Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Shifting Exercise

Was watching this beautiful video earlier & practicing this piece (which I taught myself from the video a while ago):

Anyway, between that & playing Prayer all the time, I was thinking that my upper register on the A string really sucks ... so I thought I'd do some practicing, which meant a combination of scales and arpeggios (which I found infinitely more challenging & useful) ...

"Scales" are basically practicing 2nds ... usually with alternating fingers

Shifting 2nds is fairly easy for me ... now shifting 3rds, and shifting 4ths a bit harder ...

Right now I was working on same finger shifting (ie 1-1 then 2/3/4) ... eventually, working on different finger shifting will be a thing ...

My favorite way to practice arpeggios is diatonically ... C Eb G  D F Ab  Eb G Bb  etc. taking time on each one to make sure I've gotten the shift

The challenge for me is getting a full sound out of the cello without excess tension & getting tired (and of course, accuracy of pitch, along with directness of shift) ... not sure I succeeded

One thing I did a decent job of though is shifting by feeling, rather than by sight ... I find this much more boring/challenging than watching ... but also, ultimately more useful...

Music is the sound between the notes...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tales From The Road #4 - NERFA Recap

This past weekend was a weekend FULL of awesomeness I have not experienced in a *long* time.

I was up at a folk convention called NERFA, with Eli August & The Abandoned Buildings.

It was like being a little kid in a room full of toys ...

Full of musicians jamming everywhere, showcases, cool people, DJs, promoters, great panels, great vendors ... it was just non-stop talking, jamming, etc.

I ran into some folks I knew from the NY scene - Allison Tartalia, Anna Dagmar, Carolann Solabello, and Laura Joy (who I met *years* ago at a random gig in Yonkers ... the same gig where I first met the guys from The Rose West who were then called Tryptic) ... I also ran into the folks from BOBTOWN, who I had met just a week ago & got to meet Madalyn Sklar of GoGirlsMusic ... Rob of EA & Rob of ilyAIMY had a bonding moment over Coheed & Cambria

I was playing mostly with Eli August, but also joined Allison Tartalia for an instrumental set, after she came down with laryngitis

There were also a ton of cellists up their with their respective bands ... think there were 10 of us in total!! (I did not meet everyone this year, but there is talk of a Collective Cello Jam/Showcase next year!! I *can't wait* for that!!)

Didn't take too many pictures at this (Mell of The Abandoned Buildings took some more...) but here's a few:
The Army of Basses!!

Sleeping Mell

Full band shot taken by ilyAIMY

The sign outside one of the showcases...

Playing some music in the Lobby

Late night Cello Jam - featuring Kristen Jones of ilyAIMY, and Katie Chambers of Victoria Vox

A moment of humor

Robare playing some guitar

General Thoughts/Reflections:
LOTS of people from Philly & NYC area
Met a few folks from Nova Scotia
HARP!! (though we didn't get to Jam)
The Sound in the Main showcase room was *amazing* ... the setup actually had depth to it & was *so clear*
Panels were rather cool
I need to learn more fiddle tunes
We stayed at a Dude Ranch

Cool or interesting Bands:
Rick Drost
Deni Bonet
Rorie Kelly
(Many More...)

Bands with Cello
Eli August & The Abandoned Buildings
Miles to Dayton
Putnam Heights
Victoria Vox
(There's more too...)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Writing Music

I was rewatching "A Year & A Half In the Life of Metallica" last night ...

It's so interesting watching things multiple times ... particularly now that I've had the experience of playing frequent gigs & writing songs & have a bit more maturity and self-awareness to go along with it.  I can watch the vids. with more understanding and less romanticisation (while still getting the inspiration from them) ... anyway, at one point Kirk & Lars & Jason are talking about the songwriting process & explaining riff tapes ... you know, when you're on tour you record riffs at 3 in the morning or whenever on whatever instrument ... (which we now do to cell phones half the time)... It got me thinking about my own writing process...

I tend to write acoustically a lot (usually more as a default than on purpose), and I sort of expect a song to just come out on the spot & be amazing a lot of the time... I end up rejecting a lot of ideas, a lot of riffs ... a lot of things that sound "whatever" acoustic sound worlds different & more exciting when you plug in and put some gain on, or fuck with the sound a little bit.  This sort of judgemental approach in early stage writing is really not a good thing ... guess how many songs I've written like this ... wait for it?  None.

