hackedepicciotto Renders Tumultuous Pandemic Year on The Silver Threshold

Photo Credit: Sven Marquardt

If there’s one song that truly encapsulates the frustration of life right now, it’s “Babel,” from hackedepicciotto’s latest album, The Silver Threshold. Over music that rises and falls with cinematic tension, Danielle de Picciotto tells the story of the Tower of Babel, of the construction of a building intended to reach heaven, of a God who splits their one language into many and of a people divided when they can no longer communicate. 

“All of our songs always deal a lot with our situation and the situation that we feel confronted with, in general, around us,” says de Picciotto, who is joined by Alexander Hacke, on a video call from the duo’s studio in Berlin. Since The Silver Threshold came together in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of global upheavals that happened in 2020, that certainly played a part in the album’s evolution. 

“When we were writing it, I had the feeling for quite some time that people don’t seem to understand each other anymore,” de Picciotto explains. “As the pandemic progressed, that feeling got stronger and stronger. You had the feeling that you were talking to friends that you had known for your whole life and they just didn’t understand you anymore and you didn’t understand them.”

That situation reminded de Picciotto of the Tower of Babel story told in the book of Genesis (though there are parallels to the story throughout a variety of cultures). “I wasn’t raised religiously, but there were a couple of Bible stories that I always thought were interesting,” she says. “I very often have the feeling that we’re actually experiencing that which, in the Bible, was mentioned being in the very beginning.” She points out this is intended to be a contemporary commentary reflective of current global situations, asking the rhetorical question: “Do we realize that somehow, for some reason, we are in this state where we do not understand each other anymore?”

“That doesn’t mean enemies or people from different countries, but even your best friend,” she adds. “There’s something wrong in our communication and we have to figure that out again.”

When the pandemic hit, hackedepicciotto, as de Picciotto says, considered themselves “touring nomads,” though the couple had long been associated with Berlin. De Picciotto is a U.S. born multi-disciplinary artist who moved to Berlin in 1987 and co-founded the city’s infamous Love Parade. She’s also released a number of solo and collaborative albums, written multiple books, made several films and has had her art shown in galleries and museums in Europe and North America. Hacke was born in Berlin and was just a teenager when he joined Einstürzende Neubauten, who would go on to become legendary force in underground and experimental music. He’s also played with Crime and the City Solution and composed a number of film scores. 

The two have been collaborating on music together for 20 years now and, about a decade ago, they gave up their home and hit the road, mastering the ins-and-outs of checking gear onto planes as they played in various parts of the world. Their last album, The Current, was released in early 2020 and they had just begun a tour in support of that when the pandemic hit. Hacke recalls that he had planned to cancel the lease on their recording studio for that year, but had missed the deadline. It was “a very lucky coincidence,” he says. “Otherwise, if we hadn’t had that, we would have no place to hang out and work.” 

Their final pre-COVID gig was in Frankfurt. Back in Berlin, they caught up on sleep. “We weren’t jet-lagged for the first time in years,” jokes de Picciotto. They also gave virtual performances a chance, although it wasn’t really their thing. “We missed the interaction with the audience, so we didn’t go on doing that as long as we planned,” she says. 

“It is very different performing for an iPhone and a tripod than for people,” adds Hacke. 

Meanwhile, de Picciotto wrote another book and Hacke worked on film music. “We don’t participate in the Berlin nightlife as much as we used to anyway. We don’t go out drinking or anything like that, so we did not miss that,” says Hacke. “It was really a time to immerse yourself into things that you were only talking about doing in previous years.”

In the late summer of 2020, they started writing new material as hackedepicciotto. They also earned a grant to fund their work and were signed to Mute. “The stars were aligned in a good way,” says de Picciotto. 

Before they began recording at the end of 2020, they posed for a photo shoot with Sven Marquardt, an old friend of de Picciotto who is also well-known as the doorman at Berghain. “I always wanted him to take photos for our album, because I’ve done other shoots for him, but not of music,” says de Picciotto. While they don’t normally take press photos before recording the album, they did this time because of concerns of another lockdown. 

“It really influenced us,” says de Picciotto of the film shoot, which became the basis of the music video for “Kirchhain.” “He works with analog cameras and only works with daylight. In that way, his pictures have this incredible aura and that really helped us with our music.”

