Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Meet The Band: Pharaohs

Band Name:
Pharaohs (tough spelling I know, you gotta watch out for that second 'a')

Location:
Ithaca, NY. Duncan and I hail from outside of Boston, and Harry is from Chicago.

Formed:
Duncan and I formed Pharaohs sometime in September of 2010, primarily because everyone else was playing in bands, and I was super jealous because I love to play drums and really wanted to play music as well. That's when Pharaohs started. Then over winter break we played with a bassist and it sounded so much better we decided pretty much on the spot to ask Harry to play bass for us. I think he was in an airport or something when we asked him.

Members:
Duncan Shea: guitar, singing about beer, friends, and fun
Harry Kagan: bass, harmonizing about beer, friends, and fun
Ryan Greaves: drums, sweating

Duncan and Harry also both play in Music Band, and Duncan also plays in Tropical Punk.

Releases:
so far we only have a 3 song demo, but we've scrapped 2 of the 3 songs from it and written 5 new ones which we like a lot better (the only way to hear those right now is come see us live!). But if you want some recordings, you can check out the demo by typing in this painstaking URL (I hope it's worth it!)
http://www.mediafire.com/?vkk0d0o20gmjvt6

Influences:
We're all influenced by a bunch of stuff coming in from all different directions. Duncan and Harry have been listening to Jeff The Brotherhood a lot lately. I've been listening to the new Smart Cops album a ton. Those new Graveyard, Capsule, and Ghostlimb albums come out in April and they're all going to be incredible judging by the sample tracks that have been released. I've also been jamming NYC punk band The Men a lot (wearethemen.blogspot.com), and the full length "Passages" by Tempest (ultra-heavy band from Canada) is one of the hugest albums I've heard in some time (tempestdestroys.bandcamp.com). Been listening to a lot of Mike Kirsch bands lately too (including his latest, Mothercountry Motherfuckers).

Really though, we're just influenced by having a good time, so I think a lot of influence is just derived from us all hanging out with our friends. I know that's where a lot of the lyrics come from and what gets us all psyched. that stupidity is completely built into Pharaohs.

Photo by Angelina M


Don't miss Pharaohs with Coworkers, Inerds, and Womyn Boiz this Sunday at the GreenStar Annex (aka The Space @ GreenStar located at 700 W Buffalo St, Ithaca, NY 14850 - near corks and more. 8PM $5

Off street parking entrance at the corner of N. Fulton (Rt 13) and Court St  or by entering the ally across from GreenStar Co-op on Buffalo St between Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Joe's Delivery.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview with Moldover

This Sunday at Waffle Frolic, Ithaca Underground presents the Ithaca return of Moldover, the godfather of controlerism, once again in collaboration with our friends in Deep beatZ.  DB's Laika was able to track down the Godfather mid-tour to discuss said tour, the controllers, his jack-of-all-trades approach to his varying live performances, and of course, world domination. 

Laika: Last time, you really "rocked" Ithaca, if you don't mind my saying so. How much of your performance is improvisational and how much is prepared beforehand?

M: It varies depending on the type of show.  For bigger venues and festivals I do a mostly prepared thing.  For more intimate/underground shows I stretch out a bit more and do about 50% prepared, 50% improvised.  More improv usually means more fun for me :-)

Laika: Last time, you unveiled a pretty sick controller.  Can you talk a little about the controllers you use during performance and what they do?

M: The last time I played in Ithaca I was using a seldom-seen prototype of my custom "Mojo" controller.  For the show this weekend I will be playing the finished production-ready Mojo.  I use The Mojo to dub-mix and remix the songs from my album, and do various controllerism tricks.  I compliment the controller work with live guitar and effected vocal parts.

Laika: When you start building or hacking a controller, what features do you take into consideration?  Are you aiming for a specific sound, e.g.: supreme mash-ability?  Or is it more important for the controller to integrate seamlessly with the software?

M: I've been hacking and building controllers for many years now, so I take a lot of things into consideration.  I think a lot about general instrument design concepts like ergonomics, functionality, and build quality.  I also look at practical issues like portability, how easy it will be to repair, and the cost of parts and labor.  It's hard to balance all those factors, but in the end I believe I'm creating instruments that are musical, intuitive, and simply fun to play.

Laika: In addition to your live performance, you also design controllers for installations, so that anyone can make music or jam with others.  How did you get involved with this effort?  Is this part of a not-so-secret Moldovian agenda to inspire future controllerists and take over the world?

