Dec 2011


We, homo sapiens, love lists and nothing elicits more than the year's end.
Every year unfathomable events surprise us. But I can't recall a more historic year in this life than 2011.
I mean not so much for me personally but as a planet.
Dictatorships dethroned, US Enemy #1 assassinated, massacre in a peaceful Nordic country, millions starved to death in the desert sun, the dream of American space program sacrificed, Occupy and get pepper sprayed, and as always, you can count on Mother Nature to unleash her fury… I keep up with the news: BBC, Deutsche Welle, NPR, etc. Just because I don't frequently speak my mind about the worldly events on social media sites, does not mean I don't care. I just feel that there are others who are more eloquent on these topics while others just sound like preachers and bandwagoneers.

Well then, I guess I'd better get on with the topic I am comfortable rambling about: music.
When I was a teenager gobbling up the latest issue of Star Hits, B Sides, orAlternative Press, I would have never believed that one day I could be part of the world of music journalism. Thanks Internet!
I have been involved with shooting concerts, writing reviews, and interviewing artists for over 2 years now.
Naturally, this year has been the most incredible for this music nerd/fan.
So here are my favorite moments of 2011 in music. (Think after #4, the ranks become arbitrary.)
Click on Blue Link to read full article.

Interviewing The Radio Dept. - There has been only 2 other bands that held the title of "my favorite band" since I was 12. The former champion held the title since I was 14 and thought that they'll always reign supreme. That is until I met The Radio Dept. I was definitely a huge fan before the February interview but sometimes drawing the curtains back can really influence one's opinion. I was super nervous before our meeting at Doug Fir - mainly because I didn't want to sound like an idiot. But Johan and Martin were the coolest guys because they were honest and kind. And Johan gave me my favorite final words for an interview - read to find out!
TRD ranks as my fave moment in 2011 but also the worst when they cancelled their fall US tour.

Running into The Radio Dept. at Sasquatch! - I almost didn't go to the festival because there were too many inconveniences attached to it. But the original correspondents all backed out and somehow I felt obligated. Gad I went! While there were several nice memories from this festival (especially the fantastic performance by !!!), nothing brought me more joy than to have run into my favorite band. I knew they were playing, but I felt redundant to ask for press time. By chance they were escorted into the press area by another member. Johan and I both did a double take and how wonderful to see a big smile on his face and to get a hug from the last guy I would expect to get one from (I mean because he's known to be shy and stuff). That was our third encounter of the year, having previously traveled to Denmark to see their European kick off show where he gave me The Radio Dept. canvas tote bag in exchange for Pendleton whiskey.

Fredrik in Malmö - If someone knew me well enough to design a band for me, I think Fredrik would be pretty damn close. Their mysterious and other-worldliness captivated my psyche since I first discovered them about 2 years ago. When the stars and planets were in harmony back in March, the opportunity to finally catch the Swedes materialized. Though I was ill prepared for the interview, I did bring them whiskey to offset my shortcomings. The following day, I finally witnessed them live at Debaser, and I was in heaven. But I think the best part was at the backstage where we shared Crater Lake vodka from Oregon, and when Fredrik and I scrolled through Swedish language app in the x-rated insult section.

Visiting Labrador Records - I must confess the main reason why I went to Stockholm to interview Johan of Labrador Records was because I thought it would gain me favors - when I have to ask for press pass for The Radio Dept. But Johan made my pricey detour worthwhile with his kindness. Not only I had a great time interviewing him, we also ran through our music playlists and learn a little bit about each other's personal life - stuff that just doesn't happen in normal interviews. Plus, he also stuffed my bag full of cds from the Labrador "warehouse".

5. Efterklang in Copenhagen - This was the second show I saw during my Nordic trip in March. And the second time I saw Efterklang in concert. They dazzled the crowd in the intimate cavern of Doug Fir in Portland, but in their hometown of Copenhagen, they elevated their live show to a new height I hadn't imagined possible. Every gesture, note, beat felt like magic. Thanks to Rasmus for getting me into the sold out show! And then I had the pleasure of interviewing Casper for the second time 2 days after their final Magic Chairs show.

