Fashion Times: What inspired you to write this book?
Natasha Scharf: “The reason why I started to write ‘The Art of Goth’ is partly because there had never been a book done like this before and partly because there’s such a huge amount of creativity associated with goth that I just thought there needed to be a book like this. The book is actually primarily about music and then there’s the fashion element alongside it. Obviously fashion is a big part of goth, so that’s why it was represented.
Fashion Times: Describe the goth aesthetic.
Natasha Scharf: “The goth aesthetic is what I refer to as a dark aesthetic. The goth movement comes originally from the punk movement which was running in the 1970s. So goth as a movement started organically toward the end of the 1970s and early 1980s. In that sense, it was very much stylized by a darker side of music with literary influences and cinematic influences as well. It was playing a lot on the kind of gothic literature and darker themes in general. From that, you started to get an idea of themes emerging. What started off as a darker style of post-punk then became what’s referred to as goth and people started to see a look emerge. The people who were following goth music were dressing in a certain way and they had particular influences. They were perhaps a little more educated that the punks that were around at the time. They’re more interested in literary things, cinematic things and art as well.”
Fashion Times: How did you become an expert on all things goth?
Natasha Scharf: “I started to get interested in goth pretty much when it first started. There was something about goth that to me was really exciting. It tapped into something that I was fascinated by. It screamed me. There was something mysterious and very hypnotic. I was listening primarily to the music and dressing in a certain way and when I became a journalist in the 1990s, because I was so interested in goth, I just became a goth journalist. That became my specialist area. I did more research, interviewed loads of bands and have been doing so pretty much ever since. It’s become part of my personality.”
NightFeverKing: Meltdown Magazine was a huge hit in the UK while it was still in print. How do you manage to keep the spirit of Meltdown alive after all these years?
Well, ‘meltdown’ was my baby and, in many ways, it was an extension of my personality so I guess it makes sense that all the things I’ve done subsequently – from radio and television to my more recent books – have also reflected my personality. They have an essence of that spirit, if that makes sense. Of course, ‘meltdown’ also had a wonderful pool of contributors, without whom I couldn’t have maintained a quarterly ‘zine.
Back when I started ‘meltdown’, my aim was to take goth seriously as a subculture, style and genre and that’s something that I still maintain. And I don’t mean that ‘meltdown’ never had a sense of humour because that’s one of the things that readers really liked about it! Goth is such a creative movement and contains some of the most incredible talent so I’ve always worked hard to push that and get goth-related articles commissioned in publications and on websites that you might not necessarily associate with goth. For me, it’s all about getting goth out to new audiences that I know will appreciate it once they hear or read about it.
NightFeverKing: How do you balance being an author, DJ, broadcaster and a music journalist?
They actually work in harmony with each other because they’re all ways of communicating about music. I’m always listening to new sounds and always discovering exciting new things so by embracing different mediums, I can choose the most appropriate way, or ways, of getting those discoveries out there.
When I first started mixing mediums in the early ‘00s, I had criticism from people who accused me of getting “too big for my boots” because they thought I was on some kind of power trip. I never understood those accusations because that wasn’t what I was doing. In my mind, I was simply looking for opportunities and openings to spread the good word of goth and maximising the mediums that were available. Fast forward 10 years, and it seems like everyone uses multiple mediums now so maybe I was ahead of the trend?!
Check out the rest of the NightFeverKing interview with Natasha Scharf here: http://nightfeverking.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/the-art-of-gothic-interview-with-author-natasha-scharf/
Sheet music is something to be used, yet also a piece of art to be saved and visually enjoyed. In Visions of Music, Tony Walas presents a collection of covers that offer keen insight into the world as it was, reflecting the passage of time. It’s the memories and history they invoke that transcends the music they contain. Watch the trailer below for an exclusive look at this work of art!
Ericka Blount Danois visited The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA in Baltimore to talk about “Soul Train” and her book Love, Peace, and Soul: Behind the Scenes at America’s Favorite Dance Show.
