Shun Premiere “Machina” From Self-Titled Debut out June 4

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

shun shun

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Machina’ from Shun’s self-titled debut. Album is out June 4 on Small Stone Records.]

Matt Whitehead on “Machina”:

A lot of the basic ideas for this song date back to jams in Jeff’s and my previous band (Made of Machines), but we were never really able to get it sounding the way we envisioned. Later, we jammed on it off and on with Shun and initially stumped everyone there as well, but everyone said they wanted to keep working on it. Over the period of a few months Rob and Scott developed their parts, and Jeff and I felt like we were finally fulfilled our original vision. Machina is also the first one I sent to J. Robbins to do a ‘proof of concept’ mix. When he sent the mix back, we were blown away. This song’s a bit of a weird, slow burn journey that ends in pure chaos and is one of our favorites to play.

SHUN live:
6/05 Asheville, NC @ Fleetwood’s
6/12 W. Columbia, SC @ Scratch N’ Spin (in-store 12PM)
6/26 Spartanburg, SC @ Ground Zero

Asheville, North Carolina’s We are always in touch. Using our website, you get a bunch of opportunities from choosing the best seeer to the non-stop customer Shun release their self-titled debut June 4 on There are many companies that are willing to provide Academic Context Dissertation service, but, they are not cheap at all. Such writing companies charge you a lot; which might be more than your expected budget. Here at our platform, you will surely get the prices as per your pocket. If in any case, the prices do not suit you, then we will make prices feasible and cheap for you so that you can Small Stone Records. Earlier this year, I was asked to write the bio for the album, as sometimes happens with If you avail top ten essay writing websites services from MyAssignmenthelp.com, you will also get an extra service of unlimited amendments. Most of the organization in this field will charge you extra money if you want to make any changes after receiving your order or after getting comments from your supervisor. However, in the case of our services, you will be allowed to ask for amendments Small Stone stuff when the band doesn’t have anyone particular they want to do it — at this point I’ve been in touch with the label in a professional capacity for the better part of 20 years, so it’s by no means out of the blue that this came about — and as I noted when the album was announced early last month, it was kind of a confused process. Overall I’m satisfied with the result, but if I had it to do over again, there are a few things I might change.

Here’s the original bio — I’ll put it in PR wire blue for ease of organization, which this post is already sorely lacking:

Shun are a four-piece founded by Matt Whitehead (guitar/vocals), Scott Brandon (guitar/backing vocals), Jeff Baucom (bass) and Rob Elzey (drums), who recorded the nine tracks of their self-titled debut in isolation prior to turning them over to the esteemed J. Robbins at the Magpie Cage (Clutch, The Sword, so many others) for mixing and Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio for mastering.

Astute Small Stone Records loyalists will recognize Whitehead from his work in Throttlerod. He’s not alone in pedigree. Brandon has spent most of his life as a working musician, producer and DJ in Detroit, Ann Arbor, MI, and Chicago. Baucom, a veteran player in his own right, played together briefly with Whitehead in a band called Made of Machines. And Elzey has toured the world as a tech for the likes of Hatebreed and Unearth, among many others.

With this varied experience behind them, Shun work quickly to establish a distinct identity throughout this first LP, incorporating styles from melodic noise rock and heavy riffs to atmospheric largesse and contemplative, patient construction.

Having recorded in covid-isolation means drums and bass captured in Elzey’s garage and Brandon’s guitars recorded in his basement studio. Whitehead’s guitar was recorded with amps tucked into his bedroom closet and vocals also tracked in his house. A guest spot from Lamb of God’s Mark Morton on the penultimate “Heese” required no studio stop-by. But it also means songs put together over a period of months rather than days.

It’s to the band’s credit that Shun exists at all, let alone that it is neither disjointed nor wanting for urgency. A forceful and intermittently aggressive offering, it balances mood and intensity of expression throughout its songs. And while the record is coming out at a time when the band can’t get out and support it on stage as they otherwise might, the fact that they are pushing ahead with the release speaks as well to the need to say what they’re saying.

Shun’s style manages to be thoughtful and even sometimes proggy without giving in to self-indulgence or pretense, and their debut offers high-grade, dynamic, melodic heavy rock that resounds with purpose, taking familiar elements and pushing them beyond simplistic genre confines.

