Nick Kizer, founder of the When In AZ project, dropped into the Radio Phoenix studios for an installment of the YabYum Hour and now the show is available in podcast form!
He brought along some tracks from that first When in AZ compliation as well as a few exclusive, brand-new, you-can’t-hear-’em-anywhere-else tracks to play over the air. For more info on the When in AZ Project, visit their website. And remember, the deadline to submit your song for Volume 2 is October 31!!
And, on a sadder note, we also want to take a moment to thank and congratulate Roddy Nikpour for all the help he’s done for our show as we bid him adieu. We wish him all the best with his new gig at Maine Public Radio! Stay trill, friend.
Tune in to The YabYum Hour LIVE every first and third Wednesday of the month, only on RadioPhoenix.org!
Source Victoria “Slowburner” | Originally by Traindead
The Blood Feud Family Singers “Everybody Dies” | Originally Travis James & The Acrimonious Assembly of Arsonists
Marc Pedraza “On A Freeway Overpass” | Originally by Matthew Reveles
Joshua Hill “Mugger” | Originally by Twin Ponies
Dry River Yacht Club “Sheep” | Originally by Black Carl
Midnight Vitals “Canada” | Originally by Factories
Terminal 11 “Poor Bird / The Rivers Entrails” | Originally by Colorstore
No Volcano “Heart Breaking Machine” | Originally by Serene Dominic
The Liars Handshake “Let’s Get Murdered” | Originally by Andrew Jackson Jihad
tk and the Irresistibles “Not That Good” | The Okmoniks
I am Swapna Das, a visual artist living in Phoenix, Arizona for the past six years. I was born and raised in New Delhi, India.
How did you get your start?
Ever since my childhood, the innate creativity came naturally to me and I have always had an ever-growing desire to explore my talent. My high school art teacher encouraged me to study Art and earn a Bachelors in Fine Art (BFA) degree. I realized that art is not merely about the tools used in its making, but also a medium of expression. Doing my MFA from Arizona State University also fostered my passion and opened me up to the infinite number of creative minds and possible artistic avenues.
What inspires you?
My work reflects the values of Indian narrative art and has always been a mirror image of my internal and external environment. I get inspired by the current social and political environment and how it affects my personal life. I derive my inspiration from the works of Julie Heffernan, William Kantridge, Aneesh Kapoor and Indian contemporary artists like Jamini Roy, Jogen Chowdhury, Vivan Sundaram and many more.
What do you like about AZ?
Arizona has been my home for the last six years. I like the warm and sunny weather which reminds me of my birth place and at the same time I love the winters in Arizona as I have never been a fan of bulky winter coats. I love the dramatic beautiful silhouette in the sky during sunrise and sunset and the desert landscape of pastel colors. Phoenix has transformed into an art hub of various opportunities for upcoming artists, art communities, culture and creative practice. I see the city has great potential for the future art world.
My goal is to showcase a unique blend of eastern and western culture through my artwork based on my personal and professional experience in life. I learnt that art is not merely for artist and art appreciators but can also play a role in creating harmony and peace in society. Before I die, my dream is to open an Art school for under privileged kids because my mission as an artist is to grow beyond my niche and establish my identity; and touch human lives.
What is your mantra?
My spiritual practice of Buddhism is my mantra which helps me to experience the deeper understanding about my work. The spiritual practice has made me believe in my life’s greater purpose and to pursue a path which can bring happiness into lives of every human being who becomes a part of it, directly or indirectly.
Have you picked out your cover song yet?? We know the summer sort of got away from a lot of us so When In AZ decided to extend the deadline for submissions to it’s latest compilation.
So, stop panicking. The When In AZ Vol. 2 compilation project will be accepting tracks through October. You still have time if you want to be a part of this momentous piece of Arizona music history. Yes, our senior editors ARE part of the organizational effort behind the project so I get that it’s a little weird for us to call it momentous, but it really is, like, a big deal.
This new single from PHX songwriter [Taylor] Upsahl is like that first cherry limeade of summer: refreshingly bubbly and bright as the noon sun. Once you are afloat on Upsahl’s buoyant pop sound, the weight of the lyrics can begin to take hold, but don’t worry, they won’t pull you under that energetic current. “Can You Hear Me Now” looks back at a troubled relationship after its dissolution. You might expect something dripping with melodrama given that Upsahl is still in her teen years (and a recent high school graduate), but her songwriting expresses a subtly well beyond her years. Check out “Can You Hear Me Now” from Upsahl below.
