Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DELOREAN is a Span-tronic four piece who named themselves after the classic 80's flick, "Back to the Future".  Their European pop sensibility has its roots in the clubs of Ibiza, hence the release of their latest album, "Subiza", on the True Panther Record Label out of New York.  They received critical acclaim at SXSW in 2007, have toured with the likes of jj and Miike Snow, have received favorable reviews from the notoriously hard to please   Pitchfork Music (Click here to read the review) and are about to introduce themselves to the District of Columbia, tonight, at the Rock N Roll Hotel.  See what Ekhi had to share with us...

Q.  Tell us how the band met and formed in your hometown of Zarautz, Spain in 2000?

A.  We hung out in the same places when we were teenagers and started the band then. It's all pretty simple, we wanted to make music together. What focused Delorean, was that we were completely open to any and all kinds of musical references. We've kept that attitude since then.  

Q.  It's evident that the band has really evolved since your early days of remixing when you compare it to your new album "Subiza".  What experiences were the most influential in sparking the bands creative growth?

A.  Studio production has been the biggest change for us. Now we've learned how to make arrangements, for example. That's something we didn't care about before but having the computer allows you to experiment with sax or stringed arrangements, for example. And that's what makes you to learn a little more about song writing. It's a very rich experimental field for a band that mainly worked jamming in the rehearsals. 

Q.  How did your relationship with TRUE PANTHER RECORDS come about?  

A.  We became Dean Beins' (Mr. Bein runs True Panther which is owned by Matador Records) friends October 2008 and kept a close relationship since then. We love Dean and his record label, we really wanted to put out the record with him, as if it was the only acceptable option for us. After the record was done he told us he wanted to put it out. Now we're so happy to start this 'adventure' working so close to a friend.  

Q.  You run a blog called DESPARRAME  (Disorder).  What's it's focus and any plans to post an English version so we can follow it with out going through google translator!  ;)

A.  The focus is 'Music we like or find interesting to share". As far as we're always on tour our best friend DJ K**O runs it mainly. It's very club oriented but we like to post any kind of music. We also put parties with him. We've had Jackmaster, Bok Bok, L-Vis 1990, Untold, Slackk, Deadboy, Radioclit, Lemonade, Top Billin, Spencer, Rustie, Hudson Mohawke, Mwëslee, Guido, BFlecha, Swindle, Noaipre, Elijah & Skilliam.... 

Q.  If you had your pick of any band in the on earth to launch a global tour with right now, who would it be and why?

A.  We'd love to do a True Panther Mystery tour with all of the TPS bands. We'd love to launch a Desparrame global tour, but that seems as well hard to happen. We'd like to open for Phoenix too, we love that band.  

Q.  What's been the bands biggest challenge recently?

A.  Putting together a rounded and worked live set. And making a new record too, but that will happen probably from next fall and on.  

Q.  DC is stoked!  You will be performing at the Rock N Roll Hotel TONIGHT!  We heard you and the band will be doing a pre-show event at SWEETGREEN on Capitol Hill at 4pm this afternoon.  What can we expect at this event?  

A.  Unfortunately we're not doing a pre-show. We're going to sign albums and T-Shirts. It seemed too tight on the schedule to do a pre-show so we selected 10 songs we love, to help make a play list for Sweetgreen.  

Q.  Word has it that when you are not playing live you are performing crazy DJ sets.  What is your DJ calendar looking like in the not so distant 2011 and what are your favorite venues to DJ in, in both Europe & the U.S.?

A.  Any club with a decent sound system works for us, honestly we don't really care much as long as the sound is big! 

Q.  What are the 5 songs (and artists) that have been looping on your iPod this week? 

-  Sueño Latino "Sueño Latino (Derrick May Emotion Second mix)"
-  Hype Williams "Untitled 8"
-  Bíceps "Muñeco de Ficción" (Instrumental)" (on Dj K**Os "Espanish Boogie Vol. 2")
-  Main Attrakionz "Elevate ya name"
-  Teengirl Fantasy "7AM" (Album)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GUITARS NOT GUNS! Q&A with Gregg Hammond Founder & President of the DC Affiliate of Guitars Not Guns.

GUITARS NOT GUNS  is an amazing after school program here in DC.  When we caught up with its founder, Gregg Hammond, he talked to us about gangs, guitars and the Guiness Book of World Records!  See what else he had to say...

Q.  Guitars Not Guns, we love it!  Please tell us what GNG's mission is and how it benefits the DC community.   

A.  Guitars not Guns’ (GNG’s) mission is to inspire at-risk and underprivileged youth to succeed in life by providing them music education opportunities through the use of volunteers and partnerships in their community. We help instill in them the confidence and character necessary to grow into productive members of society and responsible adults. GNG’s method is to engage the youth’s creative potential with a structured music program, taught by caring adults in a safe environment, and then couple that with our mentoring in  music-related careers. We provide them free guitar lessons with the belief that the art of music connects the child to higher life goals and ambitions. We are a community based organization that provides these youth with a positive alternative to the self-destructive behaviors of substance abuse, crime, truancy and gangs. Serving the community of DC we make our streets safer. Guitars Not Guns is an all volunteer and donation based non profit with no paid employees. It comes from our hearts and our desire to make our city a shining example of what we can do around the nation and around the globe. The students are loaned a guitar at the beginning of class. If they learn 6 guitar chords and can name all the parts of the instrument they get to keep the guitar. They have earned it, and can be proud of themselves for their accomplishments.

