5.23.2015

YOUTH Radio: Interview with Bootleg Rascal

by Amy Karp

Bootleg Rascal, a very phunkyphresh band from Australia, was kind and cool enough to do an interview with me via email, seeing as we live on very opposite sides of the world. It is impossible to categorize the band as one thing or put them in any one genre box because their sound is one that mixes dub, reggae, rap, and alt quite effortlessly. After listening to one Bootleg Rascal song, you can't help but be captivated by their unique and ever-changing sound. The gang consists of Carlos Lara, lead singer, Scott Grills, bassist and keyboardist, Jimmy Young, lead guitarist, and Jack Gray, drummer. Formed in 2013, the band has already had an impressive career, opening up a nationwide tour for fellow Aussies, Sticky Fingers, releasing their EP, "Psychotica", in 2014, and preparing to release their first LP soon.


left to right: Scott, Jack, Jimmy & Carlos
1. First, I would love to know more about you. Tell me about yourselves (but the stuff that isn't on the bio from your website), who each of you are, where you come from, how you all met, fun facts about any of you, etc.

G’day! Jack, Scott, Carlos and Jim here. We’re a bunch of likeable lads, with many a diverse and flawless attributes (ladies). We’re originally from Sydney and the Gold Coast here in the land of OZ, spending most of our time now in Sydney in the studio. We all met in the dimly lit confines of one of the finer gentleman’s clubs here in Sydney in a place named Kings Cross. After finding mutual interests in the array of paraphernalia walking the club and after one long night on the booze, we decided to start the project, which is now Bootleg Rascal.

2. How did you come up with the name Bootleg Rascal?

The name Bootleg Rascal follows a mould, you might say. Starting with The Rolling Stones; they got their name from an aptly named song by Muddy Waters, ‘Rollin’ Stone.' Our mates from another Australian Band, Sticky Fingers, got their name from the Rolling Stones album ‘Sticky Fingers’ and the name Bootleg Rascal originates from the title of a Sticky Fingers song, ‘Bootleg Rascal,’ which is off their album Caress Your Soul. Wrap your mind around that? When the band started we were looking for a name and that was suggested to keep the trend rolling. We think it's pretty cool.


3. I am really interested in the creative process. The making of a song is something I have never really been able to really wrap my head around. Do you normally have lyrics first and then work out the instrumentals? And who does what during the creation of a song?

Yeah sure, we work collaboratively throughout the writing process, generally starting with an initial idea and massaging it into something a little nicer to listen to. With that being said, no two songs really have the same approach during the writing stage; some starting with lyrics or a melody and others with inspiration from whatever we are listening to at the time.


4. Also, are all of your songs really personal to you or do you ever make a song playing a character or just out of something random that you end up liking?

I think some songs are personal, some more than others but plenty of other inspiration comes from experiences be that good or bad, up or down.


5. What is next for you all? I know that you are touring right now in Australia. But are you playing any festivals this year or working on a new album perhaps?

Currently on another national tour of Australia to celebrate the release of our latest single ‘Coming Home,’ which is the second single from our upcoming debut full-length record which is set to be released September 15. We’ve been real busy in the studio working on the recordings for this album and really stoked with how it’s sounding so far.



 6. Your website says you have day jobs,so what is it that you do when you aren't out being Bootleg Rascal?

Currently the day jobs have taken a fair rest whilst we were on the latest tour of OZ, and even more so now, spending all of our time working on the album. Before this Jack was pumping gas at the local service station, Scott poured beers at the local pub, Carlos, we think, did a spot of money laundering and Jim sold used cars for a living.


7. I don't know about you guys but I think it's really awesome that I live in Charlotte, North Carolina and I was able to connect with you guys in Sydney, Australia through soundcloud/the internet. Have you had a lot of good experiences with gaining fans on Soundcloud and has the internet helped you to gain most of your fame?

Its pretty powerful the ol’ interweb. It definitely plays a big part in getting our music across to our listeners both nationally and internationally. Social media platforms help venture and guide the vessel that is our music to the people.  Also touring the country and meeting people constantly, playing our music live is the way to meet the people and share the good times.


