Category Archives: Music and Culture

Listening in with Protex’s Aidan Murtagh

Protex were among the first wave of punk bands to emerge in Belfast, Ireland. After witnessing The Clash perform they formed in 1978 and signed on with Terri Hooley’s legendary Good Vibrations label. They were among fellow punk acts like Rudi, The Outcasts and The Undertones. Protex played rock n’ roll tunes to a unique punk infused power pop style. Their songs were upbeat, catchy and celebrated a desire of normalcy for chasing youthful ideals of hopeless romanticism. For bands like Protex, punk music helped inform their world view and inspired a sense of community. This music was an important contrast against the backdrop of the Troubles plaguing Northern Ireland. It was a way out and a tool to cope with the political and civil turmoil of the time.

During their tenure with Good Vibrations, Protex put out the “Don’t Ring Me Up” three track 45— which was later rereleased by Rough Trade in 1978. In 1979, Protex signed on with Polydor and found a new home in London, England. Being in London, they focused primarily on touring, making music and releasing a further three singles. Despite this Protex split up in 1981 before they could release a full length record. Luckily, in 2010 Sing Sing records found and released the previously unreleased Strange Obsessions recordings. Thanks to a revived interest, original members Aidan Murtagh and David McMaster reformed Protex with the addition of new members Gordie Walker, John Rossi , and later Norman Boyd.

With Protex reformed, they began touring and recording. Although McMaster tenure with the renewed band was short lived, Protex continued on. They saw the release of Tightrope on Bachelor Records in 2017. Since then, Protex have remained on the move. They have played the Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender (2019 and 2021). In 2022 Protex released Wicked Ways, also on Bachelor Records. For fans old and new alike the new records sound akin to Protex’s previous material. They are steeped in power pop hooks with a distinct punk influenced method. This is particularly with the track Tightrope’s “Tightrope” and Wicked Ways‘ “It’s A Lie.”

In early February Protex did a brief tour in Germany with Slander Tongue. Protex were about to tour the States from March 10th through the 17th. Unfortunately, this jaunt across the States was canceled due to visa delays on March 1st. I caught up with Murtagh to chat about their new album Wicked Ways, growing up listening to Slade, and the 1970’s punk movement in Belfast…..

NixBeat: Protex just completed a string of dates in Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg. There you played with Slander Tongue. How was it to back playing in Germany?

Murtagh: It was amazing to finally get back and play . What was great about it was that some of the shows were sold out so it was reassuring to find people still wanted to hear us . It was our fourth time playing Berlin , third time Hamburg , and first time Dresden. Slander Tongue were so good to us , a great band and nice guys.

NixBeat:  After seeing The Clash perform, Protex emerged as among the first wave of punk bands from Belfast in the late 1970s. What was it about that Clash concert inspired you to form Protex?

Murtagh: It was so long ago now! I suppose they were the first punk band to play Belfast during the troubles there, they were exciting, energetic. Their music was new and refreshing. After the show we spent a long time talking with them. Strummer was very encouraging with regarding to bands starting out. Good times. They lit the spark for us to form a punk band.

NixBeat: In an interview with Fear and Loathing Fanzine published in 2017, you mentioned being energized through listening to glam rock like Slade and pub rock groups such as Dr. Feelgood. Can you expand on how this music influenced your launch playing music and subsequently getting into punk?

Murtagh: I grew up listening to Slade and was a member of their fan club. I also listened to Bowie , T Rex and Lou Reed — but Slade were very much rock n’ roll and had such great melodies. Dr Feelgood were one of the first bands I saw live. They were a breath of fresh air at a time when music was getting a little stale. They were back to basics and moved on stage. In many ways they paved the way for punk music. Great attitude.

NixBeat: In an interview with published on 10/19/2017 you mentioned when you initially moved to London in 1979 there was a difference between feeling like a music business atmosphere versus being in movement. Can you elaborate how you experienced punk as a movement in Belfast in the late 1970’s and do you see punk as one now?

Murtagh: I still believe that in those early years in Belfast the punk movement was different than other UK cities, mostly due to the troubles. It meant more —as well as rebelling against everything normal teenagers do—we were rebelling against what was happening in Belfast at that time , and against the those who tried to control everything. Also, punk was not necessarily about the fashion side of things. I think those years influenced many of my thoughts and outlook of the world which I still have today. It’s an attitude thing I suppose.

When we moved to London we had a record contract with a major label and we became more involved as part of the music business. In late 1979 punk in London was not very strong and music was changing with the likes of ska and rockabilly. We didn’t come across many punks.

NixBeat: On August 24, 2022 released Wicked Ways on Bachelor Records. Having listened to it a number of times it feels like a logical extension of Protex’s previous material. What was the process like in writing and recording “Wicked Ways.”

Murtagh: It was a very similar process to the Tightrope LP. Once I was happy with the songs I bought them to the band to rehearse. Then into the studio to record. This time we had the pandemic in the middle of it which delayed everything so it wasn’t as instantaneous as the previous album.

NixBeat: One of my favorite tracks on Wicked Ways is “It’s A Lie.” What’s the inspiration behind this track?

Murtagh: Really it’s a small comment about our local political people and paramilitaries rousing up with false promises to get votes and power and seldom delivering. We have a lot of career politicians here.

NixBeat: On Wicked Ways you added a rerecorded version of “All I Want To Do Is Rock And Roll.” This feels quite the relevant song about wanting to have fun after more than two years Pandemic related stress. What prompted including “All I Want To Do Is Rock And Roll” in Wicked Ways?

Murtagh: Well, I always liked the song but felt the original version went on a bit. So the song was cut down and re arranged and this is the result. I liked the guitar song we got on it. Yeah, it kinda can now be a statement about coming out of the lockdown scenario.

NixBeat: How does your approach to recording Wicked Ways differ from your previous record Tight Rope?

Murtagh: The process was more or less the same as I’ve mentioned in Q4.

NixBeat: The title track of Tightrope seems provides political commentary on the government of Northern Ireland. What are you drawing from for “Tightrope?”

Murtagh: The song was written at a time after the “Peace” broke out here. We then had a power sharing government with all political parties. However, there was always underlying tension. They argued too much, and really on the streets it felt like trouble could flare up very quickly at any time and we could potentially slip back into what went before. The local government (Stormont)’ I felt was walking on a “Tightrope” (a very simple comment). Since I wrote the song the local government has stopped —they fell of the rope! It’s a mess. They all need to jump on the rope again and get back to work. It’s disgusting that they are getting paid for not working.

NixBeat: I have to say one of my favorite tracks is “A Place In Your Heart.” The opening lyrics “Is it a crime to need someone for longer than just one night” is just brilliant. After years of searching I was lucky to find a copy of that single in a record shop in Camden Town. This was just after seeing and DJing for Protex, Biznaga and Randy Savages at the Heatwave Magazine release party on November 18th 2017. What inspired the writing behind “A Place In Your Heart?”

Murtagh: The song was written by former member David McMaster about his girlfriend at the time.

NixBeat: Having played the Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender in 2018 and 2021. What has your experience been like playing alongside newer bands like The Speedways, Baby Shakes and Los Pepes?

Murtagh: It’s always a joy to play with them. They have become friends and we have total respect for them.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for Protex?

Murtagh: We will continue to play in European countries, in August we return to the Rebellion Punk festival. We also are trying to make a second USA visit later in the year if our visa let us. There’s also some new songs to record.

For more about Protex visit them at their Website, Facebook, Bandcamp and check out their tour dates below.

Chatting with NARC about Powerviolence, Supporting Their Local Community and Upcoming Tour!

NARC is the first band that comes to mind when it comes to powerviolence in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are Emma Anderson (Vox), Spencer Anderson (guitar) and Tyler Barrani (drums). Since 2020, they have brought forth a unique ferocity of raw music that is distinctly fast and heavy. Lyrically, NARC are quite poignant with their political commentary. They draw from varying political ideologies to speak out against abuses of power, the oppression of marginalized communities, as well as drawing from experiences in their own lives. When turning this into their live shows they offer a stunning performance that is second to none.

In the last two years, NARC has toured, released albums and tirelessly promoted the Salt Lake punk, hardcore, powerviolence and metal communities. This is manifested by the members of NARC booking shows, supporting fellow acts and playing benefit gigs. They also book and play regularly at Aces High Saloon, in addition to the not-so secret underground venue Your Mom’s House. Among their celebrated shows are the General Violence Conference on April 30, 2022 and raising money for Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

Starting off the 2022 summer in high spirits NARC released their second album A Waste of Good Suffering on June 10, 2022. It was produced by longtime friend Wolf Nunley. It’s a worthy successor to Personifying the Antithesis of American Values. The main difference is it is noticeably heavier, but still contains NARC’s core elements of savage energy.  

Now NARC is about to embark on a west coast tour. They are set to play ten dates that include Las Vegas, NV, Portland, OR and Seattle WA. To learn more, I caught up with NARC and asked them about how they formed, music as a tool for radical change, booking shows in Salt Lake City, their new album A Waste of Good Suffering and what readers can expect from their fall tour.

Emma Anderson (Vox)

NixBeat: NARC is comprised of members Emma Anderson (Vox), Spencer Anderson (guitar) and Tyler Barrani (drums). What prompted you three to form NARC?

Tyler: I had already been in several bands with Spencer in the past, so we had our musical chemistry locked down. We figured why not cut out the middle man and just write music between the two of us, instead of worrying about trying to find another bassist?

NixBeat: In a SLUG Magazine interview published on September 1, 2021  it was stated that you draw influence from other three-piece, women fronted power violence groups. Who are some of these groups and how do they influence your sound?

Emma: There’s so many awesome hardcore punk/grind/power violence projects fronted by women and non-binary people that inspire us. Punch, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Gouge Away, Shitstormtrooper, Closet Witch, Denial of Life, Snuffed, Generation Decline, of course, our friends in Ribbons…lots of bands we’ve played with or just have been fans of. I’m personally influenced by vocalists that have a really raw sound as opposed to a technically precise one. I love hearing women’s raw anger come through in their vocals.

NixBeat: Your music is very socially conscious. This is evident in tracks like “Blue Lives Splatter” and “Feminine Fuckabilly as Social Currency.” What are you drawing from for these songs?

Spencer: We try to keep the lyrical content of our songs strictly political. We adhere to various radical ideologies but certainly a common theme is abuse of power and oppression of marginalized folks to perpetuate violence. Although many of our songs are influenced by personal experiences with mental health and addiction, we believe those experiences have a direct correlation with our current political climate.

Spencer Anderson (guitar)

NixBeat: NARC self-released A Waste of Good Suffering on June 10, 2022. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Wolf Nunley. How was it working with Wolf Nunley on this album?

Tyler: Wolf has known us for a while and knew what kind of sound we were going for and how to dial us in. It was a pleasure working with him and I admire his attention to detail. He wasn’t afraid to make suggestions or add input where he felt things were lacking. He really pushed us to be the best version of ourselves in the studio.

Emma: When we heard the work Wolf did recording, mixing, and mastering for his own project, Threar, we were blown away and knew he could make our new songs sound really fuckin heavy.

NixBeat: What are some of the differences you noticed in working on A Waste of Good Suffering in comparison to your first record Personifying the Antithesis of American Values released March 7,2021?

Spencer: For me, the creation of the riffs and general tone of our first album was purely experimental and trying to figure out what we were even trying to do. Tyler and I have been in bands together for the past four years and we wanted to try something different with Emma and NARC. Personifying the Antithesis of American Values was written during quarantine and, to be quite honest, we were just throwing shit at a wall to see what stuck. Our follow-up record, A Waste of Good Suffering, was where we actually really took our time in working on tone and overall feel and really started to understand what our collective conscience was working towards.

Tyler: The main difference for me was that we recorded Waste track by track, whereas we did Personifying live.

NixBeat: What influenced the track “Paradox of Innocence?”