Love, Peace, and Soul tells the story of the television phenomenon known as Soul Train, a show created in the land of bell bottoms, afros, and soul power; a show that became the touchstone of the Baby Boomer generation. Don Cornelius, host and owner of the show, was one of the coolest cats on television. With his platform shoes, wide neckties, and mellifluous voice, he showed the world just how corny American Bandstand was in comparison. In 2012, fans were shocked to hear one of the most powerful men in the music and television business took his own life.
Love, Peace, and Soul is a celebratory, behind-the-scenes collection of anecdotes, stories, and reflections, from the people who were there, about the host, the show, and the power of black music and dance on television.
Cary Ginell recently was a guest on Inquiry on WICN radio in Worcester, Mass., and the subject was Julian “Cannonball” Adderly and Ginell’s book, Walk Tall. (Keep an eye out for the next book from Cary Ginell in the Hal Leonard Jazz Biography Series, The Evolution of Mann: Herbie Mann and the Flute in Jazz!)
Cannonball Adderley introduces his 1967 recording of “Walk Tall,” by saying, “There are times when things don’t lay the way they’re supposed to lay. But regardless, you’re supposed to hold your head up high and walk tall.”
This sums up the life of Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, a man who used a gargantuan technique on the alto saxophone, pride in heritage, devotion to educating youngsters, and insatiable musical curiosity to bridge gaps between jazz and popular music in the 1960s and ’70s. His career began in 1955 with a Cinderella-like cameo in a New York nightclub, resulting in the jazz world’s looking to him as “the New Bird,” the successor to the late Charlie Parker. But Adderley refused to be typecast. His work with Miles Davis on the landmark Kind of Blue album helped further his reputation as a unique stylist, but Adderley’s greatest fame came with his own quintet’s breakthrough engagement at San Francisco’s Jazz Workshop in 1959, which launched the popularization of soul jazz in the 1960s. With his loyal brother Nat by his side, along with stellar sidemen, such as keyboardist Joe Zawinul, Adderley used an engaging, erudite personality as only Duke Ellington had done before him.
All this and more are captured in this engaging read by author Cary Ginell.
It’s March, and those of us in northern climes are holding out the hold that soon we will be able to put away the heavy boots and heavy boots and enjoy some warmer temperatures. (If you happen to be somewhere that is perpetually sunny and pleasant, we are more than a bit jealous.)
In an attempt to hasten summer’s arrival, may we suggest Surf Beat by Kent Crowley, the first comprehensive narrative history of one of modern music’s most controversial and misunderstood musical movements.
The late 1950s and early 1960s Southern California phenomenon of Surf Music wasn’t about surfing but was an electronic revolution and a key incubator in the careers and futures of some of popular music’s most important and enduring artists such as Brian Wilson, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and many others. As an electronic music revolution, Surf Music formed the foundation for all subsequent electric guitar idioms as the form in which the amplifier became the voice of the lead guitar and the lead guitar became the voice of Rock & Roll.
Surf Beat explores Surf music from its late 1950s origins as a “do-it-yourself”proto-punk movement erupting along Southern California’s coastlines through the early 1960s where its subsequent technological innovations blazed the trail for acid rock, folk rock, jazz fusion and heavy metal to its resurrection in the mid 1990s as a soundtrack to a new school of urban films noir. Surf Beat also examines how Hollywood exploitation and the music’s relationship to the evolving sports of surfing and skateboarding obscured the form’s musical contributions.
Kent talks about his book here.
Guest Blogger: David Flitner, the editor of Less Noise, More Soul: The Search for Balance in the Art, Technology, and Commerce of Music, shares some insights about the modern music industry.
