In the land of professional wrestling many athletes come and go, some reach success and others fade back into the world. We sit down with star of the critically acclaimed lucha program 'Lucha Underground' Karlee Perez. In this first ever sit-down interview we discuss her path getting to Lucha Underground, influences and support she had when she transitioned to being an actor and really speak about the process she gets into when tackling dominating roles like the one she plays on Lucha Underground as the dark and mysterious Catrina. Listen to her stories of she has been able to reach success step by step and carving her own path in the world of entertainment. Sit back and enjoy this nearly hour long conversation with one of the most popular figures in wrestling and pop culture.
Season 1 | Episode 4 | Off The Record with Rey MYSTERIO Jr. LIVE from C2E2.
On the 4th and last of the C2E2 interview series, we speak with lucha libre legend Rey Mysterio Jr. A former WWE & World Heavyweight Champion, he speaks about the evolution of Lucha Libre and what he likes about being part of the Lucha Underground roster!
Also available on iTunes: On The Ropes Wrestling Podcast
Season 1 | Episode 3: Off The Record with Johnny Mundo, Taya, & Chris DeJoseph. LIVE from C2E2.
We bring you smarts, braun, and sexiness... Taya and Chris DeJoseph were also on the show! We sit down with the Wednesday night delight and Lucha Underground Champion Johnny Mundo, Taya, and writer Chris DeJoseph. We speak on the development of their characters, injuries, and what is said to be an Academy Award, Oscar worthy documentary. Tune in to watch now!
Also available on iTunes: On The Ropes Wrestling Podcast
Season 1 | Episode 2: Off The Record with Eric Van Wagenen. LIVE from C2E2.
In the "Windy City" LIVE from C2E2, the crew of On The Ropes (OTR) Network were joined by Executive Producer Eric Van Wagenen of Lucha Underground, Bully Beatdown, and WWE's Tough Enough.
Also available on iTunes: On The Ropes Wrestling Podcast
On the first episode of season 1 of Off The Record we are joined by Melissa Santos and Vampiro LIVE from C2E2. The voices of Lucha Underground discuss the second half of Lucha Underground Season 3, character work and research, lucha libre and Melissa's not so favorite luchador Marty "The Moth" Martinez.
You can listen to the full interview on iTunes: On The Ropes Wrestling Podcast
In 2004, Sports Entertainment company WWE held a women's match as the main event for their flagship show Monday Night Raw. Trish Stratus and Lita would end the show for the Women's Championship. Truly the first revolutionary moment in the world of professional wrestling in the mid 2000's. Since then, not much has changed for the better. Sure, Sasha Banks and Charlotte have both gone to main event Raw or even have the very first Hell In A Cell match this past October. But was it truly revolutionary? Without taking that accomplishment away from the two great talents, was that really a revolutionary moment for women in the wrestling industry? Some say it was, praising the women's efforts, others calling the match a publicity stunt. Taking away the outside chatter of fans and analysts the match left something to be desired. Earlier in the night previous to their historic match, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins had an amazing match and one that most fans would have called the true main event and the best Hell In A Cell match of the night.
Something was missing. Even after a historic match where both women put their bodies, and well being on the line the match left something to be desired. It was not as exciting as Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens match, was not as hard hitting and impactful like Roman Reigns and Rusev's match. Fast forward to a couple weeks later. November 16th, 2016 Lucha Underground aired one of the most talked about moments in wrestling history to date when Lucha Underground star Sexy Star captured the Lucha Underground Championship. Only in season 3, Lucha Underground has become the alternative to the conventional wrestling product that most fans know. Adding elements of supernatural and aztec mythology to their program, it has become a tv destination for wrestling fans. One of the more unique attractions to the show, other than being produced by talked about director Robert Rodriguez is the fact that Women can wrestle the Men. This decision by the show has brought some controversy. Some believing it promotes violence against women, others however have stood up for the decision. Watching the show one would know that these women are no damsels in distress. These women hold their own against the men, some of these women include Ivelisse who has also wrestled for the Lucha Underground Championship, Karlee Perez aka Catrina one of the more popular female characters on the show, Taya and the fore mentioned Sexy Star.
