Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Monsignor’s Confessional: Darkness that exists just for you, By: Jackie Em


Many people in the Seattle area have at one time or another walked through a Confessional nightclub threshold wondering what Monsignor has in store for them tonight. Those who have yet to experience a Confessional have no idea what waits beyond those entrance doors.

Upon arrival you can hear the music pounding from inside the venue as you fight your way through a group of dark looking individuals that are blocking your way in while they smoke.

Once you get passed the front door, show your ID, pay your cover and enter the world of a private underground party filled with freaks that parade sexuality, wear horrid outfits, engage in sinful activities, and appear to have no shame about it--“a disgrace,” you say to yourself.

Then you go to the bar, get a drink, and suddenly, you’re having picture taken. You are startled by the bright flash as a man dressed in a Catholic cassock, peeks his head from behind a disposable camera. He introduces himself as Monsignor and your anxiety level plummets. In his elegant voice, he speaks kindly to you and, before you know it, you are following him around asking him when his next Confessional is. Monsignor rules his Confessional night with an undeniable charisma that has allowed him to charm his way into becoming the Seattle goth/industrial scene’s most notorious club promoter.

Although Monsignor wasn’t born Seattle’s darkest local celebrity, his upbringing was quite the opposite from the goth/industrial lifestyle that he cherishes today. In high school, he was a proud athlete who loved to play sports and date cheerleaders. He is also a graduate of the University of Washington. Shortly after his graduation, Monsignor was introduced to an unfamiliar lifestyle that would forever change his life: Christianity.

Although Monsignor was not raised with a Christian upbringing, this type of spirituality interested him immensely. In a short period of time, Monsignor had become a devoted man of God and as he strengthened his spirituality, he came upon another compelling interest: the dark aspects of the Christian religion. Never swaying from his loyalty to God, he recognized the evil that accompanies the worship of the Christian God and researched it as a new found interest. Feeling a great level of confidence in his own faith, Monsignor knew that allowing himself an exploration into the dark realm of Christianity would have no impact on his love for God.

As life would have it, in 1995, a Christian friend of Monsignor’s took him to his very first goth/industrial dance club. He knew right away that he had found his scene. He felt a comfortable fusion in dark Christian iconography, goth/industrial music, the atmosphere and the people that accompanied it. The more he frequented these clubs, the more he felt a deep connection with the people who came to understand him without judgment, offering genuine friendship from the start.

It took Monsignor no time at all to develop some degree of popularity among the goth/industrial scene. In July, 2004, he wanted to return the kindness he had received from his new club friends by throwing a private party at Merchant's Cafe in Seattle's Pioneer Square. This party was constructed, organized, and hosted by Monsignor, who happened to be the son of the café’s owners.

The modus operandi of the party was to celebrate the special comradeship he shared with each guest and new friend as a way of saying “thank you” for filling him with a certain type of inner happiness that could only be achieved in their company. He wanted to exhibit his gratitude to the same individuals that would soon pave the way to his notoriety and stardom within Seattle’s goth/industrial sub-culture.

His friendly little get-together ended up larger than expected with over 100 guests in attendance. Monsignor asked his favorite local goth/industrial DJ, JQ, if she would be interested in managing the play list for this special evening to which she accepted enthusiastically. Food and drinks were served to each guest while others danced to the music spinning in the DJ booth. The party’s merriment exuded a profound atmosphere of friendship and graciousness. Witnessing the glee around him, Monsignor thought to himself, “This should continue. I want to throw more private parties that cater to the happiness and friendly nature of the Seattle goth/industrial community, a place they can go and be themselves without the worry of harassment, embarrassment, or judgment.” With this epiphany, Monsignor’s Confessional was born.

Merchant’s Café allowed Monsignor to throw one Confessional a month throughout the summer of 2004. With each passing party, the attendance grew larger and larger, forcing Monsignor to hunt for a new venue that featured better accommodations. After a short search, Monsignor was invited by venue owners, Monty and Shawna, to throw his monthly party at one of Seattle’s premier music venues: The Vogue. By the end of the summer, Confessional had become so well received by the community that the move to The Vogue provoked gratitude rather than inconvenience, from the crowd that usually attended Confessional at Merchant’s Café.


Once a month, The Vogue would fill with people who joyfully attended the famous party. It provided them sanctuary and freedom, it was a place they could feel safe and comfortable while expressing themselves in any way they saw fit. The outfits ranged from fetish wear to costumes, pony falls to dread falls, bright colored hair to black hair, large amounts of make-up on both women and men. It was not uncommon to see guests dressed in corsets, dog collars, chains, or any variation thereof.


