XVALA is not just a street artist. XVALA is a tabloid artist. His work focuses on pieces that address celebrity and popular culture. If you live in Los Angeles or New York, there’s no way you have missed the “Fear Google” series that can be seen all over the streets of both cities. I recently interviewed XVALA and at the conclusion of this article, if this doesn’t find you wanting to Google his Wiki, nothing will.
Xvala – Fear Google in Beverly Hills
According2G: Tell us a little bit about your background including how you got into street art?
XVALA: Street art is what it looks like when my Wikipedia page is put in an unsuspecting spot that anyone can stumble upon. Anything I do can get edited, vandalized or deleted.
Bright Light Bright Light aka Rod Thomas is setting the music world on fire. His debut album “Make Me Believe in Hope” is released in the United States today, June 26, 2012! The album is pop perfection with highly danceable and extremely addictive songs. This collection of songs deals with finding love, being in love and getting your heart broken and all to delectable dance beats. If my glowing recommendation to get the album is not enough, Sir Elton John was recently quoted as saying that “Bright Light Bright Light is the hottest thing in the music business at the moment.”
I asked Rod Thomas a few questions, but before you familiarize yourself with the man, get to know his music. Click play to start your day off right!
According2G: What are your favorite pop songs of all time?
Bright Light Bright Light: Oh God … so many. ‘Hyperballad’ by Bjork is probably my favourite song ever. I guess that’s pop … but of the more full-on pop nature … maybe ‘Dreamer’ by Livin’ Joy, ‘Power Of A Woman’ by Eternal (purely for the number of key changes) or ‘Whadda Ya Want From Me’ by Frankie Knuckles and Adeva.
A2G: You collaborated with Scissor Sisters guitarist Del Marquis on “Cry At Films” which is available on your debut album “Make Me Believe In Hope.” How did that come about?
BLBL: When I was in NYC in the summer of 2009, I emailed Del as I’d heard his solo records and loved them. So we met for dinner and went to watch Depeche Mode together. We hung out and got on really well musically and as friends. Then I produced ‘Cry At Films’ on the plane home, sent it to him when we were swapping some music and he liked it. So we ended up turning it into a collaboration as we became better friends. It was such an incredible feeling to first hear someone from one of my FAVOURITE bands on my own song!
A2G: A lot of your mash-ups are widely circulated on the net. What’s your favorite mash-up you’ve done? How do you come up with the ideas for mash-ups? [Editors note: many BLBL mashups can be downloaded on his official Soundcloud page.]
BLBL: I think my favourite mashup is my track [“Your Lovin Moves (BLBL vs. Billie Ray Martin)”] which is ‘Moves’ verses Billie Ray Martin ‘Your Loving Arms’. It sounds really epic and really sad, I love it. Her voice just soars.
A2G: What are your favorite cities to perform in?
BLBL: NYC is a really special place to play for me. I’ve not played in too many cities, but Paris is always fun and Barcelona was a blast.
A2G: Do you feel any barriers in the music industry due to your sexuality?
BLBL: It’s not as black and white as that, I wouldn’t say. Only when you’re in venues and some other bands are laddy making boring “that’s so gay” comments, which isn’t even homophobia. It’s just fratty humour. I wouldn’t say I feel that that has been a hurdle over anything else.
A2G: What’s currently on your ipod?
BLBL: Arthur Russell (all time fave – Calling Out Of Context), Magnetic Fields (69 Love Songs), Austra, Broadcast, Dubstar and Nova Social.
A2G: What goes through your mind when you play live?
BLBL: It’s weird, I kind of zone out. I tend to get quite lost in it and sometimes I’ll play whole songs and then tune back in before I realise what’s happened. Everything and nothing.
A2G: After people listen to your album, what do you hope they take away from the experience?
BLBL: I hope that it connects with them in some way. The whole record is about connections with people and places, so I hope that the songs reach out and mean something to whoever listens. I hope that they at least feel that it’s made out of love of making music, and from a desire to be a musician not a desire to be famous or jump on a bandwagon.
A2G: What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
BLBL: Depeche Mode at Madison Square Garden was immense, and Joanna Newsom with a full orchestra at Barbican, London was mindblowing.
A2G: 5 years from now, what do you want to have on your list of accomplishments?
BLBL: I would like to have recorded another few albums that I’m happy with, I’d have loved to have toured the US, met even more amazing people (the best thing about music and travelling), I’d like to have learned Spanish, and to have made my family proud.
Thanks again Rod for taking the time to answer some questions for us and I am looking forward to seeing your name across the world in bright lights! New York – reserve August 2, 2012 for a special acoustic performance from Bright Light Bright Light at Pianos. Ticket details are forthcoming. “Make Me Believe in Hope” by Bright Light Bright Light is out NOW! Get it and tell a friend!
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If you live in New York, there’s no way you could miss seeing the colorful CLOUDZ by TY on your journeys. What you may not know is that the life of CLOUDZ’ creator Ty is as colorful as the art he creates. Hello! His name is TY and here’s a Q&A that will surely brighten your day.
According2G: Tell us a little about your background.
TY: I’m from a super suburban area in Houston, Texas and went to College at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX (between San Antonio and Austin). I had done tons of community theater since I was in 5th grade and I moved on to semi-professional throughout high-school. I landed my first professional show when I graduated college with a degree in Musical Theater. I packed my bags and headed to the big bad city as soon as I could and got cast in the off-off Broadway production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Since the show, I became a personal assistant, fell in love, had my heart broken and built myself back up again. With the help of my friends and the power of music, I overcame. So at this point, I’m pretty fucking unstoppable. I was obsessed with NYC the first time I visited at 18 years old. I knew then that this is where I definitely wanted to spend a good chunk of my time living. From a young age, I knew all I wanted to be was an artist. Whatever it meant, I wanted it. To create, paint, sculpt, act, draw, sing….it didn’t matter.
On a walk through the streets of New York City, you’ve probably seen and stopped to look at the trippy and visually pleasant art of Street Grapes. Maybe you didn’t know the artist, but now that all changes! Read on to find out more about Street Grapes!
The Energy Field by Street Grapes
According2G: Tell us a little bit about your background.
Street Grapes: I immigrated to the states about 5 years ago from Russia and have been living on the East Coast ever since.
A2G: Can you tell us some of your heroes/influences?
Cristian Gheorghiu aka Smear started off as a street artist in Los Angeles. He quickly became one of the most prolific artists on the scene. He successfully made the transition from the streets to galleries and then he got busted by the police, years after he stopped doing street art! The arrest made headlines across the country, but the full story was never revealed – until now. Your opinion on the legality of street art might be mixed, but one thing is sure, when you find out what happened to Smear, you’ll definitely agree that there is a major problem with our justice system. I’d like to thank Smear for his honesty and for opening up to tell his side of the story. Please note new readers, there is some rather harsh language so if that kind of thing offends you, perhaps you won’t want to keep reading. With the fact that you are on this site, you’ll already know that I use harsh language a lot and while the internet is still unregulated, you won’t see censorship here. I am not even fond of putting any type of disclaimer on this site, but you never know who is reading – so please take that under advisement before you continue.
Flashbacks by Smear
According2G: Tell us about your background. How did you get involved in Street Art?
Smear: I’ve been scribbling on things out in the streets since I was 13. I started up and down my block in the East Hollywood section of Los Angeles and pretty much kept at it since then. Eventually it lead me to this thing that has been dubbed “street art.” For the record, I have not comitted an act of graffiti or “street art” since very early in 2007 (you never know who is going to read this interview).