Letter To The Editor

Lifestyle, Uncategorized, Words

sucker banner

Hey people of Sucker Magazine,
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for doing what you’re doing. By some aligning of the stars I found you guys recently and I love what you have going on. It’s dope. Like, real dope. Everything on your website is exactly what I’m looking for and I really dig everything you guys stand for. The art and the playlists are so damn good and it warms my soul.
Ever since going from Chicago to Kentucky for college I’ve been really missing that scene where I can discover new music, art, and other shit that I like. I’ve just kind of been stuck with what I had before I left for school and I haven’t been very able to expand my horizons. But then I found your wonderful website and it’s helped me find new music to blast into by head.
I wish I could somehow contribute to you guys to help you grow but I’m a broke college student so all I have are my words. I know they definitely don’t help as much as dollars but it’s all I’ve got. For now all I can offer is some web traffic, but I hope one day you guys make it to print cause I’d be all over that shit!
You all are great and I appreciate what you all put together. You’ve got yourself one more loyal follower!

-Emily D.

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: LUCENT DREAMS

Art, artist of the month, Lifestyle, music, Words

Interview by Jess Petrylak

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SUCKER: Who is Lucent Dreams?

LUCENT DREAMS: Lucent Dreams is me, Caleb, and a few of my friends taking my songs and giving them life. It’s the latest incarnation of a lifelong pursuit of making songs that I would want to listen to in my car.

SUCKER: Is there an implied narrative within the song order on The Honest EP? How does this relate to the overarching theme of honesty?

LUCENT DREAMS: There is not really an implied narrative regarding the song ordering. I was mostly ordering them to reconcile the fact that none of the songs really sound like they should come from the same person or be on the same album. Thats the honest answer! Honesty, or the illusion thereof, is important in art but its different from telling the truth. You can manufacture honesty in music. The EP is honest in the sort of way a drunk phone call to an ex girlfriend is, its just kind of all on the table, vulnerable. I rarely checked myself or listened to the voice in the back of my head saying, “You can’t talk about sex and death on the same album!” or “You can’t just have drums on all the songs and then tap on your acoustic guitar for the intro, and why do you INSIST on ACOUSTIC GUITAR!!!!!?” I just kind of did things the way I did because all of these disparate styles, approaches, and sounds exist within me and I didn’t want to build this album based on what would make someone else comfortable.

SUCKER: What was your first experience with music? How has your process grown since?

LUCENT DREAMS: I used to learn a lot of songs on guitar, I took lessons, I got pretty good at finger picking. But I really wanted to sing, probably because I was so bad at it. I really liked writing. Anything. Stories, song lyrics, research papers, poetry, raps(lol), long winded AIM messages… I figured if I started putting guitar behind my lyrics eventually the singing would get better and I could share my passion for writing AND music. I started getting serious about writing music and performing when I was 17 or so. My process was very much: write the chords, write the words as they come, and then play it to people. You could argue that my process is the same now but now I understand it better. I still write the instrumental first and lyrics later, but I have a better understanding of what I want to say and how it will come across over the bed of music.

SUCKER: Is it difficult sharing the creative process on a project to personal to you?

LUCENT DREAMS: There’s two sides to that.

I write the songs by myself. Acoustic guitar, mechanical pencil, paper. Same way every time. Rarely on that end am I willing to compromise.

The other side is when I bring my songs to my band, I rarely give any direction and if I do its the feel I’m going for. The band writes their parts, and I pretty much never touch them.

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SUCKER: What is your favorite aspect of songwriting?

LUCENT DREAMS: Writing lyrics. I tend to write in a fairly stream of consciousness way, and sometimes it takes me weeks to understand what the hell I just wrote and what it means. A lot of it is very metaphorical and it takes a lot of examining the context of when I wrote it to understand what my subconscious mind was trying to say. The feeling of finally understanding and being able to explain each line is always a sort of eureka moment where you realize like “Hey, there is a lot going on here.”

SUCKER: Because you were involved in all the creative and productive aspects of the project, is it difficult separating the two processes?

LUCENT DREAMS: Yes. Especially this album. I record while I write, often by the time the band hears my idea its already final takes of guitar and vocals. Like I said before the album is a hodgepodge of styles so when I look at it as a mixing engineer, my training says level it out. Make the mixes be the thing that ties it together. I found myself turning down the distortion on Planting Season because it was the only lo-fi song and it stuck out. Then I realized thats took away from the song. Each song is like a child, they want different things. You can’t just try to force your kids to all play baseball so they fit in when Ronnie wants to smoke pot and Jimbo wants to be a dancer.