Emma: Paradox of Innocence is about all the black victims of police brutality who were murdered for finding themselves in bad situations or simply just existing, particularly the children and teenagers. In most of those situations, had those victims been white, they would’ve been considered “innocent” and lived to share their experience. Because of their race, so many victims of police brutality were considered “violent” and “threatening” with no basis other than racial stereotyping. The song is about the differences in perception and media treatment of victims and perpetrators along racial lines…how black people are villainized, robbed of their chance to be children and be seen as human beings, by law enforcement and the media. Musically, we just wanted to write something darker and heavier to reflect the content of the song.

Tyler Barrani (drums)

NixBeat: Also stated in the SLUG Magazine interview published on September 1st, 2021 it is pointed out that NARC consistently plays benefit shows for community organizations such as the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. What inspires NARC to get involved and play benefit shows for your local community?

Tyler: To give back what’s been given, because we wouldn’t be here if not for the community. We all have to take care of each other and participate in the upkeep of our community, or admit we’re just in love with the idea of it.

Emma: If showing up and playing a set can do anything to help raise funds or awareness for an issue we and our community are passionate about, that’s a rad thing that we want to do as often as we can.

NixBeat: Do you think music can influence change in the community for good and if so, how has it in your community?

Spencer: With minimal exception, music always fosters positive influence in the community. Of course, there are caveats, but overall, and especially in the punk, hardcore, and grind/powerviolence scenes, the effect on the community is intertwined with radical, progressive action. We’ve seen this in SLC. Specifically with the amount of benefit shows, the outreach to the local unsheltered population, and simply the fact that many of the people who play in bands here are also highly involved with radical organizing. There is, more often than not, a pipeline between heavy fuckin music and caring about your community, and making those connections in the music scene makes it easier to get involved.

NixBeat:The three of you are also involved in setting up shows locally. This involvement includes collaborating with Aces High Saloon and the underground venue Your Mom’s House. How did you get involved in booking shows?

Tyler: We all work at Aces High and live at Your Mom’s House…haha

Emma: I got involved in booking through being in NARC and living at Your Mom’s House; Since we’re a contact for our out-of-state friends looking to book shows here, we get hit up pretty frequently about finding venues and local support for touring bands. I recently started helping out with booking at Aces High after bartending there for a while.

NixBeat:What have been some of your favorite shows you’ve booked and why?

Spencer: My personal favorite is gonna have to be General Violence Conference. We had an eclectic mix of local and touring bands and all shit fuckin gnarly. We’re gonna have another GVC April 23rd, 2023 and it shall be grindy. Other than that, The Bimbos from RI, Deconsecration from Seattle, No//Mas from DC, Twompsax from Oakland, Generation Decline from Bremerton, Stinker from LA, Bridge Dweller from LA, the list goes on and on. These are just a few of my favorites and it’s all just based on the energy and positivity these bands brought to the show.

Tyler: GVC was Salt Lake’s first powerviolence/crust/grind fest and I’m immensely proud of the fact that we started it.

Emma: One of the coolest shows we booked at Your Mom’s House was a collaboration with Caio Santos – He booked Sentenced 2 Die with Recidivist and we booked Generation Decline and Azijnpisser with ourselves and Ribbons. It popped the fuck off and it was so cool to have that much death metal and hardcore punk all together in one garage.

NixBeat: Regarding your involvement with Aces High Saloon, how has this new bar changed the music scape of Salt Lake City?

Tyler: Aces High has allowed a space for punk, metal, hardcore, and outlaw country to all share the same stage and collaborate together.

Emma: Aces High fills a niche that needed to be filled in SLC for a long time. It’s become the go-to bar for most of the punks and metalheads we know and it’s allowed that whole community to connect with each other that much more. So many “alternative”, if you will, people know each other now because of Aces. Also, we all bond over damn good vegan food.

NixBeat: On October 20, 2022 NARC embarks on a 11-day tour. You’ll be playing in places like Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle. What can readers expect from your performances?

Tyler: Louder, faster, better.

Emma: Add-in “going ham” to that mix. We’ll also be in Halloween costumes for almost every show. If we get stinky, grumpy, and sick of each other in the midst of it, we’re just gonna get all of that out of our systems during our set. It’s gonna be fun.

Spencer: High energy, loud noises, and a couple of fuckers sendin’ it.

For more about NARC check out their Bandcamp!

From Outer Space Here are The Sex Organs

The Sex Organs are on a mission to bring sex back to rock n’ roll. Since 2014, they have blazed a trail of garage punk mayhem across Europe. In doing so they have wiped out the confines of complacency by spreading —in their own words— “sexcitement” across the land. They are Jackie Torera (The Jackets) and Bone (The Anomalys).  The Sex Organs provide a performance that can only be from outer space. They dress the part by presenting themselves as a giant fuzzy alien looking reproductive organs on stage — aka a vagina with teeth and penis with an enormous protruding eye.  

Musically, they play with a primitive set up made up with a stand up drum kit and electric guitar, complete with lyrics about humanity sexual condition. Their style mixes the savage nature of garage rock with the intensity of punk. Think of it along the lines of The Cramps, Bo Diddly and The Mummies, but with the additives of trash driven rock n’ roll.

To share their garage punk infused “sexcitment” with the people of earth, The Sex Organs play numerous clubs across Europe. They have also made appearances at garage rock festivals and even museums. Some of their more notably shows include at Funtastic Dracula Carnival and Bomb Your Brain Fuzztival.

Their exploits don’t stop at touring. The Sex Organs were even banned from Dracula’s Bran Castle in Transylvania in 2017. Originally they were set to play with Hombre Lobo, Dead Elvis and Thee Gravemen. Unfortunately several days before the show, the castle’s manager felt an appearance from The Sex Organs would tarnish Romania’s famous cultural site. Ironically this is a cultural site that also proudly displays iron spiked chastity belts and other charming torture devices—some complete with graphics. (The full story can be found on Facebook)

Apart from relentlessly gigging The Sex Organs have also released a full length Intergalactic Sex Tourists LP and the Fuck The Human Race and I Hate Underpants singles. The former two records were released with Voodoo Rhythm Records. While the I Hate Underpants 7″ was put out via their own label Orgastic Records, established in 2021. Rumor even has it that a new record is on the way.

Life as The Sex Organs is certainly not boring. They are cult favorites in the garage rock circuit and have remained tirelessly creative even as the world seemed to lull during the Covid 19 Pandemic. To learn more about The Sex Organs plans for world domination I caught up with Bone and Jackie and asked them about the origins of The Sex Organs, playing Festival Dracula Carnival, starting their own label, staying creative during covid lockdowns and more!

Nixbeat: The Sex Organs started as an idea between Bone and Jackie before the Funtastic Dracula Carnival in Benidorm, Spain. What inspired you to form The Sex Organs?

Jackie: I was talking to an actor that played a vagina in a theatre peace (like a naturalistic one in skin color) and I immediately had this image in my head and said: if I’d be a vagina on stage, I would be a big black hairy triangle with teeth. And Bone knows a DJ called Kutlul, which means Cuntdick. Then we thought there must already exist a band dressed as sex organs and googled it… The Sex Organs! It didn’t exist and so we knew we had to do it…

NixBeat:  Self-described as intergalactic sex n’ roll from outer space, your music comes across as blending primitive garage with elements of punk rock. What are you drawing from for your sound?

Jackie: I guess from our music path… we always played in garage bands, we love the DIY culture of punk and garage, dressing funny, continue the culture and make something new and authentic with it. (We like to entertain, have fun ourselves, tour, build things (costumes, merch, videos), write good music and lyrics… be part of that huge rock n’ roll community and family around the world.)

Bone: Music wise, I would say we draw from bands like The Cramps and The Gories and the like. My very first garage band from the end of the 90’s was also a duo with me on guitar and Claudia Hek on drums. So I guess I’ve been developing the duo sound for a long time. Experimenting a lot with vintage echo machines and cheap guitars.

NixBeat: In an interview published by on February 12, 2022, you stated that performing and playing live is essential to music itself. In which you cite drawing from both of your creative backgrounds to create a way to live and express yourselves through rock n’ roll DIY culture. What inspires your unique performances?

Bone: We both have a background in theatre and performance art. We love to design and create costumes. It’s been amazing to combine this with music. Ever since I was a little kid I was into dress-up parties and still am. Of course the first time I saw the Mummies perform my young mind was blown and I knew where I had to go…

The Sex Organs @ Rössli Bern © 22.12.2016 Patrick Principe

NixBeat:  On February 7, 2017, The Sex Organs released Intergalactic Sex Tourists via Voodoo Rhythm Records. The album plays out as though listening to a kind of raunchy Orson Wells-like radio broadcast about the Sex Organs invasion and the subsequent corrupting moral panic of Earth. What were your drawing from to create this album?

Jackie: As The Sex Organs look a bit different than human sex organs. We always imagined that they are from outer space. The story around the band is as important as everything else… it’s our inspiration and it’s an on going story. The Sex Organs make new encounters and experiences on planet earth… so it was the next obvious step to tell that story on this first record.

Bone: I’m really into radio plays since a long time. I collect these records with especially horror, science fiction and raunchy stories. Also in my early Hip Hop days I was always drawn to songs with a skit in it. It leaves so much to the imagination. I love that. In garage this is very well used by bands like The Brentwoods , The Bassholes or Lightning Beatman.

NixBeat: On April 23, 2021 The Sex Organs released the “I Hate Underpants”/”Where Is My Dildo 7”. What’s the story behind the track “Where’s My Dildo?”

Bone: I used to work a long time in a bar in Amsterdam and a certain part of the clientele would always refer to Bo Diddly as Bo Dildo whenever the man’s genius music was played. So I thought we could turn this pretty lame joke to our advantage and turn it into a homage with appropriate lyrics for our band. (I think we heard that referenced Bo Diddely’s song while dancing and started to sing funny sentences to it…)

NixBeat:  During the height of the pandemic in 2020 The Sex Organs work on the Claymation music video for “I Hate Underpants.” What was that process like?

Jackie: We wanted to show how sex organs have to deal with underpants. So we first thought of gigantic underpants… and then quickly knew that we have to scale down everything and work with animated puppets. We both like to build things and I’m also a film maker. So we just started without having a clue and it became a huge project of course but, we learned a lot, had some fun and it was the perfect project during corona.

Bone: The process was very meticulous and nerve-wrecking. We had never done a stop motion video before so we didn’t really know where we were getting ourselves into. It is unbelievable how much work goes into it. And especially when you realise that the tiniest details are of the utmost importance. The result is completely satisfying though . It makes it all worth it.

NixBeat: To release the “I Hate Underpants”/”Where Is My Dildo 7” The Sex Organs started Orgastic Records. Are you using this label as a beach head to invade Earth and if so, how is that going?

Jackie: We were into going through the whole process of making and releasing a record ,and selling it ourselves on bandcamp as we were not able to tour during Corona. It has been a very insightful experience. We will release small projects on our label, but for albums we will work with other labels.

NixBeat: Ever since Covid 19 germinated the Earth, Bandcamp has risen to the occasion to provide direct payments to bands on the first Friday of the month. I’ve noticed that The Sex Organs have been releasing new shirts and posters designed by Bone as well as special edition action figures. How has the Bandcamp Fridays helped fund The Sex Organs survive the Covid Pandemic?

Jackie: It was incredibly important to have a platform to sell our merch to pay for our record and some running band costs. I think people liked, that the money would go directly to the bands… so you get cool merch and support the band.

NixBeat: What prompted you to create the action figures and since they have sold out, will we ever see another round of them?

Bone: Doesn’t anyone wants an action figure of themselves??? We knew this would be a big seller. You only have to look at every other franchise on the planet. Before we made the actual costumes we already made prototypes of the costumes on two Ken and Barbie dolls that we bought in a thrift store. Lets see when the next batch will be born. I’m sure there will be more where that came from…

NixBeat: On October 29, 2021 The Sex Organs returned to play Funtastic Dracula Carnival Welcome Party. Other acts included Teen Cobra plus DJ’s spinning until 6AM. What was it like to return to Funtastic Dracula after the world shut down due to the Covid 19 Pandemic?

Bone: It was absolutely ecstatic!!! Of course everybody had a little catching up to do. We played as the first band that night. Then came Teen Cobra and Finale ended the night. It was pretty much a dancing, pogoing crazy crowd from the get go. Really FUN!

