Synesthesia Is Throwing a Fiercely Feline Inspired Art Party at Spectra Art Space This Saturday

This Saturday, March 16th is Spectra Art Space's closing party for their cat-themed show called "And Meow This: The Tail End.” Synesthesia, the team behind our favorite Pink Party, is curating the evening. The night will feature work from a multitude of mediums by 30+ artists and musical appearances by Funk Hunk, Retrofette (DJ Set), and DLZMKSBTS.

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School of Rock Meets Musical Fame: Life Growing Up at Denver School Of The Arts

By: Sierra Voss

I remember my first music photography gig well. I was shooting for BolderBeat at Denver’s local music festival, The UMS Showcase. It was a strange but exhilarating feeling being down in the audience, watching the shows through a camera lense. My life has been filled with music from a very young age, but I was used to being the one on stage. I spent the majority of my childhood- seven years- attending Denver School of the Arts (DSA) as a vocal major. This festival was my first time using a new artistic tool to capture a musical experience I knew so intimately.  

DSA is a public magnet arts high school and middle school that offers rigorous daily involvement in a specialized art form. When I attended the school as a vocal major, students took part in over an hour and a half of their art form (or major) every day. It was a specific type of education that differed greatly from my other friends high school and middle school experiences. Although I didn’t professionally pursue voice after high school, I found art was always an integral part of my life. It was something I felt made up my genetic composition, and was at the core of how I processed and expressed the world around me.  

My love for photography came after my love for singing, but as I grew older it took priority. It wasn’t until this past year that I had the idea to explore merging the two artistic expressions I loved so dearly. It was this decision that landed me at The UMS, ready to jump into the weekend's festivities.

As I looked at the lineup, I was floored by how many acts had members that went to my high school, DSA. I had no idea so many of my peers had stuck around town to build out their musical passions and careers. I had to wonder how DSA had shaped so many of these current artist’s paths, and was so intrigued about who they had all become within Denver’s music scene. So I sat down with numerous DSA Alumni to explore just that.

Jon Shockness- Kid Astronaut (former singer in Air Dubai)

From my own experience, Jon Shockness was no doubt the cool kid on the block in middle school. He practically melted every one of our moms’ and sisters’ hearts during our 2001 “Pop Show” performace when he sang “Ben” by Michael Jackson.

Jon performing at DSA’s “Peacejam Event” in 2009.

Jon performing at DSA’s “Peacejam Event” in 2009.

How did your time at DSA influence the artist you are today?

When I think about being a singer and my history with voice, I know a lot of it started with the training I got from DSA. Even today, I create some of my vocal tones from arias I sang for master classes in high school. I am definitely influenced by my time there. Being able to harmonize with other artists was definitely learned from DSA. Overall, my time at DSA inspired me to have a lot of respect for artists and different types of voices. It instilled in me a deep respect for my own voice on a deeper level that allowed me to really grow as an artist.

On the hard days, do you have a mantra that inspires you to continue your musical career?

Oh yeah. There was this thing one of my exes told me. She said, “You're always where you need to be.” I was going through a rough time and not sure why things weren't moving the way I wanted them to or thought they should. This was like 2012 before we got signed. Anytime I feel incomplete or like I'm in the wrong place, I remind myself that I'm where I need to be and usually allowing myself to accept my position creates growth.

Portrait of Jon 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Jon 2017 per the author.

Shane Franklin- Lead singer in hip-hop band SF1

The kid that was always, always playing drums on any and every surface he could find.

Shane playing drums for his college band in 2009 at Larimer Lounge.

Shane playing drums for his college band in 2009 at Larimer Lounge.

What did you love the most about DSA?

I remember we used to have teachers that would base writing prompts around our major, like, write an essay about how your major correlates with The Scarlet Letter. DSA really let us create a world shaped by our art form and what we loved.

How did your time at DSA influence the artist you are today?

Students were truly limitless at DSA in terms of collaborations and exploring different art forms. We were given opportunities to collaborate across majors. I remember drumming for the vocal department, tap dancing with the dance department, doing music for the cinema majors, and auditioning for musicals. It shaped me going out into this world as an artist. You can't just keep yourself in a box. That's why my music incorporates dance and theatrics. My time at DSA made me into the collaborative artist I am today.  

Do you think you could live life without music? What would you do instead?

Music is life. It's plan A. Plan B is execute plan A!

Portrait of Shane 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Shane 2017 per the author.

Julie Be- (Julie Almeria) also singer for project STéLOUSE

Julie was the girl who always got the best part in school-wide musicals, and rightfully so. I remember being in awe as I watched her in one stunning musical theater role after the next throughout my time at DSA.

 Julie starring in DSA’s production of  Aida .

 Julie starring in DSA’s production of Aida.

What differences do you notice working with DSA artists versus non DSA artists?

I think there are a lot of generous and nice artists in the music scene in Denver. I think that’s cool because those are the main characteristics I think of when I think of artists from DSA. I definitely think that there is a total sense of comradery between DSA artists though. Like, these are people that I especially want to see succeed. I think we fit very well into a scene that is already pretty generous, and I think we add a lot of good qualities too. DSA artists are just nice people, and nice people are sometimes rare in this world.  

What's your end goal? What if you don’t get there?

