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'Two Nations' Release Long-Awaited Self Titled Album

Music, Salt Lake CityJesse WalkerComment
Two Nations / Photo: Jared Dayley

Two Nations / Photo: Jared Dayley

Jamie Gadette, Writer, Storyteller, Music Maven, Comedy Nerd and Co-host of @afternoondlight on KRCL guest interviewed Two Nations for NCM this month.

Let's talk "Two Nations" etymology.

It was something a friend came up with years ago. When I was writing the lyrics for the track Paint By Numbers I sang the line "Two Nations will play with fire" It was an improv line. That's how I tend to write, recording nonsense words then listen back to see if anything interesting emerged. I liked the line and remembered that a friend had tossed that name around as a band name years prior. I recognized that's where it came from. I liked the dichotomy of it. My producing partner Nate Pyfer and I did the majority of the album late at night after hours. Sometimes the name made me think of our styles and backgrounds colliding to make a record that sounds different than if we had gone it alone. Other times I thought it reflected the people represented in the lyrics that were struggling to get along despite having huge differences. 

Tell us about the other band members and their/your history together.

Years ago I recorded an EP for Nate's old band Code Hero.  We've been close ever since. I played some guitar for that project when he needed me and he returned the favor and played keyboards in a previous project of mine called Location Location. Over the last few years Nate has become a great producer. He's worked with The Moth and The Flame, Polytype, Mideau, Parlor Hawk, Fictionist, Sego, and others. He's also co-written several tracks for Kaskade. Last year I wanted to record some drums and self-produce a new album. I was talking to him about options and he really wanted to get involved. The rest is history. Aaron Anderson (Fictionist) laid down the drum parts. He's fantastic. He's got great instincts. He played a song in one take after hearing it for the first time. Nate invited guitarist Devin Powell down to the studio to contribute some great guitar parts. He's fronts a project called Showgun and the Clay Pigeons. Nate is involved in producing that as well. I play guitar sometimes for it. We're all helping out one another.

How is this different from your other projects?

It's more mellow. 

Who are your inspirations and intention for the current sound?

I don't know if I had any specific intentions for the record.  I have a lot of demos recorded on my computer. I think I just had a grouping of 5 or 6 that I thought would be cool to build on. A few tracks are 3 or 4 years old when I was listening a lot to Kaputt by Destoyer. I was feeling a Fleetwood Mac kind of melancholy.  

One of the things I think sets you apart in my mind is the thoughtful choice of instruments and electronic bits. How did you go about implementing guitars vs. drum machines and keyboards into the writing and mixing?

You can mimic nostalgic eras from the past with keyboards. I like that.  Guitars are just put where they normally go. Sometimes guitar parts get muted later if you're trying to make space. 

Marcus, when I first met you your sound was more in lines with, for lack of a better term, alt-country or folk-ish rock. Then you became much more interested in electronic-leaning music. But if I'm correct you still play around with non-electronic sounds. Describe your relationship to genre and how it influences both your songwriting and creative direction.

I never think about genre. This becomes a problem when you need to categorize your music on sound cloud or iTunes. I've always listened to different genres. And I'm probably missing out on some that I haven't given the time. I think as a music maker you just use the tools that are in front of you. Early on it was guitars for me. My interest in electronic music has probably been more about how vast synths and computers are as music creation tools. I bought Reason 1 when it first came out around 2001. It was the first time I could make a complete song on my computer. 

What happened to Location Location and what have you been focused on in the interim?  How does Two Nations compare and differ from your previous project?

Location Location just stopped I suppose. I stopped booking shows. Maybe If I find some inspiring demos that sound like that I will put it on the internet. I dunno. Nate likes to think that Two Nations bridges the gap between the folkish rock stuff I used to do and Location Location. I don't think that macro about it. In comparing Two Nations to Location Location, the tempos are slower, the drums were played manually, the synths are moodier. As far as the songwriting goes I don't know that it's that different. Hopefully I've gotten better as a songwriter. It's all about taste though. I don't think the songs I write are for everybody. I don't write songs to please people. I just write songs when I feel like singing, and I record them. That becomes a demo.  

