HEARTSREVOLUTION, an electrical, fantastical threesome based out of Brooklyn, creates adrenaline-pumping music that’s been dubbed “electro-thrash.” Regardless of how you classify them, we were totally psyched earlier this month to see their incredible and energetic live performance at Making Time in Philly! Not only did they play Making Time, they also made time to visit us at The Store for some shopping, relaxing after a frenzied flight from Austin, and chatting about everything from the fate of the universe to Flava-Flav (Yeah, you heard me correctly. So awesome…) Read on for all the details…
Robin: Who are you and where do you come from? My name is Ben and I’m from Michigan. My name is Terrence. I live in New York. My name is Lo (aka Leyla), and I come from Asteroid B612 by way of Los Angeles and then New York.
Robin: How did you all come together from such disparate origins? Ben: I came to LA and met Leyla. We moved to NY and met Terry, who is also, coincidentally, from Michigan. And we were born on the same day, so Terry and I have a connection prior to our reunion.
Robin: Do you believe in fate? Leyla: This whole thing was fated. I’m a Scorpio. I didn’t believe in astrological jibjab until I met Ben. Scorpio and Pisces is the strongest match in the zodiac. Scorpios have the ability to be the nastiest people on the planet, or rise from the ashes like the Phoenix. The combination of Pisces and Scorpio is unbeatable.
Robin: Where did the band name come from? Ben: When I first met Leyla, she was in the process of making one of her childhood fantasies come to life… Leyla: I was “cultivating my fate!” Ben: So, while she was “cultivating her fate,” she made this ice cream truck. It was part of this whole idea called HEARTSCHALLENGER. She would wheatpaste posters with inspiratonal messages and the HEARTSCHALLENGER symbol. She asked me to make music for the truck. I did, and decided that I wanted to keep doing something with her musically. The music part is another branch of that initial idea, so we called it HEARTSREVOLUTION. Leyla: I like “Revolution” for a lot of reasons… Terry: Because it’s an overthrowing or uprising, but it’s also a cyclical thing.
Robin: If fate left you out in the cold, what would you be doing? Leyla: Fate is not something that you wait around to capture you. Sometimes you have to grab fate by the balls. You really do attract things in this universe. You have your own insecurities and fears and you dance around the inevitable. At some point, when you are ready, whether it’s for love or a job or an opportunity, the universe hears it without you ever speaking it into existence, and then fate comes along.
Robin: Do you believe in God? Leyla: Totally. 100%. Ben: I guess so. Terry: I believe in a god. I don’t think it’s the same god that all these crazy extremists are believing in, but I definitely believe in the idea of a god.
Michael: Would it ever be okay not to know? People don’t seem to be okay not to know. Leyla: For a long time, every day I would freak out at the idea being human: the feeling that there was a soul trapped in a body on this planet where everyone speaks in absolutes and every relgion knew exactly why everything happened. I would think, “Oh my god! Everyone thinks they know! But no one really knows anything! And how the HELL did we get here?!” That plagued my brain every day since I could talk. I lost that about a year ago.
Robin: If you could have any sort of memorial named after you, what would it be? Ben: A spaceship! Get it? The Challenger? Leyla: That’s depressing! I would want a school for girls named after me. Terry: I would like to have a boulevard named after me. And I want it to be a safe boulevard because they normally aren’t safe. Martin Luther King Boulevard is always the most dangerous part of town.
Robin: What city would your boulevard be in? Terry: It would be cool if it were in all major cities.
Robin: Talk to me about your will to dominate. Ben: He wants to take over the world, basically. But what about signature drinks? Why streets? Terry: That doesn’t stick around as long as a street. Streets have lasting impressions.
Michael: What do you think about all of this Twitter stuff? Ben: I don’t do it because I don’t have anyone to tweet to. But I have a link on my phone that goes straight to a couple people who I find pretty funny. But Terry loves it… Terry: It’s one of those things that you just have to come to terms with. You’re gonna be on it. I promise you.
