iNNOVATIVE

DVSN’s KNACK FOR THE DRAMATIC
July 8, 2016 11:31 am

These fucking Canadians and all their emotions. They’re taking over. First, it was Drake’s penchant for melancholia that got fogey rap heads in a tizzy, then The Weeknd started paralyzing people’s faces with no remorse. Now we’ve got DVSN, a producer/singer duo of Nineteen85 and Daniel Daley recently signed by OVO, Drake’s mothership label.

All the trails have been blazed for DVSN, and extensively so, at this point. The swirling atmospheres in With Me paired with trappy snares can be traced back to the Frank Ocean Family Tree, while Another One shows a type of pop gloss in production that follows Abel and Aubrey’s footsteps as new explorers of the emotional. So in the modern landscape of R&B, DVSN fits quite seamlessly. Sept. 5th, their debut album (seriously, what is it with sad Canadians and their love for Autumnal months), is indeed a product of this new era; pairing the genre’s obligatory ‘baby making music’ ambiance with a newly intensified sense of mystery and anguish.   

For Daley, his talent in bridging these two unique ideas together is what makes listening to Sept. 5th worthwhile. His tender voice wraps around each of Ninteen85’s intricately arranged pieces on the album. As indicated on “Angela,” he can falsetto his ass over horns, strings and keys, whatever. He’s in his comfort zone regardless. It’s his strongest vocal performance on the album, showing off every high note he’s capable of belting out, as well as heartier moments that show him digging deeper into his belly for the words. He even finds the time to pay homage to the late Elliott Smith by using his refrain from “Angeles.”

In each of these songs, DVSN and Smith are looking for a solution and whether it’s a new city or a new woman is unimportant. The novelty of newness is what they believe will save them. It won’t, but for artists who are as deeply tapped into their feelings as they are, they see a new love as the rescue rope from it all. For “Angeles,” Smith is cynical enough to know that this false hope will never truly actualize anything. DVSN, however, carries the optimism that love- or at least a decent enough fuck- can actually heal everything.

“I could make it better, if I could have sex with you.” That’s literally part of the chorus to the album’s titular track, and the confidence with which he delivers such a line makes the listener believe that Daniel Daley is very confident in what he’s able to do with his penis. Whether it’s genuine delusion or an awareness on Daley’s behalf to document his own ego’s misgivings is up for debate. His ability to convey the desperation is what’s compelling.

So try having sex with Daniel Daley if you can. Maybe things will improve in your life. They probably won’t, though. Because unlike what these Canadian Pioneers of Feel want you to think, sex and love heal nothing.

I’m joking, I’m a virgin. I know nothing about this stuff.

CLEVELAND: ROCK AND ROLL CITY AND ITS RUST BELT REVIVAL
July 7, 2016 7:34 pm

Henri K. Rapp, Jeanette Sangston and Chayla Hope are constantly knee deep in the rock & roll scene of Cleveland, OH. I had the opportunity to talk to the artists about their relationship with this beautiful city and how its music scene has contributed to what they have now.

Who are you and what do you do?

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Henri K. Rapp – Photo by Evan Prunty

“I’m Henri K. W. Rapp, a Cleveland based Music Producer and Location Sound Mixer for TV/Film. I help run Bad Racket Recording Studio, where a lot of what I record is bands. We are fortunate enough to live in a city with some truly phenomenal artists, and I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to record some of them. At Bad Racket, we produce a music video series called ‘Live From Bad Racket.’ In the last year I have had the opportunity to work on a more diverse selection of projects than ever before; An 18-Piece orchestra in The Cleveland Art Museum, Strings for Cleveland Playhouse, Sound for TV Shows, as well as record with some great bands like Worship This!, Clementine, The Village Bicycle, Signals Midwest, and A Work Of Fiction.” -Henri K. Rapp

“My name is Jeanette Sangston. I am the Director of Sofar Sounds Cleveland. We curate secret, intimate shows once a month in unique spaces around the city, highlighting emerging talent.” -Jeanette Sangston

“I am a press operator at Gotta Groove Records and the lead singer of Seafair and Glitter Biscuit” -Chayla Hope

For the past 8 years that I’ve lived in Cleveland, Ohio, I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions. First off, I came from Anchorage Alaska, which made me a snobby brat. I held my head high thinking nothing could top the plethora of fresh fish, tourist attractions and the small, hometown feel that the tiny city offered. I was vastly wrong. This city has grown on me like ivy on an antique brick house, pulling relentlessly at my heartstrings.