SUCKER: FILL IN THE BLANK: If you like ________, you will like Lucent Dreams.

LUCENT DREAMS: Lyrics.

SUCKER: How should the audience feel when listening to this EP?

LUCENT DREAMS: Hopefully pretty cool and thoughtful.

For me, spaces and places play a pivotal role in the creative process. Does your process/artistic style vary between (rural?) Vermont and urban New York?

My sound changed a lot when I hit New York. In Vermont, theres really two big scenes. There’s jammy funk stoner stuff everywhere and bluegrass. I was making weird electronic indie stuff for a while and then weird folk music and it was all very private, people here don’t really like that. Then I got to Purchase and was like… wait people here are playing the music I like to listen to and other people like it too. I felt less pressured to be accepted and felt confident in my process and sounds because New Yorkers get a great cultural education. In Vermont, there is Vermont culture. Maple Creemees, craft IPA’s, Phish, Bernie, and weed. New Yorkers have been exposed to all sorts of art and there are tons of scenes and tons of people. I can’t even walk to anywhere from my childhood house in Vermont. The closest venue is a restaurant that has bluegrass some nights. I will always love Vermont, the people in it, and the nature. I will continue to speak with an accent and write about swimming holes, firewood, and gardening in my songs. That won’t ever change.

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SUCKER: Can you speak on the visual choices used on The Honest EP?

LUCENT DREAMS: I said I was looking for some work on my Facebook which is full of amazing artists, because of Purchase, and I got a good response. I was going through peoples Instagram pages to see which style would best fit my music. I was going to commission something but then I saw a piece that I absolutely fell in love with by Casey McCarthy. I wanted it so bad. The muted colors, the dreaminess of it, the obfuscation. I contacted them and they generously said I could use it! As to the choices regarding the creation of it that’s best left to Casey. I’ll link their Insta at the end of this interview.

SUCKER: How has being exposed to all the different creative energies at SUNY Purchase College influenced your progression within your music?

LUCENT DREAMS: Purchase is so sick. Being surrounded by artists that are so motivated and do not compromise is extremely inspiring. It’s such a safe place to pursue art in your own way. It’s a daily dose of greatness. You’re surrounded. I imagine it would be intimidating for some people but when I got here I was like “this is my place, start writing NOW.” Plus you see people doing what they want and succeeding at it. I never felt that in any other music program at any other school.

SUCKER: Do you consider yourself more of a recording or a performing artist?

LUCENT DREAMS: I do a lot more recording these days although I’m planning on playing a lot more shows around the city when the album comes out.

SUCKER: If The Honest EP came with “exercises for listening”, what would that entail?

LUCENT DREAMS: What a great question. Treat each song as a vignette, a little story, without context. Listen like you were looking at a painting as someone who doesn’t know the first thing about painting and doesn’t need to extract meaning from the work. Then take a pass figuring out what it means to you. Then try to figure out what it means to the artist.

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SUCKER: Who are you hoping to reach with your music?

LUCENT DREAMS: People who are into it. If it’s what you like, listen to it and support the artist! If you don’t like it that’s fine, I don’t dislike you for it. Like I’m pretty sure my mom won’t be listening to Planting Season in her car more than once. If my Gramma was still around she wouldn’t want to hear me swearing in my lyrics. I’m pretty sure none of the people I’ve ever dated listened to my music on their own time. You can’t force people to change their tastes. I want to reach people that like my music and gain some sort of pleasure from it, the way so many other artists have given me pleasure, courage, and stimulation.

SUCKER: Because your music is ultimately meant to be shared, does that influence your creative/songwriting process?

LUCENT DREAMS: Yes, I can’t help it. I want people to like my music and get something from it. I still write whatever the hell I feel like though. Its more of a subconscious effect on the songwriting end. It’s more measurable on the technical side, mixing and recording. You just can’t put out something that sounds like it was recorded over-saturated to tape and expect to gain much more than a small cult following. It still happens but people expect to hear the kick drum on a rock song.

SUCKER: What is your relationship with social media, and do you feel it is important as an artist in the 21st century to utilize it?

