Tag Archives: NYC

The Art of RSTAR

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I spend the better part of my days having typical conversations, in a typical world of ‘checking in and out’.  For that reason I have key people in my life that I go to so they can push me beyond the mundane and trigger the art within me.  On Earth Day nonetheless, I sat down virtually with Ryan Star, hoping and craving that he would indulge me with an “atypical” conversation rather than just another interview.

 

“I’m a fan of not-typical – like you – I’m not interested in checking in and checking out and checking in…” he says which elevates my confidence in the ‘interview’ format I chose for today’s conversation.  In this last month as the winter slowly comes to a close here in Muskoka (it takes a while in these Canadian parts) and spring starts to peak out from the dirt I start to ponder new indulgences into my own creativeness.  I’m not one to share my ‘art’ in the traditional sense; I don’t give it out willingly like a musician shares music with fans or a painter having a show at a gallery.  The ebb and flow of creating in any medium can be a struggle. I’ve always been curious how Ryan stays inspired to write songs and create his ‘art’.  I ask about his people and how it seems from my view that he surrounds himself with artistic characters:

 

“All the colours and the people come into my mind of who I’m thinking about….I like the uniqueness and specialness of people, when I watch Seinfeld and Kramer comes in the door like that and rockin’ through – in real life people are ‘like that fucking guy, the neighbor is so annoying’ – well I love it, I embrace that, that’s different, that’s fun, that’s special – it keeps it fresh.  With my friends, the people I surround myself with, they are atypical, they don’t fall into that standard, but the other thing is they aren’t off-the-wall crazy creative where they can’t function in reality creative”

 

“the creative ones pop up and I use them – but more importantly I’ve learned from an early age that just because the guy has a Grammy or a credit or whatever to his name doesn’t make them better than my friend who lives next door who’s just fresh and doesn’t care. I see talent in people and when I see that, I try and harness it”

 

This attitude is genuine and ‘very refreshing’ (tm Kramer); if I had a Junior Mint nearby I would have offered one to Ryan.   As an artist I truly believe that Ryan has an interesting way of seeing his world, it has a huge influence on how he has developed his craft over the last three albums.  I don’t believe he sees anything he’s done as a mistake “I willingly did things outside of my comfort zone to test the boundaries of what I’m willing to do and who I’m willing to be as an artist.…I went far and it was interesting. I now understand that.  But I like this more and I’m going to stay in this world more.  Legends can tell you that it’s the third record that they realize who they were.  It takes a second of going left and right until you finally bowl that strike.”

 

Ryan describes what he is doing now with Angels & Animals as a “modern version of Elephant”. He speaks passionately saying “I call it Nineties 2.0 – I’m proud of bringing back a rawness in such a computer world, try to bring back the heart, the same reason why kids want to hear records on vinyl, bring back the experience of listening to music.  I didn’t sign up to play musak or just one single, I didn’t sign up for that……I didn’t make this record thinking I should go play the game.”  As a fan, and one that follows closely, I will speak for the lot of us – we are glad Ryan isn’t playing the game – we want to hear what he wants to play.

 

Ryan goes on to say “the cool thing is I have you [fans] on the other end…when you are first starting you do it for yourself. Then you do it for the potential audience, and now I have an audience – it doesn’t matter small or big, I know who I’m singing to now.”  I interrupt and let it be known that we want him to do it for him – that’s what we want to hear.  Ryan poignantly jumps in and says “but at least I know what you like and it helps me get confident in what I like, because what you like happens to be what I like.  It’s very simple and it’s awesome….a lot of this record was done like that.  The rule was – if we think it’s good – it’s good.  If I like it, that’s it, I like it.  There was no editing, no 10 takes, you have one take to get this, but I’ll give you three takes.”

 

The refreshingness continues and I long for a Junior Mint.

 

He is very much a visual artist who translates what he sees into his music.  ‘This is How I See It’ is one of those sayings that is a constant reminder to me and one that pops up in my life often – it is the title of the biography of artist and photographer David Hockney, who has been a huge influence on how I look at my world.  Environment will influence and impact anyone’s life – creativity, mood, and general well-being, whether it is the Canadian Shield, or the pristine lakes of Muskoka in my case, or the Manhattan skyline Ryan gets to see every day, or the street art flanking the buildings in Brooklyn.

 

When asked about the ‘art’ that Ryan gravitates towards outside of music:

 

“Lately it is street art, and we talked about creative persons and this is someone that didn’t fall into my lap – I had to will to find this person.  His name is Pixote…he’s a street artist around Brooklyn and if you come here you will see his shit everywhere (themrpix on Instagram).  Every building has his tag.  It’s not what he is painting, it’s how he’s doing it and where he’s doing it.  There is something to it…it’s very tribal.  I literally looked up one day and thought  – I have to find this guy.  Next thing I know he’s doing the art with me on the album and has become a friend.  It also turned out that he was in a rock band that opened up for my band Stage years ago, the connections were pretty incredible.

