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Rubblebucket Q & A with singer and saxophone player Kalmia Traver

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There is one heck of a protest going down in the country right now fueled by a DIY attitude and a zealous desire for change.  If you put a soundtrack to the energy in the country what would it sound like?  Some may feel Tom Morello strumming them towards a new world.  While for others it’s something older with twangs of Dylan and Richie Havens.  In my mind its more upbeat and constructive it seems to have the heaviness of bass mixed with an uplifting horn section.  It’s got multiple voices and many heartbeats.  To me it seems that Rubblebucket, a band that lives and breathes a DIY lifestyle plays a fitting soundtrack to tone of our current movement.   A few weeks ago BOMS sent off an email to Rubblebucket’s publicist with a several questions for this eclectic band.

Here are Rubblebucket’s singer and saxophone player Kalmia Traver’s answers.

BOMS: How would you describe the type of music you are creating – dance rock, new wave, artsy pop – something else?

KT: short answer: Psychedelic Pop

long answer: Ecstatic psychedelic dance art-pop with horns and sweaty action and lots of dancing so come it’s going to be great!!

BOMS: What can one expect when coming out to see a Rubblebucket show?

KT: See above? (haha) No really… I think we all pride ourselves in being some very hard-working members of show business. We love to play live and feel the energy that comes off whoever’s in the room. We kind of live for those magical moments when a bunch of stuffed-up post-workday self-conscious people suddenly become transformed into hyper joyous dancing sirens. We all lift each other up!

BOMS: Rubblebucket seems to thrive in an upbeat sounding area.  “Came Out Of a Lady” and “Silly Feathers” are hard not to enjoy with a smile.  Your rhythms, horns and muti-layered songs drive the listener to movement.  What pushes you towards the light vs. darker side of music?

KT: This question probably has a lot of different answers, depending on which band member you ask. I will tell you my answer (Kalmia): I’ve almost never used music as a force of dark in my life. I know that many people let it plunge them deeper into their emotional lows, or have experienced it as a community which houses and enables their insecurities. But I’ve almost always been lifted up by music. Playing it and listening to it. Not always in a an annoying, cheery way, sometimes I cry, but it’s always expanded me, and pushed me forward. That’s just the reality for me, and I’m so thankful for it.

BOMS: You’ve recorded “Came Out Of a Lady” several times on different albums – have you perfected it yet or will you give it another go?

KT: The first time we recorded it was for a web series called “Masters from their day” The idea was to get bands who are good at the instruments, and record and completely mix one song in one day, in the way of the old greats. The producers wanted a new song, so we chose came out of a lady. It was only a month old, and we were really excited about it – felt it had a lot of potential. So of course that recording has got a lot of special vibe, and we also ended up using it for our music video. The new one (on Omega La La) is Eric Broucek’s take. I love them both, and probably couldn’t choose one over the other. I think that song’s done for now, but I sometimes think about going back and re-recording the song Violet Rays. It’s a beauty, and it’s evolved a lot since we first recorded it.


BOMS: How much are you influenced by musicians from today vs. Musicians from an earlier era?

KT: With some of the most amazing emerging bands that I love these days, I can hear their ears hearing old music that’s influenced me too. It’s crazy to be making music in the middle of this information-availability explosion. I get so overwhelmed sometimes, that I just shut down. But I think the truest answer to this question has to be that we all owe huge tribute to musicians of bygone eras. Lots of our sound is based on rhythmic fundamentals that flow throught the blood of humanity, and have been unveiled and discovered and expanded on through the years of pre-recorded and recorded music by awesome visionaries. Sometimes I feel all this music that’s been created in the world is a giant playground and, with our contemporaries, we are just little kids running around, all digging, playing and exploring side by side.

BOMS: So with 3 albums tucked under your belts how has Rubblebucket evolved as a band since the first?

KT: We’ve finally settled on a line-up, and we all get along with each other, for the most part. That’s pretty huge. We’ve been always following our ears and our ears have definitely been leading us somewhere. It’s a place of art and grind, synesthesia, and rolling out the carpet for people, so we can all get our free on together.

BOMS: You’ve played hundreds of shows– could you pick and describe a favorite and why?

KT: Playing at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT is always a benchmark. That is one of our biggest homes, and has some of the most loving fans, and we’re friends with everyone who works there. I think every time I’ve played there I’ve left saying “that was the best show to date”.  We’ve also had some amazing ones with very low attendance

BOMS: You’re a substantial band at 8 pieces deep already, but if you could invite any musician(s) to join you in the band (alive or dead) who would you pick, and why?

