RSVP HERE: Hnry Flwr Livestreams via + MORE

Photo by Carla Maldonado @carlamaldonado x

Hnry Flwr is Brooklyn’s musical guru guiding us towards the mystery and beauty of the infinite void. Hnry Flwr is the musical project of David Van Witt, and he has quite the origin story – his first impression of this world was living in a cult in Iowa, which he fled with his artist mother who gave psychic readings as they meditated and traveled around the world. Van Witt left home when he was 16, and after observing the divine connection music initiates in people at a punk show, has “been writing songs and practicing a sort of secular spirituality, where music is the prayer, ever since.”

Hnry Flwr’s twangy sunshine goth gospel is usually brought to life with a seven-piece band that includes Abdon Valdez III, Ronnie Lanzilotta, Dallin Stevenson and Sarah Safaie, but since quarantine began, Van Witt (who is also a producer) has been creating his own backing tracks and even started a twitch channel. The next chance you have to feel all the love the void has to offer with Hnry Flwr is tonight (5/15) via at 8pm est! We chatted with Hnry Flwr about inducing trance states, minimalist drone raga, and the importance of laughing with salamanders.

AF: What were your last live shows before quarantine like? What do you think your live set will transform into when we’re able to play shows in person again?

HF: Our last show in NYC before the quarantine was incredible — a sold out show at The Sultan Room. I did a trust-fall into the audience and everyone caught me. Our live set is going to include way more hugging and trust-falling and I want to include a portion of the set for people to go into a deep trance. I want to explore the void with people. We will find a way to lose ourselves together, rather than find ourselves alone.

AF: If you had control of all the radios/TVs/cell phones all over the world for 30 seconds what would you say?

HF: I would generate a mass flash trance to see if we can’t be still and quiet and hear what the void has to say.

AF: What have you been reading and listening to while in quarantine?

HF: If it’s not obvious by now, I’ve been reading a book about inducing trance states. I’ve been listening to the birds when I can. I love when they come back north. Somehow I’m still surprised by it every year. But as far as music, almost exclusively Pure Moods Volume 1.

AF: What’s your live stream gear set up like? Do you have any fun props or lighting planned?

HF: I set up my monochromatic light sculpture. It emits one very dark shade of yellow, the one from sunset right before the reds and purples. What’s special about it is it omits all other colors. These things are possible if you explore The Void with an open mind.

I make new backing tracks every week so I can feel like I’m playing with a band. So many artists are doing “stripped-down” sets, which can be really special, but for me, I try to use it as an opportunity to have whatever perfect band I can imagine backing me up every week. It’s a great time to be exercising your imagination.

AF: If you found out you were immortal what other musical projects/careers/lifestyles would explore?

HF: I would have a really loud minimalist drone raga band, and then when all my family had passed on I’d live on a mountain near a stream and I wouldn’t do anything for as long as it takes to find a silent ancient wisdom. Then I would be a painter in honor of my mother.

AF: I love your music video for “Waiting Room!” It feels like our whole reality is stuck in a waiting room right now. What do you think lies on the other side for music, politics, spirituality and humanity as whole?

HF: Thank you. We have always been in the waiting room of the great beyond. I think the future is just as unsure as it was before the pandemic. It’s always unsure. We are just forced to face that uncertainty together now. There are a lot of people who need answers about the future to feel secure in the present. I’m not sure what the future holds. My mother was giving psychic readings for most of my childhood and even if they were accurate, I am not sure that it helped anyone. It certainly did not help her or our family. This is a good time to be present, to take care of yourself and your loved ones and try not to worry about the future. In your mind, find a stream and sit next to it. Listen to it. Laugh with the salamanders.

RSVP HERE for Hnry Flwr via 5/15 at 8pm est. $5-$50 sliding scale 

More great live streams this week…

5/15-5/16 Prince 1985 Purple Rain Tour via Youtube. RSVP HERE

5/16 Beach Slang via Stageit. 5pm est, RSVP HERE

5/16 Frankie Cosmos via 9pm est, $5-$50, RSVP HERE

5/16 Courtney Barnett, Georgia Man, June Jones + more via Instagram (Covid-19 mutual aid fundraiser). 5am est, RSVP HERE

5/17 Elliott Smith (Heaven Adores You film screening) via Twitter.  5pm est, RSVP HERE

5/18 Diet Cig via Echo Eco Wine Instagram 8pm est, RSVP HERE

5/19 Alanis Morissette (performing Jagged Little Pill) via Facebook. 8pm est, RSVP HERE 

5/21 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah via Twitch. 8pm est, RSVP HERE

RSVP HERE: The Fantastic Plastics Live Stream Via Twitch + More

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE. Due to live show cancellations we will be covering virtual live music events and festivals.