The website for GNG is GUITARS NOT GUNS  people can donate online through our "Donate Now" button on every page. We are also a member of the United
Way. Member #9319

Q.  Where are the classes for the youth involved in Guitars Not Guns held? 

A.  Classes are held at Boys and Girls clubs, Parks and Recreation Centers, and other locations that are between a students' school and home. We are here because we are able to provide a safe alternative in places where our youth might otherwise be negatively influenced by gangs and misled peers. We are open to discussing other locations as well.

Q.  Where do you get the guitars for the program?  Do you accept used guitars?   

A.  We use our donation money to purchase new guitars for the students from Johnson guitars so that each student receives the same quality instrument as the next student.

Q.  You mentioned that you will be meeting with the White House soon to discuss the possibility of your GNG students performing the guitar anthem that you wrote called "Set Me Free".  Tell us about that. 

A.  I am working on details to have a performance of the guitar anthem "Set Me Free" written by Gregg Hammond and Vince Scheuerman for the students of GNG at the White House. I am doing this to inspire our students to believe that they can achieve success in their playing, enough to play at the White House. This will show the nation and our community that our students' success is worthy of a great performance.

Q.  What was your inspiration for writing Set Me Free?  (available on iTunes now) 

A.  Growing up as an at-risk youth, and having an electric guitar that I wanted to learn to play, but having no teachers available to me I ended up in the streets getting into trouble.  I came very close to going to prison. Music, and guitar specifically,  was what moved me away from that troubled life.  The song "Set Me Free" brings the message that music and playing guitar can make a difference in a way that no other thing can.  We all have music inside of us, and if the seed is nurtured it will grow into something magical and joyous.  I wrote the song for the students of GNG to play and sing and feel the power of the music inside of them and express it.

*15% of the proceeds from sales of "Set Me Free" go to GNG DC.

Q.  You also teach guitar to the general public.  For those interested in taking lessons from you, how can they get in touch?  

A.  Interested students can go to my website DC GUITAR LESSONS for details. Emailing is the best way to be in touch with me: greggsguitarlessons@yahoo.com

Q.  We understand you have decided to throw down a Guiness Book of World Records challenge!  Please give us the details! 

A.  I have been working on this for about 3 years now. I had a practice run on Oct. 31st this year.  I have another practice run in April 2011. The official date in June 2011 here in DC at RFK stadium will be announced in Jan 2011.  We are gathering to set the record for "the most guitarist playing the the same song at the same time in the same place".

There are some really cool details about this that everyone should know.  Not only will we be setting this record, but we will also be using skype simulcast from around the globe to set the record for "The most guitarists playing the same song at the same time at the same time around the globe".  The song is "Set Me Free". We are setting up a fund for the GNG students around the globe to participate at no cost to them. All details about this event are updated on DC GUITAR LESSONS as they become available.  The idea is to bring our GNG students who are foster care and at-risk youth into a global event focused on playing the song that was written for them, and giving them the opportunity to be part of our global community of musicians.

Q.  What are the 5 songs (and artists) that have been looping on your iPod this week?

A.  Oh my, that is a hard question........ Just 5? that's not fair! okay then........ ouch. Too many songs.
1. Joe Satriani ~ Circles( Blending mellow guitar and total jam too)
2. Beatles ~ Let It Be( this song is simple yet profound)
3. Led Zeppelin ~ The Battle of Evermore( love the mandolin) I play and teach mandolin
4. Ozzy ~ Dreamer( as crazy as Ozzy seems, he knows the truth)
5. Rush ~Time Stand Still( it says what we all feel daily)
6. Jimi Hendrix ~ Little Wing ( a master guitarist at work)

I could go on forever, so many amazing guitarists out there.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


FATBACK is a soul/funk dance party every 3rd Saturday at LIV in DC.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

GET BAKED! Q&A with Tony Velazquez, Co-Owner of BAKED & WIRED in Georgetown

Tony Velazquez & his wife Teresa own and run one of DC Setlists favourite coffee houses: Baked & Wired  in Georgetown.  They're Sweets & Tweets are among the best you'll find here in the District.  When we sat down with Tony he talked about NYC, pies, unicorns, street musicians, baristas & of course getting BAKED!

Q.  We love the fact that not only do does Baked & Wired serve the BEST cupcakes we've ever had but you are also dedicated to promoting the arts!  We understand that you have local bands perform at your coffee house!  Tell us who will be performing at Baked & Wired next?!

