Interview with UK Electroniker, Kiffie The Dreamer

''KIFFIE, THE DREAMER'' is Electronic Glam-Punk to Synthwave via Experimental Electronic Ambient and Electro Folk music.

What does your name, ''Kiffie, The Dreamer'' mean?

My name is Daniel Kiff. My friends call me ''Kiffie,'' it is a diminutive version of my name. I dislike being called Dan or Danny. Kiff is Germanic in origin probably. No one really knows. ''Kiffie, The Dreamer'' is the best possible version of me. Optimistic, imaginative and hopeful for a better time. 
You began recording music in 2020?!!! Music must have been on your mind sometime prior. What motivated you to suddenly take up a career in music?

Yes. I hadn't ever tried before. The lockdowns gave me time and motivation. I also believe in lifelong learning... it is never too late. I have played guitar and bass guitar for 20 years prior to this, but not very well. Before April 2020 I had never recorded any music, hadn't ever used a drum machine or synthesizer and hadn't played a piano since I was a child.

I've wanted to make music and start a band for a long time but like I said, I never had the time or connections to do so. Drummers are hard to find, drum machines are always there.

I too am pro-art and creativity versus mindless commercialism. Please share your thoughts and attitudes.

'People' like to do what they are told. Individuals act differently. Every society needs people to ask why, to question, to think differently. I am one of those people that raises their hand and asks why we are being asked to do something, to prove the instruction is actually the best course of action. The human condition fascinates me. Why are we here? To buy the next best thing.? To do as we are told? To work until we die to make someone else rich? Or to love and to see? 

What made me an Electroniker? I like synthpop and post punk music and all the music it inspired. Trance, Nu-metal, hip-hop, everything. But nothing in particular other than just fancied it.

I like almost all genres of music except overly loud SoundCloud trap. I like everything between Beethoven and Rage Against The Machine. 
Where do you want to go with your music? 

I dream that I will be able to live a life in music. Sometimes people take this to mean that I want to be a pop star. That is deluded and not my aim. I want to make music and earn enough to live surrounded by it. The alternative is horrific.

Who do you want to attract, in terms of audiences out there?

I want to attract people that like music that means something deeper. They understand and feel that something isn't right in our lives. They need to let go and feel the rhythms, hear the melodies and pay attention to the words. Even the timing of a snare means something.
What sets me apart? Other than the number of releases, nothing. We are all making music hoping to be heard. Perhaps my ambition is underestimated, but we are all ambitious to be happy. My ambition will never take advantage of other people in order to succeed, but that is not uncommon.

What do I hope to accomplish? Other than do music full time and get out of a life trapped? That is a secret, but it is a big goal... I can't tell you sorry. It doesn't involve chart success. That would be ridiculous... wouldn't it? 

Kiffie Himself


Who would you say is your favourite Celtic band/musician and why? S/he can be known, or not known.

I have several which are my "favorites!" Individual artists include Liz Carroll, Dougie MacLean, John Doyle, Kevin Burke, and Martin Hayes. I love Liz Carroll's fiery and tasteful style, Martin Hayes for his technical mastery, and Kevin Burke for his very traditional fiddle playing. 

John Doyle is not only an accomplished guitarist, but he has a wonderful voice and he is a phenomenal accompanist. He was very creative when he backed up Liz Carroll on her "Lost in the Loop" album. 
Dougie MacLean is by far one of my most favored songwriters. He has a wonderful gift. He is a multi-talented artist who can write, sing, and is an accomplished musician as well. 

Some of my favorite Celtic groups include: "The Woods Tea Company," "The Clancy Brothers," "The Chieftans," "Patrick Street," "Steeleye Span," and "Altan.'' All these groups are top shelf artists of this genre and need no introduction. I have enjoyed their music very much over the years and the creative interpretations they embody. 

Favourite song?

Favorite song (vocal) of this genre which is considered contemporary I suppose, is Dougie MacLean's "Caledonia". Since 1974 when it was first introduced, it has become somewhat of a national anthem for Scotland. 

"Caledonia" is a name the Roman's gave to the lands of Scotland and the song was written during a time when Dougie had been away from his homeland and was feeling homesick. I covered this song because like so many other artists, it is one that everyone can relate to and it is a such a beautiful piece! 

My most favorite instrumental tune is "Jock O'Hazeldean." Simply beautiful and very moving. It is one of those melodies which can stir up emotions from deep within. 

How long can you go without playing?

Maybe 15 minutes... lol! Seriously, music to me is like breathing. I can't survive long without it. I can't remember a day that has gone by that I don't pick up one instrument or another or at least listen, research, read, watch, or do something that is related to music. 

How often do you record and tour?

Since I have my own studio, I am working on material constantly. I record something every day. Seriously, if while I'm just "noodling" or practicing, I may record a passage, or riff, etc. so I won't forget it later. It's amazing how a great melody, song, etc. can evolve from just a few measures of notes, or from a certain chordal progression. 

Also, having the benefit in being a multi-instrumentalist, even playing a similar pattern or progression on a different instrument can impact or provide a completely different creative path or process! 
I do not tour at this stage in my life. I consider myself a studio musician and I have no aspirations in performing much or touring. Audience expectations I have found can be very different from what might actually be delivered. For example, I do all the instrumentation on my recordings myself (no band), so it would be very different going out and performing solo since I can only play one instrument at a time. 

Performing has it's own set of rules, expectations, and stress. I've always backed other musicians and I'm just not comfortable being on stage alone. I don't need or desire the spotlight. I create and record music from the sheer passion in doing it and nothing more. 

Music by the wonderful Ed Harris at:


So, I'm Joe. I was born in Essex, now I currently live in Northampton. I grew up in care and alongside that was severely bullied and beaten up in school by teachers and students. I spent everyday of my life as a child, up to about 17, all on my own, not even a friend to talk to. This led to self harm and suicide attempts, starting from when I was 8. With many complex mental health and medical issues, this made it extremely difficult for me which led to being admitted to a mental health unit for 3 years from the age of 14.

