Who We Are We'll turn you on to all kinds of music (The good kind)
Frisbie is a rad music production boutique housed in a spacious loft, recording studio and storefront in TriBeca. Owned by Mary Frisbie Wood (that’s her real name), Frisbie represents and works with a select group of composers, artists, bands and DJ’s on albums, original songs and scores, remixes and licensing for all music media. We are a certified Minority-Owned business, and we throw down the sweetest parties.
Frisbie has written music for most major brands in America for National TV advertising (from Apple to Ziploc) on everything from iAds, apps and games to Superbowl spots every year since the doors opened in 2004. (And, we have awesome merch in our store.)
We have done scores and soundtracks for major motion pictures and TV shows (Get Him To The Greek, Walk Hard, Eastbound and Down, True Blood, Team Umizoomi and more.) The celebrity talent we’ve worked with include: Nelly, Jay-Z, Spice Girls, Fountains of Wayne, Blackalicious, Dangermouse, Aretha Franklin, Britney Spears, Jordan Sparks, Jessica Simpson, and more…(And we have the best snacks south of 14th street.)
Consistently, we have brought talent that goes from unknown to the top of the charts: Brody Brown (Bruno Mars), Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Regina Spector etc.) Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal), Inara George (Bird And The Bee), Freelance Whales, Holly Brook -now Skylar Grey (Eminem, Jay-Z) Jesse Harris (Grammy for Norah Jones) Larry Campbell (Grammy winner, Bob Dylan, Levon Helm), and the hits keep coming! (Plus, we’re cool to hang out with.)
So take advantage of the talent Frisbie offers. Most of all, enjoy the great music! That’s what truly inspires us. (No joke.)
Frisbie, we’ll turn you on to all kinds of music. The good kind.
Frisbie is so very proud to have signed Chief Xcel for representation in Commercials, Film and TV. Xcel is the genius beatmaker/producer half of the illustrious duo, Blackalicious, with Gift Of Gab. He is also one of the founders and owners of Quannum Records (DJ Shadow, General Elektriks, Latyrx, Lyrics Born, Pigeon John and more). His classic beats are legendary in the hip hop world.
While Xcel is widely known for his master production skills, he is fast becoming a go to composer for scoring for brands like Apple, New Balance, Adidas, Target and more. His fresh insights and creativity when scoring to picture are inspiring to hear.
Xcel is also ready to drop 3 new records in 2013: the highly anticipated Blackalicious LP, Q1; Burning House and Loudspeaker. Burning House is a bombastic sonic summit created by Chief Xcel and keyboard wiz Herve Salters (aka General Elektriks). Created in San Francisco, Paris, and Berlin, Burning House’s first album is a radical and unprecedented collage of relentless hip hop, raw funk, contagious club and brash jazz that is ready for the clubs and prime time. Loudspeaker is a match made in music heaven with Xcel and Grammy nominated singer, Ledisi.
All this music is available upon request.
Mary Frisbie* Wood, founder and owner of Frisbie, was referred to as “the legendary Mary Wood” in a music article by Time Magazine in 2012.
The A-list of artists she’s written for and produced (face to face) in the studio include: Aretha Franklin, Britney Spears, Dre’s Aftermath camp, Jordan Sparks, Isaac Hayes, Kiss, Faith Hill, Miss Piggy, Jessica Simpson, The Spice Girls and more.
She is currently co-producing an album for Benji Hughes, who received 4 stars in Rolling Stone for his 2008 release, “A Love Extreme”.
She is also co-writing the music for the hit show, Team Umizoomi. Her current commercial hits have been for Wendy’s My 99, McDonald’s, GE, 3M, and more.
Her sound first infiltrated pop culture when she co-wrote and sang a jingle for Pepsi that became a Platinum Album hit for the Spice Girls. While Atlantic and Geffen records, producers Glen Ballard (Alanis Morrisette Jagged Little Pill, Michael Jackson, Thriller) and The Butcher Brothers (John Lennon, Lauryn Hill) produced her songs and pursued her to make albums, Wood (with partner Clifford Lane) dominated and redefined what a contemporary jingle sounded like. With simultaneous hit campaigns for Coke and Pepsi on the air, songs for Sony and Amex hitting the Billboard charts, singing and co-writing the theme and all songs for the # 1 kid’s show, DragonTales, it became apparent that Wood was no one hit wonder.
