RSVP HERE: Purple Witch of Culver livestream via PopDust & MORE!

Purple Witch of Culver is a new collaboration between baritone saxophonist, vocalist, poet and activist Sarah Safaie, and producer/multi instrumentalist Evan Taylor. Both Safaie and Taylor have spent a lot of time in the NYC music scene, but began their project after making their Westward migration and meeting in Los Angeles.

Their first two tracks have complementary vibes that show the broad spectrum of what they’re musically capable of. “Trig” is full of biting East Coast attitude, with a groove perfect for a sarcastic walk down the sidewalk. “Eulogy of a Sunbeam” has all the chill California atmospherics, full of ascendance, hope and love. Both tracks were recorded at Taylor’s studio and released on his label Loantaka Records.

Their first-ever livestream is Friday 12/11 at 7pm EST via, where they will be opening for Laraaji! We chatted with Safaie and Taylor about their favorite recording gear, the NYC Poetry project, and the importance of realizing our collective power in 2021. 

AF: How did Purple Witch of Culver come to be?

SS: Originally Evan was producing a solo track for me, but it became such a collaborative process that we decided to start a band! 

AF: What was the writing and recording process like for your two singles “Trig” and “Eulogy for a Sunbeam?”

SS: “Trig” came together super spontaneously. It was originally going to be a sax feature but I decided to put some fragments of my writing together last minute. I wrote most of those fragments while I lived in New York, and they really fit the vibe of the track. The sax bits came together pretty seamlessly after I did the vocal take. The whole process just flowed so well.

“Eulogy for a Sunbeam” was a bit more involved since there are so many layers, but it was once again another one-day venture. Evan recorded all the parts besides the flute, saxophone, and vocals, which I layered on top. I did the entire vocal in one take; I had spent about a week writing and assimilating my work to reflect my typical stream of consciousness. 

Our third single “We the Sun” is being released next week, December 14. We’re excited for that one; it is a departure from our two previous tracks. I sing. It’s a vibe.

AF: Do you have any favorite pieces of gear you used while recording Purple Witch of Culver?

ET: Our favorite piece of gear is our 2″ tape machine. We also love all of our analog echos, delays, and countless synthesizers. 

AF: Sarah, what drew you to the baritone sax?

SS: I first picked up the bari when I was 17. I had been playing mostly alto and tenor since I was in 4th grade, but I found my high school’s baritone and decided to take it to my sax lesson. I played it for my teacher and he surprised me with his enthusiasm; he said it was definitely my main axe. The tone and execution of the bari is so satisfying to me, and it has been my primary instrument ever since.

AF: Evan, can you tell us a bit about your studio and record label?

ET: My studio, Loantaka Sound, is an offshoot of my record label, Loantaka Records. It is a predominantly analog (yet with digital capabilities) studio stocked with what I consider all the tools necessary to make a compelling record. As a producer I hold about 80% of my sessions there these days. It’s become a second home and laboratory for Purple Witch. As for the label, Loantaka Records, I refer to it as an “artist-curated boutique community label.” It’s comprised of some of my favorite artists from the scene who also happen to be incredible inspiring individuals. Our current roster includes Jess Cornelius, Sofia Bolt, The Chapin Sisters, Easy Love, and of course Purple Witch of Culver. We have some big plans brewing for 2021 which I’m thrilled about.

AF: What poets, jazz musicians and activists have influenced your work?

SS: I spent a lot of time at the Poetry Project in NYC over the last few years, which is where I found out about Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, Bernadette Mayer among countless others. They have been an incredible inspiration, enabling me to feel like I can write again. Jazz musicians I am influenced by of course include John Coltrane and Charlie Parker, the two saxophonists I listened to mostly while growing up. Charles Mingus is my favorite composer; he was always very political and his works have been blowing my mind since I was ten years old. Mingus is the reason I got into jazz, and he was a heavy activist. Pretty much anyone I look up to has been outspoken about the political landscape. Right now I am looking towards the BLM movement as well as the BDS movement (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) for their leadership.

AF: Are there any other non-musical things are you inspired by?

ET: Psychology and folklore.

SS: Nature and astrology.

AF: What can we expect from your first ever live-stream?

ET: It will be an opportunity to expand upon all the parts we overdubbed ourselves as we have a band all adding their influence to the tunes. At the end of the day we just want people to dance. 

SS: Purple Witch, live band style! We’re super psyched for this. Tune into for details, this Friday around 7pm EST. We hit right before Laraaji. 

AF: What would you like to see change in the world in 2021?

SS: It’s time for people to come together and help each other. We are going to need to realize our collective power if we are to topple the powers that be and take the measures necessary to ensure a livable planet for all beings. We must keep fighting. 

RSVP HERE for Purple Witch of Culver’s first livestream on 12/11 at 7pm ET.

More great livestreams this week…

12/11 Jhariah, A Day Without Love, Queen of Swords, Oux, Long Neck via Around The Campfire. 7pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/11 Primus via Primus’ website. 9pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/12 Hachiku via 8pm ET, $5, RSVP HERE

12/12 Ilithios via Instagram. 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/12 Charly Bliss via Seated. 7pm ET, $5, RSVP HERE

12/13 Adult Mom, Zeke Forever, Kicksie, Krankey, Ariel + Bottomfeeders via Twitch (benefit for DJT Justice Network). 8pm ET, $5, RSVP HERE

12/14 The Hell Yeah Babies via FLTV. 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/15 Sizzy Rocket via Moment House (Live from an Abandoned Theme Park). 9pm ET, $10, RSVP HERE

12/16 Beau via 8pm ET, $5, RSVP HERE

RSVP HERE: Ilithios Streams Debut Live Performance + 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.

