#CMW: Meet The OTM Staff!

After blitzing you with interviews lately (and a late-night munchie attack Joe and I chatted through), a thought occurred to us: why must music bloggers be nameless, faceless plebs? Why must we merely observe and report?

Why not embarrass the hell out of ourselves and answer the very same interview we launched at so many in recent weeks?

A quick email to RJ (2020k) later, a magical, mystical experience was born! No, it was not birthed from Lady Gaga coated in glitter, but it is pretty spectacular. Join the staff of OTM around the virtual round table (now stocked with PEZ and tequila) as we banter about life, music, and ninjas.

Joe and Amber

The Mayan Calendar was lyin’! Now that we’ve lived to see 2013, what albums are you looking forward to this year?

RJ Kozain (aka 2020k, indie artist, music blogger and guest contributor): Regardless, considering the rift Gold Dust caused between Amber and I, I know she’s not looking forward to the new 2014 Tori Amos record, eh? I’m looking forward to the new Tricky and Bowie albums. I’ve also heard the new Boreal Network project and am in love.

Amber Waves (editor, principal blogger of OTM, exhausted music addict): Short version: ALL OF THE THINGS.

Future History’s next album, without question. Have you heard Loss:/Self? I kinda never shut up about it. Amos The Transparent and Matthew Good both have new music lurking in the pipeline. Andrew McMahon’s at work, so I’m gonna sit back and swoon in anticipation, because he’s brilliant. Nine Inch Nails and Sidney York are coming soon! Fingers crossed on a second Lauren Pritchard album, while we’re at it!

Oh, and I’m dead certain there will be another Wet Eyes album or two, which reminds me that I have yet to grab that wine I keep planning to kick back and enjoy his last endeavor with. Shame!

RJ: Please get your bottle of wine out. Ross does some amazing things on his Wet Eyes projects. Nine Inch Nails! Yes! I just got the new How To Destroy Angels album as well and it’s wonderful! I love Rob Sheridan’s visuals.

Joe Deogracias (guest photographer, resident indie music virgin, blogger of all things leather): Whatever albums you happen to suggest to me. You’ve been pretty good at introducing indie bands that I end up liking.

OTM recently was able to scratch Roger Waters from the“Bucket List of bands/artists to see before I die”. Who’s on top of your musical Bucket List?

Joe: Madonna. I know, totally non-indie.

Amber: Now that Roger’s gone and so’s Fiona Apple, I’m left primarily with the hardcore classics: Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi (shut up), The Eagles (shut up some more), and Madonna, of course. More current artists I shamefully have yet to see live: Arcade Fire and Passion Pit. Last: 2020k, naturally!

RJ: I want to see Passion Pit as well, and you’re too sweet for mentioning me. Madonna, hands down. But, her tickets are far too expensive for this struggling artist.

Amber: So it’s settled then: Madonna needs to get her shit together and give us three press tickets for her next tour. And RJ needs to come to Canada and perform for me.

Last year, “Gangnam Style” exploded onto the scene. If you could dictate the song or trend that would become the viral monster of 2013, what would it be?

Amber: I want someone to write a song about the dreadful state of the mainstream music scene. Kind of like “American Pie” only more about how the Biebs and Chris Brown worshippers are polluting my sonic world.

RJ: Certainly not the revival of the Harlem Shake. No one is even doing it right.. It seems like Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk has gone pretty viral. Despite the controversy she sometimes causes, it’s quite an inspiration piece.

Amber: RJ, why must you start me up on Amanda Palmer? My GTFO post about her is STILL the most traffic-heavy post of OTM, courtesy of Tumblr. Despite my many issues with Amanda Palmer’s transphobia, ableism, and ass-hattery, I checked out the TED Talks thing and was actually nodding along in agreement until her story about the girl whose family forfeited their beds and such. There came Amanda, painting herself up onto a pedestal and declaring that yes, it was fair to take from this family who had nothing, because her music saved their daughter or some crap. It reminded me of her many webcam BS auctions, wherein she auctioned off everything to pay her rent while crashing in Imogen Heap’s apartment. I’m sorry, I love music and believe in barter-style community between musicians, but if you cannot pay your rent, you shouldn’t be traveling the UK and Australia.

There’s a point, in my mind, where comparing your struggle as an artist to families experiencing oppression due to political and racial factors is just disgusting ignorance of privilege. Amanda hit it there and it soured the good of the talk. There’s also the fact that she’s hardly the first to do 98% of what she does, so why she feels she is so innovative is beyond me.

End rant (for now). Wait, Harlem Shake: annoying as hell. Die in a fire.

Joe: I know you’re going to hate this answer, but I think the viral monster trend of 2013 is “Harlem Shake”.

Amber: glares at Joe Do NOT encourage it. It’s like a Gremlin: don’t feed its ego after midnight.

RJ: I’m renaming you Agitated-Amber and I am not giving you a flower.

Amber: Get a real job! laughs

If you could recruit anyone to direct a music video for you (Go wild! You’re not footing the bill), who would you choose and what song would you want them to tackle?

RJ: I really like David Lynch’s direction, and Sophie Mueller. She’s quite prolific. I’m sure there’s a lot of other people too. Ross Auger (Wet Eyes) and I emailed back and forth a few times about him doing a video treatment for something.

Amber: So, being as I’m not an artist myself, how about a video I’d like to fund with this imaginary cash? You know what could be potentially glorious: Tool and Nine Inch Nails directing videos for each other. Seriously! It’d be like those double A-side vinyls where the bands cover each other. Crazy-ass claymation for NIN; twisted, disturbing imagery of another kind for Tool. And then, they can tour together so I might fall over and DIE of JOY.

Sorry, is that too wild?

Joe: I would say Quentin Tarantino to direct the music video for “Skyfall” by Adele.

Amber: Tarantino directing a Bond movie: can you see it? Hell yeah!

Name five essential albums you can’t live without.

Amber: Oh, fuck… I know RJ is laughing hysterically about this one, wondering which blessed sonic map of burbling fae I shall choose from the Corn Mother’s discography. Break the terror of the urban secret spell!

Alright, as of today, here are five of the about fifty albums I refuse to live without, in no particular order:

Matthew Good – Hospital Music

Tori Amos – From The Choirgirl Hotel

Future History – Loss:/Self

Pink Floyd – The Wall

Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger

RJ: I can’t believe you didn’t pick Gold Dust!There are way too many. Off the top of my head, there’s Vespertine by Bjork, Speak For Yourself by Imogen Heap, Mezzanine by Massive Attack, Mama’s Gun by Erykah Badu, and In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country by Boards of Canada. They’re all fairly recent, I suppose, but they’re go to albums.

Joe: My picks…

a) Lady Gaga – any of them – The Fame, The Fame Monster, Born this Way

b) Muse – The Resistance (I love “Uprising”)

c) Glee – Any of the albums from the first two seasons because they are the only seasons I’ve watched

d) Evanescence – any of them

e) Adele – 21

Amber: The mainstream, it burns! Just kidding… Love me some Evanescence. Not sorry.

What was the last great book you read?

RJ: Let’s Pretend This Didn’t Happen: A Mostly True Memoir by Jennifer Lawson. I’ve never laughed out loud so much while reading! I read her blog a lot too.

Amber: Definitely not the Dexter books, which are surprisingly not nearly as good as the show. Seriously. I’m on the third one, and the masochist in me is all that pushes me forward. Granted, I enjoy pain, but this is just like… really lousy, one-night-stand sex. It’ll do, you suppose, but it’s just for killing time.

Last great non-fiction: Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin; last great fiction: How To Be Death by Amber Benson (love!).

Joe: I kinda started reading Caro’s Book of Tells which is considered a really great book in the poker world, but I haven’t quite finished it. However, from what I read so far, I feel it has helped me improve my poker game.

Your favourite guilty pleasure?

RJ: Kreayshawn. Oh, and Tumblr gifs. One time I accidentally sent out a professional email with the wrong link. The link was a Tumblr gif that had someone holding up her middle finger that she drew a tie on. The caption said, “Is this professional enough for you?” OOPS!

Joe: Texas Hold’em Poker, without a doubt.

Amber: I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. It implies I shouldn’t like what I like, and after years of taking crap for my broad tastes in music, I don’t care to feel guilty, you know? The closest thing is probably celebrity Blind Gossip posts, since I spend more time than I should on them, or Beavis & Butt-head, because the social worker in me should be horrified by them, yet they’re so dense as to be charming.

Share with us something that fans would find intriguing, but no music writer has managed to draw out of you yet.

Amber: Ever the writer, I once kept a Sex and the City style blog about my dating exploits for a year. I’d just gotten out of yet another long-term relationship and I was casually dating for the first time. It’s long deleted, but it was fun communicating with strangers about drama so many of us encountered.

Joe: When I was young, I volunteered in my local Catholic parish. During that time, I had suggestions from the congregation that I should be a priest. I thought, “Yeah, right.”

Amber: Resisting urge to make connection between homosexuality and Catholic priests… Oh gee, I guess I already did it.

RJ: Agitated-Amber turned Amber Bradshaw. I want to read this, or at least hear the stories one day!

Amber: I don’t even think I have it archived. It died with Vox. Am I dating myself by mentioning Vox? Screw it, I dated myself with SATC. I will tell about the kisses, however…

The great debate of our lives: who would win, ninjas or pirates? More importantly, why?

Amber: Ninjas. The pirates would be too drunk to see them coming, and they certainly wouldn’t hear them coming.

