Every year this lineup comes out and I’m not home in Seattle for it or the festival, I experience a little fomo! Bumbershoot isn’t my childhood, but it’s totally my adolescence and that’s still pretty important. Everyone going to this is so so very lucky!!
Congratulations One Reel! I always seem to get the most excited about Bumbershoot over any other festival lineup and I think it’s just cause I’ve had such strong ties with it and growing up having attended so many years. This is a very exciting lineup though and every year there is such a good mix of mainstream acts along with local acts that are going to have incredible exposure during this weekend. Unfortunately, I won’t be attending for the second year in a row, but if I did, I would not miss Saturday or Monday.
We’re a little behind on posting this, but we would’ve normally posted this the night that this lineup was released! (Which I believe was Thursday) One Reel – you done good. I’m always usually pretty pleased with the Bumbershoot lineup mostly because they are very near and dear to my heart in the hometown of Seattle and they do a good job of including so many local bands.
I am also thrilled that three of the bands I have previously booked at a music festival are on this lineup – Campfire OK, Pickwick, and Schoolboy Q. I haven’t decided quite yet if I will make the trip back for Bumbershoot, but at this point, it’s not unlikely.
After three years, the Bumbershoot organizers are giving fans what they really want – for the Main Stage to move out of the Key Arena and back into Memorial Stadium. Growing up, I’ve been a long time fan of the music festival and I’ve stuck by them because of how memorable the event always made my summer, but using the Key Arena as the Main Stage was not ideal.
The lines were endless and wrapped around the Seattle Center until you were dizzy. You always felt like you were walking into a sinking dark hole to see a concert when you were really supposed to be at a music festival. Lastly, it was just plain dangerous. Kids are crazy these days and I’ll never forget the time I nearly died at M83 when teenagers were jumping over the seats to try and get to the floor. I’m happy to say that I won’t have to do that again this year.
Apparently the reason for the move is that the WNBA will be holding their finals at the Key Arena on the first day of the festival – Saturday, August 30th. Bummer. Looks like it’s good news for us though! However, don’t expect the Main Stage to look like how it did 3 years ago. Apparently there will be two stages set up in the area with headliners and openers performing in between the headliners’ sets.
We are very excited about this news.
Coachella confirmed last week that OutKast would be reuniting for the major music festival, but don’t worry if you didn’t snag your tickets because you’ll be able to catch OutKast at 40 other music festivals this year. We just know that one of them will be Sasquatch or Bumbershoot or BOTH! The special music festival tour is to “to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their unique and influential sound”.
Specific dates have yet to be released, but it’s only a matter of time before all of our favorite music festivals begin unveiling their lineups. If your city doesn’t have a major music festival in it, it’s likely that they will have some random cities sprinkled in as well.
I saw Big Boi at Bumbershoot in 2011 and all I was hoping for was Andre 3000 to come out and surprise everyone on stage. That never happened, unfortunately, but now I know it’s really not too late!
Wowowow. What a year it has been for Yow Yow!
I’m not all that sad to see 2013 go because I am so looking forward to what 2014 has in store for us. 2013 was a big transition year for Yow Yow! Postings became a little bit more consistent because I was no longer in school and it started to become predictable that I would just log on right after work. It’s nice to be able to have a set schedule to be honest. When I was in school, I would post any free moment I had, which was great because maybe sometimes I would be inclined to write a post about something because it was convenient. However, I appreciate now, that I get to wait until the end of the day to sort out my thoughts and to spend some time thinking a little bit more about what I am writing. Yow Yow! has turned 5-years old! It’s hard to believe that this blog has been with me for that long and that some of you have watched me transition, grow, and hopefully write better content in that time. Thank you x 23984298 to everyone who has supported the blog during this time. If I didn’t have that, I may not still be writing today. We know for sure though that Jennie and Ashley have at least helped me keep Wedding Mondays alive.
Stats from 2012 will be on the left and italicized while stats from 2013 will be right and bold.
1,130,911 total visits to Yow Yow! – – – – – – – – – – – 1,294,886 total visits to Yow Yow!