The end goal… that's a damn good question, and I ask myself that every day. When I was younger, I defined "success" as being famous, a household name, rich, etc. I doubt I'm alone in that… but now, I see success as being more about how I feel about the work that I am doing as opposed to how other people feel about it. I want to continue creating- releasing my own complete album is a bucket list item for me- and collaborating with other artists in ways that feel genuine to me. If I could do away with my day job and just make music for a living, I would be so freaking happy. Yeah, it would be cool to win a Grammy or to go on a world tour. Do I want those things? Absolutely! But to me, they're not the goal. If anything, they would be a by-product of the goal. At the end of the day, I want to arrive at a place where I can look back at my musical career and say, "I did what I wanted to do, and I did it with integrity".

Portrait of Julie 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Julie 2017 per the author.

Shilo Gold- (Shayna Goldstein)

I will never forget Shayna’s first-day-of-school-outfit in the 7th grade (think platform sneakers with fire flames going down the side and basketball shorts). Shayna has been many things to me throughout my life: a mentor and a fierce competitor, but above all else, my best friend.

Shayna singing in DSA’s Vocal Department’s 2007 “Pop Show."

Shayna singing in DSA’s Vocal Department’s 2007 “Pop Show."

What led you to start your music career in Los Angeles, and why did you decided to move back to Denver?

DSA gave me a certain strength that was bred from a really young age. It enabled me to really believe in myself. We were instilled with the ideas of what we could achieve, and were given a lot of power to invent ourselves as artists. I think it gave me the courage to move to Los Angeles and take on a bigger scene.

During my time in LA, I was missing a sense of authenticity. It felt so competitive and stiff. I left on tour and spent a year playing shows in 38 states. There was no doubt in my mind that Denver was where I wanted to end up.

Have you ever consider exploring a different career? What pulls you back to your artistry?

Pursuing a career as an artist is anything but easy or stable. Everyone has different tastes, and no matter how proud or passionate you are about what you are creating, it doesn't mean that it will be widely received. I have definitely questioned my ability to pursue my craft, and in turn, contemplated what other careers would look like for me. At the end of the day, I have realized that music is something deeply engraved in my bones. It is my journal, and the greatest gift I have to give. No matter what I do to pay the bills, or put food on the table, music is the reason I wake up in the morning and the way I make others feel like they are not alone. It's not that anything in particular keeps me dedicated to music, it's that I've done my share of exploring and have come to realize that no matter what path my life takes, writing and sharing music will always be a part of it.

Portrait of Shilo 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Shilo 2017 per the author.

Nic Hammerberg- Member of SYCDVK & Petals of Spain

Nic was basically my older brother growing up. He drove me to school everyday. We became obsessed with sharing new musical discoveries like Feist, Jack Johnson, G. Love and Special Sauce, and obviously the soundtracks from 'Garden State,' 'The O.C' and 'Grey's Anatomy.'

 Nic performing in DSA’s “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.” Photo by Edward Davidson 2005.

 Nic performing in DSA’s “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.” Photo by Edward Davidson 2005.

What connects all DSA students?

We are a special breed. We all have this connection, but how do you put your finger on it? It feels special to me. It's like if we all went to Hogwarts! You know- we have that bond! We are all from the Gryffindor house is what I am saying.

When I see other DSA artists performing around town, I just know so viscerally what they went through to get there. It's not to say that other people aren't as skilled, like muggles for example, they can be super great wizards too. But us magic folk are true wizards. We can just do anything that we set our minds to. We all studied our craft every day for basically all of high school and middle school. How could that be anything else but magical?

Do you have a song that you would say embodies your journey as an artist?

"Sleeping Lessons" by The Shins. That song has often been an inspiration in moments of sadness, and to really light a fire under my ass. There was something so different and mysterious about that song when I first heard it, lyrically and melodically, that acted as a psychedelic to me; opened my brain to new. There is new everywhere, and there is lots of opposition and challenges in discovering yourself. The lyrics are brilliant and provide a new support and resilience: "So enlist every ounce of your bright blood, and off with their heads…  You're not obliged to swallow anything you despise."

Portrait of Nic 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Nic 2017 per the author.

It became clear after interviewing my peers that growing up in an art school environment truly shaped who these artists are today. They confirmed my deep feelings and beliefs that students from DSA learn and refine skills that allow them to continually re-create themselves as artists. They collaborate with other singers, create an arts community, respect other forms of expression and bring to the table exceptional knowledge of music theory. DSA artists are truly an important part of Denver culture, and are creating a loving and collaborative music scene.

Other awesome DSA artists hidden among Denver’s music scene include: Wesley Watkins (founder of The Other Black and former trumpet player for Nathaniel Rateliff and Night Sweats and), Brittany Williams (of Brittany Williams & The Unstoppable Groove), Halle Spoor (who is currently recording her first album), and Khalil Arcady (Sur Ellz).  

These artists all perform frequently around town throughout the year. Keep an eye on their platforms for updates of future shows!

-Sierra

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

AlphaBowie: Where Music Meets Art & Typography Rules

By: Sierra Voss

The world around us tiggers human emotions that drive creative expression. These creative expressions may take forms in visual, physical, or musical art. Some artists may focus solely on visual expressions, while others only on musical expressions. Although different, they share the same language, as they work to interpret and express individual reactions to the world. Some artists, however, exists within the in between. These artists explore the intersections of how one art form feeds the other. Meet Colorado native Madeline Reusch. Madeline has created a project called AlphaBowie, which explores the intersection of art forms via the exploration of a man that truly embodied interdisciplinary creative expression, David Bowie.   

How does music inspire your art?