“Also, he projects this authority,” adds Hacke. “You cannot bullshit him. He looks straight through you and that’s what makes the pictures great, because you have to be yourself.”

Photo Credit: Sven Marquardt

The Silver Threshold is designed so that each song goes up a key in the scale, beginning with D. The music is as reflective of the tempestuousness of 2020 as the lyrics. Take “Babel” as an example. “We work with strategies to illustrate conflict, like rhythms counteracting to each other and stuff like that,” says Hacke. “It gives you a feeling of uneasiness or a feeling of [being] out-of-whack. Rhythmically, I like to do these things, stuff that makes you lose your balance or something.”

The album also includes hackedpicciotto’s first love song, “Evermore,” a duet that came as a result of the lockdown situation and sounds as if the couple are singing to each other while caught in the midst of downpour. “We had that feeling that this pandemic was a storm that came upon mankind and we were all standing in this storm,” says de Picciotto. “We felt that the most important thing during the storm was to keep in contact with your friends and loved ones… because everybody was so separated. It was us two and, during the whole time of the pandemic when lockdown was really heavy, we felt like it was us two standing in this tiny little nutshell, which was our studio, and the storm raging around us and the only thing that kept us alive in the storm was our love.”

With “Evermore,” they brought the connection that they share into the lyrics. Says Hacke, “This is the first time that we also actually speak to each other lyrically, rather than describing something or proclaiming something to the outside world.”

The Silver Threshold, and “Evermore” in particular, taps into a chemistry that has always been part of their collaboration as hackedepicciotto. “I think that what makes this project work so well is that we are so confident and we trust each other so much,” says Hacke, surmising that it’s this kind of honesty that appeals to fans. “It’s a different set up than a regular band in that way.”

Follow hackedepicciotto on Facebook and Instagram for ongoing updates.

THALA Teases Debut LP adolescence with Dreamy Single “contradictions”

Photo Credit: Celeste Call

Berlin may have a reputation for hard-hitting techno beats, but from that smoke and noise emerges German singer-songwriter THALA (pronounced TAH-LAH). Her dreamy shoegaze pop evokes genre mainstays like Mazzy Star, particularly in THALA’s vocal style, alongside more contemporary classics like Tamaryn’s 2012 record Tender New Signs.

THALA shared her latest single “contradictions” on Friday, September 3; it will appear alongside previously released songs like “diditagain” and “bad blood” on her debut LP adolescence out September 17 via Philly’s Born Losers Records and Berlin’s Duchess Box Records. The pastel-hued track makes everything slightly effervescent, as though you’re wearing those sunglasses that block out blue UV light.

So how did this sunny songwriter arrive from the high-BPM intensity of Berlin’s music scene? THALA says she’s “always been a fan of guitar-made music, organically made music, more than electronic music, or any other music for that matter,” attending large festivals since her early adolescence. She’s been seriously writing for the last two or so years, a late start she attributes to a lack of life experience.

“Maybe I had to experience some more things to actually be able to write about them,” she says. “I feel like that’s what the songs are about: my life. [If] I hadn’t lived or experienced the things I’m talking about, there wouldn’t be stuff to write about.” 

adolescence reveals a sentiment that is both tender and jaded, nostalgic but knows better, capturing what it feels like to look back at your adolescence from an older, wiser perspective. When it does look forward, it’s at times dispirited, articulating the feeling of time slipping away, looking for answers about the future in the past. “contradictions,” in particular, crystalizes that sense that you can both still love someone and recognize how wrong they were for you all at once. Though THALA doesn’t call out the ghosts from her past by name, she says, “I think that people that listen to the song will know that it’s about them, and that is the most I can ask for.”

Over the course of 2020, THALA released three singles, including Bearcubs collaboration “Something in the Water;” she’s kept it up in 2021 by slowly rolling out adolescence song by song. Her confidence is justified, if somewhat surprising; though her parents discouraged her from pursuing a career as a musician, “that was the dream,” she says, continuing: “I never had any lessons or any course or anything whatsoever in that direction, but the more I was denied, I wanted it even more.”

She began writing in earnest after a three year stint living in the Canary Islands, though it wasn’t always smooth sailing. “I remember being so frustrated I almost threw my phone out the window, or my guitar at the wall,” she says. But she persisted, returning to Berlin to perform at open mics and quickly becoming well-connected in that scene. Eventually she quit her day job and busked for a season, moving forward until music became her sole focus. “I really wanted to make up the time I had lost, in whatever sense you could say that,” she explains.

She picked up some opening slots on bigger tours, capturing the attention of Duchess Box and then Born Losers. Having two record labels suits her, she says, as she desperately wants to reach an American audience, who she thinks will be more interested in her sound. Like the rest of the record, “contradictions” is deeply confessional, sourced from THALA’s personal experiences.

“I wrote it because it needed to get out, and then I feel like once it was finished, the people I showed it to, it reached them in a way. And then they told me their stories, and I guess if it does that then it does a good job,” she says. “I wanted to get it off my chest, things I carried with me for such a long time.”

With her load lightened, she’s ready to hit the road. THALA is booked to play a few European festivals in the coming months, but besides that, she’s already started writing another album. “I am not standing still,” she says. “I’m still working working working working. I want to become even better.”

Follow THALA on Instagram for ongoing updates.

White Night Expand the Meaning of “Home” with INGO Remix

On “Home,” the new remixed single from electro-pop duo White Night, there’s a chime-like synth pattern and haunting vocal loops that swell over a percussive drumbeat. It’s classic indie electronica—and in some ways, not a sound that most people would associate with Seattle. Yet, White Night’s singer and violist, Elizabeth Boardman grew up right here in the Emerald City—this is where her musical journey began, and upon deeper listening, you can hear it.

Boardman remembers her parents playing everything from Nirvana to opera around the house, and at just three, she says she “begged” to start piano lessons. “I remember, from a very early age, taking comfort in the distraction and creative wholeness felt in sitting at the piano and improvising your own little songs,” she says. “I started playing viola when I was eight and as soon as I was old enough to join the Seattle Youth Symphony orchestra program, I fell in love with the sweeping romance and drama of composers like Tchaikovsky and Sibelius.”

After completing Garfield High School, Boardman moved to London to study viola performance at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and then later completed her Masters of Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. It was there Boardman met German-born Willi Leinen, a Classical Guitar student, and the two began dating and making music together.

“Both of us had composed a bit on our own and Willi had been in a couple bands, where as I had only dabbled a little in pop songwriting before we started working together,” said Boardman. “But we both had that creative itch that was a relief to scratch amidst the stiffness and stress of our classical studies.”

Initially, Boardman and Leinen were only able to collaborate virtually, sending musical ideas to each other over the internet, since Leinen had moved back to Berlin and Boardman was still in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Our first songs were put together across the ocean,” said Boardman. “We had our first radio airtime on a German radio station, [and] we hadn’t even played the music in the same room together. We’d only done it long distance.”

Boardman then moved in with Leinen in Berlin, partly to be closer to a major epicenter for classical and electronic music, and to take advantage of the city’s affordable living and vibrant culture. Since, the two have continued to hone the alternative synth-pop of White Night, drawing both on the mood of the Pacific Northwest and the electronic scene in Berlin.

For instance, on the title track from their 2018 debut album, Golden Heart, there’s the sweeping drama of Pacific Northwest scenery adorned with cinematic textures, strings, and a music video featuring many shots from the San Juan Islands. Musically, the track could sit alongside the music of Pacific Northwest indie-folk artists like Damien Jurado, Fleet Foxes, and Noah Gundersen. Meanwhile, another single on Golden Heart, “Money,” has more distinct Euro-pop flavor. A techno dance beat underpins as Boardman speak-sings, “Fancy cars/fancy clothes/what is real/what is fake/Money makes it yours to take.”

This newly-released version of “Home” is the best of both worlds. Originally appearing on Golden Heart, remix duties were handled by their friend, German drummer Hanns Eisler, who goes by INGO. The intoxicating momentum and precision in production ties the track to the vibrant electronic music scene in Berlin. At the same time, there’s also a good dose of the raw authenticity and quirkiness of the Seattle indie folk sound; “Home” brings to mind Northwest-bred Benjamin Gibbard’s work in Postal Service, as well as ODESZA and Feist.

Lyrically, the song explores what “Home” is and there’s a moody tension that swells throughout the track—almost as if the singer is in two places at once. “The song is about the concept of one’s ‘home’ being a collection of memories and nostalgic feelings which are untainted by time. Relationships, individuals, environments and circumstances are constantly evolving, appearing, and disappearing as one goes through life. Home is what we hold still in our minds and in our hearts,” explains Boardman.

