F is for Freedom. For the Flag. And Folktale Fest Five.
Chris Payne’s fest has stuck around because Chris has an ear for music. Beautiful, melodic, subversive, destructive, awkward music.
This year is his best line up yet.
Chris Payne and Folktale have always brought an artist’s vision to the curation and promotion of others. One thing I’ve learned about Folktale Fest is: expect wildly contrasting awesomeness from all musical realms…
How are things coming with Folktale Fest V?
Christopher Payne: Things are coming together nicely. It’s hard to believe that Folktale Fest is five years old now, or that label itself just turned ten for that matter, but I’m excited about it nonetheless. This will be the first year of Folktale Fest that isn’t a Sean Carnage Monday Night, as well as the first year it won’t be at Pehrspace. It likely would have been at Pehrspace still but since I was working around the schedule of multiple touring bands for this, The Smell just had the right date we needed. At the same time, I love The Smell, it was the first underground music venue I played in LA and they have been very good to me over the years.
What do our ears have to look forward to at the event?
CP: I met Andy from Human Behavior while on tour, I’d seen him perform in various bands but when I first saw him perform as Human Behavior I was blown away. He was just a solo artist at the time and after seeing him play a few more times I asked him if he’d like to release a record on Folktale. Over the span of time in which that came to fruition, Human Behavior transformed into the band it is now. Andy writes some really dark songs and the band has found ways to flesh them out in some very beautiful ways.
My first memory of Owen from Roar was when he was in a band called Asleep in the Sea. They did a tour with Treasure Mammal and I booked them a show in the basement of a coffee shop when I was living in Riverside, Ca. Asleep in the Sea wrote these incredibly catchy pop songs about things like being murdered or family members dying from cancer. The combination of having such dark lyrical content but playing such happy sounding music was something I really liked. A lot of those themes have carried over into Roar where he has expanded the pop element to all new levels.
The first time I saw Carolyn from Bouquet play it was at Pehrspace and she was performing under the name Palms. She was incredibly Charismatic and I was drawn in to what she was doing immediately. I later discovered her music as The Finches and when Bouquet was formed as was instantly a fan. Bouquet started out as more of a full band and original included Tom Filardo, who currently plays under the name Filardo but was also in Asleep in the Sea. I saw the full band version of Bouquet for the first time when I was living in Portland, Or. and they were on tour with Mount Eerie. It was one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen. Bouquet has since become a two piece and they have really been ironing out the beauty of their songs. Folktale will be releasing their debut album in the near future and I am extremely excited about it. Anything Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs has done is highly worth checking out.
Grass was a last minute addition to the show and he will be opening the show with a mini-set. Grass is the project of Kelly Sheridan, who formerly played under the name Splinter Cake. I actually don’t know much about other than he has traded in his acoustic guitar and started to make music that is more lap top based. Kelly is an excellent performer though, so whatever he packs into his 15 minute set will be worth getting to the show on time.
That leaves us with my own project, Whitman. I have become a lot more selective with the shows I play over the last couple years, mostly in an attempt to keep playing shows enjoyable for me after doing it for over twelve years. I will be playing this show solo and will be doing new material for the most part.
What’s your new video called? How did you find such an amazing director?
CP: The new Whitman music video is for a song called “Golden Days“. It was directed by Nathan Lay who also directed a music video for a joke song I made several years ago called Tacos Like E’ryday. I met Nathan because he used to be room mates with my friend Rich Seymour who played cello with me live and on a bunch of recordings before moving to the East Coast a couple of years ago. Nathan is really enthusiastic about what he does and isn’t afraid to let things get silly. I think we really understand one another’s senses of humor and we just kind of bounce ideas off of one another until we get what we want. The initial idea for this video is something I came up with a few years ago, without a specific song in mind at the time, and I pitched it to Nathan. It just took us a while to actually make it happen. Where Taco’s Like E’ryday was shot for literally no money, this video was shot on a moderate budget and the difference is really noticeable. We brought on Grant White as director of photography who has an excellent web series called the Mr. Grant Show but also went to school for this kind of work and is really talented at what he does.
Tell us about your co stars?
CP: My co-stars are four beautiful women who we hired through various modeling and casting websites. That was a task assigned to me and it took some real work. At first I felt like a total creep going through all of these profiles and writing girls to be in the video. I tried to sound really professional so they wouldn’t think it was anything sketchy. I wrote everyone as Folktale Records and didn’t mention it was a video for my own music at first. I sent out literally hundreds of emails before finding the girls that ended up in the video. When the day of the shoot came I was pretty nervous and wasn’t sure how I was going to act normal around these girls I’d never met before and would be too nervous to talk to in any other scenario. Once we started shooting things became much easier, the girls were all incredibly awesome and a pleasure to work with. I think everyone had a really great time making this video.
How did it all go down?
CP: The video was shot mostly in one day that was about twelve hours long. We all met up before the sun had risen and piled into a van we’d rented that we drove up the coast to a location on the beach we’d chosen. We shot there for a while before taking a lunch break and driving to Silverlake where we’d rented the use of someones house through Air B&B. Nathan and I met up about a week later and shot the remainder of the footage in alleyways South of the 10 Fwy. sort of around USC. There are two different timelines or realities in the video and basically they were each shot on their own day. I had amazing time making this video and got to meet some really cool people I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I think the track is stunning.
CP: The track was recorded by Ryan Beal in his house in the Mt. Washington area of Los Angeles. Ryan is an amazing musician and has a real talent for recording. He has a band called Norse Horse and he also plays bass with Michael Vidal, both of which are incredible. “Golden Days” has Ezra Buchla playing viola and Rich Seymour playing cello on it in addition to my guitar and vocals. It was recorded in the Winter of 2011 and was released on a 7″ EP titled “Sinking” that was released on the label Almost Halloween Time from Italy (though I have plans to re-release the track in the US in the near future).
What’s new that you’ve been listening to?
CP: Clipping. is definitely one of the best bands in LA right now and their new album “CLPPNG” on Sub Pop is incredible. Though catching them live is life changing. The new Carla Bozulich album “Boy” on Constellation Records is also amazing and one of the best things she’s done in a long time in my opinion. And I say that as a huge fan of every project she’s done. The new Angel Olsen album “Burn Your Fire For No Witness” on Jagjaguwar is pretty great, but who doesn’t have some kind of crush on her or her music? And I’ve been listening to the new Lana Del Rey album “Ultraviolence” quite a bit lately.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done at the Smell?
CP: During a less stable time in my life, my friend John Thill and I had this bro themed, mock-noise project, who’s name doesn’t need mentioning. The last show we ever played was at the International Noise Conference at The Smell in like 2008. The band involved throwing footballs and empty kegs at the audience, pouring beer on people, smashing bottles, and yelling highly offensive nonsense. Due to The Smell being all ages we brought in O’douls and in the middle off our set I severely cut my wrist on a piece of broken glass, after which I continued performing, which got blood everywhere. After we were done, I’d never seen Jim Smith [The Smell's owner] so angry. He made us load out the empty kegs immediately and it wasn’t until we’d cleaned up the mess and couple more acts had gone on that he realized I had cut myself. I was living in Pomona at the time and after the show I drove myself home. I didn’t have health insurance but after I got home and saw how bad the cut was I ended up driving myself to the Emergency Room at like 2 in the morning. It was there that I learned that the cut was so deep that if it had been a slightly different location I would have lost the use of my hand. Unsurprisingly, we decided to break up the band after this.
FOLKTALE FEST V IS THIS SUNDAY, JULY 6TH AT THE SMELL IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES.