Interview logs – Steve Howard

Hello world!

We are saving the best for the last! The last day of November, the last blog for this month and a very special interview – can it be any better?  David and Malicia, admins for Ascension of The Watchers community page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AoTW.Music), have teamed up to speak to Steve Howard, a world class music producer and engineer. It was a great experience for everyone involved, except for poor Rita who struggled for 4 days with the interview layout!
We do not like to brag, but this interview seems to be the best we ever did! Please read on and  find out for yourselves!

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PER MUSICA AD ASTRA – INTERVIEW WITH STEVE HOWARD

You will know the man by the company he keeps, an old proverb says. Steve Howard has not only collaborated with the biggest names in rock music but he also calls them his friends. He has worked in the studio with Led Zeppelin, A-Ha, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Nick Drake, Gary Wallis of Pink Floyd, Gregory Isaacs and many others. He is also a member of the acclaimed electronic duo arado. And when a man like Steve is contacting you himself to send a newly created mix, you’d be crazy not to use this opportunity to ask few questions.

Steve Howard Interview page 1

Steve Howard Interview page 1

Vanadian Avenue: Tell us why have you decided to remix “Moonshine” by Ascension of The Watchers? Who came up with the idea?

Steve Howard: When John Bechdel and I were working on the arado album at his home in leafy Pennsylvania, Burton C. Bell would often come down and was a tremendous support to me and John and the whole arado project. I think one night John put some Ascension of The Watchers tracks on and I absolutely loved “Moonshine”. On a good day I see music in colours and it was beautiful shades of blue and silver and had so much emotion. I instantly felt a connection to the song and heard harmonies and ideas, so I asked Burton if he would mind if I reworked his song. He said “Go for it!” which made me feel great that he trusted I would be sensitive to his and Johns baby. As a song writer I know it takes a lot of trust to allow someone to get involved in the creative process.

Vanadian Avenue: “Moonshine” is a fan favourite. Were you afraid of their reaction?

Steve Howard: To be honest I hadn’t thought that far ahead when I reworked it. I just love music and did there working because I wanted to hopefully enhance an already beautiful song and then play it on my I-Pod! I find with producing, writing or working on songs, if I don’t want to listen to it why would anyone else? Another process I like to do is to take my I-Pod where ever I go (ok quite often the pub) and make anyone who wants to listen give me their feedback, which I find is a great way to find out if a song is working. I don’t like to be elitist, so I will play to anyone who wants to listen, be it 18 – 80 years old, male or female.

Of course the first person I sent the mix to was Burton, which was nerve racking as he was busy and didn’t get back to me for 3 days. When I got the reply my heart sank!! (at first). It said Hi Steve, “I don’t like the mix……..I absolutely love it!!!!” Hoorah!!
So after the market research and Burton liking it, no I wasn’t worried (too much) that you guys would like it. But I was really excited to share it with you all and even mentioned that to Burton when he came to Brisbane and he was already on the case.

Steve Howard Interview page 2

Steve Howard Interview page 2

Vanadian Avenue: Where and when the track was remixed?

Steve Howard: I reworked the track in my home studio (Destination Studios) in Brisbane, Australia back in July (2012).

Vanadian Avenue: Anything funny happened in the studio during the mix?

Steve Howard: My twin 6 year old girls (Emma and Lucy) came down and heard me singing the harmony on “Moonshine” and asked me what I was doing? I explained I was singing a harmony with Burton’s vocal, they asked who Burton was, so I showed some Fear Factory songs on YouTube! It was pretty funny watching my girls dancing off the walls and pirouetting in their pink tutu’s to “Replica!”

Vanadian Avenue: Please tell us something about yourself. So far you have been a bit of a mystery-man to many people. Steve Howard: Well I have been trying to get a handle on what the hell is going on since I was born! I started writing songs when I was about 5 (they weren’t very good! But at least I was trying) and started playing live at 12 and was lucky enough to play venues such as the Marquee and Roxy. Myself and my friend Moof became a little bit like cuddly mascots for bands like Souixsie and the Banshees, The Damned, Spizz Oil, The Nipple Erectors (Shane McGowan from The Pogues band before The Pogues), and we would go and see Generation X (Billy Idols band), The Clash, 999, The Buzzcocks, Wire (brilliant band!), Slaughter and the Dogs, The Stranglers (also brilliant), Dead Boys and about another 100 bands!!

It was very exciting times and I must say I have always stayed a punk at heart!! In my late teens I started getting involved seriously with recording and spent 2 years engineering two sessions a day, seven days a week in a studio in South London. In that time I worked on stuff by Led Zeppelin, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Nick Kershaw.  One of the bands I was recording for a year or two (and who also lived in my studio) were called A-ha and that is when my guitar became much more famous than me!! (laughs) You can see the famous guitar here: http://youtu.be/yFIKKHdvtds

When A-ha filmed the video for “Take on Me” I gave them a lift to the studio and leant them my pride and joy, my 3 pickup f hole 1964 Rickenbacker semi acoustic! It appeared in every Warner Brothers cinema across America in a trailer for the movie ET!! Since then I have just been living in different continents meeting lots of different people and still trying to get a handle on what the hell’s going on!!

Steve Howard Interview page 3

Steve Howard Interview page 3

Vanadian Avenue: What are the nearest plans for your project arado?

Steve Howard: Arado is really a culmination of John Bechdel and my musical experience and we are hoping to put it on the world stage next year. You can see our first video “Starry Night” here: http://youtu.be/jxRiWbafEgk

You can also listen to the first album “Spooky Action at a Distance” at: http://www.reverbnation.com/arado

The main idea for arado was to create our own universe and make it a lot more fun and exciting than the one we live in! We are working on a trilogy of albums which will tell the arado story with a cast of various robots, aliens and space ships (check out Burton C Bell`s character, “Dr Scharnhorst Goodheart” at the arado website www.arado.us) which will then be turned into a movie. We are also working with an incredible CGI animator in Estonia called Taavi Torim who is creating the visual Universe for arado. His animations have appeared in many History Channel shows (“Ancient Aliens”, “The Universe”) and even NASA has used his animations.

Vanadian Avenue: Thank you for answering our questions!

Steve Howard: Glad you guys liked my work on “Moonshine”. I have been talking with Burton C Bell and am hoping at some stage (Burton’s schedule permitting) to work on some new material with him. Love, Peace and Biscuits!

Steve Howard Interview page 4

Steve Howard Interview page 4

Interview by Malica Dabrowicz and David J Mazur
Layout by Rita Dabrowicz
Vanadian Avenue https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com
You can listen to Moonshine Mix at: www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_14648078

Interview at ISSU: http://issuu.com/vanadianavenue/docs/steve_howard_interview_1_
PDF version of this interview can be seen here: Steve_Howard_interview
(https://cocamidemea.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/steve_howard_interview.pdf)

Important links for Steve and Arado (self study):

Destination Studios (personal studio) http://www.reverbnation.com/destinationstudios
Destination Studios on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DestinationStudios
Steve Howard on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aradospacer
Arado official website: http://www.arado.us
Arado on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/aradospace
Arado on My Space:  http://www.myspace.com/aradoband
Arado on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aradospace
Arado YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/arado1

Steve relaxing in his home studio. He and John are now working on arado's second album entitled "Spaghettified in the Labyrinth"

Steve relaxing in his home studio. He and John are now working on arado’s second album entitled “Spaghettified in the Labyrinth”

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All right people! We hope you had as much fun reading this interview as we had preparing it for you. As usual, please do not post, re-post, take screenshots, copy anything without giving a link back to this blog or asking us for permission. We are spending long hours asking questions, editing and preparing before the interview is ready to be published. The only thing we ask for is to have our hard work respected. If you have any questions, please write to: r dot dabrowicz at yahoo dot com. Any spam emails are swiftly deleted as you have been warned 🙂

Please return soon as we are having great plans for December.
We are gonna say good bye to 2012 in a great way!

xxxxx and Rock and roll
Rita, Mal and David

The Likeness Project – exhibition by Kevin Casha

Hey there!

Exhibition poster

It’s been a while since I`ve seen a good photography exhibition in Malta, especially a local one. You know something different than luzzu, bastions, door knobs and fishing villages. Not like we have no good photographers on the Island. To be honest we seem to have many talented artists per square mile, but there is a sense of stagnation sometimes. Nothing to grab you by your clothes, shake you and scream: “hey you, look at me. I am different!” I like my exhibitions like I like my movies:  thoughts provoking, daring and leaving me with a sensation of seeing something I have never seen before.  Call me demanding or spoiled, I am constantly on the look – out for the wow-factor. And no, it doesn’t have to have a big budget. It just simply needs to grab my attention in one way or another.

One of the exhibited panels

After two really disappointing exhibitions that I have seen at Notte Bianca, I finally had luck to stumble upon “The Likeness Project” – a recent display of works by Kevin Casha at St James Cavalier Center for Creativity in Valletta.  It was, as cliché saying goes, a breath of fresh air for my sense of aesthetics.

I will be honest. Kevin and I go a long way back; we have known each other for years. I first met him during Aperture seminar in October 2006. Freshly out of a journalism course (which was very disappointing!) I wanted to network with the local photographic community. As I virtually knew nobody, I half dragged a friend along with me.

I managed to find the original Aperture seminar email invitation. The actual date was 24 October 2006. That how long I know Kevin!

I managed to find the original Aperture seminar email invitation. The actual date was 24 October 2006. That how long I know Kevin!

She was bored out of her mind twenty minutes into the panel and spent the rest of the evening next to the finger food table. I was hopelessly cruising among the crowd trying to find somebody to talk to. I finally stopped in front of a guy who looked like a soul of the party and asked him something terribly silly. Instead of dissing me, he spent next two hours explaining me how local community worked and introduced me to half of the room.  At the end he recommended I take my friend home while she still fits through the door. That’s Kevin for you – incredibly helpful and friendly, with a particular sense of humor.