Dirty Sunset is gearing up to release their debut album in September with this fun summer single. “Take it Slow” presents some finely honed musicianship lying beneath that seemingly effortless sound. The Phoenix five-piece has a rich indie-folk sound (violin and horns included) that makes for a great festival fit. I can just see the flower headbands and crochet crop tops now. This single induces hip swaying and maybe even some hand waving. Give the track a listen below and then head here to secure that digi-download. You might always want to jump on the pre-order option available through the band’s website before that 9/9 release date.
Brooklyn-based songwriter Katherine Eisenberg sounds like someone I would want to hang out in a mall with. Well, maybe a mall back in 1995 when they were still cool… you know, before they became the scourge of Late Capitalism that many Millennials see them as today. This lighthearted ditty emerged from that collegiate coffee shop crush I think we all had at one time or another. Katherine Eisenberg captures both the vibrance and innocence of those early love feels on “Real Nice Guy”. This single comes to us from Eisenberg’s 2017 EP, Nice, which dropped a few months back. Check out the single below or heard here for the complete EP.
I love those lazy summer days spent hiding from that blistering Arizona sun. Sometimes, there’s a nothing better than a little forced R’n’R passed in a dark, air-conditioned bedroom with your a mellow playlist. I definitely suggest making “Goddamnit” by Joy Downer an addition to that summer playlist. There’s a chill vibe the pervades the whole track that’s just cool. The song address that desperate longing that arises in separated lovers with that super hip and easygoing indie sound that first secured our band love for Joy Downer. Check out “Goddamnit” from Joy Downer below or you can see the slick music video for the single directed by Ryan Lacen and Anthony Baldino here.
A little slouchy psychedelia goes with summer like snow cones and skateboards. Thankfully, Philly’s Them Jones is here to provide for your seasonal needs with their new single, “Many Years of You”. Combining modern indie with some of the trippier elements of late 60s rocknroll, Them Jones crafts a dynamic number that shifts in soundscape as you move through it on “Many Years of You.” This track comes to us from the band’s June 1st release, Grow, which is available here for your listening (and purchasing) pleasure. But, first, check out “Many Years of You” by Them Jones below…
The PHX outfit known as Red Tank! takes just the right amount of rowdy and arty and smashes them together for a Postmodern sound that will delight punks both new and old. In fact, we liked the band’s 2016 release, BIO/FEEDBACK, so much we gave it our “Best Punk Album” award.
And it looks like Red Tank! has no plans of slowing down this year. In fact, they’re gearing up for an East Coast tour and the band produced (and released) a zine this year to help with tour support.
Moreover, while band was busy getting ready to escape the summer heat of the Sonoran Desert on tour, frontman Clipper Arnold took time out of his schedule to *chat* with me about the band, the impending tour, and what the future holds for Red Tank! Check out our Q&A below and don’t forget to head to The Lunchbox a week from today for the Red Tank! tour kickoff (more info on that event here).
YabYum: First off, I was hoping you’d go a bit into the story behind the name Red Tank! because I like how it correlates to the experience of seeing the band perform live..?
Clipper Arnold: Well, it’s kind of a silly thing, actually. Red Tank! was originally just a handful of more energetic/frenetic songs I had written while I was a part of another band. The name is just alluding to the power and presence they were supposed to evoke (i.e. “red” being a “power color”, “tank” being a large military vehicle, and “!” for added emphasis). Tristan from Dogbreth has told me he thought it referred to the freaked out feeling you get when your gas tank is in the red, which I think I like better. Sometimes I wonder if it was a play on Wire’s “Pink Flag” or an allusion to some of the Marxist theory I was reading at the time, but I’m not quite sure to be honest. Most succinctly, I think it’s just supposed to allude to the band’s energetic tone and performances.
There have been some changes to the Red Tank! lineup since its inception. Who is currently part of Team Red Tank!?
Yes, lately I’ve been referring to former Red Tank! members as “alumni” which maybe sounds a little nicer. I’ve been heading this project for a long time, but there have been a lot of people in and out who have contributed a lot and made it something more in their own ways. I’ve recently had to take more responsibility in it explicitly as my own thing, so I’m mostly going to be working with people who are available instead of focusing on developing a cohesive/consistent lineup. For the Summer tour, Nate Ray (Rotting Yellow, James Band) will be playing drums, Nick Rennemann (Go Outside) will be playing bass, and Daniel Pogue (Future Ghost, Coffee Pot) will be playing guitar. My friend Joseph will also be coming to do merch stuff and help us take photos/video.
So, you fellas are planning on heading out for an East Coast tour. That seems like quite the undertaking. First, give me the run down. How many shows? In how many cities? In how many days?