 

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Pixote is the epitome of underground NYC subculture, and Ryan has gone back the basics with Angels & Animals releasing this album without major label support: he says ‘the music consistently follows my environment more than I create the music’.  The artistic connections between these two artists goes beyond the inner 12-year-old boy and his skateboard.  They are both purists with their art forms, indie musician and elusive graffiti artist.  The collaboration on Angels & Animals has these over-lapping subcultures creating a raw version of the rstar entity that jumps back to ‘elephant’, and at the same time launches Ryan Star miles forward.

 

What is good and who decides?  I’m in the midst of an ABC Playlist project and how could I not ask Ryan to contribute?  As my list is a work in progress there was no harm in skipping ahead to R – for rstar.  We decided that he’d give me five songs – what he’s listening to…what he can throw at me in this particular moment.  Of course he defers to songs on the cover challenge and we agree those are a good start but he still needs to give me five.  Here they are….

 

R is for RSTAR

  • Frank Ocean – Bad Religion
  • The National – Fireproof
  • Bon Iver – Perth
  • Band of Horses – No Ones Gonna Love You (although he gave me the choice of this or Is There A Ghost – both equally great songs)
  • Matthew Good – Strange Days “for the Canadians” he says. We had a lengthy discussion about our mutual love of Matt Good.  Strange Days is the song that led Ryan to MG (not his favourite, which he never did divulge)

 

And the songs from the cover challenge if you aren’t familiar with it…..

 

Challenge Songs

  • Tori Amos – Crucify
  • Pixies – Where is My Mind?
  • Pearl Jam – Black
  • Tool – Sober
  • Lorde -Team
  • Chvrches – The Mother We Share
  • Bastille – Overjoyed
  • The 1975 – Chocolate
  • Imagine Dragons – Demons
  • Leonard Cohen – If It Be Your Will

 

If at the end of the cover challenge Ryan says ‘fuck it I’m covering xxx’ then you know that he took to heart my granting him permission to rig it.  Blame Canada – it’s been done before!

 

The challenge talk turned into full-on music chat about The Pixies and the fact that they were one of the first bands I saw live way back when, loving the music we grew up on and trying to engage the younger generation.  Ryan says “I’d love to talk to the 16-year-olds right now and get them into cool shit” and he speaks with excitement about showing his younger cousin the way with artists like Jeff Buckley.  The generational connection we have is clear – we like many of the same artists, support the same causes (see dog rescue information below), and we see the world around us uniquely.  Perhaps this is the Gen-X way of living in 2014?  The years in which we came of age shaped us all into the people we are now – connecting us all with the music, art and lifestyle from our past.  Nostaglia is present, and when you experience the full circle – second time around effect – you see how it was the first with clarity and the phenomenon of ‘enlightenment’ is very refreshing. (I just couldn’t help myself with that one)

 

The conversation turns into an all-out Canadian geography lesson explaining the location of cottage country and the venue “The Kee To Bala” where Matt Good plays every summer. “I love Matt, he’s my favourite.  He’s amazing.  I chatted with him on the phone for a few hours.  He knows more about American politics than I do.  We were talking about him producing some songs off Songs for the Eye of an Elephant and then I went on a TV show.  Sliding doors, you know”  GAH!!!  Imagine that, a MG/RSTAR collaboration.  Maybe someday?  A girl can dream…..

 

“You need to say ‘Ryan wants to come hang’ next time we are in the area. We’ll make a detour, I really want check it out….I need to get a gig at The Kee, that would be sweet”  is how Ryan closes the conversation.

 

I’m holding you to that, Mr. Star.

 

Cheers,

 

LisaO. @lila_lyric

 

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A.N.I.M.A.L.S.

Ryan Star put out a new EP on August 5th, 2013 as you know from my last post here. I made it to NYC to see 2 of 4 shows (phenomenal) that he put on over a four night span at some great venues (Joe’s Pub, Rockwood, Pianos & Mercury Lounge). Here is my unconventional way of summarizing my thoughts on Animals:

A – Anomalous is what this ep is to fans who only know 11:59, this deviation from what they likely expected as follow-up hopefully gives them a face-palm as they pledge their allegiance to the rstar army. The smack right in the head isn’t because they prefer 11:59 over Animals, it’s because they knew Ryan had passion and they knew Ryan had talent, the ‘doh’ moment is because they now hear it on a new level and feel it in their gut they way those of us feel it who had been on the rstar train a nano-second or a decade pre-11:59. Welcome aboard.
N – Nostalgia is the vibe that the new rstar ep has – all while being current and honest and so very real.
I – Intensity is what Ryan brings to every damn live show I’ve seen. It builds and builds and explodes, the shows, the songs (give bullet a listen) and then spooges all over the audience and they squeal with delight.
M – Marketable is what we long-haul rstar/stage fans don’t give a fucking shit about and glad that Ryan is on the path that reads ‘here I am love me or fuck off’ and if there was an E in animal I’d use the words enlightenment or epiphany. He didn’t need them, nor did we fans, but in some ways the world needs them because to see real artistry we need to see truth, the stark shaven head of it all which isn’t always pretty, but almost always beautiful.
A – Authenticity in who we are and what we give to the world means more than pleasing the masses. It’s hard as a people-pleaser myself to not get caught up in what everyone else wants from you, the struggle to remain steadfast (mostly to yourself) when you are pulled in every direction. I feel that steadfast authenticity in Animals, especially in f*ck’n up & my life with you.
L – and on a Light-hearted note – everyone should LIKE this post, Beat & Lyric on Facebook and of course Ryan Star. Just do it now.
S – Seat – in a recent interview Ryan talks of not enough seats at the party. You feel the on-edge, the I’m right here, let me come in vibe he speaks of with everything he’s done to date. Who the hell wants a seat at a party anyways? Keep moving, touch everything and everyone (in a non-creepy way of course) and put yourself out there. Seats are for subway rides and road-trips, not parties and Ryan I’d save you seat on my train and/or in my car – I’d even give you shotgun as long as you promised to keep making the music you want to make.