What does work though is when I just jam & record & loop and get excited & don't necessarily expect perfection, but instead follow things where they go ... even then I get stuck at times, but that's how it's got to work ... you just flow first, and then you can be all cerebral and analytical after (at least that's how it goes for me) ...

On top of that, I tend to write best when I'm practicing 3 hours a day & watching vids & listening to cool music & messing around on different instruments ... in short, having fun (through working).

It's good to keep this all in mind ... On a not so positive note ... My hard drive just died, and I've probably lost everything I've written for the last year or two (most of it anyway) ... back to the chopping board!

Monday, October 29, 2012

FUCK the Internet Radio Fairness Act

(Copied from my Tumblr)
Just read about the Internet Radio Fairness Act, um, allow me to say, FUCK NO!! - this is from the people who are supporting it (you can also read the Summary & Text of the proposed legislation there)
These are the people supporting it:
VERY NOTABLE is the inclusion of Pandora
According to these folks, the IRFA will:
Give consumers more choices and more robust products for listening to the music they love;
Enable artists to earn increasingly more money as Internet radio grows and to better connect with their fans to market their music, merchandise and tours;
Create a sustainable digital marketplace that makes it possible for entrepreneurs to start new services and invest in new, innovative ways to deliver music to the public, and;
Drive higher revenues for the record labels themselves.
point 1 - Give consumers more choices and more robust products??  Consumers have never had so much choice about where/how to get their music … you can listen to almost any music for free at will at any time you want … consumer choice is NOT a problem in the music industry right now
point 2  - Internet Radio is not a bad thing, but more of it is not going to be some magical panacea where artists connect with their fans better.  It will eventually reach a point of diminishing returns (this second sentence is my opinion)
point 3 - There is more and  more Internet Radio everyday … could their profits be higher?  Yes!  Would this be a good thing for them & possibly artists too? Yes!  Is the inability to create new tech  startups a problem in the music industry right now? NO
point 4 - That depends on which version of the bill we’re talking about … Also, it bears the same problems of: Does that money get used in ways that are fair & beneficial to Artists.  Also, what about Independent Artists?
This article is worth reading, and aligns well with my feelings on the Bills:
“Westergren is absolutely correct that it’s unfair that Pandora pays artists while AM/FM radio doesn’t; but that disparity doesn’t mean that everyone should pay artists less. And Westergren’s claim that Pandora cannot afford to pay artists fairly doesn’t add up either. The company just completed a wildly profitable IPO, has an explosive user base, maintains one of the world’s most-recognizable music brands, and remains the industry leader.

Moreover, paying royalties to musicians isn’t stopping new Internet companies from entering the market, as Westergren argues. The Internet radio market has grown 33 percent over the past five years. Westergren suggests that artists would actually earn more if Internet radio stations paid them less, because there would be more Internet radio stations. To me, it sounds more like a clever way for Pandora to make billions in profits by cheating artists out of their fair share of the internet radio revenue pie.   Excuse me for being cynical about that kind of thing – it’s a tough business”

Tales From The Road #3 - What do a Turkish Cafe, A Fantasy Ball & A Cemetery Have In Common?

I decided this past weekend would be a good one to do some touring.  So I grabbed Robare of The Rose West & headed off to Philadelphia to go play at Cafe Fulya.  We left New York around 5 & got to Philly just in time to start playing.  The show ended up being a small, intimate performance full of geeky and improvisational music, as well as some Rose West tunes & even an Eli August cover (that I really hope someone caught on video!!).  Of course, there was also good wine and *amazing* food.  I particularly love the Baklava there!!  This was the first time Rob & I have played as a duo & we decided it worked fairly well & that we should do more!  Favorite moments for me were getting to play a melancholic improvisatory version of Hava Nagilah, and having a passer-by listen to the music from outside and later tell me that my music had relieved her headache!!