At the age of 13 I started my own charity and started to speak out about all of the issues that affected me and began raising awareness for mental health and victims of bullying and the effects of bullying. 

This was the start of a very cool life for me. Working with the royal family and getting an award from HRH Prince William for the work that I had done and alongside that winning many other national and local awards. 
I was in the press sometimes daily and sometimes weekly.

I met lots of singers like Sinitta, Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran and the list just goes on.
I like Ed's music because it suits my voice range and because his music tells stories. Other artists I like include, Tom Walker, Billy Joel, John Denver and Jessie J.

I was singing backstage at the olympics when I got noticed and signed but used music as a way to help others by using music therapy.

I would like my career to stay where it is at the moment, but grow in terms of audience and reach. Across social media and music stores I have a following of just over 1 million people because of the music, charity and public speaking.

I am planning a new album which should be released mid-next year. I will tour for the year after.
Add Me On Snapchat Too (RealJoePlumb)


Why ''Hooton Tennis Club?'' What's the motivation behind the name?

We were working on several EP's one day in Harry's (drummer) bedroom in Little Sutton, Ellesmere Port. We went out to get some fish and chips and on the way we walked passed a sign post which read 'Hooton Tennis Club'. So it's an actual tennis club. We've been in touch, they don't mind us using the name. We've had a few mistaken e-mails asking of our availability for teaching tennis in the week.

Are you a native of Liverpool? I would guess that the Beatles had a considerable amount of influence regarding your interest in music?

I'm actually from Chester, which is about forty minutes on the train from Liverpool (you actually pass through Hooton on your way). I moved to Liverpool for university. I studied music. I love this city, it's so close to my home. Once I'd graduated I decided to stay. Although, I didn't "choose" Liverpool to study music because of The Beatles.

Of course, their music is a wellspring of interest and inspiration. Honestly though, it was only in the last few years when the penny dropped. I remember not really giving them the time of day. I'd just sit listening to Foo Fighters, or The White Stripes - 'training bra' bands as Harry would say... But then, one day it clicked. 

Those cheeky Scouser's music is incredible! Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper's, Revolver, Rubber Soul, The White Album, all basically faultless, no..? In the case of The Beatles, it's hard to detach them from their city. People think "The Beatles, Liverpool." Perhaps we should try to get round that though, see them as a hard-working group of mates with a passion for music. It begs the question: would it have been the same if they were from Manchester, or Leeds, or London?
Other artists who have influenced you?

I'll give you a straight up list, in no particular order:

Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, A Tribe Called Quest, Neil Young, Animal Collective, Eels, The Beach Boys, Parquet Courts, Bon Iver, Blur, Ariel Pink, Brain Jonestown Massacre, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Daft Punk, Elliott Smith, Deerhunter, Talking Heads, Sun City Girls, Wilco, Pond, Do Make Say Think, The Kinks, CSN&Y, Daniel Johnston, Grizzly Bear, J.J. Cale, The Velvet Underground, Randy Newman.

There are more, but it's tedious.

How do you describe your musical style? 

DIY Rock 'n' Roll/Indie Landfill.

Are you touring nationally?

We were. Our last album 'Big Box of Chocolates' came out in October last year (2016). We did a big tour in support of that album in the winter of 2016. We've played all around the UK and Europe and we were lucky enough to be invited to play during CMJ Music Festival in New York and at SXSW festival in Texas.
Are you solely responsible for writing lyrics, or do you collaborate with the other members of the band?

No, James (guitar/vocals) writes them, too. Sometimes we write separately, sometimes we collaborate. It often depends who had the original idea and whether we're both free that day. We've worked together for years now, never a dull moment! As for the rest of the music, James and/or I will get something scrappy together, demo it at home, then take it to the practice room we have in Birkenhead to flesh it out with the lads.

What are some of your favourite subjects to write about?

Friends, situations, love and loss.
Personal philosophy?

Work hard, read books, stay curious, make art. Beyond 'feel-good' phrases, I've become a bit nihilistic over the years, but it's optimistic nihilism. It's like a "c'est la vie" approach to life. I've sort of accepted a lot things are out of my control and I'm just trying my best to enjoy it. I'm not saying I can't make a change, but I'm not going to try to take over the world - to quote 'Pinky and The Brain'.

How do you see the group evolving in the future? Where do you see your career going?

We're currently writing the third album. We have about twenty new songs so far, some are better than others, naturally. We're hoping to start recording it next year. We've recently gotten a Mac Book and some 'KRK Rokit 5' monitors, so our demos are getting better, and easier to make, with greater scope. We'd like to get more instruments involved live, perhaps some keys, or a live brass section. Anyone interested?


Are you a native of London? What is your connection to the city? 

I'm from Essex but I lived in London for 20 years and now I've moved back to Essex, by the sea.
When I was a kid my mum lived in Essex, but my Dad lived in London. We used to get the train in from when I was tiny and then I traveled in on my own. I used to wonder round Oxford Street waiting for my Dad to finish work. It was magical then and I still feel that magic now when I walk around. It's got so many layers to it. You go down a little alley and you're in a completely different world.

How would you describe your particular style and who are some of the artists that have inspired you and why? 

People say my songs are in the style of Damien Rice and he was a huge influence and really broke the mold when singer/songwriters were struggling to be heard. When I was growing up, I was into U2, Billy Joel, Queen, Crowded House. Now I love Boni Iver, Coldplay, Sigur Ros, The Killers and too many more to mention. 

Do you play in public venues often? Do you have an album coming out?

I actually haven't gigged for a while, as I keep writing new material, but I'm hoping to get some gigs near the end of the year. 

I'm working on a new EP right now! It's a real mix, but there's songs for my kids, political songs and something I'm not even sure what it is yet! 

What subjects do you like to write about most?

Last year my dad pointed out that all of my songs about me, or about my emotions. I looked through my back catalogue and realised he was right! So, I've recently tried to write about stuff outside of me and what's happening around the world. It means I've gone a bit political though, which I never thought would happen.

How are you envisioning the further progression of your career? 

To be honest, I'm really happy where I am. I'm no spring chicken and I've got two lovely kids, so I'm not up for touring. I recently signed a publishing deal with a lovely company called Barking Green Music. They are putting my stuff out for TV, film, adverts, etc. 