LUCENT DREAMS: I’m a social media fiend. I grew up on AIM and Myspace. I think it’s so important and beneficial to artists to utilize it if they want to reach people. I think that people who play obscure and don’t utilize it are expecting things to work out for them the way that lo-fi did for The Mountain Goats. John Darnielle has 1000s of songs. He got struck by lightning. You aren’t going to. If you desire exposure and reaching people you need to use all of the tools. Technology is evolving humanity and without it we just aren’t enough anymore. I believe that on a practical level, spiritually its problematic.

SUCKER: Where can we listen, buy and follow your music for future updates?

LUCENT DREAMS: The album will be available on Bandcamp and all the streaming services. Follow me on Facebook and Insta. You can add my personal page as well if you want. Also follow Casey McCarthy’s art page on Instagram! Thanks!

https://www.facebook.com/lucentdreamsvt

https://www.facebook.com/caleb.boardman

https://www.instagram.com/lucent_dreams_vt/

https://www.instagram.com/pthalo.goth/

 

Artist of the Month: January 2017 – Josh Thacher

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

josh-thacherChinese Restaurant, Josh Thacher

SUCKER: Who is Joshua Thacher?

JOSH THACHER: I don’t really know how to answer this question. I guess I am some sort of lost, spirit-like being. Just wandering around trying to pass the time…

SUCKER: Where do you get your inspiration from? How do you make decisions on what is important enough to paint/depict?

JOSH THACHER: I’ve been around for over a thousand years, existing on somewhat of a middle ground between a multitude of different dimensions and universes. I’ve been to many strange and surreal places, met a lot of awesome people, and seen a lot of crazy things. I also have voices in my head. So, all of that is where I get my inspiration. Sometimes there are things that I just want to share, or things that I want to take from other worlds and bring them into this one. Those are the things that I try to depict in my artwork.

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SUCKER: Considered a sort of artistic renaissance man of our time, you draw, paint, make sculptures, do digital drawings, have a few musical projects and piece together stuffed animals. How does your imagery translate through all these different mediums? Does one medium fit better than others?

JOSH THACHER: It all depends on how I see it first. If it is just an image, I’ll draw it. If it is something more three dimensional, I’ll make a sculpture or stuffed animal. If it comes to me in the form of sound, I’ll attempt (poorly) to recreate it somehow. Sometimes it’s nothing but words, and that’s when I write. Most of the time it is just images and words so I mainly draw and write, but it all just depends on a feeling. Sometime’s I’ll want to create something and I’ll think, “That needs to be painted, I can’t just draw it, It needs to exist in the form of a painting.” The same goes with sculptures, and so on.

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SUCKER: You work with a lot of imagery with cats, can you expand on that?

JOSH THACHER: I love cats.

SUCKER: In your opinion, does college help or hinder the artist? If it’s of no help, what are some suggestions to young artists that could aid them in showing/selling their work?

JOSH THACHER: College is great for art. You learn new things and expand your artistic horizons. I never would have touched oil paints if it weren’t for college, and I turned out to be really good with them and like them a lot. I had a creative writing class with my favorite professor, Dr. Chirico, where he had us write 7 pieces a week (which is also something I never would have tried to do on my own time) and I produced some of my favorite poems in that class. The professors and classmates are nothing but helpful and encouraging. You’re surrounded by good ideas and advice, and it’s just a great environment to be in. I think one of the best ways to make it in the art world these days is to go to college. People are much more likely to recognize an artist, if they have a degree.

SUCKER: What was your first art making experience?

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Dogboy, Josh Thacher

JOSH THACHER: I remember drawing a picture of a dog going down a slide. I had this weird way of drawing where I pressed really hard with my pencil and everything looked hairy for some reason. I know I was drawing before that, but this is my first memory of drawing. I think the dog was wearing sunglasses.

SUCKER: Do you believe anyone can be an artist? Or that the artist has a special gift?

JOSH THACHER: Yes, anyone can be artist. It doesn’t matter what you produce, how it looks or sounds. It doesn’t matter if you can’t perfectly recreate on paper what you saw in your mind. Whatever comes out is art, and it is unique to you as an individual. Everybody should make art and contribute their own individual style to the rest of the art in the world.

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SUCKER: Have you ever thought about animating your work?

