Monday, August 22, 2016

Pheaturing Nicholas Johnston From Cut Off Your Hands

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Let's talk about Lochte again, shall we? On Saturday, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte sat down with Matt Lauer to apologize for lying about getting robbed at gunpoint in Rio. Well, he's sorry for his "over-exaggeration" of the story, but he's still not entirely sure he didn't get robbed. But he is taking "full responsibility" either way. Immediately after the incident (in which Lochte pulled a framed advertisement off the wall and peed everywhere but the bathroom), Lochte told Lauer in a phone interview, "We are victims here." But the police said, "Not victims, they're vandals." Lochte says, "It's how you wanna make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion, or just us paying for the damages, we don't know, all we know is that there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money." Lauer points out that someone did translate the words of the gas station employees, who were saying the swimmers had to pay for the stuff they broke or else they were going to call the cops. So, not so much a robbery. Lauer presses Lochte to see if he understands. Lochte says, "We just wanted to get out of there." Yeah, probably almost as much as he wanted to get out of that interview. Even if Lauer wasn't ready to let Lochte off the hook so easily, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sure was, chalking the incident up to just kids having fun. Okay, but Lochte is 32.
Alicia Machado won the Miss Universe in 1996, but apparently her experience with the man who bought the contest that year... Donald Trump... was haunting enough that 20 years later, she finally registered to vote just so she could oppose him. Speaking on Estrella TV's "Rica La Noche," Machado said for 19 years she's struggled to convince people that the man who called her "Miss Piggy" for her weight and "Miss Housekeeping" for her Venezuelan heritage was "...a racist, a horrible person. I worked with this man, for this man, for a year out of my life that I don't wish upon my worst enemy." Machado was also asked whether Trump had ever made sexual advances. "I want to vomit. Never in my life, the man would've liked to." She did say he made attempts on "me and everyone else, That's why he bought Miss Universe, it was his private harem." Most disturbingly, Machado recounted how she had gained some weight after her 1996 victory and approached "the very sweet woman" running the day-to-day operations of Miss Universe, and asked for help fixing her diet and getting on an exercise regimen. The organization flew her to New York to meet a dietician. Then Donald Trump got involved. "The next day, they took me to the gym, and I’m exposed to 90 media outlets." Unexpectedly for Machado, Trump was in the room, in charge. He had staged an event for her to exercise and sweat off her weight in front of the media. “I was about to cry in that moment with all the cameras there,” recounts Machado, "I don’t want to do this, Mr. Trump." "I don’t care," responded Trump. Asked in 2016 whether he had made Machado lose weight, Trump casually replied, "To that, I will plead guilty." Machado said that after the humiliating experience, broadcast and reprinted for the whole country, she developed anorexia and bulimia, and has been in therapy ever since. "I've been saying the same thing for 19 years," she said. "I am so happy that after so long, people believe me."
Great news, ladies. Sexism is over! At least, according to more than 50% of men. RIP sexism. Goodbye forever. The Pew Research Center surveyed 4,602 adults this past June and July on whether they believe that there are “still significant obstacles that make it harder for women to get ahead than men.” And 56% of men said no, compared to just 34% of women. But what would women know about their own experiences regarding sexism?“ A 63% majority of women say obstacles continue to make it harder for women than men today, compared with 34% who say they are largely gone,” said Pew researchers. “Among men, 41% think women still face obstacles that make it harder to get ahead, while 56% say those challenges have mostly been eliminated.” The survey also found, maybe unsurprisingly, that Democrats were more likely to believe in sexism than Republicans. Only 23% of Republican men believe women still face challenges due to sexism, whereas Republican women were split about 50-50 on the issue. The study didn't provide answers as to why so many men believe obstacles like the wage gap and sexual harassment no longer exist. But if you asked one, he'd probably be willing to explain. No, don't ask me. Please. Moving on...
People are ordering these giant Snorlax cushions and instantly regretting it.

Yep, Pok├ębros in Japan are ordering massive Snorlax cushions only to find that their very appeal... their massiveness... makes them nearly impossible to fit through the door. You might think you want to pay $516 for an approximately four-foot-wide, five-foot-tall Snorlax cushion because you're lonely and you need a big Snorlax hug. But keep in mind, Snorlax can't pay rent.And you might wish he would, since he's going to be basically as big as your studio apartment. Even if you get him through the door, you're going to have to buy him his own bed. Your new roommate's a lazy sack of fuzz.
Since the dawn of time, Panda Express has been a staple of American airport and mall food court cuisine. Sure, it's never been the most authentic Chinese dining experience, but it's always been there for us in our times of need, and it's just proven that it will always have our backs once again. Lisa Jennings, the West Coast bureau chief of Nation's Restaurant News, tweeted that Panda Express is considering a switch to the "Chork." The Chork is a fork/chopstick hybrid comparable to America's other favorite utensil, the Spork. In a statement to First We Feast, Panda Express called the Chork "a perfect way to illustrate the mashup of Chinese and American cultures... just like Panda Express." The Chork is not currently available, but there is a "possibility" that it will make its way into Panda Express locations nationwide. People who can't understand how chopsticks work soon might finally have a way to get out of it without having to awkwardly ask for a fork. What a time to be alive.
Hey, so, you know about the Ku Klux Klan, right? Well, I always thought it was just "black" people they didn't like.

