Music

  • KEIYA

    KEIYA

    Chakeiya Richmond aka Keiya was born and raised in Chicago. While living on the south side, she was exposed to gang violence on a consistent basis, but her natural affinity to music kept her in art and music programs at the public schools she attended. She sang in the Chicago Children’s Choir while in grade school, but abandoned vocal performance for jazz saxophone in high school. After studying jazz and diaspora studies in college, she decided to leave after three years to pursue a career in vocal performance, expanding her instrumental talents to audio production and engineering. Now 23, Keiya has self-produced, self-recorded, and self-released her first solo EP “Work”, her first artistic statement of many more to come.


    Sedate: Where are you from? Where are you now, and where are you going?
    Keiya: I’m from the southside of Chicago, this neighborhood called Chatham. I’m in the Bronzeville neighborhood now and actually moving at the end of the month (August) to central Jersey. Some super last minute things happened and I’ve got to get out of my apartment so I’m going to go live in Jersey and transition to live in NYC some months from that point.
    I’m so excited; I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life, and I have traveled to other places, but I never lived anywhere else but here. I feel like I’m 18 going away to college.
    S: Growing up as a woman of color, let alone being a woman, how has oppression affected your mental health?
    K: Being a woman of color has empowered me, but it’s also affected my mental health my entire life. I grew up in an all black neighborhood I went to a predominantly black public elementary school. I went to a high school that was about 80% black, I pretty much grew up only seeing and knowing people that looked like me in terms of black people in America. Chicago is extremely segregated and I grew up feeling the harshest effects of the systematic racism in this city. As I got older I would travel to other parts of the city and see the dramatic differences in the various neighborhoods; it was shocking and troubling to me. I was fortunate enough to have the mindset and tools that allowed me to excel in school; I was afforded the luxury of participating in a lot of activities outside of school, mainly in the arts -- I would be around other kids that were gifted like me, but weren’t poor like me. I started to learn what it felt like to be othered.
    When I got to college I started experiencing depression. Knowing that being a woman of color, specifically being a black woman, all of the sudden all of these things that belonged to me didn't belong to me. I was already sort of crippled by the effects of systematic oppression in Chicago, but as an artist this really went deep for me on top of that. I felt like my life and culture is of no value if I am creating it. I was a jazz major at Columbia College and the program was relatively diverse, but still predominantly white. I remember feeling upset because I’d be playing at the same level as some of my white peers, but still see those peers get recognized or awarded before me. You learn that being black, and being a woman, you have to be twice as good to be looked at as the same level. Learning about the history of the culture, our culture, and then realizing that it all resulted in deep appropriation and being pushed through the education complex being taught through outside lenses, it was deeply troubling for me.

    S: Did you have any release other than your music which you used to escape this oppression and misappropriation of your culture? Do you find any outlets that help you deal with situations like these?
    K: Honestly, making music and producing music was the only real outlet I had. Connecting with other like minded people helped me a lot as well. I have had the opportunity to run into very few but very good and real people that can relate to me. Social media was a good outlet for me when I was in my late teens, because it was a marketplace for people at so many different walks of life. People I never met would write about experiences just like mine, and it was relieving just to know that you're not alone, and that you are not experiencing this alone. It gave me hope - I knew that if I was experiencing this and could find twenty other girls on the internet that were experiencing this, then it means there are millions of other girls around the world that are experiencing this. It gave me the idea that I could use my art to touch those millions of others.
    S: Right. Thats a great way of looking at it and especially dealing with something when it affects you your whole life, it always makes you feel less crazy when people are like you especially when you find that group of people.
    K: Yeah, it always does. I was watching a segment on the Melissa Harris-Perry show about this journalist who went to Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. She was traveling and talking with the people in Salvador who had African lineage. It almost brought me to tears, because she was talking about how you would be in the United States and unless you were in black neighborhoods, especially in major cities, you are kind of used to the idea of not being a majority, instead being the minority. Being the different one. Being an ‘other’ among a ‘normal’ blanket set of people. She was talking about how she was in Salvador, everyone looked just like you, and it wasn't even a big deal. You weren't even contemplating the image of yourself because you look around and everyone around you is black. Everyone around you has nappy hair. Everyone around you was happy to see you, and happy that you are you, and that they are them, and it was always celebrated. They even had murals mourning the deaths of some of the blacks killed by police over here. At the end I was like “Wow she is right, you never experience any of that in America.”

