Bear in Heaven (Adam on right)
(by Dawn Reed
) You've been trekking with us for a bit now and may have noticed my total admiration for the Brooklyn based pros of dance your ass off electro rock- Bear in Heaven
. When they were making their way around the US on a second go 'round in support of the phenom I Love You, It's Cool
album, they got cut a little short to make their way home safely in the midst of Hurrican Sandy. They are back on the road this weekend for a mini tour through DC, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Cleveland. I was stoked to get a hold of guitarist Adam Wills, and asked him the most important questions that have been eating at all of us BinH fans. Here he tells us about Mexican prison (kinda), bongos, and Amazonian icaros.
Scene Trek: Let's pretend NASA didn't transmit a song from Earth to Mars via the Curiosity rover by a dude from Black Eyed Peas. I mean, seriously. If NASA had asked you for a song to signify the moment in history, what track from your discography would you have put into the universe? Adam
: I think we should send them all 2700 hours of our slowed down album. It's deep.Somehow, your album I Love You, Its Cool has been heard by beings in a different galaxy. What track do you think will drive them to come learn more about the human species?
I'd like to think the space guys are pretty mellow dudes and enjoy the more laid back side of our particular brand of electronic bongo rock. So I'd offer em up "Sweetness & Sickness
." It's groovy and it's got bongos in stereo, so they might be pretty keen to come check this lil' planet out. (They already know everything about us.)I love that you feature fan made videos on your website. One fan had set your music over rad scenes from Labyrinth, which was pretty dope. Would you consider remixing a song from Labyrinth?
Do people know the songs from Labyrinth? Crazy. I haven't seen that movie in 20 years. That's a rad video though.
Time travel exists, and Bear in Heaven gets to ride that phone booth (sans Wyld Stallyns!) to any time to change the face of music. What time would you go?
Time travel does exist. The "phone booth" is the dream plane. I go different places every time I close my eyes, no need to get in some silly booth.
What was one of your favorite places to perform at abroad?
Russia, Mexico, Australia, Poland, the more remote, the more memorable. Don't ask me about the time I almost went to Mexican prison. Ok, go ahead and ask.
I always like to pick music brains with: heard any amazing international bands recently? Have you stumbled upon any cool scenes that Westerners may not know of yet?
I'm pretty into sacred chants, icaros from the Amazon, Lakota morning songs, ya know, party music. Can't think of any particular scenes off the top of my head (haven't finished this cup of coffee yet.) But check out these gems from the past, Dave Bixby, Craig Leon, and J.D. Emmanuel.
Finally, what's going on in your post tour future? Recording, music videos, late night circuit, babies, vacay?
All of the above, you nailed it!
(by Dawn Reed
) On a recent Scene Trek, we covered the flourishing underground rock scene of Seoul Korea via the Hongdae district. And in those clubs was where experimental rockers Apollo 18
had their first gig in 2008, before blowing up and touring North America with proper showcases at SxSW, a discography of insanely awesome noise that continues to grow, and recently crowned MTV Iggy's Artist of the Week
! These dudes are amazing, and we hope that they tour the states again soon. In the meantime, we got a hold of Kim Dae-inn (bassist,) Choi Hyun-seok (guitar,) and Lee Sang-yun (drummer) who filled us in on cops breaking up SxSW parties, Korean beer, and playing on the moon. One day,... one day.So what's the story behind your band's name? Are you fans of the space program or perhaps the video game from the 80's of the same name?Sang-yun
: Dae-inn chose the name kind of by accident. Hyun-seok was wearing a T-shirt that said “Aloha ‘76” on it. Dae-inn misread it and thought the T-shirt said “Apollo 18.” He thought that would be a really good band name. He suggested it to me and Hyun-seok and we said any name was fine with us.In early 2011, you toured North America for the first time. What was your most memorable experience or performance while on the road there?Hyun-seok
: All of the gigs on that tour were memorable for different reasons. We played 16 gigs in the United States in 13 days so that tour was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun too. We had so many great experiences while we were there. We were exhausted before our official SXSW showcase as we hadn’t slept in like three days because of the jet lag. I took a really short nap in our tour van before we went on and then we started downing cans of Red Bull. Our U.S. tour manager was really worried about us being too tired. When it came time to play, though, we felt alive and full of energy. I started shaking my guitar above my head and then Dae-inn and I jumped in the air as our opening song began. There’s a video of it on YouTube and you can hear our tour manager shouting “F#cking right!” in the background. That gig was a lot of fun to play.
We played a daytime party in a backyard during SXSW too. Just as we finished our set, the police showed up because the neighbors had complained about us playing too loud. That felt really rock ‘n’ roll to us! While we were playing, our tour manager told the party organizer that we were trying hard to be quiet. She laughed and said, “This is them trying to be quiet?”
After our concert in Tulsa, Oklahoma we were hanging out and drinking with the owner of the club. He was telling us these great stories about bands that had played there in the past. When it was time to leave, only us, the owner, and the bartender were still there. We thanked the bartender and she told us we were a great band and then pulled down her top and flashed her breasts to us. We were really surprised by this and didn’t know what to say!
Club Spot in Hongdae
The Hongdae clubs seem to be a place where indie rock thrives in South Korea (at least according to the internet.) Would you say it's still that way?
Dae-inn: There are small scenes in some other cities, but Seoul’s Hongdae district is where most of South Korea’s indie rock can be found. We played our first live gig together as Apollo 18 at a place called Club Spot in Hongdae.
What was the key moment in your life when you were like "I'm going to be a musician" ?
Dae-inn: That’s a hard question to answer. I don’t know if there was a “key moment.” We all started playing music in our teens. We first learned how to play other people’s music (as most people do) and then from there started coming up with ideas to make our own songs. I started to learn how to play guitar after watching a live video of Nirvana. I thought Kurt Cobain looked so cool onstage and I wanted to play guitar like him. I only began playing bass when we started Apollo 18.
Hyun-seok: A video made me want to learn how to play guitar too. It wasn’t a Nirvana video, though. Instead it was a video of Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman. I thought the things he did on the video were amazing and after watching it I wanted to start playing guitar.
Sang-yun: Watching a street performer playing drums on a TV program made me want to learn how to play drums. He looked so cool and I felt really inspired after watching the TV segment on him.
What or who influenced you musically?
Dae-inn: All members of the band have very different tastes in music. Collectively we really like rock, hardcore, metal, grunge, post-rock, funk, blues, electronica, jazz, psychedelic music, and even a bit of pop music too. When we started to play together as Apollo 18, Hyun-seok said we should try to make music that mixed together all the styles of music that we each love.
Hyun-seok: So many things have an influence on us and the music we make. We’re inspired by everything we see and do, along with music, films, friends, and good beer. Korean beer isn’t very good, so I definitely feel inspired whenever we have tasty beer from other countries too drink!
So currently you have 3 amazing EPs (Red, Violet, Black) and a completely rad LP Blue. How would you compare these to each other?
Hyun-seok: “Red” has more of a post-rock influence. “Blue” features harder, more experimental rock music. All the songs on “Violet” are instrumental and the music on the EP is a mix of different styles. “Black” features some post-rock and post-hardcore stuff. It also features the softest song, “Mur,” that we’ve made as a band.
Speaking of your latest release Black, gotta be honest, I can't stop playing it! One of my favorite tracks is "Corpse Flower." What was the inspiration behind it?
Dae-inn: Thanks! All of our songs are created by jamming together in our practice space. We just play together and see what comes from it. If something sounds good, we keep playing it. If it doesn’t we try something else. Things happen pretty naturally when we work on new music together. Nothing is planned out beforehand. If a track has vocals on it, it’s because Hyun-seok and I wanted to sing or scream something. If a track is instrumental, it’s because we didn’t feel like singing or screaming while we were jamming on it.
Any upcoming tours or more albums in production? How about a music video?
Sang-yun: We made music videos for the songs “Orbis” and “Iridescent Clouds” from 2009’s “ / The Blue Album.” “Orbis” stars a very talented bellydancer named Eshe. Eshe is from Canada originally, but lives in Seoul now. She’s a very good friend of ours and has performed live with us several times. It’s always a special treat to collaborate live with her.
Hyun-seok: We’re starting to write music for our next album now. We hope to record it maybe in May and would like to release it in June or July. While we are working on our new album, we don’t plan on playing many gigs. We do have two shows scheduled, though. One will happen on April 14 in a Korean city called Cheonan at a venue named Club Dolce. The other will be an opening slot for acclaimed American indie act Blonde Redhead during their Seoul gig at AX-Korea on May 4. When our album is released, we’d like to tour more in Korea and try to do some overseas dates as well.