Not a conventional review of new music, but for me it’s real.

Cheers,
Lila

Watch

Animals EP by Ryan Star on iTunes – get it now https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/animals-ep/id677958252

http://www.rstar.net

http://twitter.com/RyanStar


What kind of fan would I be…..

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If I didn’t blog the release of Ryan Star’s new music? The Animals EP is set to release on August 5, 2013. Pre-order available on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/animals-ep/id677958252

I’ve been slacking on blogging and I apologize.

Ryan uploaded what I gather will be the next single “Impossible” to YouTube for a full listen click below!

And a Billboard article to boot! http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/4439958/ryan-star-impossible-exclusive-single-premiere

So here we go again – new music, new hair do (or lack there of on Ryan’s part) and a new trip to NYC in August for the ‘release shows’. Unfortunately this time around Betty can’t attend. An RStar virgin is in for a treat – she’s going to have to bite the ‘bullet’ and enter a ‘world I used to know’ and hope that I am not ‘f*ckn up’ the train schedule to get is in the city on time for the shows, those schedules are ‘impossible’ to decipher and clearly ‘my life with you’ blog readers is important so I promise to blog more.

Enough with the CHEESE….now go listen and pre-order….and if you are going to Joe’s Pub or the Rockwood please introduce yourself. I’m Lila and my sidekick this time will be a tall blonde.

Cheers,
Lila


Courage & Humanity on 9.11.01

Here is a 9/11 story of a ‘friend’ that was in the tower that morning.  This is a powerful survivor’s account of courage and humanity on such a tragic day in US history.

Quite a few people have asked me quite a few times to post about my experiences on 9/11. A few months afterward, I was seeing a counselor for a while, and she told me to write it out like a journal entry. According to her, it would help me deal with things. So this is what I wrote.

*************
Warning: I’m going to try not to jump around, but I may a little bit, because I had quite a few blank spots during that morning. I put some of what I did together later, after speaking to two women I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge with, Doris and Hanna. I’ve been watching a few documentaries lately, so I’m going to try a similar timeline approach to try and keep things straight.

September 11, 2001

6:00AM – My alarm goes off. Mike has an early pick-up that has to go way the hell out on Long Island. He tells me to go back to sleep because I don’t have to be in the office until 9:30; I tell him I’m going in early because I’m meeting my supervisor Maria at 8:45. She is going to teach me a new job function, and I want to have time to eat my breakfast outside by the Orb sculpture on the WTC Plaza. He rolls his eyes at me before he kisses me good-bye, and dashes off. I lounge for a while, watching the TODAY show before I jump in the shower at 6:30, leaving the TV blasting loud enough to hear the weather. According to Al Roker, it’s going to be a gorgeous day.
7:15AM – Well, Al was right; it is a stunning day. Clear skies, sunshine, and a light breeze. The N train is actually on time for once, and I even get a seat! I’ll be at work in no time; and since I have a seat, maybe I’ll just stay on the local and not even bother with the express.

8:15AM – Cortlandt Street-World Trade Center. I have plenty of time. I stop and browse in Barnes and Noble, on the underground Concourse level. Maybe I’ll come down on lunch and pick up a book. They have a huge sci-fi section, so the selection is really pretty good. Oh, damn, where did the time go? It’s getting late; no breakfast on the Plaza now if I want to meet Maria in time. I have to switch elevators at the 44th floor, so I’ll just run down the escalator and grab something in the cafeteria on the 43rd floor on my way up to the 49th.

8:40AM –Damn, but this French toast smells heavenly! The woman in front of me on line is digging for exact change. A man behind me sighs heavily. I turn to look at him and shoot him a “grin and bear it” sort of look. He rolls his eyes and silently grins in response. The woman drops her handful of change. The grinning man helps her pick it up, as my hands are full with my tray. The cashier rings up my order, and I pay. I hear a distant rumble, like a freight train. The cashier absently wonders aloud, “What’s that noise?” as she hands me my receipt. I notice that the time on the receipt is 8:45AM. Damn, I’m late to meet Maria.