JOSH THACHER: Yes, I would love to make cartoons, but I don’t have the resources. I always have characters and stories in my head that a drawing or even a comic would not be enough for it. I made some cool things in an animation class but it doesn’t compare to what I would like to do if I had the resources. One of my dreams is to work for Adult Swim.

SUCKER: Often times words or poetry is incorporated within drawings you have done. How do you make these careful choices when pairing a drawing with words? How does that help what you want to get across to the viewer?

JOSH THACHER: Either words will come to me while I’m drawing, or an image will come to me while I’m writing. It’s not planned in any way. Making art, for me, is like vomiting from my mind. Most of the time, my mind is full of strange, broken stories.

SUCKER: What would you do if you weren’t making artwork?

JOSH THACHER: It’s hard to imagine that. I don’t know. I think my whole life would be different if I never made art, but if I just suddenly stopped today? I’d probably spend the rest of my life doing hard physical labor, and sit by a fire every night. I’d be somewhat of a cowboy, and I think I’d get angry easily.

SUCKER: Have you ever had an art show in a gallery? Or performed your music live?

JOSH THACHER: No I’ve never had my art in a gallery. That’d be cool though. I have played music live. My brother and I used to do open mic’s, but I wouldn’t call that my music; that’s really our music.


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Apricot, Josh Thacher


SUCKER: Would you say that your work is autobiographical? Why or why not?

JOSH THACHER: No because none of it is about me. It’s all just stories about other people and places that do not exist in this universe.

SUCKER: Because you live in rural Upstate NY, do you have any comments or advice for people who believe/are worried that the only way to establish yourself as an artist is to leave home for a big city?

JOSH THACHER: It doesn’t matter where you are. Just make good art, and put it out there for people to see. What is anyone in the city going to do differently?

SUCKER: Why is it important to share your artwork online as a contemporary artist?

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JOSH THACHER: I don’t think anyone but my close friends and family would know about my artwork if I didn’t have it online. So that’s saying something. I’m not well known at all. My facebook page only has 148 likes, but only about 40 of those people know me in real life, the rest are strangers from all over the place who discovered me through the internet. I also sell my artwork online. I probably wouldn’t be making any money from my art if it weren’t for the internet.

SUCKER: What are your future plans for your artwork and self?

JOSH THACHER: I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing. I have no plans for way into the future. I want to paint more.

SUCKER: Where can we follow you, and purchase your work?

JOSH THACHER:

My facebook page and my Etsy shop
https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaThachersArt/ https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShoppeofTheUniverse?ref=hdr_shop_menu

My Tumblr where I post my poetry, among other things
http://woolharvest.tumblr.com/

And this is where you can find music
https://soundcloud.com/cosmicdogslaughter
https://www.facebook.com/perfectnoise/
https://www.facebook.com/Bersinsuits-177282455759102/
https://www.facebook.com/jennyandthewitch/


Louise Chantal is in Control

Uncategorized

Interview by Kayla Gutierrez

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Sucker: Who is Louise Chantal?

Louise Chantal: I’m a singer, songwriter, creative director, and entrepreneur from London, living in the NYC area.

Sucker:  Who or what are some of your musical inspirations?

LC: I’m inspired by so many people in different genres for different reasons. One person that inspired me vocally to grow and push myself, and accomplish as much as I can is Whitney Houston. Beyonce also continues to inspire me as an outstanding boss of her brand and talent as well. Her work ethic is unmatched in my eyes and I would like to strive to be the same way with an uncompromising devotion to my craft.

Sucker: What is your creative process?

LC: Each song has a very different story. Some of the songs on my project, I wrote without hearing instrumentation first and other songs I wrote to instrumentation. The biggest evolution in my creative process from the time I started writing and recording my EP to now is that I am much more involved in the musical production. I really wasn’t an executive producer outside of funding my project when I first began recording songs, but by the end of the project I was heavily involved in music production, not just the songwriting, vocal production, and arrangements of the voice. A big portion of that growth I think I can credit to working with producers that were far more experienced in the industry than me. Syience, who executive produced the project with me, always encouraged me to think and speak for myself. Once I began doing that wholeheartedly, I gained a lot more confidence in myself.

Sucker: What kind of messages do you want to convey through your music?