RJ: Hands down, ninjas. Pirates are awesome, but they’re drunks.

Joe: Ninjas – they’re stealthy, shifty, and can slice and dice you before you have a chance to hear them.

Amber: OTM: this blog is Team Ninja.

If you were to be sponsored by a board game, what board game would you proudly bear the name of?

Amber: Clue or Scrabble, without question. I’m verbose and impossible to fully figure out, no matter how many cards you’re dealt.

RJ: Ooh, that’s a tough one! I think Clue. Although, and this is a tangent, I was eating PEZ one day and randomly thought about wanting to be a PEZ Dispenser. Don’t judge me.

Amber: glances up from Hello Kitty PEZ dispenser she’s loading What?

RJ: I said don’t judge me!

Joe: If Texas Hold ‘Em was a board game, I would say that game. But since it’s not, I would say Cards Against Humanity. Its sick sense of non-PC humour definitely meshes with mine.

Amber: This interview is fast becoming a Card Against Humanity. OTM awaits your sponsorship offer!


Spice World: terrible movie that should have never been made, or five clever, self-deprecating women taking the piss?

RJ: I still watch and quote Spice World with all of my friends. The premise of the Spice Girls was having fun and that movie is full of fun. I do mock the alien scene though. It’s a bit outrageous, but hysterical.

Amber: My soon-to-be husband and I were going over these questions and the dramatic split in responses from the artists, and while we both agree that Spice World is clever and a joy (and he loves metal, so that’s saying something), he also noted, “But that movie is this sacred thing. You just don’t talk about it. It’s like asking if the Pope is gay – you just don’t.”

I beg to differ. We need to discuss Spice World’s genius. Up until my baby sister – my junior by thirteen years, hooray divorce! – became obsessed with it, I was annoyed by the Spice Girls’ music. After the movie, I realized that they were very much in on the joke and just having fun. The wink-wink, nudge-nudge of the movie made me love them.

I suspect there may be mind control within its frames, but I enjoy it too much to care.

Joe: Amber, may I borrow the movie from you?

Amber: Oh dear God, is this another movie for my monster list of “Why hasn’t Joe seen this yet?” RJ, talk me down. Also, it’s on Netflix, which is how I watch it. Come on over.

RJ: I’m coming. Should I wear the little Gucci dress, the little Gucci dress, or the little Gucci dress?

Amber: I know! How about the little Gucci dress?

Thinking of concerts you’ve attended as a fan/spectator, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen someone else do in an audience?

RJ: Someone next to me was getting pretty raunchy and grinding on this girl during Fiona Apple’s set in Pittsburgh. He was bothering everyone around him too and wondered why my friend and I shoved him off of us when his junk made his way into our area. I just wanna hear “Sleep to Dream,” dude. Come on!

Joe: While waiting for the Lady Gaga Born This Way Ball to begin, I remember there was this group of girls who kept waving and screaming at people randomly across the ACC. I did the only thing I could – I waved back.

RJ: Oh my God, Joe! I went to The Monster Ball and everyone kept screaming for Lady Gaga before Semi Precious Weapons even hit the stage. Like, the entire arena. I did the only thing I could – I screamed “I love you, Lady Gaga!” from the back rows and half the arena, and started a small little eruption of yells, that eventually spread through the arena like the wave.

Amber: RJ: Little Monsters are the same as Gremlins. Tsk, tsk!

I’m torn: it’s either the African-American woman dressed like a gospel church stereotype at the Baltimore 2005 Tori Amos show, who would stand up and raise her hand in the air and yell, “Preach it, sister!” at the end of songs, or the brawl Joe and I got into at the Third Eye Blind show in 2011. People kept giving me serious props for that throat grab. To be fair, the idiot was hopped up on drugs and humping the asses of every woman around him. Third hump and he was out with me.

Bastardizing a Metric lyric: who’d you rather be, The Tragically Hip or Rush?

RJ: I’d rather be in Metric.

Amber: Seconded, although if those were my only choices, The Hip. Gord Downie makes up improvs like Tori Amos in her early years and that takes skill, my friends.

Joe: Not sure. Have to listen to both to see which I identify with more.

Amber: Trust me, your answer is, “I’d rather be in Metric.”

Chicken or the egg question: which usually comes first, the music or the lyrics?

RJ: The music. If I write lyrics first, they normally end up being thrown away or I’ll incorporate one or two lines into a song a couple weeks, months, years down the line.

Amber: From the perspective of the listener, the lyrics are what bring me in as a fan. I’m very cerebral that way, and while the music must also be engaging, the lyrics have to be there, as a rule. They’re my language.

Joe: I would say lyrics. Even if it’s not the exact words, I believe that there’s usually a story behind every song that gets fleshed out into the product we recognize as the lyrics.

The music industry can be daunting at best. What keeps you going in a world flooded with talent, each person or group jockeying for listeners and airplay?

