5 Stellar Singles

Local Wizards


Released earlier this month, “Thorns” by Local Wizards sets a mellow backdrop for the shifting of seasons happening all around us. Understated yet intriguing, “Thorns” diverges from earlier recordings and we’re digging the direction. The listener will be haunted by the line – “Do you want to be my friend?” – heard throughout the track. Listen here.

Fathers Day

College Fund

We first heard “College Fund” on the Related Records compilation a while back and now it looks like the label is gearing up for a new full-length album from weirdo punk rockers Fathers Day. We’re all so excited I need to express myself with exclamation points!! Check out some of the early singles from Life. here before the October 22nd release. Make sure you stick around after “College Fund” for “You’re Lucky to be Eating at a Sizzler” – destine to be an instant classic.

The Lions Club

Dog in the Sun

The grungy indie rock of The Lions Club had us interested from the first spin of their single “Dog in the Sun”. The second track “Creepin'” definitely solidified our intrigue and now we’ll be counting the weeks until their debut album drops in January. The early singles are available through the band’s facebook page. Check out “Dog in the Sun” here and make sure to stick around for the second track!

Sun Ghost

Make the World Ugly

Some people get drunk in a cabin and end up getting slaughtered by an ax murderer. And some people take that time to record an awesome acoustic demo. Thankfully, Sun Ghost is part of this latter grouping. The band recorded the track “Make the World Ugly” in a cabin in Greer – a strange and wondrous single you should definitely listen to here. And then go see Sun Ghost live this weekend with Genre at the Crescent Ballroom.

Ryne Norman


The earnest folk-rock of Ryne Norman has an autumnal hue perfect for crisp, cool weather and pumpkin spice latte drinkers. “War”, the first single from his forthcoming album This Tempered Tongue, bodes well for the release to come. Norman offers honesty and warmth with his thoughtful lyrics and gentle voice. This Tempered Tongue drops October 15th. Until then, enjoy this early single here.

Bridget Jones Answers the YabYum Seven

Photos courtesy of Bridget Jones

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Bridget Jones.  I was born and raised in Prescott, AZ. I moved down to Tempe after High School to attend ASU obtaining a degree in Business and Interior Design. I currently work doing architectural drawings and paint in my free time. I would love to be able to paint full time!

2. How did you get your start?

I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember. I have always drawn and built things. Before I was even in grade school I won a local art contest as well as ribbons at the county fair. It has always been a passion for me. It wasn’t until 2010 that I actually started painting. I always loved looking at other people’s paintings so I decided to buy canvas and try it out. I’ve been hooked ever since!

3. What do you like about AZ?

I’ve lived in AZ my whole life. What I love the most about AZ is rock climbing, hiking and pretty much anything outdoors.

4. What inspires you?

My main inspiration is the female form. I love combining it’s beauty with bold and contrasting colors. I am also very inspired when I see the works of other artists. I enjoy seeing the creativity and talent of others.

5. Where can we see your work?

You can see my work here.

6. What would you like to accomplish you die?

Wow, that’s a long list! Ultimately I would like to travel as much as I possibly can before I die.

7. What is your mantra?

Experience everything in life that you can while you still have the chance.


Twin Ponies to Release Song Book for “Pores”

It appears that the band Tugboat has sailed back into port, kinda.

The former members of that defunct band, Wayne Jones, Phillip Hanna and Jordan Tompkins, along with newcomer Jason Lauxman, have formed Twin Ponies. And their new EP Pores has got them sailing in a very good direction.

Too many times when a band reunites, they ultimately repeat the past, but from the very first track, “Muggers,” Twin Ponies show they have no intention of doing that.

Jones, lead vocalist, (who gives a strong performance throughout the 4 track EP), hasn’t missed a step since we last heard him. Melancholy but strong. Wanting, yet easily capable of drawing the listener in. His voice perfectly fits the music.

The second track, “Phallacy”, is where one can hear what guitarist Lauxman brings to the party. His melodic styling lifts and pushes the music forward without getting in the way. Well done, sir.