    S: In February you released ‘Work’ EP, in collaboration with Khallee (formerly part of JODY). There is something about ‘Work’ that seems very intimate. What were your influences, and/or motivations when writing this EP?
    K: In general, the entire project was written and produced all by myself, with the exception of “Baby” with Khallee, he wrote his lyrics. I did ‘Work’ while I lived in a basement apartment with my boyfriend. It was the winter time, and we had no heat or hot water. We literally just had a space heater and electric burners, and we had to stay in our bedroom when we came into the house because no other part of the apartment was heated. It was wild! I was on edge all the time. It was freezing outside and I would go home knowing it wasn’t going to be much warmer. Thats like where my general headspace was all the time. ‘Work’ was kind of like me proving to myself that I was capable of completing a project like that.
    Before writing that record, I hadn’t sang since I was in middle school. I was thinking about trying something new, but really doubted myself and doubted that I could pull off a singing career. I would go back and listen to Supa Dupa Fly, Missy Elliott's album. I was listening to a lot of femme fatales, but really strong and not typically pop-sexy artists.
    I was fortunate enough to meet Khallee on Twitter randomly. I think we were just following each other for awhile and he was like “come to my show!” but I was in Jersey at the time and couldn’t make it. Eventually he came over to my house when we were working on “Runaway”, a record with KYWO. I had him come over again and I was like “I have this rough idea for a hook do you want to do your thing?” He just went on the mic in my room and spit his verse and it came to life. He’s one of the few artists I know personally that just gets it, he’s an amazing talent. Rounded out the whole thing.

    S: If anything, what would you like to see change in today’s youth culture, and what are you doing to change that?
    K: My major issue with youth culture is the culture of mediocrity that’s emerged. The thing about the internet is that it is a blessing and a curse, a double-edged sword. The internet has opened up all these new opportunities for education that it is so important -- you don’t have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have access to education. You can go on Youtube and learn how to mix a record, or you can go to Wikipedia and learn how to write a check or about your ancestors, or literally anything else. I think that is great because it encourages our youth to learn and try to do things at a younger age. People are coming up a lot younger doing things. That’s incredibly important and positive. The issue with that is the culture of instant gratification we now expect; getting used to the idea of not having as hard to reap benefits. Hard work builds character, and I feel like that essence is getting lost.

    Check out music from KEIYA HERE and grab a hard copy of "Psyche" here!

  • The JAG

    The JAG

    By name alone, The JAG may suggest hard corners and sharp edges, but their baroque moods comprise more winding curves than straight lines.  Founding members Aaron Tyler King, Joe Regan and Gant O’Brien are going on a 10-year history of musical collaboration spanning three bands, originating in the saintly Southern Gothic heat of Jackson, Mississippi.  Finding themselves in Nashville, TN in 2012, the three joined with Scott Harper to form The JAG and have been evolving in fascinating ways ever since.

    Starting with an informed homage to 60’s acid rock and early glam, the band quickly progressed into a rare mix of influences.  Singer Aaron Tyler King tangos like a bayou David Byrne, calling out opaque aphorisms with the same clarity and conviction.  Highly composed, slanty keyboard hooks and bass lines pay clear respect to the likes of Brian Eno in his famous work on Bowie’s Heroes.  Brooding shoegaze occasionally peeks in the door, Marc Bolan tips his enormous top hat, and the ever-present psychedelic groundwork ties the music with a fancy bow into a compelling whole.


    Sedate: How did you all meet?
    The JAG: The three founding members (Joseph Regan, Aaron Tyler King and Gant O'Brien) met in Jackson, Mississippi while still in High school circa 2004. In 2011 we headed to Nashville after forming and dissolving a few groups. We felt the need to grow. Mississippi could no longer help us take on higher artistic endeavors.
    We didn't look far for our drummer, Scott, the next door neighbor... he casually jumped our fence to crash our first shindig in Nashville. Shortly after, we picked up Nick Vallas, our auxiliary percussionist, from a rival Mississippi band.
    S: You are releasing a brand new full length album this fall; can you tell us a little bit about it? Any important influences? Any anxieties?
    TJ: "Pondermental Wonderment In Hypocricity" is our most important first attempt to break away from our roots. We have become indifferent towards the industry influenced Nashville sounds. We consider this a transitional album, as it begins to appeal to our diverse taste and musical obscurities. Our anxieties are typically those of the financial variety, being we are still independent completely.
    S: What do you find to be the hardest when distinguishing yourselves from all the other bands, specifically rock bands in the music industry? How did you find your sound?
    TJ: We wear our influences on our sleeve as if we're comfortable in our own skin. You know, Talking Heads comes up a lot…
    S: Other than the release of your new album this fall, what is next for The Jag? Any tours planned?
    TJ: We are busy recording demos in preparation for a winter release. Fall tour dates will be announced shortly. We'll be seeing you at CMJ for sure.
    S: If anything, what would you like to see change in today's youth culture?
    TJ: "You must not act the way you were brought up." Think for yourselves. Be a team leader. Smoke some acid. Whatever works for you? Stop breeding.

    Listen to Mississippi Acid Pine Highway tour from The JAG below.

    New music out January 2016.

     

  • Khallee

    Khallee

    Khallee is a musician originally from Chicago, Illinois where he was a vocalist in the supergroup JODY. Prior he has traveled around the United States everywhere from Alabama to Arizona winning the BET 106 and Park freestyle championship to being undefeated in 92.3 FM's battle rap segment for an entire month to be the youngest person to retire. What started as singing and formed into rapping and is currently in a hybrid of both. “As long as the expression feels right it can only get more interesting from here on out.”



