After an 18-hour flight from Honolulu to Miami and a good night’s sleep, I hit the ground running.
Before I knew it, I had an impromptu interview set up immediately after some catch-up time with Lee Dagger of Bimbo Jones and some mutual friends.
It was a day to remember. I had the first interview at the National Hotel on Collins in South Beach with Gimm+Icky, a couple of young men from Nashville. But even getting into the hotel was a quest: Pacha was holding one of its sold-out events there, and their security was zealous in its resolve to guarantee nobody got in for free. A 15-minute delay involving four separate security people and a polite but determined DJ Lynnwood from LA finally got me in.
That was just the beginning.
Gimm+Icky was running late, so Lynnwood, Juan Martinez and I sat in the beautifully appointed lobby in comfy chairs and engaged in industry talk. An intense young man sat with us – I actually thought he was one-half of Gimm+Icky, and that we were awaiting the other half. Not at all. He interrupted our conversation repeatedly, so Lynnwood told him the conversation was a private one.
Dude wasn’t having it – after unleashing an unintelligible declaration that was mildly menacing and completely off-topic, he announced, “I’m DJ HTC! I’ve got my gallon of liquor [slamming a milk jug full of orange stuff] and a full glass!” Not skipping a beat, Lynnwood said, “Your glass is half full,” at which point HTC got up and left, leaving us lampooning him for the better part of an hour.
Once again, there was a hassle from security. Gimm+Icky could not get in, so Lynnwood had to repeat his performance at the door. We sat down for the interview. Gimm+Icky is a a full entertainment experience with Tripp Wear serving rap and vocals, Jeff Garrison doing vocals and guitar (we determined her name is “Shannon”), and Shannon. Gimm+Icky is all about a full entertainment experience with dancing, singing, DJ background sounds and drink specials. “We’re like Maroon 5 plus height,” said Tripp, comparing themselves also with Linkin Park and 311. They’ve been together for a year and a half after meeting in a seedy Nashville bar. I will see them perform tonight.
Security wasn’t done with us yet. A tall, pleasant woman came to us and politely asked our business in the hotel. Lynnwood went in for Round Three.
(See Gimm+Icky's video: “Ringtone”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0AnRQPzL_o)
Lynwood then set me up for a second interview with Kerli, a singer from Estonia who has performed at White Party-Palm Springs.
Kerli is a woman who says she “grew up in the woods” in her home country. As she got older, she longed to escape the comfort zone of her socialist upbringing. She made her way to Sweden and eventually settled in LA to be with her boyfriend who broke off the relationship immediately after she arrived.
But she loves Los Angeles. She lost a loser and gained a city.
At 26, Kerli is realistic about the scene and its pitfalls. But she lives for the good in it, the moments when people transcend their differences while in the ecstasy of music. She is releasing a new album, “Utopia.” See her video, “The Lucky Ones”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV2Dqz7h4PE
After some down time, The Beachmonkey (MIke Luczaj, an official photographer for WMC) and I made our way to different small venues. We saw Marvin Harris at Chesterfield, Daniel Granados at Hotel Shelley and DJ Gringo at Whitelaw Hotel. We then went to Twist to see Parralox. This is an Australian duo, John von Ahlen and Amii Jackson, that is making a name for themselves. It was their first time in the USA. “Great experience for a little girl from Australia,” said Amii.
They performed before an enthusiastic crowd, Amii singing live and John playing keyboard from his laptop, which for me was a first. The music was good, vocals flawless, and the crowd loved them. See their video, “Sharper than a Knife”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33wXU3Veyao
More to come.