RJ: The satisfaction I receive when I finish a project and the responses, good and bad, that I receive back from those who listen. It’s an ongoing dialogue that I really appreciate.

Amber: As a listener Joe, what bands get your attention in the flooded scene?

Joe: I go with bands whose music either uplifts me or has a good beat or makes me want to sing the song or sparks my imagination when I hear the song. I also listen to what my friends like, and if it grabs my attention, it grabs my attention.

Amber: This issue is why I began blogging in earnest. There’s such a vast array of incredible talent out there, particularly in the indie scene. To me, it’s a travesty to hear mainstream radio and think of the dozens of bands and artists I spin that never get the airtime, but produce art that transcends pop pap. And yes, there is a time, place and need for pop pap, but there needs to be more room for the hidden gems.

RJ: I couldn’t agree more. I try to find a balance on my blog between established acts and independent ones. As an indie project myself, I know the struggle, I’m a part of it. The more people I can help out, the better. I’ve formed some great friendships as a result of expanding my horizons toward other independent music. But, I also dance around the house to Britney records every now and then, of course.

Ambers: sings “I, I, I wanna go-o-o!”

Your first concert: who was it, and how old were you? More importantly, how was it?

RJ: Ooh, I was 12. it was called The TRL Tour. It had a bunch of MTV supported acts on it. I went because Eve and Destiny’s Child were on the ticket. It was a really professionally done show. Destiny’s Child ended the set with “Happy Face,” I believe, and unleashed a bunch of yellow balloons with happy faces on them into the crowd. What’s more cheeky, the balloons or the alien scene from Spice World?

Amber: Spice World. Alan Cumming, enough said. As for me, my first concert was almost in utero. My parents went to the infamous Alice Cooper show that never happened in 1980 and a riot broke out. Hardcore! My first actual show was Irene Cara at the Kingswood, and I was a preschooler, likely 1984 (I’m not sure; I’ve just heard the “you rushed the stage to dance in the aisles” story a bazillion times).

Joe: I believe it was my brother who was a pianist/musical prodigy, and he was playing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thompson Hall. I was probably 5 or 6 maybe. How was it? Can’t remember, I was 5 or 6. However, I can guess I was bored because I heard him play the piano at home for hours on end.

In the spirit of Shaun Of The Dead, what was the second album you ever bought?

RJ: NSYNC’s self-titled album.

Amber: It was either House of Pain or Pearl Jam’s Ten. I can’t remember the order. Both were cassettes. Both were and still are awesome.

Joe: Good Lord, I can’t even remember the first album I bought, let alone the second.

The best music-related film ever made?

RJ: The Wall.

Amber: This is such a hard call… There are so many great ones. I’m choosing two because it’s my blog and my rules, ha! Best fictional story: Empire Records, naturally. Best film meant to extend or accompany a work of music: The Wall. Hell and yeah.

Joe: Mary Poppins.

The world is ending in ten minutes. You can listen to one and only one song before the world ends. What song do you go out on?

Joe: “Uprising” by Muse.

RJ: Amber asked me this in my interview with her last year and I still stand by my two choices: either “My Neck, My Back” by Khia or “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy.

Amber: This is bound to change on the spot, given my mood and the reasons for the world ending. Hell, I made a whole mix about the world ending! Today, I’m going with Matthew Good, “Champions of Nothing”, the live at Massey Hall version. Nearly nine and a half minutes of musical perfection at a show I attended, one that meant a lot to me emotionally.

What can we look forward to from you in 2013?

Joe: More adventures with you as you slowly pop my Indie Music cherries, and introduce me to the world of Indie music. And those adventures will most likely be photographed. Especially this coming week.

RJ: Joe, you remind me of my brother Jake and my best friend Kristen, as they’re mentioned quite frequently as my blind accomplices to live shows and such.

Amber: It’s his last cherry to pop and a woman is popping it! Go figure!

RJ: I just released the single for “Contagion” a week ago. It’s up for a free download on my Bandcamp page. I’m probably going to be putting more blogs up on 2020k that focus on me, as an artist. More blogs! I’m looking to move to NYC or LA soon, so it’s quite a lot to focus on. You can most likely look forward to me tweeting funny things to Amber as well.

Amber: After my damn wedding, a more regular posting schedule here at OTM! A less frazzled me! Possibly better one-liners as I spend more time with RJ on Twitter. Maybe I will be hired to write for money after pigs begin to fly!

And there you have it: we are even weirder than we seem in person or by email! Amused, annoyed, etc.? We’re all Twatters on Twitter:

Amber: @emptysthemepark
RJ: @twenty20k
Joe: @TheGayDragon

One thought on “#CMW: Meet The OTM Staff!

  1. Pingback: 20 Question Round Table Interview With Myself & OTM Blog For Canadian Music Week! | 2020k

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