What did you learn from your experience with Location Location, which saw some great success? What was it like being involved in things like SXSW and L.A.-based industry circles? Did you enjoy that scene? What's your overall takeaway about "making it"? How do you define success as a musician these days?

I learned that it's hard to get people to watch you play at the Viper Room. It's exciting when you find yourself in those circles. You never now what might happen. I've seen bands who are ready for success meet the right people and those people seem to know how to break a band. I suppose that bands that have "made it" know a lot of things that I don't. I just want to play these songs for people and enjoy doing it. I guess the trick is getting the songs in as many ears as possible. I'm still trying to figure out how to do that. As far as success goes I think that can vary. If you can tour and make money and have a life that sounds like success to me. 

Do you prefer to collaborate with others or work as a solo artist? Or, describe the pros and cons of both endeavors.

I love collaborating. I think the results are usually better. I haven't been able to write songs with others at the same time in the same room though. The collaborating I do is like here's a recording of words and melodies over chords, change whatever you want. Then we might build the track up together or they might do it without me. You've got to be open if you're working with other people. 

What's on the horizon for you guys?

We are booking shows and working on new music. We also have a track that we wrote and produced with Kaskade that will be released on his forthcoming album 'AUTOMATIC' this fall.

Hear Two Nations play with Kaskade Friday, Sept 4th, 7:30 PM at Downtown Provo's Rooftop Concert Series. Follow, listen and buy Two Nations self titled album at www.twonationsmusic.com.

Mark Hofeling talks 'creating the worlds' for Disney's "Descendants"

Design & Architecture, Film & Television, Salt Lake CityJesse Walker2 Comments

I'm immensely proud of my husband Mark Hofeling's production design work on Disney's "Descendants" which premiered last weekend to 12.8 Million viewers (and topped iTunes). Mark is quite the polymath... whether it's anything design related, politics, sculpting, writing or cat herding... you name it, he can make it. And he's a master of his craft with 50 films, (20 for the mouse alone) under his belt. It is strange that someone who started out in low budget horror would be the king of choreographed musicals for young people, but there it is. I am biased of course... but Salt Lake City, UT should feel lucky to call him their own.

Hear Mark speak about 'creating the worlds' for "Descendants" in the video linked above and see more of his design work at www.markhofeling.com.

NOW-ID's 'NOWHERE' to premier this weekend

Art, Salt Lake City, Theatre & Dance, Events, Design & ArchitectureJesse WalkerComment

I'd like to personally invite you to NOW-ID's next interdisciplinary stunner... 'NOWHERE,' with performances happening this July 17th & 18th (Fri/Sat) at Libby Gardner Hall at the UofU. I enjoy being on the board of NOW because it's the only arts organization of it's kind in the city, always looking for ways to collaborate and create transformative work through movement and art together. 'NOWHERE' features contemporary and ballet dancers with guest artist Adam Bateman, international guest musicians, original music, site specific film, lighting, sound and a very large, interactive 'Infinite Wheel.' The entrance will feature a sound installation created by Gary Vlasic, myself and guest artists Colour Maisch and Stefanie Dykes.

If you've seen our other work, you'll know it's daring, intellectual and otherworldly. Also, performances are under 60 minutes... always! Please join us for NOW-ID's concert hall spectacle this Friday & Saturday at Libby Gardner Hall. Tickets available online (preferred) or at the door. More information at now-id.com/current.

Bringing the love in a serious way

Journal, Salt Lake CityJesse WalkerComment

DJ Damian Ardenne, Jesse Walker & Johnny Peppinger

Wow! I can't say enough about how much fun was had this past weekend in Park City. The weather was perfection, food fantastic (Thank you Maxx at Vinto!), our USA ladies won the World Cup, ...strangers invited us into their homes while others gave us free rides... and to top it off, Thievery Corporation put on a bangin' show Sunday night at PCL. Basically, everyone we came in contact with was incredibly generous and good natured. 

