The last installment of HEADROOM for the youbloomLA 2015 Music Festival goes live tomorrow. The very next day, we clean the rust off our dancing shoes (and dance moves) and make tracks for northeast Los Angeles, where three of Pasadena’s finest bars will host over fifty of the choicest independent bands and solo artists in the world.
They’re coming from Chile. Ireland. Haiti. Hell, there’s even a Canuck in the mix, along with homegrown sounds from states far and wide.
Here at youbloomHQ, it’s regrettable to see the end of what has turned out to be a lively, illuminating outing on a kind of heavy metal hay wagon with bockety wheels and a passed out driver. HEADROOM is a unique space where artists who will be sharing stages also get to share stories about the one thing bringing you all together: sweet, sweet tacos.
It’s not tacos??
Well, what on earth could possibly…can somebody get our source on the line?
I swear, one of these days…OH. Right. Riiight. It’s music. I knew that, think I was just hungry. Can somebody get a taco delivery on the line?
On the reals, though, it’s been dope. Much obliged to all the artists who participated in this digital confession box. (I mean, if you hadn’t, we’d have bugged your phones and gossiped about you anyway, but high five! You saved us an absolute fortune and raised eyebrows from the guy at the electronics store. So it’s win-win!)
This batch of performers have some pretty insightful things to say about the first time music made an impression on their tiny spongey minds – including one guy getting smothered in the name of soul (hint: it’s about boobies). Way to take one for the team, brother.
We’ll leave you to your reading, friends, and thank you once again for making HEADROOM LA ’15 the most fun yet.
Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for the final goss, give us the thumb of approval on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Soundcloud, and, of course, get on down to the fest. It starts Thursday. Don’t miss it or you’ll be eating your sweet sweet tacos alone. Take it from someone who knows.
Kevin Proctor (songwriter/keys/guitar, Direct Divide), MY FIRST TIME: “I grew up in a sports dominated family that loved football. Every Sunday, football would be on and when the afternoon games were over, my family would blast some classic rock and alt rock as we wound down the day. Although I didn’t begin playing an instrument until after high school, hard rock and alternative 90s rock were always a part of me.”
Razz: (songwriter/vox/violin, Direct Divide), MY FIRST TIME: “My parents sang to my brother and I every night from the time we were born until we were teenagers! My dad still laughs at the fact that “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” by the Beatles was one of my favorite songs.”
It’s a curious thing, the electric violin. At once impossible to ignore and signature (what would The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” be without it?), it’s a rarity in rock and pop music; it’s full range of sounds as yet uncharted in the more well-known genres. Putting it front and center are what Direct Divide do, which is both brave and intriguing, their unique sound complemented by tight rhythms, searing vocals, and intelligently placed guitar melodies. For fans of: Lourds, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Andrew Bird’s darker stuff
Julian Schonscheck (guitar/keys, DENMANTAU), MY FIRST TIME: “I remember (doing) a tennis exchange with families in France. My family and I lived with a French family for a week. In the evenings when we finished playing tennis a few of our hosts took out their acoustic guitars and played wonderful cover songs; I was very fascinated by it. It was the first time I experienced live music and it was like magic for me. I immediately knew that I wanted to play guitar too, but my hands were still way too small at just six years old or so. It took me around three more years to really start playing the guitar and I’ve never stopped.”
They arrived in Los Angeles on a mission: to be the biggest band in the world. German born and bred, they’ve honed their chops and are stopping at nothing to share their tight, bohemian, insanely danceable music with every pair of ears from here to the moon. Set to be a highlight show at youbloom LA, you really need to see these guys. For fans of: the good Pearl Jam stuff, Jack Penate, Paolo Nutini
Anwar (guitar, Feli and the LemonShakers) MY FIRST TIME: “I remember going on fishing trips with my dad when I was about four or five years old. He would always be playing some Jimi Hendrix and old school R&B. It wasn’t until around 14 that I actually began playing guitar. After seeing one of my friends’ cousins play, I was hooked.”
They sound like sunshine and cocktails, and have no shortage of musical chops, with caressing vocals, dreamy pop guitar melodies, and infectious, hip shaking rhythms. Even the empty spaces have style. One to watch. For fans of: Goodbye Chanel, Bombay Bicycle Club, Blondie
Robert Blue Moon (poet/emcee/other vox, Crvscxnt Moon), MY FIRST TIME: “When I was young I heard The Fugees “Ready or Not”. (It) made a huge impression on me; by far it’s the song that drove me towards music the most. It had such a groove to it; I couldn’t help but try and learn the words so I could sing and rap along with it. A few years later two songs hit it out of the park for me: Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” and Nas’ “I Can”. These two hip-hop artists showed the world that they were here to stay.”
Whip smart and acerbic, yet feel-good and uplifting, this is a group with cunning musical abilities and a tangible desire to venture beyond the well-tread environs of intellectual hip-hop. Crvscxnt Moon blend soul and gospel into a refreshing helping of music with something to discuss. For fans of: J. Cole, Blackalicious, Mr. Lif
BJ Smith (singer, composer, soul man), MY FIRST TIME: “When I was about four years old I went to a private school. I had a preschool teacher who used to play the piano and sing to us. She was a red-haired, well-built woman (I wasn’t aware of that kind of thing at the time, but I do recall every time she would hug me after I sang while she was seated at the piano, her large breasts darn near smothered me!) She used take me to convalescent hospitals, churches and other functions to sing. I remember (the) first big song she taught me: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”. I remember how happy these elderly people were to be entertained by a cute little boy with a voice and a big smile.”
Cool, clever, and impassioned, the masterly BJ Smith has the kind of industry chops you hear whispered about across the bartop when he walks into the room. He produces. He sings and plays. He writes songs. He tours with top brass; picks his own band members; slides an R&B song your way like passing a love note. He’s impeccable. Don’t miss him. For fans of: Luther Vandross, Freddie Jackson, your own heartbeat