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Interview with Except Elephant

Amsterdam’s Except Elephant’s music is tempting, sensual, and very unique. She will be releasing her first single, Mermaid, from her forthcoming EP on WEATNU Record’s sub-label – Transmission Nova this April. We discuss her music and visual art making process, her inspirations, and Amsterdam’s DIY scene.

How would you describe your music?

Except Elephant: A mixture of indie rock, dream pop, some synths and post punky bass lines?

How long have you been playing and recording?

EE: I started singing, as a hobby, about 13 years ago. I was singing in a band, started with covers just for fun and then we were writing our own songs. There was a big break from that for a while and I started making my own music about 3-4 years ago.

What is your songwriting process and what gear do you use to make it?

EE: Normally I just start writing without anything in mind and see what comes out. I usually get a bass line down first and then the drums. When I have the rest of the parts, I play with the vocal melodies and write my lyrics.

Do you play everything on the record or do you have a band?

EE: It’s just me and the Logic Pro x drummer plugin 🙂

Do you record your own music?

EE: Everything is MIDI, so I do it all on my computer and record my vocals at home too.

Photo by Except Elephant

What is your forthcoming album about?

EE: I am releasing my first single this April, Mermaid, which I believe is a very good introduction to what my forthcoming EP is mainly about. Choosing to make oneself able to see beyond the constructs we’ve been living in and imagine new worlds.

What inspired you to create it?

EE: The meaninglessness that the constructs we’ve been living in have created 🙂 By that I mean several kinds of behavior that lead to or arise from discrimination, oppression, destruction, dichotomy etc. How we treat each other (and even ourselves) and everything else around us as a consequence of the world that we’ve created. This is something I was working through also in my video art work the last few years and what troubles me the most in this life!

I love your artwork for your songs and on Instagram. What is the concept behind it?

EE: I’ve always used the human body (or body parts) in my visual art as a symbol for humanity as a whole. In my artwork for Except Elephant, I use it as a canvas to signify what makes us; a blend of everything around us, the magic of human power and the destruction this same power brings into the world. Sometimes it’s a bit more personal, just reflecting a mood or part of myself.

How do you create/make your art?

EE: I snap some photos of myself, load them into Photoshop, make cut outs and start playing with images, colors and textures. It’s not much different to making a collage.

Is Except Elephant an alter ego and if so who is she?

EE: I wouldn’t say she is an alter ego exactly. More of an exaggerated version of me. She feels like an alien in this place we live in, because she believes that life can be much different and nicer for everyone on earth. And that makes her angry and sad but also caring, almost motherly towards all humanity. She wants to embrace and heal the whole world. Quite ambitious…

What is the music scene like in Amsterdam?

EE: In Amsterdam you can find a little bit of everything, but it is primarily a clubbing/party city. A lot of the most interesting stuff for live music happens within the Alternative/DIY scene. From punk to Experimental Jazz, you can find some gems in the most unexpected places!

Do you play live?

EE: Not yet.

Your voice reminds me of Kate Bush, mystical and stunning. Who has had the most influence on your music?

EE: That’s very flattering as I consider her voice and her whole existence quite whimsical! I would mention Radiohead, Placebo and PJ Harvey, but I feel it’s all kind of like an interpretation of everything I have listened to over the years, with a lot of 90’s alternative and early 2000’s indie elements that have really seeped into my blood.

I’m dying to know what else you have in the works, any new projects coming up?

EE: I had a really nice collaboration recently with indie artist Uncool Paul, where I added a bit of a melodic synth touch to a couple of his songs from his upcoming album. And I’m excited to be working on a video for Mermaid at the moment. This will be a solo venture too, but I’m already planning ideas for my second single release and video which will be made in collaboration with another visual artist.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – March 2022 – Leslie Keffer

Top photo: Susana Martins https://www.susana-martins.com/
Follow: Except Elephant on Instagram

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Interview: Leslie Keffer

‘This month: Leslie Keffer, a native to Ohio, spoke with us from her country setting about her music creation, her career in noise-related sound, and moving from small venues to larger festivals, including being an opener for Sonic Youth. – Now she uses the genre ‘microhouse and insectno‘ to explain what she does musically after her 10 year rest from the music scene. With new insight, she is releasing once more. It was an honor to speak to her.

Today I have with me, experimental artist – Leslie Keffer.

Hello Leslie, how are you today?

Leslie Keffer: I’m good. I am just making some AI art on the computer.

It’s interesting what one can do with AI to make art, how is that helping you as an artist?

LK: I really enjoy making AI art. Once you do it enough you know what prompt words do, what styles and you can start to create the images in your head. I will spend hours and days perfecting an image until what is in my mind forms through the AI. I have been making art showing the inside of the body. I am striving to show people how beautiful the inside of the body is. Most people seem to be grossed out or offended by it, which I don’t understand, because inside the body is where the miracle of life happens, the magic and the electricity. I find it so gorgeous and captivating.

How did you get into music first-hand?

