Video Voyager World Mental Health Day Edition: 7 Q’s with The R Train

Brooklyn-based rockers are hitting the ground running with a fresh new slew of releases. Recently they debuted with their track “Flip Out Zone” and extraordinarily energetic music video! In honor of today being World Mental Health Day we thought there was no better band to feature since Mike, the band’s drummer, is a firefighter and no doubt would have an interesting perspective on the topic. Read on to find out more!

Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?

The obvious dilemma we all are experiencing is the Corona Virus blues and the insanity of the times swirling around us. We thought about Flip Out Zone as being an anthem to the insanity, and something of a statement as to what we’re all experiencing in some form or another.  The fact is, we’re all living a life that is in the Flip Out Zone during these times of self-isolation and fear. We felt like it was time for us to stand up, take a deep breath and scream about the madness through our music.

What was the inspiration behind this video (visuals, storyline, etc.)? 

We wanted to share the frustration of the times and at times just life in general. In a way describe the vibe of the mundane versus a satisfied life like where the construction worker is banging his head on the wall just suffering from the boredom and stress of the day.  In other scenes we show teamwork and camaraderie with people enjoying what they are doing like in the office scene, or the folks at the end running with the wheelchair still happy with life and making the most out of the moment. Its truly a yin and yang predicament that we all have a choice in life to make. Either be a drone and follow the path of the established norm or follow your passion.  

What was the process of making this video?

We put together a great team to assemble the video, Matt Greene is the Producer of the piece and he came out and shot scenes with the band to capture the musical aspect of the piece. Then he assembled some footage to tell the story about the situation of ups and down from satisfaction to disenchantment in the workplace and at home.  His goal was to illustrate what its like to be caught in the run around of anger and despair versus the life of achievement and fulfillment.

What importance does World Mental Health Day have for you?

Mental health these days is so important in our lives; the good news is you are not alone. Learning about mental health challenges is the first step towards helping each other.  Having the open door to learn and educate one another about the problems in our lives is what leads to cures and care. There is no stigma involved in mental health issues, it is a very normal part of our society and one that with open hearts and souls in the end can provide a great deal of support and healing.  We’re all dealing with the unprecedented impact of a global health emergency known as COVID-19, which has levied some form of trauma for each of us in our lives that affects us in profound ways. Everyone either knows someone that has had the Corona Virus, had it himself or herself, or worse known someone that has died because of having the sickness.  We are all suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) these days.  We are exposed to horrible things on the news, social distancing, isolation, fear, and uncertainty about our future. The importance of World Mental Health Day is, people are here to help and there are ways to cope and succeed and we can win if we work together.

What are some ways in which you tend to your Mental Health overall?

The main way is through our music. Having the ability to be playing songs with the band forces us to forget the issues of the day and focus for a little while on the music alone.  There is nothing like beating the drums with sticks to help you release some tension and anxiety I always say. Another way is through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Staying focused on what I eat and how much I exercise directly affects how I feel throughout the day.

Do you feel your career as a firefighter impacts your mental health? 

Yes, the job of a firefighter is a stressful position.  Bottom line, you are responding to people’s homes for fires or health emergencies or to a motor vehicle accident for something that has gone horribly wrong and you are there to help people in their times of need.  Sometimes you see very upsetting things that affect your mental health, and you carry those incidents with you the rest of your life. As I drive down the roadway 20 years later, I can still recall car accident scenes from the past and I can picture the twisted wreckage with people trapped inside, the smell, and recall the carnage that I witnessed at 3am that night. It’s something that you just learn to deal with overtime and something to chalk up to its part of the job.  The good news is the fire service has come a long way in terms of mental health awareness and prevention.  Through programs for education, peer counselors and open communication, we have begun to help fellow firefighters deal with these types of incidents in a more productive way.

If you could share one message with our readers about Mental Health, what would it be?

Do not be afraid to ask for help, you are a stronger person if you reach out to someone for help then you are if you keep it inside.  There are wonderful people in this world out there willing to help serve and protect us all when we are in our times of need. Be proactive and take charge of your own health and prevention and education can serve you well. 

Check out their video for “Flip Out Zone” below:

Connect with The R Train:

https://thertrain.com/

https://www.instagram.com/thertrainband/

https://twitter.com/TheRTrainBand

https://www.facebook.com/TheRTrainBand/

Drowning with Ghost Wave!

