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David Arkenstone

David Arkenstone

An interview with instrumental composer David Arkenstone
by Max Ink Writer List
October 2010

David Arkenstone has been creating contemporary-instrumental music for well over 20 years. He combines electronic samples with acoustic instruments. His albums are are often fantasy themed and usually come packaged creatively with literature and art. Arkenstone has gained three Grammy nominations over the years. Through he mainly plays keyboards, he impressively plays a wide variety of instruments including, mandolin, guitar, bass, harp, cello, flute, piano, Turkish Saz, pennywhistle, pan pipes, drums, melodica, and bouzouki. His work has graced computer games like World of Warcraft - Cataclysm, Lands of Lore (2 & 3), Emperor: Battle for Dune, and Blade Runner. He has composed music for television for NBC Sports, The History Channel, and the Discovery Channel in addition to writing the original score for the independent film PRISM.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your background growing up? What first led you to pursue a career in music?
David Arkenstone: I distinctly remember being 4 or 5 years old and being fascinated by the Nutcracker music by Tchaikovsky. I desired to know how those sounds were made, and why they made me feel the way it did. Also, my parents were both musicians, so there was a lot of music and a piano in our home all the time. I took piano lessons as a child, then as I became more proficient, I started to compose my own music.


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Milwaukee's Enemy Star

Enemy Star

An interview with Paris Ortiz and Kassy Gruszkowski
by Mike Huberty
October 2010

After the demise of the COCKSMITHS in 2009, Milwaukee guitar slinger Paris Ortiz (formerly of popular Brewcity rock bands like PSYCHADELICASI and BIG DUMB DICK) had a new sound in mind. Presumably, he was looking for a band that didn’t have a word for penis in the name, but also he was looking to create a more melodic kind of hard music. And ENEMY STAR, the band that eventually would come out of his idea, definitely has both the sweet-sounding and feminine element.

“I was on Myspace and saw an ad from the singer of 9MM SOLUTION.” Paris says. “It said, ‘My vocal teacher is looking for a band’ and I thought it was a gag. I mean, I was like, ‘Who’s your vocal teacher? Satan?’ But then I heard her [ENEMY STAR singer, Kassy Gruszkowski], and I knew it wasn’t a joke and I thought the voice was unique and refined.” A longtime Milwaukee singer, Kassy, was on the lookout for a new band as well. As she says, “The band I was in, THERESBEENAFIRE, broke up and I was out there kind of like ‘Will Rock For Gigs’. It was hard to find a good band at the time and Paris calling me was really, really awesome.”


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Bradley Fish is back in the states! - photo by Rökker

Bradley Fish

conversation with a musical nomad
by Troy Johnson
September 2010

Bradley Fish has become the ultimate nomad. It makes sense though, he’s been perfecting it most of his adult life along with his passion, music.

A musical chameleon with a music degree to match, Bradley left his native Illinois for the much more liberal Madison, Wisconsin in the mid 1990’s and literally lived in a tent in a friend’s back yard while giving guitar lessons to local students. He also played many a night on State Street and could always be spotted with a guitar, head full of dreadlocks and a tie-dye t-shirt.

Eventually, the success of lessons, shows and street playing allowed him to set up his own place and live life from music. His solo shows were “one man band” style, and he wore bells, shakers and other noise makers on his legs and feet and play guitar, dulcimer, Chinese zither and whatever other instrument he could find. Bradley is also part comedian and his laugh is infectious. Some of his videos on YouTube feature this “humor” with his controversial song “Jewish Girl Blues.” Totally tongue in cheek, the song pokes fun at the plight of Jewish men who are pressured by old tradition to find and marry a Jewish girl, only in this video, he marries a few to cover the bases.

Besides playing as a one man band/comedian, Bradley has been in a ton of bands. In the mid-nineties, Bradley enlisted the help of a plethora of local Madison all-stars to play in his band, The Aquarium Conspiracy, and record on his first album. After some success it was hard to keep the “band” booked as scheduling of “all-stars” isn’t so easy.

The late nineties put the hippy in Bradley out to dry when he hooked up with Rökker, Philly, Mike McGinnis and Jeff Muendel to re-package the old Aquarium Conspiracy music plus new songs to a heavier format… a ROCK BAND called Bradley Fish’s Electrifried Band. Zany publicity stunts propelled his popularity, but something still seemed missing.

Following his mother’s advice to visit Israel, Bradley sold off most of his belongings, shipped the guitar and Marshall amp to his new home in Tel Aviv where he would work for the high-level audio software company Waves as well as get signed to Sony Records to sell CD’s full of loops. But Tel Aviv didn’t suit him so off to Jerusalem he went where he started a recording studio in his apartment just off the market. But the nomad in him would strike again.

Before he sold off all his belongings and shipped the rest back to the states, Bradley recorded his new album “Time To Rise”. Set to be released on October 12th at the High Noon Saloon in Madison, “Time To Rise” will take Bradley across the country as he promotes and tours in total DIY fashion. You see, Bradley purchased a big, purple van which you can’t miss. Instead of the tent, or an apartment or home, he has trimmed his possessions to the minimum and uses a fusion of old and new technologies to make the “Purple People Eater”, his fond name for it, into a mobile home/office, decreasing his lodging expense.

Bradley also went back to his one-man-band show but this time it’s a complete mix of analog and digital as he uses the laptop to control the layers of his improvisational playing on the many different instruments in his possession. Guitar and dulcimer remain his favorites while he incorporates bass, drum loops and “other” sounds into his repertoire.

Here is my conversation with adventure looping musician Bradley Fish. He is back in the Midwest after his 6 year residence in Israel and touring this fall with a new album.

Maximum Ink: Bradley, Are you a one man show or would you rather mash with others?
Bradley Fish: I love playing in bands. I must have been in a few hundred of them, practically every style you can imagine and have learned from a ton of great musicians over the years. The thing is, bands have a 99.9% chance of breaking up and solo acts are the inverse of that. So in a business that’s already known for being very unstable, being a solo act lets me enjoy a certain degree of stability. Plus, as a solo act, I can decide to rehearse spontaneously at 4 in the morning, make radical changes in a musical direction, or play a freaky gig for naked desert-trance-hippies for gas money and organic yogurt - without consulting or convincing anyone and still keep the act together for years on end.


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5111 ViewsPermalinkBradley Fish Website
Sarah McIntosh

The Good Natured

An interview with singer and songwriter Sarah McIntosh
by Tina Hall
September 2010

The Good Natured (aka Sarah McIntosh) is not the typical work you’d expect from a 19 year old, especially with songwriting that tends to lean towards the darker side. The band is also includes members Hamish McIntosh and George Hinton. The new single Be My Animal is due to be released on November 1st by the indie label KIDS with Prisoner being the B-side. Both tracks were mixed by Adrian Bushby, who’s also worked with Foo Fighters and Muse.

Maximum Ink: There isn’t much about you out there yet. Can you tell us a little about where you are from? How does coming from where you have impacted your musical style?
Sarah McIntosh: I’m Sarah, I am 19 and I live in a village called Highclere in Newbury, Berkshire. Highclere’s a nice little village. It has its own castle where Peter and Jordan got married. Nice. I wouldn’t say where I live impacts my musical style at all, it’s probably impacted more by the way I have been bought up around my grandparents and parents record collection.

MI: How would you describe The Good Natured sound?
SM: I would say its electronic pop with a darker element, that’s how I see it anyway.

MI: What led you to form this band?
SM: I have always enjoyed music, I used to play the violin, the drums and sang in a youth choir when I was younger. I formed the band out of a love for music, but also a need to express myself.


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2107 ViewsPermalinkGood Natured MySpace
DefineD

DefineD

An interview with the entire metal band from Canada
by Tina Hall
September 2010

The Canadian metal band Defined was formed in 2001. Though it has gone through several members changes over the years they still continue to deliver the hard and heavy sound their fans have some to expect.The current members while all in their early twenties themselves claim a combined stage experience of just over twenty years. Define-D is Jon Rioux (vocals),Steve Laj (drums),Neil Landry (bass), & Dan Levis (guitar), I sat down with the entire band for a chance to bring fans in U.S. up to speed.