In 1999, Wood was bestowed the honor of being Joey Levine’s first and only partner at Crushing Music.
Wood opened Frisbie in 2004, which continues to redefine what people think of as a music company today. (See Frisbie bio).
Other media she’s written and performed for include: Pepsi, Coke, Amex, 7-Up, Dr Pepper, Reebok, Sprite, Team Umizoomi, Sony, Dragon Tales theme song and other songs, AT&T, GE, Mountain Dew,
*Mary’s family owned the Frisbie Pie Company whose tins were made into a game on the campus of Yale University- that game was spun into the iconic game of Frisbee by Wham-o.
Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Benji Hughes has been described by many as one of the best songwriters in America today. His 2010 release, A Love Extreme, received a 4-star review in Rolling Stone. In Spring of 2012, he rocked all the fans of HBO’s “Eastbound And Down” with his song, “Kenny” that was featured in the closing scenes and end credits of that series finale.
Benji also wrote songs for the Judd Apatow feature, “Walk Hard” and has had numerous film an tv licenses.
His writing and singing talent are a secret weapon for the likes of: T-Bone Burnett, Meshell Ndegeocello and Priscilla Ahn.
To see Benji live is the ultimate closer. His heartbreakingly beautiful voice juxtaposed with his ironic lyrics, long hair, beard and hilarious banter have made him legendary in the LA music scene. It is not unusual to see fans like Sean Penn, Jared Hess, and Paris Hilton in attendance. He has toured America and beyond with Rilo Kiley and Jenny Lewis.
There’s no doubt that Benji’s multiple upcoming releases will not disappoint.
Benji’s songs have also been licensed for movies and TV including, Snow Angels, Beverly Hills, 90210 & How I Met Your Mother. He has also written commercials for GE, Mountain Dew and more.
2015 has been quite a year for Mike Viola. After producing Ryan Adams’s Grammy nominated self-titled album, and Jenny Lewis’s “The Voyager”, Mike spent the last year (summer 2014-summer 2015) touring the world, playing guitar for The Shining. Frisbie is incredibly fortunate to have had Mike on board from the beginning. As he recalls it, ‘taking the Vespa without a license plate through smelly SOHO morning traffic… always at least 10 minutes late for whatever session we were doing’. But, Mike set the bar so high for songwriting, performance and production, we couldn’t let him go when he re-located to LA.
A prolific Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, producer and recording artist, Mike Viola first came into the national spotlight as founder and frontman of the Candy Butchers. After 3 albums with Sony, Mike became known for not only creating music for award-winning films (“Get Him To The Greek,” “Walk Hard,” “That Thing You Do!”), but also writing and producing for other artists (Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis, Andrew McMahon, Matt Nathanson, New Politics, Fall Out Boy, Brett Dennen, Mandy Moore, Rachael Yamagata, Tim Christensen, Gin Wigmore, Jill Sobule, Dan Wilson).
David Leggo Rojas
David Leggo Rojas
David Leggo Rojas is a producer/engineer born and raised in South LA. He has recently migrated to NYC where he is now the leading force and liaison for Frisbie’s urban/soul roster. His knowledge and deep connection with urban music sheds a fresh light on the evolving positivity in hip hop today.
He’s been a member of the famed Aftermath Records production team; a co-writer / producer for the acclaimed DaKah Orchestra and has worked with, Danger Mouse, Mos Def, Jay-Z, Common, Bruno Mars, George Clinton, Benji Hughes, Anjulie, Kate Earl, , Celetia Martin, Little Brother, Pharcyde, Pete Yorn & Scarlette Johannsson, Gotye, Everlast, Mickey Avalon, Dirt Nasty, PoPo, Fitz & The Tantrums, BRMC, Macy Gray, Brandun Deshay, among many others.
As an engineer he’s recorded, mixed and mastered countless projects- two of which were nominated for Grammys.
Leggo has done music for film and tv, songs in features, episodics and commercials. His music has been used in music initiatives and commercials for numerous brands including, Reebok, Axe, Amex, Comcast, Captain Morgan’s, Smirnoff, DGK, HP, Sabor, Nike, K-Swiss, Scion, Amp Energy among others.
Frisbie is honored and excited to have Leggo on board.