KT: First I immediately thought Moondog, but that’s just because I’ve always wanted to meet him and to collaborate with him in any way would be a dream come true. I think we could share some mutual fun with George Clinton, if he came up with us just doing his thing. We’ve got some mutual colors.

BOMS: Do you feel more comfortable playing in a live setting or in the studio?  And why is there a comfort level difference – if there is one?

KT: There are extreme pressures in both. The studio is warm, bright, smells great, and I can sip as much tea as slowly as I want. But in the end, something amazing has to come out, and I have to be happy with it FOREVER. I find myself going in and out of bouts of hilarity when we’re having fun, and then nervous heart palpitations, if something isn’t feeling right, or communication is blocked in some way. The stage and the road are very hard on the body. But the liberation is exhilarating. It is possible to get into a comfortable rhythm, but takes a lot more effort and organization (WHERE are my raisins and keys and left boot??). However, we get to play all these live shows where it’s really about “leaving it all on the stage”. I have permission every night to have a public spaz attack. Talk about emotional release!!

BOMS: If you believe music evolves over time – where do you see the Rubblebucket sound going 5 years from now?

KT: I think in a way we’ve finally made it to our sonic home, after 3 albums. Not to say that we won’t keep evolving, because that’s in our nature. Five years is a lot of time, so I suppose it’s hard to predict specifics. We’re always listening, bopping around, joking and absorbing. I think our music does have some settling to do. I can imagine softer deeper tones, and more evolved lyrics.

BOMS: What inspires you away from music – art, food, play?

KT: Absolutely. And also sex.

Rubblebucket is on tour in US through mid-November for more information visit here

Popped! Music Festival 2011 – The video recap

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Peep this music fans and watch as Foster The People, The Hold Steady, Elbow, Cage The Elephant and many more throwdown some wild times in Philly!

The Jim Jones Revue – Video from 9.16.11 – The Blockley

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Peep these wild cats from the UK throwing down the rock that they do best.  David Fricke said that this is one of the best live bands going in 2011.  They are decent but watch and decide for yourself.  Personally I feel they have nothing on a slew of bands killing it stateside.

September Music – When it rains it pours

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When it rains it pours and in Philly the month of September is packed with great music all across the city.   Over here at BOMS our September kicks off with These United States at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday the 9th.   We are really digging These United States new album What Lasts and are super excited that they warm up in Philly for their farewell bash the next eve in Washington DC as the band moves to other parts of the country (no worries they will still be playing together).

Unbelievably in some weird turn of fate the Teddybears hit Philadelphia Sunday the 11th and will no doubt sell out the North Star bar.  This will be one to catch it should be a hot little Sunday evening party over at 27th and Popular while we catch those wacky swede’s Patrik Arve and Joakim Ahlund tell us how they sold out all over the world.  Their latest album Devil’s Music has been spun all summer so hearing it done live in any form should be a blast and with this being one of only six us tour dates this is bound to get interesting.

A major nod to Sean and the R5 crew whose new venue Union Transfer is scheduled to open on September 21, 2011 with Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah.  Then on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th of September FDR park gets new version of the Popped festival.  Gone are the multi-venue fishtown days and in are some of the hottest names in the indie world.  Friday we are most excited for The Joy Formidable who played only a few months ago at Johnny Brenda’s.   After Popped this fall they will be at the stadium opening up for the Foo Fighters.  Go figure when you have a front woman like Ritzy Bryan who can produce a gutsy bit of guitar rock as good as the best of them.  Also watch The Hold Steady and Yuck rule Friday.  On Saturday besides the double dose of dance with Girl Talk and Pretty Lights we are excited for Cults and Foster the People who should get some of the largest sing-alongs as they undoubtedly will uncork the summer crowd favorite “Pumped Up Kicks.”

That’s barely a taste of all the great music plowing through the city in September weather you hit TV on the Radio at the Mann or Bass Drum of Death at the Kung Fu Necktie just be sure to get out and see some great live music.

