Blog | Music/Arts: Long Island Sound & Beyond
Art Bytes at Launchpad Huntington
Free #artntech event 4/18 with art, music, food and beer
An event to merge art and technology is important as all generations are affected by both and experience them in their daily lives.
—Raj Tawney, PR & Media for SPARKBOOM
Celebrate spring’s arrival with an innovative art and tech show sponsored by SPARKBOOM (an affiliate of the Huntington Arts Council) and LaunchPad Huntington. On Saturday, April 18th from 6-10pm, join artists, illustrators, animators and musicians at a cool, new 8300 sq. ft. tech space supported by New York State’s Start-Up NY. LaunchPad Huntington is a collaborative work environment, event and meet-up space for future entrepreneurs in tech, media, marketing and other fields.
“Our goal is to create a density of start-up activities that will in turn foster regional innovation and generate new job opportunities, thus reducing the regional ‘brain drain,” said LaunchPad director Phil Ruglie. “We’re supported in our efforts by 19 corporate and educational sponsors. We also partner with a host of educational, community, business and art-related institutions that bring valuable programming to the LaunchPad eco-system.”
Along with the music of Alexa Dexa, Mike Longo and Say No To Architecture, Long Island-based acoustic-driven experimental folkies Archibelle will perform, featuring members of indie rock band Hotel of the Laughing Tree. Singer/guitarist AJ Estrada, drummer Brandon Peterson and bassist Beppe will be joined by a few friends to fill out the live band. Last Christmas, Archibelle put out an album of covers called Famous People Music: Volume 1, with covers of everyone from John Lennon and Elliot Smith to Beach House and The Beach Boys. Look for the band’s debut album this spring.
Long Island Pulse: How does Archibelle differ from your other band, Hotel of the Laughing Tree?
AJ Estrada: Archibelle is acoustic driven, folkish-pop-rock songs. The main difference is Archibelle is strictly a solo effort. As far as songwriting goes,
I wrote and arranged the songs completely, with one exception by Brandon. Hotel’s sound is high-energy with technical-ish guitar parts here and there, lots of synths, samples and sonic experimentation. And Archibelle is more stripped down. We are sticking with the core instruments and trying to rely less and less on studio production, focusing more on strong songwriting. One of the main goals I wanted for this project was for everything to be real, acoustic instruments as opposed to synthetic or electronic.
P: Is there a tech side to your music?
AE: Sure, the entire reason we’re able to record in a DIY studio is based on technology. As technology advances and becomes more affordable, so does our ability to produce and record material more easily. We would never have been able to produce an entire album with the gear I was recording within my bedroom in 2005.
P: Do you see technology as a tool for good or bad when it comes to music?
AE: I see it as an absolutely necessary part of the songwriting and recording pipeline. The only negative aspect I can think of would be in scenarios where there is too much reliance on studio production and it’s used as a crutch. There are times which call for a certain ‘synthetic’ feel, but for my personal music, I prefer a more raw and natural sound as opposed to the sound of something being fed through the machine. In my opinion, songs tend to lose a lot of their original energy or essence by being tweaked and dismantled through overproduction. But this all depends entirely on the song and genre.
P: Who would you most like to tour with, and why?
AE: I would love to tour with [Austin, TX indie folk rockers] Okkervil River. They have been a crucial and influential force since I started songwriting. I would absolutely love the opportunity to share my songs with them… Come see us at Art Bytes to get a taste of our new songs, and to support all independent art!
A devoted supporter of local emerging artists, SPARKBOOM has sponsored many events over the past year and publicist Raj Tawney believes Art Bytes will be an interesting mix at the hip LaunchPad space in Huntington.
“This is going to be a special event as we’re incorporating the art world with the tech world on Long Island,” said Tawney. “These are two industries that are deeply influenced by one another. Artists and musicians are using technology to create their art. The tech industry’s ‘look’ and ‘feel’ are completely dependent on artistic direction. LaunchPad is driven by the entrepreneurial spirit, and we’re turning their walls into an art gallery featuring over 20 Long Island visual artists. The Long Island Visual Professionals group will have a featured tent where they will show professional Illustrators, animators and videographers. It’s going to be an exciting event, just in time for spring and a beautiful Saturday night.”
Let’s not forget the other bites: free food and drink sponsored by local restaurants Fado and Massa’s Pizzeria (which is pizza royalty with relations to both Patsy Grimaldi of Brooklyn and Patsy Lancieri of Patsy’s in East Harlem). Free craft beer will be provided by Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. and there will also be healthy Hint water.