NixBeat:  On May 20, 2022 The Sex Organs played Bomb Your Brain Fuzztival in Valence, France. Also on the bill were Black Mambas, Tommy and The Commies, Bad Mojos, The Scaners, Thee Gunlocks, La Flingue and Nester Donuts. What was it like to play Bomb Your Brain Fuzztival?

Bone: Two nights of mayhem in Valence. Lots of old friends and a bunch of new ones. Super cool line up. There seemed to be a contest of naked men going on… never seen so many men play naked on stage in one festival. Super nutty after parties including one where the guitar player of the Mamba’s ended up in the garden two stories down after he dropped his phone of the balcony and couldn’t get back up. Had to be rescued with a leader etc… the usual.

Nixbeat: In conjunction with playing Bomb Your Brain Fuzztival, The Sex Organs contributed the track “I Wanna Be Your Pussy” to the Bomb Your Brain- Best of Bastard Compilation Vol. 1 (February 14, 2022) via Pigme Records. How did you get involved with this release?

Bone: Goret the drummer from Thee Gunlocks who organised the festival also put out this fantastic compilation. So when he wrote to us if we wanted to donate a song to this comp. and saw the rest of the bands involved we immediately agreed upon that. Afterwards I asked him if I could DJ the festival since I liked the line up so much. At first we were not supposed to actually play but when the Briefs cancelled their tour I offer to play with the Sex Organs.

The Sex Organs @ Rössli Bern © 22.12.2016 Patrick Principe

NixBeat: Do The Sex Organs have plans to release more material in the near future?

Bone: We sure do but unfortunately the pressing plants won’t let us…. gdmnd. For now we are concentrating on a new album that we will record with Lo Spider this summer.

NixBeat: Do The Sex Organs have plans to play the United States? If you do, where would you like to play?

Bone: Yes of course we would love to play the States. Everywhere where we won’t be run out of town in tar and feathers. We’d love to play the Mosswood Meltdown in San Fransisco presented by John Waters. Portland with The Cyclops. New Orleans with Mr.Quintron and Miss Pussycat. San Diego with the Schizophonics. Memphis, Gonerfest. Detroit with Dan Kroha. Chicago with the Delilahs crew. Get Weird, New York City etc etc etc…. It would be great to see all our friends again in the States!

NixBeat:  What’s next for the Sex Organs?

Bone: For now we are concentrating on a new album that we will record in Toulouse with Lo Spider this summer after playing the Montesquiou on the Rocks festival.

For more about The Sex Organs visit their Bandcamp or Facebook!!

Forever The Talk of The Town with The Speedways

The Speedway at Medley MAlmo 2022


Over the last two years The Speedways have continued to blaze a trail of power pop excellence.  On June 29, 2020 The Speedways shined a light through the darkness of the Covid 19 Pandemic by releasing Radio Sounds. Musically, Radio Sounds expanded upon The Speedways captivating pop sensibilities, catchy melodies and longing love songs. This is brilliantly done by reviving an attitude found in late 1970’s rock n’ roll but with a spirit of ’79 punk infused power pop sound. It’s the kind of music meant for the romanticism of youthful idealism and nostalgic yearnings.

Furthermore, while the previous album Just Another Regular Summer was the sole manifestation of Matt Julian, Radio Sounds introduced more collaborative approach from all the members of the band. Continuing on this note in 2021, The Speedways released of Borrowed and Blue. This 10” record celebrated their take on songs like Abba’s “SOS,” and the very sentimental Hanoi Rock’s “11th Street Kids.”

Continuing to show their versatility The Speedways hit the remainder of the year running. This was perfectly shown on September 25, 2021. The Speedways found themselves thrust into headlining Some Weird Sin’s Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender. This was unexpected, but ended up being a welcome performance. The Speedways took to the stage with a powerful energy that was in turn well received by their audience.

2022 has further seen The Speedways reach new heights. They recorded a new record Talk Of The Town and single “Shoulda Known”/”A Drop In The Ocean”that is due later this year.  The Speedways toured both Sweden and Spain in May 2022. This was followed by a quick jaunt over to Germany in June 2022. All of this is setting he stage for a much anticipated return to Some Weird Sins  Pump It Pump  Power Pop Weekender on July 2, 2022.

It’s clear The Speedways have remained ever vigilant.  To learn more about their developments during the last couple of years, I caught up with Adrian Alfonso, Mauro Venegas and Matt Julian. We chatted about their appreciation for Hanoi Rocks, touring Sweden fort the first time, Ronnie Specter, their new album Talk Of The Town and more…..

NixBeat: Last we spoke The Speedways had been in hibernation due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. However, in 2021 with the availability of vaccines and end to lockdowns, The Speedways were able to start performing again. How does it feel to be able to play gigs again?

Adrian Alfonso: Pretty great, we’re not alone in feeling like there’s a lot of time to make up for. Especially with our new songs it’s been great to play them live, though we didn’t really get much of a chance to play stuff off Radio Sounds. There’s a little anxiety as I know it can be overwhelming for people going to gigs with just the sheer volume of things happening. So far all the gigs we’ve played have been great and have had really good turnouts. I feel very grateful that people are supporting us.

Mauro Venegas: feels amazing!! Especially going abroad again, and especially playing the new material live.

NixBeat: In 2021 The Speedways released the Borrowed & Blue 10” via Snap Records. On this record you include of a cover of Hanoi Rock’s “11th Street Kids.” You also did a music video for it that was posted to youtube on May 12. 2021. What prompted you to cover this track?

Adrian Alfonso: They’re a band that at least Mauro, Matt and myself have all bonded over. I always felt like they were a band that often get dismissed for their image. When I first met Mauro a decade ago and saw him holding one of their records, I excitedly ran over and started chatting with him about them. I remember a couple years after that I was an extra in a video shoot for Mauro’s band at the time Jonny Cola and the A-Grades and was telling Mauro how I’d just started learning guitar and was finding it pretty tricky, then he spotted my Hanoi Rocks tattoo then started playing the intro to “11th Street Kids” to be a show off… They’re often a band we’ll play in the van when we’re on tour and I think it was after a gig in Spain, we were in the hotel without guitars and drunkenly suggested we covered “Until I get you.” We had a bit of a sing-song and figured nothing would come of that. But the pandemic happened and we couldn’t really get together. So, the covers EP came up and I think Mauro mentioned doing either one of those songs ,and I think we all agreed that “11th Street Kids” would be better for us as it’s a little more upbeat.

Mauro Venegas: Probably been covered by one of my bandmates, but Hanoi are a band that Matt and I (and Adrian and I) bonded over when we first got to know each other — only those who are really “in the know” appreciate them for what they were and know how significant they were. They don’t get the proper dues they deserve! So yeah, this was one we used to mess about with in hotel rooms on tour (we considered covering “Until I Get You” as well, but realised this would probably fit us better). I know he didn’t grow up with ’em like the rest of us did, so I was really chuffed when Kris was on board with the idea!

Matt Julian: As the guys say, we have a mutual love of Hanoi. “11th Street Kids” felt like the right choice. It’s got a punk rock nostalgia that resonates within us all!

NixBeat: Because it’s one of my favorites, and you did it so well, what prompted you to cover Abba’s “SOS?”

Adrian Alfonso: We like the song.

Matt Julian: I love how brooding and unsettling the verse is ,and how the chorus just explodes. I don’t remember what prompted it, but it had been a consideration for a little while. We all love ABBA. It was a popular choice.

NixBeat: Nambucca has recently closed it’s doors on May 14th 2022. As The Speedways have played this legendary club numerous times, how has it’s closure affected you and the music community in London?

Adrian Alfonso: It’s very sad news, it was always a great venue to play, and there are so few venues left in London already. In particular, Nambucca had a sense of home for us as it’s on Holloway Road which has always had a lot of significance for the band.

Mauro Venegas: Maybe affected me most actually, as I ran so many nights there for several years. Some of the best ‘Some Weird Sins’ were there. It had a great vibe and wasn’t like any of the other similar sized venues on the circuit. Things got a bit more out of control there at times! It’ll be sadly missed.

Matt Julian: I’ve met some of my best friends there so I’ll always remember it for that (among other things). We did our first headline gig there in 2018. It’s a shame to see it go. Holloway Road looms large in the Speedways legend. Eerily so.

NixBeat: On September 25, 2021 The Speedways played Some Weird Sin’s “Pump It Up Power Pop Weekender” at the Lexington in London, England. What was it like to perform for Pump It Up again?

Adrian Alfonso: We feel a bit like the house band at this point. The band was only ever supposed to play one gig at the first ever weekender in 2018. So it’s also felt a bit like our home. The atmosphere all weekend was great. There were some bands that unfortunately had to cancel due to the situation with Covid. Every band that did manage to come along were really excited to play ,and the crowds were great. We ended up headlining the Saturday, that had us all a bit nervous, but it was probably the best gig we’d ever played at that point, and it was fantastic that it was in our home city.

Mauro Venegas: Personally speaking, that was one of the (if not the) best Speedways show ever. It was very intense and it all poured out of us on the night. All the uncertainty and emotion that we’d been through over that summer (and probably over the whole lockdown period before that), and having such a hugely enthusiastic crowd response gave us a huge boost. Of course, we weren’t meant to headline at all, but ended up doing so, and it worked out pretty well for us atmosphere-wise!

Matt Julian: Yeah, we accidentally headlined the Saturday night due to a cancellation, so that was a bit stressful in the sense we hadn’t prepared a set list long enough to headline! But, we were all on our A-game that night and nailed the unrehearsed encores. Like Mauro says, there was something quite emotional about the weekend as a whole, but it turned out to be one of our best ever shows. One of those special ones where the audience and band are enjoying it as much as each other.

NixBeat: On November 10th 2021 it was announced on The Speedways Facebook page that you all would be up and running again in 2022. Was there some doubt about The Speedways continuing on as a group?

Matt Julian: For a time there was yeah. I had a setback and needed to hide away for a while. It was nothing to do with the Speedways, it was my own personal thing you know? Even at the level we play it can be tough to find the courage to get on stage or be creative if you’re doubting your value as a person. I know that sounds very deep haha, but we all have to deal with things in our own way at times. People say I take things to heart too much. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to write a song as pretty as “Empty Pages”— so I guess it’s swings and roundabouts. I’m glad I take things to heart. The band were really supportive and gave me the space to pull myself together (well, as pulled together as I ever get anyway). They were absolutely great. I listened to a lot of Lana Del Rey and took up smoking.

NixBeat: Matthew, I know The Ronnettes and Ronnie Spector are big influences for you. When Ronnie Spector passed away on January 12, 2022 you eulogized her via a Facebook post. Can you expand on how Ronnie Spector has influenced you and your music?

Matt Julian: I’ve just always loved her voice and the Phil Spector sound since I first heard “Be My Baby” She joins up the dots in my record collection. The first Speedways record in particular is hugely influenced by the romance of Ronnie Spector. “One Kiss Can Lead To Another” is built around the “Be My Baby” bass line and “Reunion In The Rain” was very much an attempt at a Ronettes style song. She’s now sadly missed like so many others.

NixBeat: So far 2022 has been busy for The Speedways. You all toured Sweden and Spain in May 2022. This was a first time playing in Sweden. What was your reception in Sweden like?

Adrian Alfonso: It’s always daunting to play somewhere new, but the people in Sweden were very welcoming and enthusiastic.

Matt Julian: It was really good. The hospitality and welcome we received in Malmo was amazing. We got to play a couple of cool shows and also check in with Trevor who runs Beluga Records—plus a little trip to the ABBA museum on a boat from Stockholm harbour. It’s a very beautiful place. Would love to go back.

NixBeat: How was it returning to play in Spain and what were some of the highlights?

Adrian Alfonso: Spain feels like our second home in many ways, so it felt like an overdue homecoming, though I wish it could have been a bit longer. The highlight for me is the people, they’re always really enthusiastic and really love power pop music and we always end up making new friends each time we go there.

Mauro Venegas: Playing the new stuff! Haha!