After the Fulya show, we drove down to Baltimore to stay with Eli.  Rob & I spent the day doing some light rehearsal and then heading over to Ellicot city to browse the shops (ostensibly to pick up a mask for the gig later)… We found this one place that was just full of everything Fantastical and amazing … the sort of place you could spend hours in & still not be done … full of pirates and fairies and masks and action figures and tapestries and all sorts of things … I picked up a Frog Wizard and Bootstrap Bill to add to my slowly growing collection of these things.  There was also an *amazing* Antique Mall that was so big we didn't even explore the whole thing!!  We also ran into Brennan (one of the Abandoned Buildings members) at the music store he works at! (completely by accident)

(The Cluttered, but slowly-growing collection of Action Figures)

After the fun shopping was over, we got in a little more rehearsal and headed to the MS Fantasy Ball - one very awesome event.  To start with, any event with an Open Bar & Free Food is off to a really good start.  On top of that, friendly people and good music.  The night started off with Spider Lilies, Followed by Red This Ever.  Then it was Psyche Corp's turn.  There were some sound issues (not on our part), but we did the  best of it & rocked out & that was that.  Red This Ever saved me by lending me some cables when I discovered that mine had been misplaced (I found them later).  Both they & the folks from Spider Lilies were awesome.  The event was finished up by Danny Blu, who put on a good performance as always.  The MS in front of the Fantasy Ball stands for Multiple Sclerosis - the entire event was a benefit!!

On to sunday, we'd been hearing about this Hurricane all weekend, and we weren't sure if the Cemetery Potluck was going to happen.  It did in fact still happen - NO HURRICANE STOPS THIS CELLIST!! - and Rob & I brought Eli along to play some tunes.  It was QUITE cold, which made playing a little bit challenging - no matter ... I appropriately ended "A World of Drones" with Chopin's Funeral March (a melody that's been prominently in my head since the day I discovered Metallica's S&M), and we alternated between my solo playing, dueling with rob & playing some of Eli's tunes.  I have to confess, I didn't pull out my Black No. 1 cover, or my new song based on Ruby Gloom (they just weren't ready yet) If you're in the DC area - the Cemetery Potluck is definitely worth checking out (happens once a year, around Halloween).

Dr. Who Medley from the Cemetery Potluck

Feria Cinerum by 2/5s of The Rose West at the Cemetery Potluck

From there, it was hanging out, eaten' pizza & sharing good music on the (rather peaceful) car ride home.

For those who don't know - Eli & band (The Abandoned Buildings) are fundraising for our first FULL BAND ALBUM:

Also, I've got a  new video up: 

See you on the road!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tales From The Subway #1

It's been months, but I've finally started playing in the subways again.  it feels really nice to get back to it.  It's amazing how much time of day & location really influence the experience.  My overall favorite spot to play so far has been Union Square - I feel like there's always a great mix of people there who get into the music.

It's been a bit slower getting back into it, but also, very refreshing ... It's very interesting for me to see how I've developed different music over the last year or two, and how I've something I did a year or two ago & added a new twist to it... it's also interesting to see how everything get's faster & faster the longer I play it (sometimes that's good ... sometimes not so much) ... a lot of the time my compositional ideas come from playing in the subway too (I'd say most of them really...)

Take this video: - I do all the same stuff, but now I have the loop station drone under it & I add a middle eastern sounding section influenced by Gladiator to it

The truly great thing about the subway though is the people you run into - the old friends, the kids, the people whose day you made, the people who dance as you walk by, the whackos, everyone...

I hope to be sharing some of *those* stories in the near future!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Practicing & Scale Methods

Was practicing some scale method stuff earlier (Galamian & Yompolsky) and a few things came up:

1.  Not slurring scale practice - many exercises introduce scales and patterns slurring as many notes as possible.  This is initially a good thing, and great for developing long/legato bow control & beautiful tone...

However, it's also crippling if one doesn't practice things with separate bows & bowing patterns.

As a rule, I am working on nothing slurred anymore.  This is important for metal specifically, and other styles.

2.  Minimal movement - as always, it's essential to find the most efficient way to physically do something... this means the least excess motion... eventually, this becomes natural/direct.  It also means minimal excess tension.  When shifting, keep weight down/keep connected to the cello.

3.  Don't look down!!  I first really encountered this idea while watching a Steven Isserlis masterclass... when you look, you are not listening, and not learning how things feel & you are trapping your face in your cello, which is terrible for audience communication

I wish there was a method oriented around "progressive/alternative styles"... galamian & yompolsky are definitely great though

Friday, August 10, 2012

Setting Goals Again

This year has been fucking weird.

I touched on it a little bit in my last blog ... but basically it is this.  I have never felt more off-track & like I'm wasting my time & talents & not being the best I can.  At the same time, I've never performed so much & never received so much "Wow, you're really amazing" recognition from so many different people ... I've performed in so many different settings, I've performed  in many other states, I've become part of so many awesome things.