Panel #2

Exhibition set up

Since then we have been through many photographic events, panels, conventions and courses together. I attended his workshops and consider him a good friend.  That of course, doesn’t cloud my preferences. I have seen several exhibitions by Kevin over the years and not liked all of them. We have this sort of relationship that he will always offer an honest critique of my works and I will always tell what I really think of his exhibitions.

So what’s the wow-factor in his recent body of work? Will it sound intriguing if I say that Kevin decided to ditch all the photoshops, all the air brushes and all the glamour and moved back to the origins of photography? He still did all the work digitally, but kept the post production side of things to a bare minimum, just like in the good old days.

Displayed works

Kevin Casha is primarily a glamour/studio photographer. He works with people that look like a million euro and this is just for starters. He excels in colour, captures unique beauty of fashion. I have seen him at work in the studio on several occasions. His works is usually striking combination of human beauty and vibrant palette. Imagine then my surprise when I have entered Lower Galleries at St James Cavalier and found myself surrounded by a series of black and white portraits.

Each panel was divided into 5 smaller images of the same person, shown from different sides. People with no make-up, with widely flowing hair, like they have ran into the studio a minute before and had no time to prepare themselves. Ordinary people, not models. Friends and perhaps relatives even.

More works!

But that’s not all. On each panel, two upper images were shadows (silhouettes shot against the background) three lower  images formed a classical profile (left-center-right) composition. Basic studio work, probably the first exercise every photography student does when they start their practice.

To the mix, Kevin had thrown his own definition of what portraiture was and quotes from the greatest minds that ever stood behind the lens. Everything printed simply on white pages and hanged neatly on the walls.

General view

It was a very strange experience to stand there in front of those people on the photos. You began to wonder who they were and what their story was. I am not sure if that was intended but it reminded me of police mug shots practice. Before I knew my mind started to come up with stories of crime and passion and old detective intrigues. The old times of femme fatales and Chandler characters.

The black and white photography really helped to bring that nostalgic aspect in my eyes. It is timeless; it takes you back to the beginning of the medium, to the golden era of Magnum agency, where cameras were bulky and rare but they were opening a world of exciting adventures and possibilities.  Not like today where people have a phone that is smarter than they are and the only excitement you are offered is to see what your friends had for lunch (via Instagram). I am of course exaggerating but you get my point.

Guest book entry

More entries in the guestbook

I am really grateful to Kevin for that experiment with old school photography. It gave me a much needed creative stimulation and renewed my faith in local photographic exhibitions.

Business card showing Kevin`s usual studio work. Pretty!

I am illustrating this entry with my shots from the night; I have kept to the documentary tradition and shot in monochrome with 50 mm lens and 400 ISO (if you are not familiar with photography, this will be the closest I could get to the old classic Leicas).

You can follow Kevin Casha http://kevincasha.com

or you can learn more about his exhibition on his blog

www.kevincasha.com/blog/the-likeness-project/

Thanks for reading.

Malicia

[Edit 03/12/2012]

Wow, I haven’t been expecting that! My post about Kevin’s exhibition got a special feature in a MIPP newsletter in December. MIPP (Malta Institute of Professional Photography) is a photographic association of which I am a junior member. It took two whole pages of text and photos.  I have attached some screenshots, but you can also access this newsletter as a PDF under this address:

http://www.mipp-malta.com/images/stories/PDFs/2012_12_December.pdf

MIPP December 2012 newsletter - credit page. I got "special feature". Yay!

MIPP December 2012 newsletter – credit page. I got “special feature”. Yay!

If anybody feels like joining MIPP, please have a look at:

http://www.mipp-malta.com

or follow them on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MippProfessionalPhotography

MIPP newsletter - first page

MIPP newsletter – first page

I don’t want to sound pompous, but I am so proud of myself. To be very honest, for a long time I have been secretly thinking of writing some photography related articles, perhaps I will have now an incentive to gather my courage and publish some, even if on my other blog (http://ontestinggrounds.wordpress.com/). Its not like I know everything, but I have discovered some pieces and bits of knowledge and I had this urge to share. Now I think I even should!

MIPP newsletter - last page

MIPP newsletter – last page

Thank you MIPP guys. I truly love you. Even, if you have to put up with my sarcastic sense of humour and my one-track-minded love for photojournalism and combat photography!

xxx

Mal

The cat collector or Kat-a-log part 5

Good afternoon!

Wow, it is hard to believe but we are introducing our readers to the fifth edition of Kat-a-log! Olympia is very touched as it proved to be more popular than she has ever imagined it would be. If you are visiting us for the first time and you haven’t got a single clue what we are talking about, then let us explain in short. Olympia Dabrowicz has been collecting cat figurines for more than a decade now. She has more than 100 cats from different countries and continents. Few months ago our mom decided to photograph all her artificial kittens and publish the pictures on the Internet. She named the project a “Kat-a-log”. The main idea behind the pictures is to treat the figurines as real animals. Olympia wanted to take them out of the houses, toy stores or gift shops and show them enjoying and exploring the world.

