NEW MUSIC MONDAYS: BAND OF THE DAY! O-TOWN LIVE @ LEE’S PALACE – FEATURE EDITORIAL

Featured
O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE - FRIDAE TV INTERVIEW MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 - PHOTO BY: FRIDAE MATTAS
Photo By: Fridae Mattas

NEW MUSIC MONDAY’S

BAND OF THE DAY!

 O-TOWN LIVE @ LEE’S PALACE

W/ TODD CAREY

FEATURE EDITORIAL

By: Fridae Mattas

Additional photography by: Dipan Cheema

Last Monday December 8th, America’s first reality show musical group O-Town hit Lee’s palace in Toronto. First time across the border in ten years for their only Canadian stop on the reunion tour. Before American Idol existed and Puff Daddy took over Making The Band, there was O-Town. The last “Boy band” created by convicted con-man and alleged pedophile “Lou Pearlman” who is currently serving a 25 year prison sentence. You could probably find episodes of Making The Band’s first three seasons on YouTube. Unlike “The Backstreet Boys” or “N’Sync“, O-Town’s formulation was amidst Pearlman’s extreme legal issues. They didn’t even get the chance to sustain their momentum and stray from the boy band definition. The group released two albums and disappeared, until now! O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014

Late August of this year, O-Town released their third record “Lines & Circles”. The first single off of the new record is “Skydive”, a fantastic mid tempo ballad that you can watch here. The current group is Jacob Underwood – Vox/Guitar, Trevor Penick – Vox, Erik-Michael Estrada – Vox and Dan Miller – Vox. The group once had five members, Ashley Parker Angel the fifth member did not want to partake in the reunion. But hey, that’s okay because from what I saw and heard, the quartet will do just fine without him! Never have I seen them live before, I was expecting the worst. I’ve covered or seen pretty much every musical group except “The Beatles”, “The Jackson Five”, “New Edition” and a few more because I was not born yet or old enough to migrate! Bypassing the fans waiting in line at Lee’s, I ran straight into the venue thinking I was late! It was five-thirtyish, the bands publicist told me my interview time was at 5pm. Turns out the band wasn’t there yet, I breathed easier, so glad that I made it on time.O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan Cheema

Another media outlet was setting up their lighting across the room as I began unloading my gear. In the venue maybe five minutes before a guy walked over and introduced himself, his face looked familiar and the name Jacob rang a bell. One-fourth of the quartet and the business man of the band, which I later learned in my five second interview. Soon after the other interview began a blogger arrived to interview the group, adding to the time crunch. That pushed my interview back until she finished hers because mine was to be filmed, I didn’t mind for the time being. My priority was finding a plug to charge dead camera battery that was fully charged but somehow now dying…It was more than obvious that the Universe was being moody, something else was going to fuck up for sure.

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE - FRIDAE TV INTERVIEW MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 photo by: Fridae Mattas

When it was finally my turn, we were getting acquainted as I set up my tripod. Was being rushed to the point where I almost didn’t get the mic into their hands, nevermind check the audio levels! The guys were friendly and helpful, making suggestions on where I’d like them to be placed for the interview. After introductions I opened with “You guys are back! Why now?” Underwood answered with “Well, it was the right time for us, it has been difficult to get together in the past, with me living in Nashville and Dan being a father and all of our other projects. Now is the right time.” I can recall telling them their 2014 debut single “Skydive” was a good tune and asked if they were more hands on with this record? After thanking me for the compliment, they answered back with “yes” and a more in depth perspective that was lost amongst the static in the recording because my lip reading skills are not the greatest.

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Fridae Mattas

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaWhen I asked if they would do a reality show again, Dan was the most responsive, rapidly shaking his head “No”! We chatted about the difference of their first tour and this tour, at some point they were jibbering about visiting Niagara Falls (The big one is called Horseshoe Falls) before migrating to Toronto. Assuming it was their first time, judging by their excitement it sure sounded like it was. Niagara Falls Canada is the honeymoon capital of the world for a reason! The best time to see the falls is at night when they have the lights on, it looks too cool. Plus its fun to hit up a haunted house attraction and party there sometimes, on the Canadian side that is! Buffalo is ass! No offense Buffalo, I’m sure everyone notices how much it sucks compared to Canada’s Niagara and Toronto but, we are nothing compared to Manhattan. Oh yeah before I forget, single ladies…You are in luck! Three of the four are ready to mingle, as Jacob stated while he did the “call me” gesture on camera. They also chatted about their status during the show, playing the dating game theme song for shits and giggles.

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan Cheema

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaIt’s good to see them being responsible for their own careers. Underwood is basically the manager, handling most of the business, booking the gigs and apparently this is only the beginning, in 2015 we will be seeing a lot of O-Town!  There you have it Townies, they will be heading back on tour, hitting a city near you in the future! Literally in four minutes that is all I was able to get. Not the interview I had envisioned…But tour manager Chris (I think that was his name) looked like he was going to have a nervous breakdown when he told me to wrap it up… I blame my tech issues on that half hour interview because they fucked up the whole rotation! So annoyed, I went straight to my generic wrap, pretty sure the band read the annoyance of being cut-off on my face. Now multiply that by seven and add a livid LeTawniyah on level ten. That’s how pissed off I was when I played back the interview to no sound, just static…Couldn’t even finish eating my poutine. Clearly, the Universe was not happy with the brief little snippet. And, after spending the last week trying to resurrect the audio from Monday’s interview, I finally gave up. 

TODD CAREY LIVE @ LEE'S PALACE - PHOTO BY: FRIDAE MATTAS

The opening act was “Todd Carey” American singer whose single “Nintendo” hit number one on the Billboard twitter charts. During one of the cover tunes, O-Town’s Jacob Underwood joined the stage to jam with Todd Carey and you can see how it all went down here. My ears were done after that, I had to find my ear plugs now! The sold out mostly female crowd was competing for the loudest scream, like Animals with the loudest mating call in the wild. Thankfully I was finally armed with ear plugs, they were my saving grace because that was only the beginning…Carey was good, a little too broadway and disingenuous for me but has potential, the fans were enjoying themselves. When Todd played his number one billboard twitter tune, my ears did not like that “Nintendo” song. The fans were screaming stuff like “Oh My Gawd, he’s soo cute” but not “I love this song” or any vulgar obscenities, that I heard anyway!  

TODD CAREY FT. JACOB UNDERWOOD LIVE @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaTODD CAREY LIVE @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaTODD CAREY FT. JACOB UNDERWOOD LIVE @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaAbout twenty or so minutes after doors opened we heard a commotion near the parking lot around the corner. Photographer “D” made a sarcastic comment about how the group probably popped up to check the fans. His words rang true, the quartet ran to the front entrance along the crowd causing “Bandimonium” because most of the fans were still waiting to be let into the venue. It was pretty amusing to those of us watching this madness unfold. Apparently an older woman looked absolutely disgusted as she passed by. I was laughing, this was hilarious and obvious they still have an effect on Canadian females.

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaO-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan Cheema

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaThe set up was pretty basic, a computer played the instrumentals as the group kicked off their sold out set with the song that started it all, “Liquid Dreams”. At first I could not hear them over the shrill screams of five hundred or so grown ass women with a few boyfriends in tow and a couple of gays sprinkled in the mix. To be exact, two Queen’s dancing the night away in the middle of the venue like nobody was watching. Both myself and photog D, refused to even attempt shooting anywhere near the front of the stage. D was stage left, closer to the pit area and I just chilled on the steps by the sound booth, stage right. Was hoping to get decent footage without too many heads and hands…But of course the struggle was real, Andre the Giant’s daughter decided to wear stilettos and a messy bun to this concert…You can see her head bobbing all over my footage and she was standing below me…My weakness is filming in crowds without media pits! Wish I wore heels to make my 5’8 stature at least 5’11 or 6 feet and if only I could find a good spot to set up my tripod! Nowhere in the chaos was that possible. 

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaO-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan Cheema

They sang a mix of their new and old track’s, sounding absolutely tight without needing any live auto-tune! The performance shocked me actually, because my ears were liking all of their voices and that is rare when it comes to vocal groups. The only ones able to accomplish that thus far were “Boyz II Men” who are impeccable live, watch them for yourself on FridaeTV Youtube.  As for The Backstreet Boys; my ears don’t really like Howie D’s vocals, N’Sync; JC’s vocals were the strongest, did not like the rest especially Chris’s tone. Occasionally Justin’s vocals were tolerable, the nasal whine in his falsetto still bothers my ears to this day. New Kids weren’t really known as a vocal group and 98 Degrees doesn’t even make the list! My ears don’t like any of their voices and they are so boring on stage. Saw them live when I was a youngin, it was the first time I was attacked by fans, all because one of the Larries handed me a rose. Never went to another 98 Degrees show or saw the rose again because the teenies yanked it out of my hand. 

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaO-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaRight out the gate, O-Town could have done anything and sounded like shit, yet the fans still would have eaten it up. A great example was when Jacob decided to try something new where he threw and caught his mic during the hit tune “All Or Nothing”. My reaction to the little trick was similar to Trevor and Dan’s but the fans loved every second! You can watch that big tune unfold here. At least he tried it and in the end it worked out for him.

