Art Festivals Interview

Summer Camp Music Festival – Double Visions

Summer Camp Music Festival never seizes to pass without shredding light onto my state of mind. Throughout my years of attending this festival it has yet to forget to teach me a lesson of acceptance whilst allowing myself to live within the moment. There are voices in these forests whom can show you the magic of life. The sacred geometry of how we move with nature and how nature weaves subtly within the symmetry of fractals. The music chosen for this festival is all calculated to ignite a feeling of blissfulness. Wisdom passed on through sound vibrations like piezoelectric quartz crystals humming from our crown chakras down through the sacrum. It goes unstated; but Summer Camp Music Festival has inevitably moved towards the alignment of chakras, the true feelings of self-acceptance and the belonging of community.
Each year the festival loads in some of the most talented musicians of our day. The one thing I have always respected is the diversity of music. They have jam bands such as Umphrey’s, Moe, and Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band. As well as DJs like Diplo, Mija, Liquid Stranger. They also offer intimate stages allowing singer and songwriters to express themselves.

We arrived Friday and began our journey at Lettuce. The music immediately elevated our moods and I could tell the band was more than grateful to be performing. Their sound was chill funk which integrated soulful funk vocals. The band originated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1992. Its members consist of guitarists Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, Nigel Hall (keyboards, Hammond B-3 organ, piano, vocals), Adam Deitch (drums/percussion), Erick “Jesus” Coomes (bass), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) and trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom In the fall of 1994, the band reconvened as undergrads at Berklee and attempted to play at various Boston jazz clubs, walking in and asking the club owners and other musicians if they would “let us play”, giving birth to the name Lettuce. The members are very down to earth and do not overdress for the effect of flashiness instead they are humble and easily relatable. Their sound is reminiscent of summer days cooling out with friends and drinking beers with the boys. The crowd was light hearted and easy to move around and snap pictures of.

Coomes announced from stage there was a double rainbow. I don’t understand how we were so oblivious because as we turned around we realized how gigantic it was. The rainbow(s) stretched the entire sky framing us under like some sort of 1950’s cartoon. Festival goers were ecstatic to get their photo with such a perfect rainbow. It was such an exciting start to our weekend. a picturesque scene which I have never come across in the city before.

We unexpectedly ran into the man who made this all possible; Jay Goldberg. Amazingly we locked eyes after he spotted our hat which read Chicago Music Festivals. Jerry and I approached him. He wasn’t too far off from what I imagined; though I do have to say he was a lot more approachable than what I thought. I was finally able to put a personality to this imaginary person I have been building. He gladly conversed with us and we congratulated him on another successful year. He said he has been doing the festival for 18 years. I asked him what his thoughts were on how music has evolved from what he grew up with as a child to what is now primarily electronic music. He replied without hesitance saying how he is amazed that musicians continue to make amazing music to this day and continue to create timeless songs. I was very inspired by his answer and pondered over it the whole weekend. His acceptance for change and youth was admirable. He never stopped smiling and could almost see a glow coming from him. It was obvious he loved being part of this creation and felt very blessed to be able have this part of his life.
Later that night we headed towards the Pyramid stage. It was created out of white hexagon shaped wood allowing for projection mapping to cast. GoodSex was on representing some Chicago talent. We sat under the shelter of trees. We stared out into the moon so closely to phase into full moon. The highlights of the grass and the sky began to transform shapes as my eyes fixated onto the sacred geometry. The flower of life was so clearly seen that I couldn’t believe it was so obvious why I couldn’t see it before. At that moment I realized how perfectly symmetrically aligned was, seemed like the random order of our world is. I closed my eyes and saw fractals begin to dance whilst being embraced by its care. I was shown emotion in the past but felt cleared. I was living my life through my heart and allowing myself.

Saturday morning, we woke up in the humidity of our tent. This year we were lucky enough to get into the forest through I have to say it might have been the hottest year I have ever been here.
Papadosio encompassed the feeling of festival music and so called “space rock.” Beach balls and balloons floated I. The air while totem poles with memo stuffed animals swam through the air. Everything floated and flowed softly like feathers. A robotic voice sang “changes everything” calming the thoughts of their fans allowing them to transcend into the next chapters of their lives knowing that change is alright, and everything changes with time. It was the graceful aging and the decisions of our lives knowing what in our hearts in good for us and liberating ourselves from the paths of what our parents may have projected onto us. Deafening our ears to judgement and to be guided now with our hearts. They were the voice of a strange lullaby easing us into our most vibrant dreams.

