Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chillin' With Chuck

Good news ladies and gents... I survived my birthday weekend. I have enough booze left over to last me till 2015, and 1/4 of a working liver with which to process it. That 1/4 of "old brown bag" that's still in action is going to have a busy fucking weekend, because goddammit, it's Valentines Day on Friday. We're having our annual V-day showcase showdown this Friday at Matchless in Greenpoint, and we'd love for you to come share the misery with us. Opening up the night is Chuck Burns; a local bluesman/folk anti-hero. We sat down for a little back and forth on Gchat. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: We usually book indie rockers for HBR shows, but it felt right to go in a really bluesy direction to open up our Valentine's Day show. How do you feel about V-Day? For it or against it?

Chuck: Well, in general, I would say I am against the holiday itself, mainly because it is a big money making venture for the Hallmark Company. But we're really looking forward to the show. we're gonna make the theme of our set a cynics Valentines Day, one for the broken hearted. We'll be raking up an ancient song of mine called, "Fuck You, I Love You," which I'll be singing as a duet with Sophie from Madam West

HBR: Awesome! I think I agree with you on Valentine's Day, on the other hand it's hard to really be upset at a holiday so pointless...

Chuck: Well said. I think its a perfect irony for us to be playing on V-Day, because so many of my songs come from this place of heart break.

Chuck, looking the part.

HBR: Who are your biggest influences? Are they passionate or cynical in their delivery?

Chuck: I guess my biggest influences, at least lyrically are the underground traveling singer-songwriters, people like Paleo and Jeffrey Lewis. That said, I get a lot more aggressive in my singing, which I suppose I owe to Tom Waits, and old school growlers like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters ets.

HBR: How does it feel to growl like that? I think my voice would break. Does it come from the back of your throat? Is this a stupid question?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Talkin' Music Magic With THE SUZAN

  Valentine's Day is in the air, is it not? It's very obviously February outside. Winter fatigue has set in city-wide. A dusting of snow that would have been considered beautiful in December feels about as welcome of pigeon shit falling out of the sky. So it's time for winter's last holiday to rear it's ugly head, pass us by, and allow the springtime healing season of rebirth and romance to engulf us all. As an expert on being single on well, basically every day of the year, I highly recommend going to a show. You don't have to talk to anyone though there will be other people around, it's totally ok to spontaneously dance or stand in the corner and look at your shoes, and there will be all the alcohol you need (and then some).

  We're really exited for the Hearts Bleed Radio 2nd annual Valentine's Day show. Closing out the night is THE SUZAN. Transplants from Japan, they are always an engaging live show, as they transition between bubblegum pop and arty noise assaults. I spoke with Rie, Saori, and Nico via email. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Were you exposed to a lot of rock and roll growing up in Japan? Were your parents into it, or was it something you had to find on your own?

THE SUZAN: Rock and Roll is not so major in Japan, so we had to find cool foreign music on internet or music stores on our own.

Rie: My parents loved R&B or Soul music, Dance music.

HBR: Who are your biggest influences?

Rie: The Beatles.

HBR: You guys switch between bouncy pop music and noise punk. Does one style feel more natural than the other?

THE SUZAN: We are genre-less band. We have a lot of styles of music. Last week, we had a studio session, and made a dark heavy rock song. We play the music that we want to play. It's natural.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

V-Day Is Almost Here! Kill The Anxiety With Madam West.

It's been awhile since the last legit interview we've done. HELL, it's been a bit since we've posted anything at all. There's some new tunes on the horizon which we'll check on next week, Steve's B'day is this Saturday at Legion, AND we will be booking every Friday (almost) at Matchless, starting in spring. For now though, we're going to focus on the (drum roll) Second Annual Hearts Bleed Radio Valentine's Day Show! (trumpets blare). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sophie Chernin of the wonderful Madam West!

Hearts Bleed Radio: For starters, give me a little history of Madam West.

Sophie: Well, Todd and I met in early 2011. We found out quickly that we had the same musical tastes - we both had named our dogs Elliott Smith, for example - and so we started covering our favorite indie tunes every week in his basement room in Bushwick. We started out as a duo, writing solely electronically (on Logic), but once we decided we wanted a live sound, it was natural that we recruited Todd's long-term friend Mike from AZ (where they went to school). So he was on drums, and I recruited Christine and Will, who both played with me in our college folk band, Feste. Now the band has a few different combinations - as a duo, I play drum machine and Todd plays synths, and as the onstage group changes we shift a few of the instruments around. And that brings us to today!

HBR: Do you have a favorite lineup? When you're all together?

Sophie: I change my mind all the time! If you had asked me last summer, when Todd and I had played as a duo in montreal, I would have said the full band. I got really horrible stage fright and a case of sticky fingers with the drum sequencer. I almost cried onstage. I just wanted Mike there, drumming and pumping us up! But now that I'm more comfortable with the electronics, I don't really have a preference. It's nice to have the flexibility to say yes to a show on the spot, without making sure everyone's available that date.

HBR: Is that the most embarrassed you've ever been onstage?

Sophie: Probably. Montreal, to me, is like the holy mecca of indie bands. All of my favorite bands were from there growing up. It was insane that we got to play there, so I really built it up in my head before I got onstage. I think I was most embarrassed afterwards, when I was crying so hard I forgot to man the door (all of the bands were switching off door duty).

HBR: But you survived? The show went on?

Sophie: Of course! And then when I listened back to the recording, most of my mistakes were barely noticeable, of course.

HBR: Yeah, that's how it goes

Sophie: But in my head, it was total chaos.

Sophie ponders the cultural significance of V-day

HBR: Where does the name "Madam West" come from?

Sophie: Todd and I have a bad portmanteau habit. We love wordplay. It's probably infuriating to be around us most of the time. So Madam West is Mae West+Adam West... I forgot that "Madam" means "chick who runs a house of prostitutes," but oh well.

HBR: Haha, I was wondering if it was a play on Adam West.

Sophie: Yep! Most people think we spell it "Madame," which would be great if I didn't have to worry about them ever finding us on the internet.