    Sedate: You have collaborated with a lot of Chicago based artists including KEIYA, KIT, and Supreme Cuts. What are you dream collaborators and why?
    Khallee: I never really think about that. It's always fun to know that there's a possibility to work with someone whose sound will mesh in a crazy way to what I'm doing. I just want to work with all the heavy hitters at this point. Number of plays doesn’t mean anything as long as it's something we all believe in that's a true expression of how we feel and will catch people's attention. Mainly the best part of collaborating is not knowing who the next person will be or what sound will be created.

    S: You released Crying Diamonds, your debut since pursuing music solo from JODY. What were your aspirations when releasing this EP?
    K: Releasing Crying Diamonds was pretty much an invite that I made myself to be allowed into the party in terms of people who are regarded as serious artists, and also the musical resume that opens the door for new opportunities. When you have a solo project you want people to feel that they get a sense of who you are and where you're coming from, which I believe I did. The goals for this album was to make something that shows people around me that I am capable of making a cohesive musical project that people can enjoy.
    S: This EP also seems very emotional, and moody. What was your state of mind while making Crying Diamonds?
    K: During Crying Diamonds there were a lot of new things being presented. I had to get used to a different rhythm that wasn't the plan and so did Bob, who is responsible for most of the production. There was just so much noise/paper shuffling going on and in the midst of it all I had to get heard. My mind was set on getting this out and starting a new chapter with those that helped and those that respect what I do. I wanted it to be a tru representation of how I felt it should be. ‘The Grey’ and ‘2 Layers’ were pretty much songs about transformation and doing a personal inventory of your life while not forgetting the bigger picture. As far as motivation, the news is motivation, the doubters are motivation, the believers are motivation, and people in general are motivation...seeing your nieces and nephews outgrow their clothes that's motivation. Also just seeing people of color prosper but then battle the same injustice we faced when we first got here. It's a crazy time.



    S: Recently you moved from Chicago to New York. Was this something you did for your music career? If so, what is next for you?
    K: Yes, I did move to New York from Chicago for my music career. I'm at the point where this is my life, this is my pursuit and in Chicago it was just getting too unnecessarily difficult. When the floodgates opened everyone's attitudes were all fucked up or something (catch 22 type shit) my life was a gamble based on living down South and commuting all over the city and being in so many different environments. Dealing with gangs, racism, etc. to a different degree. I needed a newer outlook no matter what so long as it is worth it. This is the city of opportunity and that's what I'm looking for and trying to create for myself. What's next for me? More music, more promotion, and expanding my library and creating more experiences that lead to success.



    S: If anything, what would you like see change in today's youth culture?
    K: In today's youth I would like to see more trust but that's not really their fault. I would like to see more community involvement. Just originality as well, but these are things that the elders must do. I find it hard to point the finger at youth because they are the reaction to what's actually happening so it all starts with examples and whatever the example is if destructive has to be deconstructed in some way. More vulnerability would make us so much more powerful and having the courage to believe wild concepts in the face of extreme odds, man that's what the youth is for.

    Listen to Crying Diamonds EP below.
    Photos: Giles Pates
    Clothes: Third Fernandez

     
  • Gel Set

    A fixture of the Chicago DIY electronic scene, Laura Callier has logged years of synth programming and vocal experimentation under the Gel Set pseudonym, as documented on physical releases with Chi Town-based imprints like Lillerne, Modern Tapes, and Notes And Bolts. Her forthcoming full-length Human Salad LP, due July 7 (out now) on Moniker Records, showcases her most complex compositions to date, animated in equal parts by her detached lead vocalizations and the technoid arrangements issued from her web of hardware.


    Sedate: You were recently on tour with Matchess, can you tell us a little bit about life on the road?
    Gel Set: This tour was fun/amazing all in all...but also pretty rough. Our Madison and Minneapolis shows were killer, then we had a paranormal experience in Montana that was immediately followed by four cancelled shows. Coincidence? Perhaps. Rolling down the coast was rad...got offered a potential art residency in Portland at our show, walked on the beach after our show in Arcata, danced our asses off at our show in Oakland, met so many amazing people along the way, but from the coast back to the Midwest has been some long drives with little sleep. 

    I get it: I'm so lucky/spoiled I can roll through the country in a busted station wagon and get paid to share my art, I am so so so so so so privileged, but days after days of overnight drives and only eating Combos and chocolate covered pretzels and sleeping in parking lots and under trees in public parks makes me question my sanity and life choices. I’m almost 36 years old. What the hell am I doing? Normal people have boyfriends and jobs. I wish I had either. Or both. Hell, two of each! I feel like there's this perception that life on the road is super wild, but I’m actually a big square and always stay soberish so I can take care of my gear and drive after the show. That's one of the downfalls of being a solo act--no one can take care of me if I get too messed up and I feel like I have to stay soberish and alert especially as a woman on the road.
    S: You recently released your first full-length album Human Salad, on Moniker Records. Can you talk a little bit about your writing process, and of course how you came up with the title?
    GS: I wrote this album in 2 parts: half the songs I wrote while living in the woods in North Carolina in isolation while losing my mind and being the loneliest I've ever been, and half I wrote in Chicago because I got obsessed with this $800 Shure microphone I borrowed from SAIC. The phrase Human Salad was something I’ve had in my pocket for a while--a teacher in a freshman composition course accidentally misspoke and said "human salad" instead of "human sexuality" once, and it sort of blew my mind...especially as an accidental substitute for human sexuality.