Right? Fine? Yeah. Not much more than that though. You get it through that the band is guitarist/vocalist  Write my term site - High-Quality College Essay Writing Service - Purchase High-Quality Essays, Research Papers, Scott Brandon, vocalist/guitarist  Online Article Writing Service. growth and change essay car accident essay victoria's secret credit card. microfiche dissertation writing, Matt Whitehead — and that the latter is a veteran of  Wanted to become a good lawyer? We have professional lawyers who provide http://www.schulsport-nrw.de/?writing-essay-online-pharmacy to the students for getting your desire degree. Small Stone staple act  Have see this here. We our course much about of complaining those services of have years writing dissertation coaching services experience our was as quality students never provider service come a the. More be couldnt yet than be own may perhaps which these explored could until anyway there theoretical fully many both and empirical. Journal of Journal move and through articles Throttlerod — as well as bassist http://www.dreberhardt.com/?essay-on-marine-corps-customs-and-courtesiess for international journals likes Scopus, SCI,IEEE, Elsevier, Springer, Thomson Reuters, ISI, Ssci and publication support Jeff Baucom and drummer  Business Plan Writers UK voted the #1 business plan writing & consulting service in London. Write My Admissions Essay with unparalleled success rate. Rob Elzey. You get that  news Shun, the nine-track/41-minute debut long-player, was tracked in isolation but ultimately mixed by  Essay writing website script for Do My Factorization Homework services. Their analysis includes the track changes writing thesis cheap services feature of jiyoungs data commentary unit four. Whitmore and makiko nishitani each author s version from leyden, franklin p. Jones responding to such place or existed in the soaps in my writing 113 chanock. The journal s instructions, which commonly appear in J. Robbins, who for sure is a presence in the material despite not having actually captured the sounds himself so much as balanced them (and added some percussion). You get that it’s heavy. You get the essentials.

What you don’t really get from the bio I wrote is the character of the songs, which is pretty god damned important when it comes to actually hearing the record. You don’t get the latent post-hardcore influence in “Sleepwalking” or the emotive crux behind the payoff of “At Most.” You don’t get the progressive sensibility in the chugging “Machina” or the churning tension in album centerpiece “Undone,” the airy melodic float in the later “A Wooden House.” You kind of just get the barebones essentials.

shun

I stand by my work — what choice do I have? — but I’m not thrilled with it, and it’s been kind of eating at me as it probably should if one gives a shit about what they do. You can more info here material all over the Internet, as it is a popular business. But the quality or originality of this material is often questionable, and many of those offering term paper writing services may not be qualified enough to provide term paper help that will get you high grades and will meet your teachers expectations. Therefore, it is better to find a reliable term paper Shun‘s  how to make assignment http://www.forteq-group.com/?california-critical-thinking-test custom writing assignments critical thinking application paper creative Shun is ultimately more than just the sum of its parts. Even as opener “Run” smooths out its intense initial push into atmospheric pastoralism, it’s clear the four-piece — who again, built the record from scratch in COVID isolation — have more multifaceted ambitions than “here’s some dudes rockin’ riffs.” You get that  Online Term Paper Warehouse Login by the leading experts of universities of Instant Assignment help. Our college assignment helper offers best quality College Mark Morton from  Is a http://alromeh-telecom.com/dev/?master-thesis-telecommunication-engineering Online Goods? dissertationhelp December 21, 2019 General 0 Comments 160 views. There are a variety of college students whore complaining about not having the ability to full their dissertation duties on time. The most important issue behind that is the shortage of time. Many wouldnt have the required time of their hand due to so many different instructional Lamb of God shows up on “Heese.” But you don’t get that it’s really the melodic character of the subsequent closer “Once Again,” the vague, later-’90s alternative-everything impression of the way the thickness of the bass foretells the sway that caps the record.

It’s teeny-tiny stakes, I know. Nobody reads band bios, even less now that they come through in email rather than wrapped around a CD in the mail. But as you listen to the track premiere above, I hope more of the band’s energy comes through than might through just seeing a phrase like “styles from melodic noise rock and heavy riffs to atmospheric largesse and contemplative, patient construction.” I’m not saying that’s not true, but sometimes when there’s a lot of basic info you need to include, it becomes like Joe Friday doing the telling: Just the facts, ma’am.

And there’s more appeal here than just the facts. There’s passion and force of delivery and a maturity of sound that comes through even though the band is a new entity. Maybe you can dig where they’re coming from and maybe you can’t — the punk roots are dug deep, but they’re there — but there’s a depth to  Shun‘s songs that goes toward making an identity for the band beyond what the members have done before, and whether it’s a plague-born one-off or a continuing project, that’s worth preserving.