Yet at the same time, I haven't finished my album yet (though working at it), and I've spent a lot of time not practicing & not learning & not developing myself more.  I've spent a lot of time unmotivated & depressed.

But I'm moving back into an exciting position.  It resulted from being in the very uncomfortable position of not having my shit ready for recording with one of the bands I'm in.  This led to some intense talks, and I saw myself repeating patterns that really just were terrible.  Because of this, I finally came to terms with this gradual downward spiral & have refocused, and am slowly building myself back into the cellist & person I want to be.

This has started with practicing 2-5 hours 2-3 times a week.  It's extended into also reading/watching interviews & documentaries & exploring music I haven't listened to much, instead of listening to the same "crutch" music.  It's also gone along with exercise.

I feel like playing cello is mastering one small thing after another ... it is destroying weaknesses & carving away so that one's true creative voice can come through.

I think songwriting is the same, and that's always been a challenge for me.  I want things to work so instantly and easily ... I think it's one of the reasons I like improv. so much ... yet, the truth is you really have to work hard at carving - even with improv.

The other truth is that I'm very aimless a lot of the time.  But this gets so much better when I practice.  When I combine that random, spontaneity with discipline, everything becomes a bit more real.

Right now, one of the things I'm really working on is shifting - doing so quickly & accurately ... the upper positions are something I really need to tackle & my electric cello sound is something I need to do *a lot* of work with.  I also think I need to work more on the career side of things (both as a freelancer & as a creative artist) & I think there is really a key in Open Mics.  I really really need to play all the time - it will do me good, and the more people I'm exposed to, the better off things will go.  I also really need to return to playing in the Subways ... I've been avoiding it for a while.

Anyway, this is my headspace for the time being...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I don't know where I belong, or where do I go from here

Actually, I do know where I belong - I belong right here, doing what I'm doing.

Things gave changed a lot over the last year or so.  I think the biggest difference is that so many of my emotional and psychological needs are met now.  This applies to cello as well, the underlying layer of "this needs to be ok, and then everything else will work" is there. 

This in part caused me to blog a lot less (the other things that caused me to blog a lot less were having an active professional life, an active social life, spending a lot of time on facebook/twitter/okcupid, needing to be careful about what I wrote in public).  I think really though, the biggest factor is that the cello stopped being a big mystery to me.  I know how to play it, I can do it fairly well and meaningfully.  If something does not go well these days, it's not because there's some fundamental aspect of playing that's holding me back, it's simply because I didn't practice enough.

As a person I've grown tremendously more secure and am becoming more empowered.  It's as if I spent years planting seeds, and finally the crops bloom, and I took in some time to eat and be wholesome.

Now it is time to plant seeds again.  A commencement speech I watched recently mentioned that we confuse accolades with achievement, and the honest truth is I've done this a lot in the last year, and I've settled for less than my best.  We have a word for this - coasting.  I know that true success is only going to come from always growing and always learning and always accepting that I can do better.  I'm ready to start that again.

So the question is in what manner do I go forward.  This is where most people would go back to school, or get a teacher.  I'm convinced this is not my path.  Part of the development I need to do is crafting my unique sound and compositional style further - carving away the excess.  I've had an improvisatory relationship to technical development for a long time, and I think there is immense benefit in this approach.  There are limits too, but all the techniques and guides of the past are open to me in the form of sheet music, so I can fuse the two.

I also need to invest a significant amount of time into developing better leadership/organizational skills and responsibilities.  I think this is an area I've held myself back in a lot, and I think I could have gone so much further than where I am now.  I also think I need to reach out to others more.  This is something I have stopped doing & I think it will be essential in continuing to be able to do this as a profession.

I have very good luck/serendipity/etc., but I can't rely on that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tales From The Road #2 - Here I am ... On the Road Again... (Steampunk World's Fair 2012 Report)

So my life lately has been taken over by Steampunk ... this is a very good thing!

Recently that has meant:
Dorian's Parlor
Watch City
Steampunk World's Fair

Dorian's Parlor: I am the house musician.  There is general awesomeness.

Watch City: A cool outdoor event with a strong historical aspect to it, as well as cool vendors, musicians & panels!  Some things could have been organized better, but all in all, a very cool event.

Steampunk World's Fair: What an experience!!