    S: What are some tips you would give to someone who is trying to pursue electronic music?
    GS: Play with other peoples' gear, find some gear you fall in love with. People get really snobby about gear but it doesn't matter what you use, just use what you like and what you think sounds cool. If you aren't good enough to play with other people, do your own thing, that's what I did. The way I started was by jumping in and messing around with gear before I knew what I was doing, without any purpose or preconceived notion. This gave me the advantage of when people didn't like my stuff or told me I sucked I wasn't bothered by it because I wasn't trying to be good, I wasn't trying to be anything, I was just having fun. I think you should just have fun making sounds. I spend a lot of time thinking about how narcissistic the act of creating something and giving it to the world and wanting the world to care is, and I try to counter that by being fun and funny.
    S: What would you like to see change in today's youth?
    GS: I get so freaked out by these witch-hunts and public shaming that happen online these days, on Facebook and otherwise. Everyone is in everyone else’s business. Everyone is expected to take a side. People throw around charged buzzwords and then you can’t argue with them. I don’t know--I think the passion and activism of today's youth is amazing and admirable but the internet is a powerful force to destroy someone and I hope people think about that.
    S: What is next for Gel Set?
    GS: I am doing an East Coast tour in August with Spa Moans, releasing a tape on MJMJ in December and then I have no idea!! Hopefully buying a yacht with all my tour profits! If you see any yachts that are for sale for like $30 let me know.

    More from Gel Set here.
  • Fatal Jamz

    Fatal Jamz

    To some, Marion Belle is the lost love child of Cindi Crawford and Johnny Thunders - a heavy metal angel, a glam serenader. The Sunset Strip of his idols Axl Rose, and Sebastian Bach, and the Beverly Hills boulevards of George Michael and Billy Idol, gave him the chills. Moving to L.A. Belle had found his spiritual home where he vowed always to “Raise Cain, chase sex action, and Sing.” 

    Under the name Bowery Beasts, Marion wrote an anthemic album, Friendship, produced by alt. rock legend Ken Andrews, with Andrews labeling him “the most dangerous rock star I’ve seen in a long time.” On the streets, the group began making a scene, sharing bills with the infamous glam band Fancy Space People, where he met former Germs drummer Don Bolles who described Marion as ‘a pretty Tiny Tim fronting the early Faces…” They became the go-to choice to open sold out shows for out of town headliners like Tame Impala. Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols called Bowery Beasts his favorite new group and touted Belle as a true heir to Freddie Mercury. Their single “He Was Your First Tattoo” was on heavy rotation on his KROQ radio show Jonesy’s Jukebox. 

    In 2013 he released the debut Fatal Jamz record Vol.1, with cult label, Burger. This record and the subsequent EP “Young Bitches in Love” were produced with Dan Horne (Beachwood Sparks, The Lilys), Evan Collins Conway (Holy Shit), and Nicolas Allen Johns. In 2014 good friends Smith Westerns invited the band on their “Western Sky” tour with Sky Ferriera. 

    Since 2010 Belle has released 7 albums of a highly singular brand of heavy metal glam and new romance. He’s been profiled in Vice and released music videos he made with his girlfriend on Purple Oyster and Stalker. The message in the music has always been constant - “Nothing’s going to keep me from paradise” - songs written out of wild romance, true love, and glory, like sonic amulets wrapped in the thin but unmistakable mist of Polo Sport. In 2015, Burger Records will release the second Fatal Jamz full-length, “Gigolo 


