The Orwells Interview 12.11.17

Imagine being 16 again. The year is 2013 and Snowden has recently leaked documents about U.S. mass-surveillance programs. You and your friends decide last-minute to drive to Eagle Rock, catch a couple bands, and be delinquents. As you step into the former church, a haze of smoke fills the air while Jeff the Brotherhood blares over speakers. Suddenly, the music cuts out and The Orwells step onstage. Chords permeate through the repurposed church as the mostly underage crowd moshes in rhythm to “Who Needs You”. At the end of the show, the frontman, Mario Cuomo, climbs onto the rafters above the crowd and dives headfirst into a sea of teenagers.

This was my first time seeing The Orwells live.

The Orwells are a rock band composed of five members who graduated high school early to pursue their love of music. The band started out with a destructive stage presence, at times getting into altercations with venue security and staff. When I had the chance to catch them live at The Troubadour in ’14, Mario was arguing with security for stopping teenagers from moshing during their set. This was what really drew me towards the band. The Orwells stood for rebellion, and they didn’t just go against the grain, they ripped through it. With powerful lyrics such as:

You better pledge allegiance; you’re not the only one. Listen up forefathers; I’m not your son. You better save the country, you better pass the flask, you better join the army, I said no thank you dear old Uncle Sam.

While the band has calmed down in some ways, they still put on an amazing show no matter where they go. From their run with The Arctic Monkeys in 2014, Weezer in early 2017, and The Pixies in late 2017, they’ve proven time and time again that they can get a crowd on its feet. The evolution of the band with their most recent album, Terrible Human Beings, is just further reassurance that The Orwells aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

I’m also ecstatic to announce that I had the opportunity to catch them live right here in Santa Cruz. Make sure to check out the incredible interview that I had with Mario, guitarist Matt O’Keefe, and (with some cameo insights) drummer Henry Brinner. With HOT topics like: the music industry, Steve Jobs, and Atlanta twerk videos. Huge thank you to Bryan Nelson for setting this up as well. -Chuck Bass

Check them out online:

Site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

P.S. They have a killer Stooges cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog”

Not Alone: Interview with Chastity Belt

DJ Maladroit recently got a chance to speak with noise-pop/rock band Chastity Belt. They talk memes, film, favorite movie soundtracks and more. Check it out below.

Audio by: Kathy Damian


The Frights at the Catalyst 05.20.2017 Interview

Written by: Serena Ozonur / Audio by: DJ Maladroit

On Saturday May 20, 2017, The Frights played at the Catalyst in downtown Santa Cruz, touring with Hunny and King Shelter. As their tour came to an end, I had the opportunity to interview The Frights. The sold-out venue had excited fans lining up to the see the band before the doors opened at 8:00pm. In our interview, we talked about their song writing process, how it feels to be on the road, the difference in albums (in terms of sound), what the band is listening to, and upcoming projects fans should be on the look-out for. The Frights began by discussing the new album, “You Are Going to Hate This.” As Richard Dotson (bass/vocals), stated, “The album cover’s art is 80s’ inspired, particularly Black Flag Covers…really violent, but colorful images.” Their previous self-titled album carries a different sound from “You Are Going to Hate This”. This difference essentially came from the help of Zach Carper of FIDLAR who helped produce “You Are Going To Hate This.” Mikey Carnevale (guitar/lead vocals) commented “he [Zach Carper] was the Dragon Force behind this… he was very influential on this album”.

We then went into the song writing process in which Mikey stated, “What I’m doing now is that I record the melody on phone, take it back, play it on guitar, separate verse/chorus, then put everything together, and if I’m lucky I do a bridge. Then I write lyrics, right before recording the demo.”

The Frights are San Diego Natives, and believe that if they were from anywhere else they would just get blended in with everything else. The Frights were considered to have a “Doo-Wop” sound in their previous record. However, now they don’t consider themselves to have that sound anymore. Mikey believes, “early on in the band, I really liked the “Doo-Wop” sound, but now I don’t even think about it…I wouldn’t say we are a “Doo-Wop” band anymore, definitely not surf-punk. I guess we are just a rock n’ roll band.”

I asked The Frights how it feels to be on the road. They think Vegas being the first stop of the tour was a big mistake. Mikey jokingly stated, “It was super fun, but I feel so bad… the shame is real.”  Marc Finn (drums), added, “We just eat worse and drink more. I mean we are scarfing down some pizza right now.” I asked them who they look up to now, in which  Mikey responded, “I look up to most people, since they are taller than me…” I also asked Richard about his YouTube Channel “Here Lies Music” and I’m sorry to say to the fellow fans that it’s not looking like that channel will be up and running anytime soon. However, when I asked them if fans should be on the look-out for anything new Mikey told me to “tell them yes.” So keep an eye out fans! The Frights, still get very excited and anxious before a performance, which brings us to the actual show. 

This show probably had more people in the air than the ground. The crowd surfing was real. I positioned myself at the very front, right by the stage (big mistake on my part because I left the concert with a mild concussion). Like I said, those crowd surfers were wild, but it was an amazing concert with mosh after mosh. What else would one expect from a rock concert? The band performed hit songs, and a new song at the end of the concert so keep an eye out for that! Songs such as “You Are Going to Hate This”, “All I need”, “Afraid of the Dark”, and “Crust Bucket”. The crowd had amazing energy and so did the bands with incredible opening performances from King Shelter and Hunny. Don’t miss The Frights live, it’s definitely an experience of a lifetime.

Ab-Soul at the Catalyst 05.24.2017 Interview


Ab-Soul is an American rapper from Carson, California. Ab-Soul grew up in a record store his parents owned, and credits much of his musical knowledge to this experience. He points to Nas, Jay Z, and Eminem as being his biggest influences– pushing him into a rap career. He also credits his rapping skills to BlackPlanet freestyle chat, a site where people freestyle over text, sometimes known as “key-styling.” Ab Soul recorded his first song in 2002, and his most recent album, Do What Thou Wilt, was released in 2016. Do What Thou Wilt includes features from award winning artists such as School Boy Q, Rapsody, SZA, Mac Miller, and more.


On May 24th, on the last legs of his West Coast YMF (young mind f***) tour, Ab-Soul stopped by the Catalyst to spit some bars in the atrium and chat with KZSC DJs Kaviar and Jinx for a bit. Peep the interview below!


Kaviar & Jinx: Thanks for meeting with us! Great show.

Soul: Of course, of course.

Kaviar: So tell us a bit about Do What Thou Wilt. That’s a satanic reference, yeah?

Soul: Nah, It’s not Satanic. It’s a quote by Aleister Crowley. He’s saying that the righteous will remain righteous and the filthy will remain filthy. And love is the law, love is always the law.

Kaviar: So do you think people are redeemable then?

Soul: Of course, everybody’s redeemable. It’s just a word isn’t it? I make a lot of money off of words, I believe in them.

Jinx: Alright, alright. Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings doing internet rap battles? Did that shape who you are as a rapper today?

Soul: Sure. That was really the groundwork for what I do now. Like that was actual writing you know? It was my journalism at the time. It was a large part of– at that time, which had to be like 2002 or something– the biggest thing more than anything was vernacular. Everyone was trying to get the best rhymes, you know? That’s definitely where I perfected that.

Kaviar: Do you think that the written word is different from the spoken word?

Soul: Certainly– can you say “hate” out of “love” ?

Kaviar: mmmmm

Soul: yeah, that’s right I’d like to see you try that. YMF. (ab souls coined term meaning “young mind f***”).*laughing*  You have just been YMF’d.

Kaviar: Alright, I like that. I’m gonna keep that with me.

Soul: But yeah, going back on it, Aleister Crowley is not a satanist. He’s a Crowliest, he was trying to start his own thing. And Jesus is my idol, just sayin’

Kaviar: Alright we’ll have to do some more research. On another note, your couch talk with Princess Nokia.

Soul: nice. She’s great.

Kaviar: Oh yeah, that’s one of my favorite pieces of art I’ve ever seen, let alone artist on artist interview.

Soul: YESS! I had no idea she was so….soo…

Kaviar: She is awakened.

Soul: Oh yeah, she is awakened. My girl is big with like Allure magazine you know what I’m saying, it’s important that we do a lot more female publications. All the marches and stuff you know, it’s really important. It’s the time, you know, I was rooting for Hillary ‘cause it was the time for the divine female. It’s the time.

Kaviar: Hell yeah

Jinx: So I’m curious with your strong feelings about the importance of feminine energy in hip hop, what’s your take on the word b*****? Do you feel like it’s been reclaimed?

Soul: Right, “b****”– it’s just like the word “n****.” I mean if you was my girl, you’d be my b****. And you’d like it, you know.

Jinx: hmmm okay

Soul: But if I were to say, “b***** get the f*** out my face” then not so much.

Jinx: yeah definitely not.

Soul: exactly, you’d be like “who you callin’ b*****?” you know what I’m saying? It’s all about the way you say it with words like that. Like I said, you can’t say hate out of love. Again, it’s about more than just what it spells. But you know, I’m still doing the research, I’m still learning, trying to figure it all out.

Kaviar: we’re all learning and unlearning!

Jinx: Well we’ll let you go. Thanks for meeting with us! And again incredible show.

Soul: of course! It was great meeting you too, lots of love.



from left to right: DJ Lyzard, Jinx, Ab-Soul, & DJ Kaviar



Two Sundays ago, on the 23rd of last month, I had the opportunity to interview Wrekmeister Harmonies at The Crepe Place before their set that night. Wrekmeister Harmonies is JR Robinson and Esther Shaw, an experimental project that mixes elements of doom metal, post-rock, and noise music. Their most recent album, Light Falls, was released in September of last year.


K: How has your tour been going? I read on your Facebook page that you performed with Aesop Dekker two days ago, how did that go?


JR: It was great. He is in a great band, Worm Ouroboros. Aesop is a very, very funny man.


K: He’s funny?


JR: He’s very funny, he’s very short, and I like him a lot.


K: Anyway, so for your recorded material, in the creative process how much improvisation do you incorporate? I know you worked with three members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor on the new record Light Falls, did they introduce any of that sort of spirit in the recording?


JR: Well they’re members of Godspeed so it’s gonna sound like what half the members of Godspeed is gonna sound like, and we kind of knew that going into it. We didn’t come up with any set directions for them, we just had some stuff written and thought ‘this will probably sound interesting if we play it with these people’ and that’s kind of how it all went down. It was very easy, very organic, very pleasant–they’re nice people.


K: So you just had some written framework going into it?


JR: [To Esther] We put together a set of scaffoldings, wouldn’t you say?


E: Yeah, we also toured on it. We played a few shows with some of the ideas we had just to flesh things out. Then when we got there, we played some of that stuff and just kind of built on it.


K: Since the beginning of the tour, would you say that working with material from the new album, performing it live, has helped you process and understand the themes and the personal meaning that you’ve put into the album?


JR: No, all of that, all of those feelings and all of the processing happens during the creation of it and then the capturing of it. Then after that’s done it’s just a matter of how we’re feeling that particular night. I’m sure your mindset changes from day to day, you’ve probably made some things in your life and you’ve looked at them and said to yourself ‘I made this, I was in a particular frame of mind at that time’ and then perhaps you show it to people and but you don’t try and rebuild it or tear it apart and rebuild it every single time, you just show them what you made.

Some days you take your friends back to show them a thing you made and you’re in a particularly explanatory mood and you’re talkative that day, perhaps you’re inspired to talk about it; and maybe another day you’re kind of tired because you’re a member of the human race, people get tired, and you don’t want to show that much, that also is part of it. So there’s not a lot of processing going on in the live part of it.


E: And I think that’s also why when we perform off of an album we’re often adding in new pieces as well, because we’re always looking forward to building something new again and there’s something on the horizon for us in a way so it’s gotten us performing old stuff and then also playing around and starting something new as well.


K: Like working out new ideas live, perhaps bringing them to a recording later?


E: Exactly. Like tonight’s going to have pieces of Light Falls and also stuff we’ve been just recently working on as well that we’re just fleshing out.


K: On Light Falls obviously you had more musicians than two on it, I’m really curious as to how that will translate to two members. I mean obviously I’ll find out watching it but–


JR: I think with the newer material the static droning things are on the edges, working their way in, rather than it being the center and things coming out of it. So that for us is a very intuitive and easy process for the two of us to do together, it’s very exciting to try and do it, keep developing it night after night.

We play “Mantra” and that’s something that we came up with on our own anyway and we’re always very comfortable playing that on our own so that hasn’t really changed and I think the inherent message of it is not diluted any by the subtraction of band members playing it. It’s a very personal meditation that we’re putting out. So basically all we’re doing is distilling it down to the essence of the song itself. With just Esther and I, I think we’re really able to crystallize that message down to its essential elements.