Since her debut in Lucha Underground, Sexy Star (Dulce Garcia) has predominantly been in feuds with male competitors. Her most notable feud being with Johnny Mundo aka John Hennigan fka as WWE Superstar John Morrison. Sexy Star has proven to fans and colleagues alike that the women are just as tough, in fact sometimes tougher. Lucha Underground has not been afraid to show the world that in their promotion, women do not get special treatment and have to work just as hard as the men. The result, Sexy Star becoming the first world champion for a company that is not strictly a women's wrestling promotion and gives women the equality they have earned and deserve. Sexy's Star is rising and sooner rather than later she will become a household name around the world. Unfortunately, Sexy Star has since lost the LU Championship to Johnny Mundo. Time will tell what the future holds for this amazing athlete who has inspired countless little girls and women to follow their dreams.
Cemetery Sun is a five piece band made up of Josh Doty (singer), Austen Butler (drummer), Elliot Polokoff (guitarist, producer), Jesse Mancillas (lead guitar) and Matt Scarpelli (bassist) from Sacramento, CA. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of attending a show where Cemetery Sun were on tour in support of Vinyl Theatre and Finish Ticket in St. Louis, MO. First, I was amazed at the fact that some members of the band took the time to talk to the people in line waiting to get in. Second, once their set begun I couldn't help but to go immediately to iTunes and hope for some music. Only 2 singles but alas we have the official EP.
1. Fake Love
Off the bat, the simple beat/2 note intro has a build. Hoping it pays off and it does as a swell of electric and rock sound hits your ears with no apologies. The lyrics paint a good picture of an emotion or feeling one has. "Hard drugs, Fake Love it's a sensation, makes one hell of a collaboration". The singing from Josh is executed in fast pace while still carrying that emotion of confusion and anger. The drums elevate the sound, creating an atmosphere suited better for a stadium show.
E.Y.T.K.Y. is the softest of the songs, with a slower intro. You can definitely hear that dark place the band goes to. Simple is sometimes the best route to go and Josh does it best with his effortless voice. The bass keeps the beat and really follows great throughout the song.
3. Sleeping It Off
As soon as the song starts you feel this great dance anthem lift you off your feet. The guitar puts you in the groove and the background vocals help create it haunting but bright. The chorus is sweet, simple and cuts to the bone. From beginning to end you just want to sing along to Josh's infectious voice, jumping and dancing in a club with an array of color lights flashing on the dance floor. Sleeping It Off would make the perfect summer anthem.
Diamonds truly allows Josh to play with his voice giving the song an R&B feel that you could easily hear from a top-selling R&B artist. The electro beat in the back gives it a soulful sound. One of the more underrated songs but will become a favorite among fans of Cemetery Sun.
Overall, Cemetery Sun released a very strong EP and one hopes that a full length album is coming soon that brings just as much passion and amazing technical ability from the group of 5. Cemetery Sun EP = A-
Catch Cemetery Sun on tour this winter with The Struts and visit cemeterysunband.com for more tour info and updates. Purchase the EP now on iTunes and Googleplay
Over the years cosplay has been the biggest pop culture phenomena since the early 2000's with such big hits like the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, and superhero films coming to the forefront. Anime, SciFi, Fantasy, and Superheroes have been the biggest inspiration for fans of such films, tv shows, book, and etc to bring these characters to life.
In the initial inception, cosplay was perceived to be male dominated. Over the years cosplaying has been a platform for women to be in equal footing if not sometimes even better than their counterparts. In recent years some of these women have stepped into the spotlight and are recognized in a regional, national and global level. Here are two names who have recently made a splash in the world of cosplay.
Vera Bambi has made a splash in the cosplay community over the past year. Sometimes referring to herself as the 'Controversial Cosplayer' because of the style she chooses to cosplay. Vera has turned whatever negative into a positive by being one of the few who has a good and open relationship with her fans. Vera has always used her voice to reach others with a positive message of loving your body. Vera admits she was bullied in school for the way she looked and does not judge others for the same. Some might say her cosplay might be too revealing but isn't cosplay about being someone else? Having the courage to feel safe and comfortable in your own skin. You can follow Vera at VERABAMBILIVE on Twitter and Instagram. You can learn more about Vera on VERABAMBI.COM
Heidi Mae is a Missouri native, but some of you may know her as one of the more well known Harley Quinn cosplayers of the film Suicide Squad (2016). Heidi has been praised for the accuracy and passion she has put in to her Harley Quinn cosplay, from the shoes, make-up to even the cuffs worn on screen. Margot Robbie may have brought Harley Quinn to life on the big screen but Heidi has kept the character alive for the better part of 2016 pre and post Suicide Squad. Although her cosplay of Harley Quinn catapulted Heidi into the spotlight with recognition and accolades to follow, she does Cosplay as other characters such as Jesse from Team Rocket (Pokemon), Eleven (Stranger Things), Princess Leia (Star Wars) and much more. You can catch Heidi attending comic book conventions and events across the United States. Follow Heidi on Instagram @heidimaetrix.