Equifunk 2011 – Saturday’s are for Pool Parties

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Dear Parents,

My time a Camp Equifunk is going swimmingly!  I just wanted to let you know that the best kept secret in music festivals this summer was Equifunk.   Held annually in late August at a summer camp in the Pocono’s, this sucker went off like part Jam cruise, part Wet Hot American Summer.  Done as an all-inclusive festival for a few bills you get all you can eat and drink and a cabin to drop in when the days over.   Friday evening was packed with some hard hitting funk from a super group comprised of Robert Walter, Eddie Roberts and Adam Deitch.  These three slayed a two hour set and filled it with goodies from the 20th Congress, the New Mastersounds and some straight up jamming that sent our heads spinning and feet on fire.  Bottles of panty dropper (aka sweet tea vodka) went dry early due to this hot arrangement and their wild golf-cart ride through the dark woods brand of funk.  Karl Denson and his Tiny Universe was no stranger to the late night and Karl was quick to notice that many of the attendees were past campers here.  He blew apart his set with some nasty funky flute work and a stellar cover of the Cold War Kid’s “Hang Me out to Dry”.   Before we called it a night we felt it fitting to run a pair of underwear up the flag pole in a salute to all great camp antics.
Saturday started with a hearty breakfast in the mess hall and a rousing round of morning activities.  Then it was off to the E-Quatics pool complete with a stage and a massive water slide.   Saturday’s are meant for pool parties and this one was no slouch with music by Turquaz and The Big Dirty.   The party went off for 6 rowdy hours of beach balls flying, bikinis, beer, and one massive splashing finale featuring a raucous cover of The Isley Brothers Shout!  The evening brought on a lazy atmosphere and the 400 or so funk campers hung on the ball field and hills for a ribs and chicken BBQ complete with a tub of the coldest vanilla ice-cream this side of Vermont.    The evening was a blur as we polished off the remaining rum, sweat
tea vodka and some wild concoction made with Port and an unknown substance called the Brooklyn Yipper.   By the time The New Deal took the stage, the crowd and our mangy pack had collided on the dance floor and it was an all-out assault on the floor boards as we danced our way into the late-night.  When it was over we ran into Stan, a lifer at camp Equinunk who pulled us into his art studio for a late-night session with clay and his own Zen philosophy.  Thanks Stan you placed the proverbial cherry on the sundae of a perfect weekend.   So folks I am off to color war.  Please send more fresh underwear!

P.S.  Below is a video of that crazy Saturday Pool Party

Scattered Trees – Live in Philadelphia,PA – 8.15.11

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Scattered Trees is touring in support of their new album, Sympathy.  This new album offers a selection of songs penned by lead singer-songwriter Nate Eiesland as an emotional release to the passing of his father several years ago. Yes it’s moody and sensitive, but there are also holes with bright shiny light spilling through.  As a whole it’s pretty highly listenable with several twists and turns that you may not expect.  Their set in Philadelphia at the Kung-Fu necktie was short, but powerful as they expanded on several of the albums softer delivered songs.  Their live versions of “Sympathy”, “Love and Leave” and “Four Days Straight” were quite stimulating.

 

Peep “Four Days Straight” live from the Kung-Fu Necktie below.

Orbit to Leslie – Live in Philadelphia – 8.10.11

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Philadelphia’s Orbit to Leslie is a mix of musicians playing Surf and Garage rock mixed with a heafty dose of Afro-beat.  The question is does their drumming singing beast of a front man Chris Wood from Grimace Federation realize that this side-project may be just the slice of chocolete cake needed to save the world.

Country Mice – Live in Philadelphia – 8.1.11

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So a few weeks ago a wonderful new music service from Europe landed in the good ole’ USA called Spotify.  Since that evil corp. Apple killed Lala I had really missed the access to everything my heart desired musically.  Now thanks to Spotify I am back to discovering bands daily.  One of the best new discoveries I made in the past week is a band from Brooklyn called Country Mice.  To my luck they played their first show this past week in Philadelphia.

Peep the video below to see and hear their brand of Rock filled with plenty of harmonies, distortion and heart. 

Identity Festival Preview – Holy Ghost! and Afrobeta Interviews

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The electronic showcase known as the Identity Festival tour is headed our way, hitting the PNC Bank Arts Center in Camden on August 14th. The festival features a stellar line-up (see all of ‘em here).  Beat Of My Strut had a quick Q & A with two hot acts at the festival musical pioneers Holy Ghost!, and Miami’s funky duo Afrobeta!

Holy Ghost! Q&A

BOMS: In terms of music how would you describe what you play?

HG: The songs we write and play live usually live in the dance-pop-sans-irony tent at the theoretical festival of music. The music we DJ and that we make as remixers of other artists, tends to veere slightly left of that tent, into the smaller, more intimate house/disco tent.