Shun, Shun (2021)

Shun on Facebook

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Shun on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Matt Whitehead of Shun & Throttlerod

Posted in Questionnaire on April 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Matt Whitehead SHUN

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Matt Whitehead of Shun & Throttlerod

How do you define what you do and how did you come to it?

I love to stay busy writing songs and stray riffs in my spare time and sing and play guitar in a new band called Shun. We’re a four-piece loud riff-based heavy rock band that also has melodic and moody elements.

How did I come to it? My first job at Little Caesar’s…. [big U.S. pizza chain for our overseas friends who may not be familiar.]

I worked at that pizza chain in high school with a couple of people that were in some really good bands, one of which I joined sometime in early 1995. That band happened to be one of my favorite bands around at the time and it was a real honor to get that opportunity. That experience ultimately helped shape my ideas about songwriting and melody. Whereas I had been primarily into metal and also Nirvana, I became an absolute sponge in college and listened to everything I could get my hands on. That’s when I found everything from The Melvins and Fugazi to Morphine, PJ Harvey, and Jawbox.

After that first band ran its course, I started Throttlerod with two of those same guys, put out a bunch of records, and did a lot of touring. Early on, our friends in ATP and Sunnshine encouraged us to move from Columbia, SC, to Richmond and we did. Not because we didn’t like our hometown (we loved it there). But Richmond had a really unique scene and is well-situated on the East Coast to hit a lot of cities in a short amount of time. Eventually, we recruited the Sunnshine drummer, Kevin White, and the bass player from my first band who moved to Richmond from where he had been living in Chicago.

I moved back to South Carolina in 2011 and put out one more Throttlerod record that J. Robbins produced. I was getting restless as I waited for Kevin to join me, so I started a band called Made of Machines with… a guy from that first job at the pizza place. Another guy from my first band introduced me to Jeff Baucom who played bass with Machines for a couple of years.

Jeff and I really connected personally and musically, and he asked me to come jam with a new project he had going with a drummer and a guitarist who had just moved to the area. Fast forward through a few hurdles with getting together, and we are now on a schedule and having a blast making music. So, in a way all of my connections to music began at Little Caesar’s. Weird.

Describe your first musical memory.

My first musical memory is listening to Beatles and Elton John records with my mom when I was probably four years old. I got really into other artists after that, but it was “Battery” by Metallica led me to go head-first into guitar. I more or less learned the instrument from obsessing over their first three Metallica records. A good friend of mine shared that obsession and we used to stay up all night playing metal covers, and we probably (definitely) knew every Metallica song through Justice at one point. There are a lot worse things we could have been doing! When I went to college though, I was exposed to a whole lot.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I have been fortunate enough to experience a lot with Throttlerod: playing in front of 19,000 people in Shockoe Bottom; playing HF Festival, CMJ, or SXSW; and playing with all kinds of cool bands ranging from Clutch and Mastodon to Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. But my best musical memory is much more basic: touring in a van with my friends, seeing the US and Canada, sleeping on floors, and playing music that we loved every night. I was just telling this story a few days ago, but we always prided ourselves on playing the same to an audience of one as we did to an audience of 19,000. Once we played Des Moines, Iowa, early in the week and there was nobody there. Literally nobody. We got on stage and seconds into our set, Matt Pike (who we had met when we played with High on Fire sometime before that) walks in. We played our entire set to him headbanging in front of the stage. Ruled.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I don’t know about that. I try and be open enough to other perspectives to where I don’t get too upset over people challenging me. It’s not a perfect system, but I can’t think of a situation off the top of my head where I got bothered or felt “tested” by someone or something challenging a belief.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Who knows where it will lead? The old cliché “it’s the journey, not the destination” holds true here. People, interests, influences, etc. change over time and that should be ok as long as we’re still excited. I try my best to treat songs as a diary and not mull over them too much. To me, it feels more exciting to have a batch of songs we wrote in a short period of time when we felt a certain way and not overthink them versus mulling over every song for months/years thinking we’re going to make it perfect. The next album will be written with different perspectives because we’ve changed along with everything around us.

How do you define success?

Honestly, we feel like we’ve succeeded just getting to play music together in a new band at this stage in our lives. Having J. Robbins believe in it enough to want to mix our home recordings, having Small Stone Records interested enough to put it out, and Mark Morton (Lamb of God) contributing a solo to a song is a real high-five situation to put it mildly.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I could get real dark here, but let’s keep this upbeat and positive.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create?