"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."
Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of Desmond Doss, a combat medic who was also a conscientious objector to World War II. The film is directed by Mel Gibson who returns to direct after 10 years. Andrew Garfield portrays the hero Desmond Doss in his journey of faith and strong will in the face of a great war and personal adversity. Mel Gibson has gone on record saying that Hacksaw Ridge is not a conventional war film but a film about love.
The film opens with a look back at Desmond's childhood. His upbringing with his brother and the relationship with his mother and his father who was also a war veteran. Hugo Weaving played Desmond's father and gives an amazing performance with such nuance that even though the man he is portraying is not a good man there is something broken about him. Weaving could easily have made the character unlikable, but he chose to understand where the man was coming from. How war changes a man, breaks him and makes him cold. A sure Oscar contender for Best Supporting Actor. Hugo Weaving really captures the PTSD most soldiers suffer from living through and experiencing war. PTSD in Hacksaw Ridge is a highlight that Mel Gibson wanted to portray as accurate as possible and shine a light onto what soldiers deal with in and after war.
After the reboot of the Amazing Spider Man franchise, Andrew Garfield left the superhero genre and pursued more serious work, nabbing a role in 99 Homes with Michael Shannon. Next on his list was Hacksaw Ridge and he did not disappoint. From the moment we get Andrew's portrayal of Desmond Doss he exudes a certain charisma and light that the real Desmond Doss had. Vince Vaughn and Luke Bracey were good counterparts to Andrew Garfield's Doss. Bracey plays soldier Smitty Ryker training alongside Desmond Doss while Vaughn plays Sgt. Howell, the man in charge of training Doss and Sam Worthington as Captain Glover. The entire cast gives great performances, Teresa Palmer plays Dorothy Doss, Desmond Doss' wife. Overall, each performance adds and builds upon to the story, making you care about each character, from lead role to even the smallest role.
Mel Gibson really captures the pitfalls of war and also captures the spirit and strength of one's faith and conviction. After a 10 year hiatus, Mel returns with an impact, bringing a period piece, a war film, film of faith, and a true story. Hacksaw Ridge is getting Oscar buzz early in 2016, it is unclear if Gibson will be nominated for Best Director but he should be in the running. Garfield on the other hand is already being talked about as a top contender for Best Actor. Time will tell with Oscar season taking off and many other films yet to be released. One thing is for sure, Mel Gibson is BACK!
Hacksaw Ridge earns an A, and stars Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Vince, Vaughn, Luke Bracey and Hugo Weaving.
The newly built Delmar Hall was in for a treat when Highly Suspect rolled into town while on tour in support for their new record 'The Boy Who Dies Wolf'. Opening up for Highly Suspect was St. Louis rockers The Hush List.
The Hush List
The Hush List are not new to the music scene in St. Louis, MO. Fans of the band were not disappointed. Below are photos of The Hush List. (Photos by Oscar Rendon)
Joining Highly Suspect on tour was Slothrust, having never heard of them I was intrigued to find out just why they were joining Highly Suspect on tour and I was not disappointed. Leah (Vocals/Guitar) won me over with her voice and their song titles alone were enough to make me head to iTunes and listen to the songs in studio. Blow are photos of Slothrust. (Photos by Oscar Rendon)
We finally arrive to Highly Suspect, Grammy nominated Highly Suspect. Nearly a year since I saw them at The Pageant for a HoHo Show I was excited to see them once again. One of my most highly anticipated shows on my concert calendar. The rockers played such hits like 'Lydia', '23', and 'Bloodfeather'. Also on the setlist was a brand new song 'My Name Is Human' from their sophomore album 'The Boy Who Died Wolf'. Photos of Highly Suspect below. (Photos by Oscar Rendon)
Live from The Pageant (St. Louis, MO) it's Tegan and Sara! You wake up Saturday morning and look at your calendar and see that the pop duo of twin sisters Tegan and Sara are coming to town. To be honest, this particular outing is the first time going to a T&S show. Before every show I like to walk around the venue a few hours early as fans line up, I over hear a few of the music lovers anticipation for their favorite musician(s). Making their own dream set lists of what the band will play for that evening.
