Category: Interviews

Album Review/Interview: JOSH NOLAN

3Rising from a small, blue collar town, buried in the Appalachain Mountains, lies Kentucky’s answer to the New Jersey sound that time forgot; Fair City Lights by Josh Nolan. Nolan’s album is a refreshing, much needed nod, to the early rock and roll sounds of singer/songwriters from the likes of Tom Petty, John Mellencamp, Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen. ‘The Boss’ will obviously be the first thing you’re reminded of when you listen to the album but it’s has so many more layers than that; dig in and find out for yourself… I fully expect it to be included on a whole lotta “best of 2014” list; I know it will remain on mine.
The album,  “Fair City Lights,” kicks off with a track titled “Do it Right.” It’s a great opening song because it adequately shows off what Nolan is brining to the table but only through subtle hints. Therefore you can’t fully grasp his brilliance until you listen to the entire album (the tracks are perfectly placed like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle). Coming out of the gate with his boots on tight and head on straight Nolan masterfully weaves between country ballad type tunes such as; East Kentucky Skyline, Brave Heart Too, and Do it Right into more rock n roll, gritty tracks such as; Lulbegrud Revival (Golden Age), When I was Young, and Waiting on the Night like a horse racing for the finish line at the Kentucky Derby. The closing track on the record, Between the Lights, starts out with a somber fiddle and ends with a fasted paced lyrical delivery in which Nolan is all but literally thanking his influences. This isn’t just my favorite track on the album; it’s is the perfect track to close out this beautifully crafted, debut album from Kentucky’s own Josh Nolan.
Bottom-line: The album is great; an instant classic. It’s also a perfect soundtrack for driving around with the windows down and singing along “to the voices on the radio.” Do yourself a favor, pick up a copy of this album; you won’t regret it.
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I was fortunate enough to pick Josh Nolan and pick his brain a little about the album. Not only is the album fantastic, Josh is a great dude and once you meet him, you’ll love his music even more….
 
BHAMFM: There’s not a whole lot to the cover art, it’s pretty simple, any special reason?
JN: The font on the cover is my mothers handwriting. Mom used to get paid to write peoples wedding invitations. When I tried to write the title it just looked like someone dropped a tackle box on a scratch-off ticket. So basically, someone’s Save-the-Date looks a lot like my first record.
 
BHAMFM: So you write like a 4yr old, noted. I’ve heard through the grapevine (if that grapevine has a lot of hair, tattoos, and also plays in a Lexington, Ky based band) that you played most, if not all, of the instruments on this album. True of false?
JN: I didn’t play the horns on the fiddle and on “Waiting on the Night” my sister played the drums but other than that I can be blamed for the rest!  Starlit Lorentzen (Flickertail Holler) played the fiddle on “Between the Lights. She listened to the song a few times, I gave her the melody and let her play it. I’d point out what I liked and where I liked it. We’d cut and paste, so to speak. The finished product ended up being, essentially, four sections of a solid take; I don’t think it took much more than an hour and that was the first the actual time she had even played the song.
 
BHAMFM: Wow. Well nice work, my friend. Gimme two random facts about the album. 3,2,1 GO!
JN: I wrote all but the first verse and chorus of “Til the World Runs Out” the night before I did the vocal tracks. “Brave Heart, too” was a working title I had given a riff I wrote on the clock while working at guitar center; only then it was Brave Heart II. I finished the music, which was a completely different vibe, and wrote the lyrics; starting with that stupid pun. The lyrics ended up being not so Dude Ranch era Blink and I flipped the music around and rearranged it to let the narrative be the foreground. I had the idea for the accordion intro when I was in the studio; I had initially planned for that to be an organ.
 
BHAMFM: Well the album is one of my favorites of the years. I look forward to much more outta you in the future! One last question; Do you still work at guitar center?
JN: Liquor store
BHAMFM: Like a boss.
 
