Monday, November 17, 2014

Pheaturing Andrew Foys, Jeff Krause And Stefan Dostanic From Tapebenders

Hello, and welcome to a very rainy and stormy day here at the Phile. I don't know about where you live but here in Central Florida it's storming. My favorite time to pretend I was going to exercise is when it's raining out. Alright, what's going on in the news?  Comedian Bill Cosby completely lost the ability to make word-like noises with his vocal cords over the weekend when NPR reporter Scott Simon asked him a question about the sexual assault allegations that have been welling up on the Internet this month. "This question gives me no pleasure, Mr. Cosby, but there have been serious allegations raised about you in recent days," Simon said during the interview. This was followed by silence, as Cosby was clearly struck by some sort of hysterical muteness due to the awkwardness of the reference. "You're shaking your head no. I'm in the news business. I have to ask the question. Do you have any response to those charges? ... Shaking your head no." You know, "a Cosby sweater" should be the term given to a woman nervously accepting an invitation from Bill Cosby.  Facebook is planning to release a work-specific version of Facebook to compete with other professional platforms by Google and Microsoft that nobody actually uses but that still appeal to easily impressed members of upper management who have the authority to throw away money on fad technologies. Facebook at Work will not include functionality for inviting people to play Farmville, but will allow you to invite people spend their time even less productively at interoffice brainstorming sessions. The room I most often walk into and immediately forget why I'm there is Facebook.  The day we have long feared is finally at hand. The world's supply of chocolate is beginning to dwindle. Global consumption of chocolate is beginning to outpace cocoa farmers' ability to produce an insufficient quantity of the precious beans to satiate the corpulent masses' unending desire to shove handfuls of the sweet food into their ever-hungry mouths. Soon will come the craving-induced uprisings. Civilization will surely fall, crushed beneath the weight of the massively rotund cocoa-hoarding warlords. Or maybe we'll just figure out a way to produce more chocolate. The world running out chocolate would be the best thing that could possibly happen to my body.  Mystical, magic and wizard are just a few of the hilarious words that ridiculous white people often associate with black people, according to a too-good-to-be-true study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. The observed "superhumanization bias" results in many white people actually believing that black people can "read a person's mind by touching the person's head."  A newly released version of Rock Star Games' "Grand Theft Auto 5" allows players to interact with the video game in first person mode, so that they can see through their avatar's eyes, thus really upping the sociopathic quality of the game and making it about forty times more fun to play.  So, do you kids like Dr. Seuss? I love the book "Green Eggs and Ham", that book taught me to read. Well, before it was called that it had a different name. Check it out...

What the fuck is this shit? I won't eat it, not a bit... See, I could write a book like Seuss. I can rhyme. Did you hear my lyrics on the Strawberry Blondes Forever CD?  Yesterday I went to see the movie Big Hero 6. I don't wanna spoil anything, but the big twist of the movie is...

Ha. That's so stupid.  So, you know who Ted Cruz is, right? Did you see the title of his new talk?

I don't get it.  Yesterday when I interviewed Lila Rose on the Phile she mentioned the Free The Nipple program. Well, I looked into it and found this real poster about breast feeding that I have to show.

For some reason that is so hot. You're welcome, fellas. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Little-Known Phacts About Kim Kardashian's Photo...
5. Always business-savvy, Kim worked out a six-figure deal to have the oil ribbed on her reused at a local In-N-Out Burger's deep fryer.
4. Kim really wanted to do this photo shoot before she had another child and all the press was about the stupid baby.
3. More oil was used on Kim's butt than it takes to heat a 1600 square foot house during a New England winter.
2. Shortly after the photo was posted, Kim's thighs were declared federally-protected swamplands.
And the number one phact about Kim's photo is...
1. After a lifetime of blondness, Jonathan Krantz of Buffalo yesterday received an eye transplant and had his vision miraculously restored... becoming the only person in America who was seeing Kim naked for the first time.

