Monday, June 10, 2013

Pheaturing Amber Edgar

Hello, and welcome to another entry of the Phile. Yesterday my son and I went to Disney's Hollywood Studios for the last day of Star Wars Weekends, and once again, I got sunburned on the back of my neck. I'm wearing my Kentucky The Bluegrass State t-shirt, so when I go out later, I really will look like a red neck. I should of started the Phile with a howdy not a hello.  Well, in case you haven't heard, the mystery is over. After a month of waiting, it turns out that an 84-year-old woman here in Florida has won the $590 million Powerball lottery. As for how much tax she’s going to have to pay, the IRS said it’s too early to tell because they don’t know whether she’s a Republican or Democrat. Speaking of the IRS... the IRS spent $4 million on a conference in Anaheim that included luxury hotel suites, passes to theme parks, and tickets to sporting events. They say they're not sure of the exact amount they spent because they didn't keep any receipts. Right about now Wesley Snipes is saying, “Hey, what about me? I didn’t have my receipts.”  President Obama has called on Congress to pass a media shield law that would allow reporters to do their job without fear of government prosecution. Don't we already have that? It's called the First Amendment.  A new study says 20 percent of women in their 40s would describe themselves as very happy. However, only 1 percent of women in their 40s would describe themselves as a woman in her 40s.  Domino's Pizza leads the way in delivering pizzas. Guess what they're now using? Drones! Unmanned drones delivering your pizza pie... what could possibly go wrong? When I used to order a pizza it would come in an old Toyota. The guy showing up would be an undocumented guy in a Toyota. What was wrong with that? Today the air space over New York City was closed for four hours. It was because on the radar they picked up one of those pizza drones headed to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's house. They scrambled some fighter jets.  More black eyes for baseball due to performance-enhancing drugs. Guys would go to an anti-aging clinic in Florida and get juiced up and then come back and play baseball. Among these players is Alex Rodriguez, who could be suspended for 100 games. A-Rod was accused, singled out. Out of habit, Lance Armstrong issued a denial. This raises a lot of questions, like, “Don't you have to be playing to be suspended from playing?”  Google announced that it is buying a wind farm in Sweden. And not to be outdone, Bing is buying an oscillating fan off of Craigslist.  Who saw the Tony's last night? Not me. Also on last night was "Game of Thrones" and the NBA playoff's, last night they attempted to divide nerds, jocks, and drama club just like in high school. The Tony's in NYC and Pride in LA are the gay bookends holding this country together today.  Well, as I said, yesterday we went to Star Wars Weekends again, and I have to admit, Disney goes all out on the detail.

Jedi squirrels. They were everywhere. So, if you wondered what Vader did when he wasn't in the parade, in a show or signing autographs in the meet and greet, I have an exclusive. Check it out.

I was watching TV the other day and I came across the show "Figure It Out". I used to love that show, just because of Summer Sanders. Anyway, I noticed something that caught my eye...

Am I just a pervert? By the way, I sent a request to Summer to see if she'll like to be a guest on the Phile. I doubt it will happen, but you never know.  I have to mention this, despite huge profit increases, the great company to work for, the Walt Disney Company, they have raised theme park prices. Disney released this pic with the press release...

Just kidding. LOL. I love working at Disney. Been there for 25 years... So, on June 3rd it was Bad Wolf Day... I had a few readers ask me what Bad Wolf meant. It's a "Doctor Who" thing. Anyway, I asked you kids to write Bad Wolf on something and take a picture. A few people did and sent them to me, so for the rest of this month I will be showing those pictures. Take a look...

Pretty cool. Okay, now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Exciting Features Of The New Xbox One
5. It's not compatible with any old Xbox games... giving users a thrilling, fresh start on game-buying!
4. Thanks to a shoe-horned corporate tie-in, it also dispenses ice cold Pepsi One.
3. Allows users to simultaneously watch TV, download games, browse the Internet AND develop the curling, yellow fingernails of an unwashed shut in.
2. Thanks to TV voice command, simply uttering "harrowing nudity" will call up an episode of "Girls".
And the number one exciting feature of the new Xbox One...
1. Controversial "sharing fee" is easily paid, thanks to convenient, glowing red coin slot on the side of the console.

It is 9:13am, 80 degrees and Kelly revealed the cover of her new single, wearing bridal gear. Noooooooo!!!

Alright, I think I got over it. Nope, I didn't. Moving on... a phriend of the Phile wanted to come on and tell us a story what recently happened to him. He is a singer, patriot and renaissance man... you know what time it is.

Good morning humans... Today is my father's 71st birthday. He was a great man... everything that's good and honorable about me came from him. So, my son Michael and I are at Wendy's. This woman with a baby in a diaper sits at the table right next to us (even though the place was all but empty) and begins to change the little shit machine's diaper right ON the table... the smell alone could gag a maggot. I looked at her and asked, "Do you MIND?" She replies "Oh... I'm SOOOO sorry I ruined your meal." THEN gave me the finger. I waited until she was puting ketchup on her bacon double cheeseburger... walked over... picked my nose and wiped it on the top of the bun. It's the little pleasures in life I enjoy.