LK: My first memory of music is being 3 or 4 and watching MTV for the first time. It was brand new back then and played music all day and night and I was just fascinated by it. I think the music they played on MTV in the 80s really got me into it. I was obsessed with Madonna as long as I can remember!

Many girls were in those days, as I recall, but like yourself, I was just as young during the 80s, and to embrace the 80’s, I had a Michael Jackson zipper jacket at the age of 6.

LK: Hahaha that’s cool!

Yeah imagine a little kid walking around with a Michael Jackson zipper jacket, laughs. Listening now to Inosculation – it moves me, it has a freeness to it, water-like. What influenced you to write this new album?

LK: I would say nature and our woods. I go there and get moved and come back and write. I am also inspired by the body – by how it looks and feels inside and out. Trees inosculate when they grow together. I wrote the song about when humans inosculate psychically and emotionally with each other. I romanticized it in the song.

A story of nature en electronica, much like something the Orb may have done during their beginning. – You’ve been on hiatus for about 10 years, but you’re coming back into the music scene, how does that feel and where do you hope it takes you?

LK: I had to take a much needed break from all of the touring, booking shows, and writing music when I was living in Nashville. I was worn out and not creating to my fullest potential. I moved back to Ohio where I am from to regroup. I did a lot of healing in my body and soul. I learned Kundalini Yoga and delved deep into mediation. Through all this I found my way back to expressing myself creatively and started working on music and art again.

And is the process of making new music, even possibly more melodic music, serving you well?

LK: I’ve always wanted to be able to create structured songs as well. It’s not that I don’t enjoy playing noise anymore. I just found myself naturally writing these microhouse songs, and I didn’t even know what it was until someone told me. I just love making beats. Currently it’s more of a challenge for me to write songs like this so it’s a lot of fun experimenting with something new and growing into something else.

Since we’ve been discussing your music, what started your music journey?

LK: I started playing acoustic guitar when I was in 6th grade in bell choir at church. Then in college I played in bands. Right after college – I just started playing noise music when I lived out in the country and it just became my way of life. I started meeting other people who played it online and I set up a tour through them and hit the road by myself. After that, I became friends with them and played shows with them for the next 15 years.

In small houses and settings?

LK: A lot of them were house or warehouse shows and dive bars. Then I got to play some cool venues, especially when I was playing in Laundry Room Squelchers based out of Miami, FL. I toured with them for over 10 years.

I understand it brought you some media attention, especially through the indie scene with VICE, and Pitchfork.

LK: I knew some folks who wrote for magazines and I got really lucky and they liked what I was doing and wrote about me. I didn’t know all of them so it was really cool when reviews would come out. I always felt so honored!

That must have been pretty amazing then, and you opened for Sonic Youth?

LK: When I was starting out I got an email from Carlos who booked ‘No Fun Fest’ in New York City which at the time was one of the biggest festivals for noise and avant-garde music. He told me Thurston had heard my tapes and wanted to collaborate with me. I thought it was a joke, but it was real and we became friends so I got to open for Sonic Youth a few times and did live shows with both Kim and Thurston.

Would they do another round with you again these days?

LK: Oh I don’t know about that! I always would do it if they wanted to.

Hearing your album: I really like the beat on ‘Internal’ btw

LK: Thanks!

Since we’re on the subject, you’ve just released a new album, the one with the girl on the front cover with earth-like things, fungus and so forth on her body. Would like to talk about it? Its story is fascinating.

Leslie Keffer – Belong to the Earth (album)

LK: Its about a girl who has to go underground and hibernate because she becomes too overwhelmed with energy from other people and American culture. She goes there to recharge and store up inspirational energy. She emerges from the ground and re-enters the world during a global pandemic. She stays in the woods to survive and in the process becomes one with nature.

For your creative process, you’re using an all hardware setup, is that right?

LK: Yes, I use (2) Korg Kaossilator Pros, a Korg Volca Beats, and a Korg micro synth.

That seems just right for this type of music. Especially for the bug-like sounds.

LK: I am obsessed with bug sounds. I probably over do it. I call my music “Insectno” when people ask what genre I am because I literally don’t know what genre I am anymore.

And you should, since it’s who you are. Identity is very important to an artist. It’s good to share this in common with you, each artist doing their own sound, it’s freeing.

LK: Yes your music doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard

Thank you, I appreciate that, musicians can put themselves into a bubble sometimes, but I think personally that’s a good thing.

LK: I definitely go into a bubble. I go into my makeshift studio and will spend hours in there and think it’s been 30 minutes.

Time can really take you away when you’re in the zone, as I call it

LK: I call it catching the Spirit

That’s nice, as I believe in a place called the Cone of Silence, it’s a place, I’ve found, it’s mysterious and like a rabbit hole. This of course deals with music creation. – Is there a lay-down process in DAW, EQ’ing, mixing and so forth after the music is done. Do you sequence in recording?

LK: I play it all live as I record it. Its always just one track. I don’t have the patience to multi-track and overdub. Rat Bastard masters a lot of them.