What: Art Bytes: Art, Music, Technology, Animation, Illustration, Free Craft Beer and Food!
Where: LaunchPad Huntington, 315 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743
When: Saturday, April 18th, 6-10 PM
Cost: Free, $5 suggested donation
For more info: sparkboom.org
Gianni Paci is “Too Good To Be True”
Catch Paci and ‘Rising Star’ Macy Kate at Amityville Music Hall April 15
Maybe I’ll find it a miracle
Or maybe I’ll find it a curse
Either way you slice it
I believe that I have had it much worse
– “Too Good To Be True” by Gianni Paci
Gianni Paci, the 22-year-old Oyster Bay singer/songwriter/guitarist who has already shared the stage with members of KISS, Guns N’ Roses and Alice in Chains, recently filmed a large part of his second music video at Oyster Bay High School. The NYU grad has been working on his solo debut with producer Eren Cannata at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove. On his latest single, “Too Good To Be True,” he adds some hip-hop beats to his signature guitar work and pop sound.
See Paci perform live on Wednesday, April 15, when he plays at Amityville Music Hall with Jenna Rose and Macy Kate, who was a contestant on ABC’s singing competition, Rising Star. The show is open to everyone over 16 years of age. Tickets are $10 and showtime is 6pm. Paci discusses his new song and video and how Katy Perry is “closing in” on him.
Pulse: What’s the story behind your new single, “Too Good To Be True?”
Gianni Paci: It was written at a moment in my life when I felt very much at peace with the way things were going. Everything just seemed to be coming together in a way that I was really happy about. At the same time, however, I was also reflecting on the difficulties I had faced in my journey up until that point—alas, the opening lyric, “no one told me just how deep the water was before I got in.” But as the song unfolds, it illustrates the transformative ability I’ve honed to make the best out of any situation… Every time I listen back to it I’m immediately transported to the exact headspace I was in at the time I wrote it. I guess you could say that ‘Too Good To Be True’ is one of the best opportunities for the listener to get a sense of who I am and what I stand for as I feel it truly represents me with my guard down.
P: What was the concept behind the video for the song? Did you play a lot of sports in high school?
GP: My friends in Twin Tomato Productions and I wanted to shoot this video as a way of showcasing three characters. It’s possible to see them as pieces of my personality accentuated to the umpteenth degree. Like my writing process for the song, our intention for the video was to capture a feeling or mood in its extreme instead of being too concerned with logistics. I think that mystery is valuable, and oftentimes, less is more. So we wanted the viewers to use their imaginations. We wanted to invite them into this world by giving them the space to come up with their own conclusions.
Contrary to what it may seem like in the video, I was not particularly athletic in high school. In junior high, I played soccer begrudgingly but that was pretty much the extent of it. In fact, I distinctly remember telling the soccer coach on a regular basis that I had to leave practice early so that I could go home and work on my guitar playing. I didn’t think twice about it at the time, but looking back, it took some gall to come out with something like that! I guess it just goes to show you what my priorities were.
P: When will you be releasing a solo album as Gianni Paci?
GP: While I’m in the midst of finessing a record deal, I’m spending a lot of time in the studio, writing and recording. However I will be releasing singles regularly in the form of music videos as a way of establishing a connection with my audience. These vignettes are a way of taking everyone with me on this journey to the next level.
P: Have you performed at Amityville Music Hall before? What do you like about the venue?
GP: Amityville Music Hall is one of my favorite venues on the Island! There is just such great energy in that room. Owner Jake Zimmerman did such a fantastic job with the space. I have played there in the past and I really appreciate the fact that the venue itself has a following and a great reputation. There’s a thriving music scene on the Island growing out of places like this.
P: Were you familiar with Rising Star’s Macy Kate before getting this gig?
GP: Before getting this gig, I had indeed heard of Macy Kate—that was part of the reason why I was so excited to book this show. I think it will be a really special night! Jenna Rose is also on the bill and I’m truly looking forward to meeting both artists.
P: Who would you most like to tour with, and why?
GP: If I had to pick one artist with whom I feel the most connected in a creative sense, it would be Katy Perry. She actually tweeted my college classmate’s (Kevin Garrett) latest single the other day. Among other strange coincidences and connections like this, I can’t help but feel that sometimes she’s closing in on me. ‘Katy, are you reading this right now?!’