“Cool Jeans” and “Willoughby” explore a more alternative sound, but what I enjoyed is that here the guys really have put their mark on the songs.

Lest I forget to mention Hanna on bass/synthesizer, and Tompkins on drums. You tell that these gentlemen are completely in sync with each other. The melodies and the breaks are very well written and executed.

Overall, I’m digging this, (and still have the album on repeat). Twin Ponies took what was terrific about the past and are charging full steam ahead in new directions.

The format for release adds an interesting texture to the Twin Ponies’ EP. Rather than offering fans the always cool vinyl option or the re-emergent cassette, the band is releasing Pores in a 5×7 coil bound song book. Digital download is included for those of you who might not actually want to play the music and would rather simply listen to the band performing their own tracks.

Head out to the Rogue tonight to score your own copy of Pores, the song book, and catch Twin Ponies live. Captain Squeegee, the Electric Blankets, and Celebration Guns will be joining in the festivities.

by Frank Ippolito
Staff Writer

Show Picks of the Week!!

This is a weekend for BIG SHOWS. For Us Presents the It Gets Weird Festival: a three-day event at the Firehouse in Phoenix beginning tonight! Also, this weekend is the second half of Rubber Brother Fest with even more tapes available! This Friday at the Rogue, Doctor Bones makes their long-awaited return to the stage with new lead singer Zach West. Joining them are YabYum favorites Sun Ghost and Snake!Snake!Snakes! Also tonight, the Trunk Space presents “Welcome Back”, an album release benefiting women released from prison. The release show features some of the artists from the compilation – Daryl Scherrer, Wayward horses, and Dogbreth. Saturday night at Long Wong’s is the full band debut of Morning Theft with St Ranger, Saddles, Sundressed and more!

For more Upcoming Shows, head here!

Southern Warmth & Flavor at the Welcome Diner

Photos courtesy of Welcome Diner

It’s a warm night but the misters keep the patrons cool in the friendly enclave that surrounds the Welcome Diner in downtown Phoenix. The short curve of counter seats within the trailer/diner are all taken and folks fill the odd assortment of picnic tables and chairs available outside.

Meanwhile, our server Brandon is serving up refills on iced tea with the speed of a Southern hostess at a summer garden party, bless his heart. The Welcome Diner offers Southern-style homecookin’ with a neighborly feel.

Truth be told, I love few things in this world (culinarily-speaking)* than a really great cheeseburger… you know, after those 14 years of being a vegetarian. I still like to stay away from creepy cancer meat (it’s an industry term) and Welcome Diner serves only Niman Ranch beef.

So, of course, on my first trip to the Welcome Diner I had to partake of their burger offerings. The Welcome Burger combines sharp cheddar, bread & butter pickles, garlic aioli, and fixings for a penultimate version of an American Classic. The more daring foodies might opt for the PB+B Burger which uses crunchy peanut butter, bacon, cheddar, and pickles to create its one-of-a-kind flavor.

The Vegan Po’Boy (fried avocado, kale, pico de gallo, and chipotle remoulade on French bread) knocked the socks off the vegetarian in our party. The Louisiana Sampler, one of the daily specials, took the award for most-authentic home-feelin’ meal: Catfish with a side of collard greens and red beans & rice.

For my second trip, I had to try one of the biscuit sandwiches. It is, after all, a Southern eatery, is it not? I opted for the Little Birdy only to discover there’s nothing really little about it. Fried chicken and cheddar on a fresh biscuit. The Carol looks like a winning pick: Kiltlifter-braised pork, red cabbage slaw, & Carolina mustard sauce. The biscuits are fresh, flaky, and worth the trek to the diner alone: you can order them with preserves and goat cheese as a tasty snack or simple desert anytime.