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaO-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan CheemaToronto embraced O-Town with open arms, except for this douche behind me who kept DAN MILLER: O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan Cheemayelling “You suck, you fucking suck!” during an acoustic performance of a song they’ve never done live before. It was a little rough as expected for a first attempt, it was a lot better than many “Rock Bands” have done on the fly. That man was aggravating LeTawniyah, lucky for him he disappeared before she was unleashed. The crowd was entertained without the JACOB UNDERWOOD: O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan Cheemabells and whistles of a huge production. O-Town’s talent and personalities we’re more than enough for the fans in Toronto. Next time, hit up the Phoenix where there is ample room for more fans and stage tricks ha ha.

My ears did not mind a few of the newer tunes like “Lines & Circles” and “Rewind”. Those songs stood out after briefly listening to the latest record and hearing them live. O-Town has been trying to gain respect in the industry, working hard to find a place in the world of today’s music as legit musicians. Is it possible for them to gain momentum in an era where everything is over processed and manufactured? I believe these indie underdogs of pop could slowly climb to the top! Ashley who? Keep practicing, writing and always remember what Drake says; “Started from the bottom now the whole team fucking here!” O-Town is Fridae approved, if you get the chance, go see their brand of non-autotuned musical infusions. Muchas gracias to D for assisting me in shooting the set, publicist Matt for all his help. And of course thanks to O-Town for taking a few minutes to chat, it was great to meet you guys! Reach out and I’ll see ya’ll in 2015, we need a new interview! Enjoy the holidays everyone and don’t forget to grab your copy of O-Town’s newest album “Lines & Circles” here in the US and here in Canada. 

www.OTOWNOFFICIAL.com

 COPYRIGHT © 2014 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

O-TOWN @ LEE'S PALACE MONDAY DEC. 8TH 2014 Photo By: Dipan Cheema
Photo By: Dipan Cheema

RYAN LONG, TORONTO’S PETER PAN?

Featured
RYAN LONG - THURSDAY JULY 10TH 2014 TORONTO Photo By: Fridae Mattas
All Photography By: Fridae Mattas

IS RYAN LONG TORONTO’S “PETER PAN”?

A FRIDAE TV INTERVIEW

 

By: Fridae Mattas

RYAN LONG - THURSDAY JULY 10TH 2014 TORONTO Photo By: Fridae Mat

Last week I caught up with Ryan Long before his stand up charity gig at Tallboys. Initially the interview was to be shot at a different location but I was late, so too bad for me. I agreed to cover Long’s work because he does mostly everything himself and I respect that, I’m the same way. Thank the Lord he was a character because I really don’t like boring interviewees. The standup set was fairly short but he made the whole room giggle with glee. A few more joke refinements and he will be funnier than Tom Green! 

My comical knowledge goes way back to when my Dad introduced me to the world of comedy with Greek comedian Stathis Psaltis, followed by American comedians Andrew Dice Clay and Eddie Murphy. Recently at Yuk Yuk’s I was heckled by Canadian comic Tom Green and that was the funniest part of his set. He really doesn’t have jokes, I think it’s because he’s been around so long people just assume he’s hilarious. He’s funnier when heckling people. “Daddy would you like some sausage”?

Long is mostly known as the curly haired Vox drummer of his band “The Johnstones“. He is a prime example of not judging a book by its cover, this comical music Larry is running the show…In his latest creation “Ryan Long Is Challenged”, Long is the only contestant to complete random tasks for a prize, you can catch it on BiteTV Sundays at midnight.

RYAN LONG - TALLBOYS CRAFT - THURSDAY JULY 10TH 2014 TORONTO PhoAfter interviewing, watching his stand-up set, two episodes of “Ryan Long Is Challenged” at the screening and the one I missed, I can honestly say Long is a funny guy. But, if you’re going to be “Toronto Peter Pan” you need to create a costume…Hope you’ve taken care of that hernia! Long’s TV shows, comedy sets and jams with his band are definitely worth your time! As I was editing the interview below to perfection, I purposely re-added the errors I fixed because I’m trying not to be perfect all the time ha ha! Hope you all enjoy a few clips from the set and the herniation of “Toronto Peter Pan”.

 www.RYANLONGONLINE.com

www.RYANLONGISCHALLENGED.com

COPYRIGHT © 2014 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

FRIDAE TV’S Q&A WITH – SHAUN COOPER OF TAKING BACK SUNDAY!