Links:
 
 
Track Listing:
 
  1. Do it Right
  2. Waitin’ On the Night
  3. Come Mornin’
  4. Brave Heart, Too
  5. When I Was Young
  6. East Ky Skyline
  7. Lulbegrud Revival (Golden Age)
  8. ‘Til the World Runs Out
  9. Between the Lights
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Interview with Ryan McLaughlin of JOX Gameday

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His story comes from all corners, including Atlanta and Memphis (Collierville to be exact), but Stone Mountain, Georgia native Ryan McLaughin has now found a home in Birmingham. Trying his hand at managing UAB’s college radio station led to a job hosting at sports radio staple WJOX. He also writes about music & lifestyle for several sites. He talked with BHAMFM about the local sports radio fanbase, wild interviews with celebrities & what it’s like having a real job in media in the new millenium.

BHAMFM: How did you first get involved in radio?

Ryan: Going back a little bit here, but I first got intrigued with the idea of a media career back in High School. My school offered a TV Production course that I loved. We made intros for our school’s morning news show, music videos,a music-themed TV show and more.  Fastforward to college and I decided to give BlazeRadio a try (even though I was an Exercise Science major).

BHAMFM: How long were you at BlazeRadio and how was your experience running the station?

Ryan: I actually started at BlazeRadio during my senior year. Again, just something I decided I’d try out. At first my shows were relatively simple and had a small audience (read: family). I did three shows a week: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, all two hours a piece.  I eventually traded between countdowns and music-based talk formats, similar to what you hear on Urban FM stations.  Running the station was probably the best experience I had out of my whole tenure with the station.  Got to learn my management style and learn just how difficult it was to manage 30 different personalities! It got a little crazy, but having well-balanced people assist me throughout made it definitely worthwhile and a whole lot less stressful.  I feel as if the roster we had allowed us to be dynamic in how we were presented on campus!

BHAMFM: What was your favorite show to host there (sports or music) and who else hosted?

Ryan: Whew, I had a TON of different shows while on there. As far as my own shows were concerned, it was a tie between the BlazeRadio 15 and The Sports Forum.  The BlazeRadio 15 went from a countdown to more of a news-based show, but it focused on odd stories rather than standard news fare. My co-hosts rotated from LeBaron (known as Baron Amato), Haruskii, Cam, KeeKee, Lauren Woods (now a News Producer in Arkansas), Mimi Turner, Conrad Atkins and more, all good friends of mine!  The Sports Forum was hosted by myself, Daniel Seahorn (Asst. Coach at Tyler Community College) and Chris Sturdivant (does something at 95.7 JAMZ).  As far as other shows I loved being part of? LB’s “The Butter”, “The Chris Sturdivant Show”, “Roxie’s Rock Hour” and so many more.

BHAMFM: What did you do right after graduating?

Ryan: I somehow backed into a job with Citadel Broadcasting (now Cumulus Media), their Birmingham offices broadcast WJOX 94.5FM, HOT 107.7FM, 100WAPI (now 1070WAPI), 99.5 The Vibe (formerly Rock99) and more.  I had actually interned with the guys of The Roundtable, JOX’s midday program, and due to great references from SaBerre and Rockstar, was hired as a Promotions Tech.  I was basically one of the guys who help setup for different events that the station would host/broadcast, but being that I was the new guy, I mainly watched Orlando and Brian (two great guys who helped me through a lot at the time) do the job while occasionally given my own tasks.  After about 5 months, I was asked to fill-in as Richard Dixon (Afternoon host on 100/1070WAPI)’s Board Op due to the unfortunate and unexpected passing of his then producer, Christopher Kane.  I learned a lot during that timeframe, Dixon has worked in the industry for a long time and even though I was very stubborn coming out of college, some of the knowledge he passed on to me did stick. I was lucky to hang around as long as I did.  Even got to do some odd-jobs around the building as far as production was concerned, and leeched my way onto JOX.

BHAMFM: What was your first job at JOX like and how does it compare to what you do now?