    Sedate: Where are you from? Where are you going?
    Marion Belle: I’m from a place where you run through the woods with the homecoming queen after the big game, where you whisper in the dark as the rain starts to fall on the windshield of her white BMW - a Whitesnake song is playing softly, and in the mist you recognize a place, not so far off, called Paradise.
    I came to L.A. because of the Sunset Strip, because of Tom Cruise movies, and because of my destiny, my shadow was there. It was about infinite mystery, about glory, and it still is. I’m going where only thugs dare to tread, chasing the flame, living for wild emotion.
    S: Gender identity seems to play a role in your music, can you define gender? 
    MB: Gender is standing your ground wherever you are, whether you’re a male or female, being in touch with your true self. I don’t really see or think of myself as androgynous, though a lot of people seem to. I’m just a healthy young male embracing what makes me feel powerful and free and like my ideal of masculinity. I saw an interview a long time ago where a late night host was asking Billy Bob Thornton why he wore Angeline Jolie’s panties. It was supposed to be a joke like he was weird for doing that, and to me it would be insane if he didn’t. When I was maybe a freshmen in the high school locker room there was this older boy who wore these purple Calvin Klein’s instead of the standard boxers or whatever. People teased him of course but he was such a stud, so confident in himself and obviously in touch with himself, that he was already beyond the scene. He was like Richard Gere in American Gigolo, ready for adventure at every turn, and I knew that was how I was inside.
    S: Who is the audience you aim to provoke, and how do you acheive that? 
    MB: The search to not let anything touch the glamour and fire I feel deep inside, and to help others keep that alive - that runs through my music. When I get my hair ready, and my lips, and my clothes on, that’s like when rappers put on their ice and their gold chains, going to go meet the day. It’s not for the show, it’s for me to pay tribute to the danger and sacredness of the chance to live my way - and I work on songs everyday trying to capture that amulet in a bottle for myself and hopefully for many others who feel the same. I know they do. I don’t know who my audience is. I want it to be everyone. But I think a lot about the music and the voices and the poets that changed my life and girls’ houses when their parents were away, and looking for my own magic.

    "Thug Youth" shot and edited by Abigail Briley Bean.

    Interview originally conducted for "Opaque", Issue 002 of Sedate Zine.

  • Abe

    Abe

    Abe is a London based storyteller who is primarily an actor and filmmaker. He works closely with Cecile Emeke and releases music whenever he feels like it.

     

    Sedate: What is the message behind your music and what drew you to become a musician?
    Abe:  I've never really considered myself as a musician you know? Don't know why. I guess I am now (haha)! I just like how music can tell a story that is so detailed and engaging in only 3 or 4 minutes, and,  that story can stick with you forever. I guess the messages in my music are primarily to myself. To remind me of things I've discovered about life and myself. About his best to live, lessons I've learned when I became more free and when I was more bound. And then I put it out and see who might relate. 
    S: Aside from music, you're also an actor, writer, and director. Can you tell us about things you're working on in those fields?
    A: I'm currently training as an actor at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and that takes up about 90% of my life at the moment. Acting is the art form I would say I'm most expert at. I hope to continue to write and direct more films and I have scripts ready and waiting for when I leave drama school. At the moment the most immediate contact I have with film is helping out on Cecile Emeke's projects.
    S: How do you feel about the way media and pop culture portray women negatively for doing things that men rarely get questioned for?
    A: It becomes more and more ridiculous to me everyday and it is infuriating. The powers that be in those industries know now that those portrayals make them money so they won't stop it for the good of anybody. I feel that it's our responsibility to educate each other on the dangers of media representation and exposing the malicious intentions behind them. Ultimately it's men who need to wake the flip up and understand that their unwillingness to face their own humanity leads to the damage of that of women.
    S: Being from the United Kingdom, what are some differences in the types of racism that you experienced compared to the United States?  
    A: Micro Aggressions are the same wherever you are I think but perhaps because living in Britain where they are in such denial of their bloody history the hate is more hidden. I think as a younger and dumber Abe I viewed America as worse but now I know better. At least in America slavery is an accepted event in history of common knowledge. You struggle to find Brits who know and accept the colonial history of their country let alone their involvement with slavey. 
    S: What do you want to see change in today's youth?
    A: I'm not sure there's any change I need to see really. A lot of the youth around me are really proactive and are striving to know themselves. I guess I would say to keep on going.
    S: Are there any upcoming projects you're working on that we can look forward to?
    A: Yeah!  I'm releasing another EP called 'Speak' in a few weeks! So keep an eye out!
    
    

    Check out more of Abe's music here.

  • Dam Gila

    Dam Gila

    Dam Gila is the solo project from Chicago native and YAWN front man Adam Gil. In his first album, ‘So Long, Leisure’ he explores the glam and soul elements of songwriting. Inspired by ‘60s and ‘70s greats like The Mamas & The Papas, Harry Nilsson, Elton John, and T. Rex, he creates a lush and fuzzy dream world dense with melodic hooks and synaptic harmonies. The sound is thick and the arrangements are big, creating an atmosphere one would assume is a band of many. The sunny vibes fit well in summer or spring, which is odd considering he wrote and produced the album during a brutal winter in Chicago locked away in a basement. But the cozy bubble Dam Gila cocoons you in is not all fine and sweet – themes of disenchanted youth, dying love, and drug abuse are all present on ‘So Long, Leisure’.  If the vocals don’t kill you with melody, the searing guitar runs will; Dam explores his instrument of choice, letting it guide the way throughout most of the album.  He asserts himself as a musician of many sorts and proves his knack for songwriting, suggesting it is not only a fruitful hobby but also his therapy. The doors are wide open and the sky is high for this burgeoning project!

    Live session videos of "Look To The Morning", and "History" below.