Featured

Photo Credit: Michael Dubin

Q&A

WITH

SHAUN COOPER

OF 

TAKING  BACK SUNDAY!

By: Fridae Mattas

Americano band Taking Back Sunday just dropped a new record March 18th called “Happiness Is”, you can grab yours here America and Canada you can download here! Why not a little Q&A with the band? Bassist Shaun Cooper took one for the team and answered a few of my questions…

 

FRIDAE: Your Sixth studio album was released March 18th, for everyones ears to hear, how excited are you?

SHAUN: I am so excited that tears of joy are streaming down my face as I type this!

FRIDAE: HaHa…When birthing the record, what journeys were taken? How was it conceived?

SHAUN: We actually conceived and birthed four children during the writing and recording of this record, so that was really something. We were just trying to write the best songs we are capable of.

FRIDAE: What can people expect on “Happiness Is”? Does it follow the same format as its predecessors or is it a completely different formulation of sounds?

SHAUN: I don’t know that any of our records followed a specific formula. Happiness Is is diverse and raw and probably the most interesting sounding album Taking Back Sunday has released. 

 

FRIDAE: Over the years there have been many changes with the band, what obstacle was the hardest to overcome?

SHAUN: Some people like to think of us as solely a nostalgia act. I think Happiness Is will shatter that notion. It’s very rare that any band has their best release 6 albums in. In my opinion we did just that.

FRIDAE: I remember how crazy the crowd was last year at Warped tour when you guys tore up the stage. What was the craziest show you can recall?

SHAUN: We played an amazing sold out show in Singapore a few weeks ago. The crowd was amazing. It seemed like everyone in attendance knew every word to every song we played that night.

FRIDAE: Are there any artists out there today you would like to collaborate with?

SHAUN: What is Sisqo up to these days? I thought The Thong Song was rad.

(LOL)

FRIDAE: Who came up with the idea of a Co-Tour with The Used?

SHAUN: I don’t know who initially had the idea. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time though so I’m glad it finally worked out.

FRIDAE: Any plans to add anymore tour dates this year in Canada?

SHAUN: I don’t know yet but we would love to.

FRIDAE: What are your top five favorite albums of all time?

SHAUN: Guns ‘n Roses Appetite For Destruction, The Beatles Abbey Road, Nirvana Nevermind, Rancid …And Out Come The Wolves, Radiohead The Bends.

FRIDAE: For all of the new bands out there, what piece of wisdom would you like to share?

SHAUN: Persistence pays!

FRIDAE: The horror fan in me needs to know…Have any of you been to the Amityville house?

SHAUN: When Eddie (Guitarist) was a kid he used to give tours of the place to tourists, he’d charge them $5 apiece. He saved that money to buy his first guitar.

FRIDAE: That story is fantastic! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my random questions, epecially the Amityville one! Looking forward to seeing you all rock the stage again at the sold out Kool Haus show with The Used in Toronto April 8th!

COPYRIGHT © 2014 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

 

TAKING BACK SUNDAY IS:

Adam Lazzara – Lead Vocals

Eddie Reyes – Rhythm Guitar

Shaun Cooper – Bass

John Nolan – Lead Guitar, Vocals, Keys

MarkO’Connell – Drums, Percussion

 

FRIDAE TV SPORTS SPOTLIGHT: GRANT ROLLHEISER – BRAMPTON BEAST

FRIDAE TV SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

GRANT ROLLHEISER

By: Fridae Mattas

Caught up with Brampton Beast Goalie #37 , Grant Rollheiser after the game last Friday November 8th. Unfortunately they lost that game but managed to win the tie breaker game of the 3 game series 2-0 against the Allen Americas (CHL league champions and Dallas Stars affiliate team). Wish I was there to have seen Rollheiser guarding the gate and keeping the skilled Americans out of the Beast’s net. At 6’4 you would think the Chilliwack, BC native would be a little slower with all that gear on, not Rollheiser I’ve seen this kid in action against the Arizona Sundogs and the Beast won that game 4-0. Friday’s game was intense, the Americans were out for blood so much more hostile than the last team and I noticed the referee’s were calling a penalty for every minor infraction. Brampton did get a goal thanks to Beast #9 Left Wing Andrew Fournier sliding one passed the Allen American’s steel cage goaltender Bryan Pitton (who ironically is from Brampton). Fournier was assisted by #10 Right Wing Rob Collins and #16 Center Tylor Michel.