I rarely imbibe but when I do I’m the jerk that wants the drink I read about in a Fitzgerald novel. Yes, that jerk, but I have tremendous guilt over this. Welcome Diner offers up a couple daily cocktail options for the curious drinker who (a) doesn’t want to antagonize the bartender with ridiculous drink requests (b) wants something fancy like a Boulevardier. The rest of you can still have a Pabst Blue Ribbon or Dos Cabezas Red so fear not.

The Welcome Diner has to make your restaurant bucket list. You won’t regret it. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll be hooked on from your first visit just as we were.

I suggest “Liking” their Facebook Page here so you can see what kind of specials they’re cooking up each week. You might discover that a new arrival of summer peaches has resulted in pie and need to re-route your plans for the day to include a stop by the diner. True story.

*I made up the word “culinarily” for all of you out there still in school.

Bidding Adieu to Bryant Vazquez

Bryant Vazquez – this is your life! Photo by Monica Saaty

We love Arizona but we don’t hold to some crazy fervent love like a state-sized version of nationalism. We can accept that our desert home might not be the place for everyone forever. That being said, it is with hope that we at YabYum are sending Bryant Vazquez out into the world. And, yes, we do feel like we are sending him out into the world in case you wondered if the sense of entitlement was accidental. It’s not.

Bryant first came onto our radar a few years ago when he submitted a lo-fi home-recording to one of our song contests. We then invited him down to Phoenix a few months later to perform in one of our showcases and got our first chance to get to know the brooding man behind the music, although, he was still a bit of a youngster at the time.

Since then, we’ve had quite a few updates on the artist probably because he is freakishly prolific as a songwriter. Like Ryan Adams/ Rivers Cuomo productive (see award here). The kid just breathes out songs, it would seem. I asked him just how many songs he penned last month when he was in town to record his next solo album. Well, not his next solo album (which comes out in October), but his next-next solo album due out early next year. Nine was the answer, but he said it was a particularly productive time for him as he prepared for his final recording projects in Arizona.

Aren’t they adorable?

He’s produced an incredible amount of songs during the past few years. So many songs, in fact, he’s developed multiple vehicles for his songwriting skills including Vagabond Gods with his brother Chris and Murdoch with members of Them Savages. In his free time, he also played bass for Sedona band and longtime YabYum favorite, decker..

Bryant is the consummate musician. He lives and breathes music, constantly looking for new avenues for songwriting and performing. It’s as if he simply decided that music was his calling and everything else became secondary. He’s also a Dylan fan of borderline unhealthy proportion; something we have in common. 

Bryant moved to Flagstaff for college six years ago from Yuma with his brother Chris and now the pair are gearing up for their next big migration: New York.

The really great thing is, if you’ve been following along over the years, Bryant’s growth and development as a musician reveals the potential contained therein. He’s not afraid to experiment with sound or instrumentation. He adapts and he learns and he’s always creating. Just take a gander at the man’s Bandcamp page here. Starting with 2009’s From the Grave on through to “Dirty Sheets, Blue Walls”, a demo track he shared earlier in September, it’s easy to get a sense of his commitment to his craft.

Photo by Eugene Franklin

The first leg of the journey east is a 55 hour train ride that will end in Philadelphia where the pair plan on spending a few months while they scope out the Big Apple. They’re only taking what they can carry on the train which means one guitar a piece. For Bryant, that means his ’65 Gibson acoustic.

Older brother Chris perhaps said it best when he claimed, “New York is a good place to experience new things.” That is a statement I can definitely get behind. Artists should be ever striving to increase their knowledge base, experiential and otherwise. As the Brothers Vazquez told me their plans for making it out and exploring the East Coast region, they talked about opportunities to take their work in new directions, to expand, and to maybe find some piano bars.

For most people, the idea of setting out to a new city is more than a little daunting. But the Vazquez brothers have a rather simple theory about the whole matter. Being broke in one city is a lot like being broke in another one. Living in Flagstaff with the rest of their family back in Yuma, struggling to juggle day jobs around gigs and tours, the brothers did not often get the chance to see the rest of their brood. “Might as well be New York,” was the shared sentiment. And New York it shall be.
Before he goes, however, Vazquez plans to say goodbye in proper Bryant fashion: with an onslaught of releases from his many projects. I caught up with him at Triskele Resounding, a studio in Tempe owned by Christopher Welch featuring a grand piano that had to be dismantled and rebuilt to get through the door. 
Could he look more dramatic?