LWKY had their first taste of Summer Camp life this year performing at the pyramid stage. The stage was beautifully lit in projection mapping. Their sound was fused with Chicago hip hop and funk whilst including live guitar. They announced their last song while the crowd pleaded to continue. They have a fresh twist on the funk scene creating a path of their own and highly influenced by the Chicago underground electronic scene as well.
We decided to pick up the speed later and headed towards the vibe tent. The vibe tent housed many exciting electronic acts with high energy drawing in large crowds with young fashion combats boots and fishnet stocking. Hula hoopers cut the air like ninjas swords finding their flow amongst the raw alien engine whomps and rapid high hats. The scene was a rush of adrenaline and headbanger banging on the rails. Subs engulfed our heart cavities and shook us like earthquakes. The crowd screams with the waves of the music like junkies addicted to its rush. Each time we arrived here there was a swell of fans who
On Sunday we caught an act that we highly anticipated all weekend. Tycho’s music was a calm night on the beach. Where the breeze was light, and the sun was just about to set. They were the colors pink and orange in the skies that reflected of soft waves of the ocean. They calmed our minds and courageously played the music that was detached from ego. His music is a combination of down tempo vintage-style synthesizers and ambient melodies. His sound is very organic, often incorporating clips of the human element into his songs (e.g. weather broadcasts, simple talking, or breathing). His music captures the sound of lo-fi analog media while remaining both progressive and futuristic in composition and style. Themes of nostalgia, longing, childhood and the natural world are interspersed throughout Tycho’s work.

Diplo took the main stage on Sunday. I made my way through the crowd and finding myself front and center. The transitions were smooth infiltrating our ears and converting into high energy dance movements. People all around us and you felt a part of something. Felt like we were all one in and allowing our walls and comfort bubbles to implode. Bringing ourselves close to strangers whom after the intimacy of closely packed dance we became lifelong friends. A moment that now became flashes of memory in the back of my head smiles of strangers exuberant with dance and cheers.

It is nearly impossible to explain the magnitude of musical talent which played Summer Camp Music Festival. Each stage possessed its own vibe from the intimate singer songwriters to purely electronic stage of the vibe tent to main stage housing large acts and full bands like Umphrey’s. I have always been impressed with the variety this festival has and the generations that can enjoy the fest. This festival is great to find new music because the variety of scenes is unparalleled. The highly thought out ground plans makes for smooth transitions from stage to stage. And the characterization keeps the festival lay out is easy to remember and easy for transportation. People aren’t hassled once in the festival and this I learned was deliberately made true from the owner who has witnessed many other festivals hassling their guests upon entering each stage. I appreciated his thoughtfulness to keep the festival environment more enjoyable. The music combined with the charities and other activities create a sense of community amongst scampers. All in all, Summer Camp Music Festival has earned their stripes and will continue to be sought out amongst artists and music lovers of all generations.

Interview Music

Advice from Artists: Purple Tokyo

Being an artist isn’t always as easy as people think. It’s not all colors and tambourines. It comes with many challenges and sometimes unforeseen obstacles. An artist must be fearless and willing to attack these challenges. When it comes to music there is quite a long road to climb up.
When Staring a new musical project it is imperative that you isolate your specific sound and am image that represents what your sonically producing. Finding your voice, so to speak, and what makes it unique. Like in all industries there are steps on this road to having the world hear and recognize your music.
We have started a new series here at CMF to talk with up and coming artists and what they are doing to carve their way in the music world. Then coupling their thoughts with Artist that have made their mark and are working in the industry now.
This article will start with two part series that will first feature a local Chicago group named Purple Tokyo, then will be followed up by an interview with the one and only SAVOY.
Recently we found Purple Tokyo when turned on to their Instagram by a dear friend. We were pretty impressed by their marketing technique and thought to it would be awesome for them to talk a little bit about how they are pushing their project.
CMF: Who is Purple Tokyo?
PT: Purple Tokyo is an exploration of the mind’s mysterious places that are somewhat dangerous and dark while maintaining a sense of fun, feel-good excitement.
CMF: When you started this project what was the theme or goal you had in mind?
PT: Initially, it was an outlet from a previous project. I felt I had gotten away from my roots, and I just wanted to feel a bit more in control. I wanted to be me again. At first it was just DJ-ing stuff that I liked for fun, but in the back of my mind I always wanted to play drums for our live shows, focus on original production, and create a signature sound in both Spanish and English. Specifically a sound that would cross-over genres and emotions.
CMF: Was it a collaborative concept?
PT: Purple Tokyo was a collaboration from the start. As my brother and I started to finalize the music, it quickly grew and became more of an art project. I wanted to create an experience alongside the music and began to form a larger team behind Purple Tokyo—a team of designers, illustrators, photographers, videographers, developers, and other musicians.
CMF: You’ve created a unique form of marketing your artistry. Could you please talk a little bit about that?
PT: I have always admired bands/groups who have a very defined image. Nowadays, it is as important as the music. I wanted Purple Tokyo to be well branded. I began to explore the idea of creating a symbol for the name instead of just some cool font for the name. It began to be developed further with each release.
CMF:How did you develop a concept?
PT; The concept all came together from our instrumental debut, “Deities”. We wanted an image to accompany each song, releasing one song a week over Instagram. However we thought it would be overkill to create new album art for each release. That’s where the idea sparked to break up the original album art into 15 sections, one for each release, to form the big picture. We continued to collaborate with other musicians to make these instrumental versions into actual, finished singles. After shooting a video for the first single, it just clicked. Why not use the initial sections we posted of each instrumental to tag a new profile? That way our followers could go and preview the video as well as the music.
CMF: Why did you feel that this was the best way to begin the group’s promotion?
PT: People are already glued to their phones. Everyday apps, such as Instagram, allow our followers to easily preview our upcoming releases. We innovatively utilize the tag-function to enable further exploration of our visual art and videos for each single.