M: I draw a lot of inspiration from events like Burning Man, where the majority of the art and music is created by participants.  I love being on stage and performing for audiences, but I also love creating things that flip those roles and put the tools of creation into the hands of everyone, and this is why I started making multi-player instruments like The Octamasher.  This has turned out to be a popular concept, and the demand for these kinds of instruments has kept me busy building and touring with these gizmos for several years now.  Yes, I think this kind of inspiration and multiverse domination go hand in hand ;-)

Laika: You perform live, you Dj, and you set up sound installations, all in a number of venues, from house parties to big-name festivals.  Do you find more support for one activity over another?  Where do you think electronic music is going in the United States?

M: I have no idea where electronic music is going in the United States, but it's going to kick ass when it gets to Mars.  I've always been sort of a "Jack of All Trades".  I think it's part of my personality.  Sometimes I feel a little scattered and schizophrenic, but usually it turns out that the different projects feed into one another, keep things fresh, and help me grow as an artist.  My friends and fans seem to enjoy and support all the things I do, so I plan to keep on doing all of them. 

Laika: We are so excited to have you back again, here in Ithaca.  Where else are you going and what's new for this northeast tour?  Any plans for the future?


M: I've been all over the north east US in the last three weeks.  This is the last leg of the tour, so after Ithaca I'll be in NYC, Phily, Boston and then I fly back home to San Francisco.  I'm excited for April because I'll be releasing a new pocket-sized USB-memory version of my Light-Theremin circuit board album.  It has a full-length video from a festival I played in the UK, and a bunch of source-sounds from the album which you can use to make your own music, or use as ring-tones for your mobile phone.  Besides that, I'm excited to plan another tour in the near future and come back to Ithaca.  I miss you guys!

Don't miss MOLDOVER live this Sunday with David Ezra Brown and Paper Armies at Waffle Frolic on the commons (146 E State St), Ithaca, NY 14850 | 7PM | $5 | All ages

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Meet The Band: Paper Armies

Band Name:
Paper Armies.  When I first started writing I used the name Semantics, but after some internet searching I found many a hip-hop artist named Semantics, so I decided to switch to Paper Armies.  I'm the worst when it comes to coming up with a name, so when I came up with Paper Armies I just decided to stick with it.  It actually took me a long time to come up with something I was kind of happy with.  No real meaning behind it.  Really.

Location:
Lansing/Ithaca, NY depending on the time of year.

Formed:
I'm not exactly sure when Paper Armies really started since it's just me.  I guess Fall 09?  That seems like a really long time ago.  I've done a lot of electronic music over the years, and at the time I was doing a lot of experimenting with music without a beat and solo piano music.  I started recording myself playing the piano with a handheld recorder and combined the two ideas.  Then I added some guitar.  That's pretty much how it got started.  Some people tell me it sounds good sometimes so I keep making music.  And I enjoy it.

Members:
Jason Calhoun- guitar, piano, various recording devices.

Releases:
I released a self-titled album last summer, you can find it here (and it's free): 
paperarmies.bandcamp.com

Tell us about yourself!
I have a really hard time describing what my music sounds like.  I always hesitate to use the word ambient because sometimes I think people get the wrong idea.  There's certainly a shoegaze/post-rock influence somewhere to, but I'm not sure how that exactly fits in.  It always seems sort of destructive in a way to me, but maybe that's more of the process. 

I'm very much looking forward to the show at Waffle Frolic on the 20th.  I'm also playing another show (thanks to IU!) on April 20th with The American Dollar, The Atomic Forces and Kites in Space at the Annex.  I'm very excited for that as well.  I don't get out of the house much. 

I'm currently working on a second album, not sure when it'll be released.  Things are getting there, but it could be awhile.  Who knows.  

Live Video: FUCK THE FACTS

Great footage by Chris Knight from Friday's show!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fuck The Facts have been a cornerstone in the DIY grind community for 10 years now, unapologetically assaulting listeners with an ever mutating technical blend of grind, metal, and non-metal elements. Vii Caso catches up with Topon Das in preparation for their Ithaca return this Friday at CSMA.

IU: This tour celebrates the 10th year as a full band. Did you ever think Fuck the Facts would ever go beyond DIY noise/grind tape releases created in your bedroom?