I don't really see a point in a record deal though, as I've got a lovely bunch of followers who are loyal and have become like friends over the years. I also like doing things my own way a bit too much (I'm a massive control freak), so I wouldn't want over people taking over. 

I think I just really enjoy the process of everything, writing, recording, marketing, etc. I'm not going to earn millions, but I'm happy. 



Ed Harris is a professional and accomplished Celtic Musician whose artistry exists in the same category as the Chieftains, and the Dubliners. Enjoy my interview with Ed, featured below.

My mother first introduced me to music at the early age of 5. We had an old upright "Story & Clark" self-player piano in the house. I would be glued by her side whenever she played. Even though she could not read music, she had a gift in learning, and performed tunes "by ear."

Around the same time she bought a child sized guitar, "Stella," from Sears & Roebuck. She had no idea how to play the guitar, and her only exposure to it was listening to my Grandfather play it open-tuned, and using the flat end of his pocketknife much the same way a dobro is played. 


My mother open-tuned the "Stella" using the piano to "model the chord" from. I have no idea to this day in what defined tuning she ended up with, but it was a wonderful way to introduce a 5 year old to music! Just by simply strumming! It proved to be a great lesson in the art of "listening," and knowing when a chord should change. Music has been a big part of my private life all my life, and I owe it all to her.

I played piano a bit, banged on the guitar while learning and singing songs from that point on. When I started school, I took up the trumpet, and played it all through school, and college. I played in a jazz ensemble, held 1st chair for 4 years in the orchestra, performed in the drum & bugle corps, etc., but I always enjoyed spending time with my guitar the most. 

When I was attending high during the 60s, I drew inspiration from James Taylor, Jim Croce, John Denver, Loggins and Messina, etc. as well as, Chet Atkins, Django Reinhardt, and Leo Kottke. 

I dabbled with the electric guitar, but my heart was in acoustic. Later, I studied classically for 2 years under the tutelage of Jose Serrano when I lived in AZ during my time in the Navy. I was a Navy Corps man, and trained with the Marines. 

After my discharge in 1979, I met my present wife shortly thereafter, and we moved back East. While residing in North Carolina, we were very active with the Fiddle and Bow music society. I was director of sound engineering, and served on the board. 

I ran sound for Tim O'Brian, Dan Crary, Tony Rice, among others. My wife Judy and I were also very active in performing. We formed a small group, "Timbercreek," and became fairly popular within the local community. 

Judy is a strong vocalist, and we were fortunate to  have teamed up with a wonderfully talented flat-picking guitarist in the area as well. We performed some pretty hot bluegrass fiddle tune standards, strong 3 part harmony tunes, and the like. It was a great time. It was also during this time back in 1993, that I started taking up the fiddle, mandolin, and mandola as my interest in Celtic music started to peak. The music was conducive to my heritage, and I immediately connected with it. 

I formed the Celtic group, "St. Stephen's Green" which again proved popular within the community. After all, the Fiddle & Bow music society was actually founded on the Celtic genre so the connection was inevitable!

Time marched on, and as the kids were growing my career required us to relocate to up state New York. In 1999, I began to establish myself as a Celtic musician primarily. I frequented many of the Celtic sessions within the area, and again formed a couple of groups. It was during this time our oldest son, Chad, encouraged me to consider recording some of my material. 

Chad is brilliant on the computer (Software Engineer) and helped me in getting a recording studio together. I have an aptitude for technology, but really had no idea where to begin. Long story short, "Harris Music Studios" was formed in 2006, and has been a sanctuary and "creative space" ever since. 

All of my recordings have been recorded via HMS, as well as the filming and editing for the music videos I have on line. I provide all the instrumentation on the material. It's just simpler I've found, and it provides me with complete creative control.

I have not been out of the country unfortunately, but I do plan to make a trip to Ireland and Scotland before this journey is over! My dream is to sit in an authentic Irish Pub one day while nurturing an authentic Guinness, and play at least a couple of tunes along side the locals!

I have been, and continue to be very active in the music community. A portion of my music sales goes to the charity "Music for Good." I promote keeping music programs in the school system. I also teach music, and of course I continue to record, and play when I can. 

Twitter Account: @EdHarrisMusic
YouTube Channel: W. Ed Harris

Below, is a listing of some of the affiliations, and past, and current projects I am most proud of.

BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.)
Fiddle & Bow Music Society
Four Peaks Irish Arts Council
Arizona Irish Music Society
Grand Canyon Celtic Arts Academy

"Two Rivers" - Harris Music Studios - Release Date: January 2014
"Celticophilia" - Harris Music Studios - Release Date: January 2015
Film Productions I provided soundtracks for:
Folk Films, LLC Productions
"Crawdad Slip" - Released 2000
"New Life" - Released 2000 - Winner Best Local Documentary - Carolina Film & Video Festival
"Melvin" - Released 2001 - Winner 2nd place Best Documentary, Carolina Film & Video Festival
"8 Weeks in March" - 2011

Theatrikos Productions
"Inner Sanctum"
"Time Machine"
"Fibber and Molly"
"Flash Gordon"

New Projects:
"Irish You a Merry Christmas" - Due to release Sept. or Oct. 2015

Q & A with Cleveland's DAMNATION of a BLESSING , Ray Benich

Q. In your opinion what are the most pressing social and political issues plaguing the country today?

A. In spite of all the overwhelmingly negative and down right evil 
things going on today in America from the endless intrusions and 
erosion of our personal rights from traffic cams to chemtrails, the 
scariest thing about America today is the way in which the mainstream 
media is so tightly controlled.

In 1996 Congress passed the "Telecommunications Act." For the first 
time corporations were allowed to buy as many TV and radio stations in 
one market as they wanted. Previously no one entity could own more 
than (2) two media outlets in one market. That is why back in the late 
60's many dissenting voices from John Lennon, to Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman could be heard and because they could get their message out they were able to mobilize a massive protest against the Vietnam war. 

