intrinsic

Interview with The Contortionist’s Jonathan Carpenter

Every now and then, a band comes along that just blows everyone out of the water with each musical piece that they write. Right now, that band is The Contortionist. I recently got a chance to sit down (or rather, stand up) with their lead singer, Jonathan Carpenter, to talk about their newest release, Intrinsic.

Bröötalisk: Alright, let’s cut to the chase. Intrinsic is, to say the least, a powerful record. Can you give me your though process behind the transition from Exoplanet to Intrinsic? What did you want to accomplish with this record?

Jonathan Carpenter: When we did Exoplanet, we went with the space vibe and that was something that I think, even before I was in the band, was a goal for the end result to be a sci fi type of story. With this album, we had to make a choice of where to go. It’s kind of like a novel style of music. I think we just kept the elements that makes us different and stand out and what we’re good at and finally carved out all the shit we just didn’t want to do anymore. Kinda made a new sound that represents what we enjoy playing live and what we can play live well. We wanted to push ourselves further and know that we’re getting better at writing music and performing it. We tried to get our wide range of sound in the new album and diversified it. Keyboards are definitely more pronounced this record, but they also don’t take over the album. I think overall we’re really pleased with how production and our concepts turned out.

Bröötalisk: Where Exoplanet was about the destruction of our homeworld and our search for a new one, Intrinsic is more about the human mind and how we interpret reality. What inspired you to write such a complex album? Are these kinds of thought provoking themes something you plan to do with later records?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdnIMto1WNU

Jonathan Carpenter: There a bunch of books that I’ve read, mostly science, not necessarily science fiction, that talk about topics that are still being discovered, like neuroanatomy and different biotechnologies that are discussed on the album as far as story goes. Reading books like that inspired me to talk about things that could happen in the future. Things that could really change our daily lives and experiences of reality.

Bröötalisk: Misha Mansoor of Periphery mentioned that Intrinsic is more of a “grower album”. That is, you have to listen to it multiple times before you really understand and appreciate the record. Is that something you were going for with Intrinsic?

Jonathan Carpenter: No, I don’t think that necessarily motivated us. But we didn’t really have a goal to make music that could easily be understood either. We would ask ourselves, “Do we feel like these songs are any more commercial or simplified that represents pop music or anything that’s not thought provoking?” We still feel like the sounds and everything are very interesting and that they break expectations.

Bröötalisk: Speaking of Misha, he always speaks very highly of your band. Is it safe to say that The Contortionist and Periphery and are BFFs?

Jonathan Carpenter: Haha yeah, that’s a good term to describe it. Whenever we’ve toured with them, things were amazing. We got along really well. Buddying up with everybody in the tour. That was an amazing tour in general, but Periphery was definitely great to us. It was a lot of fun.

Bröötalisk: Is that when you first met the band?

Jonathan Carpenter: We had played one show with them before that, and it was just a one off day where two tours got combined randomly. It wasn’t expected. We were the first band to play out of 10 bands, so we played in front of like 15 people. They were one of the coheadliners. So yeah, we met them there, and a year later we toured together.

Bröötalisk: Many people have been speculating that Periphery and you guys might tour together some time soon. Is there any info you can give out on this?

Jonathan Carpenter: We don’t have anything solidified right now, but there have been talks between their manager and ours. Summer Slaughter was definitely something we tried to be in the running for, and unfortunately it didn’t work out this year. But who knows, maybe next year we’ll get that.

Bröötalisk:A little more off topic, I’m what you might call a vinyl enthusiast, so when I saw that Intrinsic wasn’t being pressed on vinyl, I was disappointed. Are there any future plans to release the album on vinyl?

Jonathan Carpenter: I’d imagine that’s very likely that will happen. The reason we just released a CD is because we wanted to focus on just getting it out there and then maybe later on do some secondary things and spice things up.

We just couldn’t keep our hands off of each other.

Bröötalisk: So, every time I mention that I listen to The Contortionist, almost every one seems to think I’m talking about something Cirque de Soleil. This made me wonder, where did you get the name “The Contortionist” from?