More solo endeavors are sprouting up now that many musicians have been left separated from their bands due to social distancing. Most recently, Manny Nomikos of Catty released a music video of him dancing alone in quarantine and a cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” featuring Rosie Slater. His latest project, Illithios (meaning idiot in Greek), stemmed from a collection songs that never fit well enough to bring to a band. All musicians write songs sometimes that come out of left field, but for Nomikos, a true New Yorker born and raised by a Greek father and Korean mother, the project has its roots in an identity of not feeling a true sense of belonging to either side of himself. The project’s namesake serves as a cover so that “no matter how idiotic it all turns out, at least it’ll be in character,” while the songs themselves range from Thom Yorke-inspired pop to personal drum machine fused folk. Never having performed live before the quarantine, Nomikos will have the unique experience of debuting this project via Instagram livestream. There are only a few tracks available online, so tune in for Illithios surprises tonight (4/27) at 8pm. We chatted with Illithios about how to get better livestream sound quality, Dodge Caravans, and his spirit animal quiz.

AF: You’re livestreaming your live show debut on Instagram. Is that as nerve wracking as having your first show in person?

MN: I hadn’t considered that really, but I suppose it’s way more nerve-wracking. Besides performing on your own, there’s also no physical audience to engage with, which makes the whole performance feel very unfamiliar.

AF: What is your live stream set up like? What’s your favorite piece of gear?

MN: This was the hardest part for me cause I was debating how much I should actually play vs. using samples/pre-recorded parts. I felt that rather than just play the guitar the whole time, I’d use a sampler and tape deck to trigger parts and focus more on a performance. Wasn’t sure I’d be very entertaining just playing a guitar for 30 minutes on the internet. So with that said, my fave piece of equipment is my Critter and Guitari Organelle which I’m using as the central part of the sound.

AF: It says your live stream will be presented in Hi-Fi, what does that mean exactly?

MN: Since being stuck at home I’m sure we’ve all been catching streaming shows and they all sorta have their ups and downs. Instagram live has the best foot traffic for live-streaming but their audio is garbage. So I’m running a bunch of software stuff I found to get IG live running off a laptop and using a proper audio interface so the audio doesn’t have that streaming washiness. Hopefully people put on their headphones and I don’t blow it in the mix and we all have a good time.

AF: One of your cover photos is what I think is a ’90s Dodge Caravan. I owned a 1995 Dodge Caravan named Patrick that was very dear to my heart. Do you have any good Dodge Caravan stories?

MN: There’s a special camaraderie of ’90s Dodge Caravan people. I have yet to meet someone who drove a Caravan who’s not a pretty alright person. I married a Caravan driving gal. One story that sticks out was driving with friends to the mall to get Doom 2. We were so excited to get home that I started to drive before my bud Lamar had closed the sliding side door. And I suppose the momentum or gravity or science did its thing and the door slid back so fast it flew off which was not good. We got it back on but it was never the same.

AF: What is your quarantine anthem?

MN: “Play at Your Own Risk” – Planet Patrol. Or Forest by Stella (with a Greek sigma).

AF: I saw on your Facebook invite you made a spirit animal quiz. What is your spirit animal?

MN: Ooooh… well first off, wanna make sure it’s clear that it’s not like a spammy quiz where I collect data or anything like that. I keep getting butterfly mixed with baby deer. Which is sad cause I made the quiz so I wouldn’t get butterfly but I suppose it can’t be avoided.

AF: What spirit animal do you think I am?

MN: We’ve had limited interactions so I’m gonna guess, based on your Kurt Cobain persona from your Sharkmuffin Halloween show… I’d guess you’re a bat mixed with a little bit of dog spirit. Bats have good intuition, they’re night creatures, are highly motivated but on their own schedule. Like you will make a plan to do your taxes, and you will do it and it will be well done, but like you’ll miss the tax deadline by like a few months. Dog mix gives loyalty and playfulness. I dunno, take the test and see how off I am!

AF: I took the quiz and turns I am 48% an Owl (so you were on track with the night creature), and 43% a Panda. 

RSVP HERE for Ilithios first ever live performance 4/24 8pm est on @mannynomikos Instagram.

More great live streams this week…

4/24 Sleater-Kinney (conversation), Harkin via Instagram. 2:30pm est, RSVP HERE

4/24 Play On: 3-day virtual music festival: The Flaming Lips, Weezer, Cardi B and more via Youtube. 12:00pm est, RSVP HERE

4/24 Post Malone (Nirvana tribute) via Youtube. 6pm est, RSVP HERE

4/25 Bethlehem Steel 24 hour live stream for NYSYLC. 10am est, RSVP HERE

4/25 Block by Blockwest: a Minecraft music festival: Pussy Riot, IDLES, Cherry Glazerr via Block by Blockwest website. 3pm est, RSVP HERE

4/27 WINTER via Baby’s TV. $5 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 Bully via Noonchorus. $8 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 The Footlight Drink and Draw via Instagram. 7pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 Exploding in Sound Live From Home feat. Pile, Shady Bug, Jordyn Blakely (Stove) + more via Instagram. 6pm est RSVP HERE