What's your ultimate goal as a band? Gig on the moon?Dae-inn
: I’m really into outer space stuff so I’d love to play on the moon one day! Our ultimate goal is to just keep playing music together forever. We’re all really close friends and think of each other like brothers. We have really good chemistry together and want to keep developing that.And finally, I always like to find out- what bands are you currently listening to?
: Right now I’m listening to the new “Torture” EP from Seoul hardcore band 13 Steps
. They are one of the best hardcore bands in Korea and I’m a big fan of their music. Their vocalist, Dokyo, has done guest vocals on our song “Manic Depressive” at a few of our concerts. I’m also listening to Seoul band National Pigeon Unity
’s new “Molotov Cocktail” digital single. It features a track remixed by Dae-inn. I’m looking forward to hearing the new EP from Seoul’s Juck Juck Grunzie
too. The group plan to release it in late spring or early summer.
(by Dawn Reed)
A couple weeks ago, we featured Canadian electro violinist Eric Speed
's video for "Maniac" as video of the week and wondered why in the hell his FB fanpage only had like 500 followers (because the current blog-based society unfortunately gravitates to that for fandom...) Then a couple days later, he got himself a Guinness World Record for being the fastest violinist in the WORLD! Needless to say, the numbers are starting to blow up, and will continue as Eric, Montreal-born and classically trained, is currently working on a third album with a new single dropping next week. Someone give this kid a world tour...Congratulations Guinness World Record holder! You are the fastest violinist in the world right! How does that make you feel?
It doesn't change a thing. It's just confirmed that I'm really hyperactive. :)So, to achieve the world record, you performed "Flight of the Bumblebee" in a mere 53 seconds! How did you go about prepping for that?
I'd practiced for ten days non stop while watching the series Heroes
with subtitles at the same time. I cannot remember a word of the series because I can only remember the "Flight of the Bumblebee"...lol
So, you've been playing the violin since age 3. Who got you started? Did you want to be a violinist as a child?
My mom. She played the piano younger. Nobody's an artist at 3, but you can find out at this age if you have what it takes to continue later.
At what moment in your life did you realize you wanted to be a musician?
Around 22. I was finishing my conservatory in Montreal and I couldn't find my way through Orchestra or teaching the violin, so I realized I needed to do something different. I started two bands and discovered the electric violin.
We recently featured your dope-ass video for "Maniac" as Video of the Week. It's clearly a contender for video of the year! What was it like working on that video? Did you have any input to the idea/story?
It started in a café in Montreal. I was talking with Pierre-Luc Boucher, the director. He is a good friend of mine. We were talking of possibilities for this video, and we laughed at that idea. There was a silence after and we thought about it. We said to each other, "HEY what the hell this is a crazy cool idea!"
You have two amazing albums out, Eric Speed and Starland. How would you compare the two?
The first one (s/t) is more about the classical studies and soundtracks that I learned. It's a mix between game scores and movies. The second one (Starland) is more wild. I was doing some shows in clubs and the electro came a bit from those nights. I prefer the second album especially the last track, "Starland."
Your music would be perfect as the score for some cool action video game or movie. Have you scored anything yet or been approached?
I would be honored to do some soundtracks, especially videogames. I'm a videogame geek, I admit, and really love the soundtracks, especially Castlevania, Hitman 3, Mafia 2 and Uncharted. Well, I'm open to new ideas. Let me know if you want a crazy violinist-you never know! ;)
If you could re-score any film in history, what film would it be and why?
Mmm... The best movies are the movies with the best soundtracks, so I woudn't change a thing. BUT if I could do one I would say Tron Legacy. I was in total illumination when I saw this movie.
I always like to find out what bands people have on repeat. What are some bands/artists that you are currently listening to?
The training montage (song from) Rocky, the Tron Legacy soundtrack, and the Drive soundtrack. (Drive) is simply awesome and the soundtrack made it perfect.
So what are some of your upcoming plans? World tour? Another video? Maybe pick up another string instrument and attempt being the fastest cellist in the world next? ;)
I'm working on a third album and releasing the first single next week on itunes! And I'll be doing some shows in the next months. I'm very interested to create a great show with multimedia in the vibe of the video "Maniac", but live... if only I could find sponsors to help me build this idea. ;)
(by Dawn Reed) As the Stars Fall
, a Paris-based project created by Remi Tobbal, was part of the first scene trek we ever did, sought out for the shared love of outer space and awesome music. Regarded as one of the most highly influential French hip-hop producers, ATSF is a whole other spectrum of creativity where Tobbal combines uber atmospheric electronic soundscapes paired with his amazing skill of photography. Here, Remi let's us in on ATSF's upcoming EP, how to captivate a live audience, and composing for unique found footage. ST: How would you describe the sound and overall project that is As The Stars Fall? Is there a meaning behind the name?
