This playlist is brought to you by Drunk History,Insecure, Betty, Skate Kitchen, my husband, and a guy walking down my street at the same time I was walking my dog. No joke, I used Shazam on half of this playlist and stopped a man to find out what he was playing on his Bluetooth speaker (it was The Dells).
I’m all about giving proper credit where credit is due, and I wasn’t listening to nearly as much music in June as I usually do. So, if it weren’t for the above — this playlist would be twenty-minutes tops.
The sound of a cold morning where the dew on the leaves has frozen.
I usually do a write up about how I know or discovered the person or band I’m interviewing. How the music makes me feel or the images it conjures in my mind, but today I’m called to go in a different direction.
I had reached out to Draag for an interview on May 17th, before our country and world took a sharp turn toward collective radical social justice reform. Radical because I think a majority of society was sleepwalking. A shift has occurred, and whether that shift makes you excited or you’re just waiting for things to “go back to normal,” a fundamental shift has happened so buckle up. I view this time as a moment filled with growing pains good and bad. One of the bad growing pains is cancel culture, I’m not here for it and I hope we evolve past it. But I do think there should be more accountability for the voices you give a platform to, and that is a responsibility I am taking on by publishing the voices of other creators. I’m happy to share I did a little social media sleuthing, and Draag is black lives matter aligned. Because I only want to highlight the people who believe in making the world BETTER for other people.
Jessica, the vocalist for Draag graciously responded to my request for an interview quickly after I reached out. I was excited to read through the band’s answers and was looking forward to getting Draag’s interview up, but Camari Carter had also sent in her reply quickly and she had an event coming up that same week that I wanted to help support.
Then I was asked to pause and listen, and I did – happily. As I work towards creating what my new reality will look like and the content I share, I’m VERY excited to share this great interview with Draag. I’m not sure how I came across them but their track Trauma Kit was added to my February playlist, and I’ve been getting into their dreamy escapism sound ever since. I don’t know what you call the wee hours of the morning, but if there is an A.M golden hour – that is the time in which I’d want Draag to be my soundtrack.
Name &/or Nickname: Draag
Zodiac Sign (bonus points if you know your moon and rising sign): Adrian: Cancer Sun, Cancer Moon, Virgo Rising Nick: Taurus Sun, Aries Moon, Virgo Rising Shane: Pisces Sun, Virgo Moon, Aries Rising Ray: Pisces Sun, Virgo Moon, Taurus Rising Jessica: Leo Sun, Pisces Moon, Aquarius Rising
Favorite Color: #E6E6FA
Childhood Hero: Marilyn Manson
Home Base: Sylmar, California
When was Draag born into this world? What is the origin story?
Adrian revived some songs he wrote when he was 9 years old on his karaoke tape deck in September 2013. He wanted to condense everything he loved about music into this project, so he recruited a bunch of audiophile toneheads, female vox, and a lot of synths and guitars. Our first EP Nontoxic Process was released in 2018, but we buried our first two mixtapes, made during a time that felt like a completely different band.
Who are some of your creative influences? They do not have to be music related, just creative people who have developed work and put themselves out into the world in a way you admire and perhaps subtly influences your own creative choices? Kobe Bryant, Ed Templeton, Anna May Wong, Alexandro Jodorowsky, John Carpenter
Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow? Shooting free throws in my backyard. To be honest, eating a delicious and nutritious meal actually really helps.
You had a residency at The Echo the month before LA went into “shelter-in-place” mode. First, how was the residency and secondly, does the residency and those shows hold a different meaning knowing they were some of the last live in-venue performances for at least a solid chunk of 2020.
That’s exactly what’s been running through our minds. The residency was everything we could have hoped for, and more. Initially, we declined the offer out of fear. We’re happy to be a part of that tradition – I think Silversun Pickups also had an Echo residency at some point. Despite van problems, amp tubes going out, guitars and drum pads giving out, the stress and pressure of handling all our gear onstage and the meticulous sound checking that we require, the opportunity to play music or be a spectator in a live setting is a blessing, as we’re even more-so realizing now.
Have you guys been doing any virtual/digital performances during this time? We live-streamed (just two of us) for Cancelled Fest with Goon, Reggie Watts, Alaska Reid, and among others.
Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place? Authentic mariscos (Mexican seafood). Shoutout Rosarito Fish Market (San Fernando), Mariscos El Viejito (Sun Valley), and Mariscos El Jato (Boyle Heights)
What’s a song that always makes you dance or instantly puts you in a good mood? “Down” by 311
Do you have an awesome book, documentary, or general “you must watch this” recommendation to share? “The Last Dance” makes me want to dominate every aspect of my life.
If you could have the power to read people’s minds or talk to animals, which power would you choose? The power to summon any music recording gear or instrument imaginable at any time.
If a song off your latest EP inspired an ice cream flavor, what song would it be and what would be the ingredients in the ice cream? “Ghost Leak” is Melona (Honeydew flavored Korean ice cream bar): the bittersweet taste of nostalgia
Please excuse my lack of words and ability to string them together in a fancy sentence structure.
I’m feeling drained.
I’m feeling tired.
Brain = Jello
But I have a great interview with the band Draag that I’m excited to post and I have a weird hang-up about back to back interviews. So thankfully I have this Sounds Like post I can put up between Camari Carter’s interview and Draag.
I admit this Sounds Like post is a bit of a reach, but I swear there is something here. I am picking up on some musical patterns and I hope you are too.
Harry Style’s ‘Sign of the Times’ sounds like Dr. Dog’s ‘Abandon Mansions’
We’re 8 days into May and I’m finally getting my April playlist up. One of my longest playlists to date. I’ve always been a music fan, there are examples of it all over this blog, but this past month I leaned on music in a way I haven’t experienced since my late teens.
Is the uncertainty of the time bringing me back to the simple escapism of a good tune — possibly (probably).
It’s been awhile since I’ve published one of these, so let me T-up this series.
I have zero musical talent. I think it’s why I’ve always been a “music person.” I used to interview local bands on the regular, interned for a music magazine, was a part of the music department of Myspace music (when that was a thing). I always fantasized about falling in love with a musician (spoiler alert – I married one). And like I said, I have zero ability to actually make or produce any type of rhythmic enjoyable genius sound outside of dorky sing-song melodies about an activity that I’m actively engaged in. i.e. I’m making a pie – oh my, yes sir – I’m making a pie (apply any tune you’d like)
However, I have one talent that can be applied to music and that is spotting patterns. I love patterns and connecting the dots. Every once in awhile I’ll be listening to a song and think, hey I’ve heard this before, this sounds like another song I’ve heard. I’ll then play the tracks and find their subtle similarities. It will be the same melody except one is slower than the other, or similar chord progression. It’s like the songs come from the same parents, but are completely different. They have the same DNA just different configurations.
I don’t pull sampled music into my Sounds Like database, because those are samples. To me, it’s like cloning a part of a song. I try to find the more nuanced connections.
On that note, here is a very non-nuanced connection as “Honeymooning” by the Holy Motors immediately can be identified as sounding like “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak – but it’s not a sample, so I think it falls on the list.
Looking forward to sharing more sounds like connections.
And for the record — I totally like Holy Motors video better than Chris Isaak’s video, although I feel like Wicked Game was one of my favorite songs as a kid. I was a moody child.
Before shows were being canceled left and right in the name of public safety, I saw Gesserit at Zebulon in Los Angeles. My husband and I had gone to go check out New York gritty post-punk group Gustaf, and Gesserit was the openers. I fell hard for the stormy daydream meets bluesy funk sound. They had an earnest yet soulful energy to their performance that is refreshing in today’s performers.
Below is my interview with the lead singer and creative siren behind Gesserit – Elizabeth.
Name: Elizabeth Wakefield
Favorite Color: I suppose it depends on the context of the color. It changes for me. I really love a celadon green wall or the purple, blue, yellow and electric red hues of a sunset on the beach.
Zodiac Sign ( If you know your moon and rising sign please indulge us ): Virgo sun, Scorpio rising, Capricorn moon
Childhood Hero: It is also difficult to choose just one hero. I really admired Cher and Elvis as a kid. When I first heard them sing I knew what it was that I wanted out of life: Music.
Home Base: Amarillo, Texas
When was Gesserit born into this world? What is the origin story?
The project officially began under that moniker in 2016. I was living in Brownsville, Brooklyn at the time with my friend Adrienne. The living situation was pretty rough. I was heavily into reading Dune and I was inspired by the Bene Gesserit. Reading helped me transcend the harsh reality surrounding me. The original idea behind the project was to create simple ambient soundscapes to reflect that transcendence. Years later in 2018 a full band was formed. I introduced the songs I had been writing over the years to my bandmates and together we created this current iteration.
Loved the set and seeing the incorporation of a saxophone player, how did you guys connect?
I do door at a venue in Brooklyn and one night this experimental noise jazz band called Wave Table began to play and I was totally in awe. They were running the sound through an analog synth and someone was manipulating the music Brian Eno style. There was a crazed man screaming improvised poetry and a woman playing Baritone Sax. I emailed them shortly after that night asking to play a show together. They didn’t see the email for almost a year, but it was Sarah who responded. We ended up connecting and playing a show together and I had an opening in my project, so I asked her to join. She’s become one of my best friends and a super important component and collaborator in the project!
When I heard you at Zebulon, I heard The The influences and a dash of Fiona Apple. I felt like the music could easily be place on the soundtrack of Empire Records or Foxfire – that is all my interpretation. Who are your musical influences and/ or creative influences?
Oh wow, those are interesting comparisons. I really love The The and Fiona. My musical influences are pretty vast. I take inspiration from many corners of music, not really specific genres or artists. As a child, I was obsessed with country music and the Grand Ole Opry. Lately, I’ve been listening to a ton of Beastie Boys, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Talking Heads, and Leonard Cohen. I’d like to try to deliberately combine these influences for the next record, haha. I imagine that would sound interesting.
I hate 5-year plans. What is your 5-day plan?
My 5-day plan is to enjoy the remainder of my time in Los Angeles before I head back to New York City. I want to take long walks, sunbathe, and see the sunset on the beach one last time.
How do you take your coffee (or tea)?
I like my coffee strong and black. I like my tea soothing and sweet.
Do you have any creative rituals that help you tap into flow?
When I am in New York I spend a lot of my time sitting at my piano bench, playing and writing until I feel satisfied with an idea. In L.A. I’ve been spending a lot of my time sitting in the sun at the park reading books, also with pen and paper at hand, ready to catch ideas as they come.
What are your three favorite spots in NY ( eat, shop, hang out) ?
There is a little cinema called Syndicated directly next door to my apartment in Brooklyn. I haunt that place multiple times a week! Central Park is obviously wonderful. So much of it I have yet to explore. I also really enjoy staying home, honestly. That is probably my favorite place to be above all.
If you have LA favorite spots, would love to know those too…
Going to the beach in Santa Monica is hands down my favorite place to watch the sunset. 1642 in Echo Park is a super cozy bar to catch a vibe and great live bands. My favorite venue we played and visited was Zebulon! Definitely broken in my dancing shoes on that floor.
How much of the set at Zebulon is not recorded and available to stream? When can one expect a release of music?
We played one new song that is not yet recorded, but the other material is from a record we recently finished. I am looking to release the LP this year! Super excited to share it with the world. We currently have one single from the record online called Silence. We are planning to release another single and video very soon!
My husband is a musician and I’m a writer. If we have kids, we’re bound to have a creative child or a rebellious athlete. As a person who is exploring their creative voice, do you have a piece of advice for us that we can keep in mind for our future hypothetical child?
I’m no authority on this! But I would say leaving tons of room for growth and creative freedom is so powerful. There are no rules. Using encouraging language and exposure to culture is so important.
Apparently the Spotify link and embed code are not communicating with the WordPress right now. So, you’ll just have to check out the February playlist on Spotify. However, I do like this new format that was formed because of a technical glitch.
One of my favorite podcasts, That’s So Retrograde, has a segment called roses and thorns where they share the best and worst parts of their life at the moment. I love this segment because it ranges from the general best life moment highlights too favorite product discoveries. Roses & Thorns is very broad-reaching in its ability to be an open category for favorites and unfavorites of the mental, physical, and spiritual variety.
I’ve decided to adopt the practice on this here blog to spotlight the roses, be transparent about the thorny parts of life, and most of all – roll out my music playlists ( 🤞 on a monthly basis)