You can find the previous entries by clicking on the links below:

Kat-a-log Part 1:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1
Kat-a-log Part 2:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/

Today’s newst additions to Kat-a-log are:

Kat-a-log Feline no.17
Official name:
Octopina
Two sides of a cat:
Octopina in wonderland and Walking on the water (Octopina by the fountain)
Country of origin: St Julian’s, Malta, 2nd of October 2012

Beauty queen kitten named Octopina has been made from rare pink glass by Mdina Glass especially to support the fight against breast cancer. She is part of a limited series of cats designed by popular Maltese designers for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) which is celebrated in October each year. Unfortunately, we do not know the name of her creator as the designers wanted to remain anonymous and not to draw the attention away from the figurines. Octopina has been purchased by Malicia on 2nd of October 2012. All money collected will go to breast cancer treatment and prevention.

You can support Malta Breast Cancer charity at: http://actionforbreastcancer.com
Mdina Glass website can be found here: http://www.mdinaglass.com.mt

Octopina in wonderland

Walking on the water (Octopina by the fountain)

Kat-a-log Feline no.18
Official name: Felix

Two sides of a cat:
Chilling (in the fridge) and Coffee break
Country of origin:  Valetta, Malta,  2006

Felix has been bought in Valetta in 2006 by Mal to celebrate the Japanese New Year.  2006 was the year of the dog but Mal in protest, wanted to make it a year of the cat 🙂 Felix is equipped with a little backpack with a fish on it and Olympia fell in love with him the first time she visited Malta in 2007. After several years of persuasion, Mal has agreed to give Felix back. He is currently being shipped to Poland.

Chilling (in the fridge)

Coffee break

Kat-a-log Feline no.19
Two sides of a cat:
Philosophical cat and Action book cat
Country of origin:  Germany, bought in st Julian’s Malta, 2012.10.29

This sophisticated, book-loving kitty has been made in Germany and shipped to Malta sometime in 2012. On 29th of October, it was given to Mal as a birthday present by her colleagues from work. The cat has been made from earthenware clay and its photo session took place in local bookshop called Book Plus in Sliema. Vanadian Avenue would like to thank its owners and workers for their kindness to allow us to take the pictures.

Official Books Plus on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Books-Plus/263133677053279?sk=info
Or you can go there yourself:

Books Plus,
Bizazza Street Sliema,
Phone: 00356 21 330886

Philosophical cat

Philosophical cat

Action book cat

Action book cat

Kat-a-log Feline no.20
Two sides of a cat:
Under the tree and Landscape with a cat
Country of origin:  Notte Bianca, Valetta 2012.09.30

The last feline in this issue of Kat-a-log, is a cat made from hardened clay and bought by Malicia during the Notte Bianca festival on 30th of September 2012. Mal spotted this extremely funny creature on the artisan market while taking pictures and purchased it without having a second thought. The cat has been made by the talented artists from Alka Ceramics Ltd and fired in a ceramic tile kiln.
You can visit them yourself (say hello from us, maybe they will give us a discount :D) :
Alka Ceramics Ltd
124-125  Crafts Village
Ta’ Qali
Attard  ATD 4000
Malta
Tel: (+356) 2141 4040
Fax: (+356) 2143 0932
Official FaceBook profile: https://www.facebook.com/alka.ceramics
Under the tree

Under the tree

Landscape with a cat

Landscape with a cat

We hope you have enjoyed watching the pictures of Olympia’s treasured cats.
It will be some time before we have a new material for another Kat-a-log update but check this space often.
You will have a chance to meet an egg timer and maybe a cat from down under, who knows!

Until next time,

Meows and purrrs,
Rita, Mal and Olympia Dabrowicz

The cat collector or Kat-a-log part 4

Hello cat lovers!

Welcome again to yet another Kat-a-log issue! Outside, the days are getting shorter and darker, the winter is getting closer but we are celebrating the spirit of summer holidays! This issue is dedicated to 3 lovely cats our mom, the titular cat colector Olympia Dabrowicz, has received from her friends and family members. They travelled far and wide, went to different parts of Europe and brought cat figurines with them. There is nothing better in this world than a summer souvenir that meows, we tell ya.

Of course, our cats cannot really meow as they are made from wood, metal or ceramics, but they symbolize the man’s most gracious owner. Yes, you read it correctly. Cats own us, and if you do not agree with this painfully obvious statement, then friends, you are simply in total denial!

If you’d like to see other cats from Olympia’s collection, previous entries of Kat-a-log can be found below. Olympia is not only collecting but she decides where the photosessions will be taken, she chooses the pictures and edits them. In short, she has the last say about everything and staff to do her bidding. Just like a cat.

