Chango • EP.3 | DVD Concerts

DVD Concerts, Episode Three — Chango performs a Live Set: “A que vienes wey?” and “Demonomania”. He also speaks to us about his process on Dan Victor Does in his native language, Spanish. Pure Energy, Electronic Music, Mexican, Producer, Rapper… Luchador. Watch Chango on Episode 3 of the next DVD Concerts.

Chango was born and raised by a subwoofer, and bass pushed him out of the womb. Because of his upbringing, he’s been attracted to low frequencies and the underground sound all his life. Growing up he listened to metal, industrial, cyber punk and psytrance. Some of his influences include Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Isao Tomita – The Bermuda Triangle, and Nine Inch Nails.

A bald eagle flew him to New York and began playing music in the subway. He used to have a drummer, but immigration took him and ICE deported him. So he stayed and continued to play by himself. Chango hired other musicians to fill out the lineup for performances. The last shows were not in the subway, but at venues, international concerts or festivals.

Chango in the subway at 14th Street-Union Square L-train platform.

Chango is everyone. Chango is all of us, not just one person, it’s a collective of musicians and artists. Chango is a conceptual project that has the opportunity of exposing themselves on the greatest stage ever, the subways of New York City.

He is very proud of Mexican heritage and the reason why he chose to speak Spanish during the interview. I provided English subtitles in the video. There are no borders, no one is illegal, he feels very strongly that we are all connected and no one is better than anyone else.

Grateful for having Chango for the third episode of DVD Concerts. Watch just the music in the video “Chango Live Set”. Follow Chango on Instagram.

Chango collaboration with performance artist, Mathew Silver.

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Dan Victor DoesArt + Music + Mental Health: Performances, Interviews and Commentary on how creatives achieve mental well-being through their craft. Support the podcast.

Amongst The Dead 10-Year Anniversary

Happy Halloween! Celebrating 10 years today. “Amongst the Dead” EP by Ductape Halo. Dan Victor (vocals, guitar and bass), Shamari Rocka (keys), and Stevie Kings (drums) played on this album, which kicked off a musical relationship with Steve for many projects and years after. Michael Benham joined on bass soon after. It was recorded at Steve’s apartment in Bushwick at “The Castle”, right next to the band called U Say USA. It was a 5th floor walk up and he lived at the top floor. All we did was play music, smoke weed, drink coffee and beer. The album release was at Spike Hill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Halloween 2010.

It was the Potion Collective days and there was an open mic at McKibbon Lofts like no other. It had a full backline and there was a speakeasy bar with PBR, shot of bottom-shelf whiskey or a dime bag. Filled with amazing art and creative minds. I met people like Alec Stephens III, Chris Carr, Worm, Bill Bartholomew, Eve Blackwater, Catie Taylor and Jessie Richardson, just to name a few. Alec, Steve and I would go on to play in I AM THE THIRD a few year later. It’s wild to see what we have all accomplished over the last ten years.

There was something magical at that time, instant nostalgia. It was the beginning of something. Occupy Wall St was still a thing, unemployment lasted years, and jobless even after it ended. Best and worst of times. Really got to make a documentary or something. Through adversity we find our strength. It is still true today. You can find the EP on Bandcamp.

Official Music Video for “Insomniac” the 2nd track on Amongst the Dead
“My Mutha” Ductape Halo – June 5th, 2011 Bushwick Open Studios 2011 – The Hide Bar

Chango • Live Set

Chango performs a Live Set on Dan Victor Does. Pure Energy, Electronic Music, Mexican, Producer, Rapper… Luchador. Watch Chango on Episode 3 of the next DVD Concerts.

1. “A que vienes wey?”
2. “Demonomania”

Dan Victor DoesArt + Music + Mental Health: Performances, Interviews and Commentary on how creatives achieve mental well-being through their craft. Support the podcast.

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Wild Kunz • EP.2 | DVD Concerts

DVD Concerts, Episode Two — Jason Kunz, aka Wild Kunz, performs 4 songs (Joanie, The Mask, Craw and The Stone) and talks about his process on Dan Victor Does. Watch the full performance and story he shares for the new acoustic series.

Jason brings a thoughtful sensitivity to his music. His strumming is gentle and hypnotizing, setting the tone before his soft vocals lay over top like snow delicately covering a countryside. It’s a magical combination that’s effect broadens the more you listen. Wild Kunz creates a vibe that makes me remember a feeling and the story associated with it, rather than a story. The words are cues, but his vocal delivery tells the tale.