For those who’ve never been here, you probably know it from the vast majority of terrible jokes against it like ‘Mistake on the Lake,’ ‘Cuyahoga River catching on fire’ and the “At Least We’re Not Detroit” fad to name a few. Cleveland is a small city, vibrant within the community with an ever blossoming and thriving music, food, and start up scene.

Cleveland is about to host the Republican National Convention. I’m a little worried as I work downtown as most friends and family do. That being said, I do know that we had 1.3 million people crowding the downtown area at the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade, it being the biggest championship celebration in NBA history with little to no damage to the city. Are you listening, America?

What have you noticed lately in the music scene?

“One thing that’s stood out to me in recent times is up and coming labels from Cleveland, like Quality Time Records, Jurassic Pop Records, and Escapist Records who’ve been putting out some truly killer records. A lot of these releases have been cut to cassette tapes, or pressed to vinyl at Gotta Groove Records. They are a Cleveland based record plant that is one of the biggest in the country. We have a lot of friends who work over there. It’s also awesome to see cassette tapes make such a remarkable comeback as well.” -Rapp

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Chayla Hope at Jeanette Sangston’s Sofar Sounds – Photo By Ernie Joy

“Cleveland has always had a strong music scene, but it seems like there is definitely a new vibrancy. An injection of new energy. There seems to be a desire to shine the spotlight on our talent so that we can launch our artists to that next level…perhaps a national level. The realization that success for anyone in Cleveland means success for everyone; that the stronger our scene is, the stronger that spotlight is. There are so many people in Cleveland that value music…on every level…and work EXTREMELY hard to promote that value throughout the city. It’s really an awesome time to be involved in the Cleveland music scene. We have amazing talent and passion here.” -Sangston

“Its becoming more of a community. More people are supporting each other and collaborating. It’s a wonderful thing.” -Hope

On the west side, you can find a bustling downtown, the original Melt Bar and Grilled and Tremont, where you can dine at Michael Symons Lolita among other home grown eateries. Don’t worry, Trump likely won’t enter Symon’s, so if you’re looking for a safe haven during the convention you have Lola, Lolita and any of the B spot locations. But on the sprawling streets of the East Side harbor has Little Italy, a handful of art museums, University Circle at Case Western as well as some of the best hospitals (hopefully you won’t need those).

The historic Euclid Tavern is an old music venue, now home to the Happy Dog, where you can get Fruit Loops or almost any other unique topping for your hotdogs. Also if you’re looking to see national or even local acts in a small intimate atmosphere, you can hit up the Grog Shop where I’ve personally seen the likes of Saintseneca, Lucero and Nick 13. Further north in Collinwood you have the Beachland Ballroom/tavern. I recently saw Brian Fallon there and The Ohsees. The Beachland also has killer food. No kidding, you’ll cry while eating it.

How has the music scene changes effected your business and projects?

“This time of year is not only the busy season, but with an active music scene, all the film production and the RNC coming to town, I stay quite booked up at Bad Racket, doing location sound for TV shows, and mixing concerts at Mahall’s. We also have been shooting new ‘Live From Bad Racket’ videos faster then we can do the post production, so we are starting to have a nice cache of videos that we will be premiering soon.” -Rapp

“Well, there certainly seems to be no limit to the pool of talented emerging artists in Cleveland. Equally, there seems to be no limit to the amount of people willing to support and help out Sofar Sounds as well. I’m truly amazed at how generous people are when they are passionate about something. The music community is like no other. It binds strangers into family. As we grow our support, we’re able to amplify our voice throughout Cleveland and beyond.” -Sangston

What does Cleveland mean to you?