    Sedate: Dam Gila is a lot different from your other band Yawn. What is the inspiration behind this solo project?
    Dam Gila: It was a combination of things. We had just been kicked out of our living space/recording studio/venue (called FeelTrip) and I was living back at my parents'. I had accumulated a lot of gear so I set up in their basement and just started writing and recording. I was way up on the North Side so the other Yawn guys would rarely come up because it was so out of the way. Just having that time to myself was probably the biggest inspiration for Dam Gila. I also started embracing a more conventional/traditional approach to songwriting and recording, and that felt nice and different from the Yawn stuff, which was always sample or loop based. I guess I just wanted to flex some muscles and see if I could make a very different record entirely on my own.
     S: Psychedelic rock is quite popular at the moment (Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra); what musicians (old and new) have inspired this project?
    DG: I think psychedelia of some sort is always going to be around and we've seen it manifested in different ways over the years. Right now it seems pretty guitar based, maybe with a mix of vintage synth sounds and R&B styling’s. Yawn toured with Tame Impala back in 2011 and I remember thinking 'this is kind of just cock rock with Beatles sounding vocals' (haha), but their stuff is amazing and I started embracing guitar-oriented music again because of them. I love UMO (Unknown Mortal Orchestra) as well and I think a lot of bands these days are revisiting such classic sounds because those recordings from the 60’s and 70’s are so solid and pleasing to the ear. It took a lot of talent back in those days to get into a studio and have your song produced, so that really shines through in the music from that era. I think my version of psychedelia is a combination of an Eno-inspired synch/soundscape mindset and me trying to emulate classic rock artists like Harry Nilsson, Fleetwood Mac, The Mamas and the Papas, T Rex, and of course, The Beatles.

    S: "So Long Leisure" seems very personal. Can you talk about your writing process/the headspace you were in when writing this album?
    DG: It was a pretty harsh change of pace moving from a DIY event space on the pulse of the music scene, where every weekend was a party, to my parents', where I’d go out maybe once a week and just work and chill with my cat. It was a pretty weird time for me and I think everyone involved in FeelTrip was feeling pretty down. It definitely seemed like a crossroads of sorts - do I keep doing this music thing and stay in the scene or do I totally change gears and focus on a money-minded career? Generally, I tend to internalize conflicting emotions like that and I suppose it all permeated out into the songs I was writing. I've always been inspired by the power of super honest, autobiographical songwriting like a lot of John Lennon's stuff, so I took a page from him. I felt like I had some pretty deep emotional reserves to pull from, so I did.

    S: What do you find to be the most challenging, and rewarding as an indie artist?
    Marketing and selling music is the most difficult part for me. I guess it's just not that rewarding for me to try to sell X many CDs or put together a line of merchandise, etc, even though that's what keeps artists afloat these days. Developing a visual aesthetic is pretty challenging too, but I've been having some fun with that for Dam Gila - mainly glamming up mine and my band mates' wardrobes. I'd say the thrill you get when you've successfully taken what was in your head and made it into something real for others to enjoy is probably the most rewarding experience as an artist. Also, playing an awesome show to a good crowd is pretty sweet.
     S: What is next for Dam Gila?
    DG: I'm going to just keep cranking out music. I've had a surge of creativity since Dam Gila started and I think the more I try to write, the more I will write so I'm going to try to keep it up and hopefully get another release out this year. Also trying to play a bunch of shows in Chicago and planning a tour out east this coming June with other FeelTrip acts. Should be something like a circus where everybody's in each others' bands and we all swap instruments, etc. There's also a video in the works for the song "History" that I'm super excited about. And more than anything, I'm going just go to thrift stores and scour the women's aisles for as many sparkly/sequined/fuzzy pieces of clothing as I can find. ;)

    Check out more from Dam Gila.
    Portrait by Mike McCafery
  • Starchild

    Years ago, Bryndon Cook wrote down the name of what would be his first 5 releases as the R&B/ Sophistipop project: STARCHILD & THE NEW ROMANTIC. The first two, RAD! & Night Music, were heavily focused in Hip Hop and came as Cook began studying for an Acting BFA at SUNY Purchase. In his last two years, he would begin working on his third release: Crucial. At the time, Cook was & still is unsigned. “I can’t explain that,” the songwriter, vocalist & multi-instrumentalist confesses. “All I know is that I had these titles in mind and that my name would be, Starchild.” In homage to his deep love of P-Funk mythology, Cook adopted the moniker as a salute to that era. “New Romantic (on the other hand) is a nod to the other side of the pillow,” he says, “a marriage of two influential eras in my musical makeup & DNA.” Cook was convinced of his trajectory and began to forge steps in his journey even before graduation.