Maximum Ink: Are you all originally from Canada?How do you think coming from there has influenced your sound?  Who where some of your earliest influences?
Dan Levis: No…I was born in Pakistan.(laughs)
Steve Laj: Influenced? It hasn’t….. I just listened to a lot of American music.
Jon Rioux: I don’t think being Canadian “influenced” our sound, but it has sculpted our bands personality, and views of the music industry.
Neil Landry: Yeah, Canada isn’t that different from the states…you know, people get killed, people make love, people get high, and we people make music…plus, we are FLOODED with American influences from day one up here.  So, to answer your question, it was all that American content on MuchMusic (Canada’s MTV) that influenced our sound.
SL: Yeah man, I’d say 90% of my CD collection is American music.
JR:  Earliest influences? Steve Tyler. Sad to say, well no, he’s a good singer…Layne Staley, Phil Anselmo, Kurt Cobain,etc…
DL: I used to like the bee gees a lot.(laughs)
SL: Uh, Sepultura, Slipknot, Pantera…used to listen to a lot of Korn…Snot…
JR: Sevendust!
SL: Ya!
JR: Old Incubus, Pantera, Mudvayne…
DL: Talking serious??? Okay, Iron maiden, Judas priest, dimmu borgir, and uhhh fuckin pantera man haha and of course the members of this band.
NL: Fuckin Dan, youngest kid in the band crushing the oldest metal I love it. And I 100% agree with pan’fuckin’tera…RIP dime. White Zombie, Sepultura, Nirvana I guess…and Primus sucks, Claypool is a god.


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4222 ViewsPermalinkDefineD WebsiteDefineD MySpace
Anew Revolution

Anew Revolution

An interview with bassist Frankie Salvaggio
by Tina Hall
September 2010

Anew Revolution is made up of Joey Duenas (Vocals/Guitar), Frank “Frankie” Salvaggio (Bass/Backing Vocals), Rob Urbani (Drums), and Jay Frederick (Guitar). They have toured alongside acts like 12 Stones, Hell Yeah, Volbeat, Kittie, Sevendust, Hed PE, and Drowning Pool. The latest release iMerica is out now on E1 records and the band will be at Scatz in Middleton on November 5th and the Eagles Club in Milwaukee on November 6th.

Maximum Ink: There isn’t much about Anew Revolution out there. Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you are from, how it influenced you musically?
Frank Salvaggio: Anew Revolution is made up of myself & Rob from Montreal, Canada, Joey is from Austin, Texas and Jay is from Ventura, California. Personally I’m influenced from some great rock/metal bands that came to Montreal like Metallica, Motley Crue, Guns n’ Roses, Iron Maiden, The Cult, Deftones.Watching those bands live was like an awakening for me and highly inspired me to be the musician I am.

MI: When did you first take up bass? Why?
FS: I took up bass when I was 13 years. It was summertime and my buddy wanted to start a band. He was of course the guitar player and I opted for the bass because I thought it would be a interesting, different instrument to play.

MI: Where does the name Anew Revolution come from? How did they come up with the name?
FS: Joey, Rob and I we’re trying to think of a bold, strong name, and we thought of “Revolution”, but that seemed too simple. So we said, hey we’re all from past bands and we’re starting all over again with this band so it’s like starting “Anew” so we said, “Anew Revolution”.


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Blackout 101 - photo by Trent Siggard

Blackout 101

An interview with singer Chris Bowan and drummer Miles Kottak
by Tina Hall
September 2010

Blackout 101 is an up and coming rock band from Woodland Hills, CA. It is made up of, Chris Bowman on vocals and guitar, Skylar Leon on guitar, Gavin Bennett on bass and vocals, and Miles Kottak on drums. Miles is the son of Athena and James Kottak (Athena is Tommy Lee’s younger sister and James has worked as a drummer with the Scorpions. They are both members of the rock band Kottak). Their self released EP is titled “A Work In Progress.” Blackout 101 is currently in the studio working on new music. I recently caught up with Chris and Miles for a chance to learn more about that.

Maximum Ink: At what age did you know you wanted to be a musician? What led you to that realization?
Chris Bowman: I think that I was destined to make this my life since the beginning, but you have to have a trigger. My trigger was slightly cheesier than others. I saw the movie School of Rock when I was nine years old and as soon as the credits started rolling, I was a whole different person. I went to bed that night knowing what I was going to do for the rest of my life, without any previous thought given to the idea at all. I don’t know how a nine year old could have been so sure of anything, but not a day has gone by that I’ve questioned that decision I made that night.
Miles Kottak: I was born into a family of musicians. It seems I didn’t really have a choice, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

MI: Did you ever want to be anything other than a musician?
CB: I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a little kid…go figure…
MK: I was convinced I’d be in the NBA one day…


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3727 ViewsPermalinkBlackout 101 MySpace
Stratospheerius

Stratospheerius

An interview with electric violinist Joe Deninzon
by Tina Hall
September 2010

The band Stratospheerius features Joe Deninzon (vocals, violin, mandolin), Jamie Bishop (bass), Aurelien Budynek (guitars), and Lucianna Padmore (drums). The sound is hard to classify in a genre.It combines modern and classic music in a way that is hard to find. The new album Headspace showcases the style nicely.