8:46AM – There is a huge noise, and I stagger and fall, french toast flying. As I pick up my head, the floor actually ripples, and through the floor-to-ceiling windows, I see WTC 2 sway. Then I realize that our building is swaying. Not just swaying, whipping back and forth, like an old car antenna. There is a shower of shiny stuff cascading past the windows; I realize that it is glass. I get to my feet as debris begins to fall past the high windows, some of it burning. I walk towards the windows. My first thought is that a chopper has missed the helipad, but already too much stuff is coming down for it to be a chopper. Jesus, maybe it’s a Cessna. More and more debris is plummeting past the windows, and people are screaming. I lean against the window and look up to see something large coming down, aflame. It looks vaguely like a La-z-boy recliner. It seems to float past in slow motion, and as it disappears below me, in a moment of horrible clarity, I realize it is an entire row of airline seats. They are occupied. I hear a voice, and turn to see the grinning man. He isn’t grinning any more. Debris is raining past the windows now, and a snowstorm of paper is floating by. He looks at me and very matter-of-factly says, “I was here in ’93. I can’t do this shit again. I’m outta here.” And he bolts towards the emergency stairwell. It’s right near the cashier’s station, and I hadn’t even realized it was there. I follow him as he enters the stairwell, but I stop at the door. It is already crowded in there, and I can’t make myself go in. A building security man is there. “C’mon, lady, we gotta go!” I can’t make myself enter the stairwell, and I shake my head and back up. “Lady! We gotta GO!” he shouts at me. “I CAN’T!” I scream back. “There’s too many people, and no AIR!” I am not entirely rational at this point. My claustrophobia is kicking in. A very large man stops at the door, and comes back to our little standoff. The security man barely glances at him. “Miss, I can’t leave until the last person is out, you’re the last, let’s GO!” The large man very softly says to me, “Miss, he’s only doing his job. Help him do his job. Come on, now.” And he takes my hand. “I’ll stay with you.” He waved the security man away, and walked me towards the door. At the threshold, I balk, planting my feet. He slips a hand to the back of my head, grabs a handful of hair, and yanks me into the stairwell. I am highly pissed off, and he’s hurting me, so I start calling him every filthy name I can think of. He drags me towards the first flight of stairs leading down. I can’t stop now without being trampled. He lets go of my hair, takes my hand again, and smiles at me. “That wasn’t so hard, was it? You just needed to get started. My name is Guy. What’s yours?” I start to cry, and tell him my name. He talks to me all the way down 43 floors, asking me all kinds of questions. By the time we hit the 30’s, I find myself telling him that my first anniversary is at the end of the month, and about our wedding, and about my sisters, and my husband, and how I have such a nice Mother-in-Law, and oh, God, did Maria get out? Firefighters are passing us, headed upwards. I can see terror in their eyes, but some of them actually manage to joke with us as they pass. Somewhere in the 20’s, I think it was 26, there was water cascading out of the fire door on the landing, and it was shin-deep on me all the way to the teens. I realized that Guy was quite a large man, well over 6 feet tall, because the water doesn’t come up much past his ankles. In retrospect, we actually moved down quite quickly, but at the time it seemed to take forever.

Approximately 9:00AM – Upper Lobby. Plaza Level. Cops and firefighter are everywhere. There is a line of cops along where the windows at street level used to be. Glass is crunching underfoot; it’s all over the place. There are cops at the stairwell door, directing us underground to the concourse level. I am really not interested in going underground. All the cops are shouting to be heard. “Do not try to exit the building here! Don’t look outside, keep going down! You’ll be led out to Cortlandt Street!” The stench is incredible. Of course, despite instructions not to, everyone looks out at the Plaza as they head down to the Concourse; it is a wasteland. Debris covers everything, even the Orb. There are bodies scattered like leaves, along with chunks of the building itself, and pieces of fuselage, and the smell of blood and jet fuel is overpowering. As I get to the top of the powerless escalator, clutching Guy’s hand, another jumper hits. I realize I am repeating “oh Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus” over and over, and I clamp my mouth shut. We cross the lower Lobby towards the revolving doors that lead to the shopping concourse beneath the Trade Center. The sprinkler systems are still on down here. In the background, there is another rumble.
9:03AM – We are crossing through the propped open revolving doors on the concourse level when there is an enormous, booming crash, and we almost lose out footing. Remnants of glass stuck in the frames of the lobby windows suddenly let go and crash down around us. Guy wraps me in his arms and hunches over, protecting me. A large shard of glass falls from the frame of the revolving door and wedges itself into his back. I hear someone screaming, and I realize it’s me. There are screams from the Upper Lobby. “Another one! Holy shit, another one!” The second plane has struck WTC 2, the South Tower. A man runs over, taking his shirt off. “Guy!! Holy Jesus, Guy, I’ve been looking all over for you, don’t move, lemme pull this out…” Apparently he works with Guy, but I never caught his name. He wraps his shirt around his hands and yanks the shard of glass out of Guy’s back. I realize that the glass would have struck me if not for Guy. The three of us follow the crowd through the concourse. It looks as though it has been abandoned for years; chunks of glass litter the floor, discarded high heel shoes are all over the place, and there is about 3 inches of water flowing steadily from the lower level of WTC 1 towards the subways. The Barnes and Noble sign hangs crazily down, attached by only one bolt. Beneath it, mingled with the remnants of the front windows on the floor is what remains of the Anne McCaffrey display that caught my eye on the way in. “Keep moving! Head for Cortlandt Street!” The NYPD and PAPD are lining the route through the concourse and up the steps of the subway exit. As we hit the street level, the sun blinds me, and I trip. Guy hauls me up, and drags me across the street and up the block, towards St. Paul’s Chapel. We pause for breath in the middle of the block, and look back, and up. Oh, sweet Jesus, I’m sorry I looked; both towers are burning. The South Tower is hit much lower than the North, and my first though is that the top section of the building will fall over. We bolt up to Broadway, and presumed safety. We pause at the chapel, and collapse onto the curb with scores of others. A cop rushes over to tell us to clear the area. “Sorry, people, you have to keep going. Head north, go uptown, go over the bridge, just GO!” Guy asks me if I will be all right; he wants to go and try to find more of his colleagues. I tell him yes, and ask him which way to go to get to the Brooklyn Bridge. All I want is to go home. He points me towards the Bridge, and asks me again if I’ll be okay. We hug, both of us crying, and I thank him over and over. He and his friend disappear into the crowd, and I never see him again. I don’t even know his last name, or what company he worked for.