That's snot right. LOL. Alright, the 26th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Gallery is...

Phile Alumni Ben Filipiak and Rob Rhine, who are the writer and artist of this book will be on the Phile next Sunday. That's Father's Day.

Today's pheatured guest is a singer, songwriter from Canada who has her first single available on Soundcloud and Bandcamp right now. Please welcome to the Phile... Amber Edgar.

Me: Hello, Amber, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Amber: I'm doing great, and keeping busy!

Me: Okay, I have to tell you, you have been mentioned on the Phile before. I interviewed Adam Bentley from The Rest a few times and last time I did so, Anna Jarvis from The Rest was also interviewed. We talked about The Rest's video for "Hey! For Horses" which features puppet's and Anna said you were the Director of Photography for that video and designed and built the 3D horses. It's a small world. How long have you known the kids from The Rest?

Amber: Yes, I shot the "Hey! For Horses" music video with my DSLR and also created the "3D horses" featured in the video from paper-mache, wires and paint. But my friend Kori Pop really must be credited for most of creativity seen in the video... the concept, set-design, character-design and virtually everyting else I can think of on the project Kori created. I've known those zany cats from The Rest for about a year now. Last March I was looking for a new place to live and heard from a mutual friend that Adam was renting out a room in his house. We were housemates for most of 2012. I got to know the band a lot more over the year (they spent time at the house for band meetings), and even had stint of doing some promotional photography for them. Adam and I got along most of the time but often had Inspector Clousou VS. Kato-style battles at various hours of the day. I was probably Kato, since Adam is the one with the moustache. Unfortunately our fights were not as exciting or destructive as the ones portrayed in the classic Pink Panther films from the 60s. Ours were definitely more "fake, air fights".

Me: Was it fun working on that video?

Amber: It was fun. I've never created a puppet-porno before. I think we've created a new genre?

Me: I think so. I told them the next video should be the same but with real people and animals. What do you think?

Amber: Disturbing and hopefully illegal in most countries.

Me: Being a musician as well as, have you ever played with The Rest? I think I saw a picture with you on stage with Anna. 

Amber: I've never been a musician for The Rest. Only acted as their paper-puppet-pornographer and "for real" professional photographer. That being said Anna Jarvis often accompanies me for solo shows. Anna is a reputable "cellist for hire" around these parts. She's been a session musician for Silverstein and Dallas Green, and has played gigs recently for Amanda Palmer and Hollerado. So I'm very lucky to have her for the occasional gig, but I will make it very clear that I'm trying to steal her from The Rest. Shhh don't tell them that!

Me: You also worked with another band I pheatured on the Phile... Dark Mean. What did you do with those guys?

Amber: I've shared a show date on occasion with The Rest while playing bass or guitar for other bands that were on the same bill. The last show I remember sharing with The Rest was in 2011 at The Piston in Toronto. I was playing bass for Dark Mean, we were on a mini-tour from Toronto to Montréal.

Me: All you Canadian talented types are so close, aren't you? Do you know Christine Leakey as well?

Amber: Actually, I've chatted with Christine Leakey once at a party. Yes, the degree of seperation seems brief within Hamilton music scene though, since I'm just getting started out I'm unsure how true that holds for the "Canadian music scene" at large.

Me: What part of Canada are you from, Amber? Hamilton, I'm guessing. Every time I think of Hamilton I think of the pig from "Charlotte's Web". That was Hamilton I think.

Amber: I landed in "the web" from a small town in Alberta called Innisfail. I moved out here to Ontario about 5 years ago to play guitar in a band.

Me: Okay, I always ask my guests from Canada if they are fans of one of my favorite bands ever... Barenaked Ladies. Are you a fan of them?

Amber: Definitely a Canadian classic! Crazy-solid live band.

Me: Before we talk about your music let's talk about Citizen A. That's your studio, right?

Amber: Yes, I work out of a leased unit, of a re-furbished hotel.

Me: I take it the A stands for Amber. Am I right?

Amber: Sort of. When I came up with the name, I was unsure if my business would succeed and if it did, what the look and feel of the design work would morph into over time. So I didn't want any name that was too descriptive sounding, so for kicks I went something overtly generic. Mass-marketing for manufactured products, treat people like demographics and consumers. Since graphic design is a sort of strange-bridge between art, psychology and commerce I still think the anonymity of "Citizen A" has the potential to become it's own cheeky joke.

Me: How many people do you have working for you, Amber?

Amber: On paper, at this point only myself. But I have a league of seven extrordinary people who I source work to regularly. At this point in the business, and in the tough economic climate... unfortunately I can't responsibly commit to payroll for other people. Perhaps in the future, when my business grows out of it's "toddler" stage and the cash flow stabalizes.