Robin: Do you consider yourself a private person? Does putting your life on the internet bother you? Terry: If you want to be private, then don’t do that shit. I personally don’t mind because as a musican and artist, you have to market yourself.
Michael: Speaking of privacy…what do you think about people like Bret Michaels or Flava Flav who exploit their celebrity status? Leyla: They should all be put to death. Who cares if he ever finds love? It’s the worst objectification of women. Thirty of them with fake breasts, looking like Barbie dolls, trying to sell their pussy to Bret Michaels. Thousands of dollars get put into the production of that. Why not take that money and do something good in this world? That’s not entertainment. That’s insulting to my brain. We have a term for that in this band. it’s called B.O.D. Ben: Better Off Dead! Leyla: These people are better off dead. They resurrect themselves. I was watching television in the hotel and Christie Brinkley came on, selling Scope. She’s trying to look like she’s 20! Can’t you gracefully age, raise your children, and try to set an example for young girls to not have your face stretched back?
Robin: What are some of the weirder jobs you’ve ever had? Terry: I used to work the third shift in a sweatshop sewing and operating industrial sewing machines. I liked sewing, though, so I was pretty intrigued. Ben: After I graduated from high school, I was the janitor at my high school. It was more of a summer job before college. It was the laziest thing ever. You’d go to work 45 minutes late, have coffee and donuts for 2 hours, clean out lockers for a half hour, then take a 2 hour break. Two other kids and I who were part of the summer program would just watch 90210, lounge, and take naps. Terry: Oh! I thought of another one. I used to work at an apartment complex in the projects, evicting people. When people wouldn’t pay their rent, they’d leave all their shit and skip town. The cops would knock on the door, and I’d go in and put all their shit out on the curb. It was really sad because I’d find kid’s schoolwork and drawings. I actually have a gold chain that I found in one of the apartments. I have it in my pocket.
Michael: What do you think of Art In The Age? Leyla: This is a very cool space. I like what you guys are doing here. It’s special. I am glad that world today is so different from the world that I grew up in. At that age, I got the shit beat out of me because I liked punk rock music or because the other kids thought I was a lesbian since I cut my hair off. It was just an awful, horrible world to live in. But now, with the types of collaborations that are happening, the diversity, and the internet, and people sharing music and art…it’s really fuckin’ awesome!
We <3 <3 <3 HEARTS REVOLUTION, and are both pleased and honored that they stopped by the store! I hope they visit us again soon to brainstorm on future fun & projects…(wink wink wink)
Get 7″s and merch from HEARTSREVOLUTION on their MySpace, and check out their latest music vid here…!
Art in the Age has joined with the Rosenbach Museum & Library to offer all you Maurice-Sendak-philes out there a throwback to your youth. Experience Sendak’s prolific imagination first-hand!
Enter to win our giveaway and revisit your favorite characters, like the mischievous Max from Where the Wild Things Are and the naughty Pierre (“I don’t care!”)
Winners will receive admission for two to view the Rosenbach’s Maurice Sendak exhibition and a copy of the DVD, There’s a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak: A Retrospective in Words and Pictures, which explores the masterful storyteller’s extraordinary career through his own words as the author talks about his favorite characters and the many influences and settings of his richest stories.
A perfect treat for creative types, from writers to artists and book lovers. To enter, leave a comment with your contact info! Winners will be notified by April 10.
(Comments will be moderated and contact info kept private.)
Want to know more about Sendak and The Rosenbach?
Did you know that Philadelphia is the spot to see original art by Maurice Sendak? In the late 70s, the author and illustrator of over 100 children’s classics and other books, hand-picked the Rosenbach to be the repository for his work. The museum, located in Philly’s historic Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, has the largest collection of “Sendakiana” in the world including over 3,000 works of art and more than 7,000 other working materials. To see Sendak’s work in-person, visit the Rosenbach before the exhibition closes on May 3 and check out There’s A Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak online.
A long list of adjectives mentally pair with the word “Philadelphia”: grimy, greasy, depressed, philthy, gray…to name a few. But I’ve got a new one for you…
I am completely serious. Last Friday night while walking up South Street, I spotted a strange new storefront of sorts with vinyl lettering in the window that read “SAINT MARCH.”The interior was replete with what seemed to be a collection of furniture, knickknacks, and fabric. Turns out, this space is The Saint March Collective, a “fledgling artist group based in Philadelphia, PA currently working to curate shows in their newly acquired gallery space at 406 South St.”
WHAT’S GOING ON: Arts on South (a new non-profit-ish endeavor) is basically a coalition comprised of South Street Real Estate owners seeking to induce a second “South Street Renaissance.” Considerate of the current economic climate, the owners are leasing empty storefronts to artists/art collectives instead of opening new businesses in the spaces. The artists only pay utilities. The program was announced in January of this year. Since its inception, several spaces have been turned into galleries, including another at 7th and South.
The artwork of English graphic designer Colin Fulcher aka Barney Bubbles is often described with words such as daring, bold and experimental. However, for me, his often geometric-styled images and cryptic, puzzle-like concepts transcend and even destroy those words. His portfolio contains iconic ’70s punk/new wave and space rock album covers from some of the most seminal bands in history:
Hawkwind – Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (1976)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Armed Forces (1979)
Clover – Unavailable (1977)
Rare, sealed collector’s edition of The Damned – Damned Damned Damned (1977)
Ian Dury & the Blockheads – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (1978)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions – This Year’s Model (1978)
“I found the off-registered version of Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model in the import bin and it blew me away. In America, they released the cover which eliminated the joke. Apparently, the captains of the music industry didn’t get it, and thought it was a real mistake or something. You could only find the original design in the import section – along with most American punk, which had to imported before it could be sold in an American record store. Strange times. This Year’s Model completely flabbergasted me. It actually took me a long time to figure out it wasn’t a misprint. And, when I realised it was a joke, I never looked at graphic design in the same way again.” — Art Chantry
The Damned – Music For Pleasure (1977)
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Do It Yourself (1979)
It’s also worth mentioning that, in 1978, Barney redesigned the weekly music paper NME, along with a new logo design. A contemporary re-worked version of the logo is still in use. Sadly this amazing designer’s life was cut short when his bipolar disorder led him to committ suicide in 1983.
Furniture designer, Jasper Morrison and Industrial designer, Naoto Fukasawa give new meaning to the evolving aesthetic of the mundane, otherwise coined as, Super Normal. Read excerpts of personal quotes below and view their full philosophy here.
“…The wine glasses are a signpost to somewhere beyond normal, because they transcend normality. There’s nothing wrong with normal of course, but normal was the product of an earlier, less self conscious age, and designers working at replacing old with new and hopefully better, are doing it without the benefit of innocence which normal demands. The wine glasses and other objects from the past reveal the existence of super normal, like spraying paint on a ghost. You may have a feeling it’s there but it’s difficult to see. The super normal object is the result of along tradition of evolutionary advancement in the shape of everyday things, not attempting to break with the history of form but rather trying to summarise it, knowing it’s place in the society of things. Super normal is the artificial replacement for normal, which with time and understanding may become grafted to everyday life”….
(When Naoto Fukasawa exhibited three aluminum stools for the Salone del Mobile in Milan, people mistook them for resting seats instead of actual design pieces)
“Designers generally do not think to design the “ordinary.” If anything, they live in fear of people saying their designs are “nothing special.” Of course, undeniably, people do have an unconscious everyday sense of “normal,” but rather than try to blend in, the tendency for designers is to try to create “statement” or “stimulation.” So “normal” has come to mean “unstimulating” or “boring” design..”