Guess they don't like people with those same letters. Think about it. Ha. Thank the maker I'm strawberry blonde, not ginger. So, do you know what a bathroom sign in Saudi Arabia looks like? I'll show you.

Hahaha. So, I love kid's drawings. Especially when they don't look exactly innocent. Like this one...

Sup, hose? It's summer, and all through summer I have been showing you pics of women in the greatest summer invention... the bikini... with something not so sexy in the background. Well, here's the last one...

"Don't mind me, ladies. Don't. Mind. Me." There's one thing you might not know about me is that I don't like to break rules. Unlike this person...

Did the read the title of the book, man? Ugh! And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is...

Top Phive More Things You Don't Want To Hear Coming From The Next Bathroom Stall
5. Ah... there's that roll of quarters! Still safer than the banks!
4. Siri, what's the easiest way to remove fecal matter from your phone?
3. I'll say this for 'em... Sea Monkeys are resilient!
2. Brrr! The water sure is cold today!
And the number on thing you don't wanna hear from the next bathroom stall is...
1. Fifteen minutes of diarrhea and the water still looks better than what they're swimming in down in Rio!

If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so, I live in Florida as you probably know... and here in Florida some things happen that happen no where else in the Universe. That's why I have a pheature called...

According to the "NFW Daily News," 28-year-old Mary Ester was driving down a road in Fort Walton Beach, FL, on July 7th when she failed to observe a stop sign, drove through an intersection, and plowed into the wall of someone's home. When the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office questioned her about the accident, she told them her eyes had been closed during the whole event because she was praying. She quite literally "let go and let God," and God reminded her that He steers those who steer themselves. She tried to back out (no word on whether her eyes were open then) but was stuck in sandy soil. Question 1: It's possible to pray with your eyes open, right?Question 2: What was she praying for? An excuse to buy a new car?She was cited for reckless driving with property damage, but, thank god, neither she nor anyone in the house was injured. It's a miracle! Jesus could walk on water, but apparently isn't so great at driving on lawns. At least this isn't another story about a terrible woman driver, right?

Ku Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan is a U.S. terrorist group devoted to the cause of white supremacy despite its members being the best argument against it.

Today's guest is the lead singer for the New Zealand band Cut Off Your Hands whose latest EP "Hollow"is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Nicholas Johnston.

Me: Hey, Nicholas, welcome to the Phile, how are you?

Nicholas: I'm good.

Me: Okay, I have to say first thing, what a horrible name for a band. I don't mean that to be disrespectful, but why Cut Off Your Hands? Why not Pull Out Hair or Cut Fingernails? Where did the name originate from? It doesn't give a pleasant thought in the mind when you hear a band name like that.

Nicholas: Originally we named this band Shaky Hands after a nervous condition I had as a child... the name Cut Off Your Hands was the title of our first EP and was a reference to Derrida's writing on auto-immunity. I was drawn to the violence of the title for our EP as we were then quite an aggressive post punk band and the music was very angular etc... we wanted to sound like gang of four or wire or ex-models even. It only became our bands name after an American band threatened to sue us as they claimed they had the name Shaky Hands before us. This was a real nuisance as we had gained quite a following by that stage in New Zealand and Australia, so we were trying to keep our name similar to that which we had established... we tried subtly changing it to These Hands Are Shaky or something similar but the American band wouldn't allow that and continued to send us cease and desist letters from their lawyers, we were young and were planning on heading to the states soon, so we took it seriously... and decided that the title of our EP was the closest name possible to the original title that we could have... So, the EP became titled "Shaky Hands" by the band Cut Off Your Hands... and we've been under that name ever since. It is violent and perhaps at odds with what we sound like, but a name is what you make it right? Do you think of someone physically smashing a pumpkin when you look at the cover of any of Smashing Pumpkins records?

Me: Sometimes, yes. Hahaha. As for your music, really good. I was expecting death metal or something. I downloaded the new album "Hollow" and really liked it. How did that title become the album title?

Nicholas: It loosely conveys a sense of what the lyrical themes are on the record... it was written after a bit of disappointment with the way things had panned out on our first album, going from being hyped and traveling the world and having a massive party, to the other side of that, feeling drained, and a little spat out, used up... hollowed out.

Me: You guys are definitely not hollow. This new album is your second after "You & I," and you also had a lot of EP's out. How long did it take to record "Hollow" and was making the album as fun as it was the first time around?

Nicholas: Making "Hollow" was a lot of fun, we did it really quickly, all in a week at our drummer's parents home in Auckland. It was the first time recording at home in New Zealand since we made our first EP (the one I was talking about earlier) which incidentally was also recorded at our drummer's parents place. It was nice to control the process as opposed to the first record where we were in London with big name producers and record company people hanging over our shoulders telling us what they thought... This time we did what we wanted and then sent our labels the results, it probably cost about 5% of the first one, and sounds waaaay better. Always record at home!