In order to allow his guests to enter without any worries of harassment or judgment from outsiders, Monsignor enforced a strict dress-code policy. Only people wearing costumes, dark clothing, or fetish gear, were allowed to attend; this rule hit people the wrong way at times.

Sometimes, people would bring friends that were not allowed in due to their attire. On one occasion, a guest tried to host a birthday party at Confessional only to have an invitee turned away for wearing blue jeans. To some, the strict dress-code policy seemed snobby and rude but it was never intended to be so. Monsignor’s main concern was the happiness of his guests. He felt that if anyone could come in, it could risk the comfort of his guests. Confessional loves and welcomes newcomers but I have to stick by my dress code. One night, two girls showed up wearing blue jeans and white t-shirts, I told them about the dress code and apologized as they were then forced to leave. About twenty minutes later, both girls came back wearing dresses that they had made out of black garbage bags! We let them in right away!”


Confessional has always had three very distinct traditions that accompany every party: the food platter, the prizes, and the disposable camera. Monsignor spoils his guests with food platters at every party. His biggest concern during the event is to ensure that everyone feels at home. He feels that the food platters symbolize being in the comfort of home; as though everyone is a personal guest in his own home.


Monsignor is rarely seen without a disposable camera in front of his face. He obsessively takes pictures of all the sexy men and woman, as well as the naughty behavior which Confessional is notorious for. When asked about the disposable camera obsession he replies, “I have to use a disposable camera because I spill too many drinks. If I had a nice camera it would be ruined within minutes. I take a lot of pictures during Confessional because I like to record the enjoyment people are having.” At Confessional people bring out there inner self and walk proudly knowing who they are. Confessional encourages the macabre and the dark. Monsignor walks around dressed as a priest while he spanks girls with his Bible. Confessional is a safe place to release your sexuality, creativity, and most importantly, your individuality.


After a two-year run at The Vogue, Confessional, along with many other themed nights, was forced to either discontinue or relocate. Due to a lease renewal discrepancy, The Vogue was forced to close its doors for good. The last Confessional at The Vogue was a Christmas party, an extra special evening due in part to the large amount of sentiment from the holiday as well as saying “farewell” to The Vogue and its unforgettable owners: Monty and Shawna.


Since The Vogue closure, Monsignor has moved his Confessional to other venues which have resulted in stale parties that hardly resemble the decadence of past Confessionals. Confessional no longer had the proper aesthetics which it required in order to maintain its identity. People did not receive the new Confessional as happily as they once did. Certain policies from new venues had forced Monsignor to make changes that contradicted the very purpose of creating Confessional. Following a brief stay at two different venues, Monsignor, like so many other club promoters in this town, had to put his Confessional on hiatus. Unsatisfied with the idea that Confessional was homeless, Monsignor’s motivation and commitment to his night led him to resurrect it at The Mercury.


Monsignor is an admirable example of staying true to your art and upholding a perfect reputation. Confessional nights receive few complaints and always excite the patrons whose steadfast loyalty to the goth/industrial scene has made it what it is today. Not only is he a great friend to those around him but an enigma amid Seattle’s local celebrities.

Confessional Resurrection:Thursday July 30th at Mercury $5 cover, non-smoking event, doors at 9pm

For more info about Monsignor's Confessional visit:

www.facebook.com/monsignor

www.myspace.com/monsignorsconfessional

Saturday, June 6, 2009

You are so pretty! Interview about Emergency Hand Puppet!


Emergency Hand Puppet is a solo noise project from Greg F. former member of Fear of Dolls. Emergency Hand Puppet is noise that projects chaos along side the torture and destruction of vinyl records. The noise genre is considered avant-garde sound art with complete indeterminacy. Emergency Hand Puppet has been described as aural graffiti or amplified voices in your head. Air Raid was fortunate enough to acquire a brief yet very entertaining interview with Greg of Emergency Hand Puppet.

Where did you get your name from?
I got it from the side of some emergency rescue vehicle. Or maybe it was a fire truck? One of these types of vehicles has the words Emergency Hand Pump. Since my mind twists everything I see, I imagined it said Puppet.

How long have you been with EHP?
EHP has been ‘happening’ for about a year now. I’ve almost kicked myself out but decided against it, for now.