Ryan: I started off as a board operator for any Alabama or NFL games that came on so I could make some extra cash.  Eventually David Sears and John SaBerre asked me if I could run the board for their Friday Night Football show, I accepted and was able to spend some of my actual work time talking sports rather than politics…or food, which Dixon and I got into a LOT.  Eventually the three of us earned a spot on the Saturday Late-Morning slot with “JOX Gameday Overtime”, transitioning into the hosts “JOX Gameday” itself. We later added Joe Hunk to the mix.  I was amazed by how many people love College Football so much that they would willingly listen to (then) three (now four) dweebs babble on about it with little to no coherency to the program whatsoever. As time went on, we grew more confident in our abilities and knowledge and now have a solid show with a solid audience.  I still work with them part time, even though I do not work in radio full-time at the moment (I work with UAB).

BHAMFM: Spoooooorts question. What are your favorite teams, pro or otherwise?

Ryan: My family is full of Oakland Raiders fans since my Mom is from LA (and of course there was a time when they were the LA Raiders), she convinced to follow this path as well.  My Pops is an Eagles fan because he grew up with one of their all-time great players, Harold Carmichael.  I grew up in Atlanta and became a Falcons fan, it was solidified when Michael Vick was drafted back in 01.

BHAMFM: Who are your favorite Birmingham artists?

Ryan: I don’t have one per se, Haruskii (who’s gone by several aliases) is one of my favorites… and he’s a good friend of mine. Big fan of The Nu Nation and GA Band “All The Locals”…..not all of those are Birmingham folks, but yeah….

BHAMFM: What was your craziest interview ever?

Ryan: Not sure if I had a CRAZY one, but I have had some odd ones.  When I worked for WAPI, Chris Kattan (of Roxbury, SNL fame) came to the studio and gave one of the most awkward interviews I’ve ever bared witness to. It wasn’t even like watching a trainwreck;  it was something much more intriguing.  Most interesting interview I have conducted probably goes to the guys of MyWayEntertainment, back when the Juggernaut/X-Men parody was going viral.

BHAMFM: On that same note, how is it dealing with regular sports radio callers? It can get crazy in Birmingham.

Ryan: It’s….interesting to say the least.  I didn’t grow up a college football fan, but I certainly enjoy it since I consider myself a football junkie. It’s fun conversing with people who feel as passionate about a sport as you do, even if you don’t focus on the same levels.  It’s easy to go and call some of the people that we interact with every Saturday “crazy”, because they can be overzealous, but it all comes from a passion that they share.  In Georgia, I grew up a Falcons fan, living for every Sunday, in Alabama they grow up Alabama/Auburn fans, and live for every Saturday. Same idea, different day.

BHAMFM: Do you have a 5 or 10 year plan for what you want to do in radio? What do you ultimately want to end up doing?

Ryan: You know, I’ve worked and reworked various ideas in my head and I’m at the point where I’m letting life take me where it needs to take me.  Before I make decisions now, I try and ask myself “do I NEED to do this? How does it benefit me in the long run?”. I’m enjoying myself and what life has to offer, and a woman that I love and care for dearly, so I really can’t just up and make decisions without thinking things through anymore.  I’m writing part-time, so we’ll see how that develops over time, and I would love to find myself on the other side of the glass in the near future, but I have to work on my craft and make myself and my personality an entity that a company would want representing them.  Right now I’m working in higher-ed, and loving it, since it’s in a department I never would have thought about working in, and again, if the right opportunity arose, I would probably stay in it, it definitely has its perks!

BTW, Ryan’s show is JOX Gameday. It airs Saturdays from 8am to 11am on JOX 94.5FM, it can be found online at joxfm.com or iheartradio.com.  He’s also now writing on occasion for From The Rafters at fromtherafters.com

Electric Texas: A Conversation with Manny Prince of Hydra Melody

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BHAMFM: Bands of Hydra Melody’s size and cultural stature benefit greatly from the use of an endless series of social media platforms.  Personal habits aside, do you feel that this helps level the playing field within the underground, or does it create a sort of never-ending “arms race” wherein getting the most likes/retweets/YouTube views is deemed the almighty goal?