    By his third year, RAD! had caught the attention of Chairlift’s Patrick Wimberly, who Cook took on as a mentor. Wimberly introduced Cook to Solange Knowles who auditioned him for her band. Since 2013, Cook has played many festivals (Glastonbury, Coachella & more) with Knowles as her primary guitarist, background vocalist & keyboardist and contributed to her coming solo album. Night Music caught the ear of Devonté Hynes, who enlisted Cook to collaborate in his live shows with Blood Orange. In 2014, he joined Adam Bainbridge’s pop-funk project Kindness as a touring musician, adding on to his resume. On his own, Cook has since interned at Pitchfork Media in Brooklyn and worked as a session musician with Sampha, Pale, Quincy Vidal & his co-producer (and best friend) Lord Raja. As graduation neared, work on Crucial picked up. The first single, “Relax”, was picked up by Knowles’ Saint Records release Saint Heron and featured in the breakout film, Dear White People. “All My Lovers” featured a self-directed video from Cook released on The Fader. He is currently working on a documentary concert film which accounts a New Romantic show at Brooklyn’s Babys All Right in Sept. One must ask, if all of this has been accomplished under the gauze of higher learning, what is to happen when the genie is set free? We will have to find out what the future holds.


    Sedate: Music seems to be a huge part of your life, whether that is playing with musicians like Solange, Dev Hynes, and Kindness, or working on your own project Starchild. Can you tell us about what keeps you going?

    Bryndon Cook: Literally just trying to stay alive. I tell people that a lot. They laugh because I don't think they understand. But for me it all boils down to: staying alive and making life an enjoyable experience for myself and for those around me.  


    S: Where does the name "Starchild" come from?

    BC: Starchild is derived from P-Funk mythology, of Parliament Funkadelic. ( That was my favorite band growing up & still is to this day.) He is a character that frees the minds of the masses through the funk, to be brief. I'm not always as funky as I wanna be yet, but I'm getting there. There was something heroic and brave in the power of that mythology. It's something that I can identify with that helps me conquer fear, insecurity, or what have you. 
    S: The lyrics in "All My Lovers" seem very personal and close to you. Who and/or what inspires your songwriting?

    BC: A lot of phantom composite characters. I think with my songwriting, the "what" comes out more than the "who". AML was the first song I wrote after my last hip-hop EP in 2012. Even when I was rapping, I was only writing from experiences of heartbreak. Guess that kinda got amplified more as time has gone on. The hardest thing sometimes can be in trying NOT to write a song called "Gee, I'm Lonely pt.2" but still try to remain as honest as possible.
    S: What would you like to see change with today's youth culture?
    BC: Less talk, more do. No more "in the studio 🔥🔥" selfies. Just drop the tape!

    S: What is next for Starchild, and you as a touring musician?
    BC: More Solange & Kindness shows. Maybe TV. Less talk, more do. Maybe two releases. Stephen Curry as MVP. Less talk, more do. Starchild Concert Film. More secrets.

     

  • Chemise Cagoule

    Chemise Cagoule is a dream pop project from the mind of provocative underground artist Jack Collier. According to Bullett Magazine, "Chemise Cagoule builds a bridge between terror and glamour, pop aesthetics and punk intentions" Since the public launch of the previously anonymous act, Chemise Cagoule has toured throughout Chicago and New York and has debuted two singles - the bass-y, throbbing "Violet" and her nightmarish counterpart, "Violet PT II." The near future will see the premiere of an EP, music video and more live performances, with every moment more mystifying than the last. 

    Streaming above is an exclusive mix for Sedate. Relax as Chemise Cagoule presents a dream journey that lingers in lush melodies, glides through murky waters and arrives, sleepy-eyed and enchanted, in a fantasy world. Notable landmarks on the voyage include fellow Chicago underground songstress Gel Set, new music from Chromatics, and the premiere of Chemise Cagoule's own b-side, "Dunes."



    Sedate: Where does the name Chemise Cagoule comes from?
    Chemise Cagoule: A chemise cagoule was a nightdress perpetuated by the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages that was designed to allow penetration but prevent pleasure during sex. 

    S: What are your ties to Catholicism? How does that play a role in your music making?
    CC: I have no ties to any religion. I've heard my mother say that she wishes she believed in something, but I don't. I wouldn't choose the path of willful ignorance, though I think religion and mythology are interesting to study. Yet despite my aversion, I keep finding religious references in my work. I usually write lyrics in a sort of exquisite corpse method, then go back and refine them a little. In "Violet Pt. II," for example, I say "I'm calling devil on a holy ghost who betrays my name and incinerates my love." Those are the original scratch lyrics I just blurted out when writing the melody but I kept them. 
    S: Who and/or what inspires your music?
    CC: Too much to name, but for third specific era in Chemise Cagoule, I'm mostly inspired by dreams and nightmares, beauty, and heartbreak. CC will always be a dream pop act, but these current songs all flirt with disco noir, synthpop, and punk. 


    S: Chemise seems to be very ambiguous; does gender play a role here?
    CC: Chemise Cagoule is a dream would, and a dream world should be untethered by ideas like gender. 
    S: What do you want to see change in today’s youth culture?
    CC: I'd like to see us exploring certain ideas further rather than policing each other so much. It's a lame trend that people are so aggressively obsessed with being politically correct - and it's also a dangerous one because censorship, the worst thing, starts to come into play.
    S: Who and/or what keeps you motivated?
    CC: The small but tangible steps toward a future that more closely resembles my dreams. I want my grandma to have a pop star for a grandson.