Give a brief history of EHP.
After playing guitar in my own and other people’s rock bands, I decided it was time to make a pure noise record. I’ve always had an inclination to include samples of old vinyl records on the CDs I’ve been part of in the past, (Fear of Dolls.) So I decided I would make something that involved mostly noise that included vinyl record samples and not much actual ‘music’. Manipulating records has so many possibilities. There are so many ways to affect the sound- playing at different speeds while damaging the vinyl with paint, sandpaper or razor blades. I enjoy making them skip, not to mention it has been fun and interesting finding unusual records to start with. I have found strange instructional recordings, speeches, odd children’s records and personal recordings of weddings from the 1940’s, for example.

What do you think is your fan demographic?
Invisible friends age 6-45.

What are your Future goals with EHP?
I’ll be working on another CD eventually, which will include a cover version of the Beatles’ “Revolution #9”.

What has been your biggest influence in creating EHP?
Nurse With Wound, John Lennon/Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, but mostly just the sounds themselves. The sounds of a turntable needle touching a vinyl record skipping and scraping. It’s not so much musical but there is something in the sounds I create that I’m trying to bring out or express.

What message are you trying to convey with your project?
See above.

Anything else you would like to add?
Nope.


There are no upcoming performances planned for Emergency Hand Puppet at this time but here are some URLs that contain future event information you can browse. Also, I have posted a live performance video for your viewing enjoyment!

http://www.myspace.com/emergencyhandpuppet -you can purchase the latest Emergency Hand Puppet CD on his myspace page link above.

www.emergencyhandpuppet.com - official web site for news and event calendar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2D69-LoemQ – live performance video

Erica Roberts- Fashion Designer, Dancer, and Musician.


 

            Before Erica Roberts' rampage of talent was exhibited all over Seattle through her fashion designs,make-up art, belly dancing, singing, and ability to style hair extensions flawlessly for her friends, she was a southern girl, born in Louisiana. It wasn't until she made the moved to the city of New Orleans that her interest in fashion design really took hold causing a motivation in her. She felt very inspired by the color, print, life, and beauty that the City seemed to exude just on a simple day. She began to find an immense amount of beauty in things that were falling apart in New Orleans.

As a child,Erica had a  fascination with anciet Egypt that she claims to be the beginning of her admiration for fashion design. Erica describes herself as, “having a magpie’s love for all things shiny.” Her childhood interest in Egypt combined with her life in the vibrant French Quarter became the perfect recipe for her desire to further explore,her soon to be,unique design aesthetic.

            Erica spent a good many years of her life as a tomboy. She did not have the desire to wear a skirt until she was 24 years old. She, like many girls before her, had issues with certain body images. It wasn't until her mid-twenties that she began to finally feel comfortable with her femininity; she embraced it with vigor.  Despite her immaculate appearance, she still prefers comfort over beauty.

            Erica moved to Seattle from New Orleans in her late twenties. She enrolled at The Art Institute of Seattle, where she received an Associates of Applied Arts degree in Fashion Design. Erica describes her college experience as being "one giant design challenge, it was like paying them to be on project runway but never receiving the glory or sweet prizes!” Erica claims that her devotion to D.I.Y. has made her a stronger designer than school ever could. 

            Erica’s clothing design style is unlimited. Her designs have been called “Shear electric insanity that strike a desirable cord.” She has a great love for tiny pill-box hats and over-accessorizing. Her design portfolio includes an assortment of different Halloween and Belly dancing costumes.

            In 2006, Erica began a belly dancing troupe with Ayla called "Tribal Voodoo."  Erica made both the costumes and accessories for the troupes belly dancing performances. As a jack of many trades, Erica was also a gifted hair-stylist. While practicing her routines, designing & sewing costumes, and booking Tribal Voodoo performances, she also found the time to fabricate synthetic hair extensions for herself as well as Ayla.

            Erica now designs and sews all of her own clothing that she wears for her steampunk band, Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society. Erica’s main focus now is vintage inspired diesel/steampunk clothing and she is working on a design project that fuses Victorian prints, circus adventurer with a touch of Middle Eastern influence for photo shoots and band performances. As the lead singer and front woman of the band, her designs tend to bring out the capacity of her various and remarkable talents.

            Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society has four members and has just released their first full-length CD titled “Clock Work Dreams.”  Erica has performed music in the past but she strongly embraces what she brings to this band as a fashion designer, dancer and lyricist. Their first performance was at Heaven in Pioneer Square, formerlyThe Catwalk, opening up for Legion Within and Abney Park. Erica’s stage presence was as hypnotic as the flowing outfit she was wearing.