Matt Julian: Spain has always been very supportive of the Speedways. My usual highlights are the amount of people at the gigs who know the words, the variety of brilliant music we play in the Speedwaysmobile and eating pan con tomate for breakfast every morning with Kris. We’ll be back again in the autumn to play the Flamin’Go Beach Festival!

NixBeat: The Speedways are due to release a new album Talk Of The Town in November 2022. What can readers expect from your new album?

Adrian Alfonso: There’s a lot of familiar ground as we worked with Jez Leather again as he co-produced the album with us, but this time we went to Perry Vale Studios run by Pat Collier and had the luxury of playing together live. We all really had to push ourselves and really stepped up our playing. There’s more members of the band writing now. I’ve got a song on this one, and it’s the first time I’ve buckled down and written a full song by myself. I admittedly would often rely on whatever band I’m in to help beef up my ideas or get the singer to write the lyrics, so this is definitely a step up for me personally.

Mauro Venegas: Ooh yes! This album has some new twists and turns thrown in. There’s more variety, the performances are better and we’ve not been scared to draw from a much wider pool of influences. It’s harder, it’s poppier, it’s more soulful, it’s more adventurous, it’s the strongest one to date ,and I’m massively proud of it!

Matt Julian: It’s fun for all the family! We’ve collectively contributed songs, as well as arranging stuff more as a band. Mauro sings a couple of tunes this time as well. I was really struggling to write songs during the last two years so I mixed things up a bit and wrote a few songs on the keyboard or around drum machine beats. They didn’t all make the cut, but at least it meant I was writing again. We could have made a straight out “pop” record, and of course there are some power pop bangers on Talk Of The Town, but it was nice to try new things and show off on the guitar a bit. I’m really pleased with my vocals on this album too. Just for the record, I had a dream that the next Speedways album would be called Talk Of The Town. I made a note of it and around a year later I wrote the title song. It has nothing to do with the Pretenders and it has nothing to do with “oh we’re so great, we’re the talk of the town” It’s about paranoia and humiliation.

NixBeat: After getting a little preview from your new single “Shoulda Known”/”A Drop In The Ocean” to be released via Snap Records in September 2022. What are you drawing from for your new track “A Drop In The Ocean?”

Adrian Alfonso: It’s another ballad, and probably the best example of all three of our voices on record to date.

Matt Julian: Yep, another ballad! I originally wrote it in 2019. It’s quite an old one, but I knew it had potential. It’s the kind of thing we do really well and other bands don’t do at all. I’m drawing from all the same places and faces.

NixBeat: The A-side the new single is “Shoulda’ Known.” It seems to be a track about the follies of falling in love again and again. What inspired this song?

Mauro Venegas: I can’t speak for the lyrical side (though I gave Matt the title/chorus as a starting point). This was the first real co-write we’ve done in fact, where I had the music and he came up with lyrics for it, it was great working that way, hopefully we’ll do more of it next time, after all he’s a waaaay better lyricist than I am, haha!

Matt Julian: It was our first actual co-write. Mauro had a great riff and chorus, then I threw in the lyrics and vocal melody on the verse. I had a scrap of paper where I’d written “good things don’t come to those who wait, impatient hearts won’t hesitate to break in two tonight.” That was all I had, but I started singing it over Mauros riff and it fit really nice once I’d fleshed it out a bit. It’s inspired by The Speedways ..It’s a “love gone wrong” song. It’s our bread and butter!

NixBeat:The Speedways are due to perform Pump It UP Power Pop Weekender on July 2nd 2022. The Line up includes The Baby Shakes, The Yum Yums and more! What can readers expect from The Speedways at this festival?

 Adrian Alfonso: It will be a step up from our set at 2021’s weekender, we’re hoping to bring the same energy, but with a load of new songs to play for everyone.

Mauro Venegas: We’re on form right now. Watch out!!

Matt Julian: We’ve only played one UK show this year so hopefully people will come out and see us. Really looking forward to catching up with Baby Shakes again. We’ll aim to steal the show and win over as many new fans as we can.

NixBeat: Are there any plans for a Speedways U.S Tour?

Matt Julian: There are no plans, but it remains a goal for the band. If we get concrete offers and a realistic (geographically) run of shows then absolutely we’d love to! We sell plenty of records to America and have friends over there, so that’s a good place to start. ‘Speedways – Talk Of The USA Tour 2023’ does have a certain ring to it.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for The Speedways?

Adrian Alfonso: Hopefully a lot more touring, and maybe more new music too..

Mauro Venegas: The new record’s on another level to the previous ones. I’m excited to see what people make of it!

Matt Julian: A new album, a single or two, a new video at some point, new t-shirts, Japanese tour, a Jägermeister sponsorship deal. Lot’s of good stuff.

For more about The Speedways, check out their Bandcamp and Facebook!!

Chatting with Bad Sex About More Than The Same Old Song And Dance

Jerry Fowler, Charles Olsen Quinn Walls, and Nick Kruse,

Bad Sex are Portland, Oregon’s answer to power pop. They are Quinn Walls, Nick Kruse, Jerry Fowler and Charles Olsen. Since forming in 2016, Bad Sex have relentlessly jumped to the occasion to make music. They have shared the stage with numerous acts including Giuda, The Dickies, The Queers and Koffin Cats. Their tight catchy melodies nod toward the high energy of 1970s punk rock with the swagger of glam derived rock n’ roll. It’s is a style reminiscent of Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers, Protex, or The Beat, all the while twisting to the contemporary flair found in The Exploding Hearts.

Most the world shut down in 2020. However, Bad Sex wasted little time by continuing to write and rehearse. They even made a music video for the track “Miranda.” This hard work paid off with the release of the Miranda/Devil Doll 7” on July 2, 2021. Bad Sex also performed the RKR MTN Rendezvous. This was an all dayer concert that was in conjunction with the RKR MTN Ripper Festival, in Denver, Colorado.

2022 appears to a promising year for Bad Sex. In March, they did a brief west coast tour which included Salt Lake City, Utah on March 13. After the tour, Bad Sex landed in the studio to record an EP set to release later in 2022. In July they will open for TSOL on July 28, and in September embark on 20-day tour, including playing the RKR MTN Ripper Festival. Finally in November, they will open for The Dead Boys, The Briefs and Suzi Moon.  

On the way to Denver for RKR MTN Ripper Festival, Bad Sex will grace Salt Lake City at The International on September 7th. Salt Lake City locals Shecock and The Pseudos are set to open.  To learn I caught up with Bad Sex and they were kind enough to fill me in on their plans for the remainder of 2022.

Quinn Walls and Jerry Fowler

NixBeat: Bad Sex formed in 2016. What prompted you to form Bad Sex?

Walls: Everyone I knew was in a band, I wanted to start one too.

Kruse: My band had a space and I figured I could figure out how to play drums so my best friend could be in a band.

Olsen: I saw them play with my band at a house show and thought the songs were good, and if all my friends were in a band, I want in.

Fowler: Quinn and Nick had a new band going, and needed a bassist. So, I learned how to play bass.

NixBeat: Described as a raunchy power pop and degenerate party punk, what influences do draw from for Bad Sex’s sound?

Walls: well that’s an older description, I’d say we’re much more 70’s power pop & rock ‘n’ roll nowadays. Or influences range greatly from person to person. I draw influence from The Exploding Hearts, Rubinoos, Elvis Costello, and The Ramones mostly.

Kruse: I love Ramones, Cheap Trick, The Who (especially the 60’s stuff). My favorite drummers are Tommy Ramone, Marky Ramone, Ritchie Ramone, and Elvis Ramone.

Fowler: I grew up listening to a lot of Alkaline Trio and Rancid. Like mall-punk type stuff. I honestly learned about power-pop upon joining Bad Sex. Dan Andriano from Alkaline is definitely my main influence as far a bass playing goes.

Olsen: Blink-182 is probably my favorite band ever ,along with AC/DC and KISS. The first album I ever bought was Ever Passing Moment by MxPx, and I still listen to that record today.

NixBeat: In January 2019, Bad Sex flew out to Atlanta, Georgia to record your debut album Waste Of Time with Joe Queer and Tuk Smith. What was that process like?

Bad Sex: The first big show we played was with The Dickies and The Queers. After the show, Joe Queer pulled us aside and asked if we wanted to come to Atlanta and record with him at Scabby Road Studio. Quinn had mentioned liking the band Biters, so Joe asked if we wanted Tuk Smith to come into the studio. Tuk had brought along producer Dan Dixon, who helped write harmonies and sing on the ‘Waste of Time’ record.

NixBeat: On September 17th and 18th 2019, Bad Sex opened for Giuda along with The Sadists (in PDX) and with Die Nasty (in Seattle).  What was it like to open for Giuda during their North West portion of their tour?

Bad Sex: In two words: Absolutely thrilling. They are so nice, so talented and really fun. We hit it off, talked gear, talked music and played pinball.

Quinn Walls and Charles Olsen

NixBeat: On February 28, 2020 Bad Sex opened for The Hollywood Stars alongside The Crazy Squeeze and Nico Bones, with DJ Power Pop Jeff. How did you get involved with this show and what was it like to open for The Hollywood Stars?

Bad Sex: Our friend Nico Bones hit us up out of the blue, and we jumped at the opportunity. We’re more of a west coast band, than a Portland band, so we went for it. Then a month later everything shut down.

NixBeat: In March of 2020, Bad Sex (along with numerous groups around the world) were affected by onset of the Coronavirus. This included gig postponed and job loss. How did you get through the Pandemic?

Bad Sex: We wrote, recorded and made a video. A venue in town, The Goodfoot, let us rehearse in their basement. We kept meeting up several times a week and just didn’t stop.

NixBeat: On July 2, 2021 Bad Sex released the Miranda/Devil Doll 7” visa Crash Assailant Records. What were you drawing from for the track “Miranda?”

Olsen: “Miranda” is all about my first love. we were together for three years and broke up right around the time Bad Sex was taking things more seriously. I’m a big fan of Pete Shelley and love how a lot of his songs were autobiographical. Needless to say, I was pretty hurt at the time. “Miranda” was really the first time I was able to put my feelings into words ,and was in a band that played music that made sense to how I felt at that time.

NixBeat: What inspired the track “Devil Doll?”

Walls: “Devil Doll” was written at the end of a relationship, reflecting on how different feelings are at the beginning and end of relationships. Inspired mostly by The Nerves and Paul Collins Beat.

NixBeat: On September 10th, 2021 Bad Sex played the RKR MTN Rendezvous— which is apart of the RKR MTN Ripper Festival, in Denver, Colorado. How did you get involved with this festival and what was it like to perform again after the Covid hiatus?

Walls: I had talked to Micah from Fast Eddy about us wanting to play that fest and he put us on the bill right away.

Fowler: It was nice to be back playing music, especially in a new city with some of our favorite bands. The whole fest was just what we all needed after a year of fuckin’ nothing.

NixBeat:  In March 2022, Bad Sex embarked on a tour that started off in Salt Lake City, Utah. There you played at Quarters DLC with Slick Velveteens with DJ Retrograde and I behind the decks. What was it like for you to play Salt Lake City?

Walls: SLC was so much more beautiful than I had imagined and the venue was so fun, reminded me of when I worked at an arcade.

Olsen: I had a blast. Jerry, Nick and I’s old band GUN used to come to SLC all the time, and play Beehive Social and Dis House. Shout out to Sam and Conrad. Getting to go to Raunch was also super cool and selling some singles there was a dream come true.

NixBeat: This tour also saw Bad Sex support Koffin Kats during several dates in Washington and Oregon. This isn’t the first time Bad Sex has played with Koffin Kats. However, what was it like to pay with them during this tour?

Fowler: It was a goddamn blast. They’re incredible musicians and just all-around nice guys.

Olsen: I feel like we’re cut from the same cloth. Getting to tour with a band like Koffin Kats ,who have done it for so long, taught us so much; I really can’t say enough nice things about those guys. You can expect to see us together more in the future.

NixBeat: During the weekend of September 9th through 11th, Bad Sex will be playing the RKR MTN RIPPER III festival in Denver, Colorado. Other acts include RMBLR, Ravagers, Fast Eddy and more.  How did you get involved with this festival and what can readers expect from your performance?

Walls: When we played last year, Micah saw us and immediately wanted us to play the main stage the next year.

Fowler: you can expect a lot of new stuff. We’ve been utilizing our down time with really honing our craft and expanding our horizons.

NixBeat: On the way to Denver Bad Sex will be playing the International Bar in Salt Lake City on September 7th. This time with Shecock and The Pseudos opening. What can Salt Lake City look forward from Bad Sex gracing this city again?

Bad Sex: A damn good time with us, The Pseudos and Shecock.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for Bad Sex?

Olsen: New songs, new merch and more shows. July 28th we’re playing in Portland with T.S.O.L. and playing a couple shows with Dead Boys and The Briefs shortly after that.

Walls: We’ve got a 20-day tour in September that will be announced shortly and there’s another tour in January hitting parts of the country we haven’t played yet. We’ve got lots of stuff on the horizon. It’s hard to keep up!

Fowler: We just finished up the studio. We recorded an EP, and another song for a comp. Both should be out before the end of the year.

For more about Bad Sex check out their Facebook and Bandcamp!

Talking about Forsaken Forgotten with Shadowhouse’s Shane McCauley


Since 2012 Shadowhouse has played music that traverses the void between despairing darkness and the undying nature of post-punk. It is a style that is aptly self-described as meant to “Play Loud, “Dance Slow.” This profound sense of performance is best witnessed in their stunning live shows and via a solid catalogue of music. To this end, Shadowhouse have released four singles and two full length records. Celebrating this display of talent is a cast meant for this gothic renascence. They are Shane McCauley (guitar/vox), Carl Simpson (guitar), Tapani Paul Sernesky (bass) Thomas Michael (drums) and Noel Silhan (keys).

On October 31, 2021 Shadowhouse released their second full length record Forsaken Forgotten. This time is was put out through the renowned French post-punk label Icy Cold Records. This new record proclaims a certain passion for the macabre. In doing so, Forsaken Forgotten is immerses itself in themes describing a changing world breaking down into ruin. Which is demonstrated by Shadowhouse’s definitive goth-punk sound that blends with a kind of sorrowful desperation. This is beautifully highlighted by McCauley’s haunting vocals.

Shadowhouse are embarking on a tour that will see dates along the Western United States and into British Columbia, Canada. During this tour Shadowhouse will be playing in Salt Lake City, Utah at The Loading Dock on June 22, 2022. Also playing this show are Dwarfus, Amnesia and Cemetery Siren. To learn more, I sat down with McCauley and chatted about Shadowhouse’s origins, their new album and their plans for the future.

Shane McCauley

NixBeat: Shane McCauley (guitar/vox) started Shadowhouse started in 2012. This was after years of frequenting punk clubs in SE Portland. What prompted you to start Shadowhouse.

McCauley:  As for what prompted me to start this was like this.  I grew up in punk rock. When I saw that all the punks that I grew up with became stale and stagnant I found it enjoyable to antagonize them with playing power pop music.  From there I realized power pop music was pretty sad and pathetic—like something of a 1960s dinner murder mystery party which was embarrassing and sad to me as well. I always loved goth and post-punk and all that crap. I realized that as the years went by that I was having a fun time playing that kind of music. I started playing that with my friends and realized I was succeeding at it ,and proceeded with it.

NixBeat: On your website shadowhousepdx-blog,, Shadowhouse celebrates the motto “Play Loud, Dance Slow” to describe your sound. With this in mind, what are you drawing from to create your music?

McCauley: I guess what I’m drawing from is the stuff of my childhood.  And what I mean by that is, I love 80s goth music. Don’t get me wrong, but I also love all sorts of other crap such as Prince, Cyndi Lauper, Crowded House, Adam Ant, ’70s punk and so on. I try to take my influences and ball them up and throw it against the wall and find something that I enjoy.  If I find something that I enjoy maybe other people enjoy it too?

NixBeat: On October 31, 2021 Shadowhouse release the full length Forsaken Forgotten on Icy Cold Records. It was recorded over the course of four years and mixed at five different studios. What was the process like to create Forsaken Forgotten?

McCauley:  The process was saving up money and getting people to show up. Which most of the people that showed up were who I listed. Except a different keyboardist, Andrea Morgan.

Most of the time Felix Fung was there to help us hone the sound in. The songs “Tonight” and “A Year Today” were done by Mike Lastra of Smegma studios in North Portland who worked with Wipers, Poison Idea and so on. It was long it was hard but it was worth it!

NixBeat: Shadowhouse has previously worked with Mass Media Records and Gone Home Records. However, Forsaken Forgotten was released via the French post punk, coldwave and goth rock label Icy Cold Records.  How did you get involved with Icy Cold Records?

McCauley:  So, when the first album Hand in Hand came out a French label called Manic Depression released the CD version. This label also had a subsidiary label Icy Cold so I reached out and they said that they would do the vinyl and CD version this time of it on their subsidiary label Icy cold.

NixBeat: To accompany the release of Forsaken Forgotten, a music video was made for the track “Already Know.” It was filmed by Wayne Moreheart who has worked with groups like Actors and Spectres. What inspired this video and what was it like to work with Wayne Moreheart?

McCauley: Wayne is awesome and easy to work with! In fact, as we speak he’s knocking out the second music video that we filmed with him during the time that we filmed “Already Know.” The second music video is for the song “Bleed.”

NixBeat: What inspired the song “Bleed?”

McCauley:  Watching the fuckery and selfishness of this world.

NixBeat: What are you drawing from for the track “Nowhere To Run?”

McCauley: I wrote that during the time I was about to become homeless and lose my house that I had for 10 years in Southeast Portland. That song is heavily influenced by all the cranes that knocked this city.

NixBeat: Going over Shadowhouse’s Facebook page I see that there are quite a few broadcasts from Mixcloud are shared. How have platforms like Mixcloud helped in promoting your music?

McCauley: I’m not sure how it helped but I do know that we are played on all sorts of mixed clouds and whatnot throughout the world—from South America to the Middle East. I am astonished that my music made it that far and reached other people in a way for them to share it for others across the planet.

NixBeat: Who are some of your favorite groups to play with in Portland, Oregon?

McCauley:  Major Hex, Vacant Stares

NixBeat: On June 22nd, Shadowhouse will play with The Loading Dock in Salt Lake City, Utah. This show will have Cemetery Siren, Amnesia and Dwarfeus in support. What can readers look forward from your performance on June 22nd?

McCauley: A good time and an escape from a Wednesday night.

 NixBeat: On June 25, Shadowhose will play Cathedral, a night put on by Danse Macbre & Mentalize Productions.  Other groups playing include Terminal A, It Spoke In Tongues with DJ Eser spinning records. How did you get involved in Cathedral?

McCauley: I was sent Apples way through southern California friends who suggested him as a great promoter and friend.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for Shadowhouse?

McCauley: At least two more albums

For more about Shadowhouse check out their Facebook and Bandcamp!

Feel The Noize with Slick Velveteens

Kenzie Waldo, Devi Strill, Georgetown “Grimm” and Danny Cringe

Since their inception in 2015, Slick Velveteens have been on the forefront of a glam revolution in Salt Lake City. They are Devi Strill, Kenzie Waldo, Danny Cringe and Georgetown “Grimm.” Their influences range from the artists including New York Dolls, The Cramps and Betty Davis. Stylistically they blend bluesy funk and junk shop sleaze rock n’ roll with the visual damnation of 1970’s exploitation films. The result is a unique sound that will melt the faces of non-believers and inspire the next generation of trash city glam rockers.  

Slick Velveteens have been active regulars in the Salt Lake City music circuit. Their performances are tight and they provide an experience not to be missed. They have performed with local groups such The Poppees, Shecock & the Rock Princess, Rebel Rebel and many others.  For touring acts, they are ever ready to represent Salt Lake’s glam community. Among touring groups Slick Velveteens have even opened for are Bad Sex, Giuda and the metal queen and former Runaway Lita Ford.

Other than playing shows, the last few years have seen Slick Velveteens busy with putting out material. They have released a self-titled album in 2017, along with two singles, Double Trouble Singles (2019) and Sweet Victim (2020). In addition, they have made several music videos to accompany their releases. A feat that inspired submitting the video for “Ditch” in the Desertscape International Film Festival in 2021.

 The future looks bright for Slick Velveteens. On Saturday, May 21, 2022 they will be opening up for Thelma & The Sleaze. They also plan to release a new album titled Shock Values later 2022. To learn more I tracked them down to learn about how they formed, what it was like opening up for Lita Ford, participating in the Desertscape International Film Festival and their future plans……

Devi Strill, Kenzie Waldo, Danny Cringe and Georgetown “Grimm.”

NixBeat: Slick Velveteens initially formed in 2015 when Devi Strill and Kenzie Waldo started to collaborate. Then in 2016, the band fully organized with Danny Cringe (drums) and Brandon Richter (bass), with Georgetown “Grimm” later replacing Richter in 2019 as bassist.  What prompted starting Slick Velveteens and how has it grown over the last few years?  

Waldo: Slick Velveteens’ start is kind of a long story. Devi and I are siblings, so we’ve been playing music together in various forms since we were kids. But Slick Velveteens started at a time where Devi had mysteriously lost his ability to walk (we found out later that it was caused by a form of arthritis). So, I would go over to the house he was living in at the time to keep him company while he was recovering. We were sharing songs that we were writing separately to get another pair of ears on them. It was a few months of that until we decided that we would officially start a band together. I believe the exact words out of Devi’s mouth at that time were, “We should start a band and call it Slick Velveteens.” I’m pretty sure I just said, “okay.” Brandon was living in the basement of the same house and agreed to be the bassist. Around the same time I asked Dan to drum for only one show—even though we had ulterior motives to keep him as our full time drummer. The rest, as they say, is history.

NixBeat: Georgetown “Grimm” joined Slick Velveteens in 2019. How did he get involved?

Grimm: I’ve known these cats since they were kittens yah mean?  Seriously though, me and Brandon performed together in Mister Richter and he suggested me as a replacement and it just worked out.  I was getting into engineering as they started writing so it turned into a collaborative effort.

Waldo: Georgetown has been around from the beginning. He recorded our first demo and has been our main engineer since!

NixBeat: Self-described as a glam band, what influences do you draw from for your sound and style?

All of Slicks: It’s safe to say that we are a product of anything we find cool. We’re pretty nerdy like that. Sound-wise, our influences span from New York Dolls (+the entirety of the late ‘70s New York music scene) to The Runaways (+ the entirety of the ‘70s Los Angeles music scene) to Richie Valens to funk-legend Betty Davis; Alice Cooper to Sonic Youth to The Cramps to The Shangri-La’s etc. This list never really ends. Stylistically, we pull a lot of inspiration from exploitation films such as Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! to musicals like Chicago. All of these influences overlap so much that our product actually sounds original.

NixBeat: In 2016, Slick Velveteens opened for Lita Ford. How did you get involved with that show and what was it like to open for Lita Ford?

Waldo: I actually just wrote a satirical essay about this story that I’ll be publishing on our website sometime this summer. It’s titled: “MIRAGES: THE HOW-TO GUIDE TO GET YOUR D.I.Y. ROCK ’N’ ROLL BAND TO OPEN FOR ONE OF YOUR CHILDHOOD HEROES.” Long story short, I berated a former booker of a local venue so many times asking to play shows (always met with “NO”) that once this booker started working at The Depot and needed a local rock n’ roll band to open for Lita Ford, we were finally a first choice (or, at least, I hope). I think the booker asked us to play this show a week beforehand, so there was a lot of last minute chaos that ensued to make this happen.

All of Slicks: After we got to watch soundcheck and meet her in person it was worth it.  The Runaways is a band we obsess over, it was the biggest show we’ve played yet, it is definitely one of the highlights of our lives.

NixBeat: Slick Velveteens have also opened up for Italian glam rockers Giuda and Portland, Oregon’s power pop quartet Bad Sex. How was it playing with these groups?

All of Slicks: It was awesome! Not only are we big fans of both bands, but we were recommended to play these shows by some of the coolest SLC locals (hint hint).