The recordings I got to hear him working on at Triskele Resounding won’t be coming out until early next year so I have an extra long time to anticipate the project. Bryant referred to the collection as a “winter ale.” For some folk, music seems better suited to certain seasons. I am one of those people. For example, Anthony & the Johnsons (an example Bryant’s new piano work brought to mind) I prefer in the coldest months while other artists hold my attention in the dreaded summertime. Many its just seasonal affective disorder or maybe there’s some truth in the theory.

Alex Begay was recording the project: a man who I might have offended by my asking if that is his real last name, but if the tracks I heard are any indication of what’s to come, it’s a name worth knowing. A few other key Valley players will be making appearances on the Triskele tracks like David Moroney on chello, Wayne Jones on upright bass, and Shane Kennedy on drums. This is the first time Bryant has gone for a studio experience over the home four-track. 

The solo due out this October, however, still holds to the lo-fi tradition and even features Melody of Love, Palms fame on a couple of the tracks. Also coming soon is Death to Murdoch, the final album from the group that will be dismantled after Bryant’s departure. The brothers Vazquez will also be releasing a single through their band’s moniker Vagabond Gods that they recorded with a friend from Stir It Up Records out of Phoenix. 
As we talked, I asked whether or not he spends a lot of time revisiting the albums he puts out and, after skirting the answer for a moment, he had this to say about the new Murdoch album: “It’ll be a good album so I’ll probably listen to it a bunch.” That’s the kind of chutzpah it takes to pack up for New York with nothing but a suitcase and a guitar and an arsenal of songs in your head. 
All grown up. See ya fellas!

We’re not sad to see him go, though we’ll miss the sometimes lugubrious bastard. We’re excited to follow his encounters with the wider world through the music the internet will keep available for his Arizona fanbase. We’ll just have to wait until he tours to catch him live, I suppose. Until then, we’ll keep an eye out for new recordings as they begin to emerge. 
Additional Links:


*We removed a band link above at the request of said band. 

Restaurant Week is Happening Now!

Foodies should be overjoyed this week as Arizona Restaurant Week is underway and will continue to run through Saturday, September 28th. Get your grub on at a restaurant that probably doesn’t encourage use of the word “grub” when it comes to dining.

For $30 or $40 dollars a plate you can indulge in a three-course culinary experience. That might seem like a lot, especially to all the struggling artists and musicians that comprise/read our publication, but considering the usual price tag attached to such dining establishments, it’s a worthwhile deal. 
I have my heart set on Coup Des Tartes, a French restaurant in downtown Phoenix, and it’s not just for the desert option of Chocolate pots de Creme – a rich Belgium chocolate custard, topped with fresh cream. Maybe Prime Rib followed by luscious Mud Pie from the Chart House in Scottsdale is more your speed? Or, perhaps, the Watermelon and Ahi Tuna Ceviche with Honey Lime  followed by Open Flame Broiled Dorado (mahi-mahi) with a Onion & Tomato Marmalade from Tapas Papa Frita? 
Cafe Lalibela offers a special deal of only $30 per couple for a steaming platter of authentic Ethiopian samplings to share. Fear not, desert still comes separately. Olive & Ivy, Salty Sow, Fuego CityScape, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, and about 150 other restaurants have joined in this year’s event. For a complete list, head here
Make reservations today so you don’t miss out. Spaces fill up quickly. Be warned, taxes and gratuity are not included so keep that in mind when planning your evening. 
Happy dining! 

Soft Deadlines: Nice Try

The moment I hear “Post Punk” I go straight into happy feet mode and my head starts bobbing back and forth.