I grew up in an incredibly musical family- picture The Sound of Music minus the lederhosen. I have been singing in bands and choirs since I was old enough to walk. I have always been a musician first, and a visual artist second. When you come from a musical perspective and then fall in love with visual art, I think it's impossible to separate them.

To me, art and music are two mediums being used to express the same worldview. I’ve always fixated on the beauty of dissonance. I think it comes form my obsession with jazz and choral music. There is this eclectic pulsing buzz that comes from the beauty of dissonance, [whether] visual or harmonic, it’s a powerful wave that moves through your whole body and takes you to a brand new world. Whether it’s the complicated harmonies of Eric Whitacre or the vibrating painted fields of Mark Rothko, they come from the same place: from a desire to take things you may have seen or heard a thousand times, marry the two, and allow you to see them again in a whole new light.

Is this the first time you have based a project around a musician?

This is the first time I have done a piece that used a likeness of a musician in it. But that’s because Bowie is so much more than a musician. In a way, it’s a shame to only classify him that way. He was a painter, writer, choreographer, clothing designer, set builder and so so so much more. He even designed a computer program that generated lyrics. He didn’t just create things that changed our world, he built his own world and then invited us to join him there. His very physical existence was his art. It takes an incredibly brave person to put your whole physical self out into the world and say, “This is my work, this is my heart, what do you think of it?” I can hardly post a selfie online without wanting to collapse in on myself; I can't imagine the bravery his whole life took.

What inspired your Bowie project?

On the day Bowie passed, I was lying in bed, wishing I was asleep, and flipping through my phone absentmindedly. I read the headline that he had died. It didn’t really feel real to me at all. I was taking a typography class, and I had some project due that day that I had put off where I was supposed to make letters out of unexpected things. So, I decided to make my creative alphabet out of Bowie. And not just Bowie associated things, but Bowie himself. I think when I started the Bowie project, I was doing it because I wanted to insert something I was passionate about into a world that I was having trouble connecting with. But by the time I had finished it, I had gained such a deep deep respect for type artists and their work.

Why an alphabet?

Type artists truly understand how humans see; how we digest the visual world. They understand the importance of a single curve and how a series of well constructed and thoughtful shapes can take readers to new places. They create worlds, just like Bowie did.

Bowie never did just one thing. He expressed himself in every medium he could get his hands on. In my life I’d like to do the same thing and this seemed like a good place to start. Also, from a less philosophical place, I just wanted to find a way to share the joy Bowie had given to me with other people. Everyone loves a good rock poster, so I thought this would be a fun twist on that.

Take us inside the creation of this project. How did you do it?

I feel like the first word that comes to mind when I think of this process is LONG (laughs). Each shape I drew by hand, and I probably had about four or five possible poses/images in mind for each letter. I did at least 200 preliminary drawings before I really narrowed it down to what I wanted to make. The shapes themselves came from a huge bank of Bowie images, and stills from his music videos and live performances.

What’s your favorite Bowie song?

Ugh. No. I won't pick one. ButI think my favorite album is The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust just because it was the first one I ever owned.

Do you think you will do more musician-inspired art in the future?

Oh I absolutely will. There are so many wonderful artists who have shaped me, and I want to find a way to honor and thank them. Stevie Wonder is a big one for me. Huge. But it will have to be the right project at the right time.

How can someone get a hold of this alphabet?

Right now you can get prints on my Society6 Page. It’s linked through the @alpha_bowie Instagram too. Keep an eye out for the launch of the AlphaBowie website as well!

-Sierra

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Boulder In-The-Round Moves to eTown

By: Claire Woodcock

If you’re in Boulder and find yourself in the music scene circle, you’ve probably already come across Boulder In-The-Round. What began as workshopping sessions for founders Hunter Stone and Theresa Peterson soon morphed into into a monthly concert series hosted by Vapor Distillery.

Boulder In-The-Round at its previous location, Vapor Distillery.

Boulder In-The-Round at its previous location, Vapor Distillery.

This year, Boulder In-The-Round has a new home. eTown Hall will host the concert series that features local artists the first Wednesday of every month. The program showcases four songwriters who take turns performing one song at a time, one after the other.

“We’re bringing a different group to eTown that doesn’t go there regularly,” says Stone, also a singer/songwriter in the community. “Our show has its own following of young music lovers and musicians that we’re going to be able to bring to this really cool venue.”

Hunter Stone.

Hunter Stone.

Boulder In-The-Round’s community presence will be amplified by eTown’s state of the art sound equipment engineered by sound technicians at eTown. Local singer/songwriters will set up in eTown’s cafe for an intimate listening room experience.

“If you enjoy this kind of thing, you’re entering a world where everybody there is interested in music too,” says Theresa Peterson, co-founder of Boulder In-The-Round, and a singer/songwriter herself.

Theresa Peterson.

Theresa Peterson.

eTown syndicates its programming nationally, which means the venue often brings in bigger artists. The folks behind Boulder In-The-Round are providing local artists with access and opportunity to state of the art equipment and a larger listening base.

“Having Boulder In-The-Round at eTown opens up the community to who’s coming through, who’s playing when; shows that should be on their radar,” says Stone. “It’s bridging the gap between local and national artists, giving us all a space to grow.”

eTown Cafe, the new home of BITR.

eTown Cafe, the new home of BITR.

Also moving to eTown are the live paintings that Boulder In-The-Round exhibited when they were at the Vapor. Visual artists begin with a blank canvas and the artists create to the beat of the songs. At the end of the night, artists are left with a tangible piece of art from the evening that is sometimes auctioned off to the crowd.