REMI: Coming from the hip hop scene, the As The Stars Fall project is like a haven to me, a place where I can express another side of my music and myself, without boundaries or without thinking all the time I have to make singles, or I have to make this specific kind of beats that I know rapper will like...it is just a musical and visual identity I like to share with the audience. I always was fascinated by space, galaxys, planets, nebulaes so I guess As The Stars Fall was the best name to be the link between this fascination and the melancholy that is always present in my music.
Let's talk about some of the amazing tracks off your last EP, Redux, that came out earlier this year. In the intense title track "Redux" you hear Stephen Hawking answering the question "Do you think we'll survive?" Is it safe to say that this song was inspired by the possibility of the world ending? What was your thought process of relaying such an eerie subject matter into a demanding electronic beat?
I really like to include sample parts from movies or documentaries in my songs, since there is no lyrics on them I use those samples to reinforce the message or the emotional impact I want to give. When I look at the world it really concerns me, the way things are going, I don’t see how it could get better in a short period of time…
The video for "Redux" is crazy cool too. In fact every single video created to mesh with your songs is worthy of being projected onto museum walls. Aside from the music, how much input do you have in these videos?
Thank you! I met Mathieu Sauer who directed "Redux" through a mutual friend and I had this basic idea of using a lot documentary images in split screen. I wanted people to be overwhelmed by this constant flow of images, and Mathieu added his touch with the story of this guy who decides to express is anger/frustration through graffiti, it ends up to be great !! I only help directed our first video which was Untitled, but all the other ones are 100% created by their directors (Pauline Goasmat, Sofia Leal, Johannes Greve Muskat…). I’d really love to direct a video myself in the future…
The video for "The Fall" was breathtaking and the music fit perfectly. Can you describe the process of how you created the music after viewing the footage? Will that song be on your next EP?)
The process was a little bit different for this one, I composed the music over the video…I was wandering over the internet trying to find some material for my blog and I found this great footage of Frederic Bellity who send an HD camera into the stratosphere with a meteorological balloon, I really fell in love with the images and I decided to write music on them, and accentuate the tension of it. This song won’t be on my next EP.
You've announced the completion of some tracks to your upcoming EP on your Facebook page. Are you still working on it? When is this EP expected to come out? How would you compare it to your previous releases?
I’m still working on it, finishing it up here and there, working on the cover also… Hopefully it will come out by the end of October, early November. I try to evolve and test new things every time. The 1st EP had more of an organic/postrock vibe, the 2nd one was a little bit more electronic and “Ghosts” the 3rd one will also be a little bit different. There is this song called “Tears” where for the first time I used a vocal sample, so there is actually singing on it. “Tempus Fugit” and “Redux” were the first two parts of a EP trilogy about the perception of time and reality. “Ghosts” will be the final chapter.
by Remi Tobbal
What are your live performances like? Do you combine your photography and videos to create a wide spectrum of live visuals? Do you have plans on touring the world in the near future?
I did my first two shows, last April and March; Mathilde Forget was on stage with me, playing guitars and keyboards. Our live performances were made of one uninterrupted mix of songs and videos, I wanted people to be held hostage by it, lol.
I really want to work more on it because I think we can bring it to another level pushing the experience a little bit further, but between producing in hip hop and making music for As The Stars Fall sometimes I don’t have enough time to get my head completely into the live aspect of ATSF. I think we’ll probably do more shows in Paris for the release of the 3rd EP, but so far there are no other dates booked…
Have you composed scores for any feature length films, or working on any currently?
I’ve composed a few pieces for a play (Les Patients from Jacques Audiberti) and two short films (Spadassins and Surrender).
What are some of your musical influences?
Bands like Massive Attack, Portishead, m83 have a huge influence on me, and of course I listen to a lot of soundtracks…
What are some bands/musicians you've been really into lately?
I’m really into those new Apparat’s songs, I’m looking forward to listen to his new project, I also really like Trentmoller, Washed Out, James Blake…
What is your favorite thing about the music scene of Paris?
The electronic scene is really interesting
What do you want your audience to get out of your music?
I would only use one word: emotions
What ultimately do you want to accomplish as ATSF?
I guess scoring films or documentaries would be the thing I want to do the most at the time being.