To be perfectly honest I have never seen Tegan and Sara live and as I listened to some of the fans converse about their favorite songs and past experiences I was very excited to say the least. As a fan of music I am always open to new artists I have never seen or heard before. Tegan and Sara however are a duo I have heard a bit over the years with songs popping up here and there on commercials, films, and television shows.
The show started at 8 PM. The opener was one I had never heard but were a good band to get the crowd ready. TORRES hit the stage and took the Pageant crowd on a groove set with long notes, guitar riffs and and a folk feel. TORRES aka Mackenzie Scott is a singer/songwriter from Macon, Georgia. TORRES has opened for Garbage and Brandi Carlile. TORRES is currently touring/opening for Tegan and Sara for their Love You to Death Tour.
After a 45 minute set, TORRES left the stage and suddenly the atmosphere changed. Maybe it was because the crowd knew Tegan and Sara were next and it was Saturday night. Live music and Saturday nights go hand in hand. I took a break and went to relax in the Halo Bar, located right in front of the Pageant. After a quick break I headed back inside to ready the storm, the barricade was closer to the stage than usual which for fans made them feel closer to the artists. I stood in the photo pit and talked to some of the fans in the front row. They were excited and talking about all the other shows they had attended, they also prepared me for what to expect from a T&S show. Suddenly the lights went down and the crowd roared.
Tegan and Sara hit the stage! The crowd erupted in applause and joy as the duo took it all in before beginning to play, they opened with 'Back In Your Head' a great way to start the show with a fun and upbeat song, driven by the melody from the keys. Sara took the lead with Tegan backing her up. Another fan favorite, 'How Come You Don't Want Me' had fans singing to every word. For an band I never really listened to I found myself enjoying the show very much. The infectious crowd had me tapping my foot and bobbing my head as I made my way around the venue.
Tegan took the time in between their set to talk to the crowd and the St. Louis crowd loved it. Tegan did the iconic SNL "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" She also took the time to say some kind words about the city and how much fun they had at the city museum. The duo continued their set and ended with 'Closer' before the encore. The crowd new better and returned for the encore, closing out the night with 'Stop Desire' from their latest album. The night was one I won't forget any time soon and if Tegan and Sara stop by your town make sure to snag some tickets before the sell out, because they will.
Story of the Year were the biggest punk-rock band coming out of the early 2000's. Recently SOTY have been in sort of a hiatus since their last record The Constant (2010).
On September 23rd, 2016 Off The Record had the pleasure to attend the USO Red Rock & Blue show with headliners Story of the Year. With an amazing set of past hits like The Antidote, Anthem of Our Dying Day, Sidewalks, and Until the Day I Die. Just this August we spoke to Dan Marsala before playing with his other band (FUCK OFF AND DIES) and there was no hint of new music coming from SOTY.
With half of SOTY working on side projects, Dan with FUCK OFF AND DIES. Phillip Sneed (Moon) and Ryan Phillips with Greek Fire. The guys from SOTY have been busy. Which came as a surprise as we stood front row at the barricade when Dan announced that he and the guys were heading back to the studio to work on new music and proceeded to play one of the new songs 'Bang Bang'. Other than a few surprise hugs from Dan, we enjoyed our very first Story of the Year. With random appearances and shows from SOTY we can't wait to see SOTY return to glory like many bands of the 2000's are doing as of late with Green Day, Blink-182 and more.
Also on the show was The Hush List and The Struts who have been growing and dominating all over the US.
For our interview with Dan, Mark and Gabe (Fuck Off And Dies) visit http://www.ontheropesnetwork.com/off-the-record/2016/8/9/03thefuckoffanddies
For more news on Story of the Year and show dates head over to their website: storyoftheyear.net
Social Media Links
Fall TV is gearing up for its 2016 Premiere with established shows coming back like The Flash, Gotham, The Voice, and Lucifer. With many returning shows there are also new shows making their way too. One show that has caught the attention of audiences is The Exorcist (FOX). The Exorcist is based off of the 1971 novel by William Blatty and loosely off of the cult classic film. As you may have read from the title above, the shows lead is a relatively unknown when it comes to American television but has a huge following down south in the great country of Mexico.