NixBeat: What have been some of your favorite groups to perform with in Salt Lake City?

Waldo:  We’re big fans and friends with The Poppees and love anytime we get to play a show with them. We’ve had some great gigs with other locals such as Shecock & the Rock Princess, Brain Bagz and Rebel Rebel. A recent show we played that has become one of my favorites was with Daytime Lover and Msking.

NixBeat: Slick Velveteens utilizes impressive filmography for their music videos. Common themes include horror, slasher films and 1970s exploitation.  What do you look for when creating a music video and how important are music videos in telling the stories of your music?

Strill: I think we’re a lot more than just music. Combining stylistic visuals with our sounds adds a complexion to who we are overall. I’m a big fan of cinema, so it feels like a natural extension adding these kinds of mediums to our music.

NixBeat: In 2020, Slick Velveteens released the video for “Blood Clot” on August 14, 2020.  In it you draw from iconic horror films and occult themes. What inspired this song and video?

Strill: “Blood Clots are not fun. So, let’s watch horror movies instead.” It was a music video that highlighted not only our individual interests but also helped in the formation of how Slick Velveteens’ aesthetic was about to take shape.

NixBeat: In 2021, you released your music video for the song “Ditch.” Stylistically it plays out like watching a 1970’s slasher, exploitation film in line with Switchblade Sisters (1975). What are you drawing from for the creation of this song and video?

Strill: Switchblade Sisters, actually, was the main inspiration for this video. I wrote it with that movie in mind along with Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, and Girlboss: Guerrilla.

Waldo: The song is more about touring. But a ditch seemed like a nice visual setting for a music video.

NixBeat: The “Ditch” music video was also accepted in the Desertscape International Film Festival in 2021. How did you get involved with Desertscape and what was it like to participate in the final selections of this festival?

Strill: Our collaborators Blade Sabovick and Maddie Shaw at Silent Jester Media made the submission. It was great to hear the response from a live audience while watching alongside them. Awesome to see our music video on the big screen and big thanks to the Electric Theater for showcasing it!

NixBeat: On May 22, 2022 Slick Velveteens will open for Thelma & The Sleaze at Kilby Court in Salt Lake City. How did you get on this show and what can readers look forward to for your performance?

Waldo: We met Mo from Daytime Lover during a recent show we played together. She recently became the new local booker for Kilby Court and asked if we wanted to play it. I’m a huge Thelma & the Sleaze fan so getting the chance to open for them is going to be epic! We’ll get the party going with our high-energy performance to give Thelma & the Sleaze a warm SLC welcome.

NixBeat: Slick Velveteen’s last release was the Sweet Victim single in 2020. Do you have plans for another single or album?

Slicks: We’ve been working on a full-length album for the last two years. It’s become a longer process than originally thought because we keep pulling new inspiration into it, making it evolve into the exact artistic expression we want it to be. The album is called “SHOCK VALUES” and it will be released by the end of the year.

 NixBeat: Where would you like to see Slick Velveteens go from here?

All of Slicks: It would be amazing to have Slick Velveteens become as big as The Beatles (yeah, I said it!) but, overall, I love where Slick Velveteens is right now. It’s become such a collaborative project that is bigger than any of us separately. All ideas are welcome and nothing is too weird to suggest. In a group that is very much grounded in the D.I.Y. mentality, the sky’s the limit for what we can accomplish together. I hope we can continue making shit we think is really cool. But, of course, we would love to focus on Slick Velveteens full-time— touring, making videos and albums until our hearts are content. The coolest thing of all would be to have a cult following. One day!

For more about Slick Velveteens check out their website!

Raising The Vibration with Wanita Music’s DJ Jawa Jones

DJ Jawa Jones

DJ Jawa Jones is vinyl DJ, radio host ,and founder of Wanita Music. Originally from the island of Java (or Jawa as it’s known in Indonesian) she moved to London in 2002. There she began immersing herself in London’s legendary nightlife. Jawa Jones frequented clubs like Rhythm Factory and The Lady Luck Club. These experiences helped influence her growing affinity to diverse styles of music. Things changed in 2017 when she was invited to spin records for a holiday party in Munich, Germany. This performance hooked Jawa Jones on being behind the decks and spinning the music she loved.

In 2018, Jawa Jones established her own night called Wanita (which means woman in Indonesian). She began building a platform for supporting female artists, musicians and DJs. After Jawa Jones moved from Munich to London she expanded the club night into the Wanita’s radio program on BarrelHouse Radio. There she welcomed the collaboration of female DJs from across the world. On her program her guests play and celebrate all female fronted artists while drawing upon music from the 1950’s throughout the 1980’s. Genres included in the broadcast are rock n’ roll, country, garage rock, yeye, soul, rhythm and blues, punk, post punk and new wave.

Now with a successful broadcast, Jawa Jones has set her sights to more ways to promote women in music. These ideas includes the Gold Digger Series, upcoming DJ nights and Raise The Vibration, which will be live-streamed via Mixcloud on February 13, 2022. To learn more, I caught up with Jawa Jones and asked her about Wanita, djing, and her future endeavors.

NixBeat: First a little about yourself. Where are you from and what got you into record collecting?

Jawa Jones: I am Jawa Jones, a vinyl DJ based in London, UK, radio host and founder of Wanita. I am half English & half Indonesian, born on the island of Java (Jawa in Indonesian) and moved to London in 2002. I started seriously record collecting when I began djing in 2017. 

NixBeat: In an interview on All To Back To Mine (published on January 25, 2022) you featured 7” records that held a special place for you. These included Kim and Grim’s “Lonely Weekend” and Ervinna & The Stylers “Get Ready.”  What other records do you hold dear and why are they important to you?

Jawa Jones: The records that are special to me are those that are gifted by friends. Keb Darge (BBE music) gave a stack of records of female Motown artists for my birthday last year. These included The Marvelettes “Here I am Baby” and “Keep Him” by Barbara Mason. Another friend Loggy gifted me a Czech version of “These Boots Are Made For Walking” ,by Nancy Sinatra, covered by 60s Czech pop singer Yvonne Prenosilová  — which I love! I often play these records at Wanita events and the Wanita Music radio show. 

NixBeat: Prior to moving to London in 2002, you grew up in Jakarta and then studied at University in Melbourne, Australia. After moving to London in 2002, you began frequenting DJ nights. What DJ nights did you attend and how did they influence your interest in music?

Jawa Jones: Moving to London in my early twenties was an exciting experience as back then there were so many great clubs and different culture groups running nights in small bars. It was nothing I had experienced before living in Jakarta and Melbourne. I was into techno and drum ’n’ bass in 2002. So I would go to Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel, Fabric on Thursday nights, and the Cross in King’s Cross. I would also go to indie and electro nights. I loved the Kill Em All sessions at Bar Fly with DJ sets by Olly Dixon and Tim Lawton of Eat Your Own Ears on Sundays at the Lock Tavern ,and Trash run by DJ and Producer Erol Alkan on Monday nights. I loved the mish mash of indie to electro and post-punk, no wave to garage rock at these events. I then stumbled into The Lady Luck Club which was a ’40s and ’50s vintage vinyl night and that blew my mind. I was dancing to jazz, rhythm and blues ,and rockabilly for the first time ,and that led to me discovering music I’ve never heard before.       

NixBeat:  In 2017 you got behind the decks with your first DJ set with Dr. Dr. Robert, and were hooked on the experience. What about DJing attracted you to this medium and how did it inspire you to start your own nights?

Jawa Jones: I’ve always loved dancing ,and love how the music played by DJs can take you on a journey. So to be behind the decks and immediately see how the music you play can affect a person’s mood and vibe of the room was a thrilling experience! The records I play are always the ones that I would enjoy dancing to myself, so I would apply this approach to the nights I run. I was listening to DJ Honey’s radio shows; Kiss! Kiss! Bang! Bang! and Girls in the Groove and she inspired me to start my own night: Wanita in Munich in March 2018. I was already collecting female- fronted soul, ’60s RnB and ’80s pop so I would play these records on the night.  

NixBeat: Having performed and sponsored numerous nights as a DJ, you have brought out all kinds of records for your sets. What kind of music do you spin for your nights and do you have a preferred style that you spin?

Jawa Jones: At Wanita I would play female- fronted ’60s soul and rhythm and blues, girl groups, yeye, ’60s garage. As the night progressed to the wee hours I would drop some no wave and ’80s pop like Madonna, B52s, Delta 5, Kate Bush, the Bangles…seeing people dancing and singing along to the music I play makes me smile. I am also a massive fan of garage punk and rock n’ roll. So on Queens of Fuzz night —which is another night I run— and other events I get invited to spin, I would play 60s garage, psych and early 70s rock.

NixBeat: How important are DJ’s to your local music scene and within worldwide music community—and why do you think that is?

Jawa Jones:  DJs are important in entertaining and educating people through their music selections and also for building a community of like-minded people locally and internationally. I have always admired how Lady Kamikaze and DJ Nino would attract such a wide range of people to their night Lady Luck Club  — there you’ll see rockers, mods, transvestites and fetish folks all hanging out and dancing. It was a friendly atmosphere, there was no snobbery and everyone was there to enjoy the music.    

NixBeat: Now based in London, England what kind of challenges and successes have you found compared to when you were in Munich, Germany?

Jawa Jones: Finding the right venue with a decent sound system is the biggest challenge in London. A lot of bars and clubs have shut due to rent increase and culture groups dispersing. I was really lucky in Munich as I ran my monthly night at a great local dive bar round the corner from where I lived. The owners of the bar were supportive of me and the DJs that played at their nights. They also invested in a good sound system because they care about the sound quality.

NixBeat:  Wanita— which Is Indonesian for woman—started as a club night in Munich, Germany in early 2018—and then later moved to London, England. In November 2020 Wanita branched out as a radio broadcast via Barrelhouse Radio. What influenced you to start Wanita and how has it grown over the last several years?

Jawa Jones:  I founded Wanita because I wasn’t seeing many female DJs in the vintage vinyl music scene and I wanted to offer a safe space for DJs to spin their favourite records. As I mentioned before, DJ Honey also played a large role in focusing my night to playing female-fronted music. Her radio shows are about empowering women and celebrating female artists. So I thought playing music by female artists would be a great fit with the concept behind Wanita. The idea of getting female DJs across the globe involved in Wanita came about in 2019. I started asking friends and vinyl DJs I met through the Wanita community to make a 60 minute mix of music by their favourite female artists across different genres. I wanted to use the Wanita platform to promote local and international female DJs and to expand the community and my knowledge of music by female artists. Then in March 2020 I was asked by my friend Ricky to host his Mono Loco Mix Tape radio show at Soho Radio and that started my foray into radio and led me to hosting the Wanita Music Show at Barrelhouse Radio in November 2020.     

NixBeat:  Wanita features female DJ’s from across the world. Who have been some of your favorite guests and why?

Jawa Jones: All the DJs and guests I invite to contribute to Wanita are my favourite kind of people! They are people I admire and respect for their work, may it be through the music they create, mixes they put out, festivals and/or club nights they run or the radio shows they host.      

NixBeat: You also sponsor The Gold Digger series on Instagram which features female record collectors from around the world. What prompted this series and what criteria are you looking for with collectors you feature? 

Jawa Jones: I started the photo series to highlight the passionate and knowledgeable DJs I have met through the Wanita community. It was also another opportunity to promote the fantastic ladies involved in the music scene so people can learn more about them and the work they do. I am working my way to asking all the women who have contributed to Wanita either through making Wanita mixes or were guests on the Wanita Music Show. That’s the criteria at the moment, but I am planning to open it up to other DJs and female record collectors in the future. 

NixBeat: In an interview with All Back To Mine you pointed out some challenges facing female DJ’s include being harassed by creepy men, discounted as an artist, or in other instances being shorted on intentions and compensation. In the same interview you’ve also stated how male counterparts, like DJ’s Diddy Wah and Fritz Buzzsaw, have been able to do their part in supporting female DJs in the music community. What are some specific ways you would like men in the music community to show support to their fellow female artists?

