Thursday I exchanged a few emails with Kim Scoulios, creator of Nancy Nebula and other fine works of art that you can find at her website, theksgallery.com. I asked a few questions and she provided me a few answers. . . .
What inspired you to create “Nancy Nebula”?
When I was a teenager I would look out into the sky and imagine the aliens could hear me and I would ask them to take me away with them. I was more cynical at that time, and I honestly thought the aliens might understand me more than humans. When I became older, I found it was easier to make fun of my dark humored habits – then began sketching the idea.
How did you do the artwork? What tools or software did you use?
The drawings are made with graphite and ink on paper. The layout was arranged in Comic Life.
How long did it take you to complete “Nancy Nebula”?
I thought of the idea 15 years ago. The comic book alone took one year. Nancy was this character that would show up repeatedly in my sketchbook. I have been thinking about alien related stories since childhood.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
My art will be on the next DWLB (Donny Who Loved Bowling) album. I am also working on the next Nancy Nebula comic books and projects.
How long have you been making comics?
I have been designing comic characters since I could hold a pen. Nancy Nebula is my first comic book. Before that, I illustrated a cover and 12 black and white illustrations in the sci-fi novel Doris Daring: Star Captain of the Spaceways with Chris Wichtendahl.
Are there any writers, artists, etc. that you’re especially a fan of and that inspire you?
There are so many…Nell Brinkley, Garth Williams, Edward Gory, H.R. Giger, Joann Sfar, and Alphonse Mucha. All of these artists have displayed such a unique style with intricate line-work.
Thanks for your time Kim! Make sure you check out the review of Nancy Nebula, and look for more Q&A with more comics creators in future posts!
Interview with Antonia Vai by Timothy Danger.
Antonia Vai :: I’ve always been playing and writing songs, since I was a kid, but kept most of what I did to myself. I think my real kickoff was when I graduated from school, at nineteen years old. That was when I gathered a group of musicians for the first time, showed them a bunch of my songs and organized my first proper gig, in a little bar in Stockholm. I didn’t know what the response would be, or if any of my untested ideas would work. But hey, they did! And it was at that point I realised that what I do might be interesting for others than myself. I allowed myself to stand for what I do. So, after that I moved to London to get away, and at the same time, I bought myself recording stuff and taught myself how to record my songs… After a year I returned to Stockholm again, full of ambitions and so many new songs nobody had heard… So instead of throwing myself a welcome-home-party, I threw a welcome-home-gig! In the same little bar as one year before. I remember how ready I felt. And it turned out even better than the last time. So after that, I just continued… Well, I couldn’t stop. I looked for more gigs, started uploading and exposing my songs and slowly, slowly, the word spread.
TD :: Your lyrics take main stage in all of your songs. Are they written first? Can you explain your songwriting process to us?
AV :: It varies extremely. Sometimes I start with a beat or a melody, and I record it as quickly as I can, just so I have something to sing and skat to. If I’m lucky, it becomes something I can keep. I did this with “Rainy June” and “Russian Roulette”. Other times, I sit by the piano or with the guitar and look for both harmonies and words at the same time, like a stereotypical singer-songwriter. But a lot of times I write the lyrics first. I get very inspired to write when I’m on my way somewhere. On a bus, on a flight, on a train. And then I make music to go with it afterwards. Usually I have too much text, have to narrow the words down, puzzle the sentences a bit. This is how “Confessions Of Berlin” and “In The Early Hours” came about.
TD :: Your style is very mixed. I can hear a lot of genres screaming over each other. What were your favorite artists growing up, and who are you listening to now.
AV :: I listened to many different bands and I’ve never been able to pick a favourite genre. The first album I loved to bits was “The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill”. She was my first, big role model… Then there was the nintendo game “Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time”. I swear, that game was my religion! Those songs were the first I learned to play on the piano. But, I was one of those kids that never picked a style or group to fit in… I just couldn’t do it! I still can’t. There is too much good music fighting for my attention.
To give you a little namedrop of inspirations; Nitin Sawhney, Tracy Chapman, Jeff Buckley, Nina Simone, Massive Attack, Leonard Cohen, Ane Brun, Cornelis Vreeswijk, Lhasa de Sela and the soundtrack of Hair – The Musical.
TD :: Some of your videos have neat imagery just about all of them have lyrics on them. Is that deliberate? Did you have creative control over the youtube videos.
AV :: Well, I use clips from famous movies and animations and then I cut and put them together myself… In my own amateur way. I definitely put the lyrics on deliberately. I want them to come through. I’m guessing it’s hard to keep peoples attention these days, when everything is so accessible and just a click away. We’re much more restless. Well, at least I am. So I want to require less from the listeners, and be more like “hey, the words are already here, there’s no harm in reading them”.
TD :: You have two albums… tell us about them and the differences in them that makes them have their own identity.
AV :: They’re both quite mixed up, I think. Honestly, when I recorded those songs, my intentions were never to create an album, or two. Besides from “Macho Woman” and “Down The Rabbit Hole”, which are the two studio recordings made with Labros Liaropoulos. But the rest of the songs “just happened” over one-two years time. So I ended up having so, so much material, I thought it’s time to release the songs. And I decided to keep every original recording I had made… The difference in the albums is the time when they were written. “Dirt from when the Earth was flat” is from an older time, a lot of the songs were recorded while traveling, in different rooms along the road. “Lovers and Prophets” is some kind of tribute to forbidden love and santifications. The songs were written/recorded, more or less, during the same half year.
TD :: You can tell us… Which one is your favorite?
AV :: Hmm, it’s impossible to pick! They’re like ex’s. They’ve meant something in different ways. If I make one feel more special, it will leave the others traumatized. But metaphors aside, I got different favorites every day. Depends on my mood. Thanks to your podcast I got to think of a particular song though! You played this one, “43 Seconds To Hiroshima”… It was so intense, the way that song came about. I remember reading about the atomic catastrophe in Hiroshima in 1945, and I found out, that the atomic bomb they dropped got the name “Little Boy”. This made my mind spin all over the place. The fact that people can create such a horrible, inhuman weapon for a completely devastating purpose – and then give it such an affable, innocent name. So the song is written from the bombs point of view, from little boys point of view. Anyway.. I wrote and recorded the song in one night. Put every bit of me into it. And it will always have a special place in my heart. So it means a lot that you played it!
TD :: In your opinion, what is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
AV :: That I can express my weird little emotions or my wildest fantasies, in a way that my words in everyday life can’t. And then there’s the instant feedback, the one from an audience. When everybody and everything in a room connects. Through the music! You can’t really explain that either. It’s between the lines of every dialogue I’ve ever had. It’s amazing.
TD :: How do you deal with writers block?
AV :: I’m really passive when it comes to that, actually. If I can’t write, I leave it to be. Let it rest for a while. That’s just as important as writing itself. I can’t force myself to create, and the times I have, even if the results turned out good, I’ve never been completely satisfied. The only times I’m happy with what I’ve made is when it “just happened”. When I haven’t had to think it through too much. It’s a completely different rush. Incomparable.
TD :: Where can people find your music on the web if they want to hear it?
AV :: The albums are up on Spotify and iTunes! But the best way to follow me is with a like on my Facebook page where I put up new songs and videos all the time, a lot of raw and unmixed things. I also have a YouTube channel. And then the website! www.antoniavai.com
Interview with Pratty by Timothy Danger
Listen Now : Pratty Interview
This is good old fashioned drinking music.
The music of the people; the folkish rhythms of the acoustic blended with the soulful meanderings of the Irish fiddle meets the blistering electric fury of punk topped with hellish growl of the blues.
It’s Rock and Roll, not rocket science.
The words are the truth, the music is the setting. We invite you to grab a beer, and encourage you to dive into something harder.
Now lets party, Texas style.
fiddle/ADD- Jake Curda
lead guitar- Nick Bakewell
mandolin/vocals- Brendan Gleason
bass- Chris Binovi
Rhythm Guitar- Daniel Pedroza
drums- Trent Jones
Interview with Mandie Bright by Brea Guettner.
Listen Now : Mandie Bright Interview
Raised in Mission Valley, a small country community outside Victoria, Tx, Mandie is known as a music lover whose songs are driven by heartbreak and falling down the pit of love. Every life lesson and the pain or joy of experience is layed on the stage for the audience to see. Never known to be quiet or bashfull, Mandies personality through words and song speaks for itself. She has never met a stranger and is supported lock stock and barrel by her family and girlfriends, known as the “Bettys.” Every show performed is an experience and theres always something up her sleve. If you wanna watch someone leave it on the stage and show you raw self driven enginuity, Mandie Bright is your girl!!