K: So basically the song at its core, its true essence, can still be created with two members.


JR: You’ll find out tonight, but I think we do a very good job of covering a lot of sonic ground. We’ve been really working this past year and a half on developing a reliance on each other to build these pieces and to cover a lot of frequencies. A lot of moods, a lot of textures, and a lot of personal feelings. And to not rely on other people, to just do it on our own is very important.


K: I’ve noticed with live bands that just have two members, I think sometimes people underestimate just how much sound they can produce, how much powerful it can be to have just two members in a band, especially with heavier music too.


JR: I think you could say there’s a certain inherent power of seeing one hundred musicians all striking a C major chord at the same time, that’s going to have an impact. I’ve also had one person just devastate me with their emotional output, so it’s all about personal feelings, do you have an idea, do you have a feeling and an emotion that you’re trying to communicate. Are you experiencing something inside that you’re trying to express, that you’re trying to get from here to the outside world. You can use thirty people, you could use a hundred people, you could use one person, you could use two people, as long as you have a true emotion, a true feeling that you’re trying to communicate, then I think that’s a good thing.

And it can’t be denied–if somebody is actually truly trying to communicate an emotional state to you, and they’re doing their best to do it, it’s hard to ignore. Conversely, if somebody is going through the motions, if you’ve got a group of people, one or two individuals, or a hundred people, they’re just kind going through the motions–‘I got stuff to do, I gotta get up and do my thing tomorrow, I’m hungry, I’m bored–‘ that is just as easily observable, right?


E: I think the chances of that happening increases with the more people you have, because you can’t really control focus as easily as more and more people are added to a group in that way. But when it does work out it’s really powerful. I was just thinking that some of the most amazing shows I’ve seen have had one person. I remember we saw Kevin Drumm perform at the Cultural Center in Chicago–there were these really high ceilings, he was making some amazing sounds and allowing people to walk through the room and explore the sound and that in itself was very impactful and extremely noisy, exploring lots of frequencies.


K: I mean undeniably with less people it’s probably easier to find solidarity in a single emotional feeling or message.


JR: Well you don’t have to adopt the other people’s psychological makeup of that particular moment. Esther and I are very in tune with each other and when you get more people involved you have to adapt to their particular mindset, like perhaps they’re not having a great day, and say they’re going to project that into the environment. So then also you have to deal with that, and maybe that’s not going to be so beneficial to what you’re trying to communicate, whatever you’re trying to express to the world.

Maybe this person over here is throwing up a wall, giving you a hard time, or experiencing some mood cycle that is foreign to you, but it’s affected you. And so how are you going to communicate your idea that is very important to you, without having some residual effect from that?


K: I would probably just absorb this unknown feeling if I cared about working with that person and I–


JR: –But then your original idea is run through a filter of that person’s psychological profile.


K: If I felt like I was the sole creative leader in a music group, I would probably feel uncomfortable with incorporating that or as you said ‘filtering’ myself through that, if that was completely alien to me and to my vision. But I think if we both, or maybe it was multiple people experiencing all kinds of different things, I would try, at least at first if it even worked, to absorb their emotions.


JR: It takes a lot of energy to tell this person I want him to behave this way, I want that person to behave a different way, I want only the things that I want–I’ve done that. And I’ve done that in situations where it is really easy, where I know that this person is going to give me something, I know exactly what I want, some I’m going to go in, I’m going to get what I want, and our interaction and our experience together is limited to this very specific thing. It’s fine I guess, I get what I want, but it’s hard to keep repeating that process over and over and over again. And that’s something I’m not interested in.


K: Because it takes a lot of energy.


JR: Because it takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot of time, a lot of energy.


K: So that’s why it may be easier to perform live just with Esther.


JR: Definitely. But when we do play with a band or other people–


E: –It’s also rewarding in it’s own way too. Like what I was saying before when it does work out, it’s really impactful, and we’ve met many people where it does work out really well and we’re lucky that we made the collaboration, and it takes a lot of energy but there’s also great rewards for that as well.


K: So obviously over time, people change, personalities change, and as that happens, music happens. How do you feel as a musician specifically, you have changed since before Wrekmeister Harmonies began to now?


