On March 5, WRCT welcomed female rapper and social/political/environmental activist Kellee Maize into the studio. She sat at her computer (homemade juice at hand), loaded up a beat, and began one of the most entertaining and interesting sessions I’ve been a part of. Quite literally. She had me clap alongand even sing with her for a few songs. The whole studio was bumping! Listen to the whole session below.
From the moment Kellee arrived, she had so much positive energy surrounding her that it was no surprise to hear how incredibly involved she is in the Pittsburgh community. Her company, Nakturnal, is dedicated to building and connecting artists within the community. Every other month they host an arts showcase called RAW which helps artists spread their work and their message. My favorite quote from the session: “We all have a voice and all have something to share, and it’s really about us all, together, growing.”
In the beginning of February two fantastic Chicago bands, Ant’lrd and Gardener, dropped by WRCT. They unpacked equipment, settled on the floor, and made time stand still for the next 50 minutes. Ant’lrd’s Colin Blanton used samplers and a keyboard and Gardener’s Dash Lewis used a modular synthesizer and effects pedals to create those ambient, electronic beats.
Because hearing their sets once wasn’t enough, that night, Blanton, Lewis, and I collected blankets, lamps, projectors, and people to create an impromptu music venue in that nook near the Purnell mailroom. They played for a tiny crowd, but were no less invested in creating the relaxing, introspective environment their music arouses. Overall, Colin and Dash were wonderfully easygoing and clearly love sharing their art.
Ant’lrd has a show coming up in Chicago at The Burlington. If you’re in Chicago on March 19, hit that up for a live taste of Blanton’s musical vibrations. I recommend it. Blanton has also released a new tape, “Biblioteca Nod Out,” for which you should be clicking this link: http://barorecords.bandcamp.com/album/biblioteca-nod-out
Dash Lewis of Gardener will be playing with White Laces during March and April. He’s opening for The War on Drugs on March 22 in our radio hometown, Pittsburgh. His new tape “This is Noise” comes out this month on Life Like. Dash’s solo project, Curtains, will be playing some shows around Virginia and North Carolina and has a new tape coming out on April 2 on Potluck Records. His band Critics (Dash+Meg Mulhearn) has a record coming out this spring.
Check out the in studio session with Gardener and Ant’lrd below:
On Dec. 9, WRCT hosted a very special guest, Rubblebucket, in our studio. The eight-person ensemble performed acoustic versions of “Pain From Love” from their latest album Oversaturated and one of their best known songs, “Came Out of A Lady” from Omega La La. They came just in the nick of time to promote their concert featuring Reptar that night at Mr. Smalls in nearby Millvale, Pa. Unfortunately, I could not attend the performance but I did manage to snag a brief interview with three of the band members: band leader and trumpet Alex Toth, vocalist and saxophonist Kalmia Traver, and guitarist Ian Hersey. Snippets of the interview are just below the photo.
Jess: I have asked other bands this question before and I will ask you guys as well, can you provide some more insights regarding the interests listed on your Facebook page? “Traveling, eating good food, hiking, rhythmic lock, exotic beats and colors”
Alex Toth: Yes! All of these things are true. We’ve actually gone on group hikes several times and they’re a lot of fun.
(I also noticed that Kalmia was wearing brightly colored socks, true to the band’s professed love of colors.)
Jess: Is there anything you like to do in particular when you have down time after getting back after a tour?
AT: Do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Being on the road is a busy hectic lifestyle, so it’s nice to relax.
Kalmia Traver: I love riding around on my bike and something I always have to do is ride my bike over the Williamsburg Bridge.
Ian Hersey: Eat pizza with lots of basil and delicious cheese!
Jess: Now, I understand that Alex and Kalmia met at the University of Vermont, but did you two originally come in as music majors or what?
AT: No, I actually came in intending to be a psych major.
KT: I was undeclared.
(The two of them decided to pursue their musical interests instead and henceforth Rubblebucket was born.)
Jess: Do you have any favorite books?
AT: We’ve been exchanging books by David Foster Wallace with each other.
The interview was short, as time was running out, but I hope you have learned a bit more about Rubblebucket. They’re rad and definitely a group to keep an eye out for the future.
Interview by Jess Phoa. Photo courtesy of Roll Call Records. Special thanks to Ted and Eden for all of their help setting up and producing this interview.