Accomplished record-producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and lyricist Scott Mann brings a diverse skill set to the Frisbie team. A Brooklyn-native and MA of Music Technology (NYU), Scott has done a little bit of everything, from producing hit records to writing music for global ad campaigns.
He has worked with such diverse acts as Hot Chelle Rae, Paula Abdul, We The Kings, Meshell Ndegeocello, Boys Like Girls, Big Time Rush, and scored a runaway #1 hit in Japan with the Korean pop super-group “Girls Generation.” The indie-pop anthem “Love in America” (co-written and produced with artist “JTX”) was the most-played song on Satellite radio in 2011 and was used to promote the film “Friends With Benefits” starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Scott’s songs have also been featured on a long list of cable/network TV shows, including Melrose Place, The Witches of Eastwick, and Orange Is The New Black. In the advertising world, he has written/produced spots for dozens of household brands (Ford, Gillette, Diet Coke, Mercedes, Kellogg’s, Mazda, Trident, Clorox) and co-wrote and produced the music branding for the global campaigns of Walmart, Avon (“You Make It Beautiful”), Charmin, and others.
He’s always up for a few games (like twenty or so) of speed chess, particularly if paired with a good rye whiskey.
Running point on the west coast for all things Frisbie is Jeremy Silver, a Chicago native who went Hollywood and never looked back. Based in Los Angeles, Jeremy handles the pitching and licensing of Frisbie bands and composers to music supervisors in the TV, Film, and Advertising communities. Because he can’t really sit still, Jeremy is also a songwriter and producer whose own music has landed boatloads of placements on shows like One Tree Hill (CW), Criminal Minds (CBS), Keeping Up With The Kardashians (E!), Boston Med (ABC), and films such as Sydney White, American Pie: The Naked Mile, and the upcoming documentary Craigslist Joe.
Oh yeah, his indie duo One Two recently teamed up with Frisbie to lend their sweet stylings to this recent Kraft campaign for Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
For all your Frisbie needs in Los Angeles, hit up Jeremy Silver right here: firstname.lastname@example.org
“William Gordon Johnson (1983 – ), well known by his pen name Gordon Voidwell, is a Bronx-born singer, songwriter, musician and fashion writer. He is noted for his mixtape Voided Checks (2009), which has been called “electro-fantastic… hip-hop-esque [and] yacht-rockin. Voidwell’s keen wit, incisive satire and undeniable danceability has earned him praise from critics and peers alike.”
“Gordon released his debut tape in 2009 and has since collaborated with Twin Shadow, Chiddy Bang, Das Racist and more. His grasp on everything from production to layered vocals to 80s alt-funk vibes and glittery synths is just the beginning; every track on his latest tape, Bad Êtudes, will transport you to the happiest or saddest place in your life.
-Cantora Records & Vice
From the west side of Chicago, 23 year old brandUn DeShay, the rapper/producer is known across the industry for his music, positivity, and wit. A former member of Odd Future, he has now produced music for Curren$y, Mikey Rocks, Mac Miller & Tyler the Creator.
brandUn has a worldwide fan base without having a record deal.
His “World Famous” music video has had over 100,000 views in less than three months, and his featured music video “Why You Gotta Zodiac Like that” was featured on MTV and has almost 200,000 views on YouTube to date.
Brandun has been praised by some of the most prolific musical artists in the field such as Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest and Yasunori Mistuda, the premier Japanese film and video game composer of the Chrono Trigger series. Additionally, many of his inspirations come from the movie Donnie Darko, The Smiths, childhood video games, summer time Chicago, all things celestial, the beach, and love from his fans.
His work has been featured in numerous media outlets including most notably the October 2011 issue of XXL and a nomination for the XXL Freshman 12 list.
brandUn is a talent to follow and work with while he’s on his way up!
When you give Chris and Juju’s music a listen, their intentions are clear- like a director setting the scene for each movie he makes. From the lush, cinematic songs of Undersea Poem (Six Degrees), the hip shaking, bossa nova, indie pop of The Mosquitos (Bar None), and the spirited, sunny rock of Chris’ AM60 (V2/Shifty Disco), their abiding love and commitment to the art of songwriting always shines through. This love is what has driven their musical odyssey.
Consistently, Chris and Juju’s music has had great success in licensing with particular concentration in US television and advertising. Currently licensed songs can be heard on HBO’s Bored to Death, MTV’s My Life as Liz, and ABC’s Private Practice as well as the iconic bicycle-maker Schwinn’s first television campaign in 15 years (“Just a Dream”). Previous licenses include: Felicity, Malcolm in the Middle, Grey’s Anatomy, The OC, Nip Tuck, Intel, Michelob, Sears, CVS, Bailey’s, Old Navy, Payless Shoes, Fedex and JC Penney.
Chris and Juju have just come out of a creative whirlwind with their new, greatly anticipated Mosquitos record. Keep your eye on this release because you do not want to miss it.
LA-based WHISPERTOWN is the latest iteration of the unique vision of Morgan Nagler (songwriter, lead vocals, guitar). What was once The Whispertown 2000 has morphed into a less structured version of itself, with Nagler’s unmistakable vocals leading a revolving cast of musicians and artists.
As The Whispertown 2000, Nagler and company garnered support slots for Jenny Lewis, The Breeders, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, She & Him, The Elected, Azure Ray, Maria Taylor and many more. The band soon caught the attention of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, inspiring the first signing to their own Acony Records. Shortly thereafter, the band released 2008’s Swim, their debut release from Acony, comprised of classic songwriting and harmonious folk-pop.
WHISPERTOWN’S sophomore release on Acony Records, Parallel, sticks to Nagler’s earth grounded wisdoms while taking a turn toward a new form of lo-fi electronica. Parallel moves easily through rock gems like “Blood From Wine” and “State Of Mind” with lyrical prowess, only to be punctuated perfectly by stark dance tracks such as “Open The Other Eye.” Produced, recorded and mixed by Andy LeMaster (Bright Eyes), Co-Produced by Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova), and Executive Produced by David Rawlings, the stars have aligned here. This is classic music for the people.
Teen Girl Scientist
Teen Girl Scientist Monthly
Teen Girl Scientist Monthly. Bred and born on the windswept shores of Brooklyn, NY, Teen Girl Scientist Monthly jangle, stomp and spark, spitting sunny guitars and fuzzy garage pop by the hat-full. In February 2013 they released Modern Dances, their first LP, full of sharp shout-a-longs and bright light head-bangers. And in January 2014 they put out the We Run With Gangs mini-LP – 10 short, electric tunes written about and for their friends and fans, in anticipation of their second record, out later this year.
TGSMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s infectious sound (a la Unicorns and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!) is Morgan LynchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s feral yowl, Matt BergerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s antsy chicken wire lyre, and the pure low purr of Master GlivaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thick strings, all made the more merry on the wings of Mel Lusk and Pete ScalzittiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s synthetic suites and the pummel Daniel MuhlenbergÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s skins and rims. They like drinking and they like dancing.
In June 2012, the group began recording what would become Modern Dances with producer Gary Atturio at BrooklynÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s GaluminumFoil Studios, spending barely a day apart until September. The result is a sweaty embrace of an album where threads of recklessness and impetuosity, affection and ferocity weave together into pop music almost unhinged in its enthusiasm.
Modern Dances is already getting some great press – Ã¢â‚¬Å“Summer SkinÃ¢â‚¬Â was song of the day on Culture Brats and also at Panic Manual – “Summer Skin is a track by Brooklyn act Teen Girl Scientist Monthly and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the sort of short, energetic power pop track that can temporarily transport you back into the glory days of summer.”
Watch official music video for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Summer SkinÃ¢â‚¬Â
STREAM MODERN DANCES HERE
*For review purposes only and mp3Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s can be delivered upon request
SHARE + POST SINGLE Ã¢â‚¬Å“SUMMER SKINÃ¢â‚¬Â
Teen Girl Scientist Monthly will be touring the Northeast this Spring in support of the new release, and at shows TGSM is selling a download of the debut Modern Dances with purchase of their very own hard copy choose your own adventure book. At 88 pages in length, and 14 different endings, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the new manager of Teen Girl Scientist Monthly and navigate the band to fame and fortuneÃ¢â‚¬Â¦or you might get killed by a wizard.
B&W Press Band Photo
Color Press Band Photo
“Theirs is a world of stomping indie rock, marrying pulsating percussion with epic orchestral violin and adding a topping of effervescent male/female vocals. Dipping their toes in everything from country to post-punk they kick up a shitstorm of high energy sound that is as diverse as it is original, but never less than 100% engaging.”
Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Mad Mackeral
Sabina Sciubba was born in Italy and grew up in Germany, but for her first solo outing she’s eschewed the electropop of her New York-based Brazilian Girls troupe to record a more lilting, guitar-based, Nico-esque collection in Paris, where she now resides.
Everything about [her debut solo album] ‘Toujours’ (‘always’ in French), has an international flavour, and it’s sung in no less than six languages. On paper that might look like plain old showing off, yet the various tongues (often employed within the same song) always feel appropriate. Most importantly, the tunes — from the devilishly catchy title track to the clattering, anthemic ‘Viva L’Amour’ and the swoonsome, panoramic ‘Tabarly’, complete with romantic mariachi trumpets — are superb. You’ll feel love.
Visit Sabina’s website: http://www.sabina-sciubba.com and become enveloped in her love-drenched sonic and visual world.
Laser-Background is a project about childhood. Every aspect of our adult lives is transformed by what we absorb during the sponge of our youth. And it is this precise molten window, still nestled & thriving within our brainscapes, that Philadelphia’s Andy Molholt delves into with-LaserBackground’s debut LP-Super Future Montage.
“I wanted to create a psychedelic action/adventure LP,” says Molholt. “I look at-Super Future Montage-as a sort of mission statement, not just for-Laser-Background, but for life in general. I look at this album as my life’s work.”
Repetitive themes run rampant throughout the record, drawing parallels between birth, death, sleeping, waking, the monotony of the mundane & the peculiarity of the mystical. Molholt neatly wraps this colossal array into a confectionary web of confusion ripe for the tasting. “It’s a reminder of sorts, that existence is filled with beginnings & endings,” Molholt offers. “The human condition is basically one big lost & found. Once you really embrace the idea that security of any kind is an illusion, you can start to move forward & break new ground.”
Produced by Michael Johnson (Ape School, Lilys, Holopaw) & engineered by Michael Trillions (Norwegian Arms, Grandchildren),-Super Future Montage-pushes-Laser-Background-into unexplored sonic territory, hijacking expectations & forcing the listener to come along for the ride. Echoing influences like Of Montreal’s-Coquelicot-& Brian Eno’s-Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Molholt forges a sound both reminiscent & all his own, a post psychedelic avant-pop vacation. If past, present & future are the fruits of time, here Molholt has created his orchard. And in this warped universe, where time no longer matters, the flowers are constantly in bloom.-
Phony Ppl are a collective. They’re a rap crew, a songwriting/ production team, a live band, and and burgeoning force in contemporary music.
After loosely collaborating on projects over three years, Phony Ppl culminated into a nine-man crew of musicians, rappers, singers, producers and DJs. Their unique blend of hip-hop, pop, jazz and R&B music has enraptured fans and critics alike. Grown on equal parts Jay-Z, John Coltrane and Jamiroquai, Phony Ppl are quickly becoming the flagship crew for a new generation of music lovers whose iPods are filled with sounds of all genres and eras.
Renowned Writer/Producer/Artist/DJ Fred Sargolini is as prolific as he is unique, constantly making music while exploring and creating in other artistic mediums. At its core, his urban perspective represents the bedrock of his musical and artistic process and is the key to his ability to create in a unique but accessible way.
Frederick Sargolini began DJ’ing, playing piano and guitar at age 10. Fred continued his musical journey studying jazz and classical piano at the Brooklyn Conservatory for Music.
Fred has gone on to share the stage with the likes of Sting, St. Germain. Run-DMC, Burning Spear, A Tribe Called Quest and The Roots.
Fueled by his interest in all media, Fred launched Patriarch Recordings, his production, artist and brand development company. He has scored numerous placements in TV, film, video games and advertising; including CSI, CSI:Miami, Weeds, Entourage, NBA Ballers, Stomp The Yard, The Real World, Delirious, and a national Chrysler TV ad campaign. Fred discovered, developed and produced the artist Kirsten Price for Columbia Records including her hit “Magic Tree.” Fred also created the Yo Yo Yo Kids brand. The first album, a children’s hip-hop Christmas record, features original holiday music and re-worked holiday classics. It was released by Razor & Tie and a toy featuring the original holiday song “Celebrate” will be released by Dan Dee Toys Christmas 2009.
Fred also co-founded Ming+FS and the Madhattan Studios record label. The duo of Ming+FS released four full-length albums and over thirty 12″ singles, all while touring their critically acclaimed live show around the globe.