CMF: You’re opening for Savoy next week. How was your group given this opportunity?
PT: I have been working my ass off to make this project come to life. Deciding that I needed to go full throttle, I quit my full-time architecture job. It became about taking every opportunity to become further involved in the local scene, whether it was selling merch, managing hospitality, booking local acts, taking event photos, producing, or handling the settlement with venues/artists at the end of shows. This gave me a full industry perspective that I could put in use when on the other, fun-side of things.
CMF: There are a lot of artists out there that are looking to get a gig such as yourself. What advice can you give to artists that are looking to do the same?
PT: First and foremost, be yourself; make music because you love it not because it is what’s “cool”. Second, create your own sound. Be authentic, innovative, and wear as many hats as you can fit. If it doesn’t fit, then find a way to make it work. Be in it for the long run, and do your homework. It is all about how bad you want it.
CMF: If you were to ask any of your biggest musical inspirations what they did to hone in their sound what would you ask them? And who would that be?
PT: It would have to be Pink Floyd. I consider them to be pioneers when it comes to having a timeless sound and image. I want to know what they struggled with before finding their signature sound, and what they would consider their perfect-imperfections within their music.
CMF: How do you plan on moving forward after this show?
PT: Purple Tokyo is in its infancy. This show is a great opportunity and stepping-stone; we are really looking forward to the response from this live show, and hope to connect with new people and grow in our fan base. Moving forward, we want to portray both a consistent image and a flexible sound to our fans. We will continue to have a new release every month until the end of the year. It is very exciting to expand on the first phase of this project and see our Instagram world collide with our live show.
In celebration of our new article series (which we will be following up with Part 2 in an interview with Savoy this weekend) and the upcoming show for Purple Tokyo and Savoy (presented by Silver Wrapper and React Presents) we are doing a surprise giveaway for two tickets for you and a guest to attend the show. In order to claim it you must Follow Savoy, Purple Tokyo, and CMF and repost the featured image with its hashtag on either Facebook or Instagram. Chances double if you post on both. So, for those over achievers here is where you can really make it happen.

Festivals Interview

Summer Set Music & Camping Festival – Music + Camping = Life

Summer Set Music & Camping Festivals 2016 line up was screaming with the most well known electronic and musical acts to date. The festival was held at Somerset, Wisconsin and celebrated its fifth year anniversary with acts which included; Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Gramatik, Flux Pavillion, Marshmello, Nghtmre, Infected Mushrooms, STS9, Chance the Rapper and a slew of others including an EPIC filthy Jauz after party!
This year we had the privilege of staying in the RV camping site which was a whole new perspective for attending a festival. I personally had yet to experience this side of festival life but If you have ever been camping; then you too share my deep appreciation for air-conditioning. There are several obvious perks when staying in the RV camping site if your budget permits. Perks like, how much I didn’t miss waking up under the blaze of an afternoon sun dripping in a mixture of my own sweat and the toxins melting through my pores from the night before. Secondly, the public showers were spacious and warm without a line hurrying you. Close by were a more hygienic choice of public restrooms equipped with toilet paper! And of course last but not least, electricity was a definite plus. It is definitely nice to have a constant line of communication with your fellow festie goers. This made it easier to explore the festival without any worry because everyone knows how easy it is to loose friends in the crowds at some of the most dire times.
Although, there are those small luxuries of life to be grateful for within the RV camping; I have to be honest when stating there were just some aspects of the RV site that didn’t compare to roughing it. Within tent camping there was somewhat more of an adventurous aspect; something undeniably went void along with the interesting characters and stories which resided within the fabric of those polyester walls. More that half the times these neighbors which were once strangers end up being your new best friends! In all honesty that didn’t happen to us this year; mainly because we were more secluded. This is neither good nor bad. I guess a plus was we got to spend more time with the friends we came there with. In contrast the home status of your tent created an undying bond within the proximity of close neighbors. The raw in the moment incidents in which strangers find conversation were harder to come by because it was easier to hide away behind closed doors. The excitement of the night or the intimacy of the morning with your eyes half open were more exclusive within the RV side. This could be good or could take out that element of surprise to others.
There were four stages this year including; The Grove, The Saloon, The Big Top, and of course the Main Stage. The park was laid out with the Main Stage held on concrete surrounded by multiple food vendors and classic carnival attractions. When making your way to The Big Top you don’t have to feel bad about missing leg day at the gym because believe me; they got you covered!
Around each corner there was some new twist of an artistic touch that stuck out. An artist’s take on a seductive Cherokee woman with hair dancing in the wind laid her eyes on you as you passed into the trails of the park. Amazingly, the artists stood outside painting murals allowing an audience to continue checking in on their progress throughout the weekend.There were also romantic garden scapes with benches along the side that really brought in a feminine aura.The Main Stage had these cartoon-esque metal trees which held Chinese nylon lanterns that really brought up the mood of the park creating a bubbly virtual reality feel.
Festival Art
One very memorable piece of art was found at the grove. While we sat waiting for Grimes to make the stage; we listened to opera play in the background as we observed a particularly interesting piece of art. Standing at least 20 feet tall; devilish tree branches snarled fire into the skies. This was an interactive piece in which several participants could choose to pull cords in order to spark a fire; only to realize that if they all pulled at the exact same time the fires would combine into an overwhelming magnitude out of its mechanical branches.
Music was well noted and not only were there electronic acts but some live acts made their way in as well. DJ headliners were all about the filth this year with dirty bass lines. While the tents seem to have laid down more deep house acts. There were notable vocalists and rappers including Eryn Allen Kane.
I was really excited to see Skrillex make it out. He left out his lighter mixes and instead had dirty hip-hop matched with progressive dance beats and filthy bass lines. He was colored in red with an eerily creepy skeleton graphic dancing around in a contorted torso and was amputated from before the pelvis bone down. It was obvious that many people came solely to see Skrillex and the crowd went hard to show their undying support.
Marshmello played a day set which was evenly set up for a very diverse crowd. I found he chose to mix softer songs in the beginning of his set and got progressively harder and filthier at the end.
Infected Mushrooms had an underground feel mixed with heavy metal guitarist who’s crunch was amplified throughout The Big Top tent. Their stage design was accompanied by an otherworldly mushroom with octopus legs outstretching from each side. It was quite the image to have in mind whilst listening to this unique mesh of hard rock solos meets dance beats.
It was great seeing Alison Wonderland come out as well this year. I was also really interested in hearing her get the crowd hyped and exclaiming before dropping her infamous dub hit that it was written about anxiety. It was so nice to hear her reach out to her fans and show how we all can relate to the obstacles life can hand us.
Alison Wonderland
It was great seeing Chance the Rapper chooses to travel with his band. I could tell within some of his new work that gospel has had a major influence in his roots. Of course as he took the stage his distinct voice rushed in a crowd.
Chance The Rapper
Autograf was very attuned to their sound. The group seemed to have an ability to cast a sheer feel of blissfulness over its listeners and elevate their fans. I don’t believe anyone could even touch the path they chose to take in electronic music.
STS9 also made a great appearance holding it down for electronic jam bands. We got the privilege of interviewing these kind-hearted musicians about their new album release entitled “The Universe Inside” coming out September 2nd. It was interesting hearing their perspective on the album and why they chose to entitle the album in such a deeply inspiring way.