The release of this single marks a new period for White Night, who have toured much with Golden Heart throughout Germany and the West Coast of the U.S. since last year. Right now, they are looking forward to writing a new EP, continuing to teach classical music from their home studio in Berlin, and eventually, to getting back out on the road.

“We are very excited to keep songwriting and hone our genre and style before we plan any bigger tours,” said Boardman. “For now, we are back to the songwriting grind-stone!”

Follow White Night on Facebook for ongoing updates.

RSVP HERE: Catty Play Alphaville + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

Catty is a Brooklyn band lottery success story. After their names were drawn out of a hat, they quickly churned out a couple songs to play at a show that night with Ana Becker on vocals and guitar, Manny Nomikos on bass and vocals, Bryan Thornton on guitar, and Don Lavis on drums. Rosie Slater (also of New Myths and Delicate Steve) took over drummer duties after Don moved to Minneapolis. They’ve released a collection of demos in July called Scratch, recorded at Cavebird Gallery and their small practice space. Catty plays Alphaville on January 31st alongside Gorgeous, Drummers Can Achieve, and Feral Scouts (it’s Benji’s birthday bash; he’ll be playing with Feral Scouts and Drummers Can Achieve). We talked with all the members of Catty about how they’re actually bird people, what Prince song they would cover, and they even wrote us a couple poems.

AF: You met at a band lottery. How was that first time playing together and what made you want to continue to play together?

Ana Becker: The first time we played, we were grouped together completely randomly; our names were quite literally pulled out of a hat. We didn’t even really know each other very well, though we knew of each other and the bands we each played in. There was immediate chemistry, both personally and musically. We wrote a couple of songs and learned a cover and played it all six hours later, along with the rest of the groups of the hat-pulled. It was really remarkable how much fun we had, how well we got along and how happy we were with songs we wrote absurdly quickly. After the show I felt like I’d just had a super-promising first date – I was really nervous and excited. Was it all in my head? Did they feel the chemistry too? Or was it just me? Could it be the beginning of something very special?

Since then, our original drummer Don Lavis moved to Minneapolis (we miss you, Don!) and we’ve been super lucky to have tricked the inimitable Rosie Slater into joining us! We lured her with promises of Beatles jams.

Manny Nomikos: Everyone was so generous with their creativity. At first I was really intimidated by each of their individual talent, but the support everyone was showing made it less scary to play music with them. Almost immediately, I felt like I wanted to be with these people all the time.

AF: At your first official show as a band you had everyone vote on band names – what were the other band  names that were almost chosen?

AB: I still have the poster board in my room! I’ll have to check it. We wrote down a bunch of options, and gave people post-it notes to write their favorites on. At the end post-its were everywhere so it was pretty hard to count votes, but we did our best. Wrong Legs was one option (I hate snakes, my sister Laura hates spiders, both of them have the wrong number of legs). Our moniker from the band lotto was another choice (“Hayyy Saylor” – not the worst, but probably too whimsical for the vibe of the music). People kept writing THEIR first names on the post-its instead of their favorite band name option… I still find green post-its with random names on them from time to time.

MN: I was just really hoping we didn’t end up being Wrong Legs. I liked Hayyy Saylor, but that would require us write only nautical themed tunes and we only had enough material for two nautical albums.

Bryan Thornton: I really championed the Charlie Manson Band, but quickly found out I bet on the wrong horse. Like bad jeans, the name did not fit.

AF: What is everyone’s favorite kind of cat and/or funny experience with a cat? Since you’re actually bird people, what are your favorite types of birds?

AB: My favorite cat on planet earth is Bruce Squiggleman Kittowitz, whom I recently had to move away from and miss very much. My favorite type of bird is Manny.

MN: I like cats when they get too old to murder. Then they just hang out and it’s alright. I can talk all day about birds, but I’d have to go with Quaker parrots. My first bird (Sproose) was a Quaker and loved music and singing along to songs I played… now I have a nanday conure and she is affectionate but also very complicated.

BT: I’ve grown up with cats always around via both parents – so I’ve always thought that cats are superior to dogs. Dogs are too subservient cause they look at you like some big alien deity that manifests food and shelter, but cats think you’re just another cat (a giant, weird, mostly hairless cat, but a cat nonetheless) so they really don’t mind you much. I like any kind of cat that doesn’t care about my existence so I can try to win their favor and make them think I’m cool.