“Cleveland is a city of opportunity for people interested in creating something awesome. It’s a place where the cost of living is low, while still big enough of a city to be a cultural hub. This kind of environment is the perfect incubator for artists, musicians, writers, actors, or anyone who wants to pursue a creative career path. With more films and TV being shot here, and a surplus of great bands, it’s a great city to work in doing audio.” -Rapp

“Cleveland is home. I’ve lived here my entire life. It is the confluence of grit and culture; it is steeped in the past yet has the palpable energy of new growth. We can talk all day about all of the new construction, Public Square renovation, the revival of the Flats; but ultimately, the heartbeat of Cleveland is the people. And the energy, pride, and camaraderie was never more apparent than at the Cavs parade. THAT is Cleveland.’ -Sangston

“It’s home. Cleveland is growing exponentially. I’ve always found beauty in it, but now so many people are flocking here due to the Cavs, the food, the sights, and the booze (chuckles). Public square is helping immensely as well!” -Hope

Cleveland is a major believer in bringing new to live alongside the old, a lot of our old buildings are intact and are being reused by new up-and-coming businesses. As a transplant, coming from a relatively new state, I never had the luxury to witness much history, but it’s a wild dream imagining all those who have stepped through the same streets I currently walk through.

I work in downtown Cleveland at a market, but this place previously was a hardware store. With majestic lofts above the store, exposed ceilings and sprawling wood work, it’s a wonder this wasn’t built to be exactly what it is now: a trendy downtown market and grocery store.

What are some important aspects you think all outsiders should know before stepping into our world?

“I think people are surprised at generally how nice Clevelanders are. There may be some pre-conceived notions about us, but Cleveland is world class in every way. Food, sport, art, and music…we are the epitome of Rust Belt Revival. I would encourage any outsider to really dig in and sample the best the city has to offer. They surely won’t leave disappointed.” -Sangston

I believe Jeannette said it best. Cleveland has finished its rehab and it is completely clean now, including the brand new square which had its grand opening only about a week ago. We are a proud city, reeking of admiration for the skyline we see every time we drive up the Shoreway or fight our way through east side traffic to see the Key Tower, Terminal Tower, Justice center or the Guardians of Transportation and we know we are home.

THE PHILANTHROPIC POETRY OF NAS
June 30, 2016 1:26 pm

Who’s World is This? (The World is Yours The World is Yours) It’s Mine It’s Mine It’s Mine, Who’s World is This?

This year, the world clearly belongs to Nas. Everyone else is just living in it.

Nasir Jones–better known by his stage name Nas–is consistently ranked among the top rappers of all time. He’s been spitting bricks about social justice for minorities and growing up in the Queensbridge housing projects since he dropped his 1994 Illmatic, an essential hip-hop classic. Since then seven of his records have been certified platinum–he is an undisputed master, an urban poet laureate.

Even Harvard University can’t deny his profound impact on culture.

In 2013, Nas forged a partnership with the Ivy League School, thus establishing the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship with the broad intention of funding scholars and artists who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with Hip Hop. Now I know what your thinking–Harvard?! But hip-hop is less than 50 years old, has introduced sampling to the general collective conscious, and has been a key factor in not only enabling people of all backgrounds to think critically about society, but also acting as a tool for minorities to offer a strong sense of community and an expression of life through the eyes of the silenced. The Hip Hop Archive & Research Institute and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute will utilize the fellowship to bring in hip hop talent, fund projects, and allow the next generation of underprivileged poets to reach the pinnacle of academic achievement. It doesn’t stop there. In addition to helping pave the way for the next generation of hip-hop talent, Nas also wants to shake up the white and male-dominated tech sphere.

Nas isn’t alone in his assertion that Silicon Vally doesn’t have a diverse enough workplace–especially when you factor in that California is also one of the most diverse states in the country. Even Google admitted they needed to work on diversity when they released this report a few years ago. Then in 2014, the Internet services giant, along with Nas and software mainstay Microsoft, began collaboratively funding an initiative by The General Assembly (GA). The New York-based vocational program specializes in providing scholarships to underrepresented African Americans, Latinos and women that want to persuit a career in software engineering and web design. Pretty cool stuff Nas.