There were too many acts to name that amazed me this year and not to mention the clothes vendors which inspired the splurge of shopping that over took me. The harder DJs acts really got the crowd down and of course there were great vibes around. A first time festie goer even mentioned how a random girl came up and hugged her and told her “I hope you have a great time at the festival.” I realized that yeah, this is how festivals are! You can meet people and have these special interactions with others in a way that our “normal” lives may not have. It seemed to be a great fifth anniversary for Summer Set Music & Camping Festival and can’t wait to make it out there next year.
Check out our photo album from Summer Set Music & Camping Festival here.


Interview with STS9

STS9 live performance at Summer Set Music & Camping Festival was one set you did not want to miss! We got the privilege of interviewing Alana Rocklin and Hunter Brown about their new album release entitled “The Universe Inside” coming out September 2nd. It was interesting hearing their perspective on the album and why they chose to entitle the album in such a deeply inspiring way.


Events Festivals Interview Music Music News

#Back to the Beach#

Mamby is BACK! Now hear this, Get on it! React has secured the best line up so far of the summer. Banger after banger. I will tell you this if you aren’t going you are missing the best party and after party series of what will be here in Chicago this year. Some fests may be bigger and have more days, but to jam such great acts on the beach with the best local support is going to he hard to beat. Let’s take a quick look; shall we?
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There’s not much that needs to be said about the headliners other than the fact that they’re here in Chicago and you need to see them. The talent there already speaks for itself. But what can we expect from the festival and the grounds? Bam Creates is a part of the artistic team that will be blowing this beach up. Fresh off of winning the best one off party of the year at the Chicago Nightlife Awards for their Industry Sleepover, BAM is creating tons of eye candy as a backdrop for the beautiful people in bikinis and bathing suits. Joe Quade (who heads this outfit) designed for Mamby before so if you were there last year, you know it’s going to be good.
Now if you’re like myself and love to play in the nightlife scene, then the names Gene Farris and Garrett Inphinity will be of no surprise. These Chicago killers of spin are hitting up the second stage with massive selections that I have gotten the privilege to sample. I know all of my house heads will be present, but for those of you for Who haven’t had the chance make a point to, do so.
I have sat with Inphinity on a number of occasion but did so just recently for Mamby. I was curious to know about some of the things that placed him on the line up. Here were his thoughts:
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CMF: You have been jamming in the scene for sometime now what drives you to continue?
INPHINITY: It’s been a trip being able to be a full-time DJ and producer. Loving what you for a living is all I need to continue. Having some of the best friends and supporters believing in what you do makes it a bit easier.
CMF: What’s your process like when producing a new tune?
INPHINITY: Usually, it’s the drums and groove first. Then I’ll start working on the bassline. When those two elements are sounding right, the rest will fall into place rather quickly.
CMF: How do you know that a track will get an audience going while you are creating a track?
INPHINITY: That comes from years of experience in DJing nightclubs. I see what works on the dance floor night after night.
CMF:What’s most inspiring to you in your work?
INPHINITY :Making music that people will listen to or dance to for
years instead of weeks. Quality over quantity. It makes the creation process harder, but the end results most satisfying.
As of right now the forecast looks good, but I’ll tell you this with the lineup as it is there is absolutely no way come rain or shine you should miss this show, because come rain or shine this show is happening. If you work, call in sick! It’s someone’s birthday? Forget the dinner party buy her a ticket! Understand, I’m not advocating everyone to shirk your responsibilities…but shirk them! Shirk them NOW! And if for some reason you just can’t make it (we’re not going to excuse you for that) there are plenty of after parties that will definitely be worth your time.
Here Is the list of after parties going on in the city.
Link to after party tickets
Most of them are sold out but if you hang outside I’m sure someone will have a ticket that they are looking to get rid of.
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React is definitely on fire this year having just finished Spring Awakening with some killer headliners, over taking a lot of the booking at Schuba’s, and mixing up the type of talent that they’re bringing into their wheelhouse. However, if my instinct is right they are going to out do themselves next weekend. All the signs are pointing up and up and the anticipation here is way above anything that has been circulating around the other upcoming fests or parties.
