Love of My Life: Erykah Badu

Apr 27, 2016

Proud mama, vegan soul food addict, southern queen, and possible alien from another galaxy. Erykah Badu carries a palpable energy with her, through her music, performance, and sheer presence. Local dance group House of Aquarius has put together a tribute night to honor Erykah Badu. This Wednesday (4/27), artists, musicians, dancers, will perform songs and dance from the Badu collection. Featuring the dancers of House of Aquarius, Akela Jaffi + Kwang Kwoo, Chanti Darling, Marquise Dickerson, William Jay + Brandon Quin, and Blossom, this will be a true journey through the Badu-sphere.


In order to celebrate the rarity of Erykah Badu, we have compiled a list of seven* of our favorite moments.

*chosen because of her and Andre 3000's son, Seven


1) Her classic and powerful performance of her song Tyrone, circa 1999.



2) Vining herself listening to Drake rap about her on "Days in the East" while sipping on some tea.



3) When she performed for money on the streets of NYC.



4) When the Dallas police charged her for disorderly conduct for appearing nude in Dealey Plaza for the filming of her video for "Window Seat."


She got away with a $500 fine and six months probation.


5) When she crashed a news reporter's broadcast on Shia LeBouf's arrest, and he had no idea who she was.



6) Her unforgettable Reddit AMA.

7) Finding her true African ancestory.

Posted by EV

Forces at Work: Tin House Editorial Assistant, Thomas Ross

Apr 20, 2016

At Holocene we don't just love to bring you good music and the best dancefloor in town. We also want to highlight all the awesome creative energy in Portland - design, art, dance, comedy. Our new interview series explores people making shifts, pushing the boundaries, in order to make new creative spaces and places.

Tin House came into being in 1999 with the first issue of their magazine. Since then, it has risen into being one of the top independent publishing houses in the nation and host of a legendary writers workshop. Boasting a wide range of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and essays, Tin House is meant for any kind of reader - the dedicated and the occasional. Situated in the heart of NW, Tin House is a true Portland gem. This Thursday, they celebrate the release of their issue entitled Faith. Coming from the most atheist city, this issue pulls from fantastic writers all over the nation and asks the question: Is it faith that drives us onward? And if so, faith in what? Join us for a series of readings from the new issue, plus music from Charlie Hilton (front woman of Blouse) and more.

We chatted with Thomas Ross about the creation of this issue and Tin House's process. Check it out!


What is your role at Tin House?

I'm the Editorial Assistant. I edit for the magazine and the blog, and do a lot of production work. The biggest part of my job is the slush pile—all the unsolicited submissions we receive. So basically I have a huge team of volunteer readers and interns, and we try to read the 20,000 or so submissions we receive each year. 


What is it like working for Tin House? What's collaboration like for the staff?

We're a small group, but with diverse tastes and values. We don't always agree, but we usually understand and respect the reasons for our disagreements. I think it keeps the content in our magazine and the books we publish from getting too samey. Hopefully it means the stuff we publish has a broad appeal.



How long does it take to pull together an issue? What is the process like?

Ideally, we'd be filling the issues way in advance, but more often it feels like a scramble. We read and read and read, and usually we say no. You get hardened to it pretty quick. It makes it that much more exciting to say yes, though. Our editors find work in various ways: writers submitting directly, agents sending work in, friends of the magazine recommending young writers—we meet writers randomly at events. It's a lot of reading, and then editing, then copy editing, and then the design team has to read everything too, to find or make art for the interiors and covers. 

To be honest, working so closely with it—I do a lot of basic production work where they stop being stories and poems and start being letters in rows—there's a short period where you forget anyone's ever going to read it. I imagine it's like most jobs in that way. It's a dream job, but that doesn't mean I don't daydream a bit.


What is the printing process like? What is your stance on the physical versus online print?

The magazine is printed out of state and distributed by a third party. Tin House has a somewhat unique trim size and feel; it's sort of lavishly designed with a lot of space and an accent color. Our founder, Win McCormack, always wanted it to feel like something between a literary journal and a glossy magazine. The design department (led by Art Director Diane Chonette) has the magazine really dialed in, so every issue is similarly gorgeous, but has its own coherent aesthetic. To us it's invaluable to have a print magazine that strikes a balance between beautiful object and comfortable reading experience. 