“Normal” refers to things as they’ve come to be; thus “Super Normal” is the designing of things just as “normal” as what we’ve come to know, albeit in no way anonymous. There’s a creative intent at work here, even if that intent may be regarded not so much as designing, but simply not going against the inevitable flow of things as they come to be.“Super Normal” is less concerned with designing beauty than seemingly homely but memorable elements of everyday life. Certainly nothing “flash”or “eye-catching”; never contrived, but rather almost “naff” yet somehow appealing. As if, when viewing something with expectations of a new design, our negative first impressions of “nothing much” or “just plain ordinary” shifted to “… but not bad at all.” Overcoming an initial emotional denial, our bodily sensors pick up on an appeal we seem to have known all along and engage us in that strangely familiar attraction. Things that possess a quality to shake us back to our senses are “Super Normal…”
Recently, I got tuned in to GATE Philly, an experimental electronic music series. GATE is hosting an event at The Rotunda in West Philly tomorrow night. The evening, commencing at 8 pm, will be comprised of a pastiche of audio and visual stimuli from the following artmakers…
Lucky me. I happen to know Michael Tom Vassallo, the video artist, who will be showing a short series of pieces from a forthcoming video compilation entitled MIND CONTROL. Michael Tom (aka MT) took some time to catch me up on this latest project with GATE and field a few more of my quasi-relevant queries. Read on…
Who are you and where do you come from?
I’m primarily a filmmaker/video artist, but I dabble in a few other areas (writing, printmaking). I like horror movies a lot – particularly slashers – so they’re a big influence on my work: why do we (that is, I) watch these kind of violent images, what is attractive about them, why do they persist in popular media, who do we identify with on-screen and why, etc. I graduated from college last year, studying film theory and creative writing. Originally from Northwest Philly, living in West Philly right now. On that topic, I’m basically just waiting around for baseball season to start so I can go to some Phillies games and hopefully see even more chaos on Broad Street.
How did you get involved with GATE & The Rotunda?
I saw a flier for an open call for video artists and filmmakers to collaborate with the GATE series, so I submitted a few of my videos, saying I’d like to use some of my older work in combination with something new, created specifically for the event. A few weeks later I got an email back saying that GATE would like to work with me – it was as simple as that.
Tell me a little bit about this event. Are your videos playing simultaneously with the live musicians?
We went through a few different phases in deciding how the night was going to work – in the end, it was easiest for me to do a screening first, of my own work, independently. So I guess it’s arranged more like a typical show – each performer has their own “set.”
I’m showing a series of 4 short, semi-abstract, appropriated-footage videos. Together, they’re part of “MIND CONTROL,” a sort of “video album” that I’m working on putting together. It’s all of noisy, psychedelic kind of stuff. I’m screening a rough cut of the upcoming DVD.
How much of your footage and audio is appropriated? Original? Found?
Almost all of the work I’m showing was created with appropriated footage, usually from horror/sci-fi movies and film trailers. One of the pieces (using video from “Night of the Living Dead”) has original sound that I created in Logic, but the rest of the videos are entirely appropriated content. Recently, I’ve been really interested in Futurist theories of music (Russolo, etc.) – the idea of taking sounds from the environment – usually sort of hard, abrasive sounds – and re-ordering, arranging, replicating them to make “music.” Russolo used industrial sounds, as appropriate to his time; what I’m trying to do is take sounds/images from our current media “environment” to create new compositions.
Why or why not would you categorize your work as “narrative”?
The work I’m showing at the Rotunda definitely isn’t narrative – but then again, I almost always use appropriated footage from narrative feature films, so there is the reference to a narrative in these pieces. Besides these videos, though, I also make narrative short films – usually focusing around some of these same ideas of horror, violence, obsession and film spectatorship.
Currently, name one thing/idea/movement you find culturally titillating.
I’m really enjoying things in mainstream popular culture right now – I feel like we’re getting into a really interesting period for pop musicians, TV, popcorn movies, etc. – from an aesthetic and analytical/critical perspective. Specifically, I’m fascinated by the aesthetics of reality TV, Kanye West and Lady GaGa and this whole weird gender-bending glam performative thing they have going on, current media targeted at teens. If Andy Warhol was alive he would love 2009. It’s all about celebrity, but in a completely bizarre way. This is mostly the topic of my blog, at tinygems.org
How do you take your eggs?
Would you rather be Olivia Newton John or…a fig newton?
OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN… BECAUSE OF XANADU (DUH!).
Check out some previous pieces by Michael Tom, below…