Manny Prince: This is such a thought provoking question! I think it’s a bit of both, and in a certain order. As a band, you always want the world to see, like, and retweet you, but you have to believe in your music and how people (including the music industry) will read and react to it. When you have great musicians, management, and a solid product that you truly believe in, that can absolutely level the playing field within the underground on social media off the bat. Then, I think you can really take the “arms race” and push it to as many people as you can.

BHAMFM: You’re touring with Third Eye Blind, who have become somewhat legendary on the college circuit over the past few years, which was a compelling transition to witness, given the stadium status of their earlier career.  They seem to have smartly adopted a grassroots style of marketing, promoting, and performing.  Do you consider Hydra Melody a band which operates in the same manner?  Do you try to maintain the “fans are family” vibe as much as possible?  How so?

MP: Always! We love our fans, and we love to interact with them at shows! It’s great to hang out after we play and wind down while our fans can see who we really are offstage! We consider ourselves unlike any other band because of the sound that we have created, so that alone helps us market and promote (and of course perform).

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BHAMFM: Name one album from your younger years that helped shape you, not only as an artist but as a person.

MP: This is very cliche of me, and I could list more than one, but Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I “discovered” the album in my early high school years when my music training was in its infant stage. I really think this album made me look outside of the box more. There are so many sounds to listen to and take in, and the fact that I loved the album 30 years later is a testament to those guys!

BHAMFM: Name one album that is currently shaping you as an artist/person.

MP: Capital Cities’ album In a Tidal Wave of Mystery has been on constant repeat for the past few months. The combination of really rhythmic, groovy instrumentation is really refreshing to hear. It also combines this “electronic” colour to it with their keyboard and synthesiser parts. If that weren’t enough, there are two lead singers that perform absolutely amazing together. I highly recommend a listen to these guys!

BHAMFM: Texas isn’t necessarily considered the “proper” South, but it’s certainly not Los Angeles or New York either.  How has San Antonio effected your work, both positively and negatively? Do you notice any regional bias when out on the road?

MP: San Antonio is an amazing city and the music scene continues to grow at an astounding rate! We have all our friends and family here, which makes life easier when we are not rehearsing or playing shows. Having those “hometown” comforts are amazing. That being said, we have always felt the need to “get out” of San Antonio. Having been to New York and Los Angeles and seeing the vastness of those cities and their music scenes, it’s truly inspiring to set foot [there] and play shows. After a long tour, though, nothing beats coming home to San Antonio!

Hydra Melody are currently opening for Third Eye Blind on their US tour.  For more information, please visit @HydraMelody on Twitter and Instagram.

Interview with Jas’mine “JazzMine” Garfield: Birmingham’s Soul Siren

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Lately, I’ve been sharing stories & detailed interviews with the stars of our city’s hiphop and R&B scene. This week, one of my personal favorite singers — from anywhere, not just Alabama — talks about conquering confidence issues to becoming an immensely talented voice who collaborates and creates with every relevant emcee in town. Meet JazzMine.

BHAMFM: You have one of the most beautiful voices in Birmingham. Who/what were some major influences that fostered your talent as a child?

Jas’mine: Well, first off, thank you! I was always the kid that was pushed up front. It seems like I could never escape the spotlight.. and I didn’t mind because that’s home for me. I was in many oratory competitions, essay contests, choirs. You name it, I did it! I just loved to perform. As a child, confrontation was hard for me. So was the ability to be understood. Performing in any realm or writing, for example, was life to me. I was understood and even then I just didn’t care what others would think of me. Life has to be another push of influence. I’ve always been an observant, laid back, kool kat, spelled with a K because — hey — we all belong in that “cool society” (laughs). I was this way as a child because there was wisdom in every step, every situation, every bit of time that my mind spent analyzing the truth, which then translated into creativity.

BHAMFM: What part of town did you grown up in?

Jas’mine: I grew up on the west side of town. Forestdale mainly, but my roots are deep in the Ensley area. I attended a private school, Holy Family, from preschool all the way through high school. It was the best school I attended simply because who “I am” grew right from that area.