BOMS: You have a sound that is similar to Steely Dan mixed with some pretty thumping beats.  How much are you influenced by pop rock music from the 70’s and 80’s vs. the music of today? ∙

HG: yes, we grew up in the 80′s/90′s so the records of that time period, and of our parents heyday (the 70′s) hold a special place in our own discovery of music and enjoyment of it. Of course we also listen to current music, or some, but we’re not the type of guys who have 15 terragigas of mp3s. We don’t know how to use torrent. We still buy vinyl. I barely use my ipod. We like to discover hidden and forgotten gems from other times, like antique dealers, upper west side moms, and hip hop heads do.

BOMS: I know you utilize a lot of different synthesizers – do you have a favorite?

HG: The yamaha cs 80, hands down.

BOMS: And is there a holy grail of synths that you may be on the hunt for?

HG: 10 years we looked, 10 years we searched the digital and physical marketplaces…then we found and bought a cs 80. Well nick did, but I helped carry it.

BOMS: You’ve played hundreds of show around the globe – could you pick and describe one of your favorites and why?

HG: Primavera festival 2011, barcelona spain: its 3.30am, our stage capacity Is about 8k people, barcelona has just defeated manchester united, we are the last act of the festival on that stage…..amazing. Probably more to do with soccer than our performance though!

BOMS: If you could invite any musician(s) to join you in the band (alive or dead) who would you pick?

HG:  Ooohwee . Tony thompson from chic on bass, Bernard Edwards from chic on bass, Nile Rodgers from Chic on guitar, Brian Eno on synths, Bernie Worrell on keys + percussion…so basically Talking Heads + Chic. We’d just watch.

BOMS: What inspires you away from music – art, food, play, etc?

HG: Right now we’re really into coconut water, with pulp, from Thailand.

BOMS: If you believe music evolves over time – where do you see Holy Ghosts sound going 5 years from now?∙

HG: No idea, honestly

BOMS: (Tongue and cheek Q) Does the genre Yacht Rock or Yacht House come with recommend attire best suited for listening?

HG: Gold necklace with Jewish star, faded blue Levis, open button down, moustache, boat shoes. Or I guess that’s any dude from Williamsburg as well….

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Afrobeta  Q & A

BOMS: For people unfamiliar with your music – What can people expect when coming out to an Afrobeta show?

Cuci: Lots of energy and a good time!

BOMS: How much is having a stage presence important to the style of electro-pop that you play? And how have you developed your stage presence?

Cuci: I think what is described as presence is just communicating the songs. We take our time crafting the songs and working on the live show.

Smurphio: Playing in front of a live audience, practicing and always working on new synth sounds.

BOMS: When you two pen a song who writes more for the band – Cuci Amador or Smurphio? And what influences what you write/sing about? Are there topics that are off limits?

Cuci: I’m guessing you are asking about lyrics more than music. We share the duties of writing lyrics. We like to write about real experiences. No topic is off limits!

BOMS: Do you feel more comfortable playing in a live setting or in the studio?  And why is there a comfort level difference – if there is one?

Smurphio: There is a difference to playing in front of an audience as opposed to the studio. In a live situation, it feels like a give and take with the audience. In the studio we rely on each other to get the creativity flowing.

BOMS: You’ve played hundreds of shows– could you pick and describe one of your favorites and why or pick a moment that stands out to you?

Smurphio: We played this little festival at Jimbo’s in Virginia Key called Swamp Stomp. The stage was all rickety and not much more than some wooden boards set up haphazardly. But the energy was incredible! The crowd was all around us, behind and in front and singing the songs. Amazing.

BOMS: Your video for “Play House” is ridiculously creative – what inspired this video? And how much were you involved in its creation / direction?

Cuci: The video was inspired by the director, Ruben Van Leer’s interpretation of the song.  We collaborated remotely on Dropbox.com for a month before the shoot. It was important to share ideas beforehand because we flew all the way into Ruben’s hometown, Amsterdam, for the shoot.

BOMS: If you believe music evolves over time – where do you see the Afrobeta sound going 5 years from now? And where do you see the genre of Electro-pop going in the next 5 years?

Cuci: We do believe music evolves over time.  Our sound will incorporate more exotic instrumentation.  Electro is pop right now and in 5 years it’s gonna not going to be called electro anymore.

BOMS: What inspires you away from music – travel,art,sport, etc?

Smurphio:  zoos, super bounce balls and furry animals

Cuci:  nature! We are lucky to have a lot of that here in Miami. The summer has been so fun for kayaking, paddleboarding and biking.

The Mutaytor – Live at the Blockley – 7.6.11

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Watch The Mutaytor throw down some seriously funky sounds and sights at the Blockley in Philadelphia – 7.6.11