That’s seriously impressive, considering It’s all well mixed first try. Are you using a mixing board, and record it to DAW?

LK: I use a mixer with the EQs straight up. Then I run it into my computer and record it in Audacity. I just try my best to have the levels correct when I go to record.

What artists, would you say, influence your music creation?

LK: I am really into Kate Bush and a lot of pop music, but the last few years I have been listening to a lot of techno like Tommy Four Seven, Adam X, and Drum Cell. I like creepy industrial sounding music.

Would you say it has fueled the type of music you are making now, or are you taking your own route?

LK: I think my intention every time I make a beat is to make a techno beat, but I can’t figure it out and my beats end up being something else entirely.

How did you find your way back to music scene?

LK: I just was ready to be expressive again. I really want to share myself with the world and connect with people even though I sometimes have to hideout from time to time to regroup.

What do you think about the current music scene, its culture, is it different now, or harder to get your music heard?

LK: It may be a little harder for me because I am not on Facebook. I was off social media for 5 years and just got back on Twitter and Instagram to share my music and art with my friends again. I think the music scene that I know is still thriving if not more so!

It appears to be, now with more platforms, but the music will play through the noise and be heard.

LK: I believe that.

Since you’re a new artist with us, what you do think about #WEATNU in general?

LK: I think it is an awesome label with really unique music I had never heard before and didn’t know about. I love that you can get support from a label and still own your music and release what you want when you want. There seems to be a lot of support between the artists as well.

It appears we are running out of questions, do you have more to add?

LK: ummmmmmmmmmmm

It’s coming, I can feel it! Waiting for the next phrase.

LK: I just messaged my friend and asked him what he would ask me about my music if he could ask one question maybe he’ll come up with a good one.

That’s a good idea, you picked a life-line here on “Who Wants To Be A Musician” …

LK: My friend wrote back and asked 3 of the questions you already asked me! The one you didn’t ask was – ‘What did you think about making music while you weren’t creating, did you find other things to do?’

Ah: so – What did you think about making music while you weren’t creating, did you find other things to do?

LK: I missed making music, yet I didn’t make time for it. It was a reminder of the life I left behind in Nashville and I had to sort myself out and recharge so I couldn’t let feelings of longing for the past in. So I hiked all the time. It was my muse. I just saved up all that inspiration from the forest until now and it just flows free right out of me. I don’t get those negative feelings anymore about creating.

PTSD can do that as well, you just don’t want to make anything, but you find something to make you happy for the time, video games are a great help in this case.

LK: I am actually in music therapy for PTSD and the songs I’ve been releasing are part of the way I work things out in my mind. It’s very therapeutic and healing for me. A lot of my music and art is about my experience with trauma and healing.

WEATNU Records is now going to open its label up to even more music, with the sub-label coming Transmission Nova.

LK: That is the word on the street. I think it’s an awesome opportunity for the Indie Rock/Shoegaze and Post-punk bands, including artists who want to be on a label and still be in control of their music.

Do you think Indie rock artists would benefit from it?

LK: I definitely do. It’s hard getting out there, because there is so much more access to music now. You would think it would be the opposite, but personally I get overwhelmed by all the options and probably miss out on a lot of great music.

Where do you see WEATNU Records going in the future and do you think it has helped artists during its 7 year stay?

LK: I hope WEATNU continues to grow and keeps finding unique artists to put out.

Thank you, we hope it continues to serve the community of artists for years to come, in all its options to them. You’ll be bringing to the New Year, new music on WEATNU Records, is that right?

LK: Yes, the plan is to have something in February or March. I hope to make something new and exciting for myself and everyone else.

Very cool, we hope to hear something new and creative from you soon.

Just one more thing: What movie in your mind sparks a memory that you are most fond of?

LK: “The Sound of Music” It reminds me of growing up and my Grandparents and getting to stay up late and eat popcorn. I love most of the songs. And it’s kind of bizarre that it’s my favorite, because I really don’t like musicals at all. But I do love the Sound of Music.

It’s one of my fav films too, and those songs are very memorable.

Thank you Leslie for doing this interview today – I wish you well with your journey and career in music for all time.

LK: Thank you! It was fun.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Dec 2021

Follow Leslie Keffer on Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud | Audius

Buy direct: Diaphragm by Leslie Keffer

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Transmission Nova arrives

During the beginning of #WEATNU – from 2015 – 2016, one of six of our radio streams “Transmission Nova“, played shoegaze and indierock, this included many other sounds from the late 70s onward into the 90s and today. Indie artists, many unsigned, were post-punk, noise rock, alt-rock, dream pop and ethereal. WEATNU Records has been releasing this type of music since December of 2014, upon its arrival in the indie scene of the underground.

Now … Transmission Nova will have the same great vision as WEATNU and put the focus on this type of music, just as WEATNU puts the focus on electronic based artists. Bands as well as solo artists are welcome to join. Nothing changes, but we instead expand. Indie Rock has always been a love for me, from the days of growing up during the early 90s when MTV’s the Buzz would blast the greatest and latest bands.