Photography By: Dupan Cheema For Fridae TV
Photography By: Dupan Cheema For Fridae TV

Photography By: Dipan Cheema

The Beast can really slay the ice, a good old fashioned fight took place between #4 Beast Defense Andrew Darrigo and Allen American #21 Garrett Klotz, obviously both were awarded penalties for that. Fights are dangerous but it is a part of the aggressive game that Hockey is. The Beast are hitting the road until the next home games December 12th, 13th and 14th you can grab your tickets here! Check out the interview with Grant and the gallery of stills from the game.

COPYRIGHT © 2013 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

www.BRAMPTONBEAST.com

SPECIAL FEATURE EDITORIAL: LUMINATO “THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MARINA ABRAMOVIC”

GLASS BALL - LUMINATO 2013 - DAVID PECAUT SQLUMINATO 2013

SPECIAL FEATURE EDITORIAL

“THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MARINA ABRAMOVIC”

By Fridae Mattas

My first year covering Luminato! I actually remembered to apply for media accreditation this year before the deadline. Luminato is a festival of arts, a collection of various forms of artistic expression, from paintings to performance art by veterans in the field like “Marina Abramovic”. She not only performed in a theatrical piece about her life and death,  Abramovic’s installation, MAI – Prototype was on display at Trinity Bellwoods.

Toronto’s Festival of Arts and Creativity, Luminato was technically born in 2003 but it wasn’t until June 1st 2007 that festival first launched thanks to the brainchild of Tony Gagliano and David Pecaut.

LUMINATO 2013 - DAVID PECAUT SQ The plan was to cover as much as possible…I had no idea that my schedule would flip so quickly making all coverage limited. I double booked myself a few times missing many performances like Maxi Priest and Joni Mitchell’s “Joni: A Portrait in Song – A Birthday Happening” live where she recited a new poem with musical accompaniment by her drummer and collaborator Brian Blade. I only had a chance to wander the hub once and that was when they elevated the world’s largest mirror ball, I really wanted to see it used during Maxi Priest’s performance.All Photography By: Fridae MattasIt was a complete miracle I even made it to the Bluma Appel Theater on Moday June 17th to catch the North American premier of “The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic”. However, I did get to the theater on time. Before we get into the review of  the performance let’s rewind to Saturday June 15th’s TimesTalks with Director Robert Wilson and narrator of the stage production Actor Willem Dafoe. This little talk took place at the Isabel Bader Theater in Toronto and the two personalities were interviewed by arts critic, editor and New York Times contributor John Rockwell.

TIMES TALKS - LUMINATO 2013The trio talked about how “The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic” came together, my perception of Wilson is that he definitely is an interesting character while Dafoe was very mellow,. They discussed various topics and below you can watch a clip from the TimesTalks.

WILLEM DAFOE CLIP FROM "THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MARINA ABRAMOVIC"Once in my seat at the Bluma Appel Theater I noticed it was dark but there was a soft blue light and Doberman Pinschers wandering on stage around three “Marina’s” in elevated coffins, I immediately went back to the TimesTalks where director Robert Wilson said Abramovic wanted to have raw meat on stage as the opening. The dogs were his interpretation of her very Avante-Garde request for the opening scene. Of course I wanted to play with the doggies! Doberman’s are one of my favorite breeds of Dog. Abramovic played herself and her mother in the stage piece, the set was changed frequently but it was always crisp, clean and artistic as was everyone performance.

TIMES TALKS - LUMINATO 2013Many people were following the storyline that is her life, during the intermission a few people made comments  “This is the story of her life? Her life is pretty boring.” they clearly were not getting the artistic aspect of the theatrical performance. I do understand why they thought it was boring, they are used to the Hollywood version of people’s lives and what they have been through. The acting was very well done especially when keeping a straight face for so long, I always crack and start laughing that takes a lot of focus. Willem Dafoe’s character kind of reminded me of Drop Dead Fred’s evil twin brother, Dafoe is a great actor he played his part well, engaging the audience as he colorfully narrated the story. He is not much of a singer but his dancing is commendable.

MARINA ABRAMOVIC CLIP FROM "THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MARINA ABRAMOVThe music was spot on for the piece, it fit the scenes perfectly and singer Antony Hegarty who performed a few songs sounded beautifully haunted majority of the time. Abramovic is a true artist, her creativity is always without boundaries and her work is a definite must see. Now that I have spoken a little bit about “The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic” I will leave you without giving too much away, if you are an artist of any kind or a lover of performance arts you must see this production, it is very inspiring. Next year I hope to tread more Luminato ground and capture more of the amazing creativity there is out there.

COPYRIGHT © 2013 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

Q & A WITH DOLLS!

