Thursday, January 22, 2015

First/Last-Vacancy


"From an early age, I found myself gravitating towards music. I was fascinated by film scores and would always try to listen closely while I watched movies. I’ll never forget the first time I saw The Truman Show or Requiem for a Dream. To me, the music in those films elevated the emotions of the plot and created a visual and aural synergy. When I started writing music, it only seemed natural to follow this cinematic style. I like the idea of music not being constrained by words, allowing a unique interpretation to be formed by whoever is listening. That’s not to say I’m opposed to lyrics though, and I can’t imagine a musical world that is entirely instrumental. It’s all about the desired objective an artist is trying to achieve through their work.

Moving to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2011 was a turning point for me musically. I found myself really excited to be living in a city for the first time, immersed in a world of dynamic architecture, glowing lights, and sounds of traffic echoing against tall buildings. Despite living in an urban environment, my strongest influence has always been nature. Music, like nature, is full of colors, textures, and patterns, and my goal is to bring as much of the natural world as I can into music. Most importantly, I want my music to be meaningful and positive."

Vacancy is a Pittsburgh based 'electronic, ambient, alternative, instrumental' project from Dustin Suppy. His latest EP "Daydream" is released today and I want to thank him for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
I think it was the soundtrack to ‘The Truman Show’ by Philip Glass and Burkhard Dallwitz. I got into film music at an early age. I listened to a lot of other music too, but it was mostly stuff that my older brothers had lying around the house (Weezer, Nirvana, etc.). I borrowed from them a lot, so when it came time to actually buy music I was buying stuff that wasn’t present in the house.


Your last album bought?
Sea Wolf’s Kickstarter funded album called “Song Spells”. I really like it. There isn’t any extravagant production, just a lot of well-crafted music. It’s always refreshing to hear music that is sincere.


Favorite album of all time?
“In Rainbows” by Radiohead. One time I was driving alone from Pennsylvania to Florida, and I drove all the way listening to only this CD on repeat. When I hit Georgia, a tropical storm had moved in and I was forced to drive at only 40mph. It was an exhausting road trip, but listening to ‘House of Cards’ in the pouring rain after 16 hours of straight driving was somehow really soothing. It put me in a comfortable trance. ‘Nude’ and ‘Videotape’ are two of my favorite songs.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Recently I’d say I was most let down by Iron and Wine’s album “Ghost on Ghost”. It just didn’t go in the direction I hoped it would, and the whole thing seemed emotionally flat to me. There are a couple songs I liked from it, but overall it was disappointing.


First concert attended?
I think it was Incubus during their ‘Morning View’ tour in 1999/2000.


Last concert?
Olafur Arnalds playing the New Hazlett theater.


Favorite concert ever?
Olafur Arnalds playing the Midtown Scholar bookstore in Harrisburg. This guy puts on a fantastic live show. What made it amazing was how he made use of the venue. The show was in a really cool used bookstore, and he had visuals accompanying his music that were projected onto the bookshelves. The combination of the music and projections created a dreamy atmosphere that was perfect for the ambient style of music. The effect was really spellbinding.


Least favorite concert?
I saw 30 Seconds to Mars at the TLA in Philly when I was 17. Which shouldn’t really warrant further explanation, but aside from being a lousy show, I got kicked in the head by a crowd surfer. I flew into the person in front of me and instantly felt blood running down my face. A security guard handed me a towel and I had to fight my way through the crowd to the exit. No stitches at least, so that’s one positive thing to take from it.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I love the Pittsburgh winter. It’s gripping and scenic. Plus I never feel guilty about being holed up in my attic working on songs for hours at a time. It’s probably my most productive season.