8. How would you describe your sound? It is very unique and sometimes differs a lot from one song to another (in the best way).

It’s a mix of a lot of different things, which would come back to our personal inspirations and artists that we are into. We don’t really want to be pigeon-holed to a defined genre, however we like to keep the people guessing and keep pumping out tracks for people to enjoy. Whether it be mowing the lawn, taking the kids to swimming lesson or on the back end of a three-day bender with your best mates Trev and Ralphy, we’ll bring the music.




9. What artists are big influences to you? Do you listen to a lot of American music?

We are into a large variety of sounds, we love our classics like Zepplin  and Marley to name a couple. We draw a lot of inspiration from the Gorillaz, who we think are pretty rad. We listen to a lot of hip-hop as well like Snoop, Dre, Kendrick and Tupac.. can’t fault it. There’s a pretty open pallet which gets played in the tour van, which keeps it pretty real.


10. Have you all always wanted to be in a band?

I think its always been a dream, also beats digging holes or flipping burgers. It’s a disease, once you start playing to people you never want to stop and if we can make music that people are into, we ain’t gonna stop.




11. Take me through a typical day in the life of Bootleg Rascal. I’m interested in even the boring stuff(: For instance what were you doing before you started answering my long list of questions?

The day starts with a breakfast burrito for sure, generally prepared at Bootleg HQ (Jacks house). At the moment most of our time is spent in the studio working on the music for our upcoming debut album which has been a real good time. If we aren’t in the studio or back here art home in Sydney, we are most likely touring the country playing shows. Occasionally you’ll find us running muck in the city, catching shows and slamming tequila.


12. How do you get ready and excited before you go on stage? Do you have any rituals that you have to do or something like that?

By the time it comes to walking on stage, we are pumped already. Generally we share a bubble bath back at the hotel with a few bottles of bubbly and a handful of international supermodels. Doing this before shows ensures moral is at an all time high when we walk on stage.


Follow them on Spotify, Sound Cloud, and listen to "Psychotica" and their newest single, Coming Home, below

5.16.2015

YOUTH Voice: Baltimore Riots



By Kelly Mulrooney

23 years ago, on April 29, the citizens of Los Angeles began protesting the incurable and copious amounts of police brutality directed towards African Americans after the police savagely beat Rodney King. The riots were not only a reaction to the treatment of King, but also a retaliation to the acquittal of the policemen on trial for abusing him. The racially charged cruelty towards Blacks was not and is not an infrequent occurrence. On April 27, 2015, Baltimore detonated with outrage over the death of another undeserving African American male at the hands of police officers.


Freddie Gray's story parallels King after almost 20 years; another African American male who fell victim to police brutality, his experience exposing the inequality in America and lack of progress made regarding equity in race relations. Police racially profile African American males as “th*gs” and use it as justification to treat them like animals. It was only a matter of time before America erupted like this. America cannot expect an entire race of people who are unjustly oppressed and mistreated to accept status as secondary citizens. The protests in Baltimore are retaliations to eradicate the ceaseless suffering of African Americans inflicted by law enforcers.







So far this year police officers have murdered 225 African Americans, and the number will continue to increase unless actions are taken to shake America out of its trend of permissibility and apathy. There is an immense and noxious disconnect between those who concede the perpetual oppression of African Americans and those in denial of the atrocities occurring in our own backyard. The protests in Baltimore are the manifestation of the cycle of oppression unjustifiably faced by African Americans. America is quick to condemn the actions taken to spark the change needed to create equity in America by calling them hyperbolic and believing it is only about Freddie Gray. We are acknowledging the systemic persecution of a race, but denying the fact that these protests are about structural racism.

The media has altered the entirety of the situation in Baltimore and turned it into a way to oppress, criminalize and stereotype African Americans further. The media villainizes the scorned protesters, calling them “th*gs” and inviting disconnected White America to judge and make assumptions about the demonstrators. In an extreme case, Fox News was found using photos from the Argentine Revolution and claiming them to be from Baltimore. By reporting fallacious news like this, stations are trivializing the legitimate importance of the reasoning behind the riots. America’s news stations are notorious for maligning African Americans; they perpetuate stereotypes and distract viewers from the real issue that is the marginalization of African Americans. The photo shown below was one of the popularized photos by the media, meant to make Mike Brown appear as a"th*g."

