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An Interview with poster artist Scotty Roller // Rock City Posters

March 5, 2015
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We are poster nerds. This started back in the 80’s when we plastered our rooms in Sisters of Mercy, Metallica, Ramones, Jane’s Addiction posters and the front of CD cases when they came in the large cardboard boxes. Seeing the first 1960’s San Francisco poster art really drew us in to the art and magic of not only the posters to market an event, but the commemorative posters as well. Watching the commemorative poster scene explode even more, where sometimes a band would make posters for just a pinnacle show, now they are making them for every show. We took it upon ourselves to create posters for the “big” shows we brought to Reno back in the day, which basically were Bassnectar, The Glitch Mob and The Bounce, but also did posters for lowRIDERz and the infamous show of NastyNasty, Katey Red and BLVD.

Imagine how stoked we were, when driving through Midtown, we saw a new store called Rock City Posters. Opened by Scotty Roller, of Scotty Roller Designs, the shop sits right between the Chocolate Walrus and Sierra Nevada Chocolate. Go visit! The store is really awesome, with a huge variety of posters from around the world, new and vintage, plus t-shirts and other swag. Plus you can have posters sent out to be framed there, as well as they may purchase a print you have around the house.

If you are into posters, sit down and enjoy this interview with Scotty Roller. It’s kind of long, BUT WELL WORTH IT.

FB: State your name and where you are from.

SR: Scotty Roller. I’m from Anaheim, California.

FB: How did you end up in Reno? When do you move here?

SR: My wife and I moved here in 1996. We were going to move somewhere out of Anaheim but weren’t sure where. She had an interview for a teaching position here, she sent me a postcard of downtown during Hot August Nights with the neon on the casinos, the hot rods and the whole bit. I started packing sight unseen. Before she went on that interview I didn’t even know Reno existed. In fact, no one I told where I was moving knew where it was either. My whole day-to-day life was in Orange County and, on occasion, in L.A. for a show or something. No one in Southern California ever leaves the immediate area.  Since then, I’ve been all across the entire U.S. multiple times, Europe repeatedly and can’t wait to see the rest of the world. Moving here kick-started my travel itch of wanting to experience other countries and places I would’ve never been able to see.
I still have a strong love for Anaheim and visit quite a bit during the year, but I also like living in Reno too. There’s a lot of great things being here has afforded me and not to mention the small things like not sitting in traffic or struggling for parking. I love Reno for what it is.

saddle tramps roller
Saddle Tramps • by Scotty Roller

FB: How did you get into the poster art world and making posters?

SR: The first posters I made were actually ink drawn punk rock keg party fliers for some friends in high school. Every Friday there was a raging party that these guys wanted a flier done for and being in Orange County, our local bands were Social Distortion, The Vandals, T.S.O.L., Doggystyle, Cadillac Tramps, China White, Insted, Agent Orange and on and on so they were always on these fliers for these parties. I’d get paid once in a while $20 or some skateboard parts or something really minimal but it wasn’t about the money at all then. It was way more fun drawing these fliers in class as opposed to doing what I should have been doing.

I made all the posters for my band, The Saddle Tramps years later, and would do posters for other bands as well but I really got my chops doing 2-3 posters a week for the Tramps in early 2000’s when we were touring constantly. Later when the economy tanked and all the graphic artists in town were tripping over each other to get the big corporate clients and jobs, I realized I had an address book full of band’s numbers that I’d met over the years and so I started reaching out to them saying, “Hey let’s make a poster for your show”. I started one at a time, and then the hustle was back on just like it was in the 80’s and early 90’s for me. Finding out how to reach these band’s managers and decision makers, getting permission to do them, and then the hard part…..getting paid. Once I did enough of them the bands started commissioning me and it sort of took off.

After all that, you’ve got to get involved in the poster community as an artist. This is by participating in Flatstocks, API events, and hopefully the other artists accept what you’re contributing and bringing to the table. If you’re not bringing anything to the party so to speak, they won’t run you out of town but they won’t make it easy for you. I’ve seen some artists try and get into this, and they just flop and fail miserably. As a poster artist, you not only have to have your art game on, you’ve got to be able to print (even if you’re having someone else print your stuff, you still have to know how to do it, and have done enough of it), and the biggest thing is you have to be a good enough hustler to get on the phone with the managers of these bands and get approved and hired to do this work. You can’t just make a gig poster because you feel like it, especially if it’s being sold. The minute a poster is exchanged for money it becomes a piece of merchandise, and if you don’t have the approval or the permission to have done that poster, you just made bootlegged merch and that damages bands, venues and all involved. There’s rules to this shit. Rules and ethics that have to be followed and played by.

FB: Any educational background in art?

SR: I took an art class in high school my senior year. More because of a girl that I was trying to get with than anything. I went out with her once and couldn’t stand her so the whole thing backfired. I tried to take two different art classes at Fullerton Junior College and dropped out of both. I hated them. I did manage to meet my wife there though so it wasn’t all that bad. Haha!!!

If given the opportunity again, I’d have pulled my head out of my ass and gone to Art Institute or Cal Arts and done it properly. I always wanted to work at Disney Animation Studios, and then Pixar came along and thought that would be the ultimate. I know plenty of people who could have been the connection I needed to get in there but they all said without a proper degree and training from those schools, they won’t even take your call or portfolio. And it’s true. I submitted my portfolio and resume repeatedly. Go to school kids! DON’T do it the way I did.

rock city roller
Rock City Posters • 1286 S Virginia St

FB: How did the Rock City Posters concept happen? It’s an awesome store.

SR: Two defining moments. Two years ago in Hamburg at a Flatstock another poster artist friend of mine (who does great work) was bummed out and said, “How are you selling so much already and you’re not even set up? I haven’t sold anything.” The answer in my mind was pretty cut and dry especially since I have been the guy that doesn’t sell anything before. Art is subjective. You’re not doing anything right or wrong, it’s just a matter of people’s taste. But then the first “A-Ha” moment came to me where I thought, what If I wasn’t selling anything but the other 39 artists are. If I was getting a piece of the action from all of these artists I would be making something and not nothing. I need an outlet to sell my posters, and posters from other artists.