Rosie Slater: I was raised by cats.

AF: What Prince song would Catty cover?

AB: “When Doves Cry.”

MN: “I Would Die 4 U.” Or “Batdance.”

RS: “When You Were Mine.”

BT: “Kiss” might be cool.

AF: What is the best crowd surfing technique?

MN: Make sure it’s at a rock show, and not a children’s party, unless you want to be uninvited from all future kid parties.

AF: Write me a poem.

AB: You’re the kind of gal I’d cross the street to say hello to
Even if it meant I had to run
We got back from the west coast, and I rented out your bedroom
I didn’t sleep there once

BT: I don’t like massages
And I’ve never been to a sauna
But I once saw your band
Cover Nirvana

AF: What are your plans for 2020? Anything else you’d like to say?

AB: Catty’s organizing our SXSW run at the moment, and we’re cooking up a couple of singles to release soon! We worked on two songs so far with Jeff Berner, which has been a pleasure and a privilege. An LP looms in Catty’s future. Personally, in 2020 I plan to spend as much quality time as I can with my guitar, and my loved ones. I’m feeling very grateful lately and it’s corny as fuck, please forgive me.

MN: MacGregor’s Bowerbirds are an amazing bird species that can mimic about any sound and you should look them up now.

BT: I’m afraid of being canceled by the dog community – dogs are great, but just not as great as cats.

RSVP HERE for Catty, Feral Scouts, Gorgeous @ Alphaville. 21+ / $10-12

More great shows this week:

1/31 Torres (album releases show), Meg Stalker @ The Sultan Room. 21+ / $16 RSVP HERE

1/31 Miranda and The Beat, Shadow Show @ TV EYE. 21+ / FREE RSVP HERE

2/1 The Paranoyds, Spendtime Palace @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

2/1 Human People, Washer, Thanks For Coming @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

2/3 Tredici Bacci, Material Girls, Sugarlife @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

2/4 Lorelei Ramirez, Morgan Bassichis + More (benefit for Bernie) @ The Bell House. 18+ / $20-$250 RSVP HERE

2/5 QWAM, Motherhood, Bad Bloom @ Mercury Lounge. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

2/5 Space Sluts, Extra Special, Shapes in Calgary @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

RSVP HERE: Godcaster Play Baby’s All Right + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

After seeing Godcaster for the first time, I imagined they all grew up together on a purple mountain surrounded by space dragons on one of Saturns moons. Turns out I was half right: they have been playing music together since they were kids and called themselves a band before they even played instruments. Their members are split between Philadelphia and Brooklyn, and played 25 shows of their well-composed glam chaos in NYC  last year, landing themselves on Oh My Rockness’ list of Hardest Working Bands of 2019. Their first show of the new decade is on 1/10 at Baby’s All Right with many of the other bands on this list including Cindy Cane, Darkwing, Gesserit, Top Nachos, and New Myths. We chatted with Godcaster about flute solos, Europa and the hand seekers…

AF: What was your favorite moment of your 2019 shows? Who was the best dancer you saw at one of your shows? Where and with what band do you want to play in the next year that you haven’t yet?

GC: When the piston misfired in the old van / big wheelie across Utah. Best dancer: David! Who we want to play with: Deerhoof!

AF: How large is your collection of fringe jackets? What’s the most creative use of the fringe on your jacket?

GC: Keeping in terms with the hand seekers, we are big we are valid

AF: If you could play on any planet, moon, black hole or another celestial variety in the universe, where would it be & why?

GC: Europa the frozen moon with the elves!

AF: What is the most inspirational flute solo you have ever heard?

GC: Keeping in terms with the hand seekers! Delving quick and valid

AF: What are your plans for 2020 + beyond?

GC: Continue commencing big velocity undergoing valid dirth and keep rockin around!