Alfonso Herrera got his start in teen driven Mexican soap-operas like Clase 406 (Class 406), and his claim to super stardom, Rebelde (Rebels). Alfonso's career took off from the shows immediate success. Alfonso played Miguel Arango, a poor teen from Monterey seeking revenge for his fathers death. From the second Herrera's character was introduced teen girls fell in love and as the saying goes, "girls wanted to be with him and guys wanted to be him." Rumor has it that the show was only to run for 1 complete season like most telenovelas do in the Latin/Spanish market but with the show being such a huge success the show ran for 2 extra seasons. After the initial season, the show focused on Alfonso and Anahi's characters relationship. The show also spawned one of the most famous and well known music groups, RBD.
Alfonso was one of the six key members of the group along with his cast-mates from Rebelde (Anahi, Dulce Maria, Christian Chavez, Maite Perroni, and Christopher Von Uckermann). The group toured throughout the 2000's until later disbanding in 2009. The success of the group came from the show (Rebelde) that heavily featured the groups music but even after the show had been off the air the band continued to make music and tour for 3 more years. Alfonso has said that the music career was never one he planned on and one he might not come back to.
Alfonso continued to act in Latin indie films, building a resume and working towards bigger roles. Alfonso was cast on 'Sense8' a Netflix original tv show. Garnering critical claim for his role on the Netflix series, Alfonso was eventually cast as the lead on FOX's The Exorcist TV remake. Alfonso plays Father Tomas Ortega, a priest who is suddenly put in the middle of an endless war between God and the Devil. As a fan of Alfonso, we cannot wait to see what he brings to the role. FOX definitely saw something in Herrera that couldn't be denied. Now, Latin and American audiences will be able to enjoy what Herrera can do with a very character driven drama. With Herrera breaking out into promising roles, we are sure that he will bring his own take and intrigue to the role of Father Tomas Ortega.
The Used's 15 Year Anniversary Tour rolled into St. Louis this past weekend for two nights and two albums of rock 'n' roll fun. Joining The Used is up and coming rock band New Language. New Language is a 4-piece band from Los Angeles, CA who have only been touring 4 months and have been growing their fan base everywhere they go. I had the great opportunity to speak with Tyler Demorest (Vocals for New Language) at The Pageant.
The Used - 15 Year Anniversary Tour Review
The Pageant - St. Louis, MO
Night 1 (9/2/16)
Friday night was buzzing for The Used as their 15 year anniversary tour rolled through St. Louis, MO. The Pageant was the perfect host for the two-night stay. New Language was the perfect opening act to get the crowd in the mood and ready for The Used. As the lights went out the crowd roared anticipating the band to make their way to the stage. The band that has been a main stay in rock/alternative radio for 15 years played their greatest hits from their self titled album. Songs like Buried Myself Alive, On My Own, Blue and Yellow, and crowd favorite The Taste of Ink. Frontman Bert McCracken kept the audience energized with his infectious vocals and even conducted the crowd in chorus for The Taste of Ink sing along. Justin Shekoski shredding it on the guitar had the audience moving with the rhythm along with Jeph Howard on Bass. Night 1 of the Self Titled set was a success and by the end of the night left the crowd wanting more. Lucky for them, there was still night 2 the next day.
Night 2 (9/3/16)
After an incredible first night at The Pageant, fans of The Used and New Language packed the The Pageant on a Saturday for Night 2. The Used hit the stage around 9:15 PM bit this night ready to play their second set of the tour with songs from In Love and Death. Playing favorites like All That I've Got, Take It Away, I Caught Fire and more. The night was filled with fans just singing along to every word of every song The Used played. Just like that the night was over. From night 1 into night 2 the stage production was fun with al sorts of props and cool backdrop rigs. For anyone thinking about going to The Used concert this tour, I would say drop what you're doing and go see them live. They are worth the price of admission.
Grade = A
Lucha Underground has become the new alternative to professional wrestling. In just two years and 2 seasons with a third looming the Lucha Libre series has garnered much attention thanks to the storytelling, production value, cinematography, and talent. With such renowned performers like Johnny Mundo, Mil Muertes, Prince Puma, and Rey Mysterio. There is one name that has transcended those and that name is Catrina.
Karlee Perez is the woman who has brought life to the character of 'Catrina' on Lucha Underground. If Karlee looks familiar to you then maybe it's because you have seen her before on WWE Programming just a few years prior to her break out role in Lucha Underground. Karlee has prided herself in being a creative force to be reckoned with which is why in 2012 she left the WWE in pursuit of bigger opportunities. Two years later that opportunity came knocking in the form of Lucha Underground. In the time between WWE and Lucha Underground Karlee has transitioned into a formidable force in the world of acting and modeling.