The second moment that really made my mind up was an invitational poster show in Dresden called Colored Gigs that my friend Lars Krause puts on. It’s in a venue called Scheune and it is all black inside, unfinished concrete floors, a stage at one end that bands were playing on, a DJ at the opposite end playing records between bands and all while this is going on, we had hung our posters from the ceiling like drapes and people were walking the aisles looking and buying posters while music played. It was incredible. I knew I had to bottle that feeling and experience and bring it home. We had nothing like that anywhere.

Since I’ve opened Lars and countless poster artists and studios have rallied behind me and championed my efforts. It does wonders for all of us. It brings their art to a place that has never seen their work, they make some money, I make money and on top of it all, it’s all done in a proper environment. I know it’s been done right even in it’s infancy because tourists and visitors come in and take their photos next to the door, the stage, the sofas. It’s crazy. They buy the posters, the t-shirts and post their stuff online and most importantly they leave with a smile on their face and happy and a lot of times it was their first introduction to gig posters at all. It makes me feel good that my passion for it can cross all demographic lines and make people happy.

Poster from Cargo's St Paul and The Broken Bones show • By Scotty Roller
Poster from Cargo’s St Paul and The Broken Bones show

FB: What do you look for in posters to sell? School us on the art of poster making and the business behind collecting them.

SR: There’s a huge science to it and we could be here for days talking about it, but in a nutshell here’s the theory behind the posters we buy: 1) Is it real? We buy directly from the artists as often as possible to ensure that. When we consign a collection from someone we are looking to make sure it’s the real deal. If there is a poster in question or in doubt about where it came from, or who made it we decline it. We do what we can to shut down and stop poster counterfeiting. Same thing with the vintage stuff. We’re looking at how it was printed, what it is, which there are several resources we use to authenticate that stuff. 2) In Reno, people buy posters based on the band almost 95% of the time. Seldom are they buying the poster based on the artist or subject matter. So that’s a huge deciding factor. I need posters that I can sell within 3 months. If I think I can move them in that time frame they’re a good investment for me. If I think for a second it’s questionable about moving in that time frame, I’ll pass on it.

As a poster collector……buy the ones you like. Plain and simple. It’s art. Art is supposed to make you happy and feel good when you look at it. If a poster does that for you, then get it. I personally don’t collect posters any more but when I am buying one for my personal collection it is of a show that I was at, or it’s a historically rare and important poster that’s almost impossible to get your hands on.

Poster for Umphrey's McGee by Scotty Roller
Poster for Umphrey’s McGee by Scotty Roller

FB: What are some of the “Holy Grails” of posters? Rare ones people are seeking out.

SR: The most sought after and highly valuable posters are without question the 60’s Bill Graham posters. Mint condition first printings are what people want and some can fetch as much as a new car. The 1966 Beatles poster from their show at Candlestick Park in San Francisco has brought as much as $57,000. We have a signed and numbered mint second printing of that poster. There were 48 made and we have number 14.  We also have a flier from Nirvana’s show in April of 1991 at The OK Hotel in Seattle where they played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time. We got that from a friend who was at that show and took the flier from the venue. We’ve got an autographed Ramones flier from 1980 from a show in San Francisco with The Plastics, I’ve got a portrait snapshot of Sammy Davis Jr. with a handbill from the show where the photo was taken backstage in 1964 at The Riviera in Las Vegas. We’ve got scores of vintage Rolling Stones posters, The Clash, Iron Maiden, Cream, 90’s era Fillmore posters from bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, we’ve got older first wave screen printed posters from artists like Marco Almera, Tara McPherson, Frank Kozik, Jermaine Rogers, etc.

I own a snapshot of poster artist Rick Griffin drawing the Jimi Hendrix poster with the flying eyeball. I got the photo from the photographer who took it in 1967. It’s an original unpublished snapshot. I’m trying to get the first printing of that poster that he was drawing so that I can frame them and hang them side by side. Unfortunately, finding that poster is like getting your hands on an artifact from the Titanic, and when it does come up it sells for around $15,000. It’s all about the chase and the hunt to get one. We have a few rare posters like that. One is going to auction at Christie’s in London in March. That is a Thirteenth Floor Elevators poster from 1966.

On the press • Earls of Leicester • By Scotty Roller
Hot off the press

FB: Who are your favorite poster artists?

SR: My favorite posters are from Hatch Show Prints in Nashville and Globe Poster Company. Globe did all the soul revue posters in the 50’s and 60’s for The Apollo Theater and the like. They used neon inks, halftone photos and they were true wild vibrant graphics that sold excitement. They were the polar opposite of understated posters like you see today. They were advertising pieces that subsequently were an unintentional art style. I love Hatch Show Prints because they have a distinct style, the type blocks were all hand cut, and their posters are hand done but simple, recognizable and they never changed.

FB: What do you see as the biggest failure people have in designing posters?

SR: The biggest failure I see is that people get so wrapped up in the design that they forget what it is. A gig poster is a piece of advertising that should look so cool that it makes you want to go to that show, and when you get there should make you want to buy that poster. A gig poster is a catchy hook to a song. If you remember that poster it worked. If you can’t remember it, it missed the mark.

buzzcocks roller
Buzzcocks • Detroit • By Scotty Roller

FB: What advice can you give aspiring visual artists in the concert poster world?

SR: My advice is this, and it can be transposed for any career. Even if you’re a mechanic or a bus driver: Don’t do it for the money or to get into the shows for free. Do it because it’s your one true passion in life. If it’s truly the one thing you feel that you were put here to do, then go for it. Draw every day. Even if you’re using a computer to make them, you have to know how to draw by hand. If you don’t, you’re not gonna last very long or go very far. Learn how to hand letter. Become a tracing pro. You’re gonna need it. Learn how to use a brush to ink. Once you’ve got this down, get your computer stuff together. The last thing, don’t use pre-distressed fonts. Distress them yourself.

The last big thing is, find your style. Even if you like to design in different styles, make it so people know you did it. And when other know-so-much designers start criticizing, discounting your work or passing you off as a hack make sure they see your middle finger and hear you clearly when you tell them to piss off. Just like Andy Warhol said, “Art is what you can get away with” and Shepard Fairey said it even better, “People like to talk shit but it’s usually to justify their own apathy.”