1ssulk_new_high_res

Q&A WITH DOLLS

 

By: Fridae Mattas

 

Amidst the whirlwind of press for her new album “Secret Sulk”, Nikki of Dolls (You may know her as Nikki Awesome.) had a few minutes to catch up and share some of her life.

 

Fridae: Hello, Hello! It has been awhile since we hijacked a ballroom, how are you?

DOLLS – Nikki: OMG I almost forgot about ballroom-hijacking. I mean, nowadays they just give themselves up. It’s been a while!

 

Fridae: What has been going on in Awesome land since we last chatted a few years back?

DOLLS – Nikki:  So much.  I’ve pretty much left the ‘Nikki Awesome’ thing behind (DOLLS website launching soon, but won’t change my Facebook fan page), relocated to the UK (three grey and glorious years this summer), learned how to produce my own music, have thrown myself about traveling, meet/greeting some of my favourite artists and making ridiculous videos.  Basically, I’ve spent the last three years regaining control of my art and having FUN again after leaving the major label game, which has definitely been a good move.

 

Fridae: How was Dolls created? If you could tell the world and myself a little more background information on the history of Dolls.

DOLLS – Nikki:  DOLLS was initially an outlet for me to create music with a darker overall sound which wasn’t really compatible with The Royal Society’s.  I always listened to synth-heavy music with a dirty, raw vibe, like Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, and Joy Division/New Order.  I also really love some of the pop artists of the 80’s like Tears for Fears, Pet Shop Boys and Men Without Hats, all acts that had depth in their lyricism as well as wicked synth lines.  I found that many mainstream artists were not into that style when I was last living in North America. There weren’t many artists making a crossover between ‘alternative’ and ‘synthpop,’ coming from a commercial pop background (though some were crossing over the other way).  I’ve always written all my own lyrics and melodies, played guitar and keys, but I felt despite that, I was limited to one style of music by virtue of having had a hit in that genre and lacking the resources to produce music on my own.  Even though The Royal Society’s fans were wonderful and the media outlets were amazing in supporting the project, the club scene was feeling a little superficial to me.  After losing several years worth of work to a series of heavily political power plays (in case you ever wondered why there wasn’t a Royal Society album), I began learning production in order to make the music I wanted, so as not to have to take direction from people who didn’t get me as an artist.  It wasn’t the easiest transition and I probably burned some bridges, but ultimately I feel more empowered and happier doing what I want to do, and if people don’t ‘get it’ I don’t have to answer to anyone.

Fridae: Good for you! It’s seems like every artist comes to learn in their own time, that the only person who can truly relay your vision is you.

 

Fridae:  How did you come up with the new records title?

DOLLS – Nikki: It was little bit of a joke at my own expense. I felt like in writing the material for DOLLS, people saw me as being a bit of a ‘poor little bitch girl,’ biting the hand that had fed me. Because the songs were a lot more angry, less commercially friendly, and openly bitter about things that usually get hushed up. Dolls music is a total contrast to The Royal Society vibe which is all “let’s party, everything’s rad.”. I wrote so many songs over the last three years that chronicled some experiences pretty viciously, and it turned out that after incessant (often unsolicited) input from everyone else I was (un)surprisingly kind of pissed off.  Making Secret Sulk the album’s title seemed appropriate in the sense that everything I did musically and the way I did it was otherwise so atypical and ‘inappropriate’.

 

Fridae: Did you work with someone on the new album or did you create everything yourself?

DOLLS – Nikki: Millions of hours alone in my bedroom. I didn’t have any previous experience with production outside of being in-studio, so it’s been an insanely huge learning curve, which is obviously not yet complete.  The new (unreleased) stuff is a lot more refined in terms of sound quality (since I have upgraded my equipment) but it’s still DOLLS: dark cynical synth/wave with pop vocals.

1dolls_nice_high_resFridae: What separates Dolls from all the other artists trying to break the global scene?

DOLLS – Nikki: It’s no secret that the whole music industry is upside down.  Everybody’s looking to sign the prepackaged ‘next big thing,’ so I’d say it’s pretty rare to be invited in to hear the ‘flaws’ and outtakes from the onset, especially from someone who was formerly perceived as being the prepackaged ‘thing’ . DOLLS is the evolution of an artist, not the ‘delivery of a product.’  In my opinion, flaws are what resonate with people and give the audience something real to connect with.  The pitch-perfect image airbrushing that has become par for the course is not what I want to buy into or sell anymore.  Imperfections have always intrigued me; whether it was hearing a wrong note, a crack in the vocal performance – those kinds of things are so smoothed-out these days that I feel it’s tremendously different to allow fans in on a project’s development. Not just delivering a polished focus group-approved sound or image, which means releasing material that hasn’t been over-refined.  Which is unconventional in the current system.  I’ve chosen to work outside the model of recent tradition, and I will make mistakes, backtrack, change things around, have opinions that will piss people off. It’s more interesting (to me) to throw down total chaos rather than play a formulaic game, shuffling alongside everyone else, everyone crossing their fingers for a major to pick it up.  Getting signed doesn’t always benefit an artist, more often than not it just brings in a bunch of watered-down opinions on how you can best sell your music like it’s a breakfast cereal.