Talent is described as doing something easily what others find difficult. Genius is described as doing something easily that very talented people find difficult. For a Southern belle that has accomplished and created so many different art forms as though it was as easy as frosting cupcakes, I find myself siding with the latter.     

Erica’s diversity is her most valued asset to her art. Her medium variations are unique and passionate. From her music, her designs and her charming personal appearance, whose custom made and hand fitted design are not intended for mass production .Erica is a true artist in every sense of the word


 

If you are interested in purchasing an original Dizzyclockworks design, you can contact Erika at the following link:

http://dizzyclockwork.livejournal.com/

 

If you would like more information about Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society, visit the following links below:

http://www.myspace.com/deadlynightshadebotanicalsociety

www.deadlynightshadebotanicalsociety.com

 

To watch a live performance of Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEkfNVTnzGY

DJ Coldheart’s Isolation night; keeping it real for Seattle’s undead!


Written by Jackie Em of Air Raid Zine


The dictionary describes Isolation as “To set apart or cut off from a group or a whole.” That accurately describes DJ Cold heart’s Isolation night located monthly at Re-Bar. Isolation night cuts itself off, very much so, from the people who are more into modern Goth and Industrial music. DJ Coldheart’s loyalty to the origins of the music set him apart from anything that is remotely trendy in the Seattle Goth/industrial scene. Isolation is going into its fifth year and Coldheart has created his own scene by providing patrons with a music-going experience that they cannot receive anywhere else in this entire City. Isolation is the one and only “Bat Cave” night that has ever existed in the history of Seattle.
Coldheart’s Isolation night is a club event that features hand-picked music by Coldheart himself in order to purify his first and only night in Seattle where a person can dance to Bat cave, Post-Punk, Death rock, and Cold wave. Bat cave music was originated in England at a club called The Bat Cave. People who frequented this club where soon nicknamed “batcavers.” Bat Cave is a genre of Gothic rock that Siouxsie Sioux, Nick Cave and Foetus all fall into. Like Bat Cave, Death Rock originated in the late 1970’s. Death Rock or Death Punk was a darker off-shoot of main stream punk. The Flesh Eaters, Christian Death, and 45 Grave are all Death Rock bands. Post-Punk is basically experimental punk-rock with synthesizers. Post-Punk bands included Joy Division, Echo and the Bunny men, and The Chameleons. DJ Cold Heart spins all these bands with great joy during his Isolation night.
Originally from Ohio, this vegan animal rights activist, relocated to Seattle only to make a respectful name for himself in various mediums in a very short time. In addition to Isolation, DJ Coldheart hosts a 1920s theme night at The Rosebud. He has a noise project that he has performed at various venues and variety shows, often deejaying between the sets of other performing artists on the same bill. And on top of all this, he has another DJ night at The Mercury called Interzone.
For Interzone and Isolation DJ Coldheart handles his own promoting himself, he hand draws his promotion posters and he logs every play list. With the help of his long time girlfriend, together they decorate the venue themselves hours before the event starts. The goal of the ambience is to create a spooky atmosphere to enhance the music of the night. The tables are commonly draped in black cloths and fake spider webs hang from the turn tables. Sadly there was a time when Isolation had no place to put up decorations.
Isolation has certainly had its share of inconvenient situations. Originally Isolation began at The Vogue located on 11th in Capitol Hill but due to lease discrepancies The Vogue closed. Isolation was then moved to Capitol Hill Arts Collective and when that venue fell through, Isolation was forced to be put on hiatus. Luckily it did not take long for DJ Coldheart to secure a night at Re-Bar on Howell. Now, Isolation is back and still going strong. DJ Coldheart is a very active and motivated artist that deserves great respect. He never stops creating and he never stops his attempt to welcome alternative music to the regular Seattle Goth scene. I have rarely seen him without a smile on his face and I have never seen him give up on his art.
He is the only DJ for the entire event and he spins his set with adoration, he rarely leaves the DJ booth. The people that attend Isolation are almost always regulars that seem to have just as much fun on 15th time to Isolation as they did on their 1rst. First timers are very much welcomed and they are always greeted by friendly people there. Although Isolation is supposed to be spooky, it is a great place to take your friends to when attempting to explore unique night life options that Seattle has to offer. It seems a bit ironic that the weird people that wear “evil “make-up and listen to “evil” music, are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. The demographic that Isolation brings in are nice people just looking for a good time. There is never any drama because everyone unites as friends, yet another advantage of attending DJ Coldheart’s Isolation.