RSVP HERE for Oh My Rockness Hardest Working Bands Showcase with Godcaster, Cindy Cane, Darkwing, Gesserit, Top Nachos, and New Myths @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10

More great shows this week:

1/10 The Wants, Beeef, Gift @ Berlin. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

1/10 Emily Ritz, Anna Fox, Scout Gillett, Katy Rea @ The Broadway. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

1/11 Cup (feat. Nels Cline + Yuka C Honda), Anna Webber, Susan Alcorn, UNHOLY ROW, Helen Sung @ The Dance (Winter Jazzfest). $60 RSVP HERE

1/15 Futurebirds (Record Release) @ Bowery Ballroom. 21+ / $18 RSVP HERE

1/15 Hypemom, Premiums, Bad Weird, Minaxi @ Alphaville. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

1/15 Rhys Tivey (residency), Tiny Guns, beds @ C’mon Everybody. 21+ / $10-13 RSVP HERE

1/15 Shadow Monster, North By North, Desert Sharks, Lily Mao @ Our Wicked Lady. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

1/15 Thick, Gymshorts, Dropper @ Rough Trade. 18+ / $10 RSVP HERE


RSVP HERE: The So So Glos Play Farewell Show at Brooklyn Bazaar + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

The So So Glos are the quintessential New York City punk rock band. Formed in 2007 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn by brothers Alex and Ryan Levine with drummer Zach Staggers (who they met in pre-school), The So So Glos have shaped the DIY music scene first hand over the past decade. They co-founded and resided in the venues Market Hotel and Shea Stadium, have released three full length records, gone on countless DIY tours and toured in support of Titus Andronicus,  Diarrhea Planet, Desaparecidos, and more. In anticipation of The So So Glos playing one of the final shows at Brooklyn Bazaar Friday 11/29, we talked with Alex and Zach about how the DIY scene has developed over the past decade, their favorite records to listen to on the road, and where to get the best slice in and outside of NYC…

AF: How is the state of the DIY scene different now than when you first started So So Glos in 2007? How do you think things will progress going into the next decade?

Alexander Orange Drink: It’s been quite a trip to see the DIY scene transform over the past decade. When we started out, it seemed like there were very few DIY spaces where rock ‘n’ roll was welcome. It was way more of a noise rock, (dare I say pretentious) – artsy scene. Despite so many venues closing and an ever changing NYC, I think some aspects of the underground have become way more inclusive for all types of people and artists. If we were in any way a part of helping that move forward I feel grateful.

AF: You’ve toured extensively over the years, what was your favorite band to tour with? Favorite city/non-NYC DIY show space? What’s your favorite tour story?

AOD: There’s been so many friends and extended family who we’ve toured with. It’s impossible to pick a favorite! So many hospitable venues and staff that have welcomed us. The Bottle Tree in Birmingham, AL was always a great place to roll through. They’ve got really cool trailers backstage. One time we got assaulted by the Britney Spears entourage, another time we got strip searched at the border and once my medicine was confiscated in Germany.

AF: What are your favorite records to listen to on the road?

AOD: Modern Lovers, She’s So Unusual, 2Pacalypse Now, The Specials (first album), The Idle Wheel, Songs of Leonard Cohen, too many more…

AF: Where’s the best place to get a slice of pizza in NYC? Where’s the best place to get a slice of pizza outside of NYC?

Zach Staggers: This is a much debated topic for any New Yorker and there are many exemplary spots to get a slice. That said, any pizza experience has as much to do with the environmental factors surrounding the slice. For instance, if you stop at New Park for a slice after a idyllic day in Rockaway, then, at that very moment that is the best slice in the world. Or, say if you are in the godforsaken hell zone of the low to mid 30’s on the west side of Manhattan — Pizza Suprema becomes your messiah. Perhaps, it’s just a beautiful day in the neighborhood, where Rosa’s of Ridgewood provides my staple, comfort pizza. But all this said for the record I like to rep the Margherita slice with the infamous sesame seed crust at Ciccio’s on Avenue U. It’s a little known pizzeria and doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Outside of New York? While there are good slices in Philly and some other select cities I will plead the 5th.

AF: What are your plans for 2020?

AOD: New music coming. Also… pizza!