 

Fridae: Are you planning on hitting the road anytime soon?

DOLLS – Nikki: Definitely, but nothing’s set in stone yet.  I’ve had interest in the UK and Europe, but because I don’t have label support it’s a bigger deal to commit to touring, so I’m still working out the bugs and deciding who I want to work with for the live show.

 

Fridae: If you could work with any artist in the music world today who would you choose?

DOLLS – Nikki: Trent Reznor, David Bowie or David Lynch.  I feel like they should come as a package-deal, just so I don’t have to hurt anyone’s feelings.

 

Fridae: Are there any other projects in the works?

DOLLS – Nikki: At the moment DOLLS is pretty all-consuming and there’s some deadly business waiting in the wings, but it’s all hush-hush, innit!  I’m just releasing my first collaboration with a Canadian artist since 2010 (On Your Lips with Toronto electro artist COINS), and have been talking with another UK indie artist (Magpies and Vagabonds) about a new concept project. He also did the Dustcover Mix of NOW NOW. Both tracks are on my Bandcamp and Soundcloud accounts for free download.

 

Fridae: Whose music are you playing on repeat right now that you could not possibly live without?

DOLLS – Nikki: I really like Miike Snow, Das Racist, HURTS and Paloma Faith.  I’m pretty shit at listening to new music, so I go through phases of not knowing about anything new and just snuggling into old faves, followed by frenzied accumulation of Spotify playlists.  I feel like not buying physical copies of albums combined with being so obsessive about learning production has changed the way I consume music; it’s like the line in Amadeus, about how sometimes there are just too many notes. When I (n)ever have spare time, I prefer to see plays, go to galleries, read.. Whatevs.

 

Fridae: Words of wisdom for aspiring artists….?

DOLLS – Nikki: Probably not to take anyone’s advice.  Nobody else knows how to develop your art better, and letting them try, almost invariably leaves you disappointed or risking relationships to maintain the integrity of your ideas.

 

Fridae: Where can people find your music?

DOLLS – Nikki:  DOLLS’ Secret Sulk is available for free on my Soundcloud account (http://soundcloud.com/dollsxx/sets/secret_sulk) and if people like it, it would be fantastic if they want to purchase it for whatever they think works; I’m asking for £5.00 on Bandcamp (http://dollsxx.bandcamp.com), which allows me to continue to make music and develop the project.

 

Fridae: Are there any last words you would like to share with the world?

DOLLS – Nikki:  “She probably had it coming.”

Fridae: LOL!! Thank you so much Mizz Nikki Dolls!

 

www.DOLLSXX.com

www.twitter.com/DOLLSXX

COPYRIGHT © 2013 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

1DOLLSGANGSIGNS_HIRES_2

 

FRIDAE TV’S INTERVIEW WITH: JAMES BLACK

All Photography By: Fridae Mattas
All Photography By: Fridae Mattas

 FRIDAE TV’S INTERVIEW WITH

JAMES BLACK

By: Fridae Mattas

I had a few minutes with James prior to his set at the Rivoli for Canadian Music Week Fest. Was going to add the review in with all the Canadian Music Week coverage but decided to feature James instead. I’m really vibing his music it’s different, catchy and its real. Black has a rich solid tone in his vocals and they are a lot more versatile than I expected, definitely coming out of his shell. I cannot wait to hear the record with full production when it’s released. For those who don’t know who James Black is…Guitarist with the band Finger Eleven for over two decades, he has a side band with fellow Finger Eleven compadre Rick Jackett called “Blackie Jackett Jr.” and will be releasing his solo record this summer.

 

COPYRIGHT © 2013 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

www.twitter.com/YOJIMBO_BLACK 

INTERVIEW WITH BREACHED!

All Photography By: Fridae Mattas
All Photography By: Fridae Mattas

 

FRIDAE TV’S INTERVIEW

WITH

BREACHED

By: Fridae Mattas

Recently Bobby Noakes and Mike Diesel of Breached passed by Fridae TV Headquarters for a chat and an acoustic performance. Although Ryan and Neil were unable to make it, they were there in spirit! Breached will be releasing their Acoustic EP March 26th and hitting the stage at the Hideout on March 29th go see them and make sure you grab the new ep when it is available on iTunes www.BREACHEDMUSIC.com. Thank you Bobby and Mike for dropping by and playing along!