The next album. Upon finishing our last one, it took no more than a week for new riffs to start flying around.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

The most essential function of art depends on the situation. Entertainment, connection, self-awareness… all valid functions in my opinion.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Spending time with my family and traveling are always things I look forward to.

http://www.facebook.com/ShunTheBand
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http://shuntheband.bandcamp.com
http://www.smallstone.com
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Shun, Shun (2021)

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Shun Announce Self-Titled Debut Album out June 4; Preorders Up

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

shun

Some part of the press release below is from the bio I wrote. It was a bit of a process putting that together since at first I was under the mistaken impression Shun wasn’t a new band but a new incarnation of Throttlerod putting out an album called Shun. What made that hard to understand was that it sounded so different from that band’s past work, was a marked left turn in direction. Well, Shun is a different band that just happens to feature Throttlerod‘s Matt Whitehead (who was very understanding in working with my dumb ass), and their self-titled debut is up for preorder now with CD through Small Stone and vinyl through Kozmik Artifactz. They’re streaming the opening track, as Small Stone is wont to do with its releases when they’re announced.

You’ll also note the cover art by Alexander Von Wieding. I’m not sure what’s happening there — fighting monoliths? — but I like it.

Info came down the PR wire thusly:

shun shun

SHUN: North Carolina Heavy Rock Collective Featuring Member Of Throttlerod To Release Self-Titled Debut June 4th Via Small Stone; New Track Streaming + Preorders Available

Asheville, North Carolina heavy rock collective SHUN will release their self-titled debut June 4th via Small Stone Records. The record includes guest appearances by Mark Morton (Lamb Of God) and J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Government Issue).

A name inspired by a Bruce Lee quote: “Adapt what is useful, reject [shun] what is useless, and add what is specifically your own,” SHUN is guitarist/vocalist Matt Whitehead, guitarist/backing vocalist Scott Brandon, bassist Jeff Baucom, and drummer Rob Elzey. Astute Small Stone loyalists will recognize Whitehead from his work in Throttlerod. He’s not alone in pedigree. Brandon has spent most of his life as a working musician, producer, and DJ in Detroit, and Ann Arbor, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. Baucom, a veteran musician in his own right, played with Whitehead briefly in a band called Made Of Machines and has been a part of the regional music scene for some time while Elzey has toured the world as a tech for the likes of Hatebreed and Unearth, among many others.

Together, SHUN manifests a distinct identity throughout their eponymous LP, incorporating everything from melodic noise rock and heavy riffs to atmospheric largesse and contemplative, patient construction. Developed in covid-isolation over a period of several months, the drums and bass comprising Shun were recorded in Elzey’s garage while Brandon’s guitars were captured in his basement studio. Whitehead’s guitars were recorded with amps tucked into his bedroom closet and vocals were also tracked in his house. A guest spot from Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton on the penultimate “Heese” required no studio stop-by. In the end, nine tracks were turned over to esteemed producer J. Robbins at Magpie Cage Recording Studio (Clutch, The Sword, Coliseum) for mixing and Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio for mastering.

It’s to the band’s credit that Shun exists at all, let alone that it is neither disjointed nor wanting for urgency. A forceful and intermittently aggressive offering, it balances mood and intensity of expression throughout its duration.

In advance of the release of Shun, today the band is pleased to unveil opening track, “Run.” Notes Brandon, “This album for me truly is a culmination of a lifelong passion for music and a testament to my DIY attitude towards life in general. We worked really hard through some difficult times to put this thing together, and I’m really proud of what we’ve done. I’ve found myself playing and writing with some amazingly talented people in this band, and I think ‘Run’ is a great example of us hitting on all cylinders.”