Kat-a-log Part 1:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1
Kat-a-log Part 2:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part3:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/

But now say hello to our furry newcomers:

Kat-a-log Feline no.14
Three sides of a cat:
Wake up and smell the roses, Sweet dreams are made of these and Whenever I lay my head is home
Country of origin: Clovelly, North Devon, UK – August 2012

This sleeping beauty comes from a series of toy felines entitled “Purrrfect cats” made by KandyToys Exeter. It was given to Olympia as a holiday present by a relative. The figurine has been made from a soft, man-made fabric that resembles the natural fur of a cat and arrived from a lovely town of Clovelly. The costal paradise, Clovelly is known as “the gem of North Devon” and the relative swears that you can spot a cat in every window and on every corner over there. Sounds like a purrrfect holiday spot for us!

You can visit the maker here: http://kandytoys.co.uk/
Learn more about Clovelly by visiting their official page: http://www.clovelly.co.uk/

Wake up and smell the roses!

Sweet dreams are made of these...

Sweet dreams are made of these…

Wherever I lay my head is home

Kat-a-log Feline no.15
Three sides of a cat:
Heavyweight champion, Hanging by a thread and All your weight it falls on me
Country of origin:  Minorca, Spain, September 2012

Unusually shaped wooden cat, painted in vivid summery blue and red pattern, made his way to Poland from beautiful island of Minorca, where one of Rita’s co-workers has been vacationing with his wife. It took this poor couple a whole week to find a cat figurine! Bought on the last day of their stay, this cute creature is a great find! Thanks Mel, it is much appreciated! We have to add that the photosession was taken at the local gym and everybody had so much fun!

Heavyweight champion

Hanging by a thread

All your weight it falls on me

Kat-a-log Feline no.16
Three sides of a cat:
Mushroom picking, Waiting for the leaves to fall and Near the fountain
Country of origin:  Castelnaudary, Southern France, September 2012

Castelnaudary, a popular medieval market town and the capital of the territory of Lauragais, is known for its picturesque landscape, warm climate and great food. Over the years, it has become a holiday destination for British and German citizen. Gill, another colleague from Rita’s workplace, rented a bungalow and spent romantic two weeks there with her family in September 2012. Black and red wooden cat has been purchased from a local craftsman on the art market in September 2012.

Mushroom picking

Mushroom picking

Waiting for the leaves to fall

Near the fountain

To prove that the cat was indeed made in France, the artist placed a sticker with the name of the town at the bottom. Great way to remind us where it came from!

Don't label me!

Don’t label me!

Olympia is incredibly proud to be the new owner of all three holiday kitties as she calls them and so are we!
Please return soon as the Kat-a-log number 5 will feature some of the strangest cats you have ever seen.

They are coming to you, very soon!
Have a great day
xxxxxx
Olympia + Rita and Mal Dabrowicz

Interview Logs: Edu Mussi

Hey Kids, rock and roll! 

We are taking a short break from the artists and crafts to concentrate for a second on music. Vanadian Avenue Team is incredibly proud to announce that another interview has been completed. This time David J Mazur and Malicia Dabrowicz spoken to Edu Mussi, a legendary figure on NYC rock/metal scene. We have to say, Mr Mussi is an excellent talker – it is always a pleasure to speak to somebody with a great sense of humor and dedication to his work. If you are a fan of Ascension of The Watchers or Echos and Shadow, this interview is a must read! Mr Mussi has revealed some great news and we think there is still a hope for the music business in 2013 😀  Enjoy!

                                                     

                               INTERVIEW WITH EDU MUSSI

 

IT is quite an intimidating feeling to finally speak to somebody you have always wanted to interview. Edu Mussi, an icon of NYC underground scene and founding father of Industrial/Goth genres, is not only a talented musician but an extremely easy-going person. It was a real pleasure to sit down with him and chat about his music, future of Ascension of The Watchers, new projects and interests. Before we knew it, the interview was done and it was time for us to go home. Time does fly fast when you are having fun.

Vanadian Avenue: Who is Edu Mussi? Please introduce yourself to those fans that are unfamiliar with your previous projects.

Edu Mussi: I’m a musician. Other than Ascension of the Watchers, I’m also related with the names of Echoes and Shadows and Still Life Decay.

Vanadian Avenue: Do you remember your first day being the member of Ascension of the Watchers?

Edu Mussi: Not really. I was playing with them for a while but I just became a member a little bit before the recording sessions for “Numinosum” in, let me think, 2007, I believe.

First page of interview with Edu Mussi, all rights reserved

Vanadian Avenue: When heading onto the project of AoTW, what was your impression for this band?

Edu Mussi: I knew Burton and JB were looking for something different. They were not trying to sound like any other band they had worked with before. I was surprised that Burton was the one playing guitar. The fact that they were going for a whole different sound direction was actually what I liked the most. They were not afraid of taking risks or to just please the old fans.