Being a shoegaze aficionado and part of Gen-X, these types of memories never fade. I wanted to give the underground a taste of even more, as now both WEATNU and Transmission Nova will help artists be heard. Guitar-driven noise, eerie washed out vocals, experimental bass lines and visions by Ian Curtis. All these things tied into one place for this music to thrive. Shoegaze coming from the days of Batcave and Goth, and then the 90s grunge-like sounds, with noise-driven indie rock, British alternative, and other gloomy settings. Transmission Nova opens in 2022, and it is my hope to get these artists heard and signed with us. Contact today, as slots are open (for a time)

Shoegaze | Post-punk | Punk | Ethereal | Indie Pop | indie rock | Dream pop, and other psychedelics

To join, please contact us: https://weatnurecords/contact
Follow our Facebook : Instagram
Be sure to follow our Bandcamp: https://transmissionnova.bandcamp.com

#WEATNU Digital Magazine
Almark
November 2021

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Interview: Jason M Norwood

‘This month: Jason M Norwood, native to London, ON, Canada and long-time veteran here – was kind enough to give us his words about #WEATNU, his former artist name, Minutes After, and his latest release under the Berlin School music he creates.’

Interview by: Almark

Hello Jason, please tell in your own words what #WEATNU has done for you. Tell us a story of your own?

JN: I like to search for new music a lot, and I can’t remember for the life of me how I discovered her, but I discovered an artist named Adryelle, and reached out via Twitter to mention I was a fan.  Almark and I got talking through Twitter threads, and I discovered that he ran this enterprise called WEATNU.  Running a tiny little label myself, we got talking on that score, and at the same time I was looking for a home for Minutes After, a techno-based solo project of mine that didn’t fit with my label’s aesthetic.  The rest is fairly normal—I sent Almark some music, he liked it and asked about releasing it, and I signed on.  I liked the concept of WEATNU being an artist-helping-artists collective, which is something I’ve always strongly believed in.

It’s funny, because I’ve since devolved my label into an artist collective.  Minutes After is shelved, but for the first time I get to release my 25-year-long solo project (stuff under my own name) with WEATNU—no talk of “I want another Minutes After” album, just support for the broader sense of what I do.

I get to talk to a like-minded label head, I get to support an idea that I agree with, and I get to be a part of a community where I can offer my skills and bounce ideas off of others.  What’s not to like?

How did you first find out about #WEATNU and what were your thoughts initially?

JN: I think I got drawn into #WEATNU because I saw a kindred spirit in this unwieldy thing called the music business.  I’d been running my own thing, Hope Mansion Recordings, for a while, and it was nice to see something in operation that was designed to help artists.  At the same time, I had a rare side project called Minutes After, which was heavily techno-based and didn’t sit right on my own label, so I decided to give it a home I liked and respected, where it would be a little cozier.

I can’t say there was anything specific I wanted out of #WEATNU going into that.  Out of head-to-head conversations between two people trying to do something different in music, the whole conversation seemed to develop naturally.  I also liked the idea of supporting something whose ideals I agreed with.

Fast forward to now, and although Minutes After has ended, we’re talking about releasing the Berlin-school electronic music I release under my own name.  It’ll be the first time in 25 years I’ve put that project out under a different label, which gives you an idea of how I get along with #WEATNU.

What do you feel #WEATNU is doing for the modern indie artist, how is it serving them, because now we have our magazine once again?

JN:  I think the word “flexibility” is the first thing that comes to mind.  In a world where artists can be independent and make good quality albums in the comfort of their own personal studios, sacrificing things like artistic control isn’t really necessary.  Also, technology has led to a lot of possibilities as to how a label can operate.  So, #WEATNU doesn’t look to sign people to take control, I think it’s about asking the artists “What do you need?”  It’s all there, but you have the freedom to operate on a loose alliance or a full signing, and everything in between.

I’ve always felt the most interesting independent labels are the ones where you like one artist, you get curious and start crate-digging through the label roster, and #WEATNU has that in spades, but also it uses what’s there to give artists a platform to talk about what they do—hence, the magazine.  Not only putting out music, but providing the story behind it in a way that fans want more of now than they ever did.

Where do you see #weatnurecords going, now that we are nearing our 5th year?

JN: I think the label will continue to do good things!  I think the fact that its different approach is what gives it prominence—this idea that artists and labels can make the goals a common drive rather than have an employer/employee relationship is healthier, and it will allow the artists on #WEATNU the chance to show what they can do without having to change themselves or their art.

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – Nov 2019
Proofing: Jason M Norwood

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The Story of #WEATNU

“It takes years for an idea to culminate and become something more than mindless thinking. Every diamond is created due to a great amount of pressure. I’m a musician, I write Electronic / Avant-garde, Left-field music. It is certainly in its own category.”

Coming from the roots of Industrial / Experimental and EBM, Ambient, Dub, and eventually those roots became an urge to write my own music, and I didn’t know what I was doing or how to go about doing it electronically.

