Posts tagged: polyrhythmics

Greetings From The Road!

By , February 18, 2015 11:24 pm

The Polyrhythmics are currently on our way out of Louisiana, heading toward Colorado.

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The Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans was more colorful and vibrant than I could have imagined, and although the multiple parades and costume balls range from neighbor and family friendly to parties that were for older folks, the one thing that was everywhere was MUSIC!

Just as it was last year after our trip to NOLA during JazzFest, I was sad to leave the city. I love being a part of the music community in Seattle, and I never want to leave it, but it always feels special to be in New Orleans, and I think it’s a city I want to continue to visit throughout my life.

Other news: Theoretics have released a new EP, and I think the music we made on it is unique, exciting, and creative in a way that I am very proud of. You can check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/theoretics/theoretics-fugue-state

A few other recent performances I found really musically fulfilling:

Tim Kennedy Quintet at Tula’s – Tim’s original material allows all of us to interact and make great music together.

Lucky Brown and the Super Premium Chiefs at Port Townsend’s Strange Brewfest – More on Lucky here

 

We’re moving on to Wyoming and Idaho from here, then we head home to Seattle.  See you all soon!

– Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tour Blog 5

By , June 18, 2014 3:34 pm

When I left off, we were heading to Texas, a state I had never visited before, pretty exciting!  It was an early departure from Santa Fe, and it was going to be a long day of driving, but luckily there was no gig we had to get to, just a hotel room waiting at the end.

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Ben and Nathan took the lion’s share of the drive.  High priority for everyone was to get some real Texas barbecue at some point, which we did in Amarillo, at Tyler’s Barbeque.  The owner talked to us for a while – apparently they get bands in there fairly frequently – and he was really hospitable and nice.  He told us about Texas and we told him about the Northwest, which he’s visited once or twice, and he asked us about touring and the van we use, among other things.  It was a great first Texas experience for me!

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The weather took a pretty nasty turn during Nathan’s part of the drive, although I was asleep for most of it.  Some of the darkest stormclouds anyone had seen before rolled in and there were heavy rains for a couple of hours.  But we made it through and Nate kept chugging until we got to Dallas to stop for dinner.  From there it was an hour and a half to our hotel in Houston.

The next day we were playing at Plonk Wine Bistro, and we weren’t really sure what to expect.  From what we gathered, it wasn’t a traditional music venue; the owner would pay for an outdoor live music event 3 or 4 times a year as a  kind of celebration for his regular patrons and friends.  Because of this, and the fact that we had never played in town before, we didn’t know if anyone showed up.  As it turns out, people did show, and they were really enthusiastic!  There was a fair amount of New Orleans transplants there too; it appears as though they’ve built their own live music community there in Houston, pretty cool!

The next morning was a somewhat early one so that we could make it on time to our load in at the Austin venue, Speakeasy.  My friend Lindsay had been in Dallas visiting family, and she made the trip down to Austin to come to the show, which was very awesome of her!  I had a delicious gourmet hot dog at a stylish hot dog shop/coffee shop/bar (seriously) and then met Lindsay at Fado, just like Seattle.  She showed me around town a little bit, although not as much as I would have liked but time was a little limited.  One of the bars we stopped at had Western dancing lessons in the evening and then a dance band at night that you could try your moves out with, which seemed pretty fun, and Stubb’s barbecue was served outside.  This was a big deal for me because I only knew of Stubb’s from the barbecue sauce that’s sold in grocery stores in Seattle; to be somewhere where the real deal was cooked was a neat experience!  Of course, the night was warm, so there were bike cabs everywhere, moreso than in Seattle, so that was a little different scene too.

The actual performance at Austin went okay; the conclusion we came to was that the venue just wasn’t a good fit for us.  There was a comedy show in the front room while we were in the back, and anyone coming in had to pay cover for both, not a great business strategy.  Oh well.  I’m excited to go back to Austin someday, as I enjoyed the people and the city seemed really hip!

Also, big shout out to Amy for a nice stay at an apartment that belonged to friends of hers, beautiful river-view and enough room for 9, what a blessing!

OKAY…next up:  New Orleans.  I’ve already talked off many of your ears about NOLA if I’ve seen you recently, but it’s already been a month since the trip (geez, time is moving quickly these days), so I think it will be good for me to reiterate a lot of my thoughts on the blog, hopefully you enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

Tour Post #2

By , April 28, 2014 6:26 pm

Writing this in the backyard of Scott’s friend Josh, a saxophonist in New Orleans who is nice enough to put us up for the week.  There is a warm breeze and it is a sticky but beautiful 80 degrees, although it is kicking up a bit and there are some storm warnings.

Some carryovers from S.F.:  Grant trying on a handmade tie-dye coat at Jamming on Haight, and my favorite photo on the Boom Boom Room Wall, Big Mama Thornton with the Muddy Waters Blues Band.