FB: Any particular fanboy moment where you say “I can’t believe I am making a poster for this artist?”

SR: I’ve been very fortunate in my life through playing in bands and making posters that a lot of people who I looked up to over the years have become friends, acquaintances and clients. I never get star-struck over doing posters for a band. I’ve done posters for some big artists who I have really admired and they have been super cool. They’re just like you and I. I have done a poster for one artist who I looked up to and he was so schizophrenic I squashed the deal. Another artist I did a poster for gave me more grief than I could ever express and it only made me respect him more because he was that way when no one was looking. It wasn’t a put-on. Every one else has been insanely nice and easy to work with for the most part.  I’d imagine if I got a chance to do a poster for Chuck Berry and he wasn’t a complete dick I’d probably be a little giddy.

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“Fresh air, a breath of it G Jones is.”

February 13, 2015
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Yoda would say “fresh air, a breath of it G Jones is.” With the onslaught and saturization of big room EDM “culture” these days, it’s great to experience a fresh, original and ego-free sound emerge from the West Coast. Liberated from the constraints of a specific bass genre and nerdy enough to appease the haters out there, G Jones has built a solid career based on music. Solid. Fucking. Music. No gimmicks, hype, bought likes or followers, this Jedi’s beats are fresh, his bass lines are enveloping, his kicks knocks and the best part is his music stays psychedelic while giving the feel like of watching a live experiment onstage.

G Jones Promo Photo

 

His homebase of Santa Cruz is symbolic of his sound. It’s a city full of juxtaposition: where the land meets the water, fog and sunshine, hot and cold, wealthy and poor, rednecks and tree-huggers. No surprise that Bassncectar also emerged from this location, an artist also known for his balance of heavy and beautiful (his last album called Noise Vs Beauty). Also no surprise he has been dropping G Jones tracks for years, tapped him to remix his “Don’t Hate the 808” and selected him to open his last NYE360º show in Nashville with Tipper.

But we’ll just let the music speak for itself…listen to this mixtape.

Reno and Tahoe are getting two special nights of G Jones February 18th and 19th, respectively. We wouldn’t be surprised if G Jones outgrows these venues by the time 2016 rolls around. He is one artist that we can say 100% deserves it.

Opening both nights are two extremely talented up and comers: Oakland’s SAYER and Truckee’s CharlestheFirst. PRSN will make a rare area appearance, closing out Reno’s show and playing the free Crystal Bay afterparty in the Red Room with DJ Professor Stone from Fresno.

THE RECIPE (RENO)
EVENT: G Jones, Sayer, CharlestheFirst, PRSN
LOCATION: 1Up
AGES: 21+
TIMES: Doors and music begin at 9pm
FACEBOOK INVITE: http://on.fb.me/1CXHj5p
TICKETS: $10adv/$15door available at www.futurestrange.com, The Melting Pot World Emporium or 1Up during business hours.

 

THE RECIPE (TAHOE)
EVENT: G Jones, Sayer, CharlestheFirst
LOCATION: Crown Room, Crystal Bay Club Casino
AGES: 21+
TIMES: Doors and music begin at 9pm
FACEBOOK INVITE: http://on.fb.me/1vmeWWE
TICKETS: $10adv/$15door available at www.crystalbayclubcasino.com or the cashier cage
AFTERPARTY: Free afterparty featuring PRSN and Professor Stone in the Red Room

 

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Gjones_11x17-19_WEB

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CIRCLE GETS THE RENO SQUARE – ONLY SIX SHOWS LEFT

February 2, 2015
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I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t liked game shows. It seems even if you don’t watch them now, there is a nostalgic part of everyone attracted to them. Being home sick from school and watching Card Sharks, $10,000 Pyramid or the Grand Poobah of morning game shows, The Price is Right. The kitchy set design, the music, the prizes and the host all combine a magical wonderland where anything is possible. A common person can get on, perform with or compete against “celebrities” and walk away with “a mountain of cash and prizes.”

Since then I’ve literally had three friends win The Price is Right (one had an article written about her experience in The Onion’s A/V Club), and you also don’t have to even watch them at home anymore: there is a way more entertaining and interactive (and R-rated) options. If you are at a festival, make sure you check the schedule for Psychedelic Friendship Bingo. If you are in Reno/Tahoe in the month of February, don’t miss The Game Show Show at Good Luck MacBeth Theater.

Amanda Alvey and team ate Hotshot The Robot in The Money Pyramid
Amanda Alvey and teammate Hotshot The Robot in The Money Pyramid

The original ” Game Show Show” debuted as part of Good Luck Macbeth Theatre Company’s 2014 Season. Fresh Bakin’, as well as other area groups such as Brüka Theater, Wilks Broadcasting, Creme Restaurant, Planned Parenthood, participated as contestants in a “Family Feud” parody with Hotshot the Robot on their team to a sold-out crowd. Now in 2015, The Game Show Show returns with a new spin on classic game shows they’ve named “Reno Squares” and “The Money Pyramid.” money pyramid

The Game Show Show, created, co-produced, and hosted by Jessica Levity of Homeslice Productions, stars Reno’s hilarious comedy troupe, The Utility Players, alongside a variety of other talented Reno celebrities, “celebrities,” theater personalities, and characters-in-general. “Game shows are a great opportunity to share the stage with a multitude of people in this town who can make me laugh until it hurts,” shares Levity. “As soon as I released our “Now Casting” campaign, I received an onslaught of emails from local talent hoping to be featured as center square in Reno Squares, or as a contestant battling for silly prizes.”

Last year I laughed so hard I almost peed onstage. Seriously. And with last year’s run breaking the record for attendance at Good Luck MacBeth, they are anticipating this as another capacity run of shows, especially with the “Reno Squares” element. Everyone was connected to Hollywood Squares, the place where washed up actors, comedians, athletes, and random popular personalities ended up when the offers stopped coming in. Being R-rated and in Reno, (except for the one kid’s show), we can only imagine how dark this may go.

This show, though mostly improvised, is penned by The Utility Players, with direction by Levity.  “You know you’ve reached comedic gold when we can’t make it through a writing session without crying from laughter,” reveals Levity. Levity has received a lot of inspiration from the fantastic set designed by New York natives, Gabe and Lenora Graham. “The overall goal of the entire production, from the set to the cast to the prizes, is to remind the community how important it is to play, just for fun,” she says. And you don’t have to stay home from school or work…nor sit through LifeAlert and Palmolive commercials.

THE RECIPE:

EVENT:  The Game Show Show

CAST: SEE BELOW

TIMES: All shows begin at 7:30pm unless otherwise noted

DATES: Feb  19, 20, 21, 27, 28; February 22nd is our 2pm matinee(The Kids Show – RATED PG-13)

TICKETS: $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Tickets are available on Brown Paper Tickets as well as at the Never Ender (119 Thoma St.)

LOCATION: Good Luck MacBeth Theater • 713 S Virginia St.

EVENT LINK:   http://on.fb.me/1yyZWrz

CAST

2/19
Ian Sorensen (Utility Players)
Chris Daniels (Utility Players)
Shane Tolomeo (Utility Players)
Joe Garton (Utility Players)
Amanda Alvey (Utility Players)
Emily Skyle (Utility Players)
Taryn Gomez (Utility Players)
Jenny PezdeSpencer (Celebrity Guest)
Ed Adkins (Celebrity Guest)
Josh & Kerri E. (Contestants)

2/20 (The gay episode)
Ian Sorensen (Utility Players)
Chris Daniels (Utility Players)
Shane Tolomeo (Utility Players)
Joe Garton (Utility Players)
Amanda Alvey (Utility Players)
Haysteev Cannüdumeafaevor (Celebrity Guest)
The Novelists (Celebrity Guests)
Vonnie & Meredith (Contestants)

2/21
Ian Sorensen (Utility Players)
Chris Daniels (Utility Players)
Shane Tolomeo (Utility Players)
Amanda Alvey (Utility Players)
Emily Skyle (Utility Players)
Taryn Gomez (Utility Players)
Greg Klino (Utility Players)
Jenny PezdeSpencer (Celebrity Guest)
Ed Adkins  (Celebrity Guest)
Vaude Villain (Contestants)

2/22 (kids show)

Ian Sorensen (Utility Players)
Chris Daniels (Utility Players)
Shane Tolomeo (Utility Players)
Joe Garton (Utility Players)
Amanda Alvey (Utility Players)
Stacy Johnson (Utility Players)
Taryn Gomez (Utility Players)
Kiwi Smith (Celebrity Guest)
Paige Adkins (Celebrity Guest)
Logan Strand (Celebrity Guest)
Michael Carter (Celebrity Guest)
Sam & Katie (Contestants)
  

2/27
Ian Sorensen (Utility Players)
Chris Daniels (Utility Players)
Amanda Alvey (Utility Players)
Stacy Johnson (Utility Players)
Bike Joe  (Celebrity Guest)
Bruka Theatre  (Celebrity Guests)
Bruka Theatre (Contestants)
2/28
Ian Sorensen (Utility Players)
Chris Daniels (Utility Players)
Shane Tolomeo (Utility Players)
Amanda Alvey (Utility Players)
Emily Skyle (Utility Players)
The Novelists  (Celebrity Guests) 
Lenora and Gabe (Contestants)

 

Game show show

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PAINT IT PURPLE ON JANUARY 24th

January 15, 2015
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Pink, White, Green…..there are color parties abound in the Reno/Tahoe area. With No Town’s Pink Party being the longest running color-themed party in the area, Future Strange is teaming up with Cargo to saturate your ears in a sea of purple on January 24th with The Purple Party. What sets this party apart from other color-themed parties, is in this case some of the music is purple too. Purple is a lesser-known electronic music genre that evolved from dubstep and pioneered by small group of Bristol, UK producers and then spread across the world.

Returning to Reno with a history of capacity crowds dating back to the Bliss Nightclub days is bay area producer An-ten-nae with his newest and most successful project to date, Dimond Saints. Named for the Dimond District in Oakland from where he and collaborator ReLeece reside, this show marks the Dimond Saints debut in Reno/Tahoe. While this may be their first area show, Dimond Saints has extensively toured throughout the United States and internationally, hitting up every major festival in 2014. Dimond Saints, however, is a marked departure from An-ten-nae’s acid crunk and very heavy bass music we found in previously seen projects, lowRIDERz and An-ten-nae. It’s a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated world of stale trap beats and mainstream EDM. Dimond Saints original productions and remixes are intelligent and masterfully produced with an ethereal spatiality given to the sounds, yet the bass washes over the listener to create that feeling bassheads seek. An-ten-nae is well familiar with creating and curating this vibe, being a massively successful SF promoter with An-Ten-nae Presents and musical tastemaker on the west coast. His forethought brought the likes of Bassnectar, Amon Tobin, Modeselektor, Diplo, Flying Lotus and Santigold to large west coast venues long before they were the household names they are today.

 

 

Joining Dimond Saints is a serious up and comer in the bass music realm, Bleep Bloop. With diverse roots in everything from hip-hop to orchestral music, Bleep Bloop’s style can be described as mutated club music that must be heard live to experience fully. His most recent works were not only supported and played in sets by the infamous DJ Shadow, but Shadow released Bleep Bloop’s most recent EP on his label. With a constant release of new sounds dripping from Bleep Bloop’s brain, you can expect an entirely new experience every time he performs.

 

Rounding out the line-up is local tastemakers/producers/djs Boggan and Subdocta as well as Irieyes and Benjah Ninjah. Everyone is encouraged to dress in purple attire. Also, if you attend the String Cheese Incident at the Grand Sierra you can present your ticket at the door for $5 off.