So very many different individuals and corporations owned the media at 
that time, that it was impossible for the government to control the 
flow of information that would reach the people.

Not so today. A handful of corporations tightly control everything 
that "we the people" hear these days through our news papers, TV 
networks and radio. Our only real hope lies with trying to educate and 
reach people via blogs like this one. (Even though as we know, all of 
this is also being "monitored").

Really fresh and innovative ideas on specifically how we can change 
America and allow our form of government to "evolve" are simply not 
being given equal time with their agenda of fear and hate that is continually fed to us.

What seems to work really well for the status quo is to keep us,
"We the People," focused on all the things, "issues" that keep us in 
fear, and hating one another. They know we have the power to bring 
them to their knees; however, their is no way they are going to let 
anyone be heard that is not going to play the game with them.

I heard Bill O'Reilly from Fox news explain it this way: When 
asked, "How does the media today decide which stories go on, publicize, and which to ignore?" He responded: "We cover the stories that are,
#1) Good for the country, and #2) Good for the economy.

Good for the country..? According to you!? You decide what's good for the country?

This is not the America our fore fathers intended. Corporate America is controlling our government, and they're out to bleed us, we the people," for every freakin' thing that they can get while other countries have moved forward into the 21st century dealing 
with everything from same sex marriage, to legalization of pot, to
limiting global warming,

America just drifts aimlessly from one scandal and corruption to the next and our once free press, does little more than encourage you to worry more about 'American Idol' and 'Dancing with the Stars' than our "Great Country that's about to Die."

'The Damnation of Adam Blessing,' 1969...Ray on right

John Lennon was obviously a major influence on you. What did he mean to you?

He was my favorite Beatle right from the start. Yet after the Beatles, the way he used his fame to reach millions of 
people with his activism, is something you just don't see today... The  siren song of the "material world" is something that's nearly 
impossible to turn away from... for most, especially a rock star of  his magnitude.

Most interesting gig you've played?

I go through phases where I'll feel an urgency to play 
my songs in front of a live audience. You just need to feel that 
energy, and be fed and other times when you, "vant to be alone."

The most meaningful gig that I've done in the last few years was 
playing a benefit for Occupy Cleveland at the Beachland Ballroom in 
January of 2012.

I stepped to the mike about midnight to do my political songs like, 
"The Party's Over," "Gas Junkie." These were my people. Anyone who is 
trying to do something to confront the status quo I consider "my 

Once at the mike, the first thing I said to the audience was:
"I want to send a big hello out to all the undercover agents here 
tonight," everyone laughed. I said, "Oh, you think I'm kidding?"

"This is America in the 21st century, if you oppose the status quo, you're 
considered an enemy of the state!"


X. Highway to Hell - AC/DC, and/or Barracuda - Heart

VIIII. Baby Got Back - Sir Mix A Lot

VIII. Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J

VII. Lola - Ray Davies & the Kinks

VI. Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton

V. A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash

IIII. My Bologna - Weird Al Yankovic

III. Pennsylvania Polka - Frankie Yankovic

II. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle - Nirvana

I. My Way - Sex Pistols/Sid Vicious

Interview with Bi Rapper IMANI the MISFIT


Q: What does your name, Imani, mean?

A: Imani is Swahili for faith. So for me, Imani the Misfit = Faith in the Misfit. The name is a reminder to me to have faith in myself. The name means alot to me because it takes alot of faith and hope to keep working past all the pain that I go through.

Q: Where are you presently living and where are you from originally?

A: I was born in Ohio, then I moved to New Jersey, then I moved to Maryland in 1997 and been here ever since. I consider myself to be from Maryland since I've lived here the longest. 


Q: How much resistance did you receive coming out? You receive flack from society, which is taken with a grain of salt and ultimately disregarded altogether, but how did your friends and family respond?

A: I received resistance from almost everybody when I came out. People unfriended me, unfollowed me and unsubscribed me and stopped answering the phone. I got loads of hate mail and death threats, promoters were going around trying to prevent me from performing in certain places, it was pretty ugly. My family was shocked when I told them, but they didn’t disown me or anything. I'm grateful for that.

Q: You are the first openly bi-sexual rapper that I have heard of. It takes courage to make it in your particular field regardless of sex, race and/or sexual identity. How have you been received on a professional level by your peers and executives in the music industry?

A: On a professional level, I've been interviewed on 40 different internet radio stations, had dozens of articles written about me, and been featured on over 20 websites, so I would say pretty well. There are alot of LGBT friendly outlets that received me and helped me to tell my story, and I'm grateful for every single one of them.

On the other side there are still alot of outlets out there who aren’t so friendly towards the LGBT community and have shunned me. That's unfortunate, because my story is helping to inspire alot of people.

Q: You know the importance of drawing distance between yourself and the rest. Your lyrics inspire young gays to come out of the closet and be who they are. Who inspires you?

A: Well since I'm bisexual, I hope I inspire young bisexuals too :) The people who inspire me are those who overcome their struggles and make their dreams a reality. It could be anyone from JayZ to a businessman who brought himself out of poverty. I love to see the underdog win.

Q: You are very talented. Your lyrics are original and empowering not just to those of us in the LGBTQ community. How do you see yourself evolving as an artist in the future? I would assume that you would like to tour internationally?

A: In the future I see myself being seen by the public as a multi-talented musician and rapper, respected for my talent and artistry and not just for being open about my sexuality. Sure I would love to get to the point where I could tour internationally, I think every artist does, but if it doesn't happen it's ok with me.

Q: How would you choose to describe/categorize your music? Are you Rap, Gangsta, New Age?

A: I really don’t know how to categorize my music, because I break so many rules. My songs are all over the place. I have songs that are hardcore rap, then I have politically-conscious rap, then I have R&B, then I have songs about bitches in the club. You can't listen to my music expecting it to stay in one genre. I really feel like I'm creating my own genre of artistry. Perhaps you can call it experimental.

Q: What do you think of the New Civil Rights Movement? What are some ways you would suggest to combat racism, sexism and homophobia in society today?