The image below is an empowered, representative picture of Mike Brown that would have better served Michael and the Brown family.
*** "th*gs" has now become a word used to oppress and stereotype African Americans as criminals, perpetuated by news stations particularly***

5.09.2015

Why Vintage is All That and More: Hangin' Out With Stash Pad Vintage

By Ryan and Amy




Vintage is the phunkiest and we all know it. But there's an art and a mystery to vintage that only a few souls have fully unveiled. Last weekend, Amy and I ventured to Stash Pad, vintage store/love-child of Heather Lamparter and Corrie Throckmorton (located in Charlotte, NC), in hopes of attaining but a few of the golden nuggets of wisdom that the vintage connoisseurs might have to offer. I can proudly say that we came out of Stash Pad that evening with more than just a few nuggets of wisdom, but a plethora of nuggets, if you will. And wig caps. We also came out with wig caps.


~~~~snippets from our conversation whilst trying on the GROOVIEST clothing and wigs~~~~

Ryan: "So how do you guys find all these awesome clothes and stock your store? Like what's the process?"

Heather: "Well I go to a lot of estate sales and thrift shops. You know, like Value Village and stuff. All the thrift stores in town suck so I go to the ones in smaller towns farther away."

Corrie: "Yeah and we also use our grandmothers' and mothers' old stuff. People will bring in vintage clothing to us also and we'll sort through it and pick out the good parts."

Amy: "And what about all the wigs? I feel like the wigs are really unique to Stash Pad. How did you guys get into that?"

Corrie: "Well, before this place was Stash Pad it was a wig store called Fifi Mahoney's. I worked at Fifi's for a while; it was awesome. And I used to be in a band called the BabyShakers and every performance I'd wear a different wig. So I guess Stash Pad has wigs to honor Fifi's and because I've always loved them."

Amy: "Aahhh! What?!? Tell us about your band! Do you have pictures?"

Corrie: "Yeah, I have the archives in the back I'll get them. Some of my friends were like, 'We're starting a band and we need a bass player. Will you join?' Of course I said yes. I had no idea how to play the bass at the time but I learned. It was awesome."

Heather: "They were really good. They played at Fashion Week and opened up for Iggy Pop."

Ryan: "What?!?! That's insane!"

Corrie: "It was really fun. One of my friends that was in the band did my makeup before each show really in a really extravagant and cool way. Now in Stash Pad we sell really bright hues of makeup so the wild makeup motif definitely lives on. Yeah, but Heather's boyfriend was in the band too." 

Ryan: "Oh, so it seems like you guys have been friends for a while. When and how'd you decide to open up Stash Pad?"

Heather: "Well we've always had similar taste and loved clothes. We've always talked about it. We just finally decided to do it last year."

Corrie: "I was going to UNCC taking business classes, failing and hating it. I wanted to do something I loved."

Heather: "Yeah, and what was it that Sophia Amoruso (CEO of NastyGal) wrote in her book #GIRLBOSS? Something like 'the ultimate badass move is entrepreneurship.' Corrie and I both read that book in like two days."

Amy: "Sophia Amoruso rocks. Okay, so what era would you say you gravitate towards most?"

Heather: "Definitely the psychedelic fashions of the late 1960s to the early 1970s."

Ryan: "And what makes vintage so magical?"

Heather: "It is not only a small piece of fashion history but it's all one of a kind. When you purchase a vintage piece, it is completely unique. No one else will have anything like it."


~~~


Corrie and Heather gettin' it done behind the counter







struttin' my stuff in front of the mural on the side of the store



Ryan inside Stash Pad





Corrie sorting through the archives from her BabyShaker days

Corrie playing bass for her band, BabyShaker

an old picture of Corrie's bandmate



outside the store

Corrie and Ryan adjusting a phunky wig

Amy tryin' out a new weave