LC: I would like to convey honest messages. Many of my songs promote feminism and anti-patriarchal concepts because that’s who I am, but then I also have a few songs in which I’m hopeless romantic. All of the emotions I have written about are things that I’ve experienced and battled with. I have experienced men who made me feel like shit, made me feel absolutely horrible about myself, and it’s bigger than intimacy or relationships for me, it goes way back to my childhood up to now and witnessing how society isn’t structured to uplift or celebrate the woman of color. And in this album I’m talking about how I had to find myself, and find out what I loved about me, and why I was special, and why I didn’t need a man to define my worth. My life stories I haven’t share in the Welcome to Aranbi EP. I shared stories of the many women in me.

The emotions are really what I care about. Cry, cry, cry but then you have to move the fuck on. That’s my music. There’s a lot of sadness behind it, I feel that’s the core. There’s other happier songs, but for the most part I wrote about men that didn’t want me to know my worth or think that I was smart enough to be excellent, outstanding, or powerful alone. It was more to their advantage and ego to make me feel small. In this project, I said fuck that.

Sucker: At what age did you start singing?

LC: I was 12 years old, a point in my life where the world I thought I belonged to shifted drastically. I went from a very diverse public school to an all white private school. The way I viewed myself and my value flipped completely. But in the midst of all the sadness that came that year, I fought for a music career, and joined a production company. I wrote and recorded two EP’s, and a mixtape with them, and we created really great things. Years later I’m here, with my own company, having fun and doing it my way.

 

Sucker: Where do you see yourself in five years?

LC: I get that question quite a bit. Hopefully in five years – I’ve done three albums. If it doesn’t work out that way, it’s okay. But hopefully, I’ve done a few albums and I’ve become the creative director of a fashion brand. Maybe I’ll have had a role in a move or guest starred in a TV show. Hopefully my charity has expanded its outreach globally. That would be most amazing. And I’ve toured the world a few times.

Sucker: How do you want your fans to perceive you?

LC: As a business woman that is passionate about what I do. I love my supporters because they understand that about me. They understand that I’m here to change the world through art. I want them to know that I have an uncompromising attitude and devotion when it comes to my work. There is a lot of negative stereotypes about women in the industry, obviously bred by misogyny. They want to promote these messages that women aren’t intelligent enough, aren’t powerful enough to be successful without selling their bodies to a man in power. I hate that shit. I want my fans to know that I’m in control of my shit. No one in the ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ music video told me, ‘Oh I want you to wear this or I want you to pretend to be that’, everything you see in my content is what I wanted. I’m very much involved, I’m very much in control. There is no one telling me what to do and I’m proud of that and I think it’s important that my supporters know this isn’t been repackaged by a man.

In the PYMWMYI music video I made some people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable to the point where they felt the need to write in the comments ‘oh I wonder who she fucked to get to the top,’ or ‘go back to the strip club’ or ‘slut slut slut.’ If a man puts 100 strippers in his music video, he’s the man. He’s a God. It’s never going to be oh I wonder how many women he had sex with to get where he is because they have all the power and they keep it in their circle. But if embrace my sexuality or look a little too confident in my sex appeal, I get 3,000 comments reducing me down to object. Stripper or no stripper, I’m made out to be an object. I’ll take the backlash in a heartbeat and just do what the fuck I want to do. That’s who I am. That’s who I am going to remain throughout my career, a woman that is unapologetic and willing to make people uncomfortable.

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Sucker: How have you ever experienced sexism first-hand? What changes need to happen to end sexism?

LC: I don’t know how I could be alive in this world as a woman as color, and not have experienced sexism. I could rant on and on about how people undermine on my capabilities or what I can achieve because I’m a woman. But at this point for me it’s about changing the program and what is promoted through the media. The idea that women have to have sex with men in order to achieve career success. The messages that say being in control as woman isn’t sexy. The messages that are promoted through the media must change.

Sucker: Is there anyone you want to collaborate with?

LC: Princess Nokia, I really like her a lot, and I really like what she has stands for in and outside of her music; the messages she promotes. Her entire life story is really inspirational. I’d also like to work with Drake one day.

Sucker: Do you believe personal relationships go with professional business?

LC: Business is always first priority for me, but I tend to become very close to the people I work with continuously. Some of my best friends are people I work with regularly. For that reason I’ve learned about the importance of knowing and respecting boundaries. I once had a friendship in past that became too multi-dimensional. There were no boundaries or moments alone, too much became intertwined. I learned a lot from that relationship and the outcome was sad. But with time and experience I’ve learned how to navigate my business life and my personal life and how to always keep them separate to a certain extent.