I had been writing guitar music prior to that from 1992–1998, then getting into writing Electronic music that summer. Music has been with me since 1983, when my Mother first put on, Wham or Hall & Oats, H2O record, or when I heard the album, The Ghostbusters on tape, and being captivated by The Thompson Twins — In the Name of Love. When the Internet had its start in 1997 for me, I found myself seeking out music that moved me differently than terrestrial radio, as during this time, radio was dying out and becoming something of a mainstream money maker. MTV was still going strong in its post-grunge era.

One night, I started looking on Yahoo for internet radio stations, Realplayer had its share of the obscure, even at its low bitrate quality, but I didn’t care, the music is what moved me. It wasn’t long until I found a website called Radio Free Underground, they shut down in 2000, sadly. They played many genres I’d not heard, other than the experimental stuff I discovered through MTV’s The AMP. Goth being one of them, including PsyTrance, Techno, Electro, Electronica, Industrial, Darkwave, and more. The days when true discovery felt like you found something, and it was yours, it felt personal.

I remember first hearing Industrial from a NIN tape a friend gave me during school in 1992, then he gave me a recording of Ministry’s Psalm 69. By the time 1997 rolled around, I was hooked on darker underground music. After being subjected to the more obscure underground, including the MOD scene of 1995, given to me through floppy discs from friends, AMIGA-like computer music, Trackers, Fasttracker, iPlay, S3M, FT2 and so forth.

From the collection of all this, I started developing a great love for “The Underground”, and noticed from my experimenting with Electronic music, deeply in 2000 that Electronic wasn’t that huge yet, though, radio and modern music was still very pop-driven, and rock based. It wasn’t until 2003 and 2005 where I started really hearing the Electronic influence in artists, such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Underworld, The Orb and Orbital.

The Severed Heads years…

I was actually heavily influenced from my early days of electronic music writing from Severed Heads, an Aussie artist, named Tom Ellard. For years after 1998 I didn’t have the Internet, I had to go to local university computer labs to use the Internet, usually every night for months on end. During the time of my depth into making electronic in 2000 through tracker software, Fasttracker II, I found myself looking up Severed Heads, who I was introduced to from a boss at my job Eureka Pizza in Springdale, AR.

I no longer felt like mainstream music was important as it once was, I had a drive to do different things. In that computer lab, I came across a website called groovetech.com, and this was my introduction into DnB, Dub, Experimental, Techno, Sampling, from some of the greatest DJs to ever be broadcast through camera, across the world.

Each night I was engrossed in watching these DJs spin for hours. The music was catchy, bouncy and addictive. Even to this day if you look up those podcasts on YouTube, you hear something special just starting to happen. The beginning of what electronic music was, and why it’s so important today.

Years pass…

My love of electronic music continued, in writing it alone, allowing only my family and at the time, during my marriage, my wife and her friends. Also in 2001 I didn’t have the Internet, but I still continued when I could, go to the local library to use it. By the time I got the Internet again, it was around 2010, and I began to think, “what if I upload this music I’ve been doing all these years, and let others listen?” It was through Soundcloud then Bandcamp, and YouTube, I started doing this. Friends on Facebook would tell me I should let others listen, I was reluctant of course, because it was so personal to me.

From venturing forth into various groups online, uploading music and speaking and promoting on twitter, I came to realize that unknown artists were being ignored, or even unheard. That it took a great deal of effort to even get people to listen. Of course during the early days of SoundCloud, people would listen to you more, due to the lack of algorithms.

The power of Social Media.

From the urge to get my own music heard and having a hard time doing it, it started building up in me by 2012–2013 that something needed to be done, something big, a huge idea, and since social media was just getting popular, I thought, “Why not, I want to make waves and create a storm even if I fail doing so. People on social media are making things happen, so why can’t I?” I thought.

During those days, it was hard to find any kind of help to get your music heard. Net-labels were elite and only allowed a certain type of music in, EDM was so big that people were making 200 grand per night when they played; completely ignoring The Underground scene. I wondered, why The Underground and experimental music was no longer around? What happened to it, was it hidden, did it die out? No… From meeting people on Twitter and other places, SoundCloud, YouTube and forums I found it was very much alive.

Great music is hidden.

There were others doing this, there were people like myself with the drive to be heard. Help groups, and Internet radio started popping up, like Bluetown Electronica on Facebook, Revival Synth, one guy who has been running his group well before #WEATNU started. Tracy Perry (Expansion of Presence) who has helped many indie artists for years and years, and continues to do so. Dr. Bones, an avid lover of The Underground scene from Canada, and so and so on. This was during 2013–2014.

I started thinking, “why is it so hard just to belong to a simple label, one without the rules many other mainstream ones cause to you endure? One that we all needed.” I said in my heart, “I will create an organization that will allow others to go up the ladder with me for free, and all of us will be helped.” I wanted to hold everyone on my shoulders; ALL of the indie scene on my back. I must have been crazy for thinking it. Something was burning deep inside of my soul, something I couldn’t stand any longer. I thought, “what if I create a SoundCloud group like others were doing?”, so one day out of the blue I made one called “We are the New Underground“, after having an in-depth conversation with a friend of mine through Facebook, namely, Nessi Holt who writes for a blog called Carpe Carmina. I remember telling her, “you know what! We are the New Underground“, and she said, “Yes!! We are.” Nessi Holt, did an extensive interview with me in 2015 on #WEATNU, she’s helped countless indie artists for many years, including working with RKC Radio.

The start of a new era…

After making the group, 100s poured in, during the first two weeks, it was so hard to help them all that I had to get others to help filter artists into the group. It was a phenomenon, I was hooked from the rush of helping these artists be heard. Starting to post each one who got in, onto Twitter, with their twitter @names attached so others could find that artist, making sure the legwork had been done. The platform and machine of #WEATNU had begun.

It came to me that we needed more than just a group on SoundCloud and during this time, summer of 2014, We are the New Underground was just a name. Before long, the acronym #WEATNU was born. I noticed that a lot of hash tags brought attention to a brand or groups. December of that year, WEATNU Records was born, where the artists who found us were offered a means to be part of a label, where their music mattered, and where people would appreciate them with good results.

People felt the need to be heard.

Most of all, they would at least be heard. Sometime around Summer of 2014 WEATNU [OUR] Online Underground Radio was born, and a machine was created to help the underground. People started contacting me, wanting to make a difference. Soon DJCJ of RadioCoolio, an Internet radio personality in Canada, who also helps indie artists be heard, contacted my E-mail and Facebook, and wanted to promo and spread the word.

Roofy, another artist, who spent an entire year spreading the word about #WEATNU caused others to find us as well. Including Ivan of AMNIOTIC — By 2015, in the same year, Brian Diamond who at the time was just starting Shadows & Mirrors, and is now a label owner of Electric Dream Records, also came our way to help spread the word, as he and AMNIOTIC both wanted to help the community find our artists. During this era, UK artist Craig Manga, of Manga Bros, who later went on to form (Black Box Recordings) befriended our movement and spoke highly to many of those whom he followed, which helped further our cause. His friend, Mark Forster, was a force unmatched, as he loved the underground and its artists and #WEATNU, by helping them on ArtistSignal, he will be greatly missed as he passed away some years ago.

A publication was created.

Our magazine was helping artists be heard, shows on Mixcloud were uploaded from interviews I conducted with new artists weekly, live radio with artists and new songs, showcasing them weekly as well. Special shows on our Internet radio and many other things would happen to become what #WEATNU was developing into. A driving force, a movement that was needed, that wouldn’t stop. By 2016, over 400 artists from all over the world had graced their presence with us.

A new chapter begins

The rush was intense, and it was exhausting. It was time to stop working so hard, but I still had the drive. Our magazine went away that year, radio shut down in the Summer, but the label continued pumping out new music, but slowly. It wasn’t until 2018 where I had a conversation with a new friend, who joined us that year, and she told me “you get what you put in.” So taking that advice, I ran with it, pushing hard once again but, using what I learned before and pushed the label to become what I had envisioned years ago.

2018 – 2019

Our label started releasing finally to streaming platforms, including our already releasing music through Bandcamp since 2014. WEANTU Records was being noticed, once again, restored and still a great passion of mine, even after all these challenges. The radio also returned in November of 2018. Streaming of course helped greatly, but newer artists by 2018 started finding us, and The Underground was still being served. With a dream, a vision and a little fire, anything can be accomplished. Artists who have been helped and brought to the light from this effort , are as follows, and these are just a handful – AMNIOTIC, Bleepeater, Whettman Chelmets, Adryelle, Lie Craze, Dead Scrimshaw, Amattik, AR89, Belial Pelegrim, Bufinjer, Jazzykat, DigitalSlumberParty, Jessica Grant, Fluffytails, B. Hasemeyer, Bedtime for Robots, Lemonade Kid, Meter Bridge, Nurse Predator, The Aircrash Bureau!, Sound Engraver.

The magazine returns

One night, as I was going through old site snapshots on waybackmachine, I looked up our old magazine, which use to be at weatnu-magazine.com and a flood of nostalgia filled me. Reading the articles, reviews, and interviews that many people had written, including myself, I thought it was time to bring the magazine back. I started working on a new magazine website, the one you are reading now. The artist needed a voice, not just their music to be heard, but why they do what they do. Publications are important to fans as well as artists. I was pleased to have this final part of the #WEATNU machine return, and this time, it would remain, just like its radio. With all parts together once more, Radio, label and magazine, things felt complete and it is my hope they all further the cause of the Independent artist.

The label itself has signed over 100 artists since 2014, many of which are still with us. With the radio returning, WEATNU [OUR] continues to help artists outside the label as well, be heard. With its 24/7 streaming radio, 365 days a year, and free to join. Showcasing many of these types of genres, while encompassing the electronic array.