I am most excited to see the pairing of Marcus Marr, who is spinning on the second stage, and Chet Faker. Their collaborative EP just released five months ago is an amazing pairing of rock and electronic sounds mixed with Chet’s smooth soulful voice. I have had this on repeat for the past month and it still hasn’t gotten old. Here take a listen for what’s in store.
Marus Marr
Chet Faker
Now listen, I am gonna step up on the proverbial soap box for a second. I know a lot of you are going to be out there drinking and turning up which means things are going to drop, people are going to lose items and garbage is going to collect. After this past Memorial Day, North Avenue Beach was completely destroyed and the cleanup was horrific. This is our city people. These beaches are home to all of us. Can we please put on our big kid pants and keep it clean? What’s the point of having it on the beach if we can’t come back to it? Let’s just make an unspoken pact to take the 10 extra steps to put the cans and bottles in the right receptacle. It’s better that it collects around the trashcan than spread out over the entire beach. Nobody wins after that kind of aftermath. Personally I advocate leaving no trace but I can’t expect everybody to follow suit. So please take your trash with you and find the right receptacle. #Stepping down#.
Going green, Mamby will be providing free shuttle transportation between the Cermack Redline station and the McCormick Place Greenline station each day between 12pm to 11pm. This should help with parking and keeping festival goers safe. Everybody be safe.
Last but not least, It shouldn’t have to be said but it’s better to be reminded, HYDRATE. There will be filling stations throughout the grounds so bring a camel back, canteen, goat skin, whatever, just keep hydrated and make sure your friends do too.
This year at Mamby on the Beach we’re gonna blow it out of the water!!!

Festivals Interview Music Music News Video

Interview with The Joy of Being Formidable

Indy rockers from the UK The Joy Formidable made one of a hand full of appearances this year during Halloween Party at Voodoo Fest 2015 in NOLA. We got a chance to hang out with them for a few moments. Cheeky Baaaastards! is all I can say. Real cool cats. Here Check it out. (Spoiler Alert: There is a new album coming out come January.)

Events Festivals Interview Media Music Video

ATTENTION: This is a FEST, this is only a FEST

Riot Fest 2015
Chicago, IL
Sept 11th- 13th
Riot Fest 2015, this summer, stood as an homage to that sacred fight against the “Establishment” over the past 50 years. There were key faces, reunions, and debuts much like they have had in years prior, but something this time was different. Now, it very well could be the change in overall scenery since the venue moved, although, the 12th and 24th ward held its own. Somehow it just felt like something was missing. Even with a more accessible and simple lay out of Douglas Park, celebrated by the crowd over all, the tragically scenic bottle neck passages between stages in Humbolt were missed. There was something else though; something almost a bit more elusive. It felt like passion wasn’t fully there. Not from the festival itself, per say, or the organizers really, they dealt with quite a bit to keep it in the city, but more so from the city itself. As a whole the masses felt somewhat benign, due to what I wonder, in a way that contradicted the theme of the whole event to “Riot!”
Now ironically this is the type of crowd that would bring their kids to a carnival while System of a Down was raging in the background on a Saturday night. (I mean I know I would. Start ‘em young). But, children sometimes don’t always know how to play nice with others, as was the case with Steve Sneider during that set. “At least he’s still breathing.” I mean it’s a rock show, but really they were only ones that I could see getting anyone pumped. System carried what looked like to me as one of if not the largest crowds of the entire festival. To get across field took over 20 min when earlier in the day it took 3. That’s cool. That’s how it’s supposed to be. But, what with the rest of the fest? I mean the line up was sick. The acts are all world class, having left their mark on music history for decades beyond their inception. How is it that the city just seemed so distant?
Let’s look at the positives No Doubt was a treat giving us the sound and style we all anticipated. Tenacious D was for sure entertaining. Rancid killed it though you could just barely tell from the crowd (This one kind of threw me off)…

Flogging Molly

Flogging had a fun little mosh pit circulating but rocking just like I remember in high school.
Alkaline was definitely making moves.
Coheed and Cambria

Coheed and Cambria destroyed the stage, looking like a real life version of “Blanka” from Street Fighter. (His sounds revitalized the reasons why I am a fan.) Rodrigo y Gabriella took a minute to get off the ground, but as soon as they hit their Megadeath cover it felt right on track.
Billy Idol