“Art shouldn’t be segregated. Adding that visual aspect to the auditory: seeing someone painting live and seeing what they’re creating in the moment it kind of regulates the growth of the show,” says Stone.  

Mike Tresemer painting at a Boulder In-The-Round.

Mike Tresemer painting at a Boulder In-The-Round.

Boulder In-The-Round’s first night at eTown is tomorrow, January 4 at 7PM in the eTown cafe. On the bill are singer/songwriters Dechen Hawk, Megan Burtt, Monica Marie and Dusty Stray. Live paintings will be produced by local artists Mick Tresemer and Ellen Moershel

Check out a live video performance from a previous Boulder In-The-Round:

“It’s all original music,” says Peterson. “There’s a lot of collaboration that happens too on the spot. A lot of times we’ll have people that just met or have only met a couple times before just playing on each other’s songs all night.”

“The idea of that being recognized by an outside source and [eTown] giving us a chance to brow our show into a different space, that could potentially help us grow a lot,” says Stone. “It feels really good to have that kind of validation. Theresa and I started this with the mentality that if you build it, it will come.”

And Boulder In-The-Round is well on its way. More on this month’s lineup herekeep up with BITR on their Facebook.

-Claire

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

KT Homes Plays BIFF This Friday + An Update on Her New Album, Her Artwork, & More

By: Hannah Oreskovich

KT Homes plays Boulder International Film Festival this weekend and so we needed a good 'ol fashioned catchup.

Local musician and artist KT Homes.

Local musician and artist KT Homes.

We first got in touch with local artist Katherine (KT) Homes when she played Denver’s RAW event last November. Back then we introduced her as one talented musician- she’s been referred to as as “the female version of Bob Dylan” and has opened for acts including Trampled by Turtles and Nathaniel Rateliff. But what we liked most was KT’s strong intent to “shed light on environmental and social issues” with her music. And after chatting with her, we learned a lot more about that intention, her upcoming album, and her artwork. Check it out:

So KT! We know you were in the Boxcar Daisies prior to your focus on a solo album. What’s that transition been like?

It’s been an incredibly creative and overwhelming process. When Elli, the second half of Boxcar Daisies, and I played gigs we were both all in 100%. We came to the table and co-wrote songs, split the work of sending out our EP and setting up gigs, and so on. We were incredibly dedicated and I think that made us really successful, really quickly, in getting shows. It was also the only thing we really had to throw ourselves into. Now, I’m juggling two different jobs and trying to relaunch my music and art career at the same time and sometimes I wish I wasn’t solo. But working on a solo album has also been amazing! Going out on my own has forced me to make friends with myself and not rely on someone else to stand next to me in order to feel comfortable on stage. I only have to answer to myself for this [next] album. That is a challenge but also really rewarding.

Homes laying down a track. 

Homes laying down a track. 

That’s great! Give us the deets on your upcoming album- what studio are you working with? Do you have a producer? When are you planning its release?  

I was working with a wonderful studio, but it wasn’t quite the right fit. Since then, I’ve been waiting almost 6 months to hear back from someone I really want to work with. It looks like it’s going to happen, but I’m keeping it a secret until I’m actually sitting next to him recording. Lets just say it’s going to be brilliant if this talented and incredibly chill producer fully commits. My lips are sealed until it’s a done deal though!

Fair enough! So we know that activism is a big part of your songwriting and musical process- talk to us about how that started, why you have that drive, and what current events are inspiring you to take your position and express it through music.

Wow, where do I even start? I’m fascinated by other cultures- mostly the remote or the forgotten. The wisdom in their history and their connection with nature; the way they live in harmony with the natural world... I’ve seen things and heard stories that are straight out of a children’s fairytale, but are very rooted in their way of life.

While I was traveling through West Kalimantan working as a photojournalist with an incredible non-profit, my family members lost a child to gun violence. In that moment I wanted to do something much bigger than the path I was on. I had no idea how or what I would do, but the answers just kept showing up in my music and I knew I wanted to share these songs because they are so much bigger than myself. I’ve always believed that a song has the power to change people. It’s my way of feeling like I can help shift things by writing about these issues and possible solutions, and singing about them.  

What I have also found while I’ve traveled is that two things quickly connect me to the local people: music and being a woman. There are often language barriers, and they quickly show up, but as soon as I start singing or playing the guitar, it’s incredible how quickly these walls  evaporate. It doesn’t matter what I’m singing about. Music is the universal language. And being a woman, well, as soon as you get in the kitchen, or hold someone else’s baby you are immediately a part of someone’s family. The song, “Put Down Your Gun”, which the [new] album was almost named after, is about a war being fought in Afghanistan and a woman speaking to another woman about what that war means for her and her family. This conversation happens in the kitchen, while they are both bouncing babies and cooking for their families. Their conversation quickly turns into a dialog about disarming anger and to instead to really hear one another.  

I’ve also been incredibly passionate about the environment from a young age. I’m obsessed with plants and wildlife. I’m very committed to bringing awareness to environmental issues through art, music, and my non-profit work. I’m a big believer that the natural world provides most of the answers to some of our biggest problems. I think if we could just sit and feel and listen to the silence and songs of the natural world, we could know what to do to generate more love and steer away from hate. Fear and hate are created because we don’t understand something. Anger is generated from feeling unheard, unloved, and sad. Right now we see that with the overwhelming destruction of the natural world and I think that is a direct reflection of how we are treating ourselves and each other. This [next] album really focusses on sharing these thoughts.