    S: What are your dreams? (or describe your dream world)

    CC: Like most people, I have the kinds of dreams that linger, where you fall in love with someone in the dream or something about it leaves a hold on you for a while after you're awake. There are dreams that are surreal, where logic and reason are irrelevant, and there's dreams that disintegrate as you try to remember them. I suffer from night terrors where I wake up screaming and my nightmares for a few seconds bleed into reality. And of course, there are wet dreams. Chemise Cagoule embodies all of these.

    More from Chemise Cagoule

  • marathon

    marathon

    Sedate: Where are you from? Where are you going?
    Marathon: I’m from Chicago, IL and I’m staying in Chicago, IL.
    S: What inspires you and your music?
    M: I have a pretty mild form of Synesthesia, which makes me equate sounds with colors. The last thing that I did was kind of an opaque blue, but now I’m in this light purple phase. The thing that I’m trying to do is keep a unified feeling within the project whether it be an EP, LP, mix-tape or whatever but its to get that color visual.
    S: Talk to us a little bit more about Synesthesia. What exactly is that?
    M: It varies with different cases. I think it's different for everyone. I mean, it's hard to explain because it's not tactile, and it's really abstract even in my mind. Basically when I hear sounds, I see colors. Sometimes it can be easier for me to compose a song based on that. I've met some people who can't drive with the radio on because the colors will impair their vision and it can actually cripple someones life.  My synesthesia isn't ike that. 
    S: When did you first notice that you had Synesthesia? And, is this a constant phenomena or does it happen at specific moments?
    M: Yeah, I mean it usually happens in a quiet setting with some music playing. I think music is a definite factor and that's why it plays such a role when I'm trying to make music. I actually noticed first when I was taking a music course in college. Some other kid in the class had it, and I was super interested, so we started talking about it and through talking I realized that I was doing the same exact thing. And then I, you know, went home and did some research, and that’s actually kind of how a bunch of people realize that they have it. You go through your whole life without realizing that it’s different. 
    S: Who and/or what keeps you motivated?
    M: My friend Justin Demus. Justin and I work together at least 3 or 4 times a week, so I'm always trying to do something better than him, and vice versa. We are always competing with each other -in a friendly way. We do everything musically together. We have a show at the Whistler on the 16th, and we just did Reggies Rock Club two weeks ago. I feel like not too many people in the city are making music in our genre (electronic influence based music) and for us to be the only ones we know about in our peer group is also a pretty big motivation. We want to bring that sound to Chicago because we (Chicago) kind of invented electronic music, as well as house music in the early 80s -but now its gone, it's not even a thing. We are trying to bring that back somehow.

    S: What artist from the Chicago House scene influences you the most, and how are you using that to bring back the underground electronic music scene in Chicago? 
    M: His name is Frankie Knuckles, and he just passed away last year actually. He pretty much invented house music. He was the first person to take disco breaks and loop them to create that classic repetitive house music. It’s not so much that we’re trying to revive Chicago house music. We're just trying to create something different, the way that Frankie Knuckles did. 

    I think a big issue is that artists who are talented kind of lose their way and try to hop on the wave of what is relevant, and popular, and current right now, so what happens is that we lose a lot of talented producers and musicians because instead of sticking to their guns and waiting for the wave to come to them -they’re chasing it and I think that starts to water down what is acceptable. We could change our styles and gain a different audience very quickly, but that’s not what we’re trying to do. We want to stay consistent and true to what we’re doing and keep doing it. I mean we’ve been doing this for a while now and we’re just starting to grow an audience, but when you keep doing something over and over and over again and it’s good, people will start to come to you for ideas, rather than you going to them.

    It’s only a matter of time until people start doing what we’re doing. It seems like a lot of the house musicians from Chicago started to change their styles as music progressed and I feel that’s why the genre is sort of dead in the States. I think you just have to realize your value as an artist and you’ll reach success. You’re absolutely entitled to feel that way.
    S: What do you want to see change in today’s youth?
    M: One big thing that I realized musically or even artistically, any format really, is that there is this weird push to be original, which I don’t think is possible anymore. I mean I can see someone’s style and I can see where it’s drawn from but I think there are different ways to be fresh, to be organic...it's hard to put into words but, just to be an authentic artist. It’s tough with our generation because we want stuff now, rapidly going through everything and our music does not adhere to that -its slow, semi quiet, low key. It would be cool if we could all just slow down and check out things that are seemingly unattainable in this hyper speed world.
    S: How are you attempting to reach out to new audiences?
    M: I ask myself, how can I make any audience not feel alienated by the music I put on? I don’t ever want to be exclusive. I want to stay true to myself and what I’m doing, while still trying to engage with what people want to hear in a tasteful manner. What we're trying to do is build a bridge between us and people that might not look for musicians like us. I think the best way to do that is to keep going out and playing shows and spinning records.