4SEE 9Q with CHIMP HARDY 4SEE 9Q squares up for the low-down with Austin, Texas-born, Berlin-based DJ, content strategist and music producer Chimp Hardy.
Self-described as ‘One part club kid, one part urban shaman’, Chimp Hardy moves in his body-painted-best through sets taking on tribal influences and blending through Chicago House, G-House, Rave and Techno. We rumble in the urban jungle with Chimp Hardy for our fourth installment of 9Q. Nakedness encouraged.
A mix of still in (or barely out) of their teens, the hype around LA rock band LIILY is no fluke – their video for debut release ‘Toro’ has already amassed over a million views on Youtube alone. Rapidly gaining ground in the rock scene for their high-energy, no-holds-barred live shows, these boys from the Valley are poised to go far, fast. Straight from a heat-drenched (“stupidly hot”) gig at Download Festival in Madrid, 4SEE spent an afternoon with the boys from the band scouting out the strange terrain of Berghain on a Monday afternoon for a shoot. In the midst of skaters, down-and-out Berliners and the odd bemused tourist, 4SEE and LIILY talked touring, the incontrovertible lure of LA, and what’s it’s really like to be 19 and on the bill with headliners as iconic as Weezer, Slipknot and Beck. LIILY is comprised of Maxx Morando (drums), Charlie Anastasis (bass), Dylan Nash (vocals), Sam Delatorre (guitar) and Desi Scaglione (guitar, was present but did not particiapte in the interview). Their newest EP ‘I Can Fool Anybody in this Town’ was released March 8, 2019.
Interview: 01/07/2019 with LIILY at Panorama Bar Biergarten.
Madeleine, 4SEE: LIILY, Hello! Welcome to Berlin. Is this the first time you’ve been?
All: Second time. First time was last month.
Charlie: We like it here a lot.(All agree: “I like it; yeh, I like it”). It has some similarities to LA, especially where we’re at right now… it’s like a city vibe…
The general vibe of Berlin?
Charlie: Yeh, the general vibe.
Where does the name LIILY come from?
Dylan: Ooh,great question, Maxx loves that question.
Maxx: Uh, it’s literally when Sam and I were trying to think of a band name, it was our friend, and her name was Lily.
With two ‘I’’s?
Maxx: No, well it was because it was just us (two) in the band at the time. So two I’s.
There was another band though wasn’t there, The Lillies?
Charlie: My ex-girlfriend’s dad was in that band…
Dylan: Woahh…that’s crazy. Put that in the interview.
You guys just came from playing Download Festival Madrid with Slipknot and Tool. What was that like?
Dylan: We played the day before, Papa Roach day. It was so hot. We didn’t get to see anybody, it was stupid hot, it was insane. They have a heatwave over there, so… the sun was right on us when we started playing. It was like 103 degrees probably. We were fine going back to the hotel, I don’t think we really wanted to see anybody.
So you didn’t really get to talk to the other bands?
Dylan: No, I was impressed with even the people who were there early in the day to see us. Running the stage…the people running the stage, that would have been miserable.
Sam: They had their cargo shorts on, though.
Would you say you’ve been influenced by bands like Slipknot and Tool, those 90’s harder rock bands?
Charlie: No, no. I like Tool, Tool’s cool, (but) I think Download Festival was like, reaching the demographic that isn’t usually what we would be associated with. But it put us in that area, and we had some positive response from the audience. And we had some hecklers.
How do you respond to hecklers?
Charlie: Just yell at them. Dylan? Dylan got em..
Dylan: I…that’s happened before and I don’t usually say something, but when it’s 105 degrees and you’re literally playing a normal show, and someone’s being, you know (“a dick”) you tend to, you know, not fancy that. Last straw.
So what did you guys listen to growing up? What were influential bands?
All: It changes all the time.
Sam: Growing up though, what our parents were listening to, so like, my mum played me a lot of Massive Attack and Zero 7.
Portishead as well?
Sam: Yeh, my dad put me onto Portishead. And the first album I listened to was The Wall.
Someone has a cousin in The Walkmen?
All: That’s Maxx. Yeh that’s Maxx.
Were they an influence?
All: Yeh, absolutely.
Maxx: I think for me… well, our Manager too is Peter Matthew Baeur, he’s in that band.
But I think for me personally the reason I play drums is because of Matt (Barrick), and I think we all enjoy the Walkmen, they’re a great band. Definitely an influence.
How do you guys manage being on the road? Do you have any group traditions already, or any pre-gig rituals?