For more info: giannipaci.com
Welcome Spring with Primrose Green
Ryley Walker plays Baby’s All Right March 15
I’ve seen men crawl on their knees
Just looking for a taste of your skin
Like a summer dress
—from “Summer Dress” by Ryley Walker
“Lost my mind with a headful of primrose green,” sings guitar virtuoso Ryley Walker on the title track to his latest record set for release on March 31st. The 25-year-old grew up steeped in Chicago’s noise-rock scene. He also played acoustic guitar and got into British folk music, which influenced his current sound. Often compared to influences such as Nick Drake, Bert Jansch, John Martyn and Tim Buckley, Walker has a post-rock, freewheeling jazz-folk sound. Check him out on Sunday, March 15 when the Chicagoan hits Baby’s All Right with his band of post-rock and jazz titans.
Long Island Pulse: How do you describe your sound aside from folk?
Ryley Walker: Spontaneous.
P: Along with the British folkies, I can hear some Doors-like psychedelia on Primrose Green. Who are your biggest influences?
RW: [British folk and The Doors] are most certainly big influences. I’m a big sponge of music, pretty much all types of music go through my head.
P: What’s the meaning behind Primrose Green?
RW: It’s a mixture of morning glory seeds and whiskey. A fine blend for an ignorant mind.
P: Do you improvise the lyrics as well as the music? The words seem to be free flowing without much detail. Could that change on your next record?
RW: It’s part of what I do. Just kind of a free flowing thing. The band gets in on it too. It keeps everything fresh for us.
P: Why do you get acrylic nails for fingerpicking?
RW: It’s a personal preference. Some people use picks, I use acrylics…
P: Who would you most like to tour with, and why? How did you end up being picked for Wilco’s Solid Sound fest?
RW: I would love to tour with Cass McCombs. Wilco curated the Solid Sound festival. I don’t really know them personally, kind of mutually and just a few times in passing have said, ‘Hello.’ They got the record somehow!
P: What can we expect to hear at Baby’s All Right on Sunday, March 15th?
RW: I’ll be accompanied by drummer Frank Rosaly, bassist Anton Hatwich, pianist Ben Boye and guitarist Brian Sulpizio. And we’ll be playing long versions of the tunes on the new record.
Hot Jazzy Swing!
Bumper Jacksons perform March 14 at the Eclectic Cafe
Well, have you seen Miss Molly?
Her cheeks are rosy red
Her lips are soft like satin
And they taste like gingerbread
—“Miss Molly” by Bumper Jacksons
A six-piece hot jazz/western swing band from the DC area, Bumper Jacksons are ready for their New York debut. Known for their multi-generational audiences and party-like performances (they made Bob Boilen of NPR’s list of top shows) the band—Jess Eliot Myhre on vocals/clarinet/washboard, Chris Ousley on vocals/banjo/guitar, Alex Lacquement on upright bass/harrmony vocals, Dan Cohan on drums/Suitcase percussion, Brian Priebe on trombone/harmony vocals and Dave Hadley on pedal steel/dobro—is reminiscent of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Influences include Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline, Louis Armstrong, Ray Price, bluegrass and old-time string band music. Co-founders Myhre and Ousley met at a party for bicycle activists in 2012, and after just two years as a duo, they formed a 6-piece with a love of early jazz, swing, blues and old-time country.
Bumper Jacksons’ latest album, Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy, Come In, dropped last March and the group intends to release a new record in the summer. Read on to find out why you may see a can of coconut milk onstage during their New York debut Saturday, March 14 at the Eclectic Cafe (located at the Unitarian Universalist Society of South Suffolk).
Long Island Pulse: How did you get the name Bumper Jacksons?
Jess Eliot Myhre: We named ourselves in Louisiana before the band even formed. Chris and I were traveling and stayed for about a week with the Jackson family outside of Lafayette. Their black lab, Bumper, would howl along with my clarinet. The horn was like a pack call and we would play together. When you have dogs or wolves howl like that together it’s what biologists would call ‘chorusing.’ We thought it was hilarious and wonderful, so we decided that when we started a band, we would name it after the Jacksons’ family dog, Bumper.
P: What made you transition from hip-hop and funk to street jazz and country swing?
JEM: In college, I played in an original funk band and a Motown cover band while studying early hip-hop music. I hadn’t discovered how awesome older forms of American folk music were until after college when I moved to New Orleans, not for music, but to participate in the school garden movement that was really thriving there around 2010. Once there, I fell in love with the bands in the small clubs and on the street playing traditional jazz. I took out my old plastic clarinet that I learned to play in middle school and re-learned my scales. I started hanging out in the clubs on Frenchman Street in the Marigny, like the Spotted Cat, hoping that the band would let me sit in. I wasn’t very good, but many folks were very kind and welcoming and I learned to play and sing traditional jazz.