If you’re still unimpressed, Nas isn’t done giving back quite yet either. Nas will be hosting a free music festival for you New Yorkers this summer! In collaboration with his own Mass Appeal Magazine, Live At The BBQ will feature Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Shadow, Danny Brown, and Machine Gun Kelly.

THE NEW HOME FOR GAME MUSIC ENTHUSIASTS
June 14, 2016 12:23 am

Do you listen to soundtracks? Are John Williams and Marty O’Donnell your idols? Do you have epic scores constantly forming in your head? ThinkSpace Education is starting three different video game audio Masters programs that you can do from the comfort of your own bed.

These programs will be starting in September and so if you want in, better start looking into it. This will be the first ever Masters Degree(s) based in video game music and sound design. A number of people who teach are those who have worked on various famous scores, for example: Assassin’s Creed, Dragon Age, Bioshock 2 and Mass Effect. These are some of the biggest names in the industry and they would be your tutors and mentors. Pretty amazing right? Well, it gets better. 

Your job as a student would involve testing games, creating scores and sounds for those games while familiarizing yourself with a vast amount of software and hardware, most of which is used by professionals every day. The games you work on are not only trials created for virtual classroom learning, but are also part of the formation of a commercial game. That means some of your own work, or the work of your fellow students at this school, may be present in some of the games you and your friends play in the future. 

I could go on about the possibilities. ThinkSpace’s site is filled with so much stuff I have no shortage of topics to discuss about music and the games they accompany. But to wrap up, they have three specific areas to dive into. The first is in music and audio, a focus on how the music and audio interacts and portrays the game. The second is in composing, taking musical genius to the max with scores that grab the player and can even be interactive and ever changing. The third is sound design; every gunshot, animal growl and transforming robot has a unique sound, and you would be the one creating it.

If I was more involved or passionate about sound design and score developing, I would’ve applied when I first learned of it days ago. I’m not trying to sell you on this place or anything, it just seems like an awesome opportunity to expand your knowledge on something so simultaneously creative and technical. If this sounds like you, ThinkSpace is the perfect place.

AQUASONIC AND THEIR BEAUTIFULLY CREEPY MUSIC
June 8, 2016 12:17 pm

I’ll say it right now, this band is pretty amazing. I don’t care how weird or eerie their music sounds, they are super creative and deserve recognition. Also, I know that a lot of videos say “use headphones or loud speakers to feel the full effect.” Don’t ignore it this time, DO IT! Honestly you won’t get much out of this if you don’t, and it’s well worth it.

Between Music is the music company/group based in Denmark that produces this underwater concert called AquaSonic. The act itself has been in the works since 2006 with a huge number of people working on a band that plays entirely underwater. With custom instruments made (a lot of them), discovering new ways to sing underwater (inside an air bubble held in one’s mouth), ways to record the music underwater….the list goes on and I’m seriously impressed they can get it all functioning at once to be honest. Between Music has been researching for years how to create a magical way of playing music underwater. Check out their history section to see the enormous amount of work that has been put into their underwater concert.

Their debut concert was actually a little over a week ago, May 27th in Rotterdam, Holland. They caught the attention of various media groups like NowThis and the BBC. As of now, they don’t have any upcoming tour dates that I could find so if you want to see them, it might be a while unfortunately.

AquaSonic is actually the first of a four part series that Between Music is producing. The quadrology is called Human Evolution, and without question water is the first step of (hu)man’s life, an interesting concept to say the least and well represented by AquaSonic in my opinion.

If all else fails, any horror movie with an underwater theme could talk to AquaSonic for a hypnotic and haunting soundtrack. If Saw 8 ever happened, their only path to take would be a shattered submarine, with accompaniment. Love it or hate it, either way, you can’t deny the powerful waves of sound that come from AquaSonic, a truly impressive work of art.