Find out about upcoming Isolation dates and other DJ Coldheart events at www.myspace.com

Friday, May 29, 2009

Review and Interview with Ayla: Seattle's DIY Belly Dancer


Bellying dancing is a western term taken from an Arab dance called "rags sharqi." Native to Arabia, Belly dancing was originated in Ancient Babylon. Belly dancers would perform for wealthy men during feasts and other special events. Belly dancing was not for the eyes of peasants, only the wealthy, although most belly dancers were peasants that were hand picked by men and then trained by established female dancers.

The art of belly dancing has been practiced for hundreds of years and has been modified by different countries such as Egypt, Turkey, and America. American belly dancing is a tribal fusion of the ancient styles of assorted genres. This fusion of dancing styles is practiced by my close friend and belly dancer: Ayla, whose performance I attended on May 28th at The Metropolitan Café.

I had never been to The Metropolitan Café prior to Ayla's performance. My advent of the lounge made a surprising impression on me. I was amazed by the welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff. I quickly took a seat at a black round table at the back of the room. I began to observe my surroundings. There was a small group of audience members and a handsome bar tender that kept walking around to each table and offering people jell-o shots.

The Café is very supportive and open to the diverse performances it hosts. The lounge is set up in such a way that the audience can sit comfortably while taking in an independent theatrical show from talented artists.

Once a week, performances are given by a troupe of artists whose show is titled: Cabaret Magnifique. Cabaret Magnifique provides the audience with vaudevillian-type entertainment. The show includes singers, drag Kings and Queens, and performance artists. At this particular Cabaret Magnific night, Ayla was performing a complete solo act that had been choreographed entirely by her.

Ayla has a remarkable reputation for dance and "do it yourself" or D.I.Y. ideology. She makes her own costumes, jewelry, and styles her elaborate hair all by herself. She studies belly dancing on her own accord. She tirelessly practices her routines and she books all of her own performances. Having no mentor or troupe with which she is exclusively affiliated with, she has perfected her dance routine by simply schooling herself on the subject.

She came out from behind a red curtain that was hanging to the side of the performance area and she was wearing a bedleh, which is a traditional belly dancing costume, that was completely hand made. She had on a black top with beads and straps designed to exposed her belly, a long black shirt, flattering jewelry all up her arms and a custom necklace that rested gently on her chest. Her traditional belly dancing make-up completed the elegant look that complemented her ensemble flawlessly. Her costume flowed as she began her hip and chest circles to a song with heavy drum beats.

In the beginning of belly dancing, the performance included one dancing woman and one man that beat just one drum. Having chose such a specific type of drum beat for her dance is proof that she is knowledgeable about the authenticity of her practice. Her drum beats coincide with her graceful movements as she displayed a perfected routine that was filled with passion and dedication. During her entire performance, a smile never left her face.

Ayla’s love for her dancing is very profound and her motivation for excellence is astounding. Her commitment to her art is manifestly evident to all of those who viewed her divine production. Her pretty face remains merely a bonus compared to the emission she releases in every motion.

The trend of belly dancing has become popularized in Seattle over the past few years with dancers that may have perfected muscle isolation or tremendous balance, few of them have yet to perfect their absolute passion and commitment that Ayla portrays in her dance.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Air Raid’s Interview with Ayla,
Written by Jackie Em of Air Raid Zine

What made you want to learn belly dancing?
I started with a group of friends as a fun way to work out. I also needed something to fill my spare time, because my horse had just passed away. He was my best friend growing up and dancing was sort of therapy to help me get over that loss. I dance for him now. I really put every ounce of my being into it.

How long have you been belly dancing?
I've been dancing for around four years now. I started a couple of months after Habiba (Ayla’s horse) passed away.

What do you find to be influential to your style of dance?
I draw inspiration from everywhere really. I am inspired by spirituality, humanity, personal triumphs as well as defeats, nature, sex and my biggest influence is the female human body.

Do you prefer dancing solo or with a troupe?
I definitely prefer dancing solo. Both are very fun, when I dance solo, I feel like my personality can shine. I'm free to have more fun with it. Most of my solo performances are improvised these days which really allows me to interact with my audience.

Name three dancers or dance styles you admire the most:
Three of the dancers that I admire the most are actually part of a troupe called The Indigo. Rachel Brice, Zoë Jakes and Mardi Love are some of the most amazing dancers a person could ever see. I love that they don't seem to take themselves too seriously. They have a lot of fun with their performances, aren't afraid to be silly, and at the same time show off some insanely impressive skills. I'd be happy to be any of them when I grow up!