*In just 2013, there were 163,975 visits to Yow Yow!
7,067 Posts, 2,187 Comments 10,229 Tags – – – – – 9,167 Posts 3,152 Comments 12,122Tags (cumulative)
Top Post of 2013 – “Hipster Disney Princesses In Real Life” – 15,726 views (written in 2012)
Top Post Written in 2013 – “Meet: Hollis Wong-Wear” – 2,071 views
Busiest Month in Terms of Views – October 2012 (49,821 views) – – – – – January 2013 (24,905 views)
Highest Average Visits Per Day – October 2012 (1,607 views) – – – – – – January 2013 (803 views)
*Busiest Day – October 5, 2010 (4,239 views)
Credits + References
“Women Who Are Making It” Series:
Top Referring Sites in 2013 Were:
Most of My Visitors Came From:
Music Festivals Covered:
*We started a new series on Fridays called “Take Me There” and “Truth and Words” Sundays
*We ended the series “Thought Catalog Roundup.”
*New graphics and headers by Leanna Robb! [Facebook, Twitter, Blog]
* We made a Facebook page! Like us.
*We packed up and moved to the Bay area! [Seattle, forever <3 – I promise]
*Veronica became an official part of Yow Yow!
*We received our very first press passes for Yow Yow!
*We started “Conversations From 20-Somethings.”
*We hit 1,000+ subscribers!
*We followed-up with some of our previous guest writers from a year ago:
*We made some videos! Like this unveiling video below:
and one last hoo-rah with Space Girl
*We had a memorable Twitter interaction:
Readers, I am currently trying to make the transition from posting news about Seattle to the Bay, but this event is so dear and near to my heart that I couldn’t not write something about it. One Reel – who puts on Bumbershoot every year – is hosting a career day for high school and college students interested in working within the music industry. When I was a young high schooler, I would have loved for this event to exist. Now that it does, I want to make sure that everyone who wants to make their dreams happen knows about this opportunity. Not only is this the second year that it is being put on, but it is also FREE. At this event you will learn about the industry from a panel of speakers including Hollis Wong-Wear (Yeah, we write about her a lot!) have a meet-and-greet lunch and hear live performances all day long. I can’t think of a better way to spend my Tuesday. Registration is now open and space is limited so sign up quick!
And for full details, click here.
Before I get into writing this post, I need to extend a huge thank you to the press team over at One Reel. I’ve been attending Bumbershoot for the last 6 years and for the first time ever, One Reel gave me the opportunity to obtain a press pass for Yow Yow! as its own publication. Not only is this a milestone for us, but it means so much to me to be able to partner with a music festival that I have grown up with and that has consistently been the highlight in my summer. Having been a part of the Seattle music industry, I have so much appreciation for every person that is responsible for making this festival happen. No one understands the work that you do, how much you sacrifice, or even the impact that you leave on those attending. Thank you for all that you do – every single one of ya!
The Flavr Blue
This was my second time seeing The Flavr Blue this summer and as always I am impressed with their set each time. The band took the stage on Saturday morning kicking off the festival at 11:45 AM. Early! But so worth it. And from the looks of it, there was a whole crowd of people that didn’t mind getting their Bumbershoot on that early in the morning. The group stirred up a rowdy crowd of hippie dancers that went absolutely HAM over their music. Who knew, right? Everyone else bobbed along to their tracks and occasionally professed their love for Hollis. The Flavr Blue is a band that I couldn’t be more excited about this year in Seattle. Hollis has truly made a name for herself within the Seattle music community, but is such a humbled individual that continues to pour herself into every single one of her projects. The Flavr Blue is not going anywhere anytime soon and with new music on its way, they are sure to become a household name.