(I don’t remember much about this part; I put it together later on. I have no recollection of calling my sister-in-law, but I know I spoke to her from a barbershop, because apparently, I told her that’s where I was, and that the nice lady in the barbershop gave me some water. I couldn’t get through to Mike, and asked her to try.)

I walk up Broadway, looking for a pay phone; Mike must be frantic by now. The lines at all the pay phones are 20 and 30 people long. There aren’t any bars open yet, either. I am not too sure how far I went looking for a phone, but I do remember waving a $50.00 bill around, asking people to use their cell phones. No one had service.

The next conscious memory I have, is of being on the Brooklyn Bridge, walking with two women, Hanna and Doris. They work together at the Chase Bank on Broadway. Hanna is giving me sips of tea from a takeout cup. It is about 9:45AM, which means I wandered a bit after getting out of Tower 1. From here on out, my timeline is fuzzy.

(According to the phone conversation I had with Hanna three days later, I was on the pedestrian ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge itself, when I walked up to her and Doris and said, “I’m lost. Can you tell me where the Brooklyn Bridge is? I’m really lost, and I want to go home now.”)
We continue across the bridge, walking slower than most, along the inside railing, because Hanna is in her 60’s and not as nimble as she used to be. We come across a tall, slim, black girl, model pretty, who is limping along on a pair of heels. We ask if she needs help. She had foot surgery the day before, and just wore the heels for looks in the cab she took to work, so she could put on her bunny slippers when she got there. “I don’t even own a pair of flats!” She doesn’t want to take the shoes off, to avoid getting her foot dirty. I tell her to ditch the damn heels, and offer her my sandals. I go barefoot most of the time anyway, so it’s not a problem. She resists at first, until Doris gives us all a reason to want to move a little faster. “I don’t want to scare anyone, but it occurs to me that we’re standing on a big frigging target here! Could we move this along? Tall Girl, I don’t know your name, but put the fucking sandals on, and let’s get the hell out of here!” Tall Girl puts on my sandals, and now that she is off the heels, she can walk faster. We end up getting separated in the crowd, and lose her. We hear a distant rumble, and I look up, praying I don’t see another plane. People behind us begin to scream, and we look back to a surreal sight: The top of Tower 2 is sliding sideways. The top section actually tilts at a crazy angle before it begins to crumble, and we see the rest of the building start to give way beneath it. People begin to run on the bridge, and we duck behind a support beam to keep from being trampled. There is a gray cloud billowing through lower Manhattan.
(At this point I apparently began to lose touch with reality again, because I don’t remember walking the rest of the way across the bridge. According to Hanna, I started babbling inane questions, asking, ”where are all the cameras? This can’t be real, someone’s shooting a movie. If they’re shooting a movie, shouldn’t there be cameras? These special effects are awesome, Jesus, all these extras must be costing Speilberg a fortune.”)