Jonathan Carpenter: I’m pretty sure that that originated from Joey, our drummer. I don’t know all the reasons for it. I think it’s kind of a mixture between sounding fucking awesome and the fact that we change our sound a lot. But I’m not really sure, it wasn’t me. I would say that it’s basically those two things. You know how it is when you have to pick out a name.

Bröötalisk: What are some of your favorite bands out there right now?

Jonathan Carpenter: There’s a lot of lighter stuff that have nothing to do with metal that I like to listen to, Deerhunter, Minus the Bear. I really like Wild Beasts a lot. As far as metal goes, the newest Textures album is still really sick, I like to jam that out. I also like Last Chance to Reason, busting out Level 2 never gets old. The new Periphery was also really awesome, I liked that. Other than that, I haven’t really been listening to music because I’ve been so busy finishing up recording. But now that that’s over, I’m starting to get back into the cycle again.

 

Olympics_Barge

UC & The Olympics

Athletic competition is over at the 2012 Summer Olympics with the University of California well represented amongst the elite athletes in London.  A contingent of nearly 100 UC  affiliated student and alumni athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and staff are proudly representing the United States and other nations from around the globe. From badminton to taekwondo, UC athletes and staff are key participants in at this summer’s world competition. It comes to no surprise that UC Berkeley and UCLA  have two of the largest groups from the California University system however UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Riverside and UCSF are all being represented in London. What’s the missing link in this extraordinary group of UC schools? UC Santa Cruz of course. Although most of the UC schools represented in the Olympics are currently Division I teams UCSC athletics are definitely worthy despite a Division III ranking in the NCAA. So maybe 2012 wasn’t “The Year of the Banana Slug” but that doesn’t mean that 2016 can’t be. Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro will host the next Summer Olympics with probably even more UC athletes participating. Just imagine 6 foot 10 UCSC graduate Thomas Davidson on the men’s volleyball team or maybe standout Santa Cruz freshman Sarah Mackey leading a women’s basketball team to Olympic gold.  As for now, keep up the good work Team USA and of course GO SLUGS!!!!!

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Outside Lands Fest

It’s easy to forget how good we have it here in Santa Cruz. There’s the obvious: beaches, redwoods, meadows, radio (duh)… but there’s also our prime location. Santa Cruz is exactly 73.4 miles from San Francisco, home to the 2012 Outside Lands Music Festival.

This weekend, August 10-12, Golden Gate Park will undoubtedly experience an explosion of amazing artists, and I don’t just mean the legendary musicians who will be occupying the stages. Once again, OSL will be collaborating with Juxtapoz Magazine to provide attendees with free (!!!!) mags, live artist performances and even installations which will be built throughout the weekend.

I’m especially stoked to see work by the quirky, adorable Australian duo Dabs MylaAnother pair-up will occur on Sunday: Marcus LaFarga, an artist with a clean, contemporary aesthetic and a knack for reinventing classic typographic images, will execute a live painting with Brett Armory, whose haunting portraits (like the one seen below) capture the isolation of individuals in misty, smudged creations.

Artists will also include graffiti writers Curve (seen below) and Pastime, tattoo artists from Golden West Tattoo, illustrator N8 Van Dyke, and many more.

 

Cash

Johnny Cash Special Saturday

Set your alarm early Saturday morning to hear a special honoring Johnny Cash. “The Man in
Black” recorded some of the greatest early rock & roll records for the Sun label, followed by more hits for Columbia as a country star. You’ll learn the truth about some of Johnny’s #1 Hits and have a chance to win a copy of the newly release “Number Ones” compilation. Your Wednesday aloha DJ Lani B. will gallop roaring out the chute at 6 am this Saturday as we whoop ‘n holler with Cash in hand on KZSC.

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Aesop Rock’s New One

Any Aesop Rock fans will be happy to hear that he has recently dropped a new album, Skelethon. This is the San Francisco-based rapper and producer’s sixth studio album and first self-produced project. Skelethon contains a multitude of playful and dark horror film-like beats that are accompanied by classic Aesop lyrics. Although the entire album is fantastic, there are a few dope tracks that stand out from the rest: Zero Dark Thirty, Tetra, Racing Stripes and don’t forget ZZZ Top. Random Fun Fact: Aesop Rock is also really into his cats. Grrrreat!