Sol Cat: Worth the Wait

CMJ is in October, I’m aware. I’m also writing this little collection of music reviews and interviews all by my lonesome, so here’s a chat I had with an amazing band from Tennessee outside the doors of Sullivan Hall. In October.

Totally overwhelmed when their publicist reached out to me, I listened to about 20 seconds of Sol Cat music and agreed to have a few words during the festival. Not only were the guys awesome to catch up with on what turned out to be a busy night, their live performance was one of my favorite throughout the festival.

Sol Cat Squares

Photo credit to facebook.com/solcatband

The turn music has taken lately has made it necessary for me to say that the best music is the hardest to describe. That said, it should be no surprise that I have absolutely no idea how to describe Sol Cat, the six guys who hail from all over, but most recently Nashville, Tennessee (yeah, other stuff besides country music comes from there). In my CMJ re-cap, I described them as “vaguely Strokes-y.” Guess that will have to do.

The members of Sol Cat are so laid-back and give off such a generally fun and loving vibe, that their account of musical influence seems only fitting.

“Musical influence is always a difficult question for us just because we come from different places and we all just grew up with different backgrounds,” admits keyboardist Jeremy Clark, “so I would say that everybody agrees on certain bands and most of them are older like ELO, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Laid Back, stuff like that but when it comes to where we get our actual ideas for music it comes from things that we all do love which tends to be things like beaches or space or the sky.”

Upon request, Clark’s fellow band members clarified the term “space” to mean “outer space” as well as “the empty space in our skulls where brains should be.” Like I said, not a bad group of dudes to spend some time with.

Perhaps one of the most amazing things about Sol Cat is that they are just that, Sol Cat. Not six different men making music together. Of course their tastes and backgrounds all have a part in the culmination of what they bring to us, but without all six of them together, there is no Sol Cat. They have bonded together to create an entirely different being.

Sol Cat Rooftop

Photo credit to Rob Loud Photos

“We definitely all have different influences and it all comes together and makes this Sol Cat thing,” the guys agree. “I think lately we’ve been kinda finding influence in each other and keeping it a little more organic when we’re together writing music. We all write together and everybody brings something to the table- but it’s usually one or two ideas that stick together and we track those ideas down and get them set in stone and everybody layers on top of that so that it becomes more of a solidified idea rather than just a bunch of people playing in the same room together.”

What Clark and his bandmates, Brett Hammann (vocals), Johny Fisher (guitar), Ryan Usher (drums), Aaron Martin (bass) and Jaan Cohan (lead guitar) have created is their very own entity to represent the merging of their musical minds. Regardless of how they compose their music, when Sol Cat takes the stage they become one unearthly, unified source of music virtually unaware of anything except for the melodies they need to release. It’s fucking beautiful.

Fortunately for us, the guys are dedicated to keeping this beautiful being on the road for the next few months. Aside from releasing new music videos, Sol Cat expresses plans to keep touring including a visit to the ever-popular SXSW. What better reason to make a trip to Austin?

 

Originally published January 10, 2014 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

Advertisements

Forget CMJ, Here’s Sunny Gang

Marshal, drummer for Newark, New Jersey based band, Sunny Gang, broke his nose jumping around in their guitarist’s basement the night before a festival audition. They were not practicing. He was not drunk. This is a member of Sunny Gang off-stage in everyday life. So imagine what this band brings to its audience, all hyped up and high on musicians’ adrenaline.

Sunny Gang.jpg

Photo credit to John Mueller

I had to hear this story when the guys told me that Marshal took the stage at a show with a tampon in his nose. The pictures were gruesome and totally awesome. Kind of like the band themselves.

Composed of four college business and marketing majors from various parts of New Jersey, Sunny Gang brings together rap and punk music in raw way that is impossible not to like. Unless you suck. Despite the fact that the guys are self proclaimed “shitheads,” they’re very serious about their music and where it’s going, and they have a clear-cut plan to make things happen.