BHAMFM: Your song “Intoxication” is my favorite R&B song of the year. The production value is amazing. We’ve posted it on our site a few times! How was the song born & who did you work with to record it?

Jas’mine: Keep on posting and sharing! Yeah, it is one of those songs that means a lot to me. There was a time in my life where I had lost myself. I mean, I couldn’t even look in the mirror because my image was resting in the eyes of someone else. We all have those times where we fall into our flesh and the only way we can cope is through wordily substance — not realizing that we are only destroying ourselves. I, like so many, tried to drain those thoughts we can never escape by having what we would consider “a good time”. I remember in the midst of everything that nothing was truly going to waste but myself. Many times I’ve slapped myself in the forehead and so many times I’ve had to sit back and say “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”. So I brought these lyrics to play. I’ve always been a huge fan of the original song sampled, “Feel Like Making Love” by Bob James. That was also my first time working with the amazing AP SWAYZE! He sent me the song and I think I might have screamed a little. Ok, ok… ALOT.

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BHAMFM: You’re an outspoken Christian. You always seem to have such a positive outlook on life, whether it’s sharing verses from the gospel or getting giddy when you post on Facebook about being in the studio. Would you share a little about your role as a Sunday school teacher and singing at your church?

Jas’mine: We have to understand how grateful and blessed we are. I don’t force my faith on anyone, but I know what God has done for me. I know that regardless of what you may go through, every blessing has its lesson… so we must learn. I remember being little and always praying for wisdom and not really understanding what I was asking for. It was those times when everyday seemed like hell, but you understand there is a breakthrough coming. Knowing what peace really is. What love truly means. We have to experience the wrongs to truly understand those things that are right. Everyday is Sunday School for me! When I’m on stage or even just recording, I feel that I’m in class. It’s a message of breakthrough I want to share. Before, I was one of those who couldn’t stand church. I was way too busy worried about those around me judging. Later I learned “Who cares? They don’t matter!” I gotta say, I’m honored to know the truth within my spiritual relationship with God.

BHAMFM: You have a very modern sound melded with a classically soulful voice. Who are your favorite artists on a larger scale? From any time period?

Jas’mine: Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Kanye West, Nora Jones, Hiatus Kaiyote and Laura Mvula. These are my top for more than just there amazing talent, but for not being afraid of just being themselves. They made me not only fall in love with using metaphors in my composition, but also making me feel proud of just being “JazzMine”.

BHAMFM: Who have been the your favorite people to collaborate with in Alabama?

Jas’mine: There’s so much talent in Birmingham! So far, KLUB M.O.N.S.T.A. and Eugenius are amazing. Eugenius is just his own creator; I LOVE IT! I love those who step outside of the box, because it motivates me to run around the outskirts as well. And KLUB MONSTA, well they are just AMAZING. I was able to be a part of their mixtape “Separate, but Sequel” and their latest record “CANVAS.

Jas'mine and the infamous Gip of Gip's Place
Jas’mine and the infamous Gip of Gip’s Place

BHAMFM: How many records/singles/EPs do you have out that people can buy? Perfect stocking stuffers for folks with impeccable music taste!

Jas’mine: I’m currently working with an amazing group “Beats for Change” for an amazing EP release. Also, my newest EP “Write Every Wrong” will be releasing soon as well. So until then feel free to head on over and grabby my current stuff on my Bandcamp!

BHAMFM: What is an absolutely essential record that everyone must listen to, in your opinion?

Jas’mine: Geesh. This is tough without saying my own (grins). Currently, I would have to say the entire Hiatus Kaiyote album. If you understand good music, then you’ll ride the waves of AMAZING VIBES!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jas’mine is planning to grab her guitar and hit the open road in the near future, so check back in with us for tour dates & shows!

Interview with Chance Shirley of Delicate Cutters on filmmaking and heading back into the studio

Photos courtesy of Arik Sokol, Brandon Brown and Jonathan Purvis

BHAMFM: On top of being a musician, you’ve been an award winning filmmaker for a while. Have you ever had an opportunity to marry the two in any of your projects?