RSVP HERE for The So So Glos, Wild Yaks, Cumgirl8, Knucklehead & SUO (DJ set) @ Brooklyn Bazaar. All Ages / $13.50

More great shows this week:

11/29 Darkwing, Sleep Leans, Shadow Monster @ Our Wicked Lady. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

11/29 Beach Rats, Speedy Ortiz, Restorations, American Trappist, Well WisherHouse of Independents (4-year anniversary). All Ages / $4-$10 RSVP HERE

11/30 Hank Wood and The Hammerheads, Warthog, Subversive Rite, Dollhouse @ Brooklyn Bazaar (last show!). All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

12/3 New Myths, Katya Lee + Special Guests @ Berlin. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

12/3 + 12/4 The Rapture @ Music Hall of Williamsburg. 18 + / $30 RSVP HERE

12/3 Sloppy Jane, Sweet Baby Jesus, Water From Your Eyes @ The Dance. 18+ / $10 RSVP HERE

12/5 Tallies, Honey Cutt @ Alphaville. / 21+ $10 RSVP HERE

12/5 Grim Streaker, A Deer A Horse, Luggage, Shop Talk @ Trans-Pecos. $10 / All Ages RSVP HERE


There’s a calm awareness woven through singer-songwriter Mogli’s music, an overarching grace that winds its way from the first wordless track of her new EP, Patience, through the very end. It is subtle, rising and falling, a pulsing heartbeat driving each track forward at its own pace as her emotive vocals capture every twist and turn of a long, lonely path. Like the Netflix documentary, Expedition Happiness — in which she made her name as filmmaker and traveler, crossing the United Sates with her then-boyfriend Felix Starck, penning its critically acclaimed soundtrack, Wanderer, along the way — Patience is the tale of a journey that didn’t go as planned, yet one that she crafted into a masterpiece, minus the jaw-dropping views and winding roads.

Blending the ambient, driving sounds of alternative rock with deeply introspective songwriting, Mogli traces her steps through a year of depression, loneliness, healing, and ultimately, growth. Following her split with Starck, Mogli relocated from the idyllic German countryside to a fast-paced lifestyle in Berlin. “It was the right decision,” she says of the break-up and subsequent move, “but it was a lot to be suddenly on my own for the very first time. I was like, every morning, ‘What do you do with your time? Where do you go with your life?’”

The uncertainty was new for Mogli, who entered the world with a clear-eyed confidence, supported in following her own path by two artistic mothers. “In our family, it was always a good thing to learn something,” she said. “I was always encouraged, and everyone just let me have my space and find out what I wanted to do with my time,” she explains, and says singing felt the most natural. “I started to sing before I could speak. I hummed along when [my mom] either played music herself, or we just listened to music. I did that in my sleep as a baby… I still do sometimes,” she adds with a laugh. “It can be a bit embarrassing if you have a new date, and you’re singing in your sleep.”

Mogli spent her teens performing throughout Europe with an opera company, so traveling America with Starck was a natural extension of her nomadic spirit. “I was so inspired by my surroundings and the journey I made on the trip. It was beautiful. I was in the middle of nowhere in Alaska or New Mexico or the Grand Canyon, and I was so inspired by that, and how it moved me personally,” she remembers. But when it came time to settle down, the 25-year-old felt something was off – her life had become static, and it was time for a change, so off to Berlin she went, on her own this time.

Her new reality hit like a dull blow to the chest as she found herself struggling with depression for the first time in her life. “I was so overwhelmed with everything that I suddenly didn’t know what was right anymore, and where I was going,” she says. “I think I [shoved the fear down] for a long time subconsciously… then it all came down, and I think it always will hunt you down if you don’t address it.” It was a foreign experience to her, isolating and deeply unsettling. “I never had a single touch of any mental health problems before. I’m a very positive person, so I wasn’t used to it,” she explains. “I didn’t expect it at all; I didn’t see any signs. I didn’t have any energy left in me. It came as a shock to me, and I had to take time to process.” On the ethereal, piano-driven lead single from Patience, “Another Life,” she puts the experience to song, her voice heavy with the ache of loneliness: “In another life, this could have been / In another life, I let you in / I can’t seem to keep them in / I was happy, I was happy ’til the morning / This was never, this was never happening.”

Still driven by a need to create and perform, Mogli turned to friends and family, something she acknowledges as the start of the healing journey. “I asked for help for the first time in my life. I opened up to people and said, ‘I’m really not feeling well. I don’t know where it’s coming from, but I need help.’” The support she received, she says, gave her meaning again. “I was scared to be alone and to end up lonely. By opening up about that, I suddenly wasn’t lonely anymore.” Soon after, she took to the studio with two producer friends. This time, however, she turned inward for inspiration, rather than looking out over the Grand Canyon or the Alaskan wilderness with a guitar in hand.