 

THE RECIPE:

EVENT: The Purple Party

PERFORMERS: Dimond Saints, Bleep Bloop, Boggan, Irieyes, Benjah Ninjah, Subdocta

LOCATION: Cargo at Whitney Peak

DATE: January 24th, 2015

TIME: 9pm

AGE RESTRICTIONS: 18+ (ID Required)

TICKETS: $10 (Limited), $15 (Advance), $20 (door), $5 off with Stub or Wristband from String Cheese Incident at Grand Sierra. Available at The Melting Pot World Emporium, Whitney Peak front desk or at www.cargoreno.com



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The Matinee Opens at Seven – (Jan 17th)

January 12, 2015
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With a plethora of options this weekend in Reno/Tahoe area, one show we are excited for (and will absolutely be at) is Moondog Matinee’s album release show at Cargo Saturday, January 17th with Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones. I found their new record, “Carry Me, Rosie,” uploaded to their Soundcloud account and it’s been on non-stop rotation.  Soul, raw power, energy, blues…Moondog Matinee’s current line-up of Drea Ballard (guitar, vocals), Peter Barnato (vocals, keyboard, guitar), Adam Carpenter (bass, vocals), Ben Ingle (drums) and Steve Widmer (guitar, vocals) exudes a confidence I’ve never heard before in this band.

It’s amazing how far these guys have come since I first heard them a few years ago, and how tight they are together. Previously I was even lost as to who they wanted to be sonically. After listening to this album over and over again I feel they’ve found their sound, but have laid a foundation that we can literally expect anything from them. We caught up with vocalist Peter Bernato to answer some questions for us.

FB: How long has Moondog been together? What’s the history?
PB: Almost 8 years, we started as a college band jamming for fun and throughout the years have been interchanging personnel and honing our sound. It was always quite schizophrenic, but the moment we pulled Drea Ballard on board, our band had a cohesive, unique sound that we are all very proud of.

FB: You all have been out on the road quite a bit. How have your tours been going? Any standout shows or cities you really like playing?
PM: Great! We do well on the road. Nothing like a bunch of friendly drunkards, living in a school bus, that like to play live music in front of strangers. We work very hard, and believe that live music is the only way to have the current music listening climate respect what you are doing. The digital age has brought a lot of negative aspects to the music industry, but we believe it has created a healthy climate for live performance. We are so used to getting things immediately on the ‘interwebs’ that a heartfelt live performance is something that is in realtime. Something that is vulnerable and honest. That’s why live gigs are everything to Moondog, because we love everything that we are shoving down the audience’s throats, and we hope they enjoy what we are forcibly feeding them. Seattle and Bend are markets that understand what we are doing. Every time we play in those cities, we are greeted with fans that treat us with the respect that we crave as musicians.

moondog matinee LIVE

FB: Who would say are the band’s biggest influences?
PB: That’s a question that each member would answer differently, but I know our favorite decade is early to mid seventies rock and roll. I am a devout Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, David Bowie, Bob Seger, Gram Parsons, The Band, Warren Zevon, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Velvet Underground, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead fan….. You get the point

FB: What era of the Grateful Dead is your favorite?
PB: I’ll have to speak for myself, but Workingman’s dead and Wake of the Flood are my favorites…..

FB: Tell us about something completely disturbing you experienced on tour.
PB: We were playing in Eugene in front of a raging audience of two that consisted of our bartender and an old drunk, and Drea peed his pants during the first song. It was his first tour with us and he misunderstood his bladder. The most magical part of the night was his determination to finish the next 45 painful minutes with urine in his Levis.

FB: Tell us about your Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones and why you selected them to be part of you album release show
PB: Bryan Jones is a musician that I have looked up to since the day I met him. He is a musician down to his marrow. Everything he does revolves around music. That’s a trait that I most admire and pretend to have, but very few people possess. Rigorous Proof has an understanding of music that is similar to ours. Not necessarily in the ways we sound similar, but in the era in which we dream to reside. They are a mixture of Preservation Green, Kinks, early Who and Supertramp. We chose them to play with us because we respect what they are doing. Plus Johnny and the boys are the nicest, most humbling group of cats we know.

FB: My friend told me she used to go to the mall in high school and stare at you while you worked at The Gap. How do you respond to that?
PB: I wish she would of talked to me, I felt as though I was invisible in those years of my life. Hahaha

THE RECIPE: SHOW: Moondog Matinee, Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones
LOCATION: Cargo in Whitney Peak Hotel
DATE: January 17th. 2015
TIME: Doors open at 7pm, music begins at 8pm.
AGES RESTRICTIONS: All ages welcome
TICKETS: Tickets are $10 and are available at the Whitney Peak front desk or HERE

BLOG For Immediate Release RECENT Reno Tahoe Uncategorized

THE UTILITY PLAYERS KILL YOUR T.V….AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND

November 28, 2014
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Admittedly, I have turned into that annoying “no TV” guy. When someone asks me “Did you see that commercial about the dog and the guy and the toilet?” I start with “no.” Usually I am asked in return “How have you not seen that? It’s on all the time” to which I have to respond “I don’t own a television.” I don’t think I’m better than anyone who owns one; TV and I have been roommates on and off since I was little. Eventually I realized I function better without one. I end up watching dumb stuff for no reason, and I think back about all that GARBAGE I watched growing up and it kind of sickens me.

Free TV
 

However, the final tossing of the boob tube onto the sidewalk with a “FREE (works)” sign attached happened when I discovered Reno’s indie theater scene. My parents took me to big production plays when I was young, and you are also currently reading the yammerings of Sycamore Junior High’s lead actor of The Phantom Toolbooth (Milo). After that, theater kind disappeared in my life.

My friend took me to Pageant at Brüka Theater many years ago and I walked out with my stomach muscles in agony from laughter. That one experience inspired me to buy season tickets for a few years, and in doing so I realized there is even more “like that” in Reno. These performances were the final nail in the coffin for the big black box. In theater, storytelling, stand-up, etc, there are no overdubs, reshoots, adding filters or manipulation to cover mistakes It’s pure, raw and un-edited. I was a changed man.

Not long after moving to Reno in 2006, I met Jessica “Jester” Levity at the Studio on 4th Street. We discovered in a phone number exchange that both hail from Cincinnati, OH, so clearly our Midwestern/Ohio pride was huge (FYI people from Ohio are very proud and it has nothing to do with our sportsball teams). While I was focused on music, she had founded an improv comedy troupe called The Utility Players. According to Levity “I had a insatiable yearning to see really good improv comedy, and I also dreamed the name “The Utility Players”, and thought, “Holy shit, that would be a great name for a comedy troupe that can do anything.”(fun fact: A ‘utility player’ is a baseball term for someone who can play any position proficiently). We stayed in touch over the years (see: Midwestern/Ohio pride) and seeing each other’s endeavors grow, we had both grown out of the Studio on 4th and in 2011 I found myself at my first Utility Players show at the Pioneer Underground.