That said, ebooks and blogs are way more convenient and to be honest, when something really moves well on the internet, it just outpaces the potential of print. I think there are things we can only do on the blog—topical essays, single poems, flash fiction—because they fit the format of quick reads that travel well. People will share them. When there's a really good poem in the New Yorker, you've almost always read it before the issue even hits your doorstep.



What does faith mean to you? What surprised you about what the authors had to say about it?

I grew up religious and am still kind of angry about it. I was worried we'd just get a lot of hokey God's Not Dead type stuff for this issue. I was pleasantly surprised by how many subtle takes on faith we ended up with. Our readers at the event this week include James Gendron (who's got a book called Weirde Sister about Satanic witches coming out from Octopus Books), Alicia Jo Rabins (a Torah teacher whose book is called Divinity School), and Cheston Knapp (whose essay in the Faith issue is in part about a planned Christian community he attended during college). The issue also includes work from Natalie Diaz, Mohsin Hamid, Marilynne Robinson, and Tin House fave Joy Williams (whose book 99 Stories of God we'll publish this Summer). Cheston (who happens to be our Managing Editor) talks in his essay about supplanting religious faith with a faith in art, and I can really get behind that.


What is exciting to you right now in the literary scene, both locally and nationally?

This week, Viet Thanh Nguyen, a writer of color and a debut novelist, won the Pulitzer for fiction for his novel The Sympathizer. I think it's really exciting to see newer writers being rewarded for telling stories that aren't necessarily in the mainstream. It's the same thing that's moving and compelling in the national culture at large. Ideally, art would lead the way on that, but to be honest, I'm not sure that's happening. I'm also cautiously hopeful that poetry is on the rise in America. I'd like to see poets paid real money. We'll see about that, though. You can break your fingers crossing them for poets.

Posted by EV

Forces at Work: Nick Harris // Soul'd Out Productions

Apr 13, 2016

At Holocene we don't just love to bring you good music and the best dancefloor in town. We also want to highlight all the awesome creative energy in Portland - design, art, dance, comedy. Our new interview series explores people making shifts, pushing the boundaries, in order to make new creative spaces and places.

This week we chatted with Nick Harris, co-founder of Soul'd Out Productions. Promoting great soul, funk, RnB, hip hop, all across Portland, they fill a wide gap in our city's musical world. This week is perhaps their biggest of the year - a five day music festival all across the city. Featuring legends like Bonnie Raitt, Trombone Shorty, and Parliament, as well as up and comers like Anderson .Paak and BJ the Chicago Kid. Tonight (4/13) is the kick off, and we're excited to be hosting one of their shows - extraordinary soul producers Soul Clap. Be sure to be there! The amount of hard hitters that are in town this week is an incredible feat.



When did you join the Soul'd Out team? What kind of work do you do on a daily basis?

I started Soul'd Out Productions, with my business partner Haytham Abdulhadi, in 2008. As "co-executive producers" of the festival, we share in a lot of the buying, marketing, planning, production elements, in tandem with our great team. We are big believers in avoiding too much "over-specialization," so that everyone has varied skill sets that can be applied whenever needed. 


How far out do you guys start planning the festival? What is the most exciting part of the process for you?

We never stop thinking about ideas or making plans for the next year's event, so we're already planning the 2017 edition. Most exciting for me is the jig-saw aspect of the planning; meaning, every year we dump a huge assortment of random puzzle pieces out on the table---which vary depending on artists, touring schedules, prior year's lineups, up and coming acts, budgets, etc---and have to find a way for all of the pieces to fit together in one coherent finished product come festival time. Every year has its own set of challenges and every year has its own unique victories. 


What do you think people would find most surprising about the inner workings of designing a festival?

How much work is involved. We work for/on many festivals throughout the year in different parts of the country and the one thing they all share is a committed team of individuals willing to work insane amounts of hours for something they believe in.  


Who are some of your favorite acts you guys have worked with? Who are you most excited to see this year?

We have been fortunate to have already worked with some of our biggest musical heroes in the first few years of the festival----from Gil Scott-Heron right before he passed, to Prince when he did two shows in one night at the Roseland. This year is a particularly stacked lineup, so a lot of great options. But I'd have to say the Anderson .Paak + BJ The Chicago Kid show is going to be extra hot. But having legends like Bonnie Raitt, George Clinton and Sharon Jones is extremely gratifying as well.  