I've got a few snippets of video up to give you a sense of the energy at O.P. Rockwell, who were incredible to work with might I add. Thank you to Damian Ardenne for opening the party up with his impeccable taste in the deepest of the deep, and thanks to everyone who came, for bringing the love in a serious way. We look forward to returning soon. July 4th in PC could be a new tradition...?

Prepare for BLAST OFF!!! The Unofficial Thievery Corporation Appreciation Weekend.

Events, Salt Lake City, Music, TravelJesse WalkerComment

Saturday, July 4th (& 5th)

UNOFFICIAL THIEVERY CORPORATION APPRECIATION WEEKEND

This Independence Day Weekend NCM is planning an breezy Park City music escape, beginning Saturday, July 4th with a luxe dance party feat. DJ's Jesse Walker and Damien Ardenne at O.P. Rockwell, the dynamite speakeasy/concert hall housing one of the best lighting/sound systems in Utah.

Stay the night and join us the following Sunday for Thievery Corporation's show at Park City Live. Tell your friends, find accommodations and don't miss this explosive weekend of entertainment!

Details:

Saturday, July 4th
BLAST OFF! @ O.P. Rockwell
Doors at 9PM, FREE admission till 10PM, $5 after
Address: 268 Main Street, Park City, Utah 84060
http://www.oprockwell.com/
http://ncm.newcitymovement.com/events

Sunday, July 5th
Thievery Corporation @ Park City Live
Doors at 8PM, Pre Sale Tix $79.50 GA
Address: 427 Main Street, Park City, Utah 84060
Tickets: http://www.parkcitylive.net/

Join / Share this Event >

NCM GUEST MIX 004: RED SPECTRAL

NCM Guest Mix Exclusives, Mixes, Music, Salt Lake CityJesse WalkerComment

LIKE SNAPSHOTS IN TIME, RED SPECTRAL TAKES NCM ON A MELODIC TECHNO JOURNEY

1. Dextro "Inside the Wormhole” [Tanira]
2. Aggero "If I Could Ask" (Poison Pro Future Love Mix) [Intricate]
3. Inner Square "Made In Black" (Alexander Harris Remix) [Thunderlab]
4. Dop’q “Snorkeling In Space" (Anjei v. PP Remix) [Slowdance]
5. Andre Sobota "Morning Lust" (Microtrauma Remix) [microCastle]
6. Stephan Bodzin “Sungam" (Patrice Baumel Remix) [Systematic]
7. Guy J "Stolen Memory" [Plattenbank]
8. Metodi Hristov "The Road" [Witty]
9. Henry Saiz “Anubis" (Tentacle Remix) [Natura Sonoris]
10. Uto Karem “Reflective" (Paride Saraceni Remix) [Agile]
11. Cid Inc. “Response" [Sudbeat]
12. Gorje Hewek & Izhevski “Calinerie" [All Day I Dream]
13. Gorje Hewek & Izhevski “Calinerie" (Ambient Version) [All Day I Dream]

Where are you from and how did you end up in Salt Lake City?
I was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, but made the move to Utah years back when I attended and graduated from Brigham Young.  After graduating, I shed the cocoon of Mormonism, fell in love with a boy, and began a life here in SLC.  Nowadays I’m still around because honestly, I’m falling in love with this place.

Which bands or artists inspired you when you were in high school?
Jam bands were my thing in high school—specifically Widespread Panic and Phish. I remember following Widespread around the South and I would just get completely lost in these spontaneous, lengthy psychedelic jams they would create. Looking back, those Widespread and Phish shows were my introduction to the psychedelic mindset that influences what I do today with Red Spectral. I get really nostalgic when I think back to that period in my life.

How did you become interested in music and electronic/dance music and which artists influence you today?
I have always created music in my head for as long as I can remember—but I’ve always lacked the patience and work ethic to become “trained” in any particular instrument.  In 2006, I discovered a band named STS9 that would fuse traditional jam band structure with electronics. They would use electronica created in Ableton to accentuate their live instruments and I was hooked. I went out and purchased the software and I have been addicted ever since. Today I’m influenced by the Israeli melodic techno scene that includes artists like Sahar Z, Khen, Guy J, and Guy Mantzur.  There is also a niche Russian techno scene I’ve discovered that produces a lot of slower, retro 80’s deeper house that creates a lot of nostalgia for me as someone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. I’ve included both styles in this mix.

What is the origin of your DJ name Red Spectral?
According to the Mayan Calendar, everyone has a specific name given to them based on their birth date and year—mine is Red Spectral Serpent. So Red Spectral is just another way to say “Cody Layton.” Which I guess begs the question, “Why the Mayan Calendar?” The Mayans predicted a major shift in collective consciousness around 2012 (not a doomsday!) and I want to be a part of that shift as humans shirk dogma, violence, and bigotry in exchange for truth, peace, and universal acceptance. Red Spectral is just an external manifestation of that desire.

What equipment do you use for DJing (or producing)?
I’ve been using Ableton for 8 years, though currently I’m trying to become proficient with Traktor so that I can jam with buddies more often. I use my APC40 for hardware and an M-Audio Fast Track Pro for sound.

Tell us about your particular style of selecting and mixing?
There is a lot of intention that goes in my selecting. Sometimes I’ll spend hours/days preparing for a mix or a live set so that I’m sure it conveys the emotions I want. If I were to describe my art form from 30,000 feet, I’m simply creating collages of sound—nothing more and nothing less.  Realizing that keeps me humble. Sometimes I hear people boast about mixing on the fly and coming up with sets and mixes spontaneously as a way to lift themselves up and put others down. For me, quality trumps quantity every time. I’d rather put together a well-thought out collage that conveys meaning, than a hot mess of jumbled tracks. I try very hard to disguise transitions to ensure the smoothest mix possible. Mixing in key is important! I wish more folks kept that in mind. It makes such a huge difference.

How would you describe the underground dance music scene in Utah to an outsider?
As some of my fellow New World crew members already know, I can talk about this subject for hours. I think Salt Lake is an incredible breeding ground for creativity in the underground.  Most outsiders equate Utah as a place where spirituality is important—yet, I have sensed many here are becoming disillusioned with religiosity. They see beautiful towering temples strategically visible from every point in the valley and instead of feeling sacredness and a longing for something greater, they see buildings that for them symbolize divisiveness, inequality, and hollow spirituality. Underground movements I’m involved in like "New World,” as well as newly-formed “Undergrowth" seek to rescue the concepts of sacredness and universal consciousness that have been hijacked and redefined by orthodoxy. For literally thousands of years, humans have been able to tap into universal consciousness using rhythm and dance, and New World and Undergrowth for me have truly recreated that sacred experience. When you attend one of their events, race, gender identity, age, and sexual orientation no longer have the same divisive meaning as the real world. They are places where you celebrate the unique manifestation of the universe that you truly are. It’s incredible, and it’s what is keeping me here in this city.

What do you think could be improved?
Intention! You obviously need capital to continue to throw events and supplement your income if that’s what you need. But when that becomes your sole focus, your project tends to disappear quickly in this city I’ve found. People here are spiritually hungry …help them reconnect to the universe through rhythm and dance and the money will follow that allows you to keep doing what you’re doing.

Outside of music, what’s surprises you the most about living here?
The resistance that is growing to the de facto theocracy we live in here in Utah is very surprising to me. When you look at the various theocracies around the world …they almost always have an incredibly vibrant counter-culture. Utah is no exception. The progressive mindset is growing here and its presence here will surprise any visitor with preconceptions that everyone in Utah is ultra-conservative.