Wow. Thanks for sharing your powerful motivations with us. That’s awesome. We also know you paint- any art that you’re currently working on?

I absolutely love to paint. It is my down time. I can get lost in the world of color for days. It’s quiet. Painting is peaceful and healing. It’s kind. I know that’s a funny word to use, but I use watercolor on wood and it is so fluid and beautiful; it’s those moments when I feel like everything is right in the world. Painting is also something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember, so it’s never left me. It’s a great way to really see the world you are in. It’s so slow, and for me that’s a really good thing. This past year, I’ve created paintings for two organizations that are doing really incredible work: Project WOO and Health in Harmony. I love creating paintings to help fundraise and raise awareness for projects that I believe in.

One of KT's paintings. 

One of KT's paintings. 

Sweet. Beyond your 2016 release plans, what else will you be up to this year?  

The album is full-on for sure. At the start of the year, I was asked to sing on a children’s book, which I’m excited about! I’m also launching my own art website. My life is pretty fun. I feel like everytime I turn around something new comes crashing into it. But really, this year I want to focus on getting my music and my message out into the world to as many people as possible, so that will be my primary goal.

We can’t wait to hear more from you- thanks for sharing your message with us KT.

Check out the multi-talented KT Homes at her Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) performance this Friday. Details on more live shows, her current art projects, and more can be found on her website here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Capturing the Art of Storytelling in Music Videos & More: An Interview with Ian Glass

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Ian Glass has an eye for storytelling.

When local artist, photographer, videographer, and creative intellectual Ian Glass told me he started photo and video work just a couple of years ago when his dad handed him a 35mm Fujica film camera as a college graduation gift, I was baffled. After working with him on the set of Whiskey Autumn’s 07.04.07 music video, I assumed he’d been crafting his talents for far longer.

Watch Whiskey Autumn’s 07.04.07 official music video by Ian Glass:

Born in Connecticut, Glass moved to Colorado with his family when he was just four. He describes his childhood like most of us Colorado kids spending a lot of time outside doing Colorado things: hiking, biking, skiing, camping, climbing. But he grew up with a lot of art around him as well.

“I have always liked art. My father makes custom fine furniture and his father was an architect. There were always a lot of drawings and paintings around when I was growing up and so I’ve always been inclined to explore art.”

Ian Glass.

Ian Glass.

Combining his passions for art and all things outdoors, Glass stayed in Colorado for school and went to CU, majoring in English and Humanities “so that I could better understand stories and story structure”. The more you talk to him, the more you’ll see that storytelling is what Glass and his art do best: through his still photography work, his video productions, and even his descriptions of imagery and composition.

“I like anything that you have to spend a lot of time exploring. I like the challenge of capturing moments- when you’re in them, you have to figure out how to communicate what’s happening to someone else, to share it and have [your audience] feel as you feel. You have to let that voice inside of you speak to the things outside and simultaneously give yourself the opportunity to try and capture that moment. To be able to take out your camera and take that picture when you see something and you realize, ‘There it is; [it] calls to you when you look at it.' The first step is seeing that and training yourself to see that; letting the voice inside of you speak to that... from there it’s how you refine and capture things. How you frame it, capture the lighting, get the right angle, capture the depth of field, isolate the subject- and then there are the technical skills. It’s all about figuring out, ‘How can I capture what has presented itself to me?'”

Glass first learned how to capture those moments with his Fujica exploring still photography.

“Still shots and getting to explore composition and to look at life through a lens was interesting and I liked it. The transition from that was getting into film- I like how much more dynamic video is. You can explore so much more and it allows the viewer to become more absorbed in the piece if you do it right. There’s the content happening in the composition and then the transition to the next show where you build that content all over again and you allow that flow between the two shots to happen on a subconscious level where the viewer might not be aware of the change. Simultaneously, you’re creating this environment for your subject to inhabit as well. You’re creating this subtle nod of surrealism that doesn't fully take over what’s happening, but it allows you to create something with this little flair of who you are as a person beyond your film. It’s having a relationship with the camera and your art, which can be as meaningful as a relationship with someone else. Knowing that, you have to make your environment and refine your transitions and master those transitions. That’s what I now aim for with every project I do."

And Glass is building quite the list of projects. After starting his company Ian Glass Media just a year ago, Ian’s worked with local musicians like Brett Randell, Natural Motives, Tyto Alba, and Whiskey Autumn on music videos. He’s also done more commercial photo and video work for outdoor adventure companies like Topo Designsand he’s worked with a number of startup companies, including Spark and Revel Gear. He’s interested in documentary work too and has plans for a possible project telling “the stories of grandparents” at a local retirement home. When it comes to the variety in clientele, Glass said:

“Whether it’s creative or corporate, you kind of storyboard something, but that's on a piece of paper, it’s not there yet. So then it’s like, ‘Ok now we have to make this.’ With every project, there is something that calls to you, something that you’re enamored by. You want to bring that creation to the point where you’re smitten with what you’ve made and then you want to repeat that in every single scene. It’s really delicate, but it’s exciting. You’re taking an idea or abstraction and bringing it into a concrete thing that you can share, and you just keep refining it over and over until it’s where you want it to be, where you need it to be. I only take on projects I know I can deliver what I promise. And with every one, I set a higher standard for myself in everything I do. I like what I do, I enjoy what I do, but I want to be better every time.”