Chance: That opportunity has come up a few times, actually. The biggest was on Hide and Creep, my first feature film, co-directed with my pal Chuck Hartsell. Another pal of mine, Eric McGinty, wrote the music for that movie. And since I drum for Eric’s band the Exhibit(s), I ended up playing drums on several of the musical parts of the movie soundtrack.

Conversely, I’ve shot a few music videos for my band Delicate Cutters, including “Tilt-A-Whirl” and “Warm Beer and Sympathy.” You can watch them on the Delicate Cutters website.

BHAMFM: How long have you been a drummer?

Chance: I got into drums in my mid-20s. Kind of late. Of course, that was almost twenty years ago at this point, so I’ve had time to catch up. Before drums, I played bass and guitar. I learned a lot about those instruments from my dad, who is a really great guitar player.

I still like playing guitar, but drummers seem to be in short supply in Birmingham. So I’m too busy playing drums with these really fun bands to try to do any serious guitar stuff.

BHAMFM: You‘re a machine on Rock Band, as I’ve witnessed first hand. You were stoked when the Beatles’ music became available to play. What would be your dream Rock Band playlist?

Chance: Oh, wow. Tough question. I feel like the Side Two medley from Abbey Road is kind of a perfect playlist all on its own. So many great, short songs, brilliantly strung together.

But while we’re putting together a dream list, I’d add some deeper Radiohead cuts (“Morning Bell,” “There There”). And why didn’t they ever put any Wilco songs on Rock Band?

One more. “Devices” by fellow Birminghamians Vulture Whale would be a killer Rock Band cut.

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BHAMFM: A movie you directed, Interplanetary, was available to watch on Netflix. How is that process and do you think its accessible for most independent filmmakers?

Chance: Actually, Interplanetary isn’t on Netflix anymore. Those deals expire at some point, and I think we were on Netflix for 18 months.

However, we’ve moved on to Hulu, and that’s not too shabby. (http://www.hulu.com/interplanetary)

As for the process, somebody could write (and probably has written) a whole book about the intricacies of digital feature film distribution.

The way it happened for us was relatively straightforward. Mike Raso, a cool indie film distributor based out of New Jersey, picked up the rights to Interplanetary for his Shock-O-Rama label for three years. During that period, Shock-O-Rama sells DVDs of the movie, plus makes digital streaming deals with folks like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Shock-O-Rama gets paid for those deals, and they pay us a percentage of the profits.

It is possible for an indie filmmaker to deal with Netflix and other companies directly, but I haven’t done that personally.

BHAMFM: You’ve been with Delicate Cutters a while now. What are you guys working on at the moment?

Chance: Yeah, the Cutters are basically family at this point. The last few months have been fairly quiet for the band, but we’ve been itching to do some recording, so we scheduled a session with Les Nuby (he produced our last LP Ring and a lot of other cool recordings) for late 2013. We’re just gonna go in for a weekend and knock out an EP of some sort.

Recording Ring was a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to working on the EP.

BHAMFM: The Cutters have toured a lot and have scored some great exposure in the blogosphere and beyond. What’s been your best experience with the band?

Chance: Playing New York City was a high point for me. Just driving into the city–me and the other Cutters and all our gear packed into my Honda Element, Bruce Springsteen on the radio–seemed like a big deal.

Then the actual gig was at this coffee shop in Brooklyn called Roots Cafe. The other folks on the bill were locals and nice enough to let us headline. We were playing stripped down–I think I had like a snare drum and one cymbal. There were probably only twenty or so people in the audience, but the place was so small, it felt like a huge crowd. People were clapping and singing along. It was a fantastic show.

We also had a memorable show at Maxine’s, this bar/pizza place in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The venue has a super swank green room for the band, which is not something we’re accustomed to.

Our set that night was insane. I doubt many folks in the audience had heard of us, but from the first note we played, they were totally on board. I mean, those folks were serious about having a good time. The energy was infectious, and we ended up playing a really loud and rowdy set.