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Over the CMJ week, Modern Mystery got to catch up to the pulsating 60’s sounds of Ghost Wave.Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, the band projects unconcealed and organic reverberations, while administering room for pioneering layers of new age rock-n- roll. With this being their first-time tour in the states, Ghost Wave discuss the fluidity of their sound, getting hassled by panhandlers in Venice Beach, and continuously expanding their musical grounds.
***Due to an immense amount of city noise and static during the initial interview, the recording underwent a few transcribing errors. This article has been modified and re-edited since it’s first published version. ***

How did you initially come up with your band’s name?

Matt: We don’t actually know how it came up or what’s behind it, it kind of just eventuated.  It has not specific meaning, maybe just holds a vibe.We came up with one song first, and then we needed a name, and then we needed a band after that!

 
How was your project formed? Were you all friends prior to the formation of Ghost Wave? 
Matt: Well Eammon is from Wellington,, and he was making a ton of music, so he decided to move up to Auckland.I’d seen him play a couple times, and I was interested if we could collaborate and create similar sounds to the music that I was familiar and interested in. We had about four bass players before Mike came along.
Mike: I lived in the south part of New Zealand, and I used to be friends with another bandmate of Ghost Wave. I then ended up taking his place, and started playing with these guys.I didn’t really know them before I joined, we became friends after we started creating together.
Eammon: Yeah, I didn’t know Matt at all. We were just always going to each other’s shows.
Matt: I bugged Eammon quiete a lot to be my friend, haha!
When did you first begin writing music?
Matt: I was always interested in developing my own sound, and with our band we put our vibes together, mixing different intros and creating from that base. Mike’s parents are very musical. My Dad introduced me to records at a young age
Mike: I’ve been playing bass since I was about 11. My first band was called The Weeds.
Where did you get that idea from?
It was a band that was put together by our music teacher, when I was about 12 years old. I followed through and played in bands while I attended high school, and just kept kicking at it.
Eammon: I didn’t actually play drums until I came to be a part of Ghost Wave, and started jamming with Matt at his house. I’ve been playing instruments since I was really young.My first instrument was a keyboard, I jammed on casiotone quiet a lot.
This is your first time performing in America, have any of you visited New York before?
Mike:This is our first time performing outside of New Zealand.Eammon  visited the states a few times before, but this is my first time being here!
Matt:I’ve never left New Zealand, this is my first time exploring.
 
How long was your flight and what did you mostly jam to on the plane? 
Mike: It was a pretty exhausting because we had to fly through Melvin,and then back over New Zealand, and then finally to Los Angeles. It was about a 16-hour flight. I watched a bunch of movies.
Matt: I downloaded a pile of psychedic sitar rock jams, just something to keep me interested for such a long way.
Eammon: I got into this new age meditational music. There was this thing on the plane with a video and music, that helped you go to sleep. It kept repeating, just take a deep  breath, just relax! I guess sometimes being on a plane can get pretty gnarly.
Mike: They also had skycam on the tail of the plane, and I watched the flight for a lot of the time.
Judging from your recent shows and first impressions, how would you say the NYC music scene differs  from that of Auckland?
Matt: Haha, well the difference is that in New York there IS a scene.
Mike: Also, when we play in New Zealand there’s not a huge communication between us and the crowd.A lot of times it’s bands playing to each other.
Eammon:It’s nice to have a different audience here, and have people be a lot more forthcoming. It’s refreshing to be here.
So how does most of the promoting for bands work back home?
Matt:We’ve always taken the responsibility for the way our band is perceived and putting ourselves outwards.There are not a whole lot of outlets. There is a couple of websites where you can put your band’s poster up.It’s a lot more limited and restricted.
 
Prior to your arrival to New York City, you played two shows in Los Angeles, how did your first U.S. show with The Golden Awesome turn out? 
Mike: Those guys are also from New Zealand.The show felt really natural and organic, it was really fun playing together, we truly enjoyed it.
Matt: A stage is a stage, haha!
Did you have enough time to venture out around Los Angeles?
Mike: We got hassled by some guy down in Venice Beach. He just started asking me to check out his music and buy his albums. He kept telling me “Check it out man, I’ll give it to you. Just give me a donation”. And then another guy came along, and I don’t even know how I ended up talking to all of them in the first place. I guess I can’t always be a nice guy.
Can you expand on central processes of making recently released self-titled debut EP?
Matt: There’s no formula to it, we come together and it sort of just evolves naturally. We can write parts with one-piece, two-piece, three-pieces fragments and then combine everything. It’s all very unstructured, but that’s what we’re going for. We also practiced a ton in this space which used to be a huge weed plantation. There were fake walls in the building when we initially arrived there. I’m pretty sure those people got raided by the police, and then the spot was converted for practice purposes.We have a new rehearsal space now though, we usually practice a couple of times a week. It’s at a place that was prior used for brewing whiskey.
Eammon: It’s nice not to have any noise restrictions, we can play as loud as we want, which is awesome.
 