So what’s next for Ian Glass?

“My next chapter is knowing I need to branch out and have some set of tutelage and use that as a portfolio to get into a production house and learn more. Of course I’m open right now for new projects too. And then there’s grad school- I want to study more about film and more about culture and anthropology. ”

With Glass, it all seems to come back to furthering his understanding of capturing those moments; of that refinement on creating what’s storyboarded or seen in a scene; of storytelling. That’s Ian Glass- a masterful storyteller practicing his craft with the creative human spirit of others- in imagery, in music, in invention, in film. In life as it’s lived.

Learn more about Ian Glass and check out his numerous projects here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Fox King: Boulder Artist Michael Maloney Wants to Design Your Next Album Cover

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Looking for new album art? This is your guy.

The Fox King.

The Fox King.

At BolderBeat, our main focus is music and everything that makes music happen. So today we’d like to present local artist Michael Maloney. Canvas, resin, print, digital media, Photoshop, costuming, animation- Maloney, who creates under the moniker OhhMika: The Fox King- has done it all. Originally from Pennsylvania, The Fox King moved here a few months ago somewhat by chance in one of those I-was-visiting-and-never-left scenarios. I met Maloney when coordinating the song artwork for the recently featured Whiskey Autumn vocal track series, and the more I chatted with him, the more I wanted to share his work. Maloney is a true artistic asset in the Boulder community, and one who is really hoping to work with local bands for their art needs. Read on:

So did you always draw? Or where did things begin?

My dad was actually a tattoo artist, and so when he was working on tattoos, I would sit down with him and my crayons or colored pencils and we would draw together. As a kid, we never went without, but I didn’t have whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it either. So I actually would make my own toys- paper dolls, different sculptures, and drawings. I was really my own source of entertainment and as I got older, I just stuck with it. I became a lot more serious in college- I took different art classes for my major in graphic design and I started a sketchbook where I would track my progress and reflect on my drawings.

An original OhhMika animation.

An original OhhMika animation.

And so what about now? I know that you do a lot of digital work- is that your focus?

So I do a lot in Photoshop- collages with different photos that I take. But really I’m a traditional artist- I do a lot of drawing and I like the physical aspect of making art. That said, digital is much more convenient since I don’t have to buy supplies. I actually have programs where I can simulate oil and canvas or sculpting, and I just finished a 3D printed figure this week, an anime character that I created. I spend a lot of my free time on art- I explore around Boulder for Photoshop collages. Sometimes I find animal bones or claws and I turn those into different resin pieces. And then I am working on a comic book character- I’ve done digital illustrations for the character and also created a real-life costume of him. I’m also making my own deck of tarot cards.

One of Maloney's comic book illustrations.

One of Maloney's comic book illustrations.

It’s so awesome that you explore such different mediums- is there anywhere specifically that you draw inspiration from for your work?

Nature is a big physical inspiration. With photo collaging and illustrations, I use a lot of fractals, patterns, animals, and plants. And some things have been inspired by psychedelic experiences.

OHHMIKA CREATED THIS COLLAGe  Using photos of real foxes he found & the Flatirons.

OHHMIKA CREATED THIS COLLAGe Using photos of real foxes he found & the Flatirons.

Sweet. I know you mentioned wanting to work with Boulder bands. Talk to me about that.

I am definitely hoping to work with local bands. I can do album art, flyers, merch, and anything else they want. I have some art prints of my own up on Society6, so I could help them design their own prints and posters too. There is so much I can do digitally, and I have experience in making merchandise- hats, t-shirts, etc. I’ve also been trying to learn how to do lyric videos with After Effects, like the ones you see on YouTube where the art in the background is all original and the band’s lyrics are on screen. Still playing with that though!

I actually make my own music too- I do 8-bit covers and I write atmospheric metal songs- really tight polyrhythms with really pretty, echoey transient sounds on top of [the track]. So I understand the process of creating music and how important it is to communicate music visually with something like album artwork or posters.

Righteous. You can preview more of The Fox King’s work on his Instagram and his Facebook page. To work with him on your next art project, send OhhMika an email at ohhmikathefoxkingart@gmail.com or message him on Facebook. And if you want to buy any of his prints, order them here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the artist featured. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

a Drawing-inspired piece.

a Drawing-inspired piece.

Isolated Vocal Release: Whiskey Autumn's "A Fool's Errand"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Whiskey Autumn's isolated vocals series is a cool look into their sound. 

A few months ago, Whiskey Autumn approached me about modeling for their isolated vocal release series. Frontman Greg Laut storyboarded, directed, photographed, and styled the shoot for their “Letterman Sweater” track artwork, which you can see and listen to here:

In talking with Laut more about Whiskey Autumn’s isolated vocal tracks, I was inspired to work with him on the production of the artwork for their most recent release, “A Fool’s Errand.” Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we put this shoot together:

First off- what made you decide to release an isolated vocal series? And why create artwork for each track?

Isolated vocal tracks are meant to showcase a song in a way that people haven’t heard yet. The idea stemmed from nerding out on YouTube and listening to isolated vocal cuts from classic Beatles and Beach Boys songs such as "This Boy" and "Wouldn’t It Be Nice." Removing the backing instrumentation allows these songs to take on new life and emphasizes how important the vocals are to the overall sound of the recordings.

Many of the songs I write tell stories, and creating photos provides an image for the narrative. It’s fun to present a visual story and is more engaging than posting our existing album covers which people are familiar with at this point.