Kids don’t know what’s trending. Ask them if they’re fed up with misunderstood vampire action-romances and they’ll ignore you. Similarly, they are probably not currently exhausted by superhero origin stories. They don’t get concepts like over-saturation or "done to death."  It is for them that the delightful Big Hero 6 exists. A Marvel product through and through... adapted from the comic book miniseries, complete with Stan Lee cameo... BH6, by remaining in the primary-colored world of the cartoon, stays more true to its illustrated origins than any live-action transposition could. BH6’s hero is Hiro (the voice of Ryan Potter), a 14 year-old Japanese-American orphan living in the mutated metropolis of San Fransokyo with his tech genius brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and loving Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph). Hiro’s no education slouch either, having graduated high school at 13, spending his days creating fighting robots. But when Tadashi entices him to continue studying with the cool nerds of San Fransokyo Tech... where robotics and brilliant inventions are a daily reality... Hiro is smitten with the possibilities.  It could have stopped there, remained simplistic, introduced the inflatable, marshmallowy robot Baymax as cuddly sidekick, and gone about the business of destroying bad guys. But BH6 has more on its mind, tackling subjects like death and mourning in the film's first act, coping and the futility of revenge later on.  Without giving away the hows and whys of BH6's approach to those issues, it’s important to praise it for doing so and for doing so intelligently, with a gentle thoughtfulness that harkens back to co-director Don Hall’s earlier film for Disney, the underappreciated 2011 Winnie The Pooh. As a salve to first-act wounds, we meet the sweet-faced Baymax, who functions as a combination friend/physician, one that can scan, heal and, most importantly in the film’s vocabulary, “care.”  Despite Baymax's nurturing influence, Hiro’s encounter with senseless, intentional death turns him to vengeance, and he recruits his fellow students (T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Genesis Rodriguez, and Damon Wayans, Jr.) to form a superhero team on a mission to hunt the corporate bad guy he believes to be responsible for the tragedy. Their inventions supercharged by Hiro’s tweaks... even Baymax gets Mobile Suit Gundam-style body armor... they sprint into action. And then reflection. And then a change of course.  This is a vital lesson for BH6's very young target audience, one couched in lighthearted humor, eye-dazzling production design, exciting action, and beautiful animation. It's entertaining and admirable, sweet and smart, and like The Iron Giant before it, it sets up real-world stakes and well-considered solutions. All it takes is an inventive spin to stave off superhero burnout, and these animated avengers have it. They're welcome back for whatever new adventures Disney's got in store. From 1 to 10, I give Big Hero 6 a 10.

The 30th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Winged Warrior Chrissy Alberston and this is one of her pieces...

Chrissy will be a guest on the Phile a week from today, kids. Oh, I forgot the Mindphuck. Here we go...

Can you spot it? It's pretty tricky. Let me know if you do.

Okay, today's pheatured guests are three guys from the Wisconsin based band Tapebenders whose album "Chasing Ghosts" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile Andrew Foys, Jeff Krause and Stefan Dostanic.

Me: Hey, guys, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Andrew: Hey, thanks for having us. We are doing great. Lots of exciting things going on right now. 

Me: I just listened to your album "Chasing Ghosts" and I really liked it. Some of your songs are too short though, why is that?

Jeff: Songs are like thoughts. Some thoughts go on a while, and others are fleeting and quick. We don't usually go into writing a song with the length in mind. We write until we feel the thought is complete.

Me: The album is a mix of your past releases, am I right? Is that cheating?

Andrew: Haha. Yes, it is a mix of past releases but the songs have evolved a ton over the years and we re-tracked everything from top to bottom with a totally unified sound so overall it changed form massively.

Me: You guys have been around for a few years and released three EPs I think, but this is the first release under the name Tapebenders. Where did the name come from, guys?

Andrew: There have been two full length LPs and three EPs under the old name. Deciding the name change was definitely a process. All the names we first started kicking around that we liked were taken. So we had to get creative to find something that had meaning to us in some way and wasn't already taken. We came up with Tapebenders and it stuck.

Me: I like it a lot better than Elusive Parallelograms. That band name is hard to remember. Is that why you changed it?

Jeff: There were a number of reasons as to why we changed the name. The biggest reason being, most of members had changed over the years and it felt like there was less of a connection to the name. Most of the current members never liked EP to begin with. It is hard for people to remember or pronounce. Surprisingly to us, we found too many people couldn't even spell Parallelograms.

Me: Okay, so, who decided to change the name and who came up with Tapebenders?

Jeff: We all decided to change it, as with almost everything we do it was a collaborative effort.

Me: What does it mean?

Andrew: The old style recording process of reel to reel, 2 inch tape, bending the tape causes different noise effects. Something one could do to add audio texture to whatever is being recorded. With the music we like to play, there are a lot of layers and different effects we use. We record ourselves and take it pretty seriously. Always looking for different ways to explore and manipulate sound.

Me: Your band has been compared to The Smashing Pumpkins, The Stone Roses and one of my favorite bands... The Replacements. Are you all fans of those bands?

Jeff: We all have a wide variety of musical influences. Some are fans of those mentioned, some have different tastes.

Me: Your music is a mix of different styles, so I'm guessing you all have different tastes in music. What bands did you guys listen to goring up?