Sucker: Many artists claim that motherhood is not a good combination with their life’s work, do you see yourself being maternal in the near future along with balancing your career or solely dedicated to the music?

LC: I’m so in love with me and what I do professionally. All of my siblings have kids. I have so much work I have to get done, and I don’t think a kid would make that any easier for me due to first hand experience babysitting. You need time to be a parent, I don’t have the time or wisdom at this stage in my life to become one for sure.

Sucker: Who has been the most supportive to you through your journey as an artist?

LC: Probably my dad, I’ll give my dad that one.

Sucker: Is there more in life you want to accomplish than music?

LC: Absolutely. I already see myself and my brand as being bigger than music. I want to change the world and I think it will take multiple mediums in order for me to change how kids learn, how the world thinks and I’ll start with music, but I will definitely be branching out. I have a passion for business, branding and market. , I feel there’s so many ways for me to grow as mogul, as an entrepreneur. I love music, but I will definitely be taking advantage of every opportunity to do so much more.

Sucker: With growing movements such as Black Lives Matter, will fans see you spreading activism, will it be in your music?

LC: I definitely feel as though I am an activist through my music and my words, but I am planning to really take things to the next level by launching the Aranbi Foundation in November. At this point in my life, actions are really speaking even louder than words for me and that’s why I’ve begun taking initiatives to become active in the inner city communities that are being targeted the most by a flawed criminal justice system.

Sucker: What is music to you?

LC: Music is the one place where I can say whatever the fuck I want. I can just say what I feel, and I can just cry on a song, and I speak my mind with no dialogue, and no conversation, just me and the world that I created in pain and isolation. Aranbi is me in my head.

Sucker: What is one place you know for certain that you can go for peace and quiet?

LC: My dad’s place. He’s so calm, relaxed, and open minded. I love that about him. I feel so loved in the presence of my father, and enjoy spending all of my time with him. Another place I love going is to the beach.

Sucker: What advice to you have for young aspiring artists?

LC: Don’t underestimate your value, don’t allow anyone other than you to determine what you can or cannot do. Don’t underestimate your ability to think for yourself. Finding yourself and then believing in who you are is key.

Hey MTV, Welcome to Our Cribs

Lifestyle, Misc., music, Playlists, Uncategorized

Inside Sucker Magazine’s Staff Rooms All Over The World + Personal Playlists

Words by Yvonne Villasenor

 

“You can make whatever you want when you’re alone in your room.” – Kathleen Hanna

 

…Although some would be surprised to discover I am introverted, it is no secret that I enjoy solitude and need a place to recharge after busy days that are often filled with a number of social interactions and anticipation to go home. That place is known as my room…

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Madison Killian – Editor in Chief & Founder of Sucker Magazine

Seattle, WA

…This is where the magic happens.
And by magic, I mean scribbling down words until I hit writer’s block, watching Buzzfeed videos or science/philosophy/paranormal/conspiracy Youtube channels, adding clothes I can’t afford into my shopping cart, singing along to my favorite jams and of course, swooning over animals on the internet….

Jenn Endless – Sucker Staffer

Chicago, IL

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Kayla Gutierrez – Sucker Staffer

Bronx, NY

 

…In a loud, chaotic world, I find peace within these four walls. Never “peace and quiet” though – there is not a moment in time when I’m in my room and not listening to music with the exception of sleeping. Even still, I have to use my noise machine in order to fall asleep…

 

Jess Petrylak – Art Editor

Upstate NY

…In my room, I have different components that keep me relaxed: my laptop, music via Spotify or record player, books, candles, plants and flowers. I wish I could say my cats too, but most of time, they wake me up with their fighting or try to eat my plants. One thing I especially cherish is the very thing my cats are invading in the picture above. For someone who’s only 4’11, I constantly hog the bed and absolutely love being able to wake up sideways, diagonally, upside down…you name it. I also have a huge window to the right of my bed that allows me to get some fresh air and natural sunlight in my room, which is refreshing. To the left of my shelves, I have built in storage space that has pictures, stuffed animals, more books and candles, as well as miscellaneous items I should probably throw away but won’t…

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Yvonne Villasenor – Sucker Staffer

Orange, CA

 

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Tracie Wilkerson –  Sucker Staffer

Salem, OR

Welcome to Afropunk

music, Uncategorized

Words and Photos by Kayla Gutierrez

Attending the AfroPunk Festival was beyond anything I could’ve dreamed. On my way to the venue, I befriended three women at the bus stop, who were also attending the festival. I tagged along with them, and they were very kind to me.