A.  Here at Baked we strive to serve homemade, incredibly delicious sweets as well as provide our customers with SWEET tunage for their darling ears. For the month of December, we have some Bill & Ted style most-excellent jams headed your way!
The December line-up:
Friday 12/3: THE SPOTS 
Friday 12/10: TRUMPET GRRRL
Friday 12/17: PRESTO BANDO  

Not only do we host live music, we also host local artists. Typically, we schedule the art opening with a live performance. We recently held a Halloween costume contest, concert, and art opening. The artist currently hanging in the shop is DANA ELLYN  and we held her opening along with the rockin' tunes of Presto Bando. Feel free to find us on facebook: Bake and Wired. We will have event pages for all gigs and probably some sarcastic quips. 

Q.  Baked & Wired shows some serious TWIT WIT! What's your handle on Twitter and who's behind all those hilarious tweets?

A.  Behind the giggles and puns of our tweets you will find the verbal acrobatics of our tutu-wearing, slightly neurotic, Alex Shinko.  BakedandWiredDC provides our Twitter-followers with step-by-step directions on how to get baked, as well as thoughts of unicorns, the sweet liquid bliss of coffee, and random references to Val Kilmer.  Along with long walks on the beach and picnics in the park, Alex enjoys drawing on the sidewalk and spends her time contemplating what to put on the chalk boards seen strewn about the shop.  Beyond Alex's time spent eating steak, getting baked, making magic, and ending world hunger, she also books the bands and promotes them via the book of face and twitter. She hails from the bustling metropolis known as Pittsburgh and her dream gift is a typewriter.  So, if you want to win your way into her heart you should get her one...and probably bring a steak...or two...and read her some Dorothy Parker. And then maybe you should get baked. Duh.

Q.  So tell us how an architect from New York becomes the owner of an amazing coffee house in DC.  Quite a transition, what's the story there?

A.  We were bored, very bored with the type of work we were doing - that's how Baked & Wired got started. The architecture and graphics business was as stale as a 7-11 doughnut and we had always had the itch to open a bakery and coffeehouse.  We were already using the space on TJ as a graphics store (the ZAP sign is still on the wall), I carved out a small shoebox shape area in a corner and designed it trying to get some NY flavor in DC.  Our location sucked so all we could do was create a place that made you want to come.  It's all about the "feel".

Q.  We show pix of local street musicians we run into around DC all the time.  You actually have local street musicians perform outside in front of Baked & Wired once a month.  How did this come about and who should local street musicians contact to get on the Baked & Wired "Street Musician Roster"?

A.  Our street musicians series started with our 'get baked' 4.20 anniversary this year.  A lot of these one person performers are absolutely creative - what! - trumpet/keyboard/vocals; guitar/dreadlocks/ghungroo........ and we wanted to give them an outdoor venue where people could actually listen to them rather than rushing by on their way to the metro.  No schedule at all with the street musicians, just like everything else we do. (To get on the street musician roster call the store and ask for Tony: 202.333.2500)

Q.  You sell doggie snax called ZILLA BONEZ!  How did this pooch friendly idea come about?

A.  So, my daughter Tessa made a Valentine's day card when was a a kid. It showed our dog Zilla (with her dinosaur head) with thought bubbles showing the things she loved -bones, kittys and hearts.  Years later she started baking homemade dog biscuits for Zilla and taking them to the park to share with the other mutts. The mutts would go sniff crazy when the biscuits were close by. So, what the hell, we might as well package them up and offer them at Baked.  Which takes us back to the Valentine's day card because we made it the main label on the bags.  The pups love the Zilla Bonez.

Q.  Your cupcakes understandably get a lot of press; we personally loved the Un-Porked Elvis cupcake.  But tell us about your amazing PIES!  Are you going to be featuring any seasonal pies in time for the holidays?

A.   ummmmmmmm pies. That's where it all started for us. Eat the pie.  By far our best product.  We individually handcraft (is this really a word?) each shell and bake them in a glass dish - anything in a tin is scary.  The fillings are amazing but the crust is what makes the pie - light, flaky and tasty. We got a bunch of flavors for this season but the apple cranberry crumb, and the wild blueberry cranberry with pecan crumb are the bomb.

Q.  Baked & Wired takes coffee seriously!  The smell of Intelligensia and Stumptown coffees are constantly swirling in the air, mmmmm.  Tell us about the "Thursday Night Throw Down" that you will be sponsoring in January!  What is it?  Give us all the details please...

A.  Because Baked is located in a land far too laden with politics and Windsor knots, we strive to provide our own take on remaining serious about our product without the button-ups and briefcases.  All of our baristas trained for hours on pulling shots, steaming milk, and crafting drinks into works of art. Independent coffee shops throughout DC host a monthly latte art competition known as the Thursday Night Throwdown.  Sponsored by PBR, the throw-downs allow baristas from all over DC to come together and do what they love most- drink beer. I mean, make excellent coffee.  Baked will be hosting the January TNT on Thursday the 13th.  The event is open to the public and you can find more information about TNT by clicking here: THURSDAY NIGHT THROWDOWN.

Q.  What are the five songs that have been playing at Baked & Wired this week?

A.  The five most played songs of the week are:
Tame by the Pixies
Africa by Toto
Gangster's Paradise by Coolio
Third Planet by Iron Horse
Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros