Posts Tagged issue 23

Downtown Boys' Victoria Ruiz Bites Back

Downtown Boys' Victoria Ruiz Bites Back Illustration by Aubrey Nolan

This piece appears in AdHoc Issue 23. Download a PDF of this zine at this link.
 
Life is complicated, and so are the Downtown Boys. Like the roses that adorn the cover of their latest album, Cost of Living, their genre-exploding punk sound embraces beauty and crudeness, softness and thorniness. On stage, frontwoman Victoria Ruiz seethes about capitalist exploitation and white supremacy while speaking vulnerably about her experiences as a woman of color—sometimes all in one breath. 
 
The Providence four-piece’s thunderous new album bolsters these revolutionary messages with a new sonic clarity, one that sets blistering guitar riffage and Ruiz’s condemnations of the Trump administration front and center. Ahead of their upcoming show on November 17 at Brooklyn Bazaar, Ruiz spoke to AdHoc about the gendered and racialized labor of resistance, as well as the challenges of inhabiting a musical space that commingles English and Spanish language lyrics, punk and Mexican tejano music.
 
AdHoc: Downtown Boys is getting quite a bit of press around the new album. How has all the attention altered your approach to recording and releasing music?
 
For a lot of us, this was our first rock band like this. So after six years, we’re gonna be a little bit more refined. We wanted to break away from being typed solely as a punk band; we have always felt like we’re part of many genres, and not fully part of any genre. We also think about [creating] a sound that opens the accessibility to the music.  
 
We’ve always been influenced by Sun Ra Arkestra, a lot of Tejano music, and Mexican music—a sort of elegant chaos. And I think we seek people who are looking for that elegant chaos—and a message, and a space that you can’t quickly define [using] labels that you already know. 
 
Clearly, we’re in it because we believe in the people who believe in us and are part of a bigger community and collective power. We’re committed to proclaiming our messages of protest and crystallizing our dissent. Still, I think our growing platform has both motivated and challenged our message and what we believe in. When the message gets too set in stone, we try to transform it and find a new dimension [within] it.

 

Read More

AdHoc Issue 23 Features Downtown Boys' Victoria Ruiz and Titus Andronicus' Patrick Stickles

AdHoc Issue 23 Features Downtown Boys' Victoria Ruiz and Titus Andronicus' Patrick Stickles

AdHoc Issue 23 is here! Download a PDF of the zine at this link.

What does a piece of music say about the person who made it? In AdHoc Issue 23, we hear from artists who build their art upon a framework of personal as well as cultural experience. Victoria Ruiz of Downtown Boys discusses the uphill battle she faces as "a brown, thick, femme frontperson," especially in terms of the expectations placed upon her by audiences and journalists. Still, she notes, these pressures have "made me want to stand closer to the fire and be in this band even more, because I know that there are a lot of people in the world dealing with this experience."

Elsewhere in the issue, Titus Andronicus' Patrick Stickles writes about the importance of all-ages venues in his personal and artistic development, and electronic musician Elysia Crampton talks about how the stories and traditions of the Aymara people have helped shaped her recordings. As with Ruiz, their work is grounded in unique personal experiences, relayed with an honesty and specificity that encourages listeners to contemplate their own experiences in similar ways.

Read More

Elysia Crampton’s Music Dips Beyond The Rational

Elysia Crampton’s Music Dips Beyond The Rational Illustration by Aubrey Nolan

This piece appears in the upcoming AdHoc Issue 23.

Since her early releases as E+E, Elysia Crampton has jammed together sounds from disparate genres and geographical locations to articulate an immersive method of cultural commentary and personal storytelling. Spots y Escupitajo, her latest LP, dismisses conventional musical form, juxtaposing several 10 to 20-second audio clips that she calls “spots” with flowing, song-length tours through a world of processed electronics, sound effects, vocal signatures, and, more specific to this release, the sound of a slowly moving piano. Compared to previous albums, this one is spare, in a way that can feel elegiac; indeed, a press release for the album notes that it honors Crampton’s deceased grandparents.

In the below interview, Crampton discusses how her personal history and certain conceptual frameworks team up to undergird her music. Her statements build on a variety of sources, weaving together such notions as “becoming-with,” attributed to the theorist Donna Haraway, and the stories and traditions of her people, the Aymara, an indigenous group from the Andean region. Elysia Crampton plays with Earthly and L’Rain at The Park Church Co-op in Brooklyn on Saturday 11/4.

AdHoc: Your work bespeaks a strong political point of view. What are some challenges you’ve faced as an artist interfacing with and through the digital world, where meaning is easily distorted and taken out of context?

Elysia Crampton: I’m always treading the irrational in an attempt to uncover the project—beyond value logic, beyond linear time and progress, often having to contradict myself in order to get to where I need to go. Beyond the rational lies a dark, generative ocean that exceeds any value judgment or ethical assignment we would confer upon it, though it’s something like an ethical demand that leads me there, toward that night.

I’m always treading the irrational in an attempt to uncover the project—beyond value logic, beyond linear time and progress, often having to contradict myself in order to get to where I need to go. Beyond the rational lies a dark, generative ocean that exceeds any value judgment or ethical assignment we would confer upon it, though it's something like an ethical demand that leads me there, toward that night.

The more I live—making mistakes, being messy, tasting and touching this life where the anti-colonial is continually given (as we are irreducible to coloniality)—the more I find it unnecessary to seek clarity or wholeness, or even what one would consider an individuated standpoint. An example would be a clear-cut political view, able to fit neatly into a packet of lessons. I'm learning that those desires are, in many ways, detrimental to the project. What is the project? I'm still learning that, as it is something felt out in a kind of synesthetic anguish and ecstasy not just my own—a demand, a queer desiring for the abolition of what has been called subjection, an end to imperialism and coloniality as things that prefigure such forms of capture. It’s a desiring born from the movement of becoming-with.

Read More

The Hotelier Field Your Most Pressing Questions

The Hotelier Field Your Most Pressing Questions Illustration by Aubrey Nolan

In #adhoclifeadvice, we ask artists we love to answer questions from you, our readers. This time around, The Hotelier frontman Christian Holden opens up about pursuing a career in music, interacting with fans, and his somewhat unpredictable songwriting process. This article appears in the upcoming AdHoc issue 23. The Hotelier will perform at Brooklyn Bazaar on 11/2 with Oso Oso, Alex Napping, and Common Holly. 
 
@sinaivessel: should i do less music and more gambling
 
Christian: Deciding to do music full time may be enough of a gamble for anybody.
 
@emmathesadgirl: what are your thoughts re: fans sharing stories of how your music has helped them? does it ever get emotionally exhausting for you?
 
Good question. It’s an interesting dynamic. Yes, it can be emotionally exhausting. It can be frustrating for me to not be on the same level emotionally as the person I am talking to. Also, it can be confusing for people to be casual in that conversation. Like, some will act as if we are friends. But I appreciate the moments when I get to let someone be seen for how far they may have come by someone who had a small hand in helping them do that. 
 
@sconeappthebeef: What motivates you the most when it comes to writing & how do you go about writing your music?
 
Motivation and I have a complex relationship. Mostly, the way I go about writing music is locking myself in my house and not coming out until I’ve made something. My ~process~ feels pretty outside my ability to really nail down. There are a couple different people that I am when I write a song. One has a wild imagination, one is a bratty music snob, and one feels like a procrastinating high school student.
 
Feel like you need #adhoclifeadvice? Keep an eye on @adhocfm on Twitter, where we’ll announce the next round of questions.