Thanks, Dustin. Stitches or not, a bleeding head was the least of your worries... 30 Seconds to Mars? Now that is disappointing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

First/Last-Steven Foxbury

"Well, it’s not exactly Ocean Way or Bearsville, but what it lacks in grandeur, it makes up for in coziness. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time in recording studios, I know how intimidating and sterile they can be. I have done my best to create an atmosphere that will put you at ease and inspire performances that will not make you cringe two weeks later. Believe me, that’s a feeling I know all too well. I’ve collected some fantastic gear and have everything we’ll need to make a professional sounding album. If you need some other musicians to help out, I’ve built a great network of some of the most talented session players I’ve ever met. They are each willing to consider your budget as well."

Steven Foxbury is a singer-songwriter/manager/producer from Pittsburgh who, along with making music, is the owner of Yellow Couch Studio who have been presenting the "Yellow Couch Sessions", a performance series filmed for posterity. This Friday (1/24) Steven is hosting a private house show featuring the alt-folk duo Flagship Romance from Florida. If you are at all interested in attending this very special gig, email me for details. I want to thank Steven for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.
 
The first album you ever bought?
Def Leppard, “Pyromania”. I remember betting a friend that he couldn’t sit still during ‘Photograph’. Turned out it was possible.


Your last album bought?
“There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” on vinyl. It occurred to me that Paul Simon may not even know that there are bad drummers.


Favorite album of all time?
I got the “White Album” on CD for Christmas in 8th grade. It sort of became the fertile crescent for just about everything I’ve fallen in love with since.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
It’s a very difficult thing, making records. I have to respect anyone with the gumption and ability to do so. I just leave it at that.


First concert attended?
Well, my Aunt Mindy and Uncle Edge (how awesome is that?) took me to see ZZ Top in 7th grade. The people in front of me were smoking weed and I was thoroughly freaked out. When it was over, my ears were ringing and I was worried that I might be secretly stoned. While still in 7th grade, I went with some friends to see Fear. We rode in the backseat of Mike Peck’s brother's friend’s VW Scirocco and three of us split a hot beer. I will forever associate the smell of Polo cologne with that car ride and that concert. I’m OK with that.


Last concert?
Emerging singer/songwriter Matthew Fowler played a gorgeous house show in Nashville. I was fortunate enough to be there for that. Full disclosure: I manage Matthew, but it’s no bullshit — he’s a talented individual.


Favorite concert ever?
I saw Radiohead in later summer, 2001, during the ‘Amnesiac’ tour. They played Stone Mountain, just outside of Atlanta. The field probably could have fit 20,000 people, but they only released 7,000 tickets. It was everything you could ever want from a Radiohead concert. I still feel hopeful because of it.


Least favorite concert?
I’m sure it’s one of my own, though it’s a tight race to choose only one.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
This month marks the 10-year anniversary of our move to Pittsburgh from Orlando, FL. I love the people in this town — their enthusiasm, their rituals, their willingness to try new things and especially the way that they, and I think I’m now comfortable saying we, look out for each other. I’ve found people here to be utterly supportive of one another and that’s a rare quality to find in individuals, let alone an entire citizenry! You (Hugh) illustrate this point perfectly. I love Pittsburgh and am grateful to play a small part of its musical community. Thank you so much for your dedication and for including me in this. Happy Anniversary, Hugh!!


Thanks, Steven. You are very kind, man. We are all in this together, buddy. And you moved to Pittsburgh just as I was starting HughShows! How lucky are you! ;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First/Last-ROMP

"An Alien Force from Uranus (Madison), Mars (Lucas), Saturn(Mitch), and the Moon(Luke); ROMP touched down in Hub City, NJ in 2014 and made a pact:
1) BE TIGHT
2) Play every basement in New Brunswick
3) Take over the galaxy.
DIY Magazine says: "The missing link between Girlpool’s youthful first world problems and the uproarious, full-throttle melodicism of Makthaverskan."

ROMP is an indie pop-punk band from New Brunswick, NJ. They are touring in support of their latest EP "Sorry, Not Sorry" and hit Pittsburgh Thursday at Mr. Roboto Project. Much thanks to Madison Klarer (Keyboards/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
The first record I ever bought was the soundtrack to ‘The Graduate’. I got it at my favorite record store, Princeton Record Exchange. Still listen to it. I love Simon and Garfunkel.