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 4.18.56 PMBHAMFM: As a director, you’ve been in charge of film crews, scripts & filming. You’re a very laid back guy though. Do you enjoy being a background player in a band or do you prefer to be a band leader as well?

Chance: You know, I’ve never thought about it that way. I used to be the band leader back in my younger days, but I think I came into my own as a sideman. I’m a fan of Janet, Eric, and Brian Moon (who leads my other band, the Maisleys), and I feel lucky that I get to work with them and (hopefully) add something cool to their songs.

I think Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles

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and Alfred Hitchcock were all amazing movie directors, and they were all famous for kind of being control freaks. But I don’t really approach directing that way. I just try to put together a good group of actors and crew guys and let them do what they do. I’m mostly just there to make sure everybody is on the same page –figuratively and literally, assuming there’s a screenplay.

BHAMFM: You and your wife Stacey travel & go to comic/film events a lot. What has been the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a Con?

Chance: Our con adventures have been relatively tame. I mean, there’s always a bunch of people in extravagant costumes, but it seems like I always miss the really wild stuff in person, only to read about it days later on the Internet.

We did get to meet Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg for a moment back in 2004. They were personally handing out tickets to a sneak preview of Shaun of the Dead. They were just as British and charming as everybody says.

And I got to see a sneak preview of the pilot of Lost. Which was exciting, as I had no way of knowing the show would eventually run completely off the rails.

BHAMFM: What are the 3 things you’re most excited about in 2014 — films, video games or music wise?

Chance: I’m looking forward to Neko Case’s show at Iron City in January. Since I’m always like five years behind on music stuff, I just bought my first Case album a few months ago. It’s ridiculously good, of course. I’m actually excited about Iron City in general. Whoever books for that place has been pulling in some impressive acts.

As a Marvel Comics nerd from way back, I’m excited for the 2014 Marvel movies. Guardians of the Galaxy should be interesting (Guardians director James Gunn made Slither, one of my favorite horror movies of the new century), and Captain America 2 looks totally badass.

Last, but definitely not least, there’s Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival. I’ve been attending since year one and have seen lots of good movies and met lots of cool people there.

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BHAMFM: Finally, you have a cat named Yossarian. This isn’t really a question, I just think that shit’s awesome. If you ever get the chance to name a baby or pet again, what literary homage would you make?

Chance: I can’t take credit for naming Yossarian. That was all (my wife) Stacey. Though I totally approve of both the name and the underrated Catch-22 movie. And I am ashamed to admit I haven’t read the book. I’m always way behind on my reading, even more than my music and movies.

I am a Vonnegut fan. How about a cat named Kilgore Trout?

Seasick Records opens up shop in Avondale

Despite several thriving music venues and a high volume of great shows, being a music fan in Birmingham has felt incomplete the last few years. The part of the experience that was missing was the record store. Charlemagne and Renaissance are great places to find used (and even rare) vinyl but they fall short when it comes to stocking new records. Since their opening earlier this month, Seasick Records is trying to fill in that gap.

Seasick

“Birmingham has a lack of record stores that cater to my generation’s interests,” explains Seasick co-owner Daniel Drinkard, “I come from Memphis, where there are several really great record stores that always had stuff I was interested in, and I felt like Birmingham was missing that.”

Chayse Porter, the other co-owner of Seasick, echoes Drinkard’s sentiments about Birmingham’s lack of quality stores.

“Birmingham has had some good record stores in the past, but Laser’s Edge was the last of a dying breed. Since they closed there hasn’t been a store here that specializes in new vinyl,” said Porter.

After a few months of talking and planning, Drinkard and Porter decided to dive in and open their own store in the burgeoning Avondale neighborhood.

“Right now everyone is focused on reviving the city of Birmingham, and vinyl records have made a huge comeback, so what better time than now?” said Porter. “People are interested in buying new records again so we felt like the time was right to open a store.”