Honestly, it’s got a couple of dates to still be fully nailed down, but we’re looking at about 12-14 shows over the course of 2.5 weeks. We should have a tour flier and events up sooner rather than later. There’s about three NY dates I think, and the others are going to be mostly around the New England area. I think there’s also a Chicago date in there and some stuff on the way there and back.
Have you played “Back East” before?
No, this is going to be the first time. I’ve personally been to a few of these cities before, but most of them will be new. We’d planned on doing some East Coast dates once or twice, but something always fell through. It’ll be nice to play in new places, but that’s kind of going to be the difficult part as well – not knowing what to expect audience-wise, venue-wise, etc.
Is this the longest tour you’ve done to date? Where else has Red Tank! ventured to seeking musical adventures?
We’ve done four full West Coast tours (up to Seattle and back), and played a handful of shows around Austin for SXSW. We’ve also played Tucson and Flagstaff and done a few mini-tours to California. Usually the West Coast ones run from about 10-14 dates, so this is about par for the course.
I know the band likes to keep it DIY. Any house shows or unusual venues lined up on this journey?
There’s someone who’s helping us with the booking, so I’m not sure exactly what to expect – I think one of the houses we’re staying at in Bushwick is populated by a bunch of experimental musicians and Mac DeMarco used to live there and throw shows there – which is something. We were trying to set up a show there too, but apparently the roommates vetoed it since they know how nuts it can get.
And, keeping with DIY theme, you’ve pulled together some innovative band merch options for this tour. Can you tell me a little about the Red Tank! zine?
Sure, I like zines and have a small collection. It’s kind of a common thing for punk bands I’ve heard, though maybe not so much anymore. The first issue just has a lot of flier art, updates about the band, and there’s a reprinting of the tour diaries I kept from our very first full West Coast tour. I guess I just realized it was a fun project to do, and that a band with a nearly 7-year history probably has a lot to talk about that most people aren’t aware of.
Really, when that whole ordeal happened with our stolen van, I just realized how many people really loved and cared about this band. You can feel kind of alienated and delusional for caring so much about something sometimes, but we just had this massive outpouring of support from people I hadn’t heard from in years…people who used to play in the band, people who we had met on tour, fans I had never met, or old friends who told me they really dug the new record. It was just this really disorienting outpouring of support in a really shitty moment that was kind strangely validating. It made me realize how many people cared about something that I often worry I might care too much about. Or, at least, people cared enough to make sure that we were okay and that it wouldn’t stop us. It was pretty life-changing.
I guess the zine is kind of this idea of making that world more accessible to people – like, letting them know how much history this little band has, why we do it, and all that goes into it. It’s also, I guess, kind of a weird way of reconciling zine culture with a relatively new digital world–we put the first issue up for free online and we’ll have some at our merch table, but people can also subscribe on our Patreon to get mailed copies and other goodies, help cover costs of printing, and ideally help us fund some of our activities.
You’ve obviously had some rough and tumble times on the road. Any of your previous tours leave you with some life lessons you’ll be taking along with you this time?
I think there’s a lot about being in a DIY band on the road that you probably couldn’t learn from most other places. It’s just this really strange, stressful ordeal where you see the most bizarre corner of peoples’ existence in weird cities for a really brief period of time – which makes everyone even more enthused to share it with you.
Life lessons might be that you probably can’t afford to eat breakfast food at a nice restaurant every day in a different city, don’t drive through snowstorms, and that there are few circumstances where you aren’t best served to be calm, kind, considerate, and empathetic. It’s important to take responsibility for your actions and how they affect others – especially in close quarters when physical and mental states are likely on the fragile verge of complete exhaustion. I guess I’ve also learned that touring can be tough, but it’s also one of the best things in the world.
What’s next for Red Tank! once you’re back on home turf? New music in the works? More zines? Local gigs? Tell me everything.
Uhhhhhh… Well, there’s a lot going on that’s hard to keep track of. I’ve been writing a lot of material (too much) for a new full-length that needs to be whittled down, sorted through, and recorded. We cut some demos of a few songs a little while back, but those will likely never see the light of day in that incarnation. There will be more zines and anywhere from 1-3 music videos debuting in the next few months. I’m thinking about moving to Los Angeles in the Fall, so things might get pretty hectic. I’d also like to buy a van and do a national tour in the next year.
A lot of people say that we play too many local shows, but as a musician, one of the only things I ever want to do is play music and share it with a room full of people – so I can’t bring myself to compromise much even if it means we might be splitting our draw by playing 3-4 shows a month instead of once a month. With that in mind, I think we’ll still be playing too many live shows until we can’t anymore, so I’d encourage people to come see those especially if the band won’t be in Phoenix too much longer.