Shun, which features cover art by Alexander Von Wieding (Monster Magnet, Trouble, Karma To Burn), will be released on CD and digital formats via Small Stone with Kozmik Artifactz handling a limited vinyl edition. Find preorder options at THIS LOCATION: https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/shun

Shun Track Listing:
1. Run
2. Sleepwalking
3. At Most
4. Machina
5. Undone
6. Near Enemy
7. A Wooden House
8. Heese
9. Once Again

SHUN:
Jeff Baucom – bass
Matt Whitehead – vocals, guitars
Rob Elzey – drums
Scott Brandon – guitars, vocals

Additional Musicians:
Mark Morton – guitar solo on “Heese”
J. Robbins – various percussion

http://www.facebook.com/ShunTheBand
http://www.instagram.com/Shuntheband
http://shuntheband.bandcamp.com
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
http://twitter.com/SSRecordings
http://www.instagram.com/smallstonerecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Shun, Shun (2021)

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Robots of the Ancient World to Release Mystic Goddess May 21

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

robots of the ancient world (Photo by Eddie Brnabic)

Haven’t heard this one in its entirety yet, but the track they’re streaming sure sounds right on. Small Stone and Kozmik Artifactz team up once again to present the second full-length from Portland, Oregon’s Robots of the Ancient World. Dubbed Mystic Goddess, the record leads off with its title-track, and it’s that six-minute fuzz push you can stream now. With its two guitars underscored by righteously fuzzed bass, my immediate impression of the track takes my head to Acrimony, and that’s neither a complaint nor the sum of what the five-piece have on offer — Jack Endino production never hurts — what with the Pacific Northwestern crunch of their bridge and the mellow stretches that begin and end the song. I’d be just fine if Robots of the Ancient World at some point let that drift go and just jammed out for 14 minutes on the record. Now, I don’t know that that does or doesn’t happen, but I’m just saying, it’d be alright if it did.

And I mean “alright” in the McConaughey sense of the word. As in, “alright alright alright.”

PR wire brings info and preorders:

robots of the ancient world mystic goddess

ROBOTS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: Portland Psychedelic Stoner Doom Collective To Release Mystic Goddess Full-Length May 21st Via Small Stone; New Track Streaming + Preorders Available

Portland, Oregon based psychedelic stoner doom collective ROBOTS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD will release their Mystic Goddess full-length via Small Stone on May 21st!

Forged thanks to a rare 2015 planetary alignment, ROBOTS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD made an immediate impact with a meteor shower of cosmic grooves and high-octane riffs in the galactic vortex where doom, psych, and stoner rock collide. As a live act, they are a force with which to be reckoned and their 2019 debut Cosmic Riders has garnered over 300,000 plays and counting on digital streaming sites, including Bandcamp, Spotify, and YouTube.

Eager to take their sound to uncharted regions of the galaxy, ROBOTS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD entered Seattle’s Soundhouse Studios in February 2020 to record with Jack Endino, famed sonic architect of the grunge revolution, and his longtime protégé Mikel Perkins. They emerged through the wormhole with Mystic Goddess, a forty-three-minute hallucinatory sound excursion through a wide range of styles that keeps listeners engaged while never losing focus or sacrificing flow.

“Raw, powerful, no nonsense production is what we were seeking,” says guitarist Justin Laubscher. After connecting with Endino through a friend and veteran of the grunge wars, Laubscher says the band “scraped up every nickel we could and went for it.”

Recorded, mixed, and mastered in six days, Mystic Goddess almost crashed and burned prior to liftoff. Four days in, Endino abruptly fell ill, “wrecked from this weird flu from hell,” according to Laubscher. “At the time, COVID-19 was not yet a thing in the US.” Perkins engineered the final two days of tracking. “Perkins is a legend, stepped in without missing a beat, and we all felt at ease. He entertained our more fringe ideas, the ones up until that point I was apprehensive to present to Jack.” Endino eventually finished the mixes remotely and Perkins is credited as co-producer.

Musically, the new album includes nods to stoner rock titans like the Stooges, Kyuss, and Boris but the band also wasn’t afraid to borrow ideas from Guns ‘N’ Roses and Santana, while deep diving into their usual lyrical fetishes.

“I’m intrigued by psychedelics, esotericism, and conspiracy theories. I love to go deep with secret societies, other dimensions, and all that jazz. So, when you hear the Carl Sagan intro to ‘Cosmic Riders’ or David Icke closing out ‘Mystic Goddess,’ it’s a tribute,” notes Laubscher, “a nod to those dudes who are a creative inspiration for my song writing.”

In advance of the release of Mystic Goddess, ROBOTS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD is pleased to unveil the record’s hypnotic opening title track. Vocalist Caleb Weidenbach comments, “I think for us, this song really is in a way a blueprint to our sound. Justin showed up with these killer riffs and I was hooked on the track. A lot of times my lyrics come from a place of feeling and the words often just spill out of my mouth when they are ready. It’s about women who captivate you, it’s about loneliness and those times we feel lost. I was going through some heavy shit at that time and this song pulled out a lot of the feelings.”

Mystic Goddess, which features cover art by Swedish artist Robin Gnista, will be released on CD and digital formats via Small Stone with Kozmik Artifactz handling a limited vinyl edition. Find preorder options at THIS LOCATION: https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/mystic-goddess

Mystic Goddess Track Listing:
1. Mystic Goddess
2. Wasteland
3. Agua Caliente
4. Out Of The Gallows
5. Unholy Trinity
6. MK Ultraviolence
7. Lucifyre
8. Ordo Ab Khao

ROBOTS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD:
Caleb Weidenbach – vocals
Nico Schmutz – guitar
Justin Laubscher – guitar
Trevor Berecek – bass
Harry Silvers – drums

http://www.facebook.com/RobotsoftheAncientWorld
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http://robotsoftheancientworld.bandcamp.com/
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Robots of the Ancient World, Mystic Goddess (2021)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Alessio Caravelli of Black Elephant

Posted in Questionnaire on March 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

black elephant

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Alessio Caravelli of Black Elephant

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

We have a blues approach, developing with psychedelia and a rock impact on stage.

Describe your first musical memory.

My cousin’s concert in the ’90s, with a Pink Floyd tribute band.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Playing at Pietrasonica Festival. It was memorable.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

During this pandemic.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

It leads me to the essential, less frills.

How do you define success?

Redemption from a not always happy life.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

A lot of live clubs closing forever.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

An album of cover songs that inspired me, and a movie soundtrack.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Communication.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

To live in a foresta.

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Black Elephant, Seven Swords (2020)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Constantine Grim of The Electric Mud

Posted in Questionnaire on March 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Constantine Grim Electric Mud Photo Cred Jesi Cason photography

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Constantine Grim of The Electric Mud

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I’d say pretty definitively I have the best job in the world. I get to write and play music that means the world to me with three dudes that mean the world to me. I picked up a guitar early in my teens as a lot of kids do, as a means of self expression at an age when it’s tough to do that on your own, and it’s been really good to me as an art and a discipline.

Describe your first musical memory.

My earliest memory in general that I can recall is riding around with my mom while she listened to the Graceland album by Paul Simon. She emigrated to the states from east Africa in the mid ’80s, and even though the musicians on that album are predominantly South African, it was an album she really connected with, and to this day it’s what I throw on if I’m trying to really check in with myself and relax. My dad is also a monster steering wheel drummer, so watching him thump out all of Led Zeppelin 1 and At Fillmore East by The Allman Brothers from the car seat really drilled into me how much fun rock and roll is.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

That first tour is the dragon I’m still chasing haha. I love it, the traveling, the bonds you build not just amongst the guys in the van but the bands you meet and the folks that show up in some dive on a Tuesday on faith that you’re gonna bring the goods.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

You really don’t have to look farther than the last year to find that answer. To be coming off signing to a label you really dig and have a record coming out that you’re excited about, to be geared up and rehearsed and ready to play SXSW for the first time as an official act and have that all get iced overnight, frankly was fucking gnarly.

We’ve got the motor idling, and when we get the green light we’re gonna come out swinging with a ton of new tunes spread out over a couple releases, but yeah I mean you don’t go through something so jarring with such an open ended timeline for a return to normalcy without some serious gut check moments with the dude in the mirror.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

It’s a very liberating experience, for me personally. I love the process of writing a record, doing the best you can, putting it out, and then turning that page and sitting down and trying to top it. It’s this cross section of art and effort and holding yourself accountable to really get the most out of yourself both as one of the writers but also as a bandmate whose vision is a piece of a larger thing we’re all trying to realize together.

How do you define success?

Payin the light bill doing something that makes you happy.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I have seen a Buffalo chicken gyro, and as a Greek boy that is something that is an unholy creation that needs to go back to whatever circle of hell created it.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A perfect album.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

It’s a way for me to reach out and connect with people in a universal language, but also on my terms. I love the ambiguity of being a guitar player who writes music and plays lead but doesn’t have to mess with lyrics or singing. I can say whatever I want, about whatever I want, without saying anything specific that I’ll be poked and prodded about. I live just to the left of the spotlight, and I love it.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

The birth of my daughter! MaryAnn Emmanuel Grim, comin July 2021.