What is the most exciting part about playing CMJ?
Matt: Well, we’ve always wanted to come to New York, whether it was for CMJ or not, so having the chance to play our music in the city has been great. We wanted to go explore festivals like SXSW and CMJ, and we’re glad to be a part of it.We’ve done shows before, but not for such a prolonged period as with this festival. New Zealand is so small, it’s refreshing to be able to check out different music scenes and get out of the comfort zone.
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You can check out Ghost Wave’s tunes below
Interview by: Viktorsha Uliyanova
Photos: Skyler Smith

CMJ Diary: Wednesday October 20th

By Sedera Ranaivoarinosy

Not to going to go into detail, but my life has never been busier. Still, I decided this year I would let it affect my CMJ time as little as possible. Sure, for these first few days, that means no day parties for me, but hey, there’s plenty for me to see at night. So here’s a little run through of last night:

1. Pujol at Santos Party House

Pujol @ Santos, Oct. 20th, 2011

After almost going in the wrong entrance–two shows were happening at the same time–I make it inside Santos while the members of the band are finishing up their mic checks. Not to be stereotypical but Pujol‘s garage rock is not necessarily the type of music you’d necessarily expect to hear out of Nashville, TN. The club was at that point where there are quite a few people around but it’s not so full that you are squished into everyone so the vibe was welcoming but it was maybe still a bit early for a rager. Nonetheless, Pujol brought it: the bass made the ground under my feet shake and I caught myself checking if someone was texting me because the waves of sound were making my jacket vibrate. Cute note: Daniel Pujol ended the set mentioning that it was his sister’s birthday. It didn’t seem like she was in the audience but if I had had that set dedicated to me, I’d be pretty happy.

Next stop was Pianos. On the train over, I saw a contestant from the dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. It felt like an odd intrusion of the mainstream into my evening of indie takeover.

2. Cloud Nothings and Exitmusic at Pianos

Cloud Nothings @ Pianos, Oct. 20th, 2011

Going from Pujol to Cloud Nothings (if you subtract the subway ride from Santos to Pianos) made for a fairly seamless transition, although the Cleveland outfit could have used the clarity of sound Pujol enjoyed at Santos. Needless to say, my ears might not really ever function the same again but that didn’t ruin their performance per se. In fact, there was something kind of pleasant in the way the songs sounded and the flow of the band’s set. From one track to the next, I felt like I was going back through all the various stages of adolescence: the pop-punk “rebel” phase, followed by the angsty, more “hard rock” one and the more exploratory one, represented by more experimental and noisy sounds. Since these days I live running from place to place without much breathing time, that little bit of nostalgic energy was pretty comforting. But next time, I’ll be careful not to stay as close to the speakers.

Exitmusic @ Pianos, Oct. 20th, 2011

The second Exitmusic started playing, the pace changed immediately. While the music I’d heard until then was immediate and very raw, this was carefully calculated and orchestrated. It was obvious from the moment the band stepped on stage; their polished appearance was a long way away from the torn t-shirts and plain old jeans of the previous bands. In some way, it was almost a little intimidating to see how attractive everyone was in the band but bit by bit, that feeling faded away as the music and Aleksa Palladino’s haunting vocals shrouded the room. As the set built up, it was like we were all suspended mid-air, as if carried by the lofty guitars. And then Cold War Kids’ “Hang Me Up To Dry” started playing as they took off their instruments and it was back to reality where class the next day meant no more shows for that night.

Catch-up With Casiokids

The beauty of CMJ is just the astounding amount of bands that end up playing there. The Norwegians from Casiokids were not about to miss the party and we were not about to miss out on the chance of chatting with them while they were here, especially since their newest album, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen, just came out on Polyvinyl! We spoke to two members of the band, Ketil Kinden Endresen and Omar Johnsen, in a hallway at Pianos last night and here’s how it went!

Modern Mystery: How many times have you been part of the CMJ line-up? How do you like it?

Ketil Kinden Endresen: This is our second time here, we last came in 2008. It was also our first show in New York, at Cake Shop. But we’ve been in New York many times since then. I think this is our 10th mini tour in the U.S. Playing in New York is definitely one of my favourites.

Omar Johnsen: It’s nice when we’re playing things like CMJ or South by South West, you can stay in one town too. It’s so much easier.

KKE: It gives you time to enjoy the city as well.

MM: So where do you like to hang out in New York?

KKE: We spend a lot of time in Williamsburg. We try to go see museums, go to Central Park and roam around Manhattan.