I felt right at home, it felt it was meant for me to come here. I said to myself, “These are my people.” I befriended, and socialized with a few people during the journey to AfroPunk, and during the festival.

Here are the photos I had the privilege of taking at AfroPunk Fest:

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The entrance of the festival

 

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The Joyful Trio

 

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The Singer and The Filmmaker

 

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The Bright Star

 

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The Sweet Pact

 

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“What Makes You A Crafty Betch?”

 

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Kettle Brand, Art Hoe Collective, Girl Mob, Loud Speaker, Bitch Craft

 

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Bitch Craft: For Traditional African Tribal Facial Art

 

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Where Artists Come To Roam

 

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AfroPunk Swans

I wasn’t able to get everybody’s names, the names given to these photos were created names by me, names I created due to my interpretation, my social interactions, and observations of the people I snapped pictures of.

The festival was a blast, and unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to stay longer or go to the festival on the next day. The event was for two days, and I want to go back. I vow to go to AfroPunk annually till the day I die. I met new friends, had a blast, and got to see some great music. I thank, on behalf of Sucker Magazine, the people of Afropunk for this amazing experience and opportunity. 

Harsh Noise: A Conversation with GRUTESK

Art, music, Uncategorized

Interview by: Jess Petrylak

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“Harsh Noise” is a musical style that is entirely characterized by static used in an expressive state, and often times challenges what is thought to be conventional in terms of musical practices. Sucker Magazine interviewed GRUTESK, a rising star in the genre of harsh noise who’s based in a quaint town in Upstate New York.

SUCKER: Who is GRUTESK?

GRUTESK: Grutesk is a harsh noise alias I use to let out some steam and just to create.

SUCKER: Not an entirely expanded upon genre, what sparked your interest in harsh noise?

GRUTESK: I honestly can’t pinpoint what exactly sparked my interest, but I’ve always been interested in more experimental music. I always wanted to be different with my music taste while growing up. When everyone was listening to pop music I was listening to more independent music. I could say that probably the band/group to get me into the genre would be a rap group by the name Clipping. If harsh noise interests you, you should check them out

SUCKER: What software do you use to create your music?

GRUTESK: Currently I’m using FL Studios to make this, but I want to expand my horizons and go with the traditional setup for noise music, which is with a mixer, and some guitar pedals.

SUCKER: Do you consider GRUTESK sort of an alter ego comparative to your natural self?

GRUTESK: I think I would, I would say I’m more calm and collective then Grutesk would be, I’d best say that Grutesk is more expressive of his emotions and does not take shit from anyone, a little on the chaotic side of things though.

SUCKER: How does the emotion of anger play its role within your music? Do any other emotions come out through this medium?

GRUTESK: I’d say if it hasn’t shown in the song titles of my latest EP “Violence”, it’d be my latest experimentation with vocals in some tracks and also the noise itself gives off an angry tone or feeling.

SUCKER: What are some responses you’ve gotten on your music? Good, bad?

GRUTESK: I’ve either have gotten “Oh that’s interesting” which usually means “This is terrible” or, (from people in the noise community) “This is some good stuff man keep it up.” I take anything as a compliment; I realize this genre isn’t for everyone it even took me a while before I was fully interested in it.

SUCKER: Do you believe truly anyone can be an artist (music, art, writing, etc)?

GRUTESK: I believe you if work hard at something you love, and you are putting in the effort then you can become an artist. If you go into anything either looking for money or trying to get famous thinking “oh this is so easy hahaha” you aren’t really going to get very far.

SUCKER: What would be on GRUTESK’s personal playlist?

GRUTESK: He would definitely have just a lot of variety of noise music, and extreme music.

SUCKER: You also craft your own album art, what are the benefits of being a completely independent artist that transcends many different creative mediums?

GRUTESK: I think that because I have somewhat of an idea with what looks good with art, it plays a big role into both noise and my digital art. I believe with each album cover it portrays the emotion within each album.