Jawa Jones: By actively being allies to women who are working in the music industry and supporting their work either by buying their music, attending their events or gigs. Don’t be a bystander — if you see a guy harassing a woman in a venue or behaving in a manner that is making a woman feel uncomfortable, approach the woman and ask if they are ok or inform the security staff.   

NixBeat: Are there other female DJ groups/collectives you have collaborated with and if so, why do you support them?

Jawa Jones: I have collaborated with Toronto Soul Club (Toronto, Canada) and Los Rulos Vinyl Club a vinyl DJs collective based in Bogota, Colombia  — both of these collectives are run by women who support female DJs in their local community. I tend to work with DJs and collectives who share similar values as Wanita and that is to support women and raise each other up while sharing joy through music and having fun!    

NixBeat: On February 13, 2022 you are promoting the Raise The Vibration event. It’s a live-stream fundraising event to end gender-based violence. How did you get involved with this fundraiser, who is involved and how can readers contribute to it?

Jawa Jones: I first became involved with Raise the Vibration in 2021 through discovering V-Day, which is a global activist movement founded by V (formerly Eve Ensler) who is an activist and author of the The Vagina Monologues. The purpose of the movement is to raise awareness and end violence against all women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence), girls and the planet by combining art and activism to transform systems and change culture. This year we have 18 female DJs from 8 countries doing 30-minute sets playing female-fronted music on from 12:15 – 21:30 GMT. Collectively we are raising awareness and money for local charities/groups who are doing work to tackle gender-based violence. Each DJ taking part will select a charity or group in their local community who are doing anti-violence work. Readers can contribute by donating to the charities. Information about the charities and the DJs can be found in the Wanita Raise the Vibration 2022 Facebook event page, the Wanita instagram account and will be posted on on the day of the event.

NixBeat: What are some other charitable events you have or would like to support?

Jawa Jones: So far, Raise the Vibration is the only charitable event I have organised and taken part in. However, I would support charities who actively do work in ending gender-based violence.

NixBeat: What does the future hold for Wanita and where do you want to see it go from here?

Jawa Jones:  I would love to start running Wanita club night in London again ,and this will happen when I find a suitable venue with a good sound system! I would also love to have live bands (female-fronted of course) at the Wanita night…and who knows perhaps a Wanita Weekender! 🙂   

Preaching the Ballads of Jacob T. Skeen

Jacob T. Skeen is Salt Lake City’s wild one-man band extraordinaire. Skeen has opened for numerous acts, enjoyed residences at several Salt Lake establishments and played at Craft Lake City and the Utah Arts Festival. Although his roots are blues-based, he plays with styles twisting rockabilly and garage punk sensibilities by expanding their boundaries into the realms of the unknown. This is superbly displayed through his shock and awe performances blending heavy and strikingly apocalyptically haunting sounds. It’s as if though being subject of a sermon that shakes the foundation of rock n’ roll.

Skeen’s interest in music started in Junior High School. He found himself drawn to heavy metal music, skate boarding, and by extension skate boarding music videos. It was during this immersion that he discovered Black Sabbath’s catalogue and explored their jazz and blues influences. Skeen sought out more artists and would visit his local library. There he would listen to albums by artists like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.

After graduating High School, Skeen followed his religious upbringing by serving a Mormon Mission in South Africa. Every day, he devoted his energy to reading the bible and all the standard material from the Church of Latter Day Saints. He also began to gain a perspective about the wider world. “When I told them I was from Salt Lake city, they never even heard of it.” Skeen says, “There’s a lot clashing between different cultures. It’s hard to gain that perspective if you don’t interact with other cultures.” He observed differences, but also how Hip Hop music from the United States influenced the music culture of South Africa.

When he returned to the States, Skeen was eager start performing. He eventually found himself playing for a Gospel Church based in Ogden, which served an African American congregation. Skeen would also show up at bars and play blues standards for patrons. After a while that proved very limiting. He says, “Today’s culture of the blues I hate. It’s turned into old guys having jam sessions. Everyone wants to play like Stevie Ray Vaughn.”

Not to be deterred, Skeen sought to carve his own path by writing music based on his own experiences. “I’ve been to the surrounding states around Utah and then Africa. I always felt like a liar trying to play traditional blues lyrics.” He says, “I grew up in Salt Lake City. I don’t know what that’s about.  I was playing blues I didn’t feel comfortable singing it. It’s not my background. It’s not where I come from.”

While Skeen draws influence from the blues and the vibrant nature of gospel music, he devotes his practice toward finding a harmony between his Christian lifestyle and belief. “The types of music I’m playing, it’s loud and its weird.” He says, “I have to be creative in coming up my own thing to do. I am heavily influenced by early African American gospel music. It’s huge. That music is loud, its wild and it was rock n’ roll and was blues before those things came out.”       

Having a religious background emboldened Skeen’s song writing. “I love learning that stuff. It gives more meaning to me.” Skeen says, “That’s where I get my ideas from. Reading and studying religious texts. That stuff influences me.” Skeen’s uses of religious imagery, like stars or pentagrams, could easily be mistaken for reference of the occult. However, if one really pays attention to Skeen’s work, they will find a clever appreciation for religious symbolism, and in his own way keeping it alive.

After putting together his one-man band ensemble, Skeen sought an audience. In 2017, Blood Shot Bill was due to play the Garage on Beck and Piper Down Pub. Wanting to be involved, Skeen at first tried in vain to get onto the bill. His luck changed when he got Brad Wheeler’s attention. From there he was introduced to Shane Keil and added to the lineup. “I experienced all the coolest bands in one night.” Skeen says, ”I didn’t know this kind of scene existed in Utah. People writing rock n’ roll music and doing new things.”

From there Skeen hit the ground running and looked to get on as many like-minded shows as possible. Admittingly reaching out for gigs is brutally time consuming. it did pay off for him though. He opened for Bob Log III, Oliva Jean. Freight Train Rabbit Killer, Ghalia Vault ,and Reverend Dead Eye. In April of 2018, Skeen– along with Los YaYaz– performed for Reverend Beat-Man and Nicole Isobel Garcia. “I was even nervous playing that show. Reverend Beat-Man is pretty anti-religious.” Skeen says, “I like the music. It’s fantastic. The show was fantastic. The subject matter I kind of hold back on it. It’s pretty worrisome. “

Despite the concern for Beat-Man’s subject matter, Skeen got on rather well with him. Beat-Man helped Skeen in with this gear. He even remarked that Skeen and Los Yayaz were the best opening acts that had so far on the tour, and in turn gave Skeen a Voodoo Rhythm Records business card. 

By 2020, Skeen had several tours under his belt, a full length album on the way and a gig with the Invasione Monobanda festival lined up in Italy. The album, called Death, Thou Shalt Die was self-released on April 6, 2020. To celebrate, Skeen planned to have a massive party upon his return to Salt Lake City from Invasione Monobanda. Unfortunately, the world halted and life as previously known changed dramatically by the Corona Virus Pandemic.

As live shows were canceled —including Invasione Monobanda—Skeen tried to make the most of it by live streaming performances and collaborating with other artists. “I did a live stream album release because I wasn’t able to do an album release show when the album came out.” Skeen says “Everyone was doing the live stream thing. Which is a tricky world too. I hated a lot of that stuff. Mainly just point an iPhone at yourself and play a show, which is boring.”

 Luckily Death, Thou Shalt Die was well received by fans and gained attention via online platforms. He says, “I had 500 copies of the record pressed. Half of them are gone.” 50 records made it to Italy and had already been distributed. Which is great, since overseas shipping costs expensive. Most of the subsequent records were put together with Skeen’s DIY mailers and shipped through the post. This was largely thanks to taking advantage of Bandcamp’s fee waving of all sales during the first Friday of each month.

Locally, Skeen waited before trying to distribute Death, Thou Shalt Die to record shops. “I waited a long time on the record stores.” He says. “It just been this last week that I went to all the local record shops and got the record in there.” Unfortunately, some shops like Raunch Records were not interested in Skeen’s album. Skeen feels that this is because he may not be as familiar to Raunch’s clientele as compared to other shops in the Salt Lake Valley.

Those who have listened to Skeen’s record, know it boasts a raw and doom harkening sounds. The artwork can throw off the casual observer, since it looks like a terrible Christian record one could find at a thrift shop. The style of Skeen’s record was carefully put together to reflect old Mormon culture.

Skeen also felt judged based on appearance. Usually clean cut, Skeen dresses somewhat conservatively, as though just leaving church. Death, Thou Shalt Die cover art displays Skeen praying in a full suit and includes various religious affiliated symbolism found around Salt Lake City. Skeen observes that religious iconography is largely absent from modern places of worship. He says, “I’m kind of taking it, because they’re not using it.”

Keeping to form, Skeen even included a hymn sheet that looks like Mormon religious texts. If one reads closely, they’ll find Skeen’s lyrics derive from passages and verses found in religious texts. Skeen says, “I think it’s funny. Like I said, I kind of enjoyed it in way. You know Raunch, especially the Heavy Metal Shop, the stuff they have on the walls– anything goes. The fact I’m making them nervous makes me laugh.”

The mastering for the record also included a touch of Latter Day Saint to it. It was done by an engineer from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s broadcast studio. “He mastered my record for me. Which is amazing. I thought was hilarious and very fitting.” Skeen says,  “I literally brought my cassette recorder that I had mixed down on.  He ran it through all of the church’s equipment that they do a lot of their stuff on.” Although, not revealing the studio engineers name, Skeen was sure to credit him for his help.

Apart from record sales, Skeen found some time to perform during the height of the pandemic. “I was pretty fortunate there was a lot of stuff going on still. “He says, ““I worried about the audience more than anything.” Skeen managed to play some bars, and a few of the Sartain and Saunders sponsored bike cruises. He even found time to collaborate with Corey Cresswell (International Society of Rock n’ Roll) and Mariano Wilson (Los YaYaz) on a band called The Escalante’s. This venture proved to be short lived. Only lasting for a few shows, the experience reinforced Skeen’s preference to do it alone. He says, “We were like a real band, get together write a bunch of songs, record it and then break up.”

At the moment Skeen has not been actively searching for shows. Skeen has been taking time to reflect on his craft. Skeen says, “I feel like I’m in a transition right now.” This means being open to different methods of making music. For example, Skeen has been moving away from strictly recording analog by utilizing digital production. Experimenting with digital recording gave Skeen music new life. Results of this labor can can be heard with Skeen’s latest recording for the upcoming SLUG Magazine’s Death By Salt compilation.  He says, “It’s very different from anything I’ve ever done.” This new recording is largely influenced by his frustrations and will feature electronic drums, yelling and fuzz guitar. 

With a year to think things over, Skeen has decided that he wants something more than just regular bar shows. “It’s not worth it anymore.” Skeen says, “I don’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy playing to rooms where people don’t care and aren’t listening to music.” That doesn’t mean he hasn’t performed. Gigs at venues such as Aces High Saloon have afforded Skeen the ability to to ramp up his performance style, much to the excitement of his audience. He says, “I think people are hungry for that.”

For more about Jacob T. Skeen check out their Bandcamp!

On the Right Track with Black Wax’s Adam J Smith

Adam J Smith is the man of many talents. He is a celebrated musician, DJ, writer, promoter and now label owner. Smith currently plays bass for the reformed Newtown Neurotics and with the Motorheads of power pop Los Pepes. For almost two decades, up until its closure, he promoted concerts at the legendary venue The Square in Harlow Essex. As a DJ, he has worked with artists like Steve Diggle (The Buzzcocks) and The Rifles. He is also the diabolical mastermind behind the music site, Black Wax and hosts Lets Go! on Totally Wired Radio. Not only that, he launched the record label Black Wax Noise Division by releasing Chinese Junks Permanent Reduction EP in February 2021.