The images really do bring the story to life. “Letterman Sweater” was really the beginning of the portrait-style art behind each vocal release. What were you hoping to communicate with the artwork for that particular song?

“Letterman Sweater” is the story of a young man pining for his lost love. The only place he can understand and make the girl happy is in his dreams, where she is cold and puts on his sweater. The photo represents his dream world where the girl wears a piece of him and everything is a bit surreal. I wanted the picture to convey a sense of innocence since the song is about young, naive love.

Sweet. So let’s jump into the thought process behind “A Fool’s Errand.” Originally, you came to me with the idea of wanting the photo to have a feeling of rebellion. You had a strong sense of direction with this photo relating to the lyrics “adorn every white picket fence in flames.” Talk more about that.

When Whiskey Autumn was initially brainstorming album cover ideas for “Call You Mine,” I really wanted the cover to be a white picket fence on fire in front of an idyllic ‘American Dream’ type of house. We went with a different idea, but months later, I still thought this would make for a grabbing image. We just pivoted from the direction of literally lighting a fence on fire to a rebellious man preparing to burn down an established dream that he doesn’t believe in.

Speaking of the rebellious man, let’s give a quick introduction to our model. I actually did a Craigslist casting call for this shoot. We had a ton of people submit, and eventually local artist Michael Maloney reached out to us. His long hair and awesome tattoos (which he designed himself) seemed like a perfect fit for the defiant look of this photo. After an initial meet-up (and eventually an interview for his own feature, which will be published tomorrow detailing his cool artwork), we knew he was a perfect fit.

Which brings me to what I love most about the theme of this track art- the portrait element. It makes the song feel like it’s focusing on a character; a specific story, which I think is an awesome blend with such stripped-down tracks. Cut the instruments; add a strong visual. It’s a cool way for people to envision and interpret the songs differently and it presents something for their imagination to jump from.

Definitely. Even though I have my own interpretation of each song, listeners will naturally project their own feelings and perspectives onto them. Hopefully the photos will showcase what the songs mean to me while giving others a new vantage point to develop their own perceptions.

So stoked for more releases in this series. Check out the final photo we chose from our shoot and give “A Fool’s Errand” a listen here:

And make sure to check back tomorrow for the feature on the model in the photo, local artist Michael Maloney aka OhhMika The Fox King!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

I Spent Saturday in a Storage Unit with Bareface & It Was Awesome.

By: Hannah Oreskovich

I spent my Saturday night in a storage unit with Boulder band Bareface and it was awesome.

Driving up, the venue appears to be part warehouse, part storage unit. It’s got a garage, it’s got a front door, and everything else around the unit it is dark and quiet. The location is secret, the vibe is relaxed, and I’m told that the music at this spot is always choice. Where am I? Paradime.

The Paradime Steps.

The Paradime Steps.

Paradime is a local DIY venue that, according to one regular, hosts “primarily punk folk bands and solo artists.” When you enter, there’s an old wooden piano to your left and beyond that, a stage. There’s room for dancing and there’s a small kitchen that’s been crafted from scratch: a counter with bar stool seating, a refrigerator, and a back room with more seating and a cut-out window for show-viewing. On the far wall opposite the door, there are steps that take you to a lofted area, and beneath them is a little hallway with a library and a vinyl collection for anyone to peruse and use. The whole place is also dripping with art: canvases, drawings, scribbles. Paradime is wildly independent and beautiful, a true testament to the DIY community’s talent and passion for this space. But sadly, due to lease issues, Paradime is closing its doors soon.

Bareface Grooving Us On Stage.

Bareface Grooving Us On Stage.

Enter Bareface, who played the final Paradime gig last Saturday. Bareface is a Boulder band composed of Will Parkhill (vocals, guitar, and bass), Robert Collins (also vocals, guitar, bass), Rebecca Oliver (vocals, kazoo), Jean du la Monde (vocals, drums), Lee Garrett (banjo, guitar, lap steel), and Emma Mulholland (violin). Parkhill and Collins met in an alchemy class a couple of years ago, started playing music together, and slowly collected members for what is now the current Bareface lineup.

Dancing with Ghosts. 

Dancing with Ghosts. 

Before the five piece started their set Saturday, a couple of solo performers had played the Paradime stage. Neither were exactly dance-worthy and they had driven a good part of the crowd outside. But the minute Bareface opened their set with a couple of jazzy numbers, everyone wandered inside. And by the time they started into their cool rendition of Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Bluebird,” everyone was dancing and laughing. A girl with blue hair grabbed anyone who wasn’t moving and pulled them onto the floor to groove with her. Soon, the whole place was twirling along to Bareface. It was radical.

Balls to the Wind. 

Balls to the Wind. 

After watching Bareface electrify Paradime with their positive, groovy energy, I wanted to know what this doo-wop lounge-group was up to besides playing amazing DIY spots. Parkhill smiled, “Well, to keep on the DIY theme, we’re actually doing a lot of DIY recording- we’re working in the bedrooms and garages of good friends.” And their plans for release? “Sometime this fall!” shouted Jean du le Monde. Bareface also has an upcoming gig that they’re pretty excited about. “We’re playing the Boulder Outdoor Cinema on August 22nd,” Mullholland laughed, "and it’s for The Princess Bride so we’re dressing up!” Sweet.

Collins Kiling It.

Collins Kiling It.