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SO…after San Francisco we had a show at Harlow’s, in Sacramento.  We played with Big Sticky Mess, a funkadelic trio from Davis.  They were a lot of fun, a little bit of Bootsy Collins, Cameo, and 70’s funk guitar and bass; it was impossible not to dance!  We stayed at their house in Davis, a musician’s house with 11 people, jam/recording space, and a friendly house dog.  Many of them work at the Trader Joe’s down the street from their house part time, which gives them time to work on music too.  Davis seemed like a cool, mellow college town, although I didn’t have a whole lot of time to explore.

We then headed to Nevada City to another favorite spot, the Crazy Horse.  The Horse has a small apartment unit above the bar that we were able to stay in (any time we have the opportunity to stay somewhere with a kitchen is a great thing because we can save money by cooking.  Of course, avoiding hotel room rentals is a huge cash saver too.)  We had a day to rest, stretch the legs and play frisbee, and wander around a town a bit.  I found a bookstore and bought a copy of Tolkien’s the Silmarillion, which I’m hoping to get through in the van rides and plane ride home.

The Tuesday show at the Crazy Horse was pretty intimate, with plenty of supportive local folks.  Some are here for Jazzfest too!

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Thursday was time for Southern California, in Hollywood.  We swooped in to load and soundcheck, and I had just enough time to go to the big Amoeba Music store there, where I picked up a used Zero 7 CD, the Garden, which I’ve checked out from the library and played beginning to end several times over the years, so I figured it was time I buy it.  I also went to dinner with my dear friend Sarah; I wish there had been more time, but as always it felt good to catch up and hear her thoughts on things.

Although our show at the King King Theater there in Hollywood was kind of sparsely attended, the stage was really nice and the sound was awesome.  We also made a few new fans and signed some albums, something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to!

Right after the show we loaded up and left for San Juan Capistrano; Sam’s parents hosted us that night and the next day and treated us to lunch.  As is the case with everyone who puts us up, they were extremely warm and hospitable, and very curious about the touring life, which I honestly have fun discussing (obviously).

Every once in a while I deal with some anxiety about making a music career work.  Scheduling performance and teaching commitments efficiently can be really tricky, and I worry about shortchanging students by being away too often or for too long, and although it is tremendously exciting for me to have these chances to travel, I am always trying to be aware of my responsibilities back in Seattle, and it looks like these travel opportunities are going to come up more often in the future.  For now, the best I can do is be honest and give as much notice and accommodation as possible, and hope for the best; I’ve seen more than a few examples of how people make music work professionally on this trip, so I know it can be done.

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That’s all for now, next post I will cover San Diego and the Southwest!

 

Upcoming Tour Blog

By , April 3, 2014 3:13 pm

It’s less than a week now from when I will be on the longest tour I’ve ever done, three and a half weeks to New Orleans with the Polyrhythmics, and I haven’t done a tour blog since the first tour of my career, when Hardcoretet went down the coast to Los Angeles 5 years ago!

Stay tuned for posts from the road throughout April, and hopefully I will be able to put up a video or two as well.

April Excitement

By , March 8, 2014 4:48 pm

I had a nice excursion North to Bellingham the last couple of days; Theoretics had a solid first Bellingham show at the Wild Buffalo, and I was able to spend the following day with Karl, drummer for the band Polecat, who the Polyrhythmics have shared bills and festivals with pretty frequently.  It was good to talk about music as a career with someone else who has been doing it for a while:  how to make it work, the positives and negatives, and how to balance everything out.  Then that night we topped it all off with a great jam with Jeremy, guitarist for Polecat, Jefferson Rose, a killer bass player with a band of his own, and Mars, one of the best trombonists I know.  Right on, Bellingham!

A couple of things I’m looking forward to next month:

April 8th Hardcoretet will be releasing our third album, a full-length recording that we are all very excited about.  Not only that, we are also opening for Kneebody, a group that has been one of my primary musical influences for the last couple of years, and the show is at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard, one of my favorite venues in town!  Some preview tracks of the new album are available at the Hardcoretet band camp page:  https://hardcoretet.bandcamp.com/

The next day I embark on tour with the Polyrhythmics; we are travelling down the coast to Southern California, East through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and finishing in New Orleans.

I have never been to New Orleans and cannot wait to be there to take in as much as I possibly can.  The more I play and listen to music, the more I know I am influenced by that city.  Many of the musicians I enjoy listening to have spent significant time there, and its historical significance cannot be overstated, in my opinion.  I’m going to try to post a bit from the road, so stay tuned!