Vanadian Avenue: You certainly are good friends with Burton C Bell and Bones Padilla. You collaborated together in three different outfits, each with a unique sound: Ascension of The Watchers (mood metal/ ambient), Still Life Decay (goth/ industrial) and Echoes and Shadows (electronic/experimental). Imagine that Burton calls you today and tells you he’s making a new project. What sort of sound would it have this time?

Edu Mussi: If we were lucky, we would sound like Fields of The Nephilim!

Vanadian Avenue: Fans debate whether AoTW would return to the stage or is the hiatus the true end of the band. Will we ever see the Watchers again or is this chapter of your life closed for good?

Edu Mussi: Funny to hear this question cause we’ve been actually talking a lot about the new Ascension of The Watchers record lately. No, we are not done yet. I just got a demo from Burton of a new song he wrote on the piano so…

Second page of interview with Edu Mussi, all rights reserved

Vanadian Avenue: “Nominosum” received rave reviews upon its release. However, critics’ enthusiasm rarely sells records. Do you know how many copies of the record have actually been sold?

Edu Mussi: Yes, I do but the nature of this project is not really about record sales. Of course you always wanna reach as many people as possible and get good reviews but our first idea was to get our own audience. Otherwise we would have done something that sounds just like Ministry or Fear Factory.

Vanadian Avenue: You contributed piano parts on Ministry album “Cover up” for the song “What a wonderful world” (originally recorded by Louis Armstrong). Quite a surprising pick. How did you end up working with Uncle Al?

 Edu Mussi: That happened in El Paso when we were recording “Numinosum” at Al’s place. At that time, he had just finished “The Last Sucker” and he was in the works for “Cover Up”. There was an old piano in the guest house where we were staying and I used to play it all the time (I play piano since I was 6 years old). In fact, I probably played that thing so much that Al had no other choice so he made me learn a 19 chords jazz piece in order to don’t hear me playing what I was all night long…

Vanadian Avenue: Interviews are fun but it is always the musician answering the questions. Let’s turn the tables. If you had a question to your fans, what would you ask them?

Edu Mussi: How many of you noticed that “What a Wonderful World” has a piano part from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”???

Vanadian Avenue: Was there a particular brand of 12 strings you used? If so, what was the factoring choice for this brand and how it would affect the sounds, mood, of AoTW?

Edu Mussi: I’m the type of guy that plays whatever is available as long as it sounds right. However, all the 12 strings on Ascension of The Watchers are played by Burton. I only played one of his 12 strings for “Sounds of Silence” which is a custom shop Fender XII baritone made by Todd Krauss.

Third page of interview with Edu Mussi, all rights reserved

Vanadian Avenue: With the song “On the River”, the strings feel lighter, yet ambient in a soothing way. What were the inspirations you personally had for this song?

Edu Mussi: That song was already written when we re-recorded for “Numinosum”. All that 12 strings strumming comes from Burton, I only played the same slide and lead guitars from the previous version which I always loved anyway.

Vanadian Avenue: Imagine you can play in front of 5 people and you get to choose the public. Who do you sit in the audience?

Edu Mussi: I guess It would have to be a paranormal experience once all of them are long time gone. I’d choose Houdini, Caligula, Genghis Khan and Jacques De Molay.

Vanadian Avenue: Several websites (Beatport for example) dedicated to electronic music and DJ’s list a new, enigmatic project next to your name: THE BLACK PIRANHAS. We tried to investigate and ended up with finding an experimental rock band from New Orleans. Do you have any ties with them? Or is it something completely different?

Edu Mussi: No, I don’t think I know who they are…. but maybe????

Fourth page of interview with Edu Mussi, all rights reserved

Vanadian Avenue: Tell us what can we expect in the future from you? A new project, new record, or maybe a tour?

Edu Mussi: Other than AoTW I got two other projects going on. One is a new album for Echoes and Shadows which I play all the instruments and is quite different from the first EP (very ambient and electronic). The other one is a new band which sounds a lot like a cross of 90’s Depeche Mode, The Cure – Disintegration period; it’s heavy on baritone vocals, layers of synths and e-bow guitars. I got a very biased opinion when it comes to touring and I’m not sure about that but, who knows? I would definitely tour with The Watchers if we get the right offer. I always have fun playing with Burton and JB mostly because of the great friendship we got. I must say it is something not very common among other bands these days.

Vanadian Avenue: Thank you for your time and answers!

Edu Mussi: Thank you as well!

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As always, we are forced to ask  you not to copy, “borrow” or re-post this article anywhere alse without our written permission. We are glad you like what we do, but it takes a lot of our time to put up those interviews together.  Giving a link takes second and we will be very grateful! If you have any comments, please write at r dot dabrowicz at yahoo dot com (but do not send me  any spam!)

Electronic version of this interview can be found here:
https://cocamidemea.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/edu3.pdf

Issu version can be found here:
http://issuu.com/vanadianavenue/docs/edu3

Official Ascension of the Watchers fan club is now also on FaceBook:
https://www.facebook.com/AoTW.Music

[Edit 13/11/2012]

We have noticed that AoTW Facebook page and the references to the above-mentioned interview have been in the Google search quite often today. If you looked up “Edu Mussi”, you could see that we have placed three times in the first 10 results. Nothing big, but always a nice find. Screenshot attached.