The store celebrated a soft opening on November 3rd, with a show from power-pop band The Sidekicks and is having a grand opening Sunday, December 8th. They’re currently planning on having a raffle, and sets from local Alt-Rockers The Urns, as well as local girl done good, Waxahatchee. Seasick also plans on being open on Black Friday and offering special deals. Plus if that wasn’t enough, Seasick is putting on a screening of the Descendants documentary “Filmage” at Bottletree on Feb 1st, 2014.

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Seasick Records is located on 5th Avenue South in Avondale and is currently open Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm to 8pm, Saturdays from Noon to 8pm, and Sundays from Noon to 5pm.

Follow Seasick on Instagram here.

Renaissance Man Baron Amato talks poetry, hip hop & fashion

1149026_10201041919862637_535299033_nBirmingham is full of interesting people. Musicians, fashion junkies, poets, radio personalities, rappers & actors. Not everyone is all of these at once.

He’s a spoken word poet who works with a close knit group of local musicians to make music as an emcee. He also headed up UAB’s BlazeRadio while studying towards his degree in Communications. He’s also a sharp dresser who honed his love of fashion & design by becoming involved with clothing line, 1987 Supply Company. He’s now in NOLA using his classical training in theater to gain roles in TV, music videos & film.

I spoke with Mobile native and current NOLA resident Baron Amato about his many outlets and how he still keeps a creative lifeline to our city.

BHAMFM: You’re a quite literally a poet. At what age did you discover your love for poetry?

Baron: Wow. It was late for me. It was when I first got to college, around 18. It came along as a form of release for a lot of things I was dealing with personally at that time.

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BHAMFM: You perform your poems on stage. How quickly did that translate into music? Do you also play any instruments as well as rap?

Baron: “I ain’t went this hard since i was 18…” (does Drake hand motion) Ha! Yes, I’ve performed my poetry mainly at open mics up until recently. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to perform at a beautifully themed wedding. I do rap, and I do sing. I feel that poetry is the foundation of all

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art, at least mine. I played piano in high school and just started back at it again a few weeks ago.

BHAMFM: You were invited to perform at a poetry event called Flow. Tell us a little about that.

Baron: I went out to Seattle right after graduation and the door opened for me to perform alongside some of their city’s best at a venue called Lucid Lounge. Great place! Seattle is great. I also placed second in a slam poetry competition while I was there.

BHAMFM: I’ve been listening to Sound Like A Dream by your group District Phive a lot lately. Do y’all have any projects in the pipeline right now?

Baron: Yes! No Suh Foster & I released our second single God Bless & Safe Travels from our duo project Oh The Places We’ll Go, set to be released February 28th.

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BHAMFM: You’re one of the best dressed dudes I know. Who is your sartorial hero?

Baron: Thank you kindly! I learned everything I know from my dad. He’s where I get my style from. Also, the older black men in my neighborhood have this different style that I really soak up a lot from.

BHAMFM: You were recently an extra in an episode of Ravenswood, a TV series aired on ABC Family. How did that come about?

Baron: I’ve been involved in theater most of my life and when I moved to New Orleans after graduating UAB I promised myself that I would use that training. I got involved with some casting agencies and boom! I’m a tortured slave to it now (laughs).

BHAMFM: You’re involved with Inner Recess. Tell me a little about the mission

& what you guys do.

Baron: My brother actually owns Inner Recess. We’re a multimedia facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. A state of the art recording studio that ranges from audio mixing to video production. We want to provide quality multimedia service to our clients. (They also do record & vinyl swaps! I love it! — author’s note)

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BHAMFM: Who are your favorite artists or bands to listen to at the moment?

Baron: I’m blessed to work with a lot of great artists out of Alabama and right now my phone is full of their music! I’m really into the Bama scene right now: (BHAMFM FAVORITE!) Jas’mine Garfield, Indyah Rashuad, Haruskii, Eugenius, Dee Skillz, Chris Jay and in the mix of all that is Hiatus Kaiyote and Little Dragon. Janelle Monae‘s new album is timeless! Also, the poet named Jasmine Mans