Photo by Angelyn Toncray

This week marks the one-month anniversary of most COVID-19 lock downs in the US and everything that came along with that. Mass amounts of tour cancellations have ushered in a new world of consistent live streaming on social media. While most bands are still adapting to this new quarantined way of being, NYC-based synth dance punk duo The Fantastic Plastics are about to celebrate their one year anniversary of live streaming on Twitch. Self-described as “the future of the future,” the Fantastic Plastics are heavily influenced by Orwell and sci-fi movies, so maybe they knew this particular dystopian fate was coming all along. Their visually stimulating live show includes matching outfits, backing projections, Moog synths and a theremin and is guaranteed to captivate your attention, whether in person or from the comfort of your phone screen.

The Fantastic Plastics’ interactive Twitch stream is tonight goes live every Wednesday and Friday at 9pm EST, with occasional bonus shows on Sundays and Mondays – your next opportunity to tune in is tonight, April 17th! We chatted with The Fantastic Plastics about some of their live stream effects, their sci-fi movie favorites and their advice for starting your own Twitch channel.

AF: You were in the live streaming boat far before quarantine started. Coming up on your one year anniversary on Twitch, how has your performance style grown over the year? How has your fan base changed?

FP: Our performance style over the last year on Twitch has evolved to become more interactive with our audience. Before we started live streaming, we were accustomed to jumping on stage to play a quick 30-45 minute set and then tearing our stuff down off of the stage as quickly as possible. Now with streaming, we stretch our performance out over 3-4 hours with lots of chatting with our audience between songs. Our fan base has changed in that we spent years touring and trying to find our audience, whereas with live streaming, most of our audience has found us instead. We are also able to reach people in parts of the country and world that we’ve never toured.

AF: What goals do you have for streaming in the year to come?

FP: Streaming more often, making our stream more interactive, and branching out with a variety of content.

AF: Have you noticed a change in your audience since the quarantine began? Has the quarantine affected your creative process in any way?

FP: Since the quarantine began we have noticed that our audience, as well that of many other musicians on Twitch, has grown quite a bit as people are searching for new ways to see live music. As far as our creative process goes, we’ve been putting more energy into ways to make the stream more interactive and visually stimulating, and of course there’s always the pressure to keep writing new music.

AF: How do you make your outfits change pattern during your set?

FP: We are misusing the chroma key effect, haha! We actually used this same effect in a music video we filmed for our song “Teleport” in 2017 and thought it could work really well with our video projection show in the background on Twitch.

AF: What are your favorite sci-fi movies? What movies have had the most influence on your sound?

FP: Most sci-fi movies that we like, such as Barbarella, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, influence more of our aesthetic vs. our sound. Musically and lyrically, we have always been really inspired by William Gibson novels and of course 1984 by George Orwell.

AF: How do you think an extended quarantine is going to affect musicians’ (and humans’ in general) relationship with technology and live music?

FP: There has definitely been a shift and more of an appreciation for watching live music performances via streaming, and it seems like people are making a switch from passively watching Netflix to enjoying the chance to have more interaction with the musicians and bands they like via streaming. Hopefully after things start opening up again, this will be beneficial for both streaming and live, in-person gigs as we know everyone really misses the energy of being in live concert venues and is looking forward to seeing those rescheduled concerts.

AF: What advice would you give someone starting their twitch channel?

FP: The best thing to do if you are thinking about starting a Twitch channel is to just watch as many other streamers on Twitch music as you can – most importantly to learn the culture. Once you start streaming, just be consistent, and don’t give up.

AF: What are your plans for the rest of 2020 & beyond?

FP: We have a remix album, MLFNCTN, coming out at the end of the Spring/early Summer this year, and we just plan to keep writing new music, releasing more videos on our YouTube channel and streaming on Twitch as much as we can.

RSVP HERE for The Fantastic Plastics live stream on Twitch 4/17 9pm est. 

More great live streams this week…

4/17 Zola Jesus via Saint Vitus Instagram. 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/17  Jeff Tweedy via Recording Academy’s Facebook page, Amazon Music’s Twitch page, and Pickathon’s YouTube page. 1 p.m. pst, RSVP HERE

4/17 Mima Good via Baby’s TV. 10pm est, RSVP HERE

4/18 Air Waves, Juan Wauters via Baby’s TV. 3pm, RSVP HERE

4/18 Lauren Ruth Ward, Veronica Bianqui & More via Youtube – Couch LA. 6pm est. RSVP HERE

4/18 Global Citizens Fest feat. Alanis Morissette, Paul McCartney, Lizzo, Lady Gaga + More via Youtube. 8pm est RSVP HERE

4/19 Erykah Badu via Instagram. 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/20 Weedmaps “Higher Together: Sessions from Home,” featuring Wiz Khalifa, Billy Ray Cyrus, and more. 12 p.m PST, RSVP HERE

What Alanis Morissette Taught Me About Anger – Now That I’m Sober

Alanis Morissette plays Jagged Little Pill at the Apollo (YouTube screenshot).