“My whole thing is that I’m trying to dive headfirst right into this whole music thing,” Marshal says, “because that’s the only way that I feel like we can do actually make something of it. With that, it’s kind of like you HAVE to make it your main focus.”

The rest of the guys agree that, though they are balancing college and their music, seeing the band come to fruition successfully is the ideal route, and they approach it with the hearts and determination of kids but the minds and intelligence of grown men.

“Even though we like to act like shitheads, we wanna make something out of ourselves,” guitarist Chris Bacchus admits. ”I feel like that separates us from a lot of people. When you’re in the studio, these dudes don’t fuck around. Marshal came up with the idea, but the way we look at it is, basically, we’re all in a relationship with one girl, and we just gotta make her happy all the time.”

Not only is their approach to the band unique, the Sunny Gang sound comes from a healthy blend of what each member brings to the table. When they met, Marshal, Bacchus, vocalist, Nasty Nate, and bassist, Joe Sap, were already into music on their own separate terms. Marshal relocated to the college campus for the sole purpose of gathering fellow musicians, Sap was keeping his talent alive, Nate was working on an album as a solo rapper, and lil Bacchus was playing in a metal band known as Babies in My Septic Tank (formerly First Aid).  Once they started playing together, the guys settled on being a “punk band with a rapper” because it remains the only style of music through which they can take care of business and properly release as a group. They know what they have to do to keep that outlet alive and they know what they’re aiming to accomplish with each show.

“I didn’t wanna be in a band at first,” Nate shares, “but I was warming up to the idea because I wanna be a rock star. Rap stars are too worried about their image and their nice shoes and their jewelry, and I wanna go out with no shirt on and bummy ass sneakers and just wild out. I think that’s why we did go with the punk sound, because we’re pretty obnoxious, and the energy is just better. You look in the crowd and see dudes with Nike foamposites on and baggy ass pants vibin to your music you know you’re doing something right.”

As much as any band loves to see fans, Marshal maintains that the positive reactions aren’t the only important ones.

“At the same time, when we play our shows you always look into the back and you always see somebody leaving,” he says, “and I always say that means we’re doing our job right. If we piss somebody off, we did our job, because that’s what kind of music we’re going for.”

Sunny Gang 2

Photo credit to John Mueller

Clearly they aren’t the only ones fond of their sound. The guys played this year’s Afropunk Fest as an opening act on Sunday, thus fulfilling a goal they set for themselves last August. Not a group to wait around for luck, Sunny Gang took active measures to make this goal a reality. Bacchus applied for an internship working with the marketing department as a social media guru. According to Nate, not only did Bacchus blast info on the festival’s social media, he also blasted from their own, Sunny Gang, accounts to be sure the Afropunk crew knew they had the band’s support. Though the guys were runners up in the Afropunk Battle of the Bands, they were impressed with the positive outcome of the competition and have stayed in touch with the organization.

“That battle of the bands at Afropunk is the only battle of the bands that we’ve been in that actually gave back,” Bacchus maintains, “because even though we didn’t win, we’re seeing all this positivity and our music getting all over the place because of Afropunk. We owe a lot to Afropunk. Even though we didn’t win first place, they still were trying to help us out because of that relationship.”

Having achieved that goal and seen satisfaction with their results, the guys now have their eyes set on the career-making South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and they intend to work just as hard to earn a place on that bill.

“We filled out the application, sent in a press kit and everything, and now it’s just a waiting game,” Sap says.

In the meantime, Sunny Gang is working to find funding for the festival if they’re accepted. Sap says it could cost up to $2500 for the four of them to make the trip to Austin, but Bacchus maintains the cost is worth it.

“We’re looking at festivals that can bring us to the right people,” he claims. “South by Southwest is good because it’s for up and coming artists–even though Bruce Springsteen was there last year. It’s his second time around the block.”

Funding and attending SXSW is a daunting task, no doubt, but if anyone can do it, it’s these guys. From frat parties at Rutgers Newark to one of Brooklyn’s biggest music festivals, Sunny Gang hasn’t stopped yet, and it doesn’t seem as though they have any intention of doing so anytime soon, a fact I, for one, am happy about. Sunny Gang brings a refreshing, organic, organized chaos to the New York music scene, and once they’re released into the world, it won’t be long until their sound grabs ears across the nation. My advice? Get on it right now, so when they’re on and poppin’ you can pull the hipster card and say you knew them before they were huge.

Originally published October 16, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

It’s Easy to Love the Rubens

I’m starting a trend of kicking off my birthday with an awesome show. Last year I saw one of my local favorites, Push Method, at the beginning of my birthday week. This year, the night before the big day, I took my hot little date to see Australian boys, The Rubens, kick it at Bowery Ballroom. A good decision if I ever made one.

The Rubens

Photo credit to Claire Marie Vogel

Like I said, these kids are from Australia. We all know how I feel about things made in Aussieland. No exception here. Composed of three brothers and two additional members, The Rubens have only been together as a band for a little over a year, but they’ve expanded to the U.S. with ease and success. Keyboardist and brother, Elliot Margin, sat with me on a Bowery Ballroom couch and told me what it’s like to speed through such a process.

Margin recounted the band’s birth and journey from gigs in Sydney, Australia and recordings in their bedroom to a national U.S. tour to support an album recorded by producer, David Kahne, production mastermind behind talent like Paul McCartney, The Strokes, Sublime, and Lana del Rey, among others.

“We’d never played together before forming a band,” the youngest Margin admits. “We all learned different instruments separately. Then one day Sam and Zaac were home bored and were like ‘Wanna…jam?’ Then I came home from school and they were like, ‘Should we…jam?’ People ask if our parents forced us to play instruments and make a family band. It was the exact opposite.”

Despite living together for their entire lives, the brothers and Sam’s good friend, Scott Baldwin, didn’t come together as a band until 2011. They quickly began playing gigs in Sydney, where they met Dean Tuza, an Australian sound engineer who connected them to Kahne after his work on Mix With the Masters. Once Kahne heard The Rubens demo, it was a short step to a request for the band to visit America and record an album.

One of the most significant changes Margin relates is the difference between the guys’ recording setup and the gear available for them at Avatar Studios.

“It was scary at first.,” he says. “We’d only ever recorded in our bedroom, on our laptop with shitty mics and stuff. This was our first recording experience. We got to Avatar Studios and it was just a crazy experience. To have all that at our fingertips was just overwhelming.”

Thankfully The Rubens were up to the challenge, and after a month or so of heavy rehearsing, Kahne allegedly whipped them into shape and they laid down the tracks to what became their very first official album. Margin says the improvement was drastic.

“When we played shows in Australia we thought we were alright,” Margin explains. “Then we came to America and David did a month of pre-production and sort of whipped us into shape. We came back to Australia and were like, ‘Holy shit, we were terrible’.”

After doing a European tour, Australian shows and their current American tour, The Rubens are preparing to hole up and bring together their second album. Margin says the guys have compiled a collection of raw ideas which they hope to develop into a full length album with a little time.

The Rubens on Track

Photo credit to geelongblabbertiser.com

“After this tour, we’re headed home to record album two,” he reveals. “We’ve put down lots of ideas now on the road, so we’re planning to rent a house on the beach for four months and write out the album. We’re planning to make it so a lot of the takes could go on the album.”

If it seems like the guys aren’t taking any breaks between masterpieces, that’s because they’re dedicated to ensuring their success from this point on.

“It only took a few months before we realized, this is happening really fast and we need to work really hard so that we can make sure it’s not just a fluke,” Margin explains. “Now we realize we have to work really hard. Getting a lucky break, you have to keep on pushing to make sure you deserve it.”

If The Rubens keep laying down smooth, melodic and catchy tunes like the ones they delivered to the guests at Bowery Ballroom last week, they should have no trouble climbing higher and higher. With five talented members who pull together various sounds to compliment Sam Margin‘s sexy, sleepy-dude-with-bedhead voice, The Rubens create a solid sound it’s easy to spend the night with and easy to relate to…even for a dude.