Charlie: As a band we’re still pretty new to it, but it’s getting a lot easier. We used to burn incense, but that’s not a tour thing…
Like sage cleansing?
Dylan: No, it was just this whole thing that we had when we were 15 and we’d burn incense. But anyway. Not really. It’s getting a lot easier. We tend to not want to do that much.
It is quite a physical thing when you guys play.
Dylan: We’re boring. It’s really exhausting to play, I mean, it’s exhausting being on tour no matter what music you’re playing, but I just think for us it’s a little more intense.
Maxx: Especially when you’re in Europe, cos we left for Europe for two weeks then we came back home, and we were home for maybe two and a half weeks, then we’re back in Europe, and it’s like the time, and it’s a lot of…
Dylan: If we don’t have two days off, I’m not going to go out. I don’t tend to go out before a show.
Charlie: You say to yourself you want to go out, explore, but it just gets too exhausting. But this is nice right now (the beer garden of Panorama Bar). It’s nice to be out here.
How much downtime have you had between Madrid and Berlin?
Dylan: Actually a lot; well, so we played Madrid, then we flew from there to Berlin the day after, and we had yesterday off, and then tomorrow we go to Hamburg. So we’ve had a couple of days off.
And you’re playing with Weezer in Hamburg. How does that feel?
Dylan: It’s pretty cool. Its kinda like…it hasn’t hit me yet. It’s not real until we get there. Its a band that we all grew up listening to. Its a band I feel like everybody in my childhood listened to. Weezer’s like one of the biggest bands. It’s like crazy nostalgia. It’s gonna be cool to meet them.
What would you ask them? Do you have any burning questions for Weezer?
Charlie: No. ‘Hi’.
Sam: I think if you do that you just end up sounding like an idiot, cos’ you can’t get the words across.
You guys have a very candid, real instagram, which I actually really like, it doesn’t feel quite so filtered…
All: Thankyou. We don’t get that a lot. We get a lot of shit for our instagram.
Who updates and runs it?
Sam: All of us. We just take pictures as much as we can, that we think are cooler than just what we’re eating. Or art. We post a lot of art.
There’s no schedule, like we need to have a post a day?
Charlie: Well there’s people around us that try and instill that, and it’s just… well, I personally hate it, and I hate using it. We all do. We try and use it as a tool more than anything else. But you know.
Maxx: I think part of the reason why instagram is hard for us is because none of our personal instagrams is like…we’re not constantly posting things all the time on our personals, so when it comes to a group instagram nobody’s really like ecstatic to update everybody on what’s going on. But it’s part of what we have to do so we have to adjust.
You’ve spoken in a past interview about intending to remain in the LA area. Is that still the plan for you as a band?
Charlie: Yeh. Well if it works out I’d love to live in LA forever. Its home. It’s just the best place to live, and it’s just home.
Maxx: And it has a part, has a piece of a lot of things in the world I think, there’s a lot of pieces put together there. It’s like we said about coming here (Berlin).
Charlie: We see parts of LA here. We see parts of LA everywhere. It’s also home.
Maxx: It’s also probably because that’s what we’re used to, we see sort of through the lens of things related to LA. I think LA is just, for what we’re doing, there’s not really many places that are better to be. I mean, maybe in America, its LA, New York or Nashville for music I think, but we’ve been to those places and my opinion is just LA has got the scenes that suit us the best.
Charlie: I dont think its even a music thing though, I think its an atmosphere, honestly.
Maxx: Yeh. Above all, its an atmosphere.
I’m interviewing for 4SEE, which is primarily an eyewear style magazine, presented through the lens of fashion, art and culture. I’m going to ask the question of glasses – who in the band wears glasses? Sam, you wear prescription?
Sam: I wear prescription. I have horrible eyesight.
All: The worst eyesight.
Does wearing glasses come with unique challenges playing in a band that does have such a physical way of playing?
Sam: Actually, no, I never wear them onstage. Well, there’s been times that I’ll, like, forget, just cos I don’t realise that they are on my face, I’ll forget to put my contacts on, but 95% of the time I’ll put contacts on before we play. One of my favourite things is like playing a crazy show where people think that we’re just absolutely hectic, and then after the show putting on my glasses and just being peaceful.
Is there a specific West Coast style that you guys draw from?
Charlie: I think what’s pretty popular now with our age group is thrift stores, vintage clothes, anything that’s cheap that you can get 70’s, 80’s…
Sam: I think at one point we were all more concerned with the clothes that we were wearing but now, it’s different, we don’t care anymore. We don’t have the money to spend on clothes.