Dave B was an artist that our contributor Cameron Deuel covered prior to Bumbershoot and while he wasn’t initially on my lineup schedule, I decided to check him out anyways. On more than one occasion, myself and the friend I was with as well as the group of boys next to us kept wondering about the print on his shirt. Pizza? Sushi? Chicken and Waffles? We settled on that last answer. Dave B was eccentric, in your face, and vivacious. Has anyone ever used those three words together to describe an act? I couldn’t have enjoyed him more! In previous years, I always come prepared to Bumbershoot with my handy dandy schedule making sure to never miss an act I plan on seeing, but on this Saturday – everything was kind of up in the air. It’s nice not to have an agenda sometimes. Dave B was a crowd pumper upper and made such an impression on me that I’m already putting it on my to-do list to look him up on Spotify.
You’d have to be a fool to miss out on an act named Nacho Picasso. I was so curious by his name that I had to stop by his set. Unfortunately, I quickly found out that it just wasn’t my style. He’s a little bit inaprops than I expected, but what rapper isn’t it these days? Do you Nacho.
Kendrick knows how to get the Key Arena LOUD. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard an audience be more excited for an artist in the Key until he came along. Kendrick is an artist that I was very close to working with in the past and it is amazing how quickly he has blown up and all of the collaborations he has gained with Robin Thicke and my favorite Mayer Hawthorne. There is no doubting Kendrick’s success in the hip hop industry and that entire crowd in the Key knows it. I’m expecting a long career from him.
I can’t deny it…I’m not trying to hide it – I’ve got a huge crush on Beat Connection. While Kendrick Lamar was throwing down a very intense show, Beat Connection was minutes away from starting their set on the TuneIn stage. I had to choose. And I chose Beat Connection. I’ve seen them a couple of times, but I’ve always got so much Seattle pride for my bands and having listened to their latest album a lot more recently, I was really excited to see what they would be bringing to the table with their set. It was such a feel-good performance – the kind that epitomizes what Bumbershoot stands for and that is getting out of the dark, scary, expensive beer-ridden Key Arena and being out in the sun! Over the last couple of years, Beat Connection has gone through a bit of a sound transition, but also a member transition and through all that – they’ve still managed to survive. As newly college graduates, I’m excited to see how they will continue to pursue their music more aggressively now that they can focus on it more.
I have to say that there is really nothing like being able to watch a band that you have previously worked with performing on a stage to hundreds at a major music festival. The Physics are one of the nicest groups that I have ever worked with – so kind, genuine, and so very talented. The Seattle music scene is HOT right now and what I love about Bumbershoot is that the festival is always doing their best to highlight these acts on the rise and supporting our local artists. The Physics combine intricate rhymes with a very soulful edge which I find to be pretty refreshing as there’s not always enough of that in the hip hop industry.
Day 2 –
I commend anyone that can make it through an entire Bumbershoot weekend like our contributing writer Cameron Deuel because lemme tell you – that is a task. For the past couple of years, I have done the whole weekend and I usually end up with a nasty flu afterwards because by the end of it I’m burnt out and exhausted. While Monday’s lineup was packed with talent, I had to make an adult decision for my health and decided to do a full day on Saturday and an evening on Sunday to catch Ra Ra Riot and Death Cab For Cutie.
Ra Ra Riot
Once upon a time, I had an opportunity to work with Ra Ra Riot and I clearly made a huge mistake on not moving forward with that decision because they totally killed it on the main stage at Bumbershoot. Attendees were swaying, singing, dancing AND spinning along to their music and it was a positive kick off to the highly-anticipated set by Death Cab For Cutie. Another thing that I appreciate about Ra Ra Riot is that they are simply “good peeps.” Too often, I’ve seen bands and artists treat their fans not so nicely, but the highlight for me that stood out during their set was when the lead singer jumped down to the floor and gave the entire front row high-fives! YEAH! We love stuff like that. Ra Ra Riot’s albums have continued to get even better as time progresses and while I’ve never spoken directly to the band, I whole-heartedly believe that bands that treat their fans with respect will go very far. Keep doing your thang’ Ra Ra, it’s already starting to pay off.