Wild Kunz mentioned Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear and Annie Clark of St. Vincent as two influences, because they remind him of an old Hollywood noir soundtrack. Although he says his main inspiration comes from dreams. Learning Banjo has given him an added insight to how he can blend finger-picking into his guitar playing. I think he is reminiscent of Nick Drake, which also has a dreamy quality.

When describing his song, “The Stone”, he speaks about how music helps him channel his depression into something positive, giving purpose in learning a craft he will use even after his mood has lifted. I can identify with this so much. Playing guitar gives me a release when I’m feeling down. Such a positive way to make the best out of the difficult experience.

Grateful for having Wild Kunz for the second episode of DVD Concerts. Watch and listen to the music videos “Joanie” and “The Mask“, two selections from his set. Follow Wild Kunz on Instagram.

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Dan Victor Does Podcast — Art + Music + Mental Health: Performances, Interviews and Commentary on how creatives achieve mental well-being through their craft. Support the podcast.

Rowe/Modelo • EP.1 | DVD Concerts

DVD Concerts, Episode One — Justin Rowe and Johnny Modelo, aka Rowe/Modelo, perform 5 songs (Dry Land, Fishing For Feels, Flame and Gasoline, Cut ‘Em Off, Clever and Cool) and interview on Dan Victor Does. Watch or Listen to the full performance of the debut show for the new acoustic series.

Justin and Johnny are Brooklyn musicians that have known each other for a number of years, playing in various bands together. This project came together in January 2018 when Justin sent some original songs to Johnny that blew his mind. So Johnny  learned them and when they got together, to Justin’s surprise, played them back to him with ideas of his own. Since then, they have written over 20 songs together. After coming together on this acoustic incarnation, they decided to feature their vocal harmonies, which is admittedly infectious. It is very noticeable upon first hearing Rowe/Modelo perform. 

They talk about the challenge of practicing in the era of Covid or Corona Virus, whichever is PC, according to Johnny, he is not overly concerned with what people think. They have a nice guy image with a punk-rock attitude, even though their music is definitely power pop. It is apparent the two of them have excellent chemistry whether they are harmonizing together or cracking jokes, which they do plenty of. You can often find them laughing or smiling during the interview, even while playing their songs.

The songwriting is reminiscent of Paul Westerburg, Matthew Sweet, a stripped-down instrumentation like Guster and harmonies that remind you why Simon and Garfunkel were so savory. Rowe/Modelo‘s combination of vocals compliment each other in the way John Lennon and Paul McCartny did, without The Beatles drama.

It was a true pleasure having Rowe/Modelo on the first episode of DVD Concerts. They represent the best of what I admire in artists… talent, personality, awareness and genuinely fun to be around. Watch their live performance and speak about their process. Follow Rowe/Modelo on Instagram.

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Dan Victor Does Podcast — Art + Music + Mental Health: Performances, Interviews and Commentary on how creatives achieve mental well-being through their craft. Support the podcast.

“Cut ‘Em Off” Live • Rowe/Modelo

Rowe/Modelo perform their song “Cut ‘Em Off” Live on Dan Victor Does. Watch the full experience on Episode 1 of DVD Concerts.

Dan Victor Does Podcast — Art + Music + Mental Health: Performances, Interviews and Commentary on how creatives achieve mental well-being through their craft. Support the podcast.

Follow DVD Concerts on YoutubeSpotify or Apple.

“Fishing for Feels” Live • Rowe/Modelo

Rowe/Modelo perform their song “Fishing for Feels” Live on Dan Victor Does. Watch the full experience on Episode 1 of DVD Concerts.

Dan Victor Does Podcast — Art + Music + Mental Health: Performances, Interviews and Commentary on how creatives achieve mental well-being through their craft. Support the podcast.

Follow DVD Concerts on Youtube, Spotify or Apple.

The Matinée: White Lighters Reunion Show In The Garden

On Saturday, August 29th, from 2 to 9pm, bands will be performing an all-ages show at The Hercules Garden. It is a community garden in Bushwick that was transformed from a vacant lot filled with garbage to a hot-bed of growth, not just in vegetation, but in communion. Located at 87A Cooper Street, Brooklyn, NY 11207.