“I started writing my album literally on the day where I started to feel bad,” she says. “It’s a documentation of the whole process I went through last year. I tried to let out what was inside of me. The topic of this whole EP is transition and change, because it was written in a time where I changed so much. I did really use music to get through it. It’s okay to make yourself vulnerable and to have fears; you give other people the chance to understand you and to have empathy, and we need more empathy in the world. I am making myself so vulnerable I am already a bit scared.”

The intensity of her vulnerability contradicts the stillness of her newfound awareness, a humming tension tucked below haunting melodies. Patience is her tell-all, a five-song snapshot of a year spent changing and growing, deeply intuitive and — ultimately — the healing she needed. Music not only gave her a way to express the loss and longing she felt, but a way to move beyond it; by naming her pain, she took away its power and transformed it into a masterpiece. The EP’s title track is a gentle but uplifting reminder that time can be the best remedy: “We should have patience to let the hurt dry out / We should have patience to let our hearts down,” she sings, before pledging to “fight the panic out;” the verse ends with the calming mantra “I’m gonna let it go.”

Even when her depression was at its worst, Mogli says she never doubted her path. “I am a very gut-feely person. I didn’t stop trusting myself. I just knew that I had to give myself time,” she says. In opening up about that process, she’s given her listeners the courage to open up about their deepest hurts as well. “I feel like my music is a way of connecting people, because whenever I have a concert and there are thousands of people in that room, and they’re all crying and they’re all listening to me making myself vulnerable and singing about being scared, suddenly, no one is scared anymore. We are all together.”

As she prepares for the release of Patience — and the full-length album to follow, which offers an even closer look into her year of growth— Mogli’s commitment to baring her soul to the world seems stronger now than ever before. Her hand is in every aspect of her music career, carefully designing merchandise, albums, art direction for her videos and live staging to authentically tell her story, a level of creative control that has earned her the title of Berlin’s DIY Ambassador. And while she’s aware of the freedom she has an an artist, she’s quick to correct the notion that she does everything on her own; she considers herself a curator, guiding a close-knit team as they assemble the puzzle pieces she crafts. Even more so, she’s conscious of the responsibility she carries as the creator of her own fate.

“I am the one that has the risk at all times,” she says. “I can control every piece of content that I share with the world. The downside is that I am the only one who has the risk, and all these people are dependent on me, so it’s a lot of responsibility. Being called a DIY Ambassador feels really nice, because it gives credit to the braveness it needs to do this job. People forget. It could sometimes look easy because it’s so much fun and I love doing it, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take courage to do it.”

It’s been a long road for the girl from Expedition Happiness. She’s felt the bitter fear of loneliness, as well as the peaceful finality she sings of in “Cryptic,” the EP’s closing track: “Cryptic mind, cryptic soul / Always wondering where to go / And I was so damn right / I was so damn right.” From start to finish, Patience chronicles the first disoriented steps of her journey, of a year spent waiting, watching, and wandering through an unknown land with no guide but herself. But she emerged, a voice in the wilderness, shouting what she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt: life can be hard and scary and lonely at times, but it’s so incredibly, miraculously beautiful.


Follow Mogli on Facebook and Instagram, and stream her new EP, Patience, on Spotify


5/3 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd
5/7 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
5/9 – Boston, MA @ Cafe 939
5/11 – Montreal, QC @ Le Ministere
5/13 – Toronto, ON @ The Baby G
5/14 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas
5/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
5/19 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore
5/21 – Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
5/22 – Portland, OR @ Holocene
5/29 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
5/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge



Is there a better way to start your weekend than with an incredibly danceable track? We’d like to present you with LA VIEW’s “Flashlight” for your eager consideration.

“Flashlight” is a collaboration between Finland-born, London-based songstress Venior and the two Berlin-based brothers that make up LA VIEW. The duo has been working since February to release a new track each month, with “Flashlight” ringing in as their third single, a great place to become introduced to their music. The track features upbeat, entrancing vocals layered over some expert producing. It’s full of quirky synths and the lulling vocals from Venior pulling you in, making you crave more.

LA VIEW is a worth keeping a tab on, and hopefully the rest of the year will yield more creative pieces from them. In the meantime, get down this weekend to “Flashlight” below.