Reality again. We come to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Apparently some of the debris caught up with us on our way over, because I am clutching a tea-soaked tissue and breathing through it. There are ambulances and a couple of fire trucks at the bottom of the pedestrian ramp. Someone is calling out, “Miss? Miss! Hey! Barefoot girl!” It is Tall Girl. She is sitting on a gurney near one of the ambulances, having her foot attended to, and waving wildly with my sandals. “I got the right one all bloody, but the fireman washed them off for you!” I step into my slightly soggy sandals and tall girl hops up and hugs me. “Thank you so much!” We survey the area, and try to figure out where to go next. An extremely young fireman walks over to us with a bucket. “Okay, ladies, let’s get you rinsed off.” He motions us toward one of the trucks. “We’ve got an open hydrant over here, so you can rinse off some of that muck.” I realize that we are all lightly coated with a gritty dust. We take turns dumping bucketsful of icy water over our heads to get rid of the grit. My blouse is filthy, and it suddenly feels as though I have been eating dust by the spoonful, so I dump a couple more buckets over my whole body, and I gargle a bit for good measure. The fireman tell us there are no trains running on this side of the river, but there might be busses by the Courthouse complex, so we head off. When we get there, the lines for the shuttle busses are literally thousands of people long, and confusion is rampant. Doris wanders off to see if there is a bus to Canarsie for Hanna. “Don’t go anywhere yet!” she says. I ask a passing cop for directions to walk to Bay Ridge. She has no idea. “I honestly don’t know, hon, I just got off a bus from the Bronx! Lemme ask someone.” She motions over an ambulance attendant. He’s not too sure, “but it’s in that general direction”, he says, pointing vaguely. Doris comes running back. “Hanna! I found a shuttle to Canarsie, and they’re taking senior citizens first!” We pelt over to the bus, hug Hanna and get her safely on board. She sticks her head out the window, and screams to Doris, “Call me when you get home!” Doris & I start to walk, checking pay phones on the way.
They all still have lines. About two hours later, we’re in a quiet residential neighborhood, and a woman watering her lawn tells us we’re in Bensonhurst, about two blocks from the intersection of McDonald & Church. I realize my father works not too far away. I ask to use her phone. “It hasn’t worked all morning, but you’re welcome to try.” She brings out a portable phone and a pitcher of iced tea with too much sugar. It is the most delicious thing I have ever had in my life. First I tried to call Mike; “This call can not be connected at this time.” Fuck ATT anyway. I get one of the “office girls” at my father’s job. “Hi, I need to speak to Carmine, please; this is his daughter.” “OH MY GOD”, she screams, “IS THIS ADRIANN?” “Yeah, is he there?” “Hold on honey, I’ll get him!” The phone clunks down, and I can hear her screaming to the rest of the office, “We found her, we found her, she’s on the phone, we found her, go get Bear!” I start to giggle. We have now been surrounded on this woman’s porch by some of her neighbors. “Honey? Are you okay? Where are you?” I have never been so glad to hear a voice in my entire life. I start to sob, and all I can say is “oh, Daddy” over and over. We’re all crying, and Doris is hugging me. The iced tea lady takes the phone, and tells my Dad to meet us at McDonald & Church, and she shows us the way there, and waits with us for my Dad. He finally pulls into the intersection, tires screeching, jumps out of the car, and runs to me, sobbing as hard as I am. Meanwhile, the car is in the middle of the intersection. A traffic cop wanders over, realizes what is going on, gets into the car and pulls it out of the intersection. We hug iced tea lady, and Doris & I pile into the car with Dad. Turns out that if we had made a right turn three miles ago, I would have been home by now. We take Doris to her house, which is a block away from my Dad’s job, and we stop in there so the office girls can see I’m okay. I leave them my home number so they can keep trying to call Mike for me, and we head to my place. They must have gotten through, because when we turned the corner, all our neighbors were out, and Mike came pelting up the block to where we parked. I have never been held quite so tightly, and I have never been so happy to see anyone, ever. We went upstairs to see if we could get through to people on the phone. Mike had the TV on, and my father – who doesn’t drink – went straight to the liquor cabinet. I felt grungy, so I went to take a shower. It turned out to be the first of many. I kept swearing that I could smell that horrible stench from the plaza. When I came out, the TV was showing the collapse of Tower 1 – my tower. It was the first time I heard that both towers were down. I went back to the bathroom and threw up. Mike got me settled on the couch with Daddy and a cup of tea. Then he listed everyone who called. “Franny, my mother, your sister Daria, – who is fucking nuts, by the way. Her husband called her from 14th St, and she told him to go downtown and find you, and that if he didn’t, not to bother coming home. He called me, asking where he should look. I told him to go home. Who else? My sister, your brother is on his way with his wife and some Chinese food, Caren, your job doesn’t know where you are, Maria and Crystal are okay, and ToniAnn is at the MidTown office, Joe & Laura, Jimmy, Mary, both Colleens, and some girl from Canada named CC.” “Who?!?” “CC. She said she knows you from on-line, at the bridal site.” “Are you fucking kidding me?” “No, I’m not kidding you; she was one of the first people to get through. Here’s her number, call her back, if the damn phone is working.”

I can’t remember when I called CC back; it might have been the next day, but I seem to remember it being later that evening. I called my job to check in and get my name off the casualty lists. There was supposed to be a large breakfast meeting in Windows on the World that morning, but one of the Japanese execs missed his flight out of Tokyo the night before so it was cancelled. We would have had the entire senior staff at the meeting, over 100 people, but thanks to a slow cabdriver in Tokyo, they all made it. As it was, we had personnel in both towers, and we lost 29 people, all from Tower 2, the South Tower.

So that’s pretty much it, I guess.

 

The song ‘America’ fits in here nicely, so I will post this video from a Ryan Star fan that speaks volumes of that day.


The Business of Being Hesta Prynn

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

A few months ago, Lila and I heard that Hesta Prynn put out the call to her fans to come up with words to describe her. Having met her on our NYC “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” whirlwind adventure, Lila and I took up her challenge, brownosed by turning our words into a bit of art and ended up landing an interview.

Surreal.

The main word chosen for this little project was “Propulsive”. The power to propel. It had a lot of meaning – how both Lila and I have claimed that Hesta’s music makes us run harder, how her music moves us, how when we met her she was like a force. And then we realized just how much velocity this girl has.

Hesta Prynn is an entity. And she knows it. In an industry that is often fickle-minded and self-indulgent, Julie Potash, is a smart and savvy business woman. She is building the Hesta Prynn brand. She recognizes the business behind music, the changes in the music industry and combines creativity with something that many artists rely on big companies to provide them: business smarts.