Me: What does Citizen A do apart from working with some really cool bands?

Amber: Website developement, branding and logos, print collateral (think biz cards, brochures, envelopes, flyers). But speaking of bands, I think I've created some really cool and affordable merch products for bands that will make them more money from their digital sales. More soon at

Me: You designed a deck of cards or something for Tegan and Sara I think. That's really cool. How did you get to be approached for that project?

Amber: Feminist Playing Cards is a deck of playing cards featuring illustrations of influential feminist musicians by 14 feminist artists. Led by the direction of Lynn Casper (Founder/Producer of Homoground), the project launched a Kickstarter campaign which successfully surpassed its $12,000 goal in March 2012. There are only 2,500 decks in print. More info at Lynn went to a Tegan and Sara show, put a few boxes of playing cards in the "gift boxes" that T+S had for their fans, and cards were mentioned on a Rolling Stone spread. Link here:

Me: That's really cool. The cards were Feminist Playing Cards? What is that? No Kings or Jacks?

Amber: I designed the actual box artwork as well as the back of cards. I illustrated 4 of the card faces... Sinnead O'Conner, k.d. lang, Leisha Hailey and Bebe. All artists which have some significance to me personally. I sort of regret not drawing John Lennon, but I'm still content with my choices.

Me: So, Amber, what came first, music or art?

Amber: I'm guessing art. I loved drawing as a kid, but I've always played a bit of guitar since I was eleven or twelve.

Me: How did you decide you wanted to be a musician?

Amber: My grandma and grampa played in a country band that did party gigs out in Alberta. Hearing about all that growing up, and being surrounded by my grandma's playing really inspired me to get more into music.

Me: You went to school at Berklee in Boston I think. What did you study there and how long did you go there for, Amber?

Amber: I took some courses online from them, to learn more about sound and studio production. Studying the various, and subtle changes in frequencies, learning the art of mixing and some fundamentals like that. I originally wanted to be a music producer but that wasn't in the cards… pun intended… maybe the music-producer dream will happen later in life. I've always had an interest in how sound works, and how to create with it.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new single you have out called "Honey and Sorrow" with a B-side called "Trouble". First of, have you ever been in trouble? I mean, really big trouble.

Amber: Not with the law… yet.

Me: I love both songs, Amber. Did you write them both?

Amber: Thank you! Yes I did write both of them.

Me: Did song writing come easy for you?

Amber: No, not at first. Some days it's easier now. But I've written a lot of bad songs. I think I've had to write hundreds of bad songs, to finally pen a few good ones.

Me: Who plays on the tracks with you? You sound like you got a pretty cool band.

Amber: Hamilton musicians are amazing so I didn't have to look far. Billy Holmes (Dark Mean) on drums, Jon Daly (City & The Sea / Greg Preston and the Great Machine), Marie Avery (vocals), Kori Pop (vocals / rhodes) and Kelly Atkinson on tambourine. Greg Preston has to get a special mention and my favourite contributions of Greg's are the backup vocals on "Troubles", and the tasty lead guitar line on "Honey & Sorrow". It's an okay song in my opinion, but his guitar line and the other people on the track really bring it to life.

Me: So, are you going to be releasing any more music?

Amber: I'm wanting to release an EP in late fall. We'll see what happens.

Me: Have you been doing many concerts? I probably won't be performing live until August. I'd like to focus on writing, rehearsing and recording.

Me: I have to ask you about the CD cover. It's you squatting on an amp holding something that looks like a remote control for a garage. What are you holding?

Amber: Camera remote... I took the photo.

Me: By the way, you have better balance then I have. I would of fell off that amp. You didn't fall off it, did you?

Amber: No, I used to skateboard and snowboard so my balance is pretty decent.

Me: Alright, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to a game called Tabletopics. Here's yours... if you could master one instrument which would it be?

Amber: It's a toss up between piano and guitar. So much compositional power with a piano, and so much sonic breadth. I always sing a bit better when I'm playing with a piano, but I'm not really confident enough to perform live yet while playing. Guitar is more comfortable, as it's my first instrument.

Me: Amber, thanks for being on the Phile. I hope it was fun for you. Please come back when your next release comes out. Is there a website you'd like to plug?

Amber: It was fun, thank you for having me, Jay! I'd like to plug a local hip-hop dude here in Hamilton… he's ben one of my favourite work-day listens for the past week or so. EmMAY:

Me: Thanks again, and tell The Rest kids I said hello if you see them, okay?

Amber: I will, if you're ever in the neighborhood, give us a head's up and come over for a Matty Buzanko brew. It's the BEST BEER IN CANADA!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Laird Jim and Amber Edgar. The Phile will be back on Sunday with Phile Alum JoDee Purkeypile and then on Sunday with Phile Alumni Ben Filipiak and Rob Rhine from Fierce Comics, and Monday with Melissa Merchese, the lead singer for the band Weekend Riot Club. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. I'll leave you with a picture of when I got my 15th year statue. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

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