Originally published September 29, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

X Ambassadors Only Getting Better

X Ambassadors - MTV

Photo credit to mtv.com

I took my mom to see X Ambassadors. On her last night in New York. And she’s not really into concerts. Are you getting how awesome these dudes are?

Flashback to October, when I first laid eyes on Sam Harris on the Arlene’s Grocery stage at CMJ. I can’t remember ever seeing a performer so into his music. Harris was literally dripping with sweat…in October. Seven months later, X Ambassadors has somehow managed to up the ante. I would argue, based on this show alone, that the act of dancing is not a voluntary movement.

X Ambassadors live performance is the perfect execution of the recently released EP, Love Songs Drug Songs which damn well better be a prequel to an LP, because I want more, and I know I’m not the only one. The immense crowd at Santos Party House last Thursday was evidence that people kinda like these guys, though I was quite bewildered by the stoicism of the remainder of the audience. X Ambassadors didn’t seem phased. These guys obviously live for the music, which only serves to bring their performance to new heights. I would be willing to bet that Harris (Sam) was actually making love to music onstage and we were mere observers. It might be one of the only instances in which voyeurism is accepted and encouraged.

X Ambassadors produce a rhythmic collaboration of music to serve as a backdrop for Harris’ lyrics and strong, seductive voice, and their combined effort couldn’t be more dead-on. With an extra set of drums at the front of the stage (and presumably in the studio), an intense keyboardist to say the least and a hell of a vibe, their music takes on its own personality, and it’s the life of the party. Even X Ambassadors’ recorded sound is making my job more difficult, as I keep getting lost in the lyrics and melodies in my attempt to tell the world how great they are.

X Ambassadors album

Photo credit to soundcloud.com

Complete with saxophone parts and body language that would put Elvis to shame, Thursday night’s performance swept me away, and Love Songs Love Drugs is a constant reminder of how talented these guys are and how quickly they’re making legit moves. Their genius combination of heavy drums, creative synth waves, soulful lyrics, wide range vocals and pleasant harmony (not to mention their dynamic energy) is nothing less than a formula for greatness. Somebody let me know as soon as they release more music, because I’ll be front of the line (or queue, since everything is online these days…).

Originally published July 14, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

Shinobi Ninja on Making It Happen

Whether or not you’re a fan of Childish Gambino, it’s hard to deny the reasoning behind his 2013 album, “Because the Internet.” In this day and age, it’s almost astounding how much can be accomplished by artists, entrepreneurs, crowd-funders and basically anyone, thanks to the invention of the world wide web. Brooklyn band, Shinobi Ninja has certainly made a career of using the internet to their advantage.

Shinobi Ninja_Sanchez

Photo credit to Sergmatik Sanchez

Last week, following the pumping excitement of another trip to Austin’s SXSW, Shinobi’s vocalist, Duke Sims, was generous enough to give me some talk time and chat about what the band stands for, how they came together, and how they’re making it work in a world almost overrun with music genres and T Swift songs.

Sims names one of Shinobi’s key accomplishments as staying together as a band for eight years. In the era of Craigslist bands and hobbyists who aren’t sure what they want from life, that seems like a pretty fair assessment.

“I think our biggest accomplishment as a band is freaking making it eight years,” Sims admits. “Some bands don’t make it eight months. It’s all about focus and energy and determination.”

The six ninjas who make up Shinobi Ninja, including Sims, Baby G (vocalist), Maniac Mike (guitar), Alien Lex (bass), DJ Axis Powers (turntables) and drummer, Terminator Dave, are undoubtedly a story of what dedication, positive energy and the power of the internet can do.

The crew initially began to come together at a recording studio called Progressive Music in New York City, where Sims, Mike and the original bassist worked. (Fun fact: Mike and Terminator Dave are twins!) Sims and Shinobi’s original bass player, Jonathan Simone, were playing various venues around the city with the help of whoever was available at the time, while the twins (Mike and Dave), and DJ Axis played in their own band, Stalley & the Wax Machine.