Ask Doctor Google!

All the best from the usual trio:

Mal, Rita and David J.

Autumn!

Aloha!

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

Remember, remember, it’s already November. For the past month Rita was your main host on the blog, as she was the one who prepared all the updates. Now, it’s my turn to be a little more active. I have been busy digging up my photographic achieves (read: filing and sorting out) and found some really cool stuff. I plan to share some of the photos and stories. You are gonna love it.

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

Last week was hot indeed. We had a Frankenstorm, black-outs and gas shortages and elections. Enough to fill a life – time! Natural disasters are no picnic and we truly hope that everyone affected by Sandy will soon recover!

I believe we all could do with a nice and relaxing stroll in the park to calm the nerves.  Not very possible I know, but at least let’s try our best.

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

Exactly one year ago, on November 9 2011, the weather was amazing; autumn was in full swing and our mom Olympia decided to test her brand new Sony Erickson mobile, since it came with a nice camera built in. She had spent few hours going around and taking photos. The images have been later turned into digital Polaroids by yours truly.

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

The result is a short series called simply Autumn!  It consists of nine colorful photos that are both uplifting and serene. Olympia has been shooting in a local park, just outside of her childhood home. She used to play there as a child and she has many fond memories tied to the place. She hopes that she managed to capture some of the essence of the small but idyllic public stretch of land.

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

Digital polaroid by Olympia Dabrowicz

Olympia just turned 56 on November 7th, so if you like the works, please leave her some kudos and comments.

In the coming days we will be posting another entry to other project that our mom runs – The Kat-a-log. Stay tuned and enjoy!

Regards,

Malicia

The H Art festival – Even more artists of the Hereford Open Exhibition

Heya everybody!

A big thank you to our fantastic readers! Yesterday, our blog was visited so many times that it was mentioned in WordPress statistics on a list of hot blogs of the day! We are delighted to know that we are reaching so many people!  Rita wished she could grab a screen shot of this honourable mention, but it disappeared before she thought of it. If she finds out how to dig that information out, she will post it here to brag about. Rita is very meticulous and collects our every claim to fame in form of screens and scans.  She also likes cards, cats and expensive chocolates. It was her birthday not-so-long-ago, so if you want to make her day, now you know what to do!

As usual, if you have missed the previous entries about Hereford Open Exhibition, please take a look at the links below:
Our review of  the opening day:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/the-h-art-festival-private-view-of-herefordshire-open-exhibition/

Introduction to the artist exhibiting their works:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/the-h-art-festival-artists-of-the-hereford-open-exhibition/

A screenshot of the official website for the Hereford Open exhibition.

The increased traffic to our blog brought many interesting questions. We have been asked for example, how the works were chosen for the exhibition, who was the judge and when the artists should submit their works to be considered for next edition of the h.Art festival. The last question is very easy to answer. New submissions are being accepted just a month after the last edition ended. If you’d like to take part in h.Art 2013, please prepare a short presentation about yourself. Make sure you include a bio that mentions your education (if art related) and lists all previous exhibitions/awards or achievements you have. A personal letter to organizers is also advised. It should contain explanation of what you do and how do you imagine yourself being presented at the festival. Don’t forget to add scans or pictures of your works and voila! You are ready to go. All submissions can be sent electronically to: leonilinton-h.art@hotmail.co.uk. There is one condition, however: your works must be fairy new (created in the last 12 months) and they can’t be previously exhibited anywhere else.

Gallery workers at the main entrance encouraged the audience to sign the impressively big guest book. By the end of the evening, it was completely filled by comments from the visitors!

The judging panel sorting through the submitted works usually consists of 5 to 7 people chosen among the library workers, museum officers, council members and Herefordshire artists.  This year, the committee has been led by Clare Woods and Andrea McLean, both well known artists residing in the city. We have spoken to Clare at the opening and she said that the selecting process was very long as many great artists submitted their works. To be exact: the judges received exactly 159 pieces of art from 79 creators, ultimately only 92 pieces by 50 artists were selected.
If you’d like to know the names of all artists or learn more about the exhibition and selection process, please visit the official website at:
http://h-art.herefordshire.gov.uk/hartvisithart2012/hartherefordcity/the-herefordshire-open-exhibition-2012.aspx

Selection and judges are not everything. What truly matters the most, is the art. We are still very impressed by the quality of the artworks and the diversity of the whole project. We cannot write about each artist (they all deserve a mention anyway!) but we did a choosing of our own. The following artists, in our humble opinion of course, are something to look out for. We are sure that in the next few years their names will be a household brands in the world of contemporary art! Remember, we wrote about them first!