Less Noise, More Soul began as a commentary piece I wrote for Billboard. At the time, few questions were being raised about the role of digital technology in the making of music. Most people were, understandably enough, excited by the sheer sense of possibility the new tools represented. And there was always the chance that one did not wish to be seen as insufficiently cool regarding all things of a cutting edge nature. Yet, within a year of the article’s appearance, every serious recording publication was making reference to the issue. And here’s why: better tools did not seem to be correlating with an equal output of better music.
I felt it might be useful to invite serious and thoughtful exploration of this paradox by industry insiders. One of the writers, who is also among the most vigorous critics of the current situation, nonetheless counseled me to avoid letting the discussion become a “one note samba” of bashing. I needn’t have worried. As the essays began to roll in it became quite clear that each person was sharing a very individual point of view based on his or her experience and passion.
For example, few people on the planet combine gifts of technical expertise and creative sensibility more wonderfully than mastering engineer Bob Ludwig. Yet he is greatly concerned about music becoming less durably listenable due, in large part, to excessive reliance on processing.
Kenny Aronoff, arguably the top drummer in contemporary music, feels that loneliness (yes, despite the seeming connectivity of social media) is reflected in a lack of human feeling in music, work that is increasingly computer-derived and shaped.
Early reviews have been enthusiastic: “essential reading,” “an awesome manifesto,” “provocative, much more prickly than any guidebook to music tech has ever been,” “amusing and eye-opening and sometimes shocking.” The book has already found a home in libraries at MIT, Yale, UCLA, McGill and many additional distinguished institutions.
Music is perhaps the most profoundly personal, yet public, form of art. And popular music, especially, has the potential to shape culture on a global basis. That’s why it’s so important to get it right (as elusive as the definition may be) at all levels.
Digital tools can be part of an organic process that enhances the creative experience. Each of the writers in Less Noise, More Soul brings a unique voice to the larger conversation of how music is evolving with these tools. No one suggests theirs is the one and only answer, only that we ask better questions.
Less Noise, More Soul: The Search for Balance in the Art, Technology, and Commerce of Music brings together original essays by a select group of industry professionals, many of them award winners, who share a wealth of experience, passion, and insight into where popular music has been, where it currently finds itself, and where it’s going. The book is designed to be a portable vehicle for generating discussion: not too long, and replete with the poignant, thought-provoking commentary of many “brand-name” players in the industry. Perfect for the office or the college classroom, Less Noise, More Soul will enhance the understanding of music as a medium and a business for students, artists, producers, and other industry professionals. Contributors include Bob Ludwig, Adam Ayan, Kenny Aronoff, Lydia Hutchinson, and more.
By Peter Kirn
Author of Keyboard Presents the Evolution of Electronic Dance Music
I had the pleasure this year of working on a book that draws from over 30 years of coverage of Electronic Dance Music’s evolution. Collecting pages primarily from Keyboard, with additional content from Remix, we retrace the relationship of machines and music, technology and movement, in producing the sounds to which people dance.
It’s impossible to be encyclopedic in such an endeavor, but part of what I enjoyed about working on the project was getting to see through the eyes of the artists. You hear them talk in astounding detail about how they actual craft what they make. They curse their gear and long for more usable tools. They lament challenges in the scene that echo today. And they talk, musician to musician, about why they do what they do…
To finish reading this article, plus a table of contents and more interior photos, go to this article on createdigitalmusic.com.
From its roots in 1970s New York disco and ’80s Detroit techno to today’s international, mainstream explosion of such genres as house, trance & dubstep, electronic dance music has reshaped the popular musical landscape. This book digs deep through the archives of Keyboard magazine to unearth the insider history of the art and technology of the EDM movement, written as it happened. We hear from the artists who defined the genre (Jean Michel Jarre, Depeche Mode, Deadmau5, BT, Kraftwerk and more). Revisit the most significant synths, beatboxes, and musical tools that made the music possible, through the eyes of those who first played them. Learn the history, then the expert techniques behind the music, so you can apply the same craft to your own music and mixes.
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE NOW HERE:
The Evolution of Electronic Dance Music @ Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Hal Leonard book page