The dream continues

WEATNU Records has taken in numerous genres and sub-genres over the years, such as Electronic, Electronica, Experimental, Industrial, Indiepop, Indie rock, Electro-pop, Synth-pop, Vaporwave, Trip-hop, Lo-fi, Instrumental Hip-hop, Synthwave, Darkwave, Ambient, Dark Ambient, Alt-rock, post-rock and so on, and we continue to allow The Underground artist to join. With the driving force of the unknown artist, we still have many people who support us behind the scenes. Many of whom are unnamed, but are greatly appreciated for letting others know what we do.

#WEATNU continues to help artists yearly, and that passion never dies. From 2014 and beyond, We are the New Underground is the heart of The Digital Underground, a beacon of hope for the artist who just wants to be noticed, without needing to sacrifice their hopes and dreams. We continue to help them. I hope this story of how we started influences you, and gives you hope that if you dream it, it will happen. We are the New Underground 10.10.2019 (originally published through Medium.com)

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – November 2019

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ArchivesNew albums

WEATNU Records: Year one

For an entire year WEATNU has been building a large group of artists on it’s label WEATNU Records. You’ve heard many of them throughout the months. Now you can hear them all together on the same album. Showcasing 74 amazing electronic artists, including punk and post-punk, dream-pop, nu jazz swing. You can buy this great piece of underground history for 9.80 USD. Complete with a wide variety of styles from all over the world. WEATNU Records continues to take in the greatest of hidden talent. All artists receive 70% per sale. WEATNU believes in fair pay to the artist.

Purchase on Bandcamp

<iframe style=”border: 0; width: 350px; height: 470px;” src=”https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3474610779/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/” width=”300″ height=”150″ seamless=””>WEATNU Records: Year One by WEATNU RECORDS</iframe>


#WEATNU Digital Magazine

Dec 2015

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Roofy – Tweak Your Path

By JC Luff

“Tweak Your Path” from Corbin Roof ranks among the albums I used to keep in a wallet, with my Panasonic Shock Wave CD player. For me, Alt rock was about a re-arrangement of a number of genres into the kind of Rock that pushes the boundaries of both reality and broadcast (or publishing media), such that Alt Rock can change absolutely everything if it is embraced honestly. It’s about the right blend of tones, angst, and evolution. The layers of sounds and the experiences recounted in “Tweak Your Path” are a unique intersection of elements pure and twisted, and soul consuming… while life affirming, crafted brilliantly into a concept album that could influence Joe Camel to put down the cigarettes for a moment and consider his lungs.

When I went through a couple phases of bad experiences with the side effects of recreational chemicals, I decided that I would “Transmutate” (an Alchemical term, describing the transformation of lead into gold, for example) my fear, illness, and anger into electronic scenery and poetry. Over the years, I have met a few artists here and there who told me about their darkest hours being the brightest red lights in the jam rooms and such… However, Roofy delivers the full Monty in his exquisitely ordered, innovatively produced, and over all stone cold real cross-genre opus, “Tweak Your Path”.

I would not walk into a methadone clinic and suggest to everybody in the place that they write a concept album to heal from their conditions, but I would leave business cards for roofymusic.com anywhere I thought there could be people who think that they are struggling with their monsters alone… Or unsure how to build a creative foundation for their avant garde productions and / or recital careers… But, hold the phone ! I am not saying that “Tweak Your Path” is only an inspiration sewn from adversity, or a concept album that packs an emotional response to take the edge off, as if it were tailored to the fringe culture. I am also saying (typing quite loudly) that I am going to be blasting my advance copy at the next party without a DJ, because this album is flat out sick!

Roofy’s work (in context of broadcast value) Plays aces wild and is a versatile selection of room changing atmospheres and strategically engineered synthetic tones suitable for bar, or car, or office, or home, or in a box (and / or) with a fox.

It is very difficult to combine portamento synthesizer riffs, grunge over drive (guitars), strong lyrics, and iron clad counter-culture vocal harmony… And Then … To keep a trip together with the right meter flow and progression of keys and variants in percussion structures and such. I am inspired by this album on several fronts, and would suggest Roofy’s work to a diverse crowd, such that “Tweak Your Path” is a technical, artistic, and lyrical product that is packed with honesty, and all sorts of melodies to keep those keys tapping and add a good blend to the “CD changer” I work to.

All this having been said, I would like to tell all you cats out there in radio land that Corbin has been sober for over a year and three months, and that half of all proceeds of sales from “Tweak Your Path” will contribute to fellowships helping those who are struggling with addiction to give something back to society. There is absolutely no shame in being sober. Being an advocate for supporting individuals struggling with addiction shows society that even an artist named Roofy can create music that is worthwhile and serves a greater purpose.

You Can find “Tweak Your Path” on Bandcamp

Corbin Roof has created a gofundme campaign for the album to raise awareness for addiction. Even if the music is not your cup of tea, you can still help by going to the link below. Donations are appreciated.

https://www.gofundme.com/twcna538

 

Follow Roofy on Twitter. 