TD: Since day one it’s always been about actually doing shit and getting out of the bedroom. One of the main reasons I start Fuck The Facts was because all the bands I played in at the time were stuck in the basement. I wanted to play shows, tour and release music; not just talk about doing it. I wasn’t gonna let this get stuck in my bedroom. That being said, I’m still sometimes in awe of all the amazing shit we’ve gotten to do over the years in this band.

IU: For this anniversary tour, you've stated FTF will perform songs from album released since 2001 on this tour. Do you guys have a set list already practiced and ready or will it change every night? Since you have quite a back-catalog, I imagine some planning was involved. Will you be playing "Dear Shit Book? Will we get to hear any songs from your new album "Die Miserable"?

TD: We have a set rehearsed that we’ve been playing since we started doing these shows in February. We cut it down a bit when we did the Scion Rock Fest, but besides that it’s been the same each night. Half our band lives 6 hours away from the other half, so with that and jobs, etc… our actual full band rehearsal time is pretty limited. The set that we’re playing touches on a bit of everything from over the past 10 years and we’re doing it all in chronological order from oldest to newest. When we started planning it, there was a shit load of songs we were looking at. I would have liked to do a few other songs as well, but with the time we had to get it all together we had to make some tough choices. ‘Dear Shit Book’ is in there and we’re playing a couple of song from the new album. We might be doing a different song or 2 this coming weekend but we’ll see.

IU: You mentioned your involvement with the 2011 Scion Rock Fest. What are your thoughts on Scions recent involvement with extreme music? It seems like they're doing some pretty awesome things; sponsoring tours, releasing albums, setting up free festivals, etc.


TD: We just got back from that and it was awesome. I know there’s been some debate on what their place in is the music scene and their motives, etc… but for my band and me we having nothing but good things to say about what they’ve done for us. They fly us out, treat us well and it’s always just to play a show. They never try and tell us what we can or can’t do. All they want is for us to go out there and do our thing.

IU: Regarding the new album "Die Miserable", what can you tell us about that? It was recorded in your home studio, right? How was that recording experience?


TD: It was insane. We put an extreme amount of pressure on ourselves to make it as good as possible, and when the tracking was all done we just needed to step back and really take a break from it. Since then we’ve recorded there again and I’ve also been recording other bands there as well, so we’ve been getting better and learning more with time and practice. I don’t know if we’ll try and do the next album after ‘Die Miserable’ there, I think we might like to try something different, but we’ll keep recording and I can see us definitely doing more releases this way.

IU: The vinyl version of "Die Miserable" will include a bonus 7" EP with 4 songs that aren't included on the actual album. Why did you decide to include these songs on a separate release and not on the full length? Will the vinyl release be available at the Ithaca show on Friday?


Meet The Band: Makeshift

Band Name: Throughout the years they have experimented with numerous band names, including Stoner Crows, DS-1 Distortion Owners Manual, Zebra Feces, I Can't Believe It's not Jimmy Page, The Meow Meow Express, 1Pac, 3Pac, and Rump Thumpin' Prison Fish, but in end they decided to go with Makeshift.

History: Makeshift started as a guitar duet between Gabe Milman (2005-present) and Corey Mahaney (2005-2008). They then had the idea to start an actual band with Gabe on drums, Corey on guitar, and Ben Roach (2005-2009) on bass. They played their first show in 2006, shortly after asking Peter Pillardy (2006-present) to play guitar for band. In the next few years Makeshift's sound changed drastically from a classic rock to metal sound. Within this time period, James Easglesham (2008-present) joined on bass, while Ben switched to Vocals. In February of 2009, Makeshift played their first Ithaca Underground show at No Radio Records, which is now the Shop. Since then, Ben has left the band and Makeshift has become a three-piece metal trio playing all styles from experimental to progressive metal. Makeshift plays roughly 10 shows per year. Go check 'em out at http://makeshiftny.bandcamp.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/makeshiftithacany

Location:
Straight Outta I-Town

Members: 
James Eaglesham - Bass, Cello, Vocals
Gabe Millman - Drums, Guitar, Bass
Peter Pillardy - Guitar, Drums

Releases:
Self Titled Debut - June 2007
"Insanity" (EP) - March 2008
"Thwap!...?" - November 2009
"Forget The Obligatory" - November 2010

Our Sound: \m/ We play groove metal. Technical metal you can tap your foot to.

Upcoming Shows:
-March 11th at the CSMA with Fuck the Facts, Dance-a-Tron, and Hiroshima Vacation
-April 14th at the CSMA with Zevious