I'd been looking forward to World's Fair for a long time ... and especially so since Wicked Winter Renessaince Faire (Wicked Faire), which was basically comparable to a religious experience for me (the culmination of which was seeing Ego Likeness)

Steampunk World's Fair was wicked and more ... there were many moments of epicness.  I had sets with Eli August and Psyche Corporation, and saturday night, I got to participate in the most epic parking lot jam with Painless Parker, This Way to the Egress, Magpie Kiljoy (of Steampunk Magazine), other members of Eli's band. and of course Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band, who we met across the parking lot in Showdown Style.

I largely missed the panels I wanted to go to (though I did get to catch one of Mark Donelly's panels on archery) ... particularly I'd been hoping to catch Victorian Sexuality, and Steampunk Emma Goldman, and Jaymee Goh's panels... only so much time in the day though!

Anyway, here are some cool photos from the epicness. Please note: None of these photos were taken by me - they were all publicly posted on FB.

From the 2nd Psyche Corp. Set

"Pound Your Bones Onto the Table..." The beginning of the epic parking lot jam

Bass Lady - Britney Frompovich, who I discovered by accident when she was playing beautiful music in a vendor's room

Shhh, it's a secret

Jamming with Levi Ali (on percussion) .. out of site are the dancers from The Cavalcade of Fancy Ladies

From the first Psyche Corp set ... not so sure the goggles are my look, but damn do I *love* blue lighting

Open door rehearsal for Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings ... first time we'd all met each other!

More rehearsing

Eli August in action ... also Robare Pruyn-Bush on Clarinet, and Elliot Peeples on Floor Tom

Mike Darnell - the bass player for Eli August

Moving Forward

For the last year or so, I've sort of been struggling with what to do with this blog... When I first started out, it was intense, deep thinking about cello technique & playing, and talking about artists I really enjoyed seeing live ... and part of me misses that, and wants to include it more ... on the other hand, I've largely figured out the "how-to" of cello playing (even if I need to practice a lot more), and I've become a *lot* more active as a performer (specifically in the steampunk scene).  One side effect of this is that most of the music I see these days is through that scene (or other people I'm performing with), and I don't want to necessarily be publicly critical about people I'm working with/around ... I've also been struggling with this Wandering Cellist identity, and the fact that I play in a billion groups & do solo stuff & how that all fits together ... And I've got active fb, twitter, emailing, 2nd blog, LJ, and social/intellectual/romantic components to life that take up lots of time ...

In short, I moved to NYC about a year ago, became involved in the steampunk scene & many other cool things, and didn't know what capacity to translate that too in a blog and/or on the web in general... so now I've realized the point is everything ... everything I do is united under The Wandering Cellist ... this blog will reflect that!


Friday, April 20, 2012

This Bothers Me

Someone posted this on facebook:

The only justification I can see for asking people not to take pictures (besides that some artists are apparently so temperamental that it deeply disturbs them) is that taking pictures interferes with the experience process ... which I think in some ways is a good point...

On the other hand, what I really don't understand:
1. Why is information technology always The Enemy (I mean look at all of us learning languages, and using them as practice tools, and making videos & creating new things constantly with them)
2. Why are classical musicians so bent on controlling audience experience and behavior (aside from acoustic considerations)

Is there an argument for specialization over generalization - hell yes! Does this need to villify information technology? no!

I think it's great to question & challenge IT, I just really wish it would be done in a more balanced & mature way

I don't think that people having their own limits/structure on use of IT is a bad thing (quite the opposite), but everytime I heard about something like this from classical musicians, I just feel like they're being big babies, and it just adds to the list of reasons I don't consider myself a classical musician (even though I sometimes play classical music professionally)

(Isn't it ironic that the author's point is being further made through a blog?)

Hopefully in the near future I'll write about cello and teaching & performing & stuff ... I've been super busy performing & getting away from performing over the last few months ... it's a good thing :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Experiences at the Cello Madness Congress NYC Pt.1

2 nights of the last 2 weeks were really special for me. Cello Joe hosted an event known as the Cello Madness Congress in NYC. First in Brooklyn, then in Manhattan.

Basically, the way I describe it to people is: "take all the cellists who do really weird stuff in New York & put them all in a room together for 4 hours" ... and that's basically what it was ... but so much more.


The Brooklyn event was held in a loft apartment with a nice open space. I think about 13 cellists showed up & maybe 20-30 people or so to watch us. There were snacks & beer & it was an awesome night. I was the first cellist there (besides Joe) & one by one, people wandered in, we introduced ourselves to each other, chatted it up with the audience, figured out how to arrange the room, etc.