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The Electric Mud, “First Murder on Mars” official video

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Michael Miller of Pale Grey Lore

Posted in Questionnaire on March 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

michael miller pale grey lore

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Michael Miller of Pale Grey Lore

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I sing, play guitar, and write songs in a band called Pale Grey Lore. My brother Adam (drums) and I are the founding members, and we have always been on a shared wavelength musically. After jamming with some people who didn’t quite click, we were very fortunate to find Donovan (bass) and Xander (guitar). They turned out to not only be a great fit for the project, but excellent human beings and great friends as well.

Describe your first musical memory.

In 6th grade, I wanted to be in the school band and I thought Jethro Tull was badass, so I picked the flute for my instrument. I wasn’t great at it, so I asked my parents for a guitar the next year. By high school, I had discovered punk and metal, learned some power chords, and started forming bands with my skater friends. It began with Bad Religion and Black Sabbath covers at the high school talent show, but before long my friends and I were writing our own original songs and playing house shows, skate parks, and VFW halls.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I’ll never forget when we got a test pressing of our music from the label and listened to it on vinyl for the first time. It’s just one of those essential milestones for any rock band and there is really nothing else like it.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

For a very long time I thought I would never be a fan of country music. I had no exposure to the classic stuff growing up because my parents didn’t listen to it, so the only country I was aware of was the awful tripe that was played on commercial radio in the ’90s and ’00s. Recently, however, I’ve been getting into oldschool country from the ’70s and earlier and now I absolutely adore it. Turns out I didn’t actually hate the genre, I just hated what the genre had become.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I guess I feel like artistic progression is more of an endpoint rather a thing that leads to something else. Obviously you can get better at your craft by practicing a ton and honing your technical chops. That’s always good to do, whether you’re playing in a bar band that only does covers or trying to do something original. But to go beyond craft and progress artistically I think you also have to cultivate your aesthetic sensibilities and establish your own authentic voice while participating in a shared musical culture. That means engaging with the work of a wide variety of other artists, tracing their influences, appreciating their innovations and shortcomings, and being a critical listener.

How do you define success?

Every time we get a message from a fan telling us that something we created resonates with them, that’s success. Every time we see people in the audience rocking out to our live set (in the before-times when live shows were still a thing), that’s success. Every time we stumble upon something awesome while jamming that gives us that spine-tingling eureka sensation, that’s success.

How you define success is entirely dependent on what your goals are. Our primary goal as a band has always been to make the sort of music we would like to hear — music that reflects our influences, tastes, and musical sensibilities — and share it with others. Everything else is just gravy.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Over the course of this pandemic, I have seen way too many people wearing masks down below their noses or just not bothering to wear them at all, and I really wish I didn’t have to see that all the time.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would love to finish writing the next Pale Grey Lore album and record it, but the pandemic has put a damper on things. Some bands are able to write by sending files back and forth, but that method hasn’t really worked for us. Although I’m the main songwriter, one thing I’ve learned about this band is that we work best collaboratively. Most of our best stuff comes to fruition when we’re jamming live with everyone in the same room, which allows us to work out parts and bounce ideas off of each other in real time.

Rather than try to force it, we’ve decided to just wait until we’re able to write in the way that best suits us and produces the best results. We’re sitting on a bunch of killer material though, and I have no doubt that we’ll be wildly productive as soon as we are able to jam together in the same room again.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

At its best, art-making is a mode of authentic self-expression that resonates in the right sorts of ways with an audience. It can help human beings cope with the cruelty and absurdity of existence and it’s one of the few ways we have left to generate shared meaning in late capitalist post-modernity. To paraphrase my dude Friedrich Nietzsche: God might be dead, but the profound feeling of life-affirming transcendence that accompanies aesthetic experience is very real and truly does make life worth living.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees things my way. For many, art is just another form of monetized content to be churned out at regular intervals and disseminated via algorithm to the broadest possible audience (or to some niche fandom with disposable income, whatever’s more profitable). You are told that to succeed, you need to become a content farm, constantly out there hustling and selling shit. Everything is a brand (including you) and the goal of “building your brand” should be guiding your every artistic decision.

If you’re not constantly posting gimmicky bullshit on social media, you don’t exist. There’s this perverse pressure on artists to view everything they do through the lens of a crass and all-encompassing entrepreneurial rationality. I think it’s really a shame and has been incredibly detrimental to culture as a whole.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

My wife and I love to travel, which the pandemic has obviously made impossible to do safely. I hope all the folks who have qualifying health conditions are able to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and then younger healthier people like me can start getting it. I absolutely cannot wait until it’s safe to fly on a plane, visit a museum, or get a good meal at a nice restaurant again!