A: I think the main thing that the world needs is proper education. There is so much misinformation in the world right now. Part of the reason why there is so much hatred between groups of people is because we've been fed so much bad information from society that we don’t understand where the other groups of people are coming from. That could all be solved with proper education.

People hate on the LGBT community because they don’t understand our attraction. Races hate on each other because we don’t understand why the other races do things differently from us. All it takes is education.

I don’t believe that any of us are monsters. Alot of us people are just misunderstood, but I also believe it takes each person to decide to make a change in themselves and make an effort to understand the people that they hate.

Q: Are you signed with a label and do you plan to embark on a tour?

A: No, I'm an independent artist. I don't have any tour plans yet, but I am considering doing some shows in the near future.


Q: When did you start playing?

A: I began playing when I was about 7 years old on a guitar my brother had been neglecting. I began singing when I was around 19.

Q: Major influences? Who inspires you?

A: People who continually inspire me and in turn make me want to give up music because I will never be as good as them are as follows: Bob Dylan, Blind Blake, Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, early Simpsons, Seinfeld, The Three Stooges, Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams, James Brown, Nina Simone, Howlin’ Wolf, Brian Wilson.

Q: Are you a native to the Bay Area?

A: I am not a native of the Bay Area. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO.

Q: What is your take on the current state of the world?

A: My take is that it is a beautiful and also a horrifying place. I feel human stupidity and paranoia will forever doom itself.

Q: America has clearly wondered into a deep, dark nebulous chasm and it is going to take decades to work our way out. Barack, as it turns out, is not all that revolutionary. The burden of being upright falls on our broad shoulders as artists. Lay people just can't get the job done. I am ready to smack the hell out of every little twit that comes my way. What are some things that hit you upside the head socially and politically?

A: When people "Woo Hoo" garlic on Emeril's TV garlic is a person.

Not much surprises me politically. Socially, one thing is "Critical Mass" when people ride there bikes through town. I have nothing against bikes. I'm pro bikes. But they are trying to say "Look! I'm not using gas!” “I am the most eco friendly sustainable asshole on earth!" But then people with shitty jobs who have worked all week trying to get home on a FRIDAY (yes in their car) idle for about an hour, causing aLOT more gas to be burned up by probably a thousand or so cars. And all this was caused by carbon footprint anarchist bullshit. But it’s cool...he'll just ride home and slap on his girlfriends tight pants and go to the Mission...all in a hipster’s days work.

More importantly to me is the trouble in my parents homeland. We are Tamils from the northern part of Sri Lanka. The government is majority Buddhist, and my people are the Hindu minority. There is a VERY long and bloody history to the conflict between the Sinhalese (Buddhist) people and the Tamil (Hindu) people. And recently the Sri Lankan government has stamped out the militant Tamil Tigers. The fact is that the Tamil Tigers were/are terrorists, but they only rose to power because the Sinhalese majority drove the Tamil people to extreme measures.

But I believe the Tigers have done far more harm than help to the Tamil people. Sadly, there is no one else even standing up for the Tamils on the island. Currently, roughly 300,000 Tamils are living in Government run internment camps, unable to leave. The government is "taking care of the last bits of business." I fear that the government will start parsing out the Tamil land in the north, leaving the displaced with no where to return to when they are released from the camps (whenever that is).

For many Tamils now living in the West, it has been difficult to watch this unfold. The "International Community" has said "never again" how many times after Rwanda? I would not compare what is happening in Ceylon to what is happening in Sudan, because the situation there is much more horrific.

But there’s just a lot of chicken squawking coming from a bunch of empty suits all across the world about Ceylon and Darfur, including your boy Obama. All saying "never again...starting............................................"


What do you think of the state of the world today? It's shit isn't it.

Yeah.  It always is, and it always will be.  But there are a lot of
beautiful things about the world, too.  I'm of the belief that you
make your own reality.  It's all up to your attitude.  I'm not saying
that if you're in the shittiest of shitty situations, you shouldn't be
angry.  But try and realize what you DO have, too.  It's the only
thing that's gotten me through some pretty fucked up periods in my
life.  For example, although women are still exploited and treated
unfairly in our culture, I'm pretty glad we're not still regarded as
property as we were during say, the Roman Empire.

I think all people are beautiful and flawed.  There's good AND bad, we

can't just deny one or the other.  So as long as that's true, the
world will also have both.

How secure do you feel with Obama in office?

I was overjoyed when he won.  I was actually in Harlem that night, and
could hear the roar outside my friend's apartment.  I was really
impressed when he started getting his shit together the moment after
the election - arranging his cabinet, and looking into what to change
once he got into office.  Past president elects haven't done the same
thing.  I thought it showed he really cared, and took his job

I think it's definitely a step in the right direction.  But right now,

people are still scared about losing their jobs, the economy, etc.
The news media certainly doesn't help.  There's only so much one man
can do to sway a mass of people that are sheathed in fear and won't
let go of it.  He can't FORCE people to be the change they want to
see, and I think it's unreasonable to expect him to make the boo-boos
of the past eight years all better overnight.

I think it will take some time.  I don't think he's perfect, and will
do things according to my exact ideals.  Frankly, I think we need an
overhaul of the system, and that's sort of what he's trying to do.
I'd like to see the mentality of our whole country change, but that's
not going to happen.  Or maybe it will.  Very slowly.

Don't you think that Americans are dumber than ever?

Lol.  I think people in general are dumb.  First (as a country) we
dumbly spent all the money we didn't have on stupid shit, and watched
idiots on American Idol and other mind-numbing activities.  Now we're
in trouble and are like "help me help me!" and everyone's expecting a
handout and a bailout.  Which I think is fine, everyone needs a
bailout sometimes.  But fucking understand what you did wrong in the
first place, and don't do it again.

Yes, we as a culture are pretty dumb right now.  But other people in
other cultures and different time periods have done worse.  I don't
hate us THAT much.

Contrary to your lyrics in 'All I Have,' I think you're ultra hip and

fabulous. Your voice is haunting and beautiful. You are the very definition

of a troubadour. Where can I see you perform live?