When Stalley & the Wax Machine decided to disband, Sims stepped in to take the lead, and when the guys came together with Baby G, whose sights were set on conquering singing like she had dancing, Shinobi’s seeds were planted.

“Baby G, when she first started the band, probably sacrificed the most,” Sims shares. “She was dancing for Rihanna, Santigold, Diddy, Ricky Martin…she was at the top of her profession. There was no higher than that. But when you want to do something like be in a band, you have to jump off the building, so she jumped off the building.”

Based on Sims’ account, Baby G, herself, is a tale of determination, focus and energy. Essentially, the girl came to the city of lights with no dancing experience and a job at Swatch, and before giving it all up to be the vocalist in a metal band, she’d made it to the top of the top (let’s be real, dancing for Rihanna and RICKY MARTIN is kind of a big deal).

Her dedication to her craft and talent to make it happen is representative of the band itself. Shinobi has been fully complete since Alien Lex’s appearance in 2011 (Lex was a fan who got a pretty sweet chance!), and by all accounts, the group has been hustling and grinding the whole time. From producing their own music and videos to branding themselves and scouring the internet for fans, Shinobi Ninja is a self-professed “DIY band.”

“It’s all about hard work,” Sims says. “There’s nobody telling you that you have to work hard. It’s just you versus you. If you want things to happen, you have to make them happen yourself.”

From the get-go, Shinobi has proven they’re up to the task. After deciding on a name (which comes from a combination of influences, including a favorite video game and the architectural design of the twins’ mom’s Piermont, NY home), the group set to work branding themselves, a move that Sims maintains is indispensable. 

“That’s one of the hardest things you can is brand yourself, in any business,” he says. “Doesn’t matter if you’re doing book bags or guitars or pencils, it’s all about branding.”

In choosing colors and merch designs and creating their own unique sound, Shinobi Ninja nailed that aspect of the game. Within a few months of coming together, the band played Afropunk and made television appearances, and in the years since, they’ve been featured on NBA 2K12, the soundtrack for A Haunted House 2, The Killing, and much more. Baby G was featured as a coach on MTV’s Made (back when MTV was relevant), and the band was even chosen by New Music Seminar as one of the best new bands, and they’ve done it all without the help of nary a fat cat.

In fact, Sims rates playing that show at The Roxy for New Music Seminar as one of the best experiences so far, along with hearing their music in a movie theatre and on a video game loop. He also maintains that giving it their all, no matter what the occasion, is part of how they’ve climbed so high, even from their very first show.

“You can’t deny energy, be it positive or negative,” he says. “Whatever you put to the wall is gonna bounce back at you. That’s just what we did. Our stage presence was all or nothing. We were just dying to live. We didn’t know what to do. We knew we had to express ourselves, and people got that. Even if the sound wasn’t fully developed, even if we weren’t fully developed, we were still energetically giving it our best. That came across. It always comes across.”

According to Sims, that dynamic energy still comes across, each time Shinobi Ninja reaches out to someone on Twitter in an attempt to share new music or releases a new video on YouTube or takes the stage for a smaller show in their home city. As helpful as the powerful connecting potential of the internet can be, it all comes down to the perseverance, dedication and effort the band brings to the table.

“With the internet, you can put out quality, great art, and you can be distributed throughout the world,” Sims maintains. “You still have to have the determination and want to do it. Even though the internet and the technology is there, if you don’t want to do it, then it doesn’t matter.”

Shinobi Ninja

Photo credit to facebook.com/doobiedukesims

Between their obvious success, the number of sheer outreach efforts on social media and Sims’ description of “couch gut,” it’s clear Shinobi Ninja does want to do it.

The Shinobi crew is no group of gods though, and they have their rough spots like anyone. Sims says the key to pushing past these days and staying ahead is harnessing positive energy and using it to reach further and further toward the top.