Readers, I’ve been thinking about this performance all weekend long. The last time I saw Death Cab For Cutie was two years ago for Deck the Hall Ball, but even before that, I had the chance to see Death Cab at Bumbershoot with my best friend. We had worked our way up to the very front so that we could be strategically placed in front of Ben Gibbard and even survived a set by Superchunk to do so. It was brutal – so brutal in fact that I couldn’t stand being continued to get sprayed in the face with a hose that the both of us had to crowd surf our way out of there and watch Death Cab on the turf of Memorial Stadium and not in the pit. All that for nothing! What I’m trying to say with this story is that seeing Death Cab is an experience regardless of where you’re sitting (or standing.) I’m not sure if it’s because we have so much hometown love for the band or what, but there is definitely an air of sentimental value for the band from everyone. That night’s performance was a special one as the band promised to perform through their entire Transatlanticism album, which was AMAZING. And with time to spare, Ben let us know that they were now beginning the “second part of the program” which included the following songs:
“I Will Possess Your Heart”
“I am a Tourist”
“Soul Meets Body”
“A Movie Script Ending”
I don’t think I could ever get tired of seeing this band. It’s been ten years since they released Transatlancticism and it’s true – they really haven’t changed. They keep it real and there’s nothing more you could really ask for from a band like that. Also, was anyone else brought to tears by their performance of Transatlanticism? I know it couldn’t just be me and the guy next to me.
Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Readers, I’ve been out at Bumbershoot all day celebrating one of my favorite music festivals in Seattle. It’s one of the reasons why I am just now starting to write posts for y’all. This year’s Bumbershoot is a special one as it is the last big event that I am attending before my move and it is the first time Yow Yow! has acquired a press pass as a publication. I’ve been waiting years for this to happen! Well – truthfully, this is the third time I’ve attended on a press pass, but this was the first year that I applied for Yow Yow! to cover the music festival. If you want something, go after it!
I’ve been attending Bumbershoot every year since I was 17 so I guess we’re going on about six years now. It’s a festival that highlights not only music, but art, design, and comedy as well. This year, I am really excited about one of Bumbershoot’s sponsors – TuneIn. I’ve been using the online radio streaming service since the start of the year and have absolutely loved it. It allows me to listen to my favorite radio stations when I’m at work and even listen to radio stations outside of my area from other cities and states that I might enjoy. Most importantly though, TuneIn allows their users to stream major music festivals like Bumbershoot this weekend by partnering up with KEXP to bring to you exclusive performances from the KEXP Music Lounge through TuneIn.
Check out their Bumbershoot Radio station to hear music from this year’s artists and bands.
Additionally, if you are at Bumbershoot this weekend like I am, be sure to visit their stage for some incredible acts. Today, I got to watch Seattle’s The Flavr Blue and Beat Connection.
They will also have a tent on-site where they will be handing out prizes (like VIP upgrades, tickets to the KEXP Music Lounge, audio speakers, and more)
If you haven’t checked out TuneIn yet, now is the time to do so. They are definitely a Silicon Valley start-up to watch in the next coming year.
This post was written by Cameron Deuel
Hello Yow Yow readers!
Before I get to the acts, I want you to know that I love Bumbershoot. My apartment is lined with posters from past Flatstock events, I feel a type of way when high school students mansplain why it falls second other festivals, and I essentially moved to Queen Anne to ensure a good spot in the entrance line.
I’ve attended consecutively for the past eight years and I’ve made plenty of great decisions in how I’ve spent my time at the festival. I’ve also made terrible mistakes and missed some pretty great performances that still haunt me. To combat this, I’ve spent the last three months compiling The Bumbershoot Project, breaking down each artist performing at this year’s Bumbershoot. After meticulously searching through the lineup, I’ve found several artists that I’m proud to share with you.
With these acts in mind, know that I highly recommend the festival in general. While the machine-gun flow of Kendrick Lamar or the baby unicorn mysticism of seeing the entirety of Transatlanticism performed live are obvious choices for tons of fans, understand that part of the excitement of Bumbershoot is the chance for haphazard discovery. I accidentally saw Patton Oswalt during my first time at the festival, which may be why I still openly worship Labor Day weekend and view the festival as a holy event, complete with Shishkaberry communion.
Here are my picks for your consideration and have an incredible time at the festival!