MM: So your songs are in Norwegian, which can’t be easy for everyone to pronounce. Which place had the oddest pronunciation of Norwegian?

KKE: Probably Russia.

OJ: In a way it was the best and the worst [laughs]. They were very into it but it did not sound like Norwegian!

KKE: Still it was pretty special, they were very passionate. But mostly outside of Scandinavia, there is more dancing than singing along. In Scandinavia, they sing more.

MM: What is your biggest musical influence?

OJ: It’s hard to pin down because everyone is from different places. There is some overlap but I think it comes out through our music. It’s like a pot of stew.

KKE: Well, there is this Swedish band called Bobhund that we all like. There’s also electronic pop like New Order, Kraftwerk, Cornelius…

OJ: I guess also krautrock like Neu… Everyone likes these bands at least [laughs].

MM: Anyone you’re excited to see here at CMJ this year?

KKE: I haven’t really looked at the program to be honest but generally I like to rely on luck. Like tonight we got here and then went upstairs and realized our friend was playing!

MM: So your new album, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen, just came out. How would you describe to someone who’s never heard your music?

KKE: It was inspired by the story of Dr. Tarzan Monsoon and his discovery of a secret rainforest. It’s quite varied and with electro and dance rhythms. Our stories are in Norwegian and we use a lot of harmonies in our vocals.

OJ: It was also made differently from our past albums. Before, the albums were more like compilations of singles. It’s quite diverse but it’s still a sound that sounds like us. It’s also better produced; we have our own studio so over the years, we’ve learned more and got better.

MM: I hear you’re going to Japan next month! What are you most excited about?

KKE: Yes, on November 6th! I’m excited about the food. Japanese food has to be my favourite food in the world.

OJ: I want to discover the culture, I find it very inspiring. Maybe it’s because I’m half-asian so I have a special attraction.

MM: Do you know when you’ll be back in New York after CMJ?

KKE: Not yet. But we’ll definitely be back sometime in the spring.

Catch Casiokids during the rest of CMJ here:

20.10.11: Glasslands
21.10.11: Spike Hill
22.10.11: AAM Inc party 14:30 @ Knitting Factory

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Get Dirty In New Video, “Critical Drain”


Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin can write a good song but they can also pull a good stunt, as shown in their latest video “Critical Drain,” which just premiered on the MTVu website. The video, directed by the band’s friend Brook Linder and filmed in the band’s hometown, features some standard performance shots but mostly shows the band members dragged around on the ground. They even get splashed with paint in the process! Although they did their own stunts and didn’t get hurt, I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home. Watch the video HERE.

And because the band just released, via Polyvinyl, the album Tape Club, which compiles all the best of what they’ve discarded over the years, they’re also touring! Are they coming near you? Check it out below.

Here are their upcoming tour dates:
9/24 – Polyvinyl’s 15 Year Anniversary @ Pygmalion Festival, CHAMPAIGN, IL w/ Braid, Deerhoof, Japandroids, and more
10/26 – Firehouse Pizza & Pub, NORMAL, IL
10/27 – MOTR, CINCINNATI, OH
10/28 – The Current, RICHMOND, VA
10/29 – Tremont Music Hall, CHARLOTTE, NC
10/30 – Local 506, CHAPEL HILL, NC
10/31 – The End, NASHVILLE, TN
11/04 – Firebird, ST. LOUIS, MO
11/05 – Mojo’s, COLUMBIA, MO
11/30 – Hi Dive, DENVER, CO
12/1 – Urban Lounge, SALT LAKE CITY, UT
12/2 – Neurolux, BOISE, ID
12/3 – Tractor Tavern, SEATTLE, WA
12/5 – Biltmore Cabaret, VANCOUVER, CANADA
12/6 – Mississippi Studios, PORTLAND, OR
12/8 – Hotel Utah, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
12/9 – Bootleg Theater, LOS ANGELES, CA
12/10 – Soda Bar, SAN DIEGO, CA

Oberhofer Premiere “Gotta Go” On Pitchfork, Sign To Glassnote Records

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Brad Oberhofer is on a roll. Recently signed with Glassnote Records, Oberhofer will be releasing their debut album in the early months of next year. While we wait for that, he just premiered on Pitchfork the single “Gotta Go,” which will be released through White Iris and will come out physically on October 4th. You can get “Gotta Go” HERE.

On top of that, the band will be joining Les Savy Fav on stage on September 6th at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg in New York after a year touring with bands like Twin Sister, Sleigh Bells, Neon Indian and Bear In Heaven. Needless to say, the Tacoma native has the indie music scene at his feet.