 

utility players onstage
 

Modeled after the 1998-2007 show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Utility Players take the crowd through a series of “games” which create scenarios for the comedians to improvise within. What makes this way better than the show is first, it’s live; and second, no network TV censorship (the show is 18+ only) so it has an “anything goes” ethos. After attending easily over fifteen UP’s shows I can promise that anything truly does go.

Much like an improv jazz band or jamband, improv is influenced by the energy of the crowd, the moods of the comedians, the ideas called out from the crowd, or even how recently practiced are the comedians? One thing that’s so magic about improv is the unknown. Will this “show” be incredible or fall flat? When a performer walks on stage with no set-list, skit, or pre-rehearsed bit, the potential is completely unknown. Throw in inviting crowd members up onstage for games, and every show is a wild card. I’ve seen the Utility Player’s build so much energy in a room your hair stands on end, and a few times they’ve even ended a game by saying “ok, that was terrible.” It’s a risk you take to create magic.

 

utility players audience
 

After a long tenure at the Pioneer Underground, they were offered an incredible opportunity: their own theater and weekly gig at the Sands Regency. “Jester’s Theater” was created in small conference room upstairs in the Sands (fun fact: the rooms was previously The Funny Bone Comedy Club until 2007). My first thought was “the Utility Players are already great, but when a group like this performs weekly instead of monthly, their improv is going to get even better than before.” While the theater created in the Sands is no Pioneer Underground structurally, it’s more intimate and you can hear the performers better than ever. The cast for this past week: Amanda Alvey, Chris Daniels, Derek Sonderfan, Ian Sorensen, Joe Garton, Shane Tolomeo, Stacy Johnson and Taryn Gomez, along with host Jessica “The Jester” Levity, clearly have benefited from their weekly gigs. It was clear their improv was quicker, sharper and funnier. From “game” to “game” the overall consistency of the show was really strong. The crowd was pretty rowdy but overall respectful and was adding great cues (when asked).

Not only did their weekly gigs tighten their show, but they were invited to the SF Improv Festival this past September. That experience, Levity says “humbled us, it inspired us, it networked us, and, in the words of Derek Sonderfan (our musician): ‘It wasn’t our greatest performance, but it showed that we deserved to be at SFIF.’ They loved our performance, and the team bonding that occurred that weekend is irreplaceable. Most importantly, a bunch of improv junkies got to see a bunch of incredible improv, and it has completely set a new bar for what we want to do as a troupe. Also, the UPs got to witness THE troupe that single-handedly inspired me to create my own troupe when I saw them in Amsterdam — Boom Chicago. They were speechless after the performance.”

There are only two shows left in The Utility Player’s eighth season at the Sands. THIS TROUPE IS FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS RIGHT NOW. Every Saturday through 12/20 (no show on 12/13). Tickets are available online at www.utilityplayerscomedy.com or the Sands cage. Doors open at 7:30 (get there on time to get best seats). These shows have been selling out so we recommend arriving early and buying presale tickets.Please also like Homeslice Productions and The Utility Players on Facebook.

 

 

 

CLICK FOR TICKETS
CLICK FOR TICKETS

 

BLOG For Immediate Release RECENT Reno Uncategorized

THE ONE DAY RENO GUIDE FOR STRANDED BURNERS

August 25, 2014
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BURNERS….STUCK IN RENO?

We love this city……but don’t get any ideas about moving here or anything. Here are a few of our favorite places to make your stay here more pleasant….we are sticking to around downtown/midtown areas, so clearly this isn’t comprehensive, but something we whipped up really quick for the out-of-towners.

• • •

NEED A ROOM?

Look no further than the Grand Sierra Resort! Currently code BURN14 will get you 50% off prevailing room rates (you can book online, call or just go in with the cod). Summit Tower rooms are as low as $65! Quite a steal for how nice this place keeps becoming with the remodels. Plus the best pool in town.

• • •

NEED FUN TONIGHT? THIS…

STRANDEDMAN_MUD4

 

Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation, Philipp from M.A.N.D.Y., TychoDJ Dan, Elite Force, Ethan Miller and other special guests will be rocking the front bar at LEX Nightclub in Grand Sierra tonight FREE!

• • •

NEED FOOD?

I know…you live in “insert city” here and you have the best Mexican food. Honestly I’ve traveled all over the US and Mexico; and I’ve brought people from all your cities to LOS GALLOS TAQUERIA….they all agree it’s a clear winner as one of the best traditional Mexican food spots. My favorites are the tacos: cabeza, lengua, chorizo, al pastor, carnitas all win. For other fairs, Italian-inspired Campo on the river, bistro and amazing burgers at Midtown Eats, Old Granite Street Eatery also sources lots of delicious local food for their creations, Brasserie St James has creole-inspired food and incredible beer, Grateful Gardens or Laughing Planet for the more health-conscious, grab brunch or breakfast tomorrow at The Stonehouse, sushi at Sushi Lover or Kokopelli’s (yes we know Kokopelli’s is in a CASINO, but trust us on this one), Asian food at Golden Flower is open till 3am, Bangkok Cuisine has great Thai food, Pho 777 has the best pho, Noble Pie has your pizza and wings fix.

• • •

TAKE A WALK!

Walk down our river to Wingfield Park Downtown, take hike up Rattlesnake Mountain, drive up the Mt Rose Hwy to see the breathtaking views of Tahoe. So many amazing beautiful places to check out.

• • •

NEED GROCERIES?

The Great Basic Community Co-Op is most centrally located. Other options are Whole Foods, Raley’s and Trader Joes.

• • •

NEED COFFEE?

Great coffee can be found at Coffee Bar, The Hub, Bibo’s.

• • •

PLAYA SUPPLIES?

Our friends at The Melting Pot World Emporium have everything. Playa-wear, glass, gas, costumes, blinky stuff. For your more kinky and sexy side, check out The Chocolate Walrus or Suzie’s.