As Catrina, Karlee has garnered great praise from fans and critics alike. When Karlee is on screen she transforms into the "Queen of Death" and a dominant female lead in a show filled with some of the most athletic and physically built men. As Catrina, you believe her strength and power and those characteristics are all Karlee. The amount of attention to detail Karlee puts in this character is some of the best television you can't find just anywhere. From a glance to a grin, she commands the screen and stands tall. There aren't many women let alone Latina women in the entertainment business cast as empowered female leads, in fact there might not even be a handful. Karlee joins the ranks of Gina Rodriguez from Jane The Virgin (CW), America Ferrera Superstore (NBC) and the diverse cast of Orange Is The New Black (Netflix).
Among being a rising actress, and setting aside the devious actions her character Catrina imposes on her enemies, Karlee the person is someone people can look to for inspiration. Being a member of the Latin community, Karlee has broken down barriers and has proven that talent will out shine the rest every time. Seeing a woman of color on television or film be the main focus gives hope to a community that there are jobs in the industry for hispanic actors/models. Karlee only focus' on the positive and only looks forward when it comes to her career, whether it be in the ring or on the big or small screen. We hope to talk to Karlee soon so she her self can take us through her crazy, amazing, wild, adventurous journey. We see nothing but a bright future for this star as she takes the world by storm.
You can catch Karlee Perez as the sinister Catrina on Robert Rodriguez' Emmy nominated show Lucha Underground on the El Rey Network.
You can follow Karlee on Social Media @KarleeLeilani on Twitter and Instagram.
Follow Lucha Underground on Twitter @LuchaElRey and on Instagram @LuchaUnderground.
All the way from the city of "Brotherly Love" Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we had the opportunity to speak with indie band Civil Youth. Throughout the course of the interview we spoke about coming up as a band, creating their music, what they do on days off and much more. The conversation can be heard here, only on Off The Record.
Civil Youth (BIO)
What started as an outlet for lead singer, Michael Kepko, to express his anxiety and depression while living in Boston, has evolved into a cultural movement backed by a community of thousands of supporters who identify with Civil Youth’s lyrics and music. Civil Youth inhabits each stage with light-up drum solos, crowd chanting, instrument swaps, and stage acrobatics. Between heavy guitar riffs, and poetic rapping, fans of all ages can find a way to connect with Civil Youth. Within a year, Civil Youth has surpassed the caliber of “local band”, and has established their name across the United States.
Civil Youth as of today are finishing up their headlining tour 'The Evolution Tour' in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania just a couple hundred miles from their home base in Philly. Just announced today Civil Youth will be opening up for A Day To Remember, All Time Low and Blink-182 on Monday September 5th @ The Atlantic City Beach. So it is not too late to catch them if you plan on it, so get your tickets now!
I recently had the honor of speaking to UK based artist Salt Ashes, we spoke about her debut album, the process behind writing music, and touring. The interview below can be read or listened to in audio form as the Off The Record podcast. Please enjoy this incredible interview with Salt Ashes.
Oscar: Where did you come up with your name 'Salt Ashes'?
Salt Ashes: Simply they were these two words scratched on the side of this boat, not really a boat but a canoe type thing on Brighton Beach. I saw those two words scratched on the side of the boat and at the time I wanted to use it as a song. It never really made it and I didn't think I could make it work and when I was trying to decide what I was going to be called that (Salt Ashes) kept coming into my head.
Oscar: Do you usually walk by the beach to free your mind and find inspiration?
Salt Ashes: Absolutely, I very often go to to the beach and I have one spot I go to and I sit there and either have my headphones in and listen to music or I just stare out into the sea. It calms me and keeps me very grounded. I like to think about life and I walk along there as well so it's a really good place to clear your mind and it's a place to people watch. I like people watching, I draw inspiration from that too.
Oscar: Do you listen to the same type of music you play? Who do you listen to?
Salt Ashes: Not really, its quite eclectic. Many musicians that I know say that they listen to everything and at the moment I've just been put on to a band called Whitney which I'm really into and I still love this UK artist called Nao and I think she's signed to to do some big things in the states. I'd say she's more similar to my stuff than any other things I listen to.
Oscar: Who influenced you? What kind of music were you listening to growing up?