The bands taking the stage are Necrotic Society, WildKunz, Maru Tao, Bowhead, Cursed Images and White Lighters. The show was organized by Adam Kautz, drummer for White Lighters, which will be a reunion for the band.

While much of the world is under quarantine, we suffer from a lack of connection, that is essential to the human experience. What better way to remedy the vacancy, than to share food, give back to the neighborhood and offer a location to safely congregate for outdoor events.

Wearing masks and practicing social distancing is strongly encouraged. While the show is free, there is a suggested donation of supplies including bug spray, lighter fluid, toilet paper, hand-sanitizer, trash bags, bleach, masks or paper towels. These go towards maintaining the essentials of the space.

Other events and gatherings take place, including an Open Mic hosted by Dan Victor every Sunday from 5 to 8pm. Wellness Wednesday occurs weekly to promote health and well-being, offering horticultural demos, self-defense, Reiki and Yoga classes. For more info about The Hercules Garden events, visit their Instagram. See below for more about the bands.

Necrotic Society Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram

Bowhead Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram

White Lighters Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram

Superdeaf Releases Mass Hysteria To The Masses

New York City based thrash-punk band Superdeaf recently released their new EP, Mass Hysteria. It dropped on August 10th, 2020 with their label Maximum Collabo. The title is an eerily accurate description of our times. The album is four songs of pure adrenaline. As soon as the first track kicks in, I am gripped by the need to bang my head, grind my teeth and blindly throw myself into the pit. I’m immediately picking up a unique blend of metal and hardcore, that brings me back to my youth.

The musicians have international origins, before coming together in NYC to form a super-band with members from Escarioka, Outernational and Chango. The band is comprised of Cristøbal Miranda (drums/vocals) from Chile, Leo Minimum Tek (guitar/vocals) from Seattle, and Javier Barquet (bass/vocals/fx) from Mexico.

They have political, pro-rights lyrics with out leaving the joy of life. In your face kinda attitude. Fast riffs fast songs with that latin rhythmic section influence. Spanglish is their language. They stand strong amongst everybody’s rights. No racism, no fascist USA. No one is illegal.

Recorded by Steelwolf Jon Markson, Brooklyn & Alex Lanas Global Goal, Corona Queens. Mixed by Jhon Reyes Wisenoise, Saltillo Mexico. Mastered by Maceo Fuentes, Brooklyn.
  1. TEAR GAS
  2. SICK
  3. TRUMP SUPPORTER DISORDER (TSD)
  4. MASS HYSTERIA

I was lucky enough to catch up with Javier Barquet, the bass player of Superdeaf, for an exclusive interview. He’s a very friendly, laid back guy, that was super gracious with his time.

Dan: Could you talk about your origins? How did the band start out?

Javier: Superdeaf started as a studio band, right? These guys got free studio time and they just record an album. So they made an album before they had a band. After they record four songs, they’re like oh shit! It sounds cool, we should get a band. Right? So I got auditioned as bass player. They called me in and I nail the job, now I’m the bass player. We used to have a singer originally. Cass, he was a wrestler, but he couldn’t handle his shit, so he ended up getting fired and we split the vocals between the three of us. We decided to keep it a power-trio and, just like the Beastie Boys, everybody sings a little bit, because none of us are really singers. Kept it simple so we could travel. 

D: Do you play a lot of shows?

J: We don’t really play shows in New York. We do, but we’re tired, we all come from different bands that been around the scene forever. So we’re just tired of these fucking New York gigs. If it’s a cool show, of course we’ll take it, but no weekend bullshit. We prefer to work than take off a Saturday night.

D: Yeah, playing for like 15 people?

J: Yeah, we’re tired of that shit. But we produce a lot of songs. We just released a new album Mass Hysteria. I don’t know if you listened to the first EP? It’s a totally different sound.

D: I haven’t. what’s it called?

J: Contraband. We made a video for each song, it was the first EP. We are doing the same for this album. Now we working with a singer in Las Vegas. We just took our voices off the songs, but we left the choruses, he’s going to translate everything into Spanish. So every song we’re going to feature someone else. The first one is from Spain, Estragos Trifulka, he was in a huge band from the 80’s. He’s going to sing in Spanish. So for each song we are going to feature a different super star.

D: Very cool to do the songs in Spanish.

J: We are going back to the studio in November or October to record 2 new songs. The two songs we just made, they are fucking awesome.