Eventually, we got started & began with a group twist on the C scale. Each person started at a different part of the scale (Root, 3rd or 5th) .. it made for a very cool sound. After that, we did a bit of group improv & the rest of the night, alternated group improvisation games with solo sets. The solo sets were really amazing & eye opening in a lot of ways. It was great to see such a high level of playing, as well as such a variety of different kinds of original music. Here's a glimpse of who did what:

CelloJoe (Joey Chang) - beatboxing cellist

Valerie Kuehne - cross-polinating sundry genres

Cosmo D (Greg He
ffernan) - electro cello techno loop genius

Michael Lunapeina - the wandering cellist - rock/metal

Elizabeth Glushko - electronics and looping.

Nick Jozwiak - fascinating composer, throat sings while he plays

Jacob Cohen - melodic improv inspired by hip hop

Meaghan Burke - songstress

There was also a guest appearance by Quetzacoatl via the form of a Giant Puppet & courtesy of

I sadly didn't get any video, but here are some pictures (Taken by Sean Hagerty)...

Stay tuned for part 2!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to Fit Myself Into A Box

I hate the Bio/Resume that I have right now ... I feel like it doesn't represent me/the me I want to be... but I also don't know how to write Me ... I'm messy and confusing... and I don't really fit into the traditional or non-traditional box...

Classically Trained (but much less than classical people)
Play in Community Orchestras (but not a lot)
Have done a crapton of musical theatre
Improvise & write music like a songwriter
Play in the Subways
Play in as many as 4 or 5 rock bands that are somewhat successful that most people have never heard of & are not a part of any mainstream music genres
Have little to no interest in being more "in the box" or going to grad school or taking lessons, because I want to make my own path creating music that I really love that is deeply meaningful to me.
Play a live set that involves half covers & half original music
Do everything from playing weddings to pits to religious services to rock bands to (very occasional) classical gigs to recording sessions
I started cello at age 16 (but does that matter?)
I write cool music in GarageBand on keyboard & sort of just have no clue what to do with it...

I guess really what I'm torn between is I want to represent myself as the Cellist/Songwriter, but most of my work is in the teaching & freelance musician world & I feel like it's talking to two different sets of people with completely different interests ... It's another stupid tug of war inside...

This post has given me some ideas...

Edit: I've now got a different bio up .. I don't think it's done yet ... I realized part of the problem is that I'm trying to serve 2 different masters with this bio ... I need a Me bio & a teaching bio & a resume ... 1 down, 2 to go...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tales From The Road #1 - Playing at the Bean Runner Cafe

Last night I played for the 12th Artist Appreciation Show at Bean Runner Cafe. It was a really cool experience!!

I live in Brooklyn/NYC & absolutely love it! Because of that, one of my favorite things is getting out of NYC. No matter where I've gone, every time I get out of NYC, people seem a bit happier & more wholesome, less stressed and jaded. It's really encouraging.

Peekskill was no exception. What a charming little town (at least the part I got to explore was). Everyone's friendly & there's lots of book stores & cafes & antique stores & all in a small area. My favorite part of it was exploring Bruised Apple Books - a very awesome used books store! I picked up a copy of The Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne & of "Gig" - a book with firsthand accounts of jobs across the entire spectrum of America.

Anyway, on to Bean Runner ... Bean Runner is a nice cafe ... a little fancy, but not in an off-putting way (just in an everything looks pleasing sort of way) with nice staff. I had the pleasure of performing to a full Cafe of people who were there for & actively paying attention to the music. I also had the pleasure of playing with other artists who were original & whose art was very awesome in their own way.

In NYC this sort of thing doesn't happen a lot ... music almost always feels like a secondary focus, even when people come to shows ... there is little sense of community, or artists supporting each other, of people sticking around for other bands' sets because they actively are pleased to do so. I think it's a result of oversaturation & stressful, busy lives.

Whatever it is, it's always beautiful to get away from that.

For me the most beautiful moment was unexpectedly joining motivational spoken word artist Christ Is during his set. Playing the melody from Tool's Parabol, along with my own "beats" behind his spoken art that dealt with some of the grittier, harder aspects of life while still being uplifting was really truly inspirational & powerful.

It's amazing what happens when you put two things together that you wouldn't normally expect to go together. Words & Music compliment each other in a really deep way.