Thank you!  Actually, I'm looking to book like a gazillion gigs right
now.  I want to play all over, but am mostly concentrated on the east
coast at the moment... I have stuff lined up in NYC, Philly, and DC.
Something I'm really interested in is house concerts/ shows, which
anyone can do!  Just set up a date, invite a bunch of friends to come
over, and listen to great music.  It's fun for everyone!  As a
performer these are my favorite gigs to play, since everyone is so
attentive.  Interested parties should message me on myspace  :)

Favorite song?

This is a toughie.  I'm gonna have to say "Ballad of Big Nothing" by
Elliott Smith.  I just love him to pieces.  I don't think I'll ever
find a singer-songwriter I love as much as him.

2/21/09 - Co-op - Purchase, NY
3/8/09 - ion Sound Festival @ GBM - Brooklyn, NY
3/21/09 - Cafe Grindstone - Philadelphia, PA
4/4/09 - House Concert - New York, NY
5/1/09 - Potter's House - Washington, DC


The High Class Elite have been together for a little over a year. HCE's lead singer, Franco V., had been performing solo for five years when his first "real" band, the Sexy Magazines, formed. The Sexy Magazines played together for four years and achieved decent underground success. Franco is now touring with Mooney Suzuki and has been mentioned in Billboard's Top New Bands to Watch.

Who are some of the bands/artists that have influenced your look and sound?

The bands that have influenced me the most in what I'm doing now are bands like the Ramones, the New York Dolls, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Iggy Pop. I'm really into the early 70's right now.

What is is about the early 70's that fascinates you?

The early 70's, especially in New York just seem so unhinged. There's a lot of freedom in what the bands like the Dolls and the  Ramones were doing. It's almost as though they existed in bubbles and somehow people actually got into what they were doing. It just doesn't seem all that calculated. They were doing purely what they wanted to do and the fact that people dug it was just an added bonus. The sleaze, the dirt, the drugs and the sloppy musicianship all came together and it was sort of romantic. It would be hard, I think, for those bands to do what they did then today. It was a totally different time. People could still be shocked, and bands like the ones I mentioned, and many more were totally cutting edge, raw and awesome.

Are you living in NYC at the moment?

Yes, I currently live in NYC in the East Village and I love it. I grew up here, in Manhattan. I went to college here, at NYU and now I work and play music here and have no intention of ever living anywhere else.

What do you like most and least about the Big Apple?

I traveled a lot as a kid and no place ever did it for me like New York does. It's cliché, but there's an energy here that is unlike anywhere else, so many opportunities and a lot of fun to be had.

What do you want the world to know about Franco V.?

I don't have any overly important message I'm trying to express in my music. I play rock n' roll. It's fun. I guess it's kind of  inherently rebellious in its nature. So, you don't really need a message! (ha, ha). I guess I want the world to know that my band  wants to have fun with what we're doing. We take it very seriously, but what we're doing is not noble by any stretch of the imagination and so we don't get to caught up in it.

M. "BUTCH" Reviews Paul Alexander's 'Despite Everything You've Planned'

Paul Alexander is a talented singer, songwriter, and musician from New York. Alexander's first full release, 'Despite Everything You've Planned,' could best be described as good drivin' music. I plan on taking the CD with me on my next cross country road trip from NY to LA.

'Despite Everything' is an honest effort refreshing in its sincerity. Alexander's characteristic uplifting beats, inspirational lyrics, and catchy choruses are reminiscent of Counting Crow's Adam Duritz.

The album contains introspective lyrical content ripe with poetic virtuosity and romantic inclinations. Alexander takes us back to those fond days of yesteryear when artists and performers actually gave a damn about producing a well constructed, viable piece of artistry as opposed to mindless pop meanderings.

I could not be happier that the Britneysaur and others like her, teeter on the brink of extinction. The Prosti-tots have run their course and it is my hope that this soulless, brain dead species will be replaced by a soulful, intelligent one; troubadours born to get out on stage with a guitar and a repertoire of songs written on napkins, sales receipts, etc., pouring out rot gut lyrics. True artists with something to say and a unique voice to say it with, will bring the importance of words and the craft of well written verse back to the world of music.

Paul Alexander has just scratched the surface of his talent. I'm interested in following his career to see how he continues to grow and evolve as an artist. I would like more in terms of substantial material from Alexander and I do not doubt that his body of work will deepen as time goes on. 'Despite Everything' should be celebrated as a successful release that the singer/songwriter can be proud of. - M. "BUTCH"

Finland's Condition Red

Since 1999, Finland's Condition Red has been perfecting an eclectic repertoire of sound that includes various musical styles ranging from folk, world, progressive metal, fusion, neo-classical, hard rock, and goth.  CR's complex musical arrangements, dramatic vocal, and instrumental tracks, backed by a symphonic orchestra, produce an intense theatrical sound that is truly unique. 

Ella Grussner - Vocals 

Alex Masi (guitar), and Lars Eric Mattsson (guitars, bass, and addition keys) have been in the music business since the 1980's, and have both released a number of solo albums. On their first album, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Alice Cooper) made a few guest appearances on keyboards, but CR's main keyboard player is Alexander King. King is working on several soundtracks for independent art movies. Gerald Kloos has been CR's drummer since their second album was released. Kloos is known for his work with the melodic hard rock band, EMPIRE. (EMPIRE includes singer Tony Martin of Black Sabath). Ella Grussner performs vocals, and is well known on the world music scene. Grussner has released a few albums with world music bands such as Barkavall, and Ulvens Dottrar (Daugthers of the Wolf).

Lars Eric Mattsson - Guitars, Bass, Addition Keys

CR's lyrics are about living in the modern world and trying to stay alive, but there are also lots of instrumental selections on their latest release. Condition Red is here to explore and break new ground, rather than rolling mindlessly down the same old, beaten musical path. The band's complicated rhythms, and arrangements set them apart from the majority of bands' out there. Ella Grussner’s mastery of the violin and haunting vocals are an essential part of this project. Grussner has a bright future in music. They also have two of the best guitarists' around and two amazing keyboardists', Derek Sherinian (well known for his work with Dream Theater, Planet X, Playtupus and Alice Cooper), plus amazing newcomer Alexander King.