What music is especially exciting to you at this moment?

Any music with a conscience / message / intention, regardless of genre. Music---and specifically which kind of music is popular at different times---is a direct reflection on the mood and atmosphere of our society at large. So music that can make you think and make you move always gets me excited.


How do you see Portland growing as a music scene? What do you love about it and where do you see need for change?

Well, PDX is certainly growing as a city. And as new people from different parts of the country move here, they invariably bring their own region's specific tastes and cultures with it. So in some ways (though not all), I see the increasing diversity in the city and its tastes as a very good thing. Increasing diversity in programming and cultural options was why we started this project to begin with, so that will continue to be our focus moving forward as our city and region continues to grow and evolve. 

Posted by EV

Band Crush: Papi Fimbres

Apr 13, 2016


Papi Fimbres left Portland for just under a year to go live in Leipzig, Germany with his wife. Drummer to 23 different projects and dad to a couple cats, he always knew he would be back. Since his return just a few weeks ago, he's been playing tons of shows wiith his bands like Mascarás, Dreckig, Sun Angle, and so many more. Saturday night, he's bringing the heat with his band Orquestra Pacifico Tropical - a nine piece cumbia orchestra. Along with No La La (members of Minden), Michael Bruce (Gran Ritmos), and Daniela Karina the return of the Papi is gonna be fuego.

Papi's over flowing love for Portland and the music scene is well known. He goes above and beyond to support this city's creativity. So we asked him to tell us what we missed most about this place, and where the first places were that he ran to when he got off that plane.


1) La Sirenita

La Sirenita on Alberta. We live just down the road from there & REALLY missed Mexican food, real bad. In fact, we ate there two days in a row, ha!


2) Revival Drum Shop

Revival Drum shop, cause it's an incredible place & I used to work there & wanted to say what's up to all the homies & I needed drum shit pretty bad as well.


3) The Know

The Know was missed dearly. Not only is it down the road from us but there's always crazy shows there & the beer flows like water. Germany has a ton of venues but cats don't play in them every night like we do here. So I really missed seeing live music.


4) Extracto

Extracto was on the top of my list to go to once we set foot on Portland. European coffee doesn't have shit on us!!! I took a couple of bags of coffee, but we went through that real quick.


5) Home

Our home. We have cats & records, & drums & oh my, our bed. When you're on a 7 month tour, you end up missing your bed the most. I can't even count how many different places we stayed throughout our epic journey. Just psyched to be back playing music for all the homies!

Posted by EV

Band Crush: Strategy

Apr 6, 2016

Paul Dicknow wears many hats. He works as a musician, DJ, producer, and record label operater at Community Library. Operating under the alias of Strategy since 1999, Dicknow creates sounds that stretch  from experimental, sound art and noise music, to ambient, dub, techno, house and the spaces in between. Combining a granular ambient aesthetic with an abstract, percolating rhythmic sensibility, Strategy music does not find a singular sylistic expression, but rather exists along a genre-confounding continuum where all genres are created equal and primed for deconstruction His constant evolution is driven by a curiousity, and an idea that there are always more ways for sound to be heard. This Wednesday, April 6th, he will be playing a set at Holocene along with Seattle based Raica and Portland's own Visible Cloaks. He plans to run the show as a complete modular set, so be sure to the strange oddities he has worked up.

How did Strategy first began? How has it evolved since then?

Strategy was created in part to address the impermanence of bands and memberships -- in the late 1990s, people were relocating, leaving the a point I had to start making music on my own. Technology made that possible, but it also brought learning curves and distractions. Ultimately I think the way I use technology has enabled me to retain the sense of real-time spontaneity, surprise, and boundary-pushing that I got from playing in groups. Nothing replaces flesh-and-blood band-mates, but I'm glad that doing solo music, with technology, still allows me to feel satisfied in many similar ways. I still play in groups, but as space becomes more expensive and my peers become busier, it's still great to have solo music as a primary focus.  


What is your creative process like?

Music comes to me like a faucet in my brain that is always running. When I am feeling like a music composer, I remember the good parts to execute later. But when I'm feeling like an improvisor, I weave good old fashioned elements of chance and surprise into my process so that I can catch myself off guard and environmental factors or unexpected occurrences take me to new sounds. The use of radios to capture unexpected audio junk is a big part of this, and I've been finding myself listening to past music of spontaneous choice (free improvisation) and spontaneous chance (like in the John Cage sense) to be inspired. 