Me: I hear a lot of Echo and the Bunnymen and Talking Heads in your music. Are they influences of yours?

Nicholas: Of course, I love both of those bands, an awful lot. Particularly the way both those bands allowed the moment to last a little longer than usual, by that I mean, you hear in their music the way the bass note and the groove of the song will sit nicely in this one moment for a while... allowing the band to play around it, and you get this built up tension between the melodies... which are attempting to free themselves but are constantly refrained by the solid groove of the bass and drums... It's in a lot of their songs, both bands, but off the top of my head I'm thinking of a famous song like "The Cutter" by Echo and the Bunnyen... or "Girlfriend is Better" by Talking Heads of course there are many other elements of their music which I really like and could go into detail more about, but that element is what influenced my song writing the most on "Hollow."

Me: Who is in the band? You had a few guys drop out, right?

Nicholas: We had a couple guys leave, Mikey played guitars for us from the start, and he left just after first album "You and I" came out... we were doing a lot of touring, and were never home and I think it was a strain on his relationship with his girlfriend, who he moved back to New Zealand to marry. Mikey was replaced by Jonathan Lee, who has been with us since. Our drummer Brent took some time out when we were touring in the U.S.A. due to hearing problems (he had hearing aids from the age of 21) so came home to give his ears a break... he is very careful with them and always wears ear plugs and is playing with us again... he wrote the song "Oh Hell" on the record. Phil who plays bass and I make up the rest of the group.

Me: I have to ask you about New Zealand, Nick. Are you all from there and do you still live there?

Nick: We are all from New Zealand, and we have moved back here in the last year to live here again after years on the road and living in London.

Me: I interviewed a few bands from New Zealand and heard it was a beautiful place to live. Do you like living there?

Nick: It is very laid back, a small population, it's easy living compared to places like New York and London... but its a little boring, if I weren't studying here/had some money I'd probably have moved overseas again.. to somewhere bigger.

Me: What do you think about pretty much every fantasy film being filmed there? Do you see a lot of filming in your town?

Nick: Haha, most of it's filmed down in the South Island where the scenery is that typical "Lord of the Rings" mountains of snow and lakes etc... very beautiful, in Auckland where I'm from they've shot a few things... I worked on the set of Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe years ago... I was in charge of making sure sheep didn't cross into the paddock where filming was happening, ha.

Me: That's cool. Are you a fan of Flight of the Conchords?

Nick: Yeah, they're pretty funny, but its a little cringe for New Zealanders... I think it's funnier if you're not from New Zealand.

Me: Do you say "Hil yes" often?

Nick: Haha, we don't have an accent, it's everyone else who has the funny accents.

Me: Eveyone has an accent... unless you're a mute. Do you ever make it over to America to play? Ever been in Florida?

Nick: We've toured America a lot, but never played in Florida, I dunno why that is. I once went there as a kid with my family, I was five years old and all I remember is going to the Everglades and traveling on a hover boat feeding alligators marshmallows.

Me: What is a typical Cut Off Your Hands show like, Nicholas?

Nick: We used to be pretty crazy, jumping into the crowd and just getting amongst it in general, limbing on shit etc... now it's more just playing the songs, and I think its gotten louder, hopefully it's intense... I wanna sound like the band The Church live.

Me: I have to say I watched your video for the song for "Fooling No One" and what a complex video it is. Who came up with the concept?

Nick: Our friend made the video with four other directors, the idea was that we wanted it to be nonsensical, just about a whole bunch of things happening at once, and not too serious... the lyrics are about me having a laugh at myself for taking myself so seriously, so I wanted the video to be fun to watch. The five directors each wrote a series of vignette treatments, and none of them could know what the others were shooting until the edit... so that's why it is a bunch of disparate scenes woven together all mixed matched.

Me: There's like a thousand different shots in it, and lots of special effects. How long did it take to make? It looked like it was a lot of fun making it.

Nicholas: They made it real quick. I think we gave them two weeks to make it... it helped that we didn't do any performance as in band playing live stuff. That stuff is so boring as a band and I didn't want to do it so just had me singing in front of a mirror and on the ground and that took like an hour and was all the involvement I had with the filming process. I received the final edit and said "it's good."

Me: I also noticed you kids have your own Blogspot. Is that your main website? How long have you had it up, guys? Mine's been up for ten years.

Nicholas: I've been doing that for a couple years... since 2008, but we don't do much on it, I used to do more but more people visit sites like our Facebook page so it's not so encouraging putting effort into something which only a handful of people will ever see. I like it for posting up demos and mp3s that people can have for free, etc.

Me: Nicholas, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I wish you lots of luck and continued success. Go ahead and plug your website and everything. Take care, and please come back on here again.

Nicholas: Our website is but you should visit more often... make me feel like people are actually out there... somewhere.

Me: Good job, take care.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Nicholas for a great interview. The Phile will be back in two weeks on September 4th with jazz singer Claire Dickson. 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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