Alex - Keyboards

Condition Red is committed to giving shred fans what they want, but remain focused on the integrated body and overall quality of the music they produce. The members of CR invest their time in defining new territory and dividing the current pop tart scene with a passionate alternative.

Gerald Kloos - Drums 

Greatest influences? 

Uli Jon Roth, Jimi Hendrix, Dream Theater, Yes, Steve Vai.

Favorite album?

Uli Jon Roth, 'Beyond the Astral Skies'     

Irish Singer/Songwriter Andrew Handrick

Andrew Handrick is a singer/songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. He now resides in San Francisco, CA, and has been writing songs for the past 12 years.

A self-taught musician, Andrew combines rock/folk and pop music with deep lyrical content. His songs produce a memorable melodic experience, while his voice rings out with a knowledge, energy and passion second to none.

Andrew was involved in playing at the following:
IMRO Showcase Night, Heineken Green Energy Band Challenge, Emergenza Band Competition, Limerick Expo, South East Music Seminar also recording a session for the Dave Fanning show on 2FM National Radio.


His song 'Weirdo's Goodbye' was featured on the CD 'Futureproof II' Best of Irish, released through Danceline Records, and he has also contributed work to independent short films both in Ireland and the US.


His first demo, an acoustic version of 'Stolen' made it into the Top 100 of the Bacardi/HotPress Songs of the Year 2001.


Andrew won the National Busking Competition in Virginia, Co. Cavan in 2002, and reached the final of An Tostal Song Competition in 2004 with ‘City Morn’. His CD was "Pick of the Fortnight" in Hot Press, April 2005.


Andrew was a featured artist on San Francisco’s Channel 29 TV show "On The Tip Of My Tongue" in May 2006, at The Canvas Gallery July 2006 and Aug 2006.


Andrew released his debut album "The True Riches Of Life" in 2006, which is available from his website, I-Tunes, and at CD


He currently spends his time playing solo gigs in Ireland and San Francisco.

e-mail: [email protected],             


Hippie Grenade formed in 2002 in Santa Cruz, California.  The band 

immediately became popular around the college house party circuit,

and over the next two years established a strong following.    


Their intense blend of rock, funk and jazz that manifested during their

live shows drew people in immediately. They have been compared to

a wide variety of musical artists from Soundgarden to Sly and the

Family Stone.



In late 2004, they decided to make a geographic leap to the Bay Area,

and settled in San Francisco.  Since then they have been carving their

niche in the city's vibrant music scene, and will hopefully continue

to do so as more people discover their unique sound.


Q: Tell me about this unique blend of rock, funk and jazz... How did this combination of musical genres come to be?


A: We are all from geographically diverse locations from St. Louis

to Iran to Seattle, and we all grew up listening to different stuff. 

We each play what stylistically comes natural to us,

and somehow it just blends together.  

s definitely not like we sat down and decided, "Okay, we're going

to play this way or that," but rather it all came together in an organic,

natural fashion. 

Q: Please give a brief description of the music scene

in San Francisco as you see it.


A: There are a ton of really good bands here, but unfortunately

with the rampant gentrification that has been happening

in many neighborhoods, many venues and places that had

live music in the past have given way to luxury condos.  

Not enough venues, plus a lot of bands equals unnecessary

competition. In addition, many clubs that would be perfect

for live music choose instead to have DJ's; cheaper, less of a

"hassle" for the owners, and this creates a situation where

people simply aren't used to, or as receptive to going out

and seeing live music.


That being said, there definitely are a lot of people

in San Francisco who like good music, and there

is potential for something great to happen here.



BHI BHIMAN: Guitar, Vocals

THEO WINSTON: Bass, Back Vocals


CHRIS THALMANN: Drums, Percussion


MANI VAFAEI: Saxophone


Weapons of Pleasure are here visiting from the not so Distant past...

Meet Vanessa (vocals/bass), Greg (vocals/guitars), A.J. (lead guitars) and jeff (drums).


They come from a time and place before the major labels and their A&R pawns thought they knew more about music than the musicians; A time when the music dictated the trends and not the packaging and advertising of it.



Vanessa came from the swamps of New Orleans. She played in various acts including bands which featured performance art. She was spotted by the Replacements-eSque garage rock band which Jeff, Greg and A.J. were in and they just had to have her.


A new, dynamic sound was forged which has yielded the single 'Daredevil,' a song which Sony Pictures has picked up to use in the  script for an upcoming sequel to a well know horror flick; A very campy one mind you...


Brian Bergeron

Brian Bergeron is an artist on the move. After two full years as part of the Boston music scene, he realized he needed a change. Equipped with only his new EP, "The Closer EP," he took off for Brooklyn in September of 2005. While there he received a crash course in the underground folk scene and reworked his approach to songwriting, stage show and business sense.

Just before the new year, he arrived back in Boston a new performer.

In 2006 Brian hopes to push his music further with relentless touring at colleges, clubs, and coffeehouses.

He is starting to garner press and recognition and he hopes that he can put together the foundation for a long, fruitful, and ambitious career. For more information, check out


Brian has been compared to artists ranging from Damien Rice and David Gray to John Mayer and Ryan Adams.



Tell me about your look and sound. Are you a product of Dark Romanticism?

We identify with dark romanticism, but we see ourselves as New Revolutionaries. We are a group of artists that write our music based on history, myth and personal experience. We lead the listener through a journey, similar to watching a film. 

Much like Henry Darger's girls, we encounter dark forests. Armed with swords we battle the demons of the night. Every so often we see the beautiful light before the terror.

We are on an adventure to create a syn-aesthetic experience for our audience. We are no longer a band, but a small troop, a small army.

More about this Syn-aesthetic experience, please.

We don't just pick 5 chords and go with it. Each one of us portrays a character and our songs come
together as specific scenarios. They play out in our mind in very vivid visual images that repeat
unchanging everytime we play that particular song.

We feel that our songs create a visual story for our audience as well. They hit people in a visceral way, and our audience relates based upon their own experiences. We hear and experience tones in relation to color and light and mood.