What is the most difficult thing about belly dancing?
Hmmm... That's a really good question. For me, it's probably the layering. There are a lot of "pat your belly and rub your head" types of moves. I really enjoy being able to find my Zen while pulling off tricks like that.

What do you want to communicate to your audience?
I really want to convey my love of dance. The enjoyment of life and the inner strength that dancing gives me to. Belly dancing is all about being a woman, and it began as a way for women to explain to other women the joys of being female. I want to convey that as much as possible. I want to project my inner goddess every time I dance. We all have it inside of us. I would love to inspire other women to learn to be comfortable with themselves and the way they are put together.

What are your future goals?
I have a lot in the works right now. Mostly, I'm planning on dancing as much as possible. I enjoy performing for the sake of performing. I really put my soul into it. I am also learning what it takes to start teaching, so hopefully in the near future I can start teaching my own classes. It's amazing how much different it is to teach something than it is to just get out and do it. It's been a really fun challenge.

What advice would you give to aspiring dancers just starting out?
Do it because you love it. Watch other dancers and learn from them. There are a lot of amazingly creative people out there and you can learn from almost anyone. Also, dancing alone in your house with a mirror is probably the fastest and best way to get better.
Alya's Event Calender:

Wednesday June 10th - Cabaret Magnifique - Cafe Metropolitan @ 7:00P

Friday June 12th - Harem Nights - Harem on Broadway @ 8:00P

Saturday June 20th - Harem Nights - Harem on Broadway @ 8:00P

Wednesday June 24th - Cabaret Magnifique - Cafe Metropolitan @ 7:00P

Friday June 26th - Last Friday Arts - Harem on Broadway @ 8:00P

Saturday June 27th - Harem Nights - Harem on Broadway @ 8:00P

Contact her at http://www.myspace.com/tribal%20voodoo



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Interview and Live Performance Review: Blood Red Dancers


SEATTLE- a friend had invited me out on a warm May 15th night, to the comet tavern in Capitol Hill for companionship while taking in a live show. I despise seeing shows at the comet because of the construction of the venue. The floor is angled in a tri-angle type shape that backs directly into levitated booths. There are benches and pillars in the middle of the floor making it impossible to view any of the bands performing unless you stand on the benches. Bench standing can put you are in harms way of intoxicated patrons as well as intoxicated comet staff. The comet usually has a very drunk crowd that loves to flail their arms about spilling drinks on you while running you off your area on the standing bench. Due to all of the gala affairs that I have stated above, I desire to attend live shows elsewhere. This particular May 15th night, I prepared myself by wearing clothes I am not to attach to with a pair of comfortable shoes.
About an hour after I had arrived at the Comet and secured a spot on the standing bench, a local Seattle band by the name of The Blood Red Dancers, took the stage. I was immediate intrigued by their appearance. The drummer was dressed like an extra from the 80’s film Revenge of the Nerds, the keyboard player sported a bit of an aristocratic ensemble and the singer looked as though he had just rolled out of bed. He had on a white V-neck shirt, jeans, and messy hair. The Blood Red Dancers are Kevin R. Lord, Aaron Poppick and Julian Thomas. Their Myspace pages describes their music as “Sounding like liquor first thing in the morning.”
I could not help but giggle a bit and think to myself, “What have I got myself into tonight?” Once the band began their performance, I noticed I was becoming unable to chat with my friend as well as remove my eyes from the make-shift stage. I was soon completely mesmerized. The music sounded heavily influenced by the blues, jazz and classic country. The sound was dirty, raw and brilliant. The vocals gave off a Tom Waits vibe and the lyrics were catchy yet original. The band got the crowd interested within seconds of their first song and by then end of their set, the crowd was singing along to a song they had never heard before. In unison everyone sang, “Pennies off that dead guys eyes!”
Never once getting bored and only removing my eyes from the band to catch the crowd’s enthusiasm, I soon found myself feeling grateful to be at the Comet that May 15th night. In our pop-culture dominated society, I forget sometimes that the love for live independent music is still very much alive and kicking. I was defiantly reminded of that while watching The Blood Red Dancers.



Things that are ugly but worth looking at; interview with Blood Red Dancers
Written by: Jackie Em of Air Raid Zine
.

Blood Red Dancers are a three piece dark rock band that was created by three childhood friends. Their passion for their music has an abysmal sincerity that is undeniable. As individuals they are just as honest and enjoyable as their music.

What’s your musical background?