Originally, Black Wax started out as a regular way to share music. Since October 2020. it has been instrumental in promoting Let’s Go! and Black Wax Noise Division. Unlike other radio programs, Let’s Go! isn’t weighed down by nostalgia. Rather, it’s a show pursuing a modernist perspective by playing selections from contemporary artists continuing the evolution of punk, power pop, glam and garage rock. Although, one can certainly hear the occasional exception.  Among the modern artists Smith has boasted in his repertoire, but not limited to, are Duncan Reid and The Big Heads, The Len Price 3, BBQT, Faz Watlz, Dead Meat and Muck And The Mires

With a definitive buzz around Black Noise Division and Let’s Go!, the sky seems the limit for Smith. To learn more, I caught up with him over a digital pint. We chatted about promoting at The Square, playing with the Newtown Neurotics and Los Pepes, DJing, and what’s coming next with Let’s Go! and Black Wax Noise Division!

NixBeat: In March 2017, Black Wax started as a weekly radio broadcast and now exists as a 30-episode podcast. On the show you played rock n’ roll, glam punk and garage.  What prompted you to start the show and why did it conclude?

Smith:  Initially it was something to keep me busy after my music venue closed. I wanted an outlet for sharing music but didn’t want to rush straight into booking gigs at other venues. I’d always been interested in radio and the opportunity came up to get involved with a local community internet radio station. But, within a couple of months I had already introduced live music into the show and we did some great radio broadcasts with a small live audience with performances from Murray Torkildsen, Attila The Stockbroker, Paul Collins, Henri Herbert & The Fury, The Teamsters and Brandy Row. Unfortunately the station, and venue it was running from, closed altogether.

NixBeat: From 2001 until it’s closure in 2017, you were a concert promoter at The Square in Harlow, Essex. How did you get involved with The Square?

Smith: I did a 2 week work placement through school when I was 15 which turned into nearly 2 decades. I got involved in volunteering, my first job was handing out flyers at the end of the night. When the final punter had left the building I was given a free pass for the next gig. I would go along to the next gig and as soon as the band finished rush down to the door and start handing out flyers – and repeat.
I was introduced to promoting by Des Wiltshire, Shane Hanmore and Martin Norris. They were very influential and encouraging and let me help them book bands and promote gigs. By the time I was 18 I was working shifts behind the bar, DJ in between bands and booking full bills of my own.

NixBeat: What are some of your favorite acts you’ve put on at The Square?

Smith: There are lots because there are different reasons. Musically some of my favourite bands to have booked and watched there are Swingin’ Utters, The Damned, Buzzcocks, Dogs, The Aggrolites, The Ordinary Boys, The Datsuns.
There have been some bands who although musically aren’t something I’d normally listen to are great to work with so I have to mention Wheatus and DragonForce as some of the bands I enjoyed working with most.
A special mention to The Jim Jones Revue. As far as I’m aware the only band who played as a ‘new’ band who have only every played to a sold-out crowd (3 times). Obviously, some of the bigger bands we had would sell out, and we had some local bands that would work their way up to sold out gigs, but The Jim Jones Revue played within their first couples of years and never played to an empty room there.

NixBeat: Since 2007 you’ve been playing with The Newtown Neurotics as their touring bassist. How did you get involved with them?

Smith: I met Steve [Drewett] whilst I was working at The Square and also in the local Virgin Megastore. I booked a Newtown Neurotics gig, ordered myself the CDs and became a fan. A mate and I used to do an acoustic covers duo and play “Living With Unemployment.” When The Square’s  management at the time (local authority) were prohibiting the sale of alcohol Steve was booked to play a solo set on the bill of the last night with booze. Ever the opportunist, I offered mine and Dave’s services to back him on bass and drums respectively, so at the end of his set we got up and ran through a couple of songs with him. The next thing I know we’re rehearsing up a full set as we’ve got a slot on the Empress Ballroom stage at the next Rebellion festival. 

NixBeat: You also play with the “Motorhead of Power Pop” Los Pepes. What prompted you to get involved with Los Pepes? 

Smith: Los Pepes were the tour support on the final Jim Jones Revue show that I booked. I loved them as soon as a I heard the tracks on the promo CD I was sent. We became mates straight away and my mate Shaun ended up playing drums for them when their original drummer left. The bass player, Seisuke, lives in Japan, so when he returned home Shaun suggested me for the job. It’s a really good set up for me because Seisuke is still the band’s bass player. He writes and records with them, and will come over usually once a year to tour the latest release. And then when he’s back home I pick up the gigs and have done the odd recording and music video with them. It’s more of an international organization than your typical band set up. There’s no stopping it. 

NixBeat: To celebrate Harlow’s musical history and community, Black Wax is involved with a project launching campaigns to preserve its history for its future. The first being a series of T-Shirts promoting Harlow’s rich musical past. What prompted you to get involved and how do you think preserving Harlow’s music history improves it’s future? 

Smith: I’m a geek when it comes to stuff like that. I have a poster that my dad took off the wall when he saw Slade play the local college in 1972. Hawkwind (with Lemmy on bass), Dr Feelgood and The Pogues have played gigs on a bandstand we have in our town park, The Boomtown Rats and The Pretenders played the Odeon cinema in town, and everyone over a certain age will tell you they saw David Bowie at the Playhouse Theatre or Pink Floyd at the Birdcage.

More recently The Square hosted the likes of Del Amitri, Carter (USM), Blur (then known as Seymour), Supergrass, Coldplay, Biffy Clyro and George Ezra.

Even if it’s not music I listen to I think it’s important to acknowledge those bands coming to play in our town. The T-Shirt project is just a way to remind people of what used to happen and hopefully inspire people do more in the future. I’ve made some with gig posters and old record shop bag designs on them so far. I’m not short of material for them so hope to make more design available soon.

NixBeat: As a DJ, you’ve spun for numerous gigs, including The Rifles “No Love Lost 10th Anniversary Show at The Electric Ballroom in Camden and for Steve Diggle’s (Buzzcocks) album launch at the 100 Club in 2011. How did you get involved in these gigs? 

Smith: Mostly by putting my hand up and saying ‘I’ll do that.’ My pal Greg was running the Electric Ballroom at the time and as soon as I spotted the gigs going in I dropped him a line. Another friend, Justin, was managing Steve Diggle’s solo stuff so asked me if I fancied playing at it. I’ve done further sets at both venues which is good, someone must have liked it! I’m often looking out for opportunities to get involved and play music to people. 

NixBeat: What has been your favorite DJ performance to date?  

Smith: An unusual one, this has to be a pub garden party I did in summer 2019, the last summer we were allowed out properly! A friend of mine had just taken over the kitchen there and was running a BBQ, and the pub were launching an outside bar. By no means the biggest audience I’ve played to, but the space was packed, the sun was shining and I played a loads of old r&b, soul, garage rock, 60s pop. Everyone had a great time and I really enjoyed playing that kind of stuff, am patiently waiting for when we can do it again. 

NixBeat: You’ve got a collection of records that spans from genres like soul, garage rock, punk, glam and more. What are you looking for in a record when you add it to your set?

Smith: More recently when I buy singles it’s usually with a DJ set in mind. I wouldn’t say I’ve got a particularly large collection of any set genre, but I have a decent amount across different styles. I buy certain music depending on my mood, and usually an upcoming booking will see an increase in purchases. I’ve always got a list in my head of ‘missing essentials’ but I like to find them in shops instead of taking the easy way out and buying online – the pandemic has changed that habit a bit though.

Album wise though, I like to keep on top of new releases of bands I like whilst filling the gaps in old bands back catalogues. 

NixBeat: During the early month of the Corona Virus Pandemic, you recorded several episodes of “Black Wax — Social Distancing.” During these sets you’d play choice cuts from your record box.  Examples of tracks used included “Reptile Brain” by Imperial State Electric and “Interplanetary Craft” by Giuda. What kind of reception did you get from these broadcasts and did creating these mixes help alleviate stresses of the pandemic?  

Smith: I got caught up in the live streaming hype early on in our lockdown over here, partly fueled by both mine and my sons birthdays being in the first week of lockdown (I was sent home from work to be locked down on my birthday). So I set up my decks and looked into the best way to get online and play records. The initial reaction was great, and I teamed up with a band called The Bonnevilles one night where I did a virtual DJ set ahead of their singer doing a live streamed solo performance – we shared each other’s streams amongst our friends and fans. Facebook wasn’t kind to live stream DJs but I managed to salvage the audio and they now sit as a few podcasts.

To be honest, the novelty wore off quite quickly for me and by the 3rd or 4th month in I wasn’t interested in doing much more – I do listen to others who do so though, and one of my faves is the weekly Chills & Fever show. They moved over to Mixcloud and will soon be coming up for a whole year of weekly live streams. 

NixBeat: In October 2021, you launched Let’s Go! with Totally Wired Radio. This broadcast is a collaboration with Acid Jazz Records and Fred Perry Subculture. During each broadcast you focus on releases in contemporary garage rock, punk, glam and power pop within the last couple decades. Groups featured include Chinese Junk, The Exploding Hearts, BBQT, Faz Waltz and The Len Price 3.  How did you get involved with creating this show and why do you focus on modern music?

Smith Eddie Piller, the founder of Acid Jazz Records, lives just up the road from me. During one of the lifts of lockdown I was chatting to him in the pub and said if a slot was available, I’d love to do a show, especially without any gig bookings to focus on. He put me straight in touch with the station manager and she scheduled me into their Saturday programming which they were soon to be relaunching.

I see the show as an extension of my gig booking in that, whilst it’s easy to put on the likes of The Damned or The Buzzcocks and sell out the show, the real triumph is booking new bands and introducing them to a new audience, and the audience taking to them. I’ve done this a few times at a local pub, and had great responses for the likes of Thee Dagger Debs and Tommy & The Commies. So, I decided with the radio show that nostalgia would only get a look in if the band were doing something that made it current or relevant.

No-one needs me to play The Sex Pistols for them.

NixBeat: During each broadcast you read excerpts from reviews from several music journalist sources, including some from What kind of criteria do you have for new material being submitted for Let’s Go!? 

Smith: Anyone can submit something, am happy for anyone to get in touch, but I advise listening to a couple of shows first to see what we’re working with so as to not be offended if I don’t feel it fits. I like to hear from music journalists who concentrate on the kind of music I play, mainly because I like to hear the music myself. So, I made contact with a few people whose websites and magazines I look at anyhow – the show is definitely not all about me, I just have access to a great platform to share music I like and I enjoy getting recommendations from people I trust.

NixBeat: Where do you want to see Let’s Go! from here?

Smith: The first couple of shows featured interviews (Duncan Reid, Muck & The Mires) and I’d like to start scheduling more of those but to be honest I’m actually finding it a bit difficult talking to people because it currently all comes back to the pandemic. When things are lifted and we’ve got more tours and releases to talk about then I’ll get on it.
I’ve been asked to compile a CD for the Jukebox at The Pipeline (the best rock and roll bar) in Brighton, which got me thinking that a Let’s Go! compilation or series might be a good thing. I don’t think anyone needs to see me on Let’s Go! TV any time soon – we look at screens too much anyhow.

NixBeat: In November 2020, Black Wax also launched its own record label. Your first release has been the Chinese Junk “Permanent Reduction EP,” which features members of The Griswalds, The Ulcers and The Unreleasables. What inspired you to start a label and what has the reception been like for your first release? 

Smith: I’ve always wanted to do it, and it’s one of the positives that has come out of the pandemic. I think if we’d been through 2020 as normal, I’d have been too busy with gigs to look at this properly. As soon as I heard the Chinese Junk tracks, I knew I wanted to do something with them. I’d been speaking to a few bands and they were just ready to go first. The responses has been great – I’d no idea what to expect really, and no idea of how many we’ll sell. With a non-existent marketing budget we’ve done enough pre-orders for me to think it’s all worth it. Just patiently awaiting them to arrive any day now so I can start sending them out!

NixBeat: With so much going on, what does the future hold for Black Wax? 

Smith: Gigs – I hope! That’s my main passion. I want to get back in the pubs and clubs putting bands on, and playing myself, but I’m not going to rush into it. I’ve no patience now for postponing/cancelling events so I’m going to wait til nearer summer to see what’s going to be possible towards the end of the year.
The second release is lined up for the label and should be announced very soon. I’d love to be able to do a Black Wax records showcase gig with the bands I’m putting out.

Until then I’ll be on 2pm-4pm (GMT) every 4th Saturday of the month, and announcing things as and when they happen via (mailing list sign up available),, and