Your last album bought?
The last album I bought was Pup's self titled record (also at Princeton Record Exchange). I got really into them this fall. And you know I took pics of my dog with the Pup record and put it on Instagram.


Favorite album of all time?
“The Blue Album” by Weezer is probably my favorite album. Not just because it is an amazing collection of songs but because I listened to it during a really important and formative time in my life. When I fell in love for the first time and found some friends that actually liked me. I always smile to myself whenever I hear this album. Shout out to Drew's house.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I think the album I was most disappointed by recently was “Save Rock and Roll” by Fall Out Boy. Not to say the songs weren't good because they are, but when I heard that they were getting back together, I got really excited for some more pop punk tunes and these aren't really that. But hey, they grew and I can't expect them to write songs similar to the ones they wrote when they were 10 years younger on “Take This to Your Grave”.


First concert attended?
My first concert was Avril Lavigne/Simple Plan in fourth grade. My mom took me and I had a blast. I got a shirt with Avril's face on it and she has her mouth open and it's really fun to put my hand underneath the shirt and make her talk to people.


Last concert?
Tonight I'm seeing Joyce Manor and Mitski at Asbury Lanes so I'm VERY excited for that. I've been listening to Joyce Manor for years and have never seen them live. I'm going to buy everything they are selling and dance my butt off.


Favorite concert ever?
My favorite concert I've ever been to is probably all of the Hop Along shows I've gone to. Every time I see them, I'm blown away.


Least favorite concert?
My least favorite concert I've ever been to is probably The Jonas Brothers and Camp Rock show I saw at PNC bank arts center a few years ago. I took my little cousin and it was only 10 dollars so I thought it was "worth" it. It wasn't.


Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
This is going to be our first show in Pittsburgh and we are all really excited for it. I've heard awesome things from my friends and everyone we have talked to from here has been really awesome and helpful.

Thanks, Madison. Hope you can enjoy some time in our city. This EP is the shit, BTW! Can't wait to hear music from you soon.

Monday, January 19, 2015

First/Last-Common Folk


Common Folk is a Christian folk punk duo from Orange County, NY. Currently on tour supporting their latest self-titled sophomore release, they hit Pittsburgh on Wednesday at Mr. Roboto Project. I want to thank Andrew Michael Hurey (Banjo/Vocals) and Jason Dean Uhler (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Andrew Michael Hurey: “The End is Here” by Five Iron Frenzy.
Jason Dean Uhler: The first one I can remember buying was "Is This It" by The Strokes.


Your last album bought?
Andrew: “Dark Hearts” by Slingshot Dakota.
Jay: "2014 Tour Demos" by All People.


Favorite album of all time?
Andrew: “I Love You This is a Robbery” by Spoonboy.
Jay: "I Mississippi You" by Rosa.


Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Andrew: “First Impressions of Earth” by The Strokes.
Jay: Most disappointing would probably be “Mosquito” by YYYs. I love all of their other music.


First concert attended?
Andrew: Jars of Clay in NJ.
Jay: I really don't remember. It was a long time ago and maybe it wasn't good enough to remember.


Last concert?
Andrew: Manchester Orchestra in Brooklyn.
Jay: Westbound Train, The Slackers, The Pietasters, and Mephiskapheles at the Starland Ballroom.


Favorite concert ever?
Andrew: Defiance Ohio in Purchase, NY.
Jay: Two Gallants/Papa at the Bowery Ballroom.


Least favorite concert?
Andrew: Los Huevos at the Tuscan Cafe in Warwick, NY.
Jay: Phish. It wasn't my fault. Really, I was forced to go.


Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Andrew: I've never been there, but I've heard from a lot of people that it is a fun, great, city.
Jay: My friend Jeremy lives there and he swears it is not a s***hole.

Thanks, fellas. I am with Jeremy, Jay. Pittsburgh is DEFINITELY not a shithole... unless you happen to be caught on the Southside at 1am on a Saturday... then it comes close.