SUCKER: Does your creative process for visual art and music differ in any way?

GRUTESK: With my digital art I try to draw cute cartoon women and fandom related things as well, generally like a non impacting emotion with it. Grutesk is a way I can express myself when I get angry, upset, whatever. I mean, I have created something from emotions into my digital art, but for the most part I don’t, which I think needs to change.

SUCKER: Have you done any live shows, and if not would you consider?

GRUTESK: I haven’t yet, but I would love to! I have some crazy ideas of what to do for some live events which I would love to share with everyone.

SUCKER: What was the definitive moment that lead to you to create music?

GRUTESK: After I saw a performance at the Bundy Museum in Binghamton, I forgot the guy’s name or his groups name, but it was really interesting and it just went on from there.

SUCKER: In a genre that has a very specific sound, how do you separate yourself from the rest of the harsh noise scene?

GRUTESK: I think that with my vocals I add on tracks it definitely separates me from the others.

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SUCKER: What influences your sound, other than other music/musical artists?

GRUTESK: Some of the current events or horror themed things really inspires me with Grutesk, I want to do something a little different someday where I incorporate spoken word, poetry, or whatever with harsh noise. I also would love to collab with anyone if they are interested, just write to me via email or on soundcloud or bandcamp.

SUCKER: What is some sound advice you have gotten as far as any creative endeavors?

GRUTESK: I have been just told to practice, experiment, and to keep trying new things.

SUCKER: Where can we follow you, listen/buy your music?

GRUTESK: You can follow grutesk on soundcloud (where I post tracks, previews, and albums) and my bandcamp.

I would also like to shout out some really cool people in the noise scene I’d recommend anyone to check out : Writhe (Ruben), he has some intense tracks and he’s just an awesome friendpaper skin. (Taylor), he’s more power electronics but has awesome live shows and music, he’s who inspired me to add vocals to some of my own tracks. 

 

 

If Bradley Nowell Knew These Guys He’d Be Friends With Them: One Dollar Check

music, Uncategorized

 

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By Lucy F.R.

My small town isn’t all that eventful, so when a friend of mine and I found out that there was some sort of music event happening we made our way over to the park to check it out. The entire lineup for the day consisted of local musicians- people I’ve heard about from all my friends, people I went to school with.

We made our way backstage to say hi to the people that we knew, and I quickly learned that being around talented people is a little unnerving (whether you know some of them or not) so, being the hermit that I am, I sat down on the floor and did some people watching in between reading pages of a book. Everyone was sitting in a circle in various kinds of chairs making small talk, telling jokes and laughing, eating the candy bars on the food table, smoking cigarettes. But among all of the activity, the one thing that really stuck out to me was that every member of One Dollar Check were sitting down, listening to what people were saying to them, or sitting completely by themselves in seemingly deep thought. They’re just a bunch of quiet guys.

Everybody that I had talked to that day said that they came for One Dollar Check. I already knew that music is incredibly important to everyone in the band, but it never really clicked with me just how important it was to them until this show. Elijah, bassist, was effortlessly strumming away with a smile on his face, lightly bouncing around the stage; front man Gared was grooving up and down the stage, occasionally gettin’ down with a band mate, and filling up the area with his beautiful, soft voice behind his sunglasses; Aaron and Carlton were playing their guitars with the simplicity and confidence akin to Bradley Nowell’s style, and Carlton would occasionally take over lead vocals with the same strength as Gared, only a little quieter; Charles kept everyone in check with his 100% solid drumming skills- no overwhelming drum fills or cockiness, which is a quality not every drummer is graced with. Tommy worked the stage the most. There wasn’t a single square inch of that stage that he didn’t walk on, he’d weave in and out of the changing lights, stood in the clouds made by the smoke machine, and even walked around the audience.

The whole time they were playing, you could feel the brotherhood between these guys. You could feel the respect and the love that they all have for each other, making their set one of the most comfortable, heart warming live music experiences you could possibly ever have. That’s what makes One Dollar Check so special. It’s a band consisting only of people who are the nicest guys in the world who all share a strong passion for music.

One Dollar Check released their 8-track debut album, entitled “Feels So Right”, a year ago on August 8th, 2015. The band is currently recording an album which should be released next year. Until then, keep up with One Dollar Check on… SoundcloudBandcampFacebook, and Instagram.