• • •

GAY?

The 5 Star Saloon is open downtown, as well as Tronix out on Kietzke.

• • •

JUST WANT A DRINK?

St James Infirmary, Shea’s Tavern, JubJub’s Thirst Parlor, Ampersand, to name a few.

• • •

 

HOPE THIS HELPS! We’ll see you out there and afterwards at The Great Depressurization Chamber at the Grand Sierra!

 

For Immediate Release PRESS Reno Uncategorized

Thievery Corporation, Mark Farina, Dirtwire (The Great Depressurization Chamber at the Grand Sierra)

July 30, 2014
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FRESH BAKIN PRESENTS THIEVERY CORPORATION AT THE GRAND SIERRA RESORT ON SEPTEMBER 2nd 2014
A GREAT DEPRESSURIZATION CHAMBER EVENT

NEW ALBUM SAUDADE OUT NOW

[July 30, 2014 – Reno, NV] Thievery Corporation travels to Reno on September 2nd for an exclusive live performance at The Grand Sierra Resort during their 2014 Fall Saudade Tour.  This show will also feature two special musical guests: house music legend Mark Farina and Dirtwire, which features David Satori of Beats Antique. The extremely special concert is considered the “main event” for Fresh Bakin’s 5th Annual Great Depressurization Chamber. The event gathers over 50 artists from Black Rock City and beyond performing poolside at The Beach, in the Summit Pavilion and latenight for an event that’s become almost as infamous as Burning Man itself.

When they met in the mid-1990s, Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton and Rob Garza instantly bonded over their shared passion for bossa nova. Dedicating their 1996 debut ‘Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi’ to bossa nova pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Washington, D.C.-based duo have spent nearly two decades creating boundary-warping, complexly crafted electronic music partly inspired by bossa nova’sintricate rhythms and lush textures. Now, with their seventh studio album ‘Saudade,’ Thievery Corporation present their first release devoted entirely to the Brazilian-born genre that first connected them. “We always try to progress into something different and stretch our musical chops, and taking a whole album to dive into this one sound seemed like a really great way to do that,” says Hilton. Adds Garza: “It’s a bit of a departure for us, but at the same time these are our roots, this is what brought us together. It’s us coming full circle from electronic music back to something organic before we move on to our next chapter.”

Saudade is available through www.thieverycorporation.com, as well as all digital and physical retailers.

Tickets are available now at FreshBakin.com,  GrandSierraResort.com , and at the Grand Sierra box office.

EVENT DETAILS FOR MEDIA CALENDARS:

Event Title: Thievery Corporation – 2014 Saudade Tour

Event Date: Tue. September 2nd 2014

Opener Support: Mark Farina; Dirtwire

Venue:  Grand Sierra Resort

Address: 2500 E 2nd Street  Reno NV

Times: 7PM

Age Restrictions:  All Ages

Ticket Link:  http://freshbakin.inticketing.com/

FOLLOW THIEVERY CORPORATION

Website: http://thieverycorporation.com

Bio: http://thieverycorporation.com/bio

Facebook: http://facebook.com/thieverycorporation

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thieverycorpDC

Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/thieverycorporation

BLOG Crystal Bay Nevada For Immediate Release North Lake Tahoe RECENT Reno South Lake Tahoe Tahoe Tahoe City Uncategorized

“Our brakes went out in Colfax, MON!”

January 10, 2014

BLAKE

 

“Our brakes went out in Colfax, mon!”

 

“We heard that so many times at Humpty’s, usually from reggae bands, it ended up as a sign backstage,” laughs Blake Beeman, local sound engineer at the Crystal Bay Club casino. I personally always noticed over the years of working with Blake that overall, even in stressful scenarios (like when we disagreed on something or I dressed up as him on Halloween), he kept a very even-keeled, humble and funny demeanor.  Depending on how long you’ve live in Tahoe, if you ever attended concerts at Humpty’s, Elevation, River Ranch, Crystal Bay Club, Sierra Vista, Rosie’s, Blue Agave, The Funk and Jam Fest, Commons Beach or Blues Days at Squaw, he’s the main guy that has been behind-the-scenes, and particularly sound boards, making sure the show goes on. While fans, as a general rule, tend to cheer for the band onstage, the unsung heroes of the show like Blake have been there for many hours before the doors open, dialing in the sound and lights.

 

Sound is vibration, and it can cause us to react in different ways. The way the sound comes out of the speakers to hit the crowd can affect our moods: it can make us irritable, elated, happy, depressed, connected, etc. I’ve joked recently that Blake’s fingers on a soundboard and his speakers have been the cause for so many hook-ups, friendships, marriages, and even babies, but the more I think about it, the more I find it not really a joke, but reality. His devotion to music has had a really powerful effect on the entire community, and world at large.

 

Blake was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had his insurance canceled due to “incurable neurological disease.”  The Crystal Bay Club and the community are joining together to throw a benefit to help with rising medical costs on January 15th. Dead Winter Carpenters, Jelly Bread and Carolyn Wonderland have donated their talents for a special event we definitely implore you to attend.

 

I met Blake around 2002 while he was running sound at Sierra Vista, then worked with him at the Crystal Bay Club from about 2005-2010 where I programmed their electronic music (aka “DJ Nights”) and was production manager for a short time (“the water and towel guy”).  The amount of laughs was about equal to the number of things I learned about music, but this isn’t about me….

 

Born in Stuttgart, West Germany, Blake’s father was casual banjo player and Blake asked him for a classical guitar at the age of 5’ which his dad then broke immediately on the way out of the guitar store. Even though he didn’t know how to play, he formed his first band Italic Illusions using cardboard cutouts for amps, drums and speakers and playing to old Beatles records. “I played a tennis racquet for a guitar,” Blake says, and he fired his first in a long series of drummers for going home for bath time.

 

Around 1971, then located in Upland, California, he was the drummer for the band Half Moon and moved to guitar as a better drummer came to school. Playing rotating covers of the likes of Sabbath, Deep Purple and Steppenwolf at junior high dances, all was well until his amp caught fire and the crowd went crazy, tearing down decorations and they were banned from playing and more shows.