JR: I think the changes have been pretty profound. Since we started off, it’s been more of an art-focused project into doing more sound design in museums and evolving into kind more of an experimental, noisy kind of thing and moving into heavier music from there, and then stepping up and performing with thirty different musicians to make one piece of music, and then stepping down to five people, and then stepping down again to two people. I think it’s a logical extension, if you’re going to be an artist, to continue to evolve and challenge yourself. Don’t make the same thing over and over again, continue to grow and evolve. I feel like once I start repeating myself, that’s something I really loathe. Because to me, personally, it’s not valid, it’s not a valid statement.


K: And if it’s not valid, then it’s not worth sharing.


JR: Why do it, what’s the point? To show off my technical prowess? I don’t have it [laughs] it’s not what I have, it’s not my strong suit, it’s not my technical ability.


K: Going into it from the beginning of Wrekmeister Harmonies did you ever imagine doing sound design in museums and stuff?


JR: How that came about is I just had this idea once, I was at a Dan Flavin exhibit, light sculpture, people walking through this light, and I thought ‘what would happen if I projected certain tone fields, project that into a space and have people walk through them, and record the results of how that changed?’ And people seemed to be into it, curators seemed to be into it. So I got to go around the world and do that for a while. But what was I going to do, continue to do the same thing in museums? I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to do something else.


K: From the beginning was metal always something that you kept as an influence?


JR: Yeah, definitely. That music just represents a certain type of emotional statement. Metal is one way of expressing a certain feeling. It’s very good at conveying a sense of intensity, anger, frustration, loneliness, dissociation, dislocation. All of these things are very well represented by metal. And I remember as a very small child being exposed to heavier music, like Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, stuff like that early on. So I don’t think it was ever not a part of my life.


K: Well thank you very much for letting me interview you today, I’m excited to see you perform tonight, and I’m glad that you’re putting this type of music into the world.


JR: And we’re glad that you’re glad.


K: Yay!


JR & E: Yay!

Jazz and Blues Update and BadBadNotGood Interview

Hello Jazzy and Bluesy Folks

We hope you’ve been listening to all the wonderful jazz and blues programming we’ve had so far this program schedule. In case you missed any, below is a list of the shows on the schedule offering the best of jazz and blues.

  • Every Shade of Blue with Morganic on Mondays from 8:30-10pm
  • Two Steps from the Blues on Tuesdays with Charlie from 6-9am
  • Clam Chops on Tuesdays with Rocko from 12-2pm
  • Beats, Rhymes, & Life on Tuesdays with the Tone from 11pm-1am
  • Jazzmatazz on Wednesdays with Arya from 1pm-3pm
  • Out Front, Outback on Saturdays with Larry Blood from 10am-12pm
  • Jazz Kitty on Saturdays with BlueJay from 12-2pm

Recently Arya Poorsoltan and Eric Partika attended BadBadNotGood at the Catalyst. Below is a report of the show written by Arya:

Mosh. Mosh. Mosh. That is what went down during the BADBADNOTGOOD concert at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz last week. This was the band’s first show in a while and their first time in Santa Cruz, so we made sure to give them a warm welcoming.  They played many songs off of their latest album, IV, which was released last year and has showcased their musical talent. They played hits such as, Speaking Gently, Confessions part II, and Cashmere. Their ability to keep jazz alive while incorporating elements of hip-hop, rock, and soul is something that I really appreciate.

My friends and I were quite surprised at the intensity of the mosh pits and the mere existence of them, since this was a jazz show. We thought we would be grooving to the music and just having chill vibes. However, the mosh pits were so intense that I almost fainted, if it wasn’t for my friend who came in clutch with a water bottle. The band’s energy filled throughout the venue that encompassed their youth and enthusiasm.

After the show, Eric, me, and some friends went backstage to chill the band and eat pizza with them.  Our conversations felt like any other ones that I have had before, as we talked about daily activities such as Netflix and their lives in Canada. If they weren’t famous musicians, I would think that they were UCSC students.
Anyways, if you want to know more about their musical talents, collaborations, and their lives, check out the interview conducted by Eric and I (Arya).

Now for what you all have been waiting for…..Arya Poorsoltan and Eric Partika, two of our very own DJs, got an interview with the members of BadBadNotGood. To listen follow this link

Keep on listenin’