With impressive musicianship, artistry and more than a little bit of wit Fred is the very model of the 21st century artist.
John Gold works as both a composer and producer from Frisbie’s west coast office. You’d be lucky to get to know him and and his music with all its west coast leanings.
Southern california and the music born of it are in my blood. i was born here, too, and i live here now. it’s a place of extremes in either direction, but most of the time the sun at the magic hour or the night blooming jasmine in the breeze or some fleetwood mac turned up with the car windows rolled down is enough to help us ignore what ails this place. Now here i go again i see a crystal vision…
the quick story goes like this: after a stint in new york city, i spent about eight years living in this apartment on wilton place in hollywood. it was really small but i didn’t mind because it was kind of like a tree house, and anyway it had everything I needed: a nice tube amp with a few shelves of lp’s, plenty of musical instruments, and a couple good microphones that attached to gear for recording ideas. my mom gave me our upright piano that now doubled as a desk to write on. when I was a little kid, harry nilsson made up a song for me on that same piano. i had a feeling that someday i’d sing songs, too.
so much went down on wilton: so much extreme shit around apartment fires, run-over pets, broken spirits and hearts gone cold. but there was always music, always my songs, and always this giant avocado tree in the sunshine outside my window. so-cal comfort. I wrote and recorded three albums there. a few songs were on tv shows and movies, and by some miracle people all over the world started letting me know that these transmissions from my tiny room were reaching them and keeping their souls warm.
i still had never sung a note more than 20 miles beyond the city limits, and a couple years ago I decided that if this music thing was gonna be real, i needed to make a change. i so badly wanted to move and i wanted to move forward! i felt stuck. i knew that the only thing that would make it happen would be to dream up some songs that no longer reported on and kept me living in the past, but that needed to dictate my future. i wanted to make something that sounded like the place i know, but maybe not a complete throwback to sounds like joni mitchell or csny – those are untouchable – just something new that feels good to be around and reflects my life here.
i asked my friend and musical wiz, scott seiver, to produce it with me and to get it well-recorded over the course of a couple months. he’s also a great drummer and can play a lot of instruments, so we covered a lot of ground between the two of us. my fairly sane but insanely talented group of friends in town (check those liner notes) played and sang and celebrated these songs with me and have everything to do with the songs sounding the way they do. a year later we somehow conjured the amazing shawn everett to mix it. my brother makes the album cover look like the music sounds.
so now i’m writing to you from a house not too far away from hollywood with orange trees in the yard and a one-year-old cat named ocho sleeping next to me and the album is coming out in June, thanks to the great people at vagrant records! i expect that some amazing adventures are on the horizon and hopefully along the way we’ll get to play the songs for you in person, wherever you are.
every word on this album is true to me. every line and each note stands for something important: it’s my own manifesto. it’s my own religion. my own cult of one. “don’t freak out” has been my mantra ever since keefus and benji hughes played their version of baby it’s your life for me. augusta vail has become my personal lord and saviour. i still drown it in white wine every now and again. best of all, what came of that seed of change has grown into the flower in my head, and it continues to bloom. I hope that you put it through your headphones. I want it to be like a flower in your head, too. your sun is coming up, and you’re still alive.
as above, so below.
“Hailing from the hills of North Carolina, Drew Stroik specializes in dreamy soundscapes of lush, lo-fi, extremely melodic tunes he lovingly characterizes as “generic pop.” The lyrics are sometimes literal, often oblique, but always honest. Let’s put it this way; Stroik’s songs could provide the perfect soundtrack for a long road trip or for a plush, debauchery-drenched, nightclub setting.
There is a lot he has been through in his short 23 years, and that’s putting it mildly. He was born in Chicago, where he actually lived with his young single mother in a funeral home with the bassist and drummer of alt-rock group, Veruca Salt. From the Windy City, he moved to Miami where his mother briefly dated the owner of Al Pacino’s palatial drug mansion in the gangster flick, Scarface – no lie. He spent some time in Los Angeles, transplanted to Las Vegas for about five years, and finally settled in North Carolina with his mom and new stepdad. His first introduction to music came at the age of seven when he was given a bunch of movie soundtracks as a Christmas present. “One of them was the Lion King CD,” he recalls, “I was a normal kid at that time – or so my parents thought, I became obsessed.” In North Carolina, he was given a guitar as a gift at the age of 14, and he self-taught himself until he got “really good.” Stroik was kicked out of high school prior to his senior year (the details surrounding said expulsion remain fuzzy), and thus he was forced to find a full-time job to make ends meet. During this turbulent period, it was his music that kept him afloat. He saved enough cash to get himself a cheap computer and a Yamaha keyboard and started laying down his own tracks at home.