 

He moves to Pasadena, and was in the band The Wiz Kids, taking lessons from of Eddie Van Halen (“you could go in and learn all the Zeppelin licks you wanted for $10”). At that time he also started working at The Record Plant learning some sound engineering. Afterwards he moved to Hollywood to play with The Touch, where they played the circuit of Madame Wong’s, Starwood, and the Friday Battle of the Bands at The Whiskey A Go-Go, where whoever got the most beer bottles thrown at the stage was asked to play the next day for $200. During this time he had been able to save enough money to buy a PA, so he’d be mixing sound onstage while also playing guitar. Later, a fabled night at Madame Wong’s, which included a gig and a near “Crying Game” moment with a good-looking blonde, he heads north to Tahoe.

 

He built the Kings Beach Pharmacy with his dad, and started playing in bands again. “Then as life goes full circle….after years trying to land a gig in Hollywood I’m playing a wedding at the River Ranch and meet Dave Mason, who takes me on tour as his guitarist,” Blake laughs. They ended up opening for the likes of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Steve Winwood, etc and playing Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid. All the same time, he’s been playing with his local Tahoe band The Beer Gardeners for the last 21 years.

 

Yet he still comes back to Tahoe, where he brings his PA into the now-fable Tahoe City venue Humpty’s, (eventually turned to Elevations, now Sawtooth Ridge Café), to do sound for a couple shows. And that was historic moment as Humpty’s went on to host such bands as Cake, No Doubt, Ice-T and Body Count, Galactic, Yonder Mountain String Band, Merle Saunders and many, many more. After many years it was THE stop on the north shore for national touring acts. Another pivotal moment for both Blake and the sound industry, he meets Jim Gamble, one of the premier front-of-house sound engineers whom he builds the DCX board with. Considered one of the best soundboards in the world (the Crystal Bay Club has two of them), it cost him his good vision and hours of his life, but sounds like “angels singing” it’s so clean.

 

After the closing of Sierra Vista, the Crystal Bay Club opened, and Blake was able to bring his technical knowledge and expertise into the CBC, helping design and build both rooms for Roger and Elise Norman. There he was part of the team making the venue a nationally renowned “nursery for up-and-coming acts” that contained top-of-the-line production for live bands in both rooms. Standing behind the board at the CBC, he is also running lights, doing sound, and mixing the video cameras….”and I can still talk to girls at same time.”

 

I sat down with  Blake for a few questions:

 

FB: What have been some of your favorite shows you’ve seen:

BB: That’s a near impossible question…I’ve probably seen about 6000 shows! I was roadie Yes for a bit, Jethro Tull “Thick as A Brick,” Band of Utopia (the band that went out on tour after Frank Zappa died), Gov’t Mule at Humptys, I did some of Bonnie Raitt’s acoustic tour, and it was when she was still not-sober ….she was out of her tree, but could sing like a songbird.

 

FB: Who would you love to see at the CBC?

BB: Warren Haynes for sure. Jimmy Herring…he’s come through with so many incarnations that have just blown the few people in attendance away. Widespread Panic holds him back so much, but I’d love to see him back again in one of his own bands.

 

FB: Up and coming bands you are loving?

BB:Fox Street All-Stars, Splitlip Rayfield…like Metallica of street grass.

 

FB: We started working together to do EDM. You didn’t like it at first

BB: No…not that, but sounded like clones of each other. A good producer would come in and I would notice.

 

But it’s been interesting to see it change all through the years of it getting big, first it was house, then breaks, then trip hop, then dubstep, now trap, now going back to house. People that started it out had to evolve because the crowd got sick of it. The electronic music scene became more than just a scene of drinking beer and water with buddies…people REALLY wanted to hear the tracks. That was really cool.…just like no one wants to hear the same cover band over and over again, people wanted to actually come out and hear the sounds these guys were making.  And ya know, EVERYONE starts in a living room doing a house party (bands included).

 

FB: Any advice for musicians?

BB: Enjoy everything you do as a musician. STAY HUMBLE.  Same with sound engineer.

 

FB: Any advice for up and coming sound engineers?

BB: If learning…be observant without being annoying. When people are working don’t bother them.

 

 

9 p.m. Tickets for the 21+ show start at $25, booths for $50. You can purchase pre-sale tickets for the show at the Crystal Bay Club cage or at http://www.cbc.tickets.musictoday.com/CrystalBayCasino/calendar.aspx

If you’d like to donate to Blake there is an internet donation site that you can go to and use Paypal. It is a two-step process. Go to the URL below. Once Tahoetopia comes up enter Blake in the search window on the top right. This will pull up topics relating to Blake. The first is a link to the donation portal.

Here is the URL: http://www.tahoetopia.com/

 

IS THAT BLAKE?

 BLAKE IS STEVE

 

Photo credit: Truffles Ziz McCrushing  

 

 

 

For Immediate Release PRESS Tahoe Uncategorized

GRIZ Rebel Era Tour at Biltmore (Tahoe)

September 24, 2013

Fresh Bakin’ and Tahoe Biltmore present

GRiZ
“The Rebel Era Tour”
w/ special guests  TWO FRESH and ANVIL SMITH

21+
Doors 9pm
Music 9:30pm
tickets available at http://freshbakin.inticketing.com

 

“A true pioneer and master of musical expression, GriZ  stands head-and-shoulders above the competition in terms of the sheer variety of his ever-evolving technical prowess. A tremendously passionate and soulful producer, GriZ has a peerless knack for creating profoundly engaging melodies to offset the presence of his phenomenally designed bass. Where many artists become mired in a over-simplified and standardized method of production for the sake of creative efficiency; GriZ has no qualms sacrificing speed for the sake of quality, technical diversity, and an unrelenting devotion to progress and dynamism.

Beginning his saga as a producer at the young age of fourteen, it is immediately evident that his talent and devotion will lead him on a journey of exceptional musical diversity and exploration. From funky rhythms to jazzy melodic embellishment, GriZ effortlessly incorporates his instrumental zeal for the saxophone with his lifelong dedication to soulful, laser-infused beat-making. This is only the beginning for Grant, and already the stylistic range of his material is both inspirational and utterly awe-inspiring.” – Ethan Baer (SubSynthesis.com)