Alexisonfire, Ice Cube, Damian Marley, Billy “fucking” Idol, I could rattle them all off, but you get it. This is why we go. We dance, we thrash, we cheer, drink beer and all the while we bond with the people around us, kind of. See this is not a festival like all of its other psychedelic peers. Oh there were party favors; let’s be real, it’s a festival. But, not the type you see more and more of now a day. No, this is the Whiskey slamm’n, joint flick’n, beer mongers that we all know and love. Just this time it felt like they were ready to call it a night by the time the cops shut down Snoops set. And, when I say shut down I mean on the DOT.
Snoop Dog

Your choice of food was either fried, fried, or triple fried anything. Not complaining when you’re drunk, but the badass food trucks were left tucked away by the Riot Speaks stage. Now, RIOT SPEAKS, this was cool. Getting some insight to the inner working of what’s going on around you is not something you get anywhere else. So, hell yeah to that! After getting some knowledge laid down, you could find a donation run Arcade just around the corner. That’s right they had Rampage! Winning! Then to top it off you got a sideshow circus. Legit freaky deaks! Um, Awesome! So, what’s the deal then? Why wasn’t the crowd beside themselves with child like glee from the sick and twisted carnival that they all came to see?
Well, if you paid for any of the levels of VIP then you may have had a reason since it was pretty lack luster for the price. You still had to by drinks and wait in long lines for food. But, you got a nice limited seating Lounge area to mellow or watch the bands from a live stream. (If that’s your thing) The top level Super VIP felt like something that I experienced at a North side Bar mitzvah. Easily expensive, so don’t get me wrong, but cookie cutter. It almost felt like a statement was being made about the price I could have paid. Sorry, Sean and Mike, gotta be real here. If you are gonna put massage chairs, lounges and short cut access out there for what you are clearing after over head, you gotta give some more love to the creative lay out of it. Press was ultimately not allowed in the VIP, so, technically I wasn’t supposed to me there but just goes to show you where you can find yourself when making new friends. Thanks Frank. Upon entering the forbidden zone with our newfound friends I realized very quickly, how luck we got, and that in order to maneuver the grounds freely you needed a combination of bracelets. Sixteen if remember correctly. Credentials for days! Every area was ruled by another bracelet. But, only “One to Rule them all!” Our locally hired crew from S3 controlled the flow of the population and made a valiant attempt to hold the lines but people were still jumping fences. Can’t shut a poor rocker down! They plugged that hole quick though, so, hats off.
One of these things is not like the other

If you were lucky to get back stage or even on the stage during the sets you had to have super special bracelets to make the cut, other wise you weren’t going up there and that’s that. Even the photographers were not allowed to have their allotted 15 min under the artist in the pit during the Headliner sets. No, those spots were then reserved for the uber special bracelets. I couldn’t understand this move, really; I chuckled to see iPhones instead of Pro-cams taking shots of the headliners so I thought it was slightly ridiculous, but who am I to judge? I didn’t have to pay $180,000 to prep and repair a city park, after getting kicked out of my home, and negotiating with a hospital board to let me move in next-door with ten’s of thousands of my friends. I have no clue what it takes to run a multi-million dollar machine. But, it was fun and I had a good time. One better be enjoying themselves at a fest, other wise go home!
All in all it was well done even though it was a quiet Riot compared to years past, but it held it’s own in its new home and I got to interviewed Gwar! Heck yeah!
Check out the entire photo album from Riot Fest 2015 here!

Interview Music

Too Hot to be Cool?

Over the course of Chicago music’s history we have seen the rise and fall of several great clubs and venues. Some have risen high and quickly but at the end fell due to the changing times and economic down turns. Others have shown the staying power over the years. The truth of the matter is no one can tell what will stay or really anticipate why it goes. We’ve lost some legendary places just recently: Neo, Excalibur (kind of), The Congress, Crobar. But, with venues such as Metro, Aragon, Cubbie Bear, Legends, Green Mill, Schubas, The Abby, Concord we stay loyal because we know that at some point the music we love will find itself there and us with it.
Well, boys and girls there’s a new joint in town that has the potential to make itself one of our new music mayhem stations and join the others in campaign to bring solid sounds to local clubs. It’s a little bit of motor city lined with a touch of LA and topped with a Chicago Pizza. HVAC (Heating and Cooling) deep in the heart of Wrigleyville, just doors away from the Cubbie Bear where last year David Grohl brought the Foo Fighters on the Sonic Highways Tour, has now, since they have been open, a few boasted chart appearing artists. Artists like Ryan Cabrera, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, The Three Kings (Jason Aldine’s band) with School of Rock and slew of local talent. We were fortunate enough to catch BIG DATA pull a DJ set last month on July 3rd, and sat with him after for a few moments.
BIG DATA played to a half packed room until people on the street caught wind of who was spinning. By the end of a well-curated mix set HVAC was rocking out with people to the walls. Alan Wilkis gave the low down on his start in the music industry, coming out of Harvard with an English degree, his collaborations all the way to his rise to “Dangerous” heights on the charts.
I asked him pretty bluntly,” So… Harvard… What was that like?”
“A lot of studying…”
“Fair. So, how did the degree play into this project or did you just turn from it all together?”
Wilkis revealed, “Well, I graduated with a major in English language, so, it has some influence. Maybe not as much as I like but I am doing alright.” (under statement) I started to ask a bit more on what it’s like to transition to topping charts so quickly?
“It’s been kinda wild.” Wilkis mentioned, “There has been a lot of change and collaborations.”
extralarge (1)
Wilkis seemed pretty excited about the night commenting on the set at HVAC, “This venue’s cool. The crowd was pretty responsive. Really dig the art here (referring to the famous photographer Paul Natkin and the overall motorcycle chic). This was a nice stop to come to Chicago. I’m really happy Damon called me up and asked me to play.”
“Wait what? Called you up? Like come hang out and chill?” I said. “
“That’s right.”