Aaron: I don’t have much of a musical background. I was in a punk rock band with Julian back when we were 14 or 15 years old. I have known Julian since we were about 9 years old. We moved from Los Angeles together.
I’ve been playing bass for about 10 or 11 years now and I’m pretty much self taught. I would say that my musical background is sitting around and listening to records.
Julian: I’ve been playing keys for about 10 years. I’m more classically trained. I went to college for music theory and I feel that I have really improved over the last two years from playing with Blood Red Dancers. Playing the combination of blues, jazz and rock has made me a stronger musician. They are three genres that don’t fuck around.
Kevin: I have had no training at all, I picked up the drums about three years ago. I became the drummer on a whim; I was kind of bullied into it. The band was trying out a different drummer and when the auditioning drummer went out for a smoke, I just sat down and started playing a beat. The guys were all like “Dude! You can play the drums!” I was hesitant at first but I eventually bought a drum set and from then on I have been the bands drummer.
Aaron: Kevin is a total prodigy and the weirdest member of band.


Tell me your story:

Aaron: Like I mentioned earlier, Julian and I have known each other since we were about 9 years old. We are both originally from the San Fernando Valley although Julian was born in England. Julian moved to Seattle about 5 years ago and I shortly followed. Kevin, who is my childhood friend, eventually followed me here. Julian and I were making music together when we first moved here to Seattle. We have always played music together, we have always been music nerds. We always sat around together and listened to records since we were like 13 or 14 years old. We began our project, the blood red dancers, about 2 years ago. Julian and I had a post-punk project that we were doing together but we found ourselves mixing in jazz and blues. Then shortly after that Kevin joined the band we were then able to produce the angry dark rock that we wanted, so that was really the beginning of blood red dancers.

Do you record and release your own music?

Aaron: We do. We are completely DIY; a friend of ours helped us record our last 2 EP’s. We pay out of pocket, but our next record is going to be a bit pricier and more industry driven.

What is your fan demographic?

Aaron: It’s really odd because it’s all sorts of different people. I feel like our music is appreciated by all types of people. I have had frat boys and computer gamers come up to me and give me high fives.
Julian: People who like darker music really like us. We have been very lucky with the response from our fan demographic, mostly at shows. A lot of times people don’t come to see us but once they are there, they seem to like us.
Kevin: We have received air play from THE END’s local show. We have two singles that have been played, “Sweetie Getting Mobbed” and “The Lamb”. We have had some little love from KEXP as well, and this has developed fans for us outside of Seattle. We’ve been getting a lot more friend requests on our Myspace page from people who have heard us on the radio! It’s very exciting to us because we feel at times that our music is not the easiest pill to swallow.

What are your songs about?

Aaron: Drugs, women, Moral decay, social decline, war and drinking far too much.
Kevin: Spending too much time sitting in one room.
Julian: The evening news.
Aaron: Things that are ugly but worth looking at.

Who are your musical influences?

Aaron: Sun house and Tammy Wynette
Kevin: Swans and Frank Sinatra
Julian: Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus
BRD: Otis Redding!

How do you describe your music to people?

Aaron: Well, basically we are a rock band that is heavily influenced by jazz and blues. We try to fuse soul, blues, jazz, Goth and post-punk. Mostly, I describe us as dark rock band.

What image do you think your music conveys?

Aaron: I feel that the image that we convey is ugliness, worth while ugliness that is worth talking about. Like an ugly photograph. We are a dark and angry band. We don’t try to do a stage presence of anger, we remain natural and ourselves.
Kevin: I would say that our music is like a pharmaceutical commercial gone wrong. We don’t have a rehearsed imagine. We display exactly who we are, we just add a bit more anger to ourselves during our performances. I also think that we convey dissolution as well as anger. I break drum heads at the shows and I break drum heads during practice. I go through drum heads like every three weeks. It’s starting to get expensive to replace them all the time, but it feels so fucking good to break them while I play.
Julian: To me it’s like the American dream gone wrong but I’m kind of stuck in my own version of the 30’s and 40’s era I guess. I get into the performance and I do my own thing.

What are your overall music career goals?

Aaron: Take over the fucking world and receive drugs and women! Until then, we would like to get signed locally, continue to play live shows, get the new EP out and hopefully get a little more radio-play. We honestly haven’t thought much about our long term goals. We are just so excited to play any show in Seattle. We just want to keep playing, drinking and writing worth while music.
Julian: Get a liver-transplant and then I would like to continue my music studies and put forth the efforts that Blood Red Dancers deserves. I would like to die knowing that I have made great music that has brought something wonderful to other people.
Kevin: Buy stock in over-the-counter sleep aids! Really though, I would like us to stay together, play live shows, drink, and move forward making music and recording. If I think about the future I see myself as an accountant! We don’t like to think about the future.