There is a fundraising campaign to help us minimize the expenses and costs of the tour; most of the places we are playing are new to us, so there will likely be a few lightly-attended gigs, so to speak.  If you want to help, please go here!  http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/polyrhythmics-new-orleans-jazz-fest-2014

Summer Recap

By , August 28, 2013 1:45 pm

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Another eventful summer is coming to a close; in many ways this one was an extension of the tours, trips, and festivals that I really began to experience last year, and yet at the same time I could feel my “adult” life begin in Seattle.  I’ve become (slightly) more organized with my teaching schedule, I’ll be committed to living somewhere for longer than a year (unusual for me), and the dust has started to settle in this post-day-job life.  And all this was happening while traveling to Montana for the first time since I was a kid, performing in places that still seem unreal to me, and playing music for more people than I ever have in my life.

In addition to that juxtaposition, travel vs. home life, I’ve found the need to connect with listeners, friends, and family stronger than ever, and at the same really valuing the time I have by myself to organize my…self.  These two dualities, social and professional, are really what drove my summer.  I’m not sure whether feeling this way is healthy/helpful/sustainable, but for me it feels good.  It feels like I am experiencing life from as many different aspects as possible, and when it all comes down to it, it hasn’t kept me from being both happy and musically productive, and that’s really all that matters.

Plenty of fun things in the pipeline:  just finished recording the next Hardcoretet album; it will be the first time any band I’ve been in will get to three records!  The Polyrhythmics album will be coming out on vinyl soon, another first for me, and the artwork looks great!  Theoretics shows at Sasquatch and Capitol Hill Block Party were great successes and will be leading to more opportunities in the future.  Other than that, I’m just doing the best I can to be present, enjoy the moment, and put myself in good places!

 

 

Road Post

By , March 17, 2013 11:53 am

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Posting from my phone for the first time, while riding in the van with the Polyrhythmics in Idaho! I plan on putting up an album with some of the more beautiful views when I get back home.

This is the longest amount of time that I have been on the road, traveling and playing music, and this is after traveling with Hardcoretet the previous weekend, so the last month or so has been an interesting combination of lots of time with my bandmates and lots of time meeting new people that came out to the shows, which has been encouraging and enlightening.

I am still learning about engaging and connecting with listeners at shows. In both live stage performance and face-to-face contact, I feel like there are opportunities to really bring an audience further into the experience without compromising my own personal musical expression, and I feel as though I don’t always do that, which is something I can work on.

Loving this time traveling and playing, but also excited to return home to Seattle with some major motivation and direction!

Art

Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up

By , February 1, 2013 12:46 pm

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It’s been a really fun run of performances the last couple of weeks.  Polyrhythmics had a memorable mountain show at the top of Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, Hardcoretet played the Comet Tavern for the first time with two great bands in Industrial Revelation and Skerik and really got to rock out, and there were a couple of pick-up gigs that felt great for my playing:  Grant and Delvon (airing out an old Pocket Change tune!), sitting in with McTuff, and a semi-Dexter-and-Hayes-reunion with Tarik, Tim, and Ian.

In addition, I’ve been able to take a little bit more time and practice, which has made a huge difference (what a surprise).  I hope to keep the momentum going in the coming birthday month!

 

 

Festival Mode

By , August 15, 2012 11:58 am

The hot weather took its time, but it is finally here, and my schedule has been pretty effective as far as getting me out there to enjoy it!

Festival performances with the Polyrhythmics and Theoretics have been really fun, especially because I hadn’t really gone to many music festivals before, either as an audience member or a performer.  The last few months really hooked me (combining car-camping with live music in the outdoors?  How can you go wrong?) and I hope to make it a tradition to go to at least 1 or 2 each Summer, regardless of whether I’m playing.

It’s not over yet though; I’m excited to hit the road in the next couple of months with both Polyrhythmics and Hardcoretet.  Also, Hardcoretet will be enjoying some new musical partnerships soon.  Time to start composing!

 

Updates

By , May 25, 2011 3:32 pm

Above:  A friendly moth from Lopez Island.  Just for fun.

 

 

Hardcoretet is packaging the new recordings and video footage for release as well as writing and rehearsing new material for the next round of performances.

The Polyrhythmics debut album will be released next week, with some fun festival work coming up this Spring/Summer.

Theoretics still has strong momentum from the album release a couple of months ago, and plans are in the works for possibly another music video and new material in the near future.

So some exciting things on the horizon!  Always work to do though…

I’ve been writing and trying to complete the same Hardcoretet music for quite a while, and it’s starting to get frustrating.  I’m practicing more, but the routine is still pretty inconsistent.  And I need to go to more shows.  I find myself in this 3-band cocoon where I play shows with them but don’t often get out and check out other music, as though I’m isolated from all of the other awesome bands and communities out there.

That’s just complainer-mode though; I’m lucky to be involved in such rewarding projects, and super lucky to have loved ones that are smart, funny, encouraging, and generally a joy to be around.  I know that if everything went to hell I would still have great friends, which is comforting.

I think I’m on the edge of something, but I’m not sure what’s to come.  I guess we’ll see.

-Art

 

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