Damon Ranger(Left) seen here interviewing Perry Farrell (Right)

Damon Ranger, Oscar/Grammy/Emmy artist, called him up, as friends usually do, and said “Hey come play at my new club.” So, it seems that Damon, a Chicago born resident, is the curator and part owner of this new take on Rock Club Pizza Joints. And his way of getting his friends to come play is by calling them up and having them over for beer and pizza. What a Concept! No brainer right? Well, with the company that Damon keeps, and it goes deep into the music world, I wondered what he had in mind when opening up HVAC. Damon stated, “I wanted to make a Chicago type of Viper Room.” I mean when you make a business of winning Grammys for collaborating with artists like Kanye West and taking stages at Riot and Lollapolooza what could you possibly anticipate? It seems Meat Puppets are set to play this week Saturday, August 29th directly after the Foo Fighters at Wrigley Field for an after Party. Catch my drift. This place has the legs and the backing to become a destination spot for greater music makers in a more organic way of drawing them to play Chicago. Not a lot of places like that here any more. Buddy Guy’s Legends is probably the only other one I can think of that has the same type of feel and way about it. Carmen Rossi and Adolfo Garcia restaurateur owners of a few other prominent clubs in Chicago like Pearl Tavern and Hubbard Inn, having been friends with Damon from years ago decided to all get together and bring their passions with them.
From the inception of this club HVAC has surrounded itself with strong talented friends, committed to bringing in big acts and support local music with talented high quality artist. Even though they are in their proving stages it seems like a recipe for success. Go check out the Meat Puppets if you can. But, even if you miss it make sure to stop through you never know who will show up.
The Meat Puppets 6x4


Baby In Vain, Kills: The Lolla After show

August 2, 2015

Metro Chicago

Lollapalooza After Show

Feature with Baby In Vain by Mark Umstattd

To may times do we hear an artist on the radio and are left wondering “what is that sound?” or even watching a video saying “what the hell is going on?” that we are left a little bit confused. The celebrity and the artist become blurred lines that almost prevent us from being able to access the truth of who these people truly are underneath the public presentation. Was she really born that way? Is he bad to the bone? Did she in fact build that ship to wreck?

Now, there are moments of great revelation and moments of great disappointment when it comes to exploring new sound that sometimes even go hand in hand when beginning a new relationship with an artist that our ears just haven’t been prepared for…yet. We hem, we haw, we listen and twist in our chairs searching for that hook or riff which will lead us down the sonic rabbit hole to the heart of the music and, ultimately, the artist themselves.


Baby In Vain is an ambitious project, 5 years in the making, created by one of the Hottest trios to come out of Copenhagen. (That’s Denmark for the geographically disinclined.) Now music is taking a largely digital turn these days, which I don’t think anyone but the purists are really complaining about. But Baby In Vain is bringing something out of the cold northern lands that almost takes up where Joan Jett would have continued her sound were she born the  industrial Nancy boy beating younger sisters of Jack White. THESE CHICKS ARE HARD. Not to say that they have fully come into their evolution as musicians as they are still in the studio for their debut album, but they are currently on their second US tour with the Kills, so they are obviously doing something right.


I really didn’t know what to expect from these youngins’ (all under the age of 21) after watching their music video “Muscles”  as the images were so wild and disjointed that it left me slightly uncomfortable,  not knowing how to absorb the music and its visual presentation in combined force. But, the ambition and the confusion worked well enough to peak my interest  into holding an interview.

Hours before the official after show, Lolla hadn’t let out yet, I walked into the green room where the girls were getting ready for that nights performance. Lola (vox and lead guitar), the younger of the tribe at 19yrs. having just graduated high school, was restringing her guitar, while Andrea (rhythm guitar), BIV’s big sister, and Benedicte, drumming jokester, were chillin collecting themselves. The Kills were on the stage at the time for sound check. We talked about their album (release undetermined at this point) of which is being done completely independent. “We are not with a label,” Andrea stated. Meaning their efforts and schedules are done by their booking agent. So, how did they get linked up with the Kills? “Our agent called theirs and they chose us to for support, we knew we were coming threw again, so, supposed it just made sense.”