Maximum Ink: Who are some of your earliest influences and why?
Joe Deninzon: My influences have a very wide range. In classical music it would be Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Mahler. In jazz, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. In rock, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Hendrix, Kiss, Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yes, The Police, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, to name a few. I like musicians who take chances and blaze new trails. I also love performers with a great stage presence who take their audience on a transcendental journey, which is what I strive to do. I also am fascinated by music that can connect with as many people as possible on a primal level, but can also be analyzed on a deeper level. Music that is seemingly simple yet has many layers of complexity underneath. That is something I’ve been trying to create for years, and I feel I’m getting closer.

MI: What was it like to move from Russia to Cleveland as a child? Do you ever miss Russia?
JD: I don’t have vivid enough memories of Russia to miss it. I grew up in the midwest around American culture. I was only four years old when we
emigrated. I do remember that it wa very tough at first going to school in the US not knowing the language, and it took me a few years to adjust. Russia is a beautiful country and I particularly love my birthplace of St. Petersburg, but i don’t think I would want to live there.


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Tola of Blog 27

Blog 27

An interview with singer and songwrter, Tola
by Tina Hall
September 2010

Polish skater punk/punky hip hop/pop Blog 27 won the MTV Music European Award in 2007, making Tola the youngest artist to win that ever. The band received a 4 star rating from Blender magazine in 2008 who dubbed Tola the ” Polish Ashlee Simpson”. The single, Hey Boy (Get YourAss Up) was listed as one of the best singles of 2006 by ABC News. Tola and the band also were a European Border Breakers Award winner in 2007.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about where you are from, who you are, and what makes you tick?
T: I’m from another dimension, that slightly differs from the reality I’m living in right now. I’m a creature born on the streets of art. Honesty makes me tick, real people and seeing the things the way they are.

MI: At what age did you know you wanted to be a professional musician? What do you think you’d of liked to become if not that?
T: I was about three when my mind started projecting the image that I’m bringing into reality today. I feel like I didn’t really choose to become an artist, it’s been inside me. I have hobbies but none of them come close enough to being as serious as my goal of becoming a successful singer.


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2142 ViewsPermalinkBlog 27 MySpaceBlog 27 Wiki
Josh Harris

Josh Harris

musician, producer, programmer, engineer and graduate of Appleton's Lawrence University
by Tina Hall
September 2010

Josh Harris is a producer, remixer, and DJ. He spent 2008 working alongside Seal for several private performances in the US and abroad. While on the road, he worked on remixes for both Seal and Alannis Morrisette. He and songstress Ilona Europa worked together in Poland and are currently set to take their “Rocktronica” show to the Laserium Cyber Theater in Los Angeles. Josh is also working with Mike Rizzo, and the two are now producing and remixing under the moniker Groove Police.

Harris has a degree in music with an emphasis on music theory and composition. He has been part of over 200 remixes as either producer,programmer or engineer. Josh holds a Bachelor of Arts in music, with an emphasis in theory and composition from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin. Here is what Josh had to say to Maximum Ink.

Maximum Ink: What was it like to take classical piano lessons at age 7? What led you to that? Did you always know you wanted to work in the music industry?
Josh Harris: I started taking classical piano at age 7 because my best friend was taking lessons, and I think I felt a bit left out! My first piano teacher was very strict and the whole experience was a bit intense, but I stuck with it until I was 11. Then, I started getting into synthesizers and I became more interested in writing and creating my own music than staying on the classical path. When I was 15, I attended a 5 week summer program at Berklee College of Music, and that’s when I decided that music was going to be my profession. So, I got back into classical lessons, so that I could properly audition for college. My parents wanted me to attend a liberal arts school that also had a music school, and that’s how I wound up going to college at Lawrence University.


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