Ultimately when it comes down to it, the music reflects its maker. Speaking to Stroik is a whirlwind experience of human awareness and curiosity. One frenzied minute, he’ll be extolling the vibrant, dance-heavy video for the song “Cat Daddy” (featuring Chris Brown) by The Rej3ctz, and the next, he’ll be explaining the many duties (including forklift operation) he executes at his 9-to-5 factory job. It’s the same urgency, honesty and transparency you see in his music. “Basically what I try to address in my music is the fact that people think they have all the answers but they really don’t,” he emotes. “I’m just tired of all the facades and smoke screens that exist everywhere, so I just make music that’s real to me.” Well said.
Espionage, particularly the idea of living a double life, was the basis for Kaki King’s brand-new, stunning album Junior. And like a tantalizing spy novel that’s full of surprises, Junior delivers twists-and-turns: lyrically from exuberance and anger to heartbreaking melancholy; and sonically from experimental pieces to accessible pop. While there is some of the dazzling musicianship King has been renowned for, Junior showcases her further maturation as a well-rounded artist that defies categorization and expectations.
“I never made records for other people,” she says. “My evolution from record to record has been personal not commercial. For example there none of the guitar tapping that I’m known for. There not a single bit of it on the record except for a half a second on “The Hoopers of Hudspeth.”
As with her previous album, 2008’s Dreaming of Revenge, Junior was produced by Malcolm Burn (Patti Smith, Emmylou Harris) and recorded at his studio in Kingston, New York. But in contrast to that record, which was marked by deep textures and layers as well as unusual instrumentation, Junior was specifically made with only three musicians in mind in this case, King, multi-instrumentalist Dan Brantigan and drummer Jordan Perlson. The result was something more direct. “Prior to this I would have written a lot in the studio and played all the instruments myself,” King says. “This time, I really leaned on Dan and Jordan to help shape the songs and help me get the record written.”
The nearly-D.I.Y. aesthetic employed by King can be found on a couple of Junior’s tracks starting with the album’s punkish “Falling Day” and the noisy “Death Head.” “I was dragging this little ukelele around with me,” she says of the former song. “I tuned it weird and I came up with this one riff. The lyrics are basically nonsense. It’s a kind of rumination on a weird dream I had and imagery from that. It’s also got all these strange sounds that Dan came up with.”
Longtime fans may be surprised to hear a different side of King with the dance rock of “Spit It Back In My Mouth.” “I really wanted that to be my Cure song,” she says. “Like how the Cure would write these really happy, jangly songs and the lyrics would be utterly depressing. When I came up with that little groove, I thought this is way too happy, so I changed it to make people depressed.”
King’s mesmerizing guitar playing continues through Junior with a few instrumental pieces, including the electrifying number “My Nerves That Committed Suicide.” “I found a tuning on the guitar,” King says of that track, “and I was writing a little theme and a little melody. All of a sudden I thought, Why don’t we do this? and it really took off. Part of it is ear candy and a part of it is emotive air candy. You just go with that anthemic feeling and it kind of wins every time.”
The rawest song on Junior in terms of King’s passionate singing and wrenching lyrics is the folkish ballad “Sunnyside,” which is about the end of a relationship. “It happened very close to the time I was making the record,” the artist recalls. “It’s a very personal story about something that I went through with another person. Every reference to every lyric is true to life. I’m hoping there’s something universal in that song that someone’s gonna listen and think ‘Wow, I can relate to that,’ because I don’t want it to by my pity party.”
Larry Campbell is a multi-instrumentalist who has been a studio musician, recording music with other artists on their albums, and a respected sideman, performing as a backup musician in clubs and concert venues, since the seventies. He moves freely between rock, blues, country, folk and Celtic, playing guitar, fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel, cittern, dobro and banjo. In 2005, he released his first solo acoustic guitar album called Rooftops. In 2008, Larry was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for his instrumental work from the Americana Music Association.