Salt Ashes: It was varied. I don't come from a musical background so my musical knowledge came from whatever was on the radio or what my brother and my sister were listening to. My brother would listen to indie rock bands like Coldplay and Nirvana. My sister listened to Madonna, early Madonna and that is what influenced me most.
Oscar: I imagine you were more of a singer-songwriter type starting out, did you have any sense of direction with where you wanted to go (with your music)?
Salt Ashes: At the time I thought I did, but now looking back when I first started I was doing the singer-songwriter thing with my guitar and playing acoustically. Not having a sense of direction I just wrote songs and what came out came out. Then I thought pop-rock was my thing, I wrote loads of songs and performed it but it just didn't feel right, I don't know why I wasn't enjoying the gigs and and it made me question this "Is it because I don't like the music or because I don't want to be an artist." Soon I came to realize it wasn't the stuff I wanted to do. I canceled all of that and broke up the band as I should say and just reconnected with myself and spent a while writing and experimenting with my voice and different sounds just to try and find what I was happy and comfortable with.
Oscar: Listening to your music there is a sense of energy and fun but also personal lyrics and meaningful titles. Talk about the process of writing a song.
Salt Ashes: The song titles always come at the end for me actually. I usually write a whole song then look back over it and think what is the best title for the song. Sometimes I would write a song without even being aware of what it's about until very close to the end when I'm like "okay let me sit back now and have a look at what I've written" and what has just come out of my mouth and then I'm like "oh wow this is about that". Sometimes I'm not even conscious of what it's about until the very end.
Oscar: Now one of my favorite songs (from your album) was 'Runaway' it was one of the songs I could connect to. What was going on when you were writing that song in particular?
Salt Ashes: How do you connect with it?
Oscar: I feel for me it was about not wanting to runaway but trying to confront those fears and doubts.
Salt Ashes: That's what it is actually, its basically saying "I can't runaway because this is what is meant to be but it's fucking tough, you're the reason I would runaway but our love is so true and whatever we have going on is so intense but there is a lot of shit stuff happening". What you got from it is exactly what is so its great, good for me. (Laughs)
Oscar: With your debut album launch party, what was the feeling to finally get to play your songs live?
Salt Ashes: It was awesome, it was so humbling I was completely overwhelmed with everyone there and how it was received. It's really nice to know most of the people there would listen to the album and come on the premise of enjoying the album. What's important now is what happens next and how the album is received.
Oscar: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
Salt Ashes: You're welcome.
Oscar: Thank you so much.
Salt Ashes: Cheers Oscar.
To hear more from this interview, you can listen to it on iTunes, Apple News, or here on the OTR Network. A big thank you to Salt Ashes for taking the time to talk to us. We hope nothing but the best for her. To stay connected with Salt Ashes, you can follow her on Twitter @SaltAshes, like her Facebook at Salt Ashes and you can purchase her debut album now by clicking the following link Salt Ashes iTunes.
Ashland at Pops: Review
August 6th, 2016 was an eventful day for the OTR Team. We traveled to Pops concert venue in Sauget, IL to check out our friends Ashland who would be performing one of their last sets before the debut of their full-length album later this fall. The band consists of Asia Woodward (Vocals) Aaron Wood (Guitar) Tanner Leggett (Drums) and the departing Zebulan Griffith (Bass). Ashland are terrific band to see live and in person. Asia's voice, soft and powerful is enough to hook you in to their songs. Songs like Freakshow and Eyes To The Sky really show off the power of her voice. Aaron on guitar and Tanner on drums lose themselves in the music while still having fun and engaging the audience (Maybe Aaron will pull one of his legendary spinning moves if you're lucky). In between the set, it was announced that Zeb would be leaving the band. Overall, if you want to see a fun and talented rising band in the Midwest then make it point to see Ashland live when they're in St. Louis or any surrounding cities and towns. GRADE = A
The Fuck Off And Dies at The Ready Room
After the Ashland set, we rushed over the river and into the Ready Room in St. Louis to catch The Fuck Off And Dies. We arrived just in time to talk with the band about recording their latest album, their fan-base in St. Louis and what stands them apart from other musicians in the area. You can listen to the interview right now on 'Off The Record'.
For the first time ever we sent Oscar Rendon to VANS Warped Tour in Maryland Heights, MO. Oscar spoke to Gus from Young Guns and Savannah Hudson, Brandon Hudson, Alex Flagstad, Eian McNeely, and Brennan Benko from The Heirs.