Nice Try from Soft Deadlines is filled with slashing guitars and danceable drum and bass work ala Birthday Party, Gang of Four and Wire. The trio of Oliver Lemke(vocals/guitars), Justin Weir(bass/vocals), and Russ Hill (drums), fire-up the wayback machine and give the genre a very good makeover.

“Grinding to a Crashing Halt”, probably my favorite track on the EP, comes out of the gate with lyrics like, “Guess we spilled our guts for nothing”, accompanied by guitar work that remind me of Payolas – you may remember that band from the bar scene in the film Valley Girl. In fact, anytime a band goes Payola on me and rejuvenates the sound: Winner.

Lemke’s vocals and lyrics, in my mind steal the show – his voice is just desperate enough to believe what he is singing about and at the same time, you can hear hope. This isn’t Death Metal, after all.

And what would a post punk record be without a tragic relationship song? “Today is the Day” finds our heroes involved in a seemingly irreparable love affair but instead of taking the easy way out story wise, Lemke, the main songwriter, places the broken heart on the girl even though it was the guy who did the leaving. I like that.

What’s really impressive is that Soft Deadlines is self-recorded Nice Try. Great ear, Mr. Hill, you got those punk and pop kids to cohabitate without fighting.

Here’s where you can find Nice Try and where you can download it at a price you name.

by Frank Ippolito
Staff Writer

It’s a Couples’ Thing

Audra and Bryan of Factories

Being in a band is tough. Being in a band with a significant other is even harder – just ask Greg Allman and Cher, Lindsey and Stevie or Liam and Noel (OK, so the Gallagher brothers weren’t really a couple but they sure did act like one). A band, any band, is like a big ol’ dysfunctional family. There’s the creativity. There’s the arguing about what gets written and what gets played. And, musicians are just a handful. Throw in all that and then add the dynamics of a personal relationship and it’s amazing anyone stays together.

Personally, I am in a band with my significant other, and I’ve always wondered if couples in bands face the same challenges, and the ups and downs as we do.

So I went looking for couples in bands. Married or coupled. And there are a lot of them in this city. I found four couples: Niki and Nick of The Nixs, Audra and Bryan of Factories, Former Friends of Young Americans’ Toby and Amanda Jane, and Clayton and Lindsey of The Midnight Vitals.

The Nix are super new and super good. A blend of shoegaze and pop, Niki and Nick share the guitar playing duties, and they share the vocals as well.

Factories, a Valley favorite, dish up electronica, distorted guitars and sterling vocals. Audra and Brian share the singing duties and their shows are virtual dance parties.

Toby and Amanda Jane of Former Friends of Young Americans, best name ever, are among the best electronic/shoegaze groups here and beyond. And as multi-instrumentalists, their shows are lush with sound.

The Midnight Vitals are also new to Phoenix’s stages. A healthy dose of rock and pop drive their music on their new EP, and as far as I’m concerned, Clayton and Lindsey nail it.

I virtually gathered everyone for a couple’s night and asked them a few questions to see just how they handle being band mates.

Clayton and Lindsey of The Midnight Vitals

Frank Ippolito: How long have you two been together?

Former Friends of Young Americans: We have been dating almost two years.

The Nix: About 7 years.

Factories: We have been married for 4 years, but have been together since our junior year of high school…so I guess that makes it 15 years. Whoa.

Midnight Vitals: Over 3 years.

When was the first time you two got together and jammed?

FFOYA: We started casually playing together at home within a few months of dating. The first time we performed together was about a year ago during one of Toby’s nights at Carly’s Bistro – which, incidentally, was where we went on our first date.

The Nix: Back in ’06 or ’07 when my friend Ixchel asked if I wanted to play guitar. I said yeah, let’s do it. We later met up at the Bikini (Lounge) where she introduced me to Nick. He was cocky at first, assuming I couldn’t “really” play. Later during practice, I must’ve proved him wrong.

Factories: Bryan used to play with a good friend for years who moved away to New York. Bryan still had the practice space and he would just go jam by himself, and one day he asked me if I wanted to come play some keys and do some harmonies on some songs he had written…that was ’05 I think.