ONLY NOISE explores music fandom with poignant personal essays that examine the ways we’re shaped by our chosen soundtrack. This week, Tawny Lara details how a landmark ’90s album allowed her to feel a brewing childhood rage – and all the things she has to celebrate 25 years later.

November 30th, 2019 marked four years of my continuous sobriety. Each anniversary is celebrated with what I call a SoBerthday gift; past Soberthday gifts to myself have often been travel or some form of live entertainment. When I saw that Alanis Morissette was scheduled to perform a one-night-only show at the legendary Apollo Theater on December 2nd, I knew that was how I’d kick off my 4th year without booze. This special performance consisted of her singing Jagged Little Pill in its entirety to celebrate Jagged Little Pill: The Musical debuting on Broadway, as well as the 25th anniversary of the album itself.

I was nine years old when Jagged Little Pill took the world by storm. Mom and I had just relocated from Northern California to Waco, Texas. Dad stayed behind. They were never married. In fact, I never knew them as a couple. Dad was and is a heavy metal musician. For much of my young life, he was on tour. Going back and forth between Mom and Dad, between Concord and Alameda, then from Texas to California, took a toll on me – a toll I didn’t realize until I heard Jagged Little Pill and saw the video for “You Oughta Know.” It was the first time I heard a woman express what I now know as rage. Her pain was my pain.

It was the first time I saw a woman on TV who didn’t feel the need to present herself as society’s ever-evolving yet ever-unrealistic standard of “feminine.” Decades later I’d finally understand that expressing emotions – all emotions, including rage and anger – is absolutely feminine. But back then, nine-year-old me equated femininity with dresses and makeup and perfectly coiffed hair. Alanis’s demeanor and her sound were an act of rebellion.

Watching Alanis yell into the microphone in a gritty, sienna-toned video helped me learn that it’s okay to be angry and want to scream. I learned that there’s nothing wrong with expressing how I feel. Though I wasn’t old enough to experience a broken heart from romantic love as Alanis had, I had my own sadness from wishing my dad was around more. I missed my friends and family back in California. Starting over in third grade was hard. I didn’t understand why I had to move to a new city and home with my mom. Alanis and I both felt different types of heartache.

The range of emotions represented on Jagged Little Pill helped me identify my own emotions. The lyrics to “You Learn” served as my first self-help book. The simplicity of the music video for “Head Over Feet” captivated me. Even though nothing was happening, I was pulled in and couldn’t look away. Sometimes she’d look at the camera. Sometimes she’d sing with the song. But the whole time she was being authentically Alanis. I wanted to be like that.

As life progressed, I subconsciously learned to suppress my rage and other emotions as a way to cope. I didn’t know how to deal with trauma or anxiety or depression so I drank. And I drugged. And I drank some more. I suppressed said feelings until they erupted from me. I often cried when I drank. Or picked fights – both verbal and physical – with people I loved. I hid from my feelings so often that when I finally let myself feel them, it was too much to handle. So I drank even more until I got sober at age 29.

Jagged Little Pill aged with me. I went back to it when I wanted to feel comfortable. I’ve purchased it in nearly every available format: cassette, CD, mp3, iTunes download, and now stream it on Spotify. This album has been in my pocket (pun intended) for the last 25 years.

At the Apollo, she mentioned that she wrote the album when she was 19 years old. Though I knew the album was turning 25 and that she was now 45, it hadn’t occurred to me to do the math to see how old she was when she literally changed the world. I was in awe of the fact that a teenager wrote an album that spoke to people of all ages, races, sexualities, and genders. How can one album inspire nine-year-old me to connect with the rage I didn’t know I felt while simultaneously inspiring my 34-year-old aunt to finally get a long-overdue divorce? How can that same album still stand to the test of time a quarter of a century later to evolve into a Broadway musical? Because… Alanis.

Her show at The Apollo had campfire sing-along vibes. She sang Jagged Little Pill all the way through, plus “Thank U,” “Uninvited,” and a few new tracks. The sold-out crowd in the 1,500 seat theater sang every single word with her. A steady pool of water collected in my tear ducts throughout the duration of the two-hour show. Being in the same room as the woman who had such a significant impact on my life, on my emotions, was overwhelming. Again, she gave me permission to feel.

Sobriety is like being that nine year girl who just heard “You Oughta Know” for the first time: feelings are brand new again. I can no longer hide from sadness or anger or rage by abusing substances. I have to let myself feel. It’s challenging and uncomfortable, but so much growth comes out of it. Finding ways to process emotions in a healthy way is still a work in progress, but like Alanis tells us: we live, we learn.