When we write songs and play them, we are on a journey in a fantasy land battling dragons, encountering illness and death, being buried alive, etc. We also take a lot of influence from European history. To note, the black plague and the French Revolution.

Make what you will of it, but we prefer to create a fictional story of a dark adventure.

Who are some of the writers, musicians, filmmakers, actors, etc. who have inspired you and why?

Goddard, Bergman - Both are responsible for creating my fascination with the French.

David Lynch, Dario Argento, Kubrick – They presented horror in the most beautiful way and formed collaborations with musical counterparts that made their films overwhelmingly overwhelming with such complicated emotion.

Sonic Youth- The ultimate Renaissance group for collaborating with artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, and writers.

Henry Darger- for creating a landscape for which we can place ourselves in and for being hauntingly naive.

Nadav Kander, Edward Gorey, Bananna Yoshimoto, Miranda July, Kyoko Hamada, Susan Sontag, and Jonathan Safran-Froer for making impossibly beautiful, moving and important work.

What's on your CD player right now?

Kate Bush, Serge Gainsburg, Adam and the Ants, Goblin, Antonious Block, Sleater-Kinney, Smog, Wet Confetti, The Mountain Goats, Joanna Newsom, Ladytron, Electrelane, White Magic, Daftpunk, Barr, Add N to X, The Clientele, Blonde Redhead, Cat Power, Mary Timony.

Singer/Songwriter, PAUL ALEXANDER

MM: Tell me about your music and the progression of your art. 

         PA: As I hope will always be the case, right now I am still experiencing real artistic growth.  That is not to say that in the last year or so my singing, performing, and compositions haven’t become more focused and more confident, because I believe I have discovered my own unique voice and style recently, but each time I pick up the guitar, or sit down to write, I still find that I am able to go places I haven’t gone before.  So, I guess I am beginning to mature into a legitimately identifiable artist, while continuing to progress in my own way, and for the first time, my progress seems to be in a direction more consciously directed by a heightened awareness of my abilities, interests, and agendas.

I have grown-up as a person and artist since moving to New York City almost two years ago, but this great living breathing city and all of the greatly talented and inspired people I continue to meet while here, continue to challenge and even force me not to become stagnant, but to continue always in a forward direction, as a songwriter, a lyricist, and as a human being.  I hope I never stop learning and growing because if I did I think that’s when my art, and really my time here on Earth might stop meaning as much to me.



MM: Where do you want to go with your career?


PA: A year ago I might have said I wanted to go as far as I could go with my career.  Not that I want to be Mick Jagger and continue rocking till I’m collecting Social Security – if it still exists.  My time in New York City has helped remind me to love making my music for the sake of making music, and stop looking too much towards the lofty pie-in-the-sky goals of superstardom, which I really think might not even be what I used to dream it may be even if I ever make it there.


I suppose as I finish up work on my debut album here in the next few months, of course I would love to have it picked-up by a record company and go on the road singing the songs that have become part of who I am, but right now I am trying to take it one day at a time, and my only goal is to finish this album and make sure as many people have a copy of it as is within my power. 


I am not a reluctant “rock star,” as my childhood dream remains one of 24-7 music backed by some major record company; my music gracing MTV and radio stations across the country.  Still, after I finish this album and begin writing for the next one, continue running my weekly open mic, playing regular shows to people at a local level who are really connecting to what I’m trying to say with my music, and really just remaining an active member of the great New York music scene, I think everything that seems to be an important part of where my career is going at the moment, will continue to be exactly where I hope my career continues to go.

MM: Is there a recurring theme in your music? Do you have a particular message that you are trying to get across?


PA: I try to write each of my songs from a truly different place, so as not to bore myself or the listener.  I have always been turned off by artists who write every song about the same thing or who use the same illusions and metaphors over and over.  Not that I don’t have underlying themes in my music, or that many of my songs aren’t about women who have shaped my life, but I endeavor to make each song a unique statement.



Overall, I guess the only messages that permeate much of my music are those of wonder and of hope.  I am constantly amazed by this world in which we live, both in a positive way, and in a way that makes me think, how the [email protected]#k could that happen?  So, I guess like all artists I am fueled by the passion I take from the world around me, but I try to approach my songs with wonder and a quizzical air rather than shove my emotions or opinions down the throat of my listeners.  I also try to find hope even in the darkest subject – which is still somewhat funny to me.  I am inspired by plenty of authors, artists, and musicians, who chose to live and create on the bleaker side of the tracks, but no matter how many times I attempt to tap into that side of my emotion, my songs have all but maybe once or twice found their way back to a hopeful resolution and the glass is half full optimism in which I force myself to live.  I guess Shannon Hoon said it best when he sings in the Blind Melon song “Change” – “When life is hard, you have to change.”  That lyric has stuck with me and undoubtedly has played some part in the way I look at music and the world, and I think conscious of it or not, it’s that hope for life after the tragedy we live with everyday that I hope comes across in my music.   

MM: Personal goals?


Right now I am focused on making my debut solo album the best it can possibly be.  Beyond that, I am running a weekly open mic, and I’d love to see it grow even more so that I can help the New York City music community grow even stronger. 


Mainly, I am hoping my album helps me bring my music to many many people I would otherwise never have contact with, record deal or not.


MM: What inspires you?

PA: What doesn’t inspire me?  I am a teacher by day, and the wonder and innocence of children is a constant inspiration.  I am also an avid reader.  I read everything I can get my hands on, and beyond songwriters and lyricists, authors have always inspired my art.  I live in New York City, and if you’ve never been here, you may not understand what I mean when I say this, but for all of my travels, across the United States and Europe, New York is one of the most stimulating and inspiring places I’ve ever been.  Combine those huge sources of inspirations with weekly exposure to immensely talented songwriters at the open mic I run, musicians who have come in and out of my life as collaborators and friends, my current producer Benjy King, and all of the friends and loved ones who I am lucky enough to have around me at this point in my life, and I am inspired at almost every turn. 


Please check my website often for news about the eventual release of my album, shows in New York and beyond, as I plan to hit the road on my own if I must, to bring my music to the masses.



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