“You’re always gonna have positive and negative thoughts,” he admits, “but you’ve gotta persevere with the positive, always, because the negative isn’t gonna bring you anywhere.”

I have to agree with that train of thought, and it seems as though their throngs of fans do as well. Even as a band who produces a wide variety of music, from high tempo metal jams to more relaxed, introspective tunes, Shinobi Ninja never sees a change in fans that isn’t positive. Sims attributes this to their fans’ real love for music itself.

“Real music fans love music, period,” he says. “It doesn’t matter how it’s being presented, it’s all about melodies and quality.”

Is there a better kind of fan? Fortunately for fans, old and new, Shinobi Ninja is looking towards a pretty dynamic 2016. Having just finished a brand new album, the band is shopping for a label to sponsor their release, hoping to bring their sound to a wider audience than they have so far.

“We try to be smart business people and do right for us, not just put music out because it’s cool,” Sims says. “We have to figure out how to put this music out so that it gets the broadest reach.”

Not only are Baby G and the guys wearing their business hats this year, they’re spending ample time in front of the camera, thanks to YouTube, and looking forward to hitting the stage in as many places as possible, hopefully including L.A.

As far as shows go, their first order of business is Williamsburg’s The Hall at MP this weekend. Shinobi hits the stage on April 1, and whether you’ve heard these guys or not, it’s a show worth attending. As far as I know, Williamsburg is still the cool place to be. Pair that with good music, and you’ve got yourself a damn good way to spend April Fool’s Day…all because the internet.

Some Insight into Audio Insight

It seems lately there is an unspoken assumption that being creative and being formally educated are two roads diverged in a wood, and we must choose one. I’ve got news for ole Bobby Frost, Audio Insight is breaking that rule and flippin’ the metaphorical bird to all the big wigs who seem to think it’s a black and white situation.

Audio Insight

Photo credit to Julianne Karr

As three guys who came together to occasionally jam during high school, Audio Insight has made amazing strides in the journey from baby band to successful, musicians with a fan base in quite a short span of time. Only an official band since their senior year in high school, Audio Insight now boasts performances with some of their favorite musicians as well as two performances at Bamboozle, one within their first year of real focus. With growth that rapid, the guys from Audio Insight have definitely done a little learning about what it means to be a musician.

“With any band, time equals experience and growth by default,” vocalist and guitarist Anthony Celi explains. “When we started out we were a bunch of kids, and we learned it’s not that easy. It’s constantly, in addition to the music, promoting and traveling and putting yourself out there.”

Despite the hard work that comes along with the passion of an artist, Celi and his bandmates, Mike Deverin on bass and Dan Sullivan on percussion, haven’t shied away from pursuing their educations.

“Obviously music is my passion, but I’m also really into philosophy,” Celi explains. “So I’m going to school for philosophy.”

Deverin and Sullivan are also enrolled in New Jersey colleges for nutrition/dietetics and sound recording/music production respectively. Though it may seem like a lot of work, Audio Insight hasn’t had trouble juggling the responsibilities associated with music careers and the focus involved in being full-time students.

“It’s pretty constant.,” Celi says. “We’re constantly writing, and when we’re not in school we’re doing shows.”

Though being a student is a full-time job on its own, it doesn’t seem to have much effect on the success these guys have in making their music work.

“The songwriting happens very sporadically,” Celi explains. “So it’s not like we sit down together and think, ‘We’re gonna make a song, let’s do it.’ I’ll be wherever, at school in class or on a train, and I’ll write. When we’re all home, I bring the skeletons of the songs to Mike and Dan and we develop the songs.”

Even traveling and doing shows hasn’t presented much of an issue for Audio Insight, as they seem to have their priorities in perfect order. Celi and Deverin maintain that they focus on class and composition during the school year and spend their breaks and time at home dedicated to furthering their strides in music. Though they do have occasional shows during the school year, they generally stick to weekend performances in areas surrounding their schools. That said, the guys aren’t afraid to take a chance on what they love.