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LESS IS MORE: INTREPID BY AO’C
June 1, 2016 12:00 pm

Actress, Producer, Humanitarian, and Fashion Designer.  Is there anything Aerin O’Connell can’t do?

I have been following O’Connell since her line appeared in a Nolcha Fashion Week show in 2015.  Her sleek designs are classic enough to feed my inner debutante and edgy enough to appease the hipster desperately trying to escape.

ATYPICALSOUNDS had the opportunity to chat with Aerin about her Autumn/Winter collection of Intrepid by A’OC at the launch party for the line’s new video. The line goes on sale this month and I will definitely be snagging the tuxedo jumpsuit and the little red dress.

INTREPID by AO’C from Gerry Sievers on Vimeo.

What made you decide to be a designer?

To be completely honest, it was a very gradual process.  It’s not one thing, I had been working in film, and kind of creative across the board but it wasn’t a conscious choice to seek out being a fashion designer.  I love designing in general, whether its jewelry, furniture, clothing.

Do you still design furniture?

Well I’ve been busy doing this, so at the moment no. But it’s something I’d like to explore in the future.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 12.02.48 PMI heard that you got started with fashion on set. How did you start leading wardrobe teams on set?

My ex-husband had a lot of faith in me to pursue that sort of aspect of film. I had produced, but wardrobe and costumes were something that he and I felt could merge as far as my love for fashion and my love for period pieces. I had gone to the School of Style in Los Angeles, because a stylist isn’t just a personal shopper. I haven’t done much more than shorts and independent films but they were featured.

You based your designs on Edward Hopper. What elements from his paintings did you incorporate into your designs?

I’m obsessed with space, and when you over-complicate scenery, [it over-complicates the] depiction of anything really.  I think this goes back to the synonymous tagline of Intrepid, that less is more. Negative space can speak volumes more than too many objects.  So I’ve always kind of related to that.  You’d look at something like Chicago and a bar, and there’s one guy at the bar, one bartender, and this perspective from across the street. Not many things are in the imagery and that’s more impactful and intense for me. Less is more is something I strive for in my everyday life within fashion, within my apartment, within furniture. It just kind of reigns through in paintings like that. It leaves room for the imagination, for perspective, for interpretation, leaving a lot of it up to the individual. I think that is far more powerful than creating it for them.

Any film plans on the table?

Yes. An old friend/producing partner and I worked on the short film “Woke Up Crying.” The director was John Ibsen, known for international trailers like “The Dark Knight.” Him and I have been working on agreeing on a project. He’s been working on “The Avengers” right now, but it’s going to be a feature. As far as documentaries go, I’m still in post production on my documentary about Liberia, and human rights, mainly women and health issues.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your designs?

Confident.

Did you grow up with an interest in fashion?

I think I always had an addiction for fashion. I loved shopping, it’s how my mother and I would bond, My interest dove deeper when my sister-in-law took me to the Lower East Side or East Village to an antique boutique to find a vintage leather bomber jacket and she sparked that interest for me. But I’ve always been into clothes.

Tell me about your biggest supporters. 

My brother, family in general, special friends in Los Angeles and CJ who has taken over and Kevin Nolan. He’s the reason why I started custom making furniture and jewelry. He also has a flair for design, and an amazing eye for aesthetics, so we’ve teamed up for renovations and other design aspects.

Where do you find inspiration when you’re stuck?

I never seek out inspiration. Inspiration finds you. I really believe in that. You can hide and run but walking out of your door every morning, things will cross your path and will stun you or spark some sort of inspiration. You just have to be willing to receive it.

What are you most proud of with this line?

The fact that I have kept going and I didn’t give up when things got discouraging and that I had the courage to move back to New York and continue what the dream really entails.

What do you have in store for the future?

Stick around and find out.

Do you have plans to head back to LA or are you staying put in New York?

I’d like to be bi-coastal, but I knew that if I wanted to continue this venture it requires my undivided attention, concentration, and seriousness so I’m here until we can get this off the ground.

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Interview has been condensed for publishing.