What can you share about the exclusive mix you've made for NCM?
This is a musical journey that is a snapshot into my current internal state—it almost mimics the traditional “past-present-future” tarot card reading. The first half of the mix is nostalgic and ethereal until you reach the hallmark track of the mix—Guy J’s “Stolen Memory.”  That track, down to its essence and even its name, describes a lot of the feelings I’m experiencing at the moment. It sort of jolts you out of the ethereal state you thought you were in and reminds you of the reality you’re really in. The rest of the mix brings feelings of the future I want to cultivate and eventually experience as my reality. That’s how these mixes are with me… snapshots in time. I hope you enjoy the journey.

So long, farewell, Auf Weidersehen, goodbye...

Design & Architecture, Salt Lake CityJesse WalkerComment

Mark Hofeling, Film Designer (and my lawfully wedded husband), offered to write this short eulogy for NCM lamenting the demise of one of the city's best vintage consignment stores, Elementé on Pierpont ave.

It is with great sadness today that we learned of the loss of a venerable Salt Lake institution, Elementé. 

For nearly 30 years
Elementé has been the anchor of Salt Lake’s design and home shopping scene for those who had homes worth seeing. Kate and Teresa were as reliable as the sunrise and just as warm. Walking through the creaky front door was always like coming home. As a designer for film, I had more than a few last minute set decoration emergencies, and they were always happy to save my bacon, again and again.

As our fair city evolves and changes, and as capital sniffs out new opportunities, there will inevitably be casualties. The fact that it is Elemente that gets priced out rather than someplace like RC Willey’s proves there is no god, or not one with any taste anyway.

I know I speak for an entire community when I say thank you to two amazing women and mourn the loss of something I can’t imagine Salt Lake without. Best of luck and lot’s of love to you both, Kate and Teresa.

This really sucks.

Mark Hofeling

Elementé closes on June 31st. Everything must go so be sure to stop by to support and give your regrets in person to these wonderful ladies. 

Address: 353 Pierpont Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Tel. (801) 355-7400
Hours: 12:00 – 6:00 pm

NOW-ID Goes Next Level with 'Nowhere' Performance and an Intensive Workshop this Summer

Art, Theatre & Dance, Salt Lake City, PhotographyJesse WalkerComment

The NOW-ID Board 2015. Moving picture by David Newkirk.

SLC based international dance-art-design company NOW-ID is gearing up for some big projects this summer. First of which is our July 17 & 18 performance NOWHERE at Libby Gardner Hall at the University of Utah.

NOWHERE is an exploration of place. The evening will be composed as a collage of dance, installation, film, and original music composition featuring four dancers, an organ player, and Denmark based musician/composer Jesper Egelund performing on double bass. Local artists as well as artists from around the world will create a space of ritual as they examine the intersection of place and body. Save the dates and visit now-id.com for information and to purchase tickets.

SPACE AS COLLABORATOR, a five-day summer intensive workshop from August 17-21st, also at the University of Utah pairing 10 choreographers, 10 architects/designers and 20 dancers together in interdisciplinary teams who will each day solve a unique design/movement problem and then stage their solutions. This intensive creative experience is directed at curious, innovative professionals and advanced students in the fields of dance and architecture or design. For information or to register visit now-id.com/intensive.

In early fall, we're excited to bring you OVER/UNDERGROUND, the NOW-ID annual gala. Prepare for a new kind of party. NOW-ID is growing, evolving... and we're inviting anyone who's ready for this next-level to attend.

Global, Ethical Fashion Focus of AMF 2015

Art, Fashion, Salt Lake City, PhotographyJesse WalkerComment
Art Meets Fashion 2015 Runway Editorial / Photographer: Heidi Gress Photography

Art Meets Fashion 2015 Runway Editorial / Photographer: Heidi Gress Photography

Art Meets Fashion 2015 takes place on May 16th featuring a full collection/runway showcase from AMF runway program recipient Davis Hong, a preview of fine artist Mark Seely exhibition for Fall 2015 and collection by Nigerian designer Kinabuti. Also floral installations, special performances and tasting stations from five local restaurants.