Breached is:

Bobby Noakes – Lead Vocals

Mike Diesel – Guitar/Backing Vocals

Ryan Alexander – Bass

Neil Uppal – Drums

COPYRIGHT © 2013 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

ROCK THE RIBBON FOR PINKTOBER OCTOBER 4TH @ TORONTO’S HARD ROCK CAFE!

Rock the Ribbon OCTOBER 4th At The Hard Rock Cafe!

 In honour of the pink ribbon and everything it stands for, “Pinktober” is among us next month. Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe will be hosting “Rock The Ribbon”, a fundraising event for Breast Cancer – hard rock style! Join local Toronto bands Mary Rose Obsession, The Apollo Effect, and Hotel Royal on October 4th for a night of entertainment in support of a cause that has in some way touched us all. Don’t just wear it…Rock it!

Thursday, October 4 at 8:30pm
Hard Rock Cafe, 279 Yonge St
$10 at the door (All proceeds to breast cancer research)
Door prizes and Pinktober swag courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe
19+

 

Mary Rose Obsession

Featuring silky smooth vocals atop edgy rock riffs combined with catchy lyrics, hardcore fans, and looks that could kill; two sets of brothers from Markham, Ontario known as Mary Rose Obsession have the “next big thing” written all over them…in red lipstick.

 

Hotel Royal

With their retro, funk, and blues inspired garage rock featuring just enough pop to keep you (and them)dancing – Hotel Royal plays clean, fun rock ‘n roll for all ages. Their philosophy is simple yet proven: they play what they want for those who want it, even if they don’t know it yet.

 

The Apollo Effect

Boasting UK-inspired Groove Rock in the vein of Kasabian and Muse, and having performed with peers such as Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, The Trews, and The Arkells, Toronto’s The Apollo Effect are sure to come out on top as one of the most exciting acts in town.

RSVP on Facebook

www.theapolloeffect.com, www.maryroseobsession.com, www.hotelroyalmusic.com, www.hardrock.com/toronto

 

NIKKI SIXX LIVE CHAT JULY 6TH 2012!

Photography By: Fridae Mattas

NIKKI SIXX TO CHAT LIVE

WITH FANS JULY 6, 2012

Nikki Sixx and Sixx Sense have teamed up with Best Buy to host Sixx on the Sixth, a live chat with fans on Friday, July 6, 2012 from 5-6pm PST. The chat will be hosted on Best Buy’s Facebook page for more details click here. Taking time away from his duties as founder/bassist/songwriter of the world-renowned band Mötley Crüe and chart-topping band Sixx:A.M. (Sixx, Dj Ashba and James Michael), two-time New York Times best-selling author, clothing designer, philanthropist, photographer and father, fans will have the rare opportunity to interact directly with the international rock icon to discuss all things Sixx.

Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight local time on his syndicated radio show Sixx Sense, which is about to celebrate the addition of its 100th affiliate station, Sixx discusses music and lifestyle topics as he gives listeners a backstage look at the world and mind of a rock star.  Joined by co-host Kerri Kasem, Sixx provides his unique perspective and attitude as the duo welcomes celebrity guests, recording artists and fascinating characters from all walks of life.  All this and more are packaged with a rock playlist. Nationally syndicated by Premiere Networks, the program can also be heard internationally by approximately 2.7 million weekly listeners. Sixx Sense celebrated its two-year anniversary in February 2012 and experienced tremendous ratings growth, which lead to its command of radio’s most competitive time slot in Dallas. In May, Sixx Sense took over morning drive on 97.1 The Eagle/KEGL-FM, airing a customized show for Dallas – Ft. Worth listeners weekday mornings from 6-10 a.m.

Sixx Sense is complemented by The Side Show Countdown with Nikki Sixx, which is available for air on weekends between 6 a.m. and midnight local time.  Each weekend, the radio host and tastemaker introduces his personal new music picks, plays an array of what’s happening on the rock charts, and shares his own special brand of talk radio with celebrities and other guests. The Side Show Countdown airs on nearly 50 stations worldwide.  In addition, the Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx channel is available on Clear Channel Radio’s digital platform iHeartRadio and XM Channel 164.

www.motley.com

www.sixxammusic.com/

www.sixxsense.com

www.facebook.com/nikkisixxofficial

www.twitter.com@NikkiSixx