Cut Copy in Portland - Having been their fan since the very first album, it's a pity it was only this year that I finally got to experience what everyone else was raving about x3. My first CC show in Seattle blew my mind away. Though they didn't have their cool entrance door and 3 encores, there was also no beefy security guards in front of the stage at the Portland venue. So there I was - right in front of Tim Hoey, who was like a gorgeous stripper to a heterosexual man. I mean, I wasn't so much captivated by his looks but by his supernatural performance. Then I saw them a week afterwards at Treasure Island, but festivals shows always give you a half empty glass feeling if you had a full one.

7. Apparatjik in Berlin - This event was the decision maker for my trip to the Nordic countries in March, where I was able to catch several of my favorite bands. I am usually shy so took a lot of guts just to ask the PR to get me on the list for both nights since I am coming from so far away. Luckily, that wasn't a problem, and she was willing to put plus one for both nights. And what an experience to finally witness the genius fusion of physics, art, and music. I only wish I could have met Jonas or Magne.

Interview with Magne A - I confess, my first musical love was a-ha. And last year on their final tour ever, I was fortunate enough to get press pass and stand in front of Morten with my camera. While Morten may always been the heartthrob, I thought Magne was the most fascinating. So when he replied to my email interview, I couldn't help to feel "starstruck".

9 The Church playing 3 albums- So this Aussie band has recently lost its crown as my favorite band ever to The Radio Dept., but they will always have a special place in my heart. Their music has influenced and affected me in so many ways - more than any person or thing in my life. It's all hazy now but to hear their masterpiece, Priest=Aura, seemed like a dream come true.

Weekend at Treasure Island - Every year, a band comes long that just makes your heart beat faster and last year, it was Weekend (not to be confused with The Weekend). I was on the press list for their Portland show in September, but last minute events prevented my attendence. Though I was thrilled to catch the trio couple of weeks later at Treasure Island Music Festival, their hypnotic performance made me regret even more that I didn't make a better effort to catch them before. When I saw the guys getting bombarded with interviews at the festival, thought it might be a nice change to let them do whatever they wanted on video. Might be silly but sure was a lot of fun.

11. Song Dedication by Stornoway - I had interviewed the Brits end of last year so it wasn't so hard to break the ice with them backstage at Sasquatch! Bassist Oli invited me to their Portland show that was happening couple of days after the music festival so how could I turn it down? I recalled from the interview, singer Brian wanted gherkins on his rider wish-list so I brought him a giant pickle I picked up in Germany. For this gesture, Brian dedicated a song to me during their show at Dug Fir. I don't recall which song in my surprise, but here's a video from the show - just lovely:

I could continue the list but being someone who can only read a few lines before falling asleep, I think to best to end here.

Inversion Conversion

Winter (almost)
High Bills
Year End Lists
Lack of Enticing Concerts
So my last concert experience was
Loney Dear in Montreal on November 4th. Since then, I have struggled to find a show before the year's end. The only possibility was Noah and the Whale but couldn't give up a paying gig over it.
The list above probably has something to do with the lack of motivation to finish a music video and start another one, but it seems my interest in music journalism has dimmed within last month or so - don't pay attention to all the Tweets from music blogs like I used to.
Have I set up certain expectations I have failed to meet?
Or am I outgrowing something that was just a love affair?
But how I could I ever be out of love with music?

Before the inversion shadowed Portland and stagnation set in, blanketed by impenetrable grey clouds, I wandered around for couple of hours in the autumn sun, admiring the lives of flora. I still penetrate the pavement for several blocks but how this purgatorial atmosphere scars my face with its crystalized digits… and to think how much time a person wastes, waiting for it to pass, hoping luck or fate will somehow miraculously elevate us…

Until brighter, my last album review: Loney Dear
Hall Music. Finished it after the concert review since I wasn't as delighted with the album. Glad his record label thought my concert review was "awesome". Sorry if I didn't please you equally with the album review but hopefully I was objective.