Audio Insight 2

Photo credit to Julianne Karr

“If it comes down to it, we can do a little traveling and miss a little school if we have to,” Celi maintains. “If we have a big opportunity, we’re not gonna pass it up.”

With work ethics and attitudes like theirs, it’s not unlikely that Audio Insight will have all kinds of big opportunities, and according to Celi, they’re ready for the challenge.

“I wanna be able to make a career out of the thing I love,” he explains. “Not only is it a creative outlet, it’s a very intimate, passionate experience for me because I’m constantly learning about myself and others. If we can find other people that support us, that’s even better. Pretty much we’re gonna take it as far as it can go. We don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. We’re gonna see if our efforts pay off.”

I’m betting they will. Due to excessive sleep, I missed these guys in Brooklyn last month, which is a damn shame, because it seems they love Brooklyn over the rest of the city (score 1 for BK!). Fortunately, though, they’re not too far away and are taking the stage at 10th Street Live in Kenilworth, New Jersey this Saturday to celebrate certain undocumented holidays. Don’t be dumb…you know what I mean. Go there. Or be square.

 

Originally published April 20, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com

 

Tiger Blanket’s Emmy Wildwood Oozes Passion

Emmy Wildwood: Tiger Blanket Records founder or multi-faceted rocker chick? Answer: Both.

Front-woman for Brooklyn band, Velta, Wildwood boasts a wide variety of talents, skills and current projects. Plus, she’s kind of an interesting person.

For starters, she’s in about 6,000 different bands. More accurately three, but two of them are Velta and an all girls Guns ‘N Roses cover band dubbed Guns ‘N Hoses. If you’re somehow not interested yet, please note that the cover band recently put out Christmas music under the code name Leather Tuscadero. While she’s obviously into all of her bands, Wildwood confesses that she has a favorite.

Emmy Wildwood

Photo credit to tigerblanketrecords.com

“Velta is my passion,” she says. “I love to play rock and roll. That’s my thing.”

Aside from her involvement in these bands, Wildwod is and has been involved in a plethora of other projects and initiatives. Naturally, as the experience is all hers, she explains it best.

“Here’s the truth,” she begins. “I was working full-time, bartending on two nights, running the label, playing in three separate bands and writing, and I was burning out. I was really ready to be happy and do things I authentically wanted to do.”

Next question: What is it that Wildwood authentically wants to do?

“This is all I wanna do,” she answers. “Write with people and create a community.”

After selling her store in Tuscon, Arizona for funds to move to the big city and cut a record, Wildwood has gotten herself into the position to do exactly that. Not long after moving, she opened a vintage clothing store in Brooklyn called Tiger Blanket Records. From this small space she not only advises the purchase of vintage threads, she also collaborates with other musicians in the designated space she’s created for writing and jam sessions. Much of this mutual effort results in the release of songs, and sometimes albums, under the Tiger Blanket label.

While Wildwood has had many amazing experiences along the route she took to Tiger Blanket (i.e. posing for Vogue Italia!!!), it’s clear that music and the way it makes her feel is more important to her than anything.

“Music is so pretentious,” she admits, “and it’s so annoying to try and make music under those conditions. I just feel like musicians should help each other.”

Wildwood is doing her part to start this trend by helping bands in Brooklyn press 7-inch albums for distribution only in Tiger Blanket Records. In doing this, she aims not only to help the bands directly by providing a service and place to market, but by also providing a safe space for musicians to work together and share with each other.

“My store is kind of like a lifestyle store instead of a clothing store,” she explains. “I just want a community vibe. I hope to connect other people that way. I love this. I love that I’m part of this.”

Velta

Photo credit to tigerblanketrecords.com

Whether she’s connecting people through her store or her music, Wildwood has my approval. The girl moved me to the point of asking for a hug, then she gladly obliged, satisfying a need I hadn’t even been truly aware of. No matter who else is at the next Velta show (10 p.m. on February 22 at Arlene’s Grocery), I know this girl will be, because I may only be a banana, but I’ve got a brain and an appreciation for good music.

Originally published January 14, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com