Midnight Vitals: October 2011

Were you a couple before that?

FFOYA: Yes, for a about a year.

The Nix: Nope.

Factories: Yup. We’ve known each other since middle school, but started dating in our junior year of high school.

Midnight Vitals: Yes.

Toby and Amanda

When you did decide to be a couple, was jamming together the same or a little weird?

FFOYA: It happened very quickly. We were already a couple for about a year. Toby had a tour scheduled last January and his band mates at the time (also a couple) couldn’t go. Since I was planning on tagging along for part of the journey anyway, I plunged in. After one practice, we performed the next 14 straight nights on the road as a duo. It’s all evolved quite naturally since.

The Nix: It slowly happened. I think Nick really like me but I was reluctant because I had just got out of a relationship and I didn’t want anything awkward between our friends and us. He was pretty persistent, so it just eventually happened over time playing together.

Factories: Being a couple came first, but yes, it was weird. I never thought of myself as a musician and was surrounded by a bunch of dudes, so it was pretty awkward for about 3 years or so for me. Bryan is a natural, so I think it was much more comfortable for him.

Midnight Vitals: We didn’t feel like it was. For the most part it’s always been something we’ve enjoyed doing together.

Does the music ever become bigger than the relationship?

FFOYA: The music – and touring and things that come along with it –  are just part of the relationship now.

The Nix: At times yes it does. We often argue about music but not for too long. It took us years to figure it out. Now that we know how handle it, it has made a huge difference. We are friends first, a couple second, band mates third.

Factories: Not bigger…just a separate life in a weird way. We rarely talk about the band when we aren’t practicing or meeting as a band.

Midnight Vitals: I wouldn’t say so. Even though music is important to both of us, its more of a back burner kinda thing in our lives, if its starts taking up too energy and time, we reel it in.

When it comes to your music, who is responsible for writing?

FFOYA: I’ve always been FFOYA’s main songwriter and wrote all of the material on the album to be released in October before Amanda joined the band. Amanda brings a new skill set to the table: she is a writer by profession, a skilled poet, a flutist, a soulful gospel-like singer, and she has contributed several new songs that we are currently performing live.

The Nix: We both collaborate and write fairly equally. Mostly we start with guitar and/or keyboard and flush out some chords or a certain riff. Then we bring the idea to each other and work it out from there by just noodling around. We equally write lyrics and it’s usually on a per song basis.

Factories: Bryan writes the lyrics and comes up with the original idea…I’m usually pretty good at writing a “hook” or a catchy “Ooh” part or harmony. As a band we kind of rework the songs to get the sound we do, but Bryan really is the songwriter.

Midnight Vitals: Clayton does the majority of the writing and then brings the song to the rest of the band and they embellish some, but usually all the song parts are written before anyone else hears it.

Say someone writes a song about “relationship” do either you ever go, “Uh, is that about us?”

FFOYA: (Toby laughs) We’re both divorcees, so we already of have a decent well of relationship vitriol to pull from. We don’t need to take it out on each other.

The Nix: We don’t think we ever specifically wonder if a song is about us. The beauty of music is that you can relate your own personal lives to however that song is grabbing you.

Factories: I’m usually listening to whether the vocal line is catchy or interesting and not paying as much mind to the lyrical content…that’s more Bryan’s gig. He really loves poetry.

Midnight Vitals: Oh yeah. We’ve been through some shit together so song lyrics touching on a subject we’ve experienced is pretty common.

Nick and Niki

What advice would you give other couples in a band?

FFOYA: Make sure you are old, withered and all of your bad times are behind you before you embark on that one. A divorce or two might help.

The Nix: Patience and kindness. In the end, we are doing this because we love music and each other.

Factories: Make sure you know how to be a couple without the music in your life. It can only enhance your relationship…but if you bring your relationship “baggage” to practice, it will be hard to get any work done. The best is when you write a sweet song and can jam out in the car together on the way home. That makes it all worth it.