You've been referencing the concept of Cascadia for many years now. Can you explain what Cascadia means to you, both in a bioregional context and in terms of the regional music scene?

Things fall apart. And then new things are built in their place.


What is your favorite piece of gear or tech?

I've been pondering this lately and while there's not one piece of equipment that is a top favorite, I have come to realize I'm more of a "sampling" guy than a "synthesizer" guy. The modular synth I set up for the Holocene performance, even, is built around live audio capturing and processing. When it comes to technology though I'm not an elitist. I'd be just as happy using a throwaway mass market drum machine and an old guitar pedal, as I would be using something new and cutting edge. Usually my process involves a mix of high and low tech. I love it all. 


How do you approach translating your music into a live setting?

My studio recordings are just recorded live sessions--mostly! So for me it's completely fluid. I've always been very resolute that electronic music should be live-- I have never felt comfortable with the "press play and dance crazy to pre made tracks" school of live electronics--which is still prevalent in some ways even if many artists now embrace performance at a deeper level. 


What are you working on right now? What do you have coming up?

I really need to get my garage-conversion project done -- converting it to a music studio. Until then, I have limited space in which to really spread out and create music. I have about 6 albums written in detail in my head, or conceptualized, and just need the time and space to execute them. I am also excited to work on editing prior recordings of my various collaborative projects (including Sound People and Eastside Ancients, among others). 


What are some of your favorite musical or artistic institutions in Portland?

Too numerous to list! 

Posted by EV

Forces at Play: Yes Please w/ Dillon and Sappho

Mar 30, 2016

Yes Please is Holocene's newest and queerest night for the dark, dirty, and fabulous who just want to dance. In their new spot every first Saturday, the Yes Please crew boasts mix of house, techno, deep disco, and most importantly - hard faggotry. Blending the lines between entertainment and dance party, each night brings special guests and DJs from all over. This Saturday features Taco Tuesday from SF, plus local Nasty Tasha and Yes Please cofounder and legend Sappho. There will also be a performance by House of Ada. Armed with deep roots in the queer scene and a long history of DJing beginning in the 90s, Yes Please is the emulation of epic parties. Always looking to make a night to remember.

March's guest - DJ and performer Ambrosia Salad - tearing it up.


We caught up with founders Dillon and Sappho to see how this wild night came to be and how they see the future of the queer night world unfolding. Check it out!



What is Yes Please?

Sappho: First there was Hard Yes. Hard Yes then begat Turnt Up. And from the ashes of Turnt Up birthed Yes Please. Created by Dillon and me, Yes Please's premise was to create and underground, sexy, dance party where there is beyond just DJs playing music for the dancefloor but a performance and visual component. A land of happy endings.

Dillon: Yes Please is primarily a dance party driven by our version of a queer nightlife aesthetic and provides a space for queer and queer allied people to let loose. You will not hear top 40 hits or mainstream pop as we hope to continue the long history of queers finding life from underground sounds, feelings, fashions and interactions. The party also has local and national performers, often right on the dance floor. We like to blur the line between party and show. 

What can someone expect to see when they walk into the club?

They will see a lot of people DANCING, not hovering their phones or on a back patio. The music we play commands you to the dance floor. We also create as best we can an intimate and artistic environment. Wall projections are fabulously created by Etienne Bean and Jack Freeman of Exposure. 

Are there any historic queer nights that have shaped your vision?

D: Paradise Garage from NYC is definitely a huge influence. I've also found major inspiration and knowledge from parties in San Francisco such as Honey Sound System, Comfort and Joy's "Afterglow" and SomeThing at the Stud. Berghain in Berlin is of course a continuing influence on queer underground culture. 

S: Trocadero Transfer in SF, The World in Vancouver BC, Panorama Bar in Berlin, and Rex Club in Paris. The discussion of our love Honey Soundsystem was really the glue that help create our party.


What are the Yes, Please anthems?

Boot & Tax - Niente Per Niente

Snacks - Purdie

Wolfram feat Haddaway - A Thing Called Love Legowelt Mix



Who are some of your favorite acts that you would love to bring in?

Our dream list would be Honey Soundsystem, Prosumer, Black Madonna, Hard Ton, Fade-dra Phey, Zebra Katz, Bjork.

Posted by EV

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