Andrew: Pretty wide ranging... everything from early rock and roll to post punk to free jazz to classical to Motown.

Me: So, if you were gonna compare your band to another band, what would that band be?

Jeff: We wouldn't, we have a hard enough time when people ask us to categorize our sound much less coming up with a comp.

Me: Okay, so, tell the readers who is in Tapebenders. There's six of you, right?

Jeff:  Seven actually and sometimes more Andrew Foys vocals/guitar, Davey Schessow guitar/vocals, myself bass/vocals, Stefan Dostanic guitar, Adam Asher keyboard/lights, Bill Pogue  drums/positive vibes, Tom Ferrin horn/mojo.

Me: Where are you guys from?

Andrew: Bartlet, Illinois.

Jeff: Plainville, Illinois.

Stefan: Serbia.

Me: Stefan, you're from Serbia? I don't know where that is. Where is it?

Stefan: It's a country in Southeast Europe.

Me: When did you come to America and how did you end up in Wisconsin?

Stefan: I moved to the USA in 2001. I came to Wisconsin for the weather and better bread. Seriously, I ended up here because my father moved here from Chicago on account of his second marriage but that's boring, I like the first answer better.

Me: Me too. Haha. Andrew, you have children, right? Are you the only one with kids?

Andrew: Yes on both counts.

Me: What do they think of your music?

Andrew: They think it's loud. Outside of that they don't say a whole lot about it, it is just kind of part of their lives and always has been.

Me: Jeff, you suffered from major mental illness and a drug addiction. How are you now? I am guessing being in a band is good therapy, am I right?

Jeff: Music is definitely therapeutic; from listening to it all the way to writing and recording it. I'm in a much better place these days both mentally and physically. It's not always possible for people to come back from heroin addiction. But it is possible. If I can, anyone could. Make better choices for yourself. Find something you are passionate about (such as music in my case) and go all out with it. 

Me: Wait, that was a stupid question, Jeff, I apologize, but I liked your answer. Anyway, how did you all meet?

Stefan: Andrew,Jeff & Tom met in high school. Andrew met the other guys through mutual friends while he was up in Wisconsin attending college.

Jeff: Andrew and Stefan were founding members of Elusive Parallelograms.

Me: Were you all in other bands before hand?

Jeff: A couple of us started out in other bands, but we all have been interested in making music from a young age.

Me: Let's talk about your video for the the song "Semantics." First off though, what is the song about?

Andrew: We don't really ever approach a song with a specific meanings in mind, more a vignette sequence of individual thoughts tying to different frames of being that manifest through music.

Me: Who does the songwriter for the band?

Andrew: Everyone contributes in myriad ways, there is really not a designated anything in the way we go about creating.

Me: Okay, in the video you guys fight each other and pretty much kill each other, and it's slightly bloody. Who came up with the concept?

Jeff: Adam Asher banged that one out!

Me: Do your kids ever have in band fighting?

Jeff: A band is like a marriage. And every marriage has disagreements at times. But we are all friends creating together for our shared goal. So whenever problems or arguments arise, we talk it out quickly so that we can move on to more enjoyable things.

Me: Okay, I have to ask you about the album cover... is that supposed to be cassette tape?

Andrew: It isn't really supposed to be anything but we dig your interpretation.

Me: How come it doesn't say the title of the album on the cover?

Jeff: When we put the title on the cover, it felt more cluttered than we wanted it to be. When we took the title off, we all agreed it looked better.

Me: I also have to ask you about the promo picture of you guys at the bar with beers. So, I have to ask, what are the beers of your choice? What beers do you have in the photo?

Andrew: Basically any beer that isn't non alcoholic.

Me: No one has Shotz beer? You guys are from Milwaukee. I bet none of you got that reference.

Andrew: Haha. unfortunately no.

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? This is a deep one... if you had the means how would you address the problems of the homelessness? You can each answer, or just one of you.

Andrew: Not really our specialty. We all are quite empathetic to the plights of the world but a solution is unreachable at this point without a serious change in perception from the folks pulling the strings.

Me: Okay, so, now you have had one release out as Tapebenders, will you be releasing a new album with new songs soon?

Jeff: Yes. We have a bunch of new songs written and are currently writing more. We had a meeting the other day discussing the upcoming recording schedule; we start tracking the drums this month.

Me: Well, please come back on the Phile. Go ahead and mention your website, guys, and continued success. Thanks for being here on the Phile.


That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to the guys from Tapebenders. Alright, the Phile will be back on Thursday with singer Meka Nism. Then on Sunday it's My Phorty-Sixth Birthday Special Entry Pheaturing Phile Alum Chris Nelson. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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