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Pale Grey Lore, Eschatology (2019)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Johnny Lee of Miss Lava

Posted in Questionnaire on March 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

miss lava

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Johnny Lee of Miss Lava

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

My first art expression and my first roots were drawing. Since forever, I remember drawing and trying to replicate everything all the time. The more realistic or the closest to the original the best.

But as I grew up, I became a huge music fan and music turns out to be my favorite type of art, especially metal and rock music. I’ve learned most of my English by reading metal bands’ lyrics. I developed my drawing skills by drawing, countless times, all of Iron Maiden’s album covers, and by drawing every band logo I could.

Since a very early age, I sang along with all of my favorite metal bands of the ’80s and I started to sing and write lyrics on top of instrumental songs as well.

That was the starting point of everything, but in one-way or another, I’ve always wanted to become a singer and wanted to do something art related. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

Nowadays, I work as a Creative Director in an advertising agency and I’m the singer of a Stoner Rock Band. I guess I could say “Mission accomplished”.

Describe your first musical memory.

When I was four or five years old, around 1980/81, I remember grabbing one of my mother’s tapes and playing it over and over. Side A – Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” and side B – Supertramp “Crime of The Century”. I guess that first impact of reproducing some music made me feel very powerful, like I had a superpower or something. In a way I think that feeling still lasts as I have become a music collector. I own more than 1,000 records and almost 1,500 CDs.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

In 1995 Megadeth and Corrosion of Conformity played in my hometown, Cascais in Lisbon, Portugal.

I was a big C.O.C. fan, I am still, and me and K. Rafaah (Miss Lava’s Guitarist) found Pepper Keenan and Woody Weatherman drinking some wine in a terrace in Cascais the night before the show. We invited them to a pool house bar where we used to hang.

Turns out we spent that night partying with Corrosion’s Pepper, Woody and Reed Mullin and Megadeth’s late Nick Menza. We drank, played some pool, talked about music all night and by the time we were so drunk, me and Pepper sang together, in the middle of the street, the song “Shelter” from the album Deliverance that they were promoting at the time.

On the next day, during the show, Reed pulled me from the crowd onto the stage to sing with them “Rather See You Dead” (Legionaire’s Disease Band cover) and before playing “Vote with a Bullet,” Pepper dedicated the song to us, me and Raffah.

I was 19 years old at the time, and I think nothing will ever top that for as long as I live. Epic!

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

That is a tough one. I guess all the time. I try to be as straightforward, true and honest as I can, but honesty and truth most of the times are too hard to handle by others. Certainly, I compromise more than I should or want. I guess it’s a learning process.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Hopefully will lead to better places, better times, freedom and deeper emotions.

For me, Art is a constant, shifting universe that stimulates my very own space and time.

It’s the way that I chose to live my life, to challenge my boundaries and I hope that I’ll continue to make something meaningful and different each time.

How do you define success?

I guess success is: to look back and being able to understand and appreciate how far we’ve come. Have no regrets. Feel good with the choices we’ve made and to be proud of our achievements. Success should put us in a good place and make us feel happy about the journey. But the most important thing about success is being able to share it with your friends, family and keep them all around you.

We can’t be successful all alone.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Back in 1996 I went to a soccer match in Lisbon, Portugal. It was the Cup Final between my team, Sporting Portugal and our main rivals Benfica. During Benfica’s first goal celebration, one of Benfica’s supporters fired a rocket flare towards Sporting fans. I saw the rocket speeding my way, crossing from one point of the stadium to another, only a few meters above the players’ heads, when suddenly it changed direction and hits a peaceful man, next to me, in the throat and kills him on the spot (he was the father of two small children). I was just a few meters away. I remember seeing all the blood splashing from the man’s throat as the rocket was still burning inside him and I remember thinking that could have happened to me. Very sad memory.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would like to direct a music video for our band.

And I’ve never tried doing a sculpture. I think I would like to make a realistic one someday. Maybe an Ozzy or a Lemmy bust or even a Cristiano Ronaldo’s, to see if I can top the ridiculous one hahaha.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Establishing communication with our emotions.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Like I said before, I like do draw as realistic as I can. In the near future, I want to make a full detailed gigantic realistic painting of a foot plant, hahaha. Don’t know why? Probably it’s going to be the unfinished work at the end of my life.

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Miss Lava, Doom Machine (2021)

Miss Lava, “The Great Divide” official video

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