all these thoughts in some kind of compact organization that I could store them in.

Since writing the song, I’ve opened back up to the realization of how important reflection and response is, and how my songs come to life when they are created in this frame of mind.

Photo by Alexandra Howland

Photo by Alexandra Howland

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

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Artist Feature: Tony Currie

Tony Currie is a photographer originally from Spokane, Washington. After relocating to Seattle, Washington, Tony continued practicing the art of photography and through his lens captures the dope world around us that can easily be overseen. Tony tackles the questions of the Feature head on and delves into his unique ideas about Reflection and Response, his photographic journey, plans to capture the dope natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and other themes below.   

Tony Currie

To be self-aware and true to yourself, you need to spend the same amount of time and energy in thought as you do in action.

– Tony Currie

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

TC: I was born and raised in Spokane, WA. If you haven’t been there, it’s a medium-sized city with a small-town feel. Sure it has its shortcomings, but I’m proud to have grown up there. I was fortunate to live there my entire upbringing and it will always be my home. I moved to Seattle to pursue higher education and have lived here ever since. Seattle is great. I’ve lived here for almost seven years now and have no plans of going elsewhere anytime soon. 

Tony Currie - Winter Sun

Tony Currie – Winter Sun

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

TC: To me, Reflection is about knowing who you are, where you’re at, and what really matters to you. It’s peering inside your mind, shutting out all the external noise, and thinking deeply. I realize more and more each day how important it is to be self-aware. I haven’t quite gotten to meditation exercises yet, but maybe down the road someday. 🙂

The Response is equally important to the Reflection. What is the worth of a Response without any investment in Reflection? What is the point of Reflection if you’re not Responding to your thoughts? For me, to be self-aware and true to yourself, you need to spend the same amount of time and energy in thought as you do in action.

Tony Currie - Winter Sun

Tony Currie – Winter Sun

How does photography fit in with that definition?

TC: Photography is a very expressive medium and has no end. This plays right into Reflection and Response. I make a point to only shoot what I enjoy (which happens to change all the time). I think that is the single most important piece of learning and growing with your passion. For example, I was obsessed with macro photography for a couple of months. I would take endless photos of interesting and under-appreciated textures. The natural stuff like wood grain, moss and lichen, all the way to fabrics, microtechnology… the list goes on. These days that doesn’t interest me much though.

Tony Currie - Winter Sun

Tony Currie – Winter Sun

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

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Feature: Whitney Killian

How’s it going y’all! Hope each and every one of you is doing well out there in the world. Thanks again for tuning into another feature here at the LIFESTYLE. Today, we have a super down to earth artist who has been so kind as to share a few words. There is something so charming about the simplicity of her swing. It’s as if she has invited us to dream with her, and that’s never a bad thing. Coming out of Seattle, operating through performance and staying connected through the likes of tumblr and pinterest(be sure and look her up), her writing is very expressive. The young lady is canary yellow against a clear blue sky. With that said, it’s our pleasure to present you Whitney Killian.

Whitney Killian Feature

 

I’ve discovered that reflection is the greatest means of self-preservation; it has helped me cope and find peace. I’m emerging from my reflection phase – ready to respond, to react.

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

WK: Born and raised in the small town of Sumner, Washington – but truly bred in the great city of Seattle, my current home. Over the years, I’ve had some pretty amazing chances to grow and express myself as a vocalist. From my high school choir room, to the jam room in Delta Upsilon at UW, to the basement of the house on 55th & Brooklyn Ave, to the stages of dive bars and the balcony at the KeyArena… with some pretty talented people to help me along the way. I currently have the pleasure of singing feature and backup vocals for Ayo Dot, a respected Seattle hip hop artist, and when I’m lucky enough, I get to jam with the amazing guys of Victory Lap, a great side project cover band we started back in September. Throw in a couple reality TV show auditions over the last few years, and there you have it. Music is important to me and my general happiness, so I always try to keep fun projects on the books.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you? How do your projects fit in with that definition?

WK: Reflection has been my best friend lately. Hardships happen, things won’t always go your way. When storms come and all seems to be lost in chaos, there also comes a unique opportunity to reflect about your response to everything that’s thrown your way. The response can’t happen without the reflection, and the reflection often doesn’t happen without the storm. The best part is that in reflection, some of the greatest and most raw work is produced. I’ve discovered that reflection is the greatest means of self-preservation; it has helped me cope and find peace. I’m emerging from my reflection phase – ready to respond, to react. I’m writing every day, humming new melodies, putting the products of my storms onto paper and into song. I’m crafting my response.

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

WK: My biggest focus right now is developing my own catalogue of songs and writings. Piano has always been of interest to me, so I’m working to pick up that skill so that I can really start to stand on my own as an artist. Aside from my own writing, I’m loving the super fun and fresh work I get to do with Ayo Dot & crew. Since I joined the band in November, we’ve played a few shows and have been working on some new tracks as a band. Being a part of something new and exciting is completely refreshing, and as an artist who’s looking to establish myself and grow, working with Ayo and the guys has been a great opportunity.

Who or what inspires you?

WK: Lately, the lyrics of great female singers & songwriters have been my inspiration. Ellie Goulding, Stevie Nicks, Adele, Sara Bareilles, and more. These women are powerhouses, and I’ve found their strength to be contagious. I live for the moments when a song – or just one line – can stop me in my tracks and make me feel something, help me gain clarity, or resonate so loudly and so closely that the lyrics start to feel like they’re becoming my own. Those moments make me want to write and create things that will inspire others in similar ways. Oh, and Pinterest and Tumblr, where everyone else’s very public passions inspire me to be a better writer and better human being in general.

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

WK: On the subject of the Collective… I respect the work you guys do. So much. You’ve taken the time to reflect and respond, and to cause others to do the same. It’s people like you who inspire people like me to keep working, to keep making pretty things and putting them out into the universe. Thank you for doing what you do.

Shout out to…?

WK: To my close friends and incredible family – you’ve held me together like glue, you’ve kept me laughing (mostly at myself), you are the reasons why I’m still standing, and you are the reasons why I will not just survive, but thrive. Especially my amazing life coach, Cortney – thanks for keeping your big sis in line.

“Make You Feel My Love,” by Adele, featuring Austin Silva on keyboard and Peter Muller on guitar

Untitled By Whitney Killian

you were my sunshine

my warm summer day

but it’s been coming down hard

since the night you walked away

the storm clouds in my heart

keep me crying over you

they darken my days

they’re not just passing through

you know what they say

when it rains, it pours

and it’s drowning my heart

since i’m no longer yours

Victory Lap Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/VictoryLapSEA    

Ayo Dot website: http://ayodot.com/

Whitney’s tumblr: http://whitneykaykillian.tumblr.com/

Whitney’s pintrist: http://pinterest.com/whitkay/boards/

Whitney’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/whitneykay2

-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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