Midnight Vitals: Make sure your priorities are in check. Music can be an important facet to a relationship but can also cause some tension, we can attest to that, (Clayton laughs). Not taking it too serious makes the process a lot more enjoyable.

Check out the artist links below –

Former Friends of Young Americans

The Nix


Midnight Vitals

by Frank Ippolito
Staff Writer

Cody Nathaniel Johnson Answers the YabYum Seven

Photos courtesy of Cody Nathaniel Johnson

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, my name is Cody Nathaniel Johnson and I am Native American from the Tohono O’odham tribe. I am a fashion designer who’s just starting out but has a long journey to go on from here. I grew up in downtown Phoenix. As a child I did live on my reservation for about 4 years but came back and lived in downtown, Garfield area, ever since. Last year was a great year for me, being a part of Phoenix RAW Artist showcase presenting my first crochet mini collection and later at the end of 2012 winning a RAW Artist Award for Fashion Designer of the Year. Although I did not make it to nationals after winning, it still was a great year. From that exposure, I believe that’s how people started noticing my work.

As of right now, kind of late in the game of fashion, I’m working on a sixteen piece fall collection of hand crocheted pieces mixed with fabric pieces with both men’s and womenswear. Sixteen pieces to pattern, sample check, fix patterns if I have to, and later sew again to real fabric is tons of work with only one person doing all the work. So hopefully sometime in November I’ll be having a fashion show, but fingers are crossed to see how much I can get done!

2. How did you get your start?

I started having an interest in fashion design during my sophomore year of high school, reading and collecting fashion magazines all the time, “tried” sketching clothing I wanted to make (I look back on them now and laugh, cause they looked so silly now, I had no clue what I was doing). Also doing some online studying and research on works of fashion designers, models, fashion photographers, hair and makeup artist, trends and so forth in the school library after school. Around 10 years old, my grandmother – who always sewed up these beautiful quilts – showed me how to sew pillow cases, but that was the only experience I had with sewing until in high school I bought my very first sewing machine and started ripping up old clothing, even sheets, and tried to make the clothing I sketched, I was a mess. But luckily I went to fashion school and learned the dos and don’ts of fashion sewing. Although I didn’t finish fashion school, my mind was blown with the amount of work becoming a fashion designer is, and I’m ready for it, all of it!

3. What inspires you?

Basically I find inspiration in everything and anything from people to animals, stories to art, movies to books, music to even sitting outside listing to the birds chirping while enjoying my cup of coffee. One of my favorite ways to learn something new about this amazing world we live on is to spin a globe as fast as I can, close my eye and using my finger to stop it. Where my finger has stopped, I “Google it.” I spend a week learning all about this place, the culture, the people, and the history I even go to the local library in downtown Phoenix and check out books about the subject and take notes in my sketch book. This helps me to feed my brain with inspiration from all around the world even if I never get the chance to travel there.

4. What do you like about Arizona?

Being that I’m full blooded Native American from the Tohono O’odham tribe south of Arizona, near Casa Grande area, Arizona is very special to me. One cause it’s home (really, really home). I have a spiritual connection and history to the land that we walk on every day, while some people don’t. Besides that I feel that Arizona people are way stronger in way that we survive Arizona summers every year. I mean, come on, 116 degrees in the summer, it can get crazy spicy outside!

5. Where can we see you(r) work?

As of right now, check out my Facebook designer fan page to keep up with information about Cody Nathaniel Johnson.

6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?

There’s so much I want to accomplish based in the fashion design area, my bucket list is getting bigger and bigger every time I find something interesting! For one, to have a fashion show in New York Fashion Week, who doesn’t want that as a fashion designer?  I’ve dreamed of those months and months of hard work to have a 10 minute show during fashion week. My time will come one day, I just know it! Other than that to travel to every fashion capital there is: London, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, and China. And hopefully finally see the ocean and walk along the beach shores without having to live it through pictures.

7. What’s your mantra?

I don’t really have one… But now you got me thinking about one!