Larry has had extensive experience as a studio musician. Over the past decade, Larry has recorded with Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Judy Collins, Sheryl Crow, B. B. King, Willie Nelson and The Black Crowes just to name a few.
As a sideman, Larry is probably best known for his time spent in Bob Dylan’s band. Larry was a member of Bob Dylan’s “Never Ending Tour” band from March 31, 1997 until November 21, 2004. Through his association with Tony Garnier, Bob Dylan’s bass player, Larry joined the band, replacing J.J. Jackson as a guitarist and expanded his role to multi-instrumentalist, playing other instruments such as cittern, violin/fiddle, pedal steel guitar,lap steel guitar, mandolin, banjo and slide guitar. He also contributed vocals. When introducing Larry and the rest of the band, Bob Dylan often referred to them as some of the finest musicians in the country.
When Larry was not performing with Bob Dylan, he often made guest appearances with other artists including Richard Shindell, Buddy and Julie Miller, Levon Helm and Little Feat. Prior to 1997, Larry toured with other artists, including Cyndi Lauper, K. D. Lang,and Rosanne Cash.
Since Larry’s departure from Bob Dylan’s band, he has continued to make guest appearances with various artists including Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Phil Lesh, Rosanne Cash, Litte Feat and Levon Helm. Beginning in 2005, Larry performed regularly with Levon Helm for seven years.
Fountains Of Wayne
Fountains Of Wayne
Formed in New York in 1996, Fountains of Wayne took its name from an iconic garden store in nearby Wayne, NJ (which, sadly, closed recently). The band has received steady critical accolades since its inception; “Dean Of American Rock Critics” Robert Christgau has called them “lyric poets” and “true art heroes.” The group’s line-up, which includes Adam Schelsinger, Chris Collingwood, Jody Porter and drummer Brian Young, has remained unchanged since they toured in support of their 1996 self-titled debut album. FoW were nominated for two Grammys, including a slightly belated Best New Artist nod, in 2003, after scoring a hit with their third album, Welcome Interstate Managers.
Clifford Lane (aka Average Superstar) has traversed the musical landscape as performer, writer, producer, engineer and all around studio rat. His band, The Poppies, broke the top 40 in Europe with ‘She Is Revolution”, has co- owned the Looking Glass Studios with Phillip Glass; also doing sound design and mixing his operas and engineering /producing a bunch of his offshoot projects.
Clifford has had his music used in campaigns for Pepsi, Coke, American Express, Captain Morgan’s Rum and many more. Spots featuring Kiss, Britney Spears and The Spice Girls, Clifford’s a pioneer in the happy/edgy sound of the modern jingle. He is somehow comfortable being equally reverent and irreverent, producing homemade sounding ditties or lush productions. Though the 60s is often his palette, his sensibility is always 100% modern: fusing genres to create his own unique stew. His lust for gear is unhealthy, but he’s determined to find one more color one more flavor….
Although best known for having written and played guitar on Norah Jones’ breakout hit “Don’t Know Why” (for which he won the Grammy Award for Song Of The Year), Jesse Harris is an accomplished producer and solo artist in his own right. He has released 10 albums, including his latest releases “Through The Night” and “Cosmo” (an all-instrumental recording) and has toured worldwide. His songs have been covered by numerous great singers, such as Smokey Robinson, Willie Nelson, Cat Power, Solomon Burke, Emmylou Harris, and many others.
I Am Apollo
I Am Apollo
I Am Apollo have come to represent musically a flourishing artistic community developing within the southern suburbs of Sydney. Music has the ability to reflect the culture and soul of a place, and the people who call it home. I Am Apollo have created such music. There is a duality within I Am Apollo. While their music is uplifting, their lyrics possess a depth that draws you into what is a private conversation with their creator. The result is music that provides a unique perspective on life within a unique place.
I Am Apollo is gathered around the creative core of Jeremy Strother and George Georgiadis. From there, they are joined by old friends for live performances that show how life provides relationships based around a passion for an art form. This love of music is apparent in the care Jeremy and George have taken in developing I Am Apollo into a hard working and energetic live act. From George’s ability to produce a powerful force, or gentle guidance, on percussion, to Jeremy’s earthly yet peaceful voice, I Am Apollo have tapped into music’s ability to evoke old memories, and become the basis for new ones.