P: Who are your biggest influences?
JEM: One of the biggest strengths of this band is that we each draw musical inspiration and influence from such a wide array of music. My vocal influences are the early American jazz and blues singers like Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and Ella Fitzgerald. We all listen to early country musicians as well—Ray Price, George Jones, Patsy Cline—as well as bluegrass and old time string band music. In terms of our sound, our influences tend to be quite early on. And lyric-wise, I’m inspired more by modern writers like Tom Waits or Townes van Zandt.
P: Who would you most like to tour with?
JEM: Everyone has different answers! Lake Street Dive, Madeleine Peyroux, Dr. John and Tom Waits came up. We would want to tour with a group that were high-energy and fun-loving with the potential for collaboration and jamming while we were on the road—even if that never manifested on stage.
P: Does Dan still use empty cans of coconut milk in his “suitcase?”
JEM: We use a lot of ‘found percussion’ objects in our lineup. Dan’s contraption involves empty cans, a spoon taped to a stick and an Amelia Earhart suitcase. My washboard is decorated with frog-shaped woodblocks, bells and old tin cups. I build washboards and will have several for sale at the show as well. Here’s a site to see some of those boards: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Amphibitone
P: What can we expect to hear on Saturday, 3/14 at the Eclectic Cafe?
JEM: We will be playing an array of original and traditional tunes from both Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy, Come In and Big Horn Mama. We also just finished recording an album to be released this summer and will be playing songs from that.
For more info: https://www.facebook.com/Bumper.Jacksons
Jukebox the Ghost Haunts Irving Plaza
Join the piano power pop trio Saturday, Feb 28
You want me pounding on the church door
Singing from the streetlight
It’s the kind of love that doesn’t exist anymore
You want Hollywood and this is real life
—“Hollywood” by Jukebox the Ghost
Image: Eric Ryan Anderson
Brooklyn-based power pop trio Jukebox the Ghost got its namesake from a Captain Beefheart song and a passage in a Nabokov novel. Since 2008, the band—Ben Thornewill on piano/synths/vocals,Tommy Siegel on guitars/vocals and Jesse Kristin on drums—has played over 800 live shows with acts like Ben Folds, Adam Green and the Barenaked Ladies. The Washington, DC natives recently appeared on CONAN to perform the song “Postcard” from their latest self-titled disc. Jukebox the Ghost will be headlining NYC’s Irving Plaza on Saturday night with openers Little Daylight and Secret Someones. Find out why Thornewill would like to tour with a high school marching band below…
Pulse: How do you describe your sound?
BT: Piano power pop or, if someone asks at a party I say, “We’re pretty okay at music.” I think we’re progressing as a band, always trying to make something different while still maintaining our identity.
P: Is the use of synths and samples the biggest addition on your latest cd, Jukebox the Ghost?
BT: That’s the biggest definable change but our process was very different this time around. We took more time with the songs and spent months and months on the record. Ultimately, we wanted to arrange each song and each part to be it’s best without worrying about things like if there was enough piano or tambourine.
P: How did you get the name Jukebox the Ghost?
BT: It’s been the three of us from the beginning and we came up with the name in college from a quote in a Nabokov novel and a lyric from a Captain Beefheart song…
P: What was it like performing your song “Postcard” on CONAN in January?
BT: It was a real dream come true. It’s surreal too because there’s all this build up and anticipation and then at the end of the day you play the song once in front of the cameras and a few hours later you’re watching yourself on national television.
P: Who would you most like to tour with, and why?
BT: I would most like to do a small club tour with a high school marching band. I think it would be such a colossal disaster that the stories would make up for the headache of trying to accommodate the needs of multiple 17-year-old tuba players.
P: What’s your favorite song to perform live right now?
BT: We love playing a song off the new record called ‘Hollywood.’ It’s definitely the highest energy song in our set and our drummer comes out to the front of the stage and sings for the first time.
P: What can we expect to hear at Irving Plaza on Saturday, February 28th?
BT: We’ll do a healthy smattering of songs from each record—new songs, old songs, happy songs and sad songs. And we may or may not be doing a Queen cover as well as a big group collaboration with the other bands on tour at the end of the set.
For more info: http://jukeboxtheghost.com
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