So Boulder, although you might not have the chance anymore to peep a Paradime show, you should definitely check out Bareface. Listen to them here. And keep up with their upcoming events, including this weekend’s show, here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos and polaroids per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Music Video Release: Tyto Alba "Turn to Stone"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Tyto Alba dropped a new video and it's rad.

Denver-based indie rock outfit Tyto Alba have been playing together for almost a year. In that short time, they’ve managed to record and release their EP Oh Tame One, put out a video for their song “Turn to Stone”, and they’re on the UMS lineup at the end of this month. Obviously, they’re doing something right. So we wanted to sit down with the four-piece’s frontwoman, Melanie Steinway, to chat about Tyto Alba’s creative process for the “Turn to Stone” video, what it has been like to perform in both the Boulder and Denver music scenes, and the other creative projects she’s involved in as a visual artist outside of her band.

Classy Group Right Here: Tyto Alba.

Classy Group Right Here: Tyto Alba.

Melanie, we really enjoyed the video for “Turn to Stone”. Tell us what it was like storyboarding ideas for the video and what elements you really wanted to connect your audience to visually.

Ian [the director] and I were trying to brainstorm a basic plotline for the video and I mentioned that I had four animal skulls in my apartment - coincidentally, one for each band member! That’s how we developed the idea of each member departing into the woods and finding their own personal skull, which then sits atop their gear as they’re playing inside. Ties to nature run through Tyto Alba’s lyrics as well as our visual imagery, so it felt like an appropriate theme. In all of my work I explore death and life, creation and destruction, and how opposing forces can be juxtaposed in a compelling way. I’m constantly intrigued with our connection to the natural world in a time when we’re surrounded by grey, urban life and seem to have lost our animal instincts. I aim to address the animal hidden inside everyone and often find it an appropriate metaphor for describing people and situations.

Those are interesting contrasts to play with visually. You mentioned working with Ian Glass Media. We’ve noticed he’s done a number of cool projects with musicians lately. What was it like working with him and how did you connect with him to shoot?

Ian and I have been friends for several years and had worked together previously on several video/photo projects, but nothing as big as this before. He’s an insanely creative and energetic dude, and he was psyched when I approached him with the music video project. We managed to do all of the filming in one long day up at my father’s house in Sunshine Canyon. We spent a lot of time walking up and down forest-y inclines- it was definitely a workout! Filming indoors was a lot of fun too- our bassist Ryan had made all of these glowing light bottles that made for some pretty neat decor. Overall, Ian was a blast to work with and I would definitely recommend him to anyone needing photo or video work. It’s refreshing to work with someone so enthusiastic about what they do.

Melanie Rocking Out.

Melanie Rocking Out.

We noticed those light bottles! They made for such a cool ambiance behind your indoor performance. So we know you were involved in the Boulder music scene before working with Tyto Alba in Denver. Talk to us a little bit about moving music scenes.

I spent a brief amount of time living in Boulder after graduating from college in Rhode Island. As soon as I arrived, I put together a folk-rock band called Howl Moonshine Howl, which disbanded shortly before Tyto Alba was formed. I think it might have been a challenge to be an indie-rock band [like Tyto Alba] based out of Boulder [because I feel it’s] a town that caters more to acoustic music, bluegrass, reggae, funk, etc. Denver’s music scene is incredibly diverse and there are more venues to play here for a rock band, so that was refreshing. Since we formed around a year ago we’ve played at almost every venue in town: Larimer Lounge, Lost Lake, Lion’s Lair, Hi Dive, Meadowlark, and even Syntax Physic Opera. Recently, it’s gotten tougher in Denver to get paid decently for playing a show though- a four person band shouldn’t walk out of a venue with $30 after a night of lugging expensive gear and performing their hearts out. That being said, we’re all very excited to be part of this scene and to be performing at UMS for the first time alongside all of the biggest bands in Denver.

Thanks for sharing your perspective. We noticed on your personal website that you do a lot of art on woods, including on guitars. And we saw your guitar in the video has some work on it. Have any big-name artists reached out to you yet for designs? Is this something you’re hoping to do a lot more of?

I’ve worked with Fender several times on some woodburned acoustic guitars that have gone off to NAMM for display. One really exciting commission I did a few years back was a woodburned electric guitar body for Ritzy, the singer of The Joy Formidable. It was a birthday present put together by her boyfriend, and she played it on stage at the Boulder Theatre opening up for Passion Pit. She gave me a shout out for the guitar mid-set and I think I might have cried a bit- it was so amazing to see someone like her playing something with my artwork on it! Guitar woodburning projects are pretty involved so I don’t do them too often, but I always love when people approach me with projects! I had fun woodburning my own Fender telecaster a couple of years ago as well, which is the one I now play in my band.

That must have been pretty cool to see a fellow rocker chick jamming on your art. So what’s next for Tyto Alba after UMS? And what’s next for you as a visual artist outside of the band?

After UMS, Tyto Alba will probably hunker down and write some new material in preparation for a full-length [album]. We’re also going to pop into Coupe Studios at some point to record a new single or two. I’ve been collecting footage in preparation for making another music video as well, once we have a polished new recording. [And] as a visual artist I’ve been really happy lately developing myself as a tattooist. I’d love to have more time to work on more personal projects and larger-scale fine art. Sometimes it can be a tough balance between being a visual artist and a musician, but I wouldn’t give either of them up!

So there it is kids- another sweet interview with another band on the UMS lineup. Keep up with Tyto Alba here. Peep Melanie’s artwork here. And watch their video for “Turn to Stone” below:

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.