#WEATNU Digital Magazine Dec 2015

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Jazzykat – Action Reaction (A-B Side Single)

By Michael O’Morah 

For over 4 years Jazzykat has been an Electronic Musician and when I listen to her Music, I can definitely feel the Deep House, Chill-out Vibe that beats in her Heart. I took the time to truly appreciate some of Jazzykat’s earlier Releases and enjoyed listening to them greatly; but her latest, ‘Action Reaction’ (A-B Side Single) gets even better and these tracks are smooth as a dish of soft-serve Ice Cream!
This new Weatnu Records release, by Jazzykat, is fully instrumental and from my listening experience, the music speaks very well for itself. She is masterful in evoking musical imagery through her expression and to my ears, any vocals here would be extraneous.
Firstly, The A-Side, part of the single is, ‘Action Reaction,’ which appealed to me immediately as something I’d want to hear when I’m just warming up or just winding down. While ‘Action Reaction’ may make the moment mellow it certainly won’t put you to sleep! Driven by a subdued beat, Jazzykat hits you with an outstanding, (whether by accident or design), NuDisco Lead Guitar Homage to the early 80’s Disco and Michael Jackson “Thriller” Era!
Accompanying the Lead Guitar Riff on Track 1 is one unabashedly, phatty Synth Oscillator that sounds a little like a Tuba Player intermittently pumping in bright kinetic energy relentlessly pushing the music forward. Which not only reinforces the beat, but I also perceived how this Brassy Oscillator counterpoised the Keyboards. While by no means the equivalent of a Brass Band, I have to say it seriously reminded me of what a killer horn section can do for any song. Jazzykat’s Bass Guitar is steeped in soulful Tremolos which gently soothed the energy of Side – A: Action Reaction creating a regulated temperature and mood. What really made side-a gel is the Artist’s drawn out Synth Pads whereby she calls forth ’80’s memories and Mr. Fingers’ Feel for Deep House!
Flipping over to ‘Action Reaction’s B-Side, is Track 2, ‘Bad Dreams’. Here, Jazzykat lays down a bold Bass and Congas beat, while Doppler-like Synths zip, like traffic rushing by. Just when you’d think this makes for some grinding House. Jazzykat cleverly experiments with the Pregnant Pause to suspend the Listener and delve into Dark Ambiance! She then playfully tickles the Ivories for good measure before reengaging the rhythm. ‘Bad Dreams’ uses those previously mentioned auditory traffic cues to segue as the Listener floats through the ether from one sonic scene of a dream to another, randomly throughout the song.
The Atmosphere created by ‘Action Reaction’ becomes the perfect Climate of Grooves and Beats with some cool Drift. Further, Action Reaction, by Jazzkat, can tune you into a vibrant ambiance for your kicked-back hideaway. Need a moment to break away from the pulsating whirligig and pounding madness of Work and Night-life? Seize that moment where you can be laid-back and Chill with, ‘Action Reaction’ (A-B Side Single) by Jazzykat only on Weatnu Records.

Follow Jazzykat on Twitter

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Oct 26, 2015

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How Hot Is Your Cloud? – Autumn i

By Jessica Pink

Having only heard a couple of track by How Hot Is Your Cloud? prior to listening to this release I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Autumn i, is the conclusive piece in How Hot Is Your Cloud?’s ‘Seasons’ series, and  is also How Hot Is Your Cloud?’s 4th release to date.
Tagged as avant-garde, experimental, and ambient, it fills each of these genres/descriptors nicely, with a reverb heavy, dream like quality.
It twists directions taking you on a ride through the three tracks carrying the weight and burden of its titles themes.

Each track flows through a variety of different sound palettes.
In ‘September (Your Last Breath)’ melodies and lead lines, collide with some spooky synth pads. Swelling into very rhythmic bass lines.
Birdsong and tearing sounds, overlay a building staccato, in the track ‘October (Funeral)’ and drop into ethereal, almost whisper like sounds before strange melodies, and distant drum beats are lead in by a surreal choir.
It all ends with ‘November (Going Through Your Things)’ starting up with eerie white noise and strange keys, shift to vocals edited into a curious mantra, that fade into a swishing soundscape with bells. The arrival of electronic drum beats and synths breaking into the flow of the final track, give it some punch, as though realisation is breaking through. An acceptance of an ending.

The artist them-self states;
“My most avant-garde yet personal album.
My dealings with death in experimental electronica.”

There is a general atmosphere of departure, and sudden changes in the tracks seem to express varying levels of acceptance, and loss.
Day to day sounds in the field recordings merge with the synths and white noise, creating moments of clarity amidst the ebb and flow of the albums sonic landscape.

I’m going to be checking out more of this artists work now, and if you are a fan of exploratory or experimental ambient, with something unique to offer structurally, go listen to and purchase their albums on Baboom.

Also on Bandcamp

Social media links
Follow How Hot Is Your Cloud? on Twitter
Like How Hot Is Your Cloud? On Facebook

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