Describe your best and worst live performance:

Aaron: Our worst performance was at The Mars bar. The speaker system cut out on us during our set and we kind of over estimated how much we could drink before the show. Our best performance was at Reverb Fest last year. There was something like 180 people there. It was the largest audience we had ever played for at the clapping for us was so loud. More noise than I ever heard. It was an exhilarating experience. We were all very grateful to be a part of that.

How do you rate your live performance ability?

Aaron: When we are not to drunk, I feel like our live performances are impressive. If we are not too sloshed, I feel like our live shows are our strongest aspect; we can really pull people in. If we get to drunk…we get a little sloppy.
Kevin: A lot depends on the ratio of drink tickets to hours.
Julian: I think we really get a lot out of our live shows.

Who handles your booking and promotions?

Kevin: Julian does mostly. He has a job that allows him a lot of free time and internet access. Aaron: All of us do, I handle the art work for posters, flyers and cover art but Julian does quite a bit, he’s kind of the most decent out of all of us.
Julian: I have a job where I do nothing all day. I handle most of our promotions through our Myspace page, posters, and word of mouth.

What is the best thing about being in this band?

Aaron: The sound of people clapping and drink tickets.
Julian: The best thing about this band is that it brings me a sense of importance. Playing with this band and doing what I love, brings me above the mundane routine that goes on day to day in my life.
Kevin: When my stick goes through a snare drum head!

Any upcoming events you would like to announce?

Aaron: We have a new EP coming hopefully around mid-august called The Bikini Island and on July 11th we are playing a show at The Blue Room. We have videos on you tube and a Myspace music page with an event calendar.
Kevin: We would really like people to check out our you tube videos, we have quite a few live performances on there.
Aaron: Thank you very much! It’s been a pleasure!

You can check out Blood Red Dancers from the following links:

www.myspace.com/bloodreddancers
www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZufm88wXtw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGUyJtzDZBs

Blood Red Dancers music review

SEATTLE- a friend had invited me out on a warm May 15th night, to the comet tavern in Capitol Hill for companionship while taking in a live show. I despise seeing shows at the comet because of the construction of the venue. The floor is angled in a tri-angle type shape that backs directly into levitated booths. There are benches and pillars in the middle of the floor making it impossible to view any of the bands performing unless you stand on the benches. Bench standing can put you are in harms way of intoxicated patrons as well as intoxicated comet staff. The comet usually has a very drunk crowd that loves to flail their arms about spilling drinks on you while running you off your area on the standing bench. Due to all of the gala affairs that I have stated above, I desire to attend live shows elsewhere. This particular May 15th night, I prepared myself by wearing clothes I am not to attach to with a pair of comfortable shoes.
About an hour after I had arrived at the Comet and secured a spot on the standing bench, a local Seattle band by the name of The Blood Red Dancers, took the stage. I was immediate intrigued by their appearance. The drummer was dressed like an extra from the 80’s film Revenge of the Nerds, the keyboard player sported a bit of an aristocratic ensemble and the singer looked as though he had just rolled out of bed. He had on a white V-neck shirt, jeans, and messy hair. The Blood Red Dancers are Kevin R. Lord, Aaron Poppick and Julian Thomas. Their Myspace pages describes their music as “Sounding like liquor first thing in the morning.”
I could not help but giggle a bit and think to myself, “What have I got myself into tonight?” Once the band began their performance, I noticed I was becoming unable to chat with my friend as well as remove my eyes from the make-shift stage. I was soon completely mesmerized. The music sounded heavily influenced by the blues, jazz and classic country. The sound was dirty, raw and brilliant. The vocals gave off a Tom Waits vibe and the lyrics were catchy yet original. The band got the crowd interested within seconds of their first song and by then end of their set, the crowd was singing along to a song they had never heard before. In unison everyone sang, “Pennies off that dead guys eyes!”
Never once getting bored and only removing my eyes from the band to catch the crowd’s enthusiasm, I soon found myself feeling grateful to be at the Comet that May 15th night. In our pop-culture dominated society, I forget sometimes that the love for live independent music is still very much alive and kicking. I was defiantly reminded of that while watching The Blood Red Dancers.









Review written by: Jackie Em, Freelance writer and illustrator