D: Are you going to add it on this EP to make a full length?

J: No, it’s going to be all new.

D: So the EP just got released, have you been releasing singles before?

J: Yes. We did four singles. Every three weeks, I believe, we released a song. We just got played in Toronto on the radio, which is really cool. We just got played in Mexico, on the radio. Really cool.

D: Talk a little bit about your background. You’re from Mexico, right?

J: Yes. And the drummer is from Chile and the guitarist is a Polish dude from Seattle.

D: So you all come from different musical backgrounds?

J: Yeah, these fuckers play Salsa and Merengue. Cristo is a metal-head. They’re musicians for a living. You know? 

D: Right. I was a metal-head in my youth.

chango – bass • cristo – drums • leo – guitar

J: They have different bands and projects, [Cristo] plays congos and bongos. They make money. He plays in a jazz band on the street. They make a shitload of money. Leo is the same thing. He plays Salas and Bachata. 

D: How about you?

J: I’m a punker. I’ve played punk my whole life. I’m a metal-head, I love metal. I became a busker when I first came to New York. I made an electronic project, so I spent a lot of time in the underground playing music. I met a lot of people and made a lot of money and did a bunch of networking. Made a couple videos that went viral.

D: Nice! What was the project that went viral?

J: It’s called Chango. We worked with Mathew Silver. Do you know who he is?

D: No, I don’t think so. Not sure.

J: We worked with this fucker.

He shows me this video of a performance artist and Javier’s electronic group Chango, two guys that perform in luchador (Mexican wrestler) masks.

D: Wow, that’s incredible! Do you still do this? 

J: Sometimes. I do it by myself now though. 

D: Where Superdeaf’s influences come from? Thrash?

J: Thrash & Metal. Sepultura, Metallica, Pantera, Anthrax, Slayer.

D: It has a very fresh sound. When you finish each song, what do you say?

J: “Superdeaf”. Someone has to say it.

D: All three of you?

J: One of us has to say it. There’s one song we all did it. When we’re recording, everyone has to be in the cabin, so we all say it. “Superdeaf”. Then whoever says it best. Live it’s cool. What’s the name of the band? Superdeaf. Superdeaf. Superdeaf. When you’re listen to the band, it’s fucking cool. Right?

Definitely! It was a pleasure to speak with Javier and learn about the rich history of these metal veterans. Look out for more music and videos from this powerful band that will literally melt your face. Say it with me while I scream… Superdeaf!

Superdeaf on Youtube | Instagram | Facebook

Guided by Bob Pollard

June is the season I was introduced to Guided by Voices. In my mind, they are really more of a live band, with Bob Pollard doing karate kicks, swinging the mic around in one hand and a bottle of Budweiser in the other. I first saw GBV play at Irving Plaza in New York City when I was 19, right around my birthday, June 20th. I never heard of them, but went because my friend dragged me out. I was blown away. Tobin Sprout was still playing guitar, right before Alien Lanes came out. The song that captures me was Over The Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox. I remember the feeling of melting into the crowd when he says “and if you do, I’ll come back and marry you.” After that I was hooked.

Within a week, I bought the Vampire on Titus / Propeller dual album. Then I digested the Lo-fi sound, which was a characteristic that somehow highlighted the emotional sensitivity of Bob’s songwriting. Making it accessible and relatable to the Tascam Porta One cassette 4-track I started out recording with.

I would also spend my 21st birthday seeing them at the Trocadero in Philly. Actually a couple days before, which kept me from drinking at the bar. So my friend and I chugged some 40’s of St. Ides in the alley before the show.

Summer was the season that I realized my dream to rock on stage and expose myself in my recordings, more like a diary than an album. I am 45 this year and so grateful Robert Pollard & Guided By Voices have been in my life.

Guided by Voices in performance. Photo: Gretchen Robinette.

Making music is such a massive part of who I am. In a way, it is my religion, and performing on stage is a spiritual experience. I always thought it was because my father was a musician and it might have been a way to relate because he was often not around. I wanted a language we could both communicate in. But in this moment I realize it was Bob, with the same name as my father, that guided me to the life of songwriting and performing that I cultivated.

This is the season I dust off the GBV catalog (now in my iTunes… always wanted the original box set on vinyl) and celebrate over 25 years of rocking out with this influential band. The club is fucking open.

Guided by Voices at the Social. Photo: Jen Cray.