What can I say? The northwest is my roots ...it's in my blood. Literally. My mother's side of the family is Native so my ancestry stretches back to these lands for many many generations. There is a picture (left) of my great great grandma in an history book about Native Americans in the Port Townsend, WA area and below the photo there is a description of her as a modern Native woman, because she is surrounded by pots, pans, bulk bags of food and wearing "modern" clothing.
It is rather entertaining to consider her modest lifestyle and little shack on Chimacum Creek as modern, especially nowadays when almost every aspect of our lives is often summed up in series of facebook comments and tweets, but not this kind. Woe is me, for even I have succumbed to the twittering ways.
I am a firm believer that modern technology, if used correctly, has a huge value in that it can support and enhance all of our individual efforts and energies that we pour into building community, both online and in real life. It can enhance regular communication and can be a way to stay connected with those that we know and love, especially amidst the urban sprawl of a city such as Seattle where people live in so many different areas of the city.
A few weeks ago I came down with a nasty nasty head cold that was made a million times worse because I had flown back to Seattle from Iowa, where I spent the holidays, and the airplane pressure DESTROYED my ears. I couldn't get out of bed and could barely hear anything for two weeks. During that time I was not online at all and laid around watching Desperate Housewives, and just about every crime scene investigation show on TV. I'm all about NCIS and coincidentally, Ezra Reich, whom I have interviewed in this blog, is going to appear as a corpse on that show soon!!! I can't wait! To the right is a picture of Ezra rehearsing for his NCIS zombie scenes when he comes back from the dead to hunt down Abby. JK ...that photo is just from when we were goofing around at Venice Beach.
What I realized during that time when I wasn't going out or checking my emails etc., I had absolutely no idea what was happening in Seattle at that time and I kind of felt like NOTHING was happening (admittedly it's kinda nice to do that every now and then. But it seemed like every live show that I had ever been to was just a dream. And the music scene which I thrive on didn't exist at all. And it made me realize how delicate the concept of "community" really is and how vitally important each person within a community is in keeping it lively, because we could all just as easily be sitting at home on our asses watching TV.
I think that's why I have always really loved Seattle's DIY community. People dedicate so much of their time to creating, whether they be a musician, an artist, an educator or just a random freak who likes to make life a little more colorful and interesting. Just to be clear, I by no means am saying that Seattle is unique in this way. It happens everywhere and I have appreciated this in every place that I have ever lived ...it just so happens that I live in Seattle right now, so this is where my day to day attention is right now and what I resonate with.
I love that I get to share some of the beauty that I see and hear in Seattle all the time with KRUU FM, a great little community radio station that sits in the heartland of America, yet reaches the rest of the world through the internet.
Pardon me for waxing poetic here... I just love beauty. And speaking of beauty, there are a couple very beautiful people who's interviews I will be airing tonight.
One is Malaki Stahl, someone whom I have known for ...gosh, almost 20 years now, because he and my brother were high school buddies. Malaki is very instrumental in the DIY scene here because his name is and has been on the lease for a few different DIY venues, in the past it was S.S. Marie Antoinette and currently, he and Jason Glover book shows for The Josephine in the north end of Seattle. I interviewed Malaki back in November when my friend Stefanko had come from Tokyo to play a show at The Josephine (coincidentally, that's where Stefanko and I first met over a year ago). DJ Dearborn, Olie and I had set up a live broadcast of the concert for Hollow Earth Radio so we aired the interviews that I conducted that night, but it was so good I am going to air it again on KRUU FM.
When Malaki spoke during the interview, he really got to the heart of the matter when it comes to creating and maintaining a burgeoning DIY scene and it was so perfect and relevant to DIY scenes everywhere that I had to air it again on Eden's Hour. He pointed out some of the many people that are giving their all to support the local Seattle scene, which you can find out more about at SeattleDIY.com.
In addition to the fact that I made above about how modern technology allows us to stay better informed, Malaki brought up another role that modern technology plays in participating in DIY, a typically lo-fi scene. You don't have to go to shows, you can sit in your room and participate in DIY, and Hollow Earth Radio makes that possible for the Seattle DIY scene in particular.
In these days of commercial radio, true DIY, community radio that plays a diverse range of good music is a rarity indeed. Even southern California's Indie 103 recently left the FM airwaves to go strictly the internet radio route. I can't even imagine not having a station like KEXP to listen to while cruising around the city in my truck.
Seattle based Hollow Earth Radio is also doing a LOT to bring DIY musicians together and give them a home, a place where their music can be heard and appreciated. And Malaki's point of being able to sit in your room and participate in DIY is absolutely spot on because Hollow Earth Radio broadcasts many of the live DIY shows that happen in and around Seattle. Last summer I was working in Los Angeles, but listening to Dennis Driscoll play at What The Heck Fest in Anacortes, Wa. I felt like I was there and it was golden! Who else but community stations like Hollow Earth Radio & KRUU FM would be broadcasting stuff like that?
This Sunday, Hollow Earth Radio is launching Magma Fest, their annual month-long series of benefit concerts (every Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights). If you happen to be in Seattle, pick up the $35 pass at hollowearthradio.com that allows you to enter each concert throughout the month of March.
Several of the Hollow Earth Radio DJs are also doing ticket giveaways during their shows this week. This Sunday, Fizzy Business will be giving out two tix to two stellar concerts. The contest details are posted HERE. The Soft Hills will be doing an in-studio performance during that show as well.
I just recently met Garrett Hobba of The Soft Hills when he came by my office to bring me their EP for Eden's Hour. Garrett is fairly new to the Seattle area so I hadn't heard of his band before, but I am wholly impressed by what they have on their EP, Painted World. EEK, I can't believe I'm about to do this (I hate comparing bands to one another) but Painted World is reminiscent of The Album Leaf, Sigur Ros, Iron & Wine and Fleet Foxes, but it's also entered into a realm all unto its own and that realm sounds and feels wonderful and I am glad that these guys have decided to call Seattle their home.
I had a chance to interview Garrett, who spoke on behalf of his bandmates Drew Dresman, Caleb Heinrich and Britton Drake (all pictured above). The Soft Hills are working on their new full length album right now which they will be adding more harmonies and a variety of instrumental tracks to.
But Garrett, an incredibly nice, soft-spoken bookworm, also provided some juicy insights into what he draws inspiration from, including Classic Eastern Literature and his long-term girlfriend and alien soul-mate, Yali, whom he met in a dream years ago [He confessed in the interview that this might sound weird, but this does not sound weird to me at all. Does that make me really weird? If it does ...oh well]. Garrett also mentioned some of the local Seattle artists whom he is really into, including Ross Beamish and Johanna Kunin -both of whom will be on Eden's Hour soon :) ...in the meantime, Johanna emailed me a beautiful version of her string-theory inspired song Bowline to include in this show.
Tune in to hear Malaki & Garrett's interviews, as well as a few friggen gorgeous tracks (some recorded in-studio on Eden's Hour) by other Seattle area artists whom I know and love.
Click HERE for the complete playlist for 02/28/09