This was not the interview we expected.

Most people who know me know that I have a decided interest in how the music industry is run. I have a bit of a predisposed skepticism of the need of big record labels and traditional musical marketing methods. I mean, when you work more than a decade in marketing and advertising, you tend to have a healthy skepticism of all mass marketing tactics and the driving force behind them. So I, obviously, was elated to talk to an artist that….well, she gets it. According to her, “I’m like Hesta Prynn, the whole business entity; not just Hesta Prynn – musician.”

And what is more, Julie manages to intertwine business sense with some good old-fashioned idealism without it seeming trite or canned. She’s just real. She wants people to like her music, but more than that, she wants people to share it.

So, when her EP drops today, along with her new video, it’s not going to be in a traditional way. According to Julie, it’s going to be done “more grassroots.” This isn’t a full length record. “In this day and age, I wonder; I explore the idea… if putting an album of music is a dated way to do this. As opposed to, let’s say, putting out an EP quarterly?”

“I started in this business pretty young doing Northern State; it kind of got really big. We did the more traditional things for a hot minute. Then things started to change in the industry at the same time things started to change in the band. By the time I’d done that for a number of years, I was ready to try some other things. Just like any other profession. It was a natural progression.”

Instead of just writing music, putting it out and touring to support it, Hesta Prynn is diverse. She Djs (notably opening the Roxette show on September 2nd, more on that in a bit). She writes for other artists. She creates art and mixes it all together to be a force. Propulsive, indeed.

It isn’t any wonder that she has had the fortune to work with the likes of DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill) and Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys). And she shows immense gratitude to the lessons learned from those she has either collaborated with or learned from.

These people shaped who I am and the fact that they’ve been generous to me, as an artist, I sometimes can’t really believe that it happened.”

And if you want a prime example of exactly how awesome her collaborations have been, ask her the story of Clown from Slipknot. A story I can’t even begin to do justice here in writing. To get a taste of it, go YouTube Hesta’s “Seven Sisters” video and just watch. Watch and appreciate the sheer creativity that is shared and know that one day, should you have the luck to meet her, that you can ask her to tell the story behind the video. That Clown is a Hesta Prynn fan kind of blew our minds. I think it initially blew hers as well. That we got to hear about the creation of the video, the insights delivered by a metal icon and shared a bit of what Julie was able to experience with him was a highlight. I know, I know.. it’s like teasing by not sharing the entire story here. But trust us, it’s something best heard in person. In the very least, go check out the song and video.. it’s one of our all-time favourites.

But, the EP and video release – the driving force of why we wanted to talk to Julie. What could we expect? Of course, both the music and the video are shared below. And we had to ask if there was a certain satisfaction in pulling all of this together on “her own” (of course, Julie has surrounded herself with a team, but this isn’t big label relase-ish.. this is all her own.).

We Could Fall in Love on iTunes NOW!!!

“If you look at my videos, they are so much better than anything I’ve ever done. Everything is better now, but I have pay it out of my pocket. And that is a little stressful, but I’m running my own business. It’s about investing in your own. I don’t know if it’s more rewarding, but you can do it better (than relying on a label).”

“I’m really doing this one really grass roots. One of the songs is produced by DJ A. One is produced by Teen Wolf. I’m basically going to do it all myself. So we’ll see what happens. And see how much attention it gets. I hope that people that have always supported me, will pass it on to their friends. I’m counting on my community.”

Immediately after the release comes her September 2nd show, opening for Roxette at the Beacon Theatre.

A 45-minute set that she has promised will be a mix of showcasing just who Hesta Prynn is. This show marks the largest she has ever done. She’ll spin, she’ll sing and we’re certain she is going to propel the crowd. It’s her goal. This set isn’t about her, in the typical “look at me” stage artist. It’s about the audience. And she makes that claim without an ounce of false modesty or faked humility. She just really wants people to enjoy her work.

“It’s a really big show for me, the biggest I’ve ever done. I’m doing a DJ set and I’ll sing a couple songs and a video installation and show people what I’ve been doing, what I can do, what my interests are. I would never just show up and play records for 45 minutes, I craft it.  I’m creating it, I’m definitely over-thinking it, for sure. But that is exactly what I was told to do, how to do it. When you’re performing and for people who don’t necessarily know you, you are constantly marketing yourself; selling yourself.  When it comes to performing, my real dream, my real 100-percent-honest-to-god, I want every single person, not just one person, I want EVERY person there at one point in that show to say, “Oh shit, that’s my jam.” If you can make 3500 people say at least once, “that’s my jam”, you know what you’re doing. I literally may die trying.”

And this is why Lila and I are such fans.

I won’t get into this long and overdone concept of “girl-power” and feminist attitude. But just as Julie has shown great appreciation of those she has been able to collaborate with in her life, she shares that by equally giving back to her fans. Sure, we write this blog and review music, but we’ve been long-standing fans of Hesta Prynn that were afforded a greater insight into a woman who, frankly, we both exclaimed we would happily just hang with. For no other reason than… Hesta Prynn is just awesome. She is exactly what she sets out to be. She may not know what your jam is, but she is pretty sure she is going to hit it. She recognizes that Hesta Prynn is the “most outgoing, my most sure, my freshest dopest most awesome version of myself… in my most inspired moments.” And I’m pretty sure everyone has a bit of that in themselves. Their most confident.

She doesn’t expect to be the biggest star at the party. I will never expect her to try be the diva of the ball. What I expect of this EP is just solidly great music that is fun and inspired. Something to share with those I know will appreciate it. Nothing contrived , nothing fake.

So, as we leave you with our sharing of one of our favourite artists here at Beat & Lyric, let us impart the biggest thing we learned from Julie during this process. Her parting moral, if you will:

I think that it’s hard to be your real self in this world. I feel like having another name or persona and a look I think it helps you – I mean, I have to step up to be that. If I’m going to go and perform, I have to show up already knowing this time is going to be good. I really have built this thing that I have. I do feel that when I step into the Hesta Prynn thing, I’m ready to have fun. And I’ll be the coolest girl at the party and I’ll be friends with you. I won’t be the coolest girl and I’m not nice. I’ll be the coolest girl at the party, I’ll be friends with you and I’ll be like ‘get in my car and let’s go.”

Well played, Hesta Prynn. We are more than ready to take a spin with you.

~Betty Beat (with Lila Lyric)

 

Follow Hesta Prynn on Twitter

Like Hesta Prynn on Facebook

Check out the official Hesta Prynn webpage  www.hestaprynn.com


Saturday’s Shazam Six

Saturdays I rise early and head to the gym. The air temperature has dropped in the last day and created some wicked fog for my sunrise drive. Inspired to get off my butt and blog for you!

I use Shazam on my iPhone. It’s a great tool not just for finding out ‘who the hell sings that’ but to make lists of songs you don’t want to forget about. I can glance at my stereo while driving and see the name of an artist or the title of the song….but do you think I’d remember the next time I was sitting in front of a computer to check on on the net? No, I only remember useless information and crazy obscure pop culture references. So I use Shazam to list artists and songs I want to jump into deeper and explore.

Today’s Six contains a high concentration from the East Coast of the USA. Three of these bands are Brooklyn based, a fourth is based in NYC, only one from across the pond and the sixth from Portland. This was not intentional, just sifting through the songs on Shazam and these are all new(er) to me and worth mentioning here. Brooklyn is the clearly the Mecca for ultra-cool indie music…..at least statistically speaking from a Beat & Lyric point-of-view.

My Saturday Shazam Six:

1) The one and only band not hailing from the US in today’s list. The xx, a London band that jumped on my radar in the last month. They’ve been around since 2009 and are set to release their second studio album on September 11. Here is ‘Chained’. Also check out ‘Island’ from their first album, it’s dope.

2) The other band not hailing from the greater NYC area is The Chromatics. I may have blogged this one before, but it’s worth repeating. This Portland Oregon band have been around since 2001. Their fourth studio album “Kill for Love” was released in March of this year. Here they are doing Neil Young’s ‘Into the Black”

3) Jumping across the coast we have DIIV from Brooklyn. I don’t know much about this band other than a quick glance at Wikipedia. I only Shazamed this song this morning! If you know them, or do any research on them let me know….I’m feeling lazy. Here is “Doused” from their current album ‘Oshin’

4) The White Rabbits are based in Brooklyn, but originally hail from Missouri (I wonder when they made their pilgrimage?). The song here “Temporary” is from their 3rd studio album “Milk Famous” which was released in March of this year.

5) The Walkmen (not to be confused with Canadian band The Walkmen) were given a shout out this month on the blog as the were the opening act for Florence and the Machine. The band has members based in both Brooklyn and Philadelphia. They’ve been kicking around the scene awhile, since 2000. This is the title song from their May 2012 release (and their 7th studio album) ‘Heaven”

6) My final Shazam Six for today is Dirty Projectors. Might I add that I love this band name. Again with Brooklyn. They have been around since 2002, and any band that has the courage to release an album (as quoted from wiki) ‘The album is an attempt by band leader Dave Longstreth to remember and reinterpret the entire Black Flag album Damaged after not hearing it for almost 15 years.’ gets a nod from me. Here is “Gun Has No Trigger’ from their July 2012 release “Swing Lo Magellan”

So there is my six. I’d love to know your thoughts on these six. Hopefully you discovered something new today 🙂

Cheers,
Lila


No Bullshit or Blowin’ Smoke……

No bullshit or blowin’ smoke ever from Ryan Star.  A promise to fans on twitter follow him @RyanStar http://twitter.com/#!/ryanstar and he delivered.  Great new song, can’t wait for more.  Hopefully this single drops soon and gets picked up on radio.  I hear from rstar fans on twitter that it’s being played on some stations.  The Pulse http://www.siriusxm.com/thepulse on Sirius love Ryan and I keep listening hoping to hear soon….perhaps we can all request it!

Ryan’s on tour with Andy Grammar right now.  Catch a show, dates here http://www.rstar.net/tour-dates/

More links to check him out!

www.rstar.net

http://www.facebook.com/#!/ryanstar

Happy Family Day Weekend and/or President’s Day depending on if you are north of south of the US/Canadian Border.

~Lila


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