Lily Giles – acrylics and nature
Official website: in preparation

Lily Giles is a painter extraordinaire. She is probably the only artist in Hereford with a patented painting technique. Her works are very easily identified: semi abstract (mostly) flowery compositions on canvas, created with an incredibly smart fusion of mixed media, acrylics and digital photography.  Lily paints with bright and vibrant colours that capture the wild spirit of rural countryside and typical English gardens. During the h.Art week, Lily and Ted St George exhibited their paintings on Widgeon Hill Estate near Leominster (Venue Number 61).

The glory of Herefordshire gardens on canvas by Lily Giles

Caro Sweet – born to be a sculptor!
Official website: http://www.carosweet.com

Caro Sweet has not only a brilliant name, but also a biography that could be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. Before becoming an internationally recognized artist, Caro worked in every possible profession, (including being a scuba diver!) and had a close brush with death. Luckily for the world, Caro recovered and now graces us with her enormous talent and killer technical skills. Mrs Sweet spends half a year in the UK and half a year behind the big pond, where she designs and teaches a new generation of artists. Her sculptures have been exhibited numerous times and several of them are in private and museum collections on few continents. Caro is also a member of The Royal British Society of Sculptors (ARBS).

“Holy cow” by Caro Sweet. This iron cast sculpture became one of the most popular pieces of art during the exhibition

Lexi Strauss – painting prodigy
Official website: in preparation
More information: http://www.axisweb.org/seCVPG.aspx?ARTISTID=15414 and http://www.saatchionline.com/lexistrauss

Another young artist from Herefordshire, Lexi Strauss is considered a true prodigy. Her talent was obvious from the very beginning and allowed her to study fine arts at Hereford College of Art. Lexi graduated this year at the top of her class and immediately has been accepted to Royal College of Art in London. Despite her young age, Miss Strauss has exhibited her paintings all over Europe and won several prestigious awards, including scholarships from Windsor and Newton (London) and Universitat der Kunste in Berlin. Lexi is now preparing for a solo exhibition in Birmingham, set for the Summer 2013. Two large paintings entitled “Ozymandias” and “Debutants” from her ” Empty chair” series have been displayed during Hereford Open Exhibition and received rave reviews from critics and general public.

Lexi Strauss created a whole series of pictures insired by the empty chairs. Here you can see painting entitled “Debutants”

Polly Miller – watercolour wizard
Official website: http://pollykington.wordpress.com

Kington resident Polly Miller is one of the best watercolourists in the county and a senior artist associated with the h.Art festival. Her symbolic works have been displayed since the early editions and have always been singled out for praise. Polly knows that her art might be a little hard to understand for an untrained viewer, but she likes the idea of playing with her audience. Hidden objects, ambiguity and mystery are her trademarks and leading motifs in her art. Outside of artistic career, Polly is also a successful business woman and proud owner of unique bed and breakfast nicknamed The Brick House. Her guests can visit her studio located in beautifully designed garden and purchase her paintings and hand-made cards.

One-of-its kind artwork by Polly Miller entitled “Cuckmere Heaven”. The watercolour masterpiece took its unusual name after the flood plains in Sussex, where the river Cuckmere meets the English Channel between Eastbourne and Seaford.

Maggie Banks – contemporary landscape
Official website: http://www.maggiebanks.com

Margaret Banks, known better as Maggie, belongs to a group of popular contemporary landscape artists living and creating in Herefordshire. With more than 20 years of professional experience (and a decade as an artist in residence at Cape Cornwall), Mrs Banks’ serene and atmospheric paintings are the public’s favourite. Maggie has always been mesmerized by the ocean, the changing colours of water, colourful sunsets and the salty breeze. Her mastery lies in the ability of portraying the scenery so vividly, you nearly feel the cold ocean wind on your face! Oil and acrylics paintings have been displayed in the UK and abroad. Maggie is represented by several art agencies and currently prepares herself for two solo exhibitions scheduled for the Spring of 2013 and 2014.

Two contemporary landscapes by Maggie Banks: “Summer morning, tide in” (left) and “Early misty morning” (right)

Special mention: Ellen Tremayne Exton
Official website: unknown

This review could not be complete without mentioning Ellen Tremayne Exton. Sadly, we have had no luck finding any information about her. Please take a look at the picture below and you will understand why we needed to include her too. Rita is a big fan of abstract art and she was very happy to see a fully abstract work among semi and half-abstract paintings. As an expert herself, Rita swears that Ellen’s skill with acryl and oil paints are to die for. The triptych painted on thick wooden panels was entitled “Carn Calver”, possibly after the Neolithic settlement and mine, Carn Galver.

“Carn Calver Triptych”, oil and acrylics on wood by Ellen Tremayne Exton

Well our friends, this is the end of the ride. We hope you have enjoyed this (a bit long) review but there was so much we wanted to share with you all. The h.Art festival will be back next year in early September and we shall be there, ready to report again.  
Stay tuned as coming up next we have a new, exciting Kat-A-log issue and  a very delicious report from Flavours of Hereford food festival.

Stay beautiful,
XXXXX

Rita and Mal Dabrowicz