Maxx: Hence why we go to places where it’s five dollars. There’s a place in LA called Jet Rag and it’s got a one dollar sale on Sundays where they just put a bunch of clothes in a parking lot and you just grab stuff, and everything’s a dollar.
Dylan: I got this (Dylan is wearing a pale vintage yellow 70’s style shirt)
All: Yeh, he got this there.
Sam: But also around the United States, it’s a thrifty tour, there’s a lot of thrift stuff and its dirt cheap.
Charlie: LA is probably the most expensive.
Dylan: But it’s unique pieces too.
Finally, last question: What drives you guys to create?
Sam: Cool question.
Maxx: What drives us to create? I think it’s something that’s natural. It’s like a dissatisfaction with what we’ve done. It’s like, whatever we’ve done in the past, just improving from that, what’s the next step, what’s the next level, moving forward, not really looking back.
Dylan: It’s also what do we have to say, you know?
Charlie: Which changes all the time.
Maxx: But I think we have a better idea going into the next album. I think all of us have a completely different grip on life and what it means to make music, creatively, through life experience.
Sam: Especially too when we made the songs that were on the EP, for a couple of those songs I was 15, 16 years old, it was a long time ago. A lot happens. There’s a big difference between a 16 year old and a 19 year old.
Maxx: When the next thing comes out, it will be… it’s a way further to who we are currently, and what we want to say, and the kind of music we want to make.
4SEE 9Q introduces innovative, emerging and provocative musicians whose future is promising, whose music and style we believe would impact in our style and culture.
Known for his powerful songwriting and striking live performance, Mikey Woodbridge, aka MIKEY. is an Australian singer-songwriter based in Berlin. MIKEY. has grabbed many hearts inviting them into the untouched world of gender and sexuality. He played a heart piercing song “Genitalia” from his latest album Paths and answered to 4SEE 9Q.
MAN BEHIND THE MIRROR
GLEN BALLARD: A GIFT FOR SONGS
Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Interview JUSTIN ROSS
Glen Ballard is a name synonymous with talent and success in the ranks of the most sought-after artists in the Los Angeles recording industry. For decades his songwriting abilities have been like rocket fuel, propelling some of the biggest names in the business on to stardom and celebrity. His masterfully crafted songs have worked their way into our hearts, creating an indelible imprint on generations of music lovers.
The six-time Grammy-winning and Academy Award-nominated Glen Ballard is well known for being involved with some of the most recognizable songs and albums of our generation like Alanis Morissette’s 1995 Jagged Little Pill and before that with Michael Jackson, cowriting “Man in the Mirror” among others, and more recently with Katy Perry on her wildly successful, self-titled breakout album. We visited his studio in Los Angeles and the talented musician gave us a rare chance to hear him play some of his greatest compositions and describe some of the ingredients to success and highlights from his illustrious career.
What drew you to songwriting as a profession? How did you get into the business and what were some of your first steps to success?
It’s a musical curiosity that began as soon as I sat at a piano at age five. I always preferred making up my own melodies and lyrics, and as a result I don’t know that many songs written by other people! I however have written thousands of songs as a means of satisfying that musical curiosity, ands occasionally I scratch the itch with a good song! I started in the business at twenty-two, as a management assistant to Elton John’s band. It took three years to get going. Davey Johnstone (Elton’s guitarist) pitched a song I had co-written to Kiki Dee, an artist on Elton’s Rocket Records, and she recorded it! I stopped answering the phones at the management company soon after and got a songwriting contract with MCA Music (later Universal).
I know it is a very broad question, but where does the inspiration for your music come from? Are these songs just waiting to erupt from some place inside of you or does it change each time you work with a different artist together?
I can fashion a song after one simple idea, musically or lyrically. It’s about having that initial topic sentence, that general theme that launches the writing for me. When I co-write with a singer I have the added thrill of a voice to animate what we are writing, and the creative juice of another companion in search of greatness.
You talk about the rare gift of a “great voice”. How rare are these talents, and who are some of the greatest voices in your opinion?
A great singing voice communicates emotion, but ultimately the sound and texture of a voice meeting with the right intention and lyric is what matters. The best singers sing to your secret heart, they sing to your soul. Barbra Streisand owns a song like no one else. Each phrase is articulate to burnished perfection. Annie Lennox brings power and grace and soul and has an enormous range. Aretha Franklin astonishes with sheer mastery and force. Nat Cole has a voice as rich and warm and fine as gold. Frank Sinatra makes every phrase sound like a revelation, an affirmation of the joy of life. Amy Winehouse takes her place among the greats in an all-too brief career. She was fire and attitude. Celine Dionne performs miracles at impossible heights.