Heck yeah it made sense! The sound was a perfect appetizer for the main course. When these girls took the stage it was obvious that they were so comfortable and adept at being present and playing. So much so that when they started to make noise the unhinging squeal of the amplifiers primed you up for the explosion. “We like to be loud. Its easier for us in venues this size,” I remember them saying. Repeating bass chords and hook drawn guitar riffs mixed with a grungier blues/punk sound all walked up and down like an angry pirate strolling the ships deck. Their power and electricity was pretty undeniable as they everything but through themselves into their instruments. They were good. Real good. Better than I had hoped for, pumping out power and youthful feminine energy like it was hard candy. When I congratulated them they had just finished breaking down. “It was a good crowd. The Chicago crowd really responded,”said BIV’s drummer.
“Yes they did Benedicte, yes they did”

Festivals Interview

TenTrees Tribe Jewelry

Follow your dreams full heartedly, don’t hold back, be your authentic self and the rest will follow and flow naturally,” Ten’s advice to other young entrepreneurs.
Two gypsy souls brought together by their passion to create. Their nomadic collection is handcrafted and one of a kind. Their pieces are elegantly made for the rough and the rigid… For the night-dwellers, and the day-trippers. For the fierce and the fancy. For the starry-eyed vagabonds dancing through life, painting the world with their spirit.
Tenisha and Tree carefully craft their jewelry using materials like leather, metals and precious stones. Inspired by the beauty of nature, they travel across the globe to soak up Mother Earth’s magic. TenTrees Tribe is a collaboration of handmade elegant, bold, and beautiful creations– A shared vision of raw stones, layered chains, and unique designs with intentions of awakening both the wild feminine and masculine within. In their line some of the most coveted pieces are the body chains, druzy rings, statement septum rings, and quartz crystal necklaces. They also do custom pieces by request.
Check out their website:
TenTrees Tribe     TenTrees Tribe     TenTrees Tribe     TenTrees Tribe     TenTrees Tribe 
We got to [virtually] meet the two rad babes behind the incredible TenTrees Tribe and learn about what it takes to be a young entrepreneur in today’s competitive environment. Check out how they got started, how they run their business, and what fuels their fire…
Q & A with the TenTreesTribe Babes
How did you girls start your business?
We’re actually cousins, and in the summer of 2010 we started going to a bunch of festivals like Coachella, Lightning in a Bottle, Burningman, etc. This started our love of the festival culture and style. We started making feather earrings and feather hair clips for fun, and quickly it became a small business that helped fund our festival attending. Over the years this turned into what is now known as TenTrees Tribe! Everything we’ve ever created has been completely self-taught; Tree has a more classic, elegant style, while Ten has more of a funky bohemian edge. We both bring a different set of skills to the table, and together we balance out the business perfectly. We’re only 22, but we have huge dreams, determination, and big goals in our vision. Our ultimate dream is to open a store one day!
How long have you guys been in business?
We’ve been doing this for 4 years. It was originally a small hobby, and now it’s turned into this! Every day it becomes more and more of a reality that this is our life; we’re living our dream.
What is your biggest inspiration?
Traveling is our biggest inspiration! It’s the classroom that makes us happy and we chose this life over a traditional education. This may be one of the hardest decisions we’ve made in life thus far, but we went against the grain and chose to pursue these dreams of seeing the world. Through this we’ve gained an open hearted open-minded passion and lust for life. We find ourselves bouncing between SE Asia and Central/South America. We’re greatly inspired by the jewelry, and the cultural fashion! Being from Humboldt County, nature is also a huge inspiration to us. We love the raw, the real, the weird and the wild. We appreciate the mystery as well as the natural textures and patterns found in the forest and the ocean. Lastly, music is a pivotal part in inspiring our self-confidence and motivation. The way some music can make us feel is the way we want the tribe to feel when wearing our creations; free, infinite, and unstoppable!
What kind of music do you listen to while creating?
The Grateful Dead and the Beatles always! As well as Thriftworks and Phaeleh… and some recent musical musings would be Biolumigen, Hakuu, and Onhell.
Do you plan on transitioning to an independent website vs. Etsy? 
Yes, hopefully over the course of the next year. For now we have a high demand from retail stores so we’re focusing more on that versus online sales. Right now we’re currently being carried in Divine Origin located in Redway, CA and in The Lucky Heart Shop located in Fortuna, CA, and will be in another soon to be announced. We’re also currently looking to branch out and get our jewelry in stores located outside of NorCal. There’s only two of us in this business and we can only do so much, hmmmm..Maybe it’s time to find some apprentices 😉
What’s next?
Focusing on taking our business to the next level. We’re working on designing a clothing line for next summer actually!
Any advice for young entrepreneurs?
Ten: I once read a quote from a fortune cookie that said: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” That quote has always stuck with me, and how you really can accomplish anything you set your mind to even if it seems impossible. I think our overall advice would be to follow your dreams full heartedly, don’t hold back, be your authentic self and the rest will follow and flow naturally…and like they say, we all have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé 😉

 ***Save 20% with coupon code: DAYTRIPxTTT***

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tentreestribe, bohemian jewelry, gypsy soul, daytrippingal, vanessa nealey photography, tentreestribe jewelry, bohemian, hippie, chicago fashion blogger

tentreestribe, bohemian jewelry, gypsy soul, daytrippingal, vanessa nealey photography, tentreestribe jewelry, bohemian, hippie, chicago fashion blogger

Written by Stephanie Bacos of DayTrippinGal

Editorial Pictures by Vanessa Nealey

Jewelry by TenTrees Tribe

Rompers by Futa Kashmir

Header Picture by Joshua Lee