From the AMF Facebook: "This year Art Meets Fashion Runway is about being part of a global landscape, culturally responsible business practices and ethical sourcing. We are proud to be presenting the US premiere of Nigerian collection Kinabuti. All garments are made by the women in the villages and Kinabuti has opened a tailoring school, water front cleanup projects and empowering seminars. We will be selling some garments that will help support their on going efforts as well as presenting a full collection on the runway."

Get your tickets in advance > Seats are limited. Tickets are $45 and include admission, a selection of food and beverages. All proceeds will benefit the new Entrepreneurial Artist Mentor program.

De-mythologizing Manifest Destiny, Adam Bateman's Westward Attraction

Art, Salt Lake City, TravelJesse WalkerComment

Adam Bateman, Executive Director/Curator at CUAC is leaving today for his summer project of WALKING the MORMON TRAIL... 1100 MILES from Nauvoo, Illinois back to Salt Lake City, Utah in modern times. Follow his progress at Facebook.com/adam.bateman.50 where he posted the following artist statement:

For my project I intend to walk from a spot just outside Omaha, Nebraska, historically known by my Mormon ancestors as Winter Quarters, to my current home (and ancestral home) of Salt Lake City, retracing the footsteps of my great ancestor Thomas Bateman who did this four times starting at my same age in 1850. This is a walk of over 1100 miles. I begin on April 28.
      My art has been an exploration of the aesthetics of the West. I have looked at how we create architectures (physical and cultural) that affect the aesthetic and rhetorical function of the landscape. This has been explored through looks at regional landscape painting, irrigation, and institutional tourism. I have spoken many times about how recreational landscape tourism is a ritualization of westward expansion and manifest destiny. I think the most systematic example of manifest destiny is that of the Mormon settlement of the west. The following is a description of a project I'm looking for help to fund.

Keeping Things Whole
–Mark Strand

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Travel through space can be an end in itself. The act of walking as art is as much the action of the art-making as it is the product. In a literal sense, the act of walking parts the air and makes a negative-sculpture of the space my body occupies over time. There is a huge precedent for walking as an end. In art there are many examples, most notably Richard Long. Most wilderness/landscape-focused tourism involves travel as an end as do contemporary religious pilgrimages of all types.
     My action is an investigation of the rhetorical and sculptural qualities of tourist and recreational travel in the west. It is an exploration of how a sense of place, and more specifically, travel though space is fundamental to experiencing the American West.
     In addition to the robust history (and industry) of recreational travel in the west (think motorcycle tourism/ATVs/hunting/national parks/wilderness backpacking/roadtripping), there is a strong literary tradition that ties landscape travel to American Identity. This tradition ranges from books like Blood Meridian andThe Road by Cormack McCarthy to Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck and On The Road by Kerouac, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and Desert Solitaire by Edward Abby and the list could go on and on. It also includes immigration narratives by lots of people from the Navajo to John Winthrop to Brigham Young to the current wave of Latino immigration.
     It is central to my thesis that a reason our literature and recreation so often center around travel in the landscape is because of a ritualization of a romantic relationship we have to founding/pioneering-related travel of the past. When we visit national parks we are ritualizing manifest destiny.
     I also have a personal relationship to that historical travel. I have over 60 ancestors who walked the Mormon Trail from Winter Quarters, NE to Salt Lake City, UT. That trail overlaps significantly with the Oregon Trail of video game lore, the Lewis and Clark blazed trail, and the trail used to populate California during the Gold Rush. Among those ancestors is James Morgan Bateman, my namesake and first in a line of six James Batemans of which I am the last (James Adam Bateman). James Morgan was born outside of Nauvoo and lived in Winter Quarters for a couple years then crossed the plains as a child with his father Thomas and mother Mary Street Bateman.
     An effect of our ritualization of landscape travel is a romanticization of past landscape travel and mythologies are built up from the nostalgia surrounding those heroic feats. Part of my intention with this action is to de-mythologize previous travels—to reduce them to actions instead of mythologies.

www.adambateman.com