These voices are like indelible unique personalities. They are as distinctive as they are musical. A great singer is never mistaken for anyone else…
Can you talk a little bit about what it was like working with Michael Jackson?
Michael was incredibly warm and supportive as a collaborator. We spent many long hours in the studio during the Quincy Jones records, and Michael never once complained or rushed the process. His commitment to excellence was a strong as it gets. He was interested in greatness from the past, singers, and dancers filmmakers. He was chasing all-time greatness, a rare attitude! He caught it!!
You don’t just work with incredible recording artists, but also compose scores for films and musical theatre, which led to an Academy Award nomination and a Grammy Award win for your work on the soundtrack for Polar Express in 2004. How is it different working directly on original songs for films?
It’s not that different really, writing for a movie, and in some ways it gives you a specific predicate for writing—a scene, or an entire story can inform your effort. It’s important to always serve the picture, and depending on your director it can be simple or complicated!! Songs have a unique ability to encapsulate deep emotions that may not be able to be expressed any other way. I write from an emotional place always, and then try to figure it out later…
What about the role of songwriter and producer? You are responsible for such a litany of hits that exert a massive cultural influence, and yet you are somewhat removed from the limelight. How does that feel? Does it feel like being an unsung (no pun intended) hero? Or are you happy to work behind the scenes and give up some of the spotlight?
The role of a performer in today’s world is as demanding as it’s ever been. I have aided performers my entire career without ever making the commitment to the stage myself. It all comes back to the voice, and early on I felt like my singing voice would not get me to the top, but that my songwriting and producing were better in every way. So I made a choice to play to my strengths—and it was the right way to go. I love being “behind the scenes”. I want to create music and songs and shows that really deliver to the audience, and so I’d rather be involved with that effort than playing one role.
You have worked with such a range of artists, is there anything in particular that attracts you to working with a singer? You were involved very early on in Katy Perry’s career, catapulting her from relative obscurity to mega-stardom. What did you recognize in her right away, and what do you look for in a budding star in general? How do you recognize star quality?
Katy Perry came to see me in early 2002 and played one song on the acoustic guitar, standing three feet from me in the control room of my studio. Her composure, composition, talent, and singing were obvious at that moment, and I essentially signed her on the spot. Truly it was a no-brainer and it’s astonishing that it took five years to convince anyone that she was an incredible superstar-in-waiting. The secret’s out now!!
What Katy has—in addition to massive musical talent—is a strong empathetic nature. She understands her audience on a DNA level and her connection to them is one of the great phenomena of our day!
A star must have an intangible quality of needing to connect with the audience, almost an obsession to be heard.
What is it about California and Los Angeles in particular that attracts so many creative industries from music and entertainment to design?
Los Angeles engenders a sense of freedom and creativity. It’s a city of serious dreamers and no one will tell you that you can’t have your dream. You just have to build it…
The weather is fine, the light is incredible, and the spirit of exploration and doing is contagious…
California is also the place to be for many of the top glasses manufacturers like SALT., Leisure Society, and Barton Perreira. Tell me about some of your favorite pairs of glasses?
I have a pair of Hakusan John Lennon inspired sunglasses I really love. I also have a couple vintage pairs I got in Japan back in the early 90s.
I also love my Paul Smith reading glasses.
I heard that you have quite a collection of Oliver Peoples. What attracts you to this brand?
Oliver Peoples has a retro-futuristic look with the highest quality frames and glass. I have a pair of their black Riley frames with custom-cut vintage amber glass. I wear them to add a touch of southern California sunshine to noir Paris, my beloved second home.
Tell me a little bit about your current or upcoming projects and your production company Augury.
Augury is a music-driven entertainment company. We develop musical theater, episodic television, new musical artists, and high-concept musical presentations. One of our current projects is Queen of Souls: a time travel voudou movie musical about Marie Laveau set in past and present New Orleans. The music traces the beginnings of jazz in French New Orleans to the music of today as we tell the story of the incredible, mystical feminist healer and voudou priestess, Marie Laveau.
4SEE 9Q introduces innovative, emerging and provocative musicians whose future is promising, whose music and style we believe would impact in our style and culture.
Our second guest is Austrian Apparel (AA+), Vienna-based electronic music producer duo Sebastian Wasner and Dominik Traun. Packed with a vast array of synths, drum machines and effects, AA+ performance gives audience an incredible live electronic music experience. They have quickly become cult figures in the established club scenes. We recently caught up with them at Lighthouse Festival in Croatia.