Saturday August 31, 2013 12:30pm – 1:15pm
Fountain Lawn Stage
You’re not wrong to be skeptical of a rapper simply named, Dave B. I was until I head his MCMXCII tape from last year packed with intelligent bars wrapped in quality production that shows a level of experience beyond his age. Dave B. won EMP’s Sound Off! 2013, a local competition for musicians under 21, which earned him a spot at this year’s Bumbershoot. Although, based on his confident delivery and impressive onstage presence, he would have been a likely candidate either way. Watch here.
Earlier today, someone who I had worked with previously in the music industry reached out to me to see what I was doing now. My current career couldn’t be farther from the music industry and what I was used to doing within the Seattle music scene, but it’s not like I don’t think about it everyday. I’m reminded of the music scene daily because I still receive emails from bookers looking to see if I am interested in hiring their acts. I receive samples from new bands and artists interested in having their song as the Song of the Day on Yow Yow! It would be easy to fall back into it, but once you leave, you really kind of drop off the face of the Earth. When a bands’ career ends, the members go their separate ways – some within music and some not. Rarely do we find ourselves back into it, but it’s a career and industry that I have so much love and respect for. No one could ever understand how much work goes into a job in the industry unless you’ve done it yourself.
When I read this interview with Bumbershoot’s programming director Chris Porter, waves of nostalgia fell over me.
And there, on a whiteboard covered with sticky notes, the draft lineup for Bumbershoot 2013 appears. Porter has devised a color-coded system using the sticky notes: square pink ones are ideas, bands that have pitched the festival or the staff wants to pitch; square yellow sticky notes show bands that have been offered a spot but have not accepted; rectangular notes are for confirmed acts that will, unless something goes sideways, be playing Bumbershoot this year.
It’s a kind of organization that is so crazy, but you wouldn’t believe how well it works! The interview with Porter is not only insightful into what goes on in this role, but fascinating that one weekend takes an entire year to plan.
Don’t I know it, though. Been there – done that.
This year, our series of “Women That Are Making It” is something that I am most proud of because we are featuring strong, ambitious ladies that are running the world with their wit, talents, and knowledge. When I first heard Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ latest track “White Walls” on the radio for the first time, I had to know – who was that girl singing the catchy hook? After doing some digging, I quickly found out that not only was Hollis Wong-Wear living in Seattle, but she was also an alumni of Seattle University who was a senior when I was just a freshman! From that point on, there was no question. We needed to get Hollis on Yow Yow!
Q: I heard that you first got started in music and the arts by writing poetry. How did this come about for you and what was your inspiration behind it?
Hollis: Literature and reading have always been central to my life. I started reading at a freakishly early age and was always the girl that was posted up at the library after school. The librarian in the children’s section at the Larkspur Library by my elementary school was my homie; she saved the best and latest books for me to check out first and tear through. I was the first one in the county to check out Walk Two Moons when I was in 2nd grade, an accomplishment I have clearly not forgotten! Because I honestly felt a closer affinity to books and reading than I did to most of my peers, I have always identified as a writer first and foremost. The necessary solitude of a writer mirrored the isolation I felt as a kid.
I grew up in the Bay Area and my life was fundamentally changed by an organization called Youth Speaks, which organized poetry slams and spoken word performances and showcased immensely powerful young poets and famous poets on the same stage. It ignited me. I felt empowered to write my own story and perform it in a raw way – I had always been theatrical. I left the theater behind to pursue performing my own words, and because of it, grew into a performer and writer who saw community and social justice as my catalysts and centers. Performing spoken word poetry as a young person is the foundation of my identity and work as a writer.
Q: From poetry, how did that lead you into music? Is this the direction you always thought you would head in? Did you have any other career aspirations that you saw for yourself?
Hollis: I sang a lot in choirs growing up and have always loved music, but didn’t feel like I had a true talent for it. My mom attempted to cultivate me as a pianist and failed miserably; I didn’t have the passion or the discipline to be anything better than a competent beginner.
I only started doing my own music when a girl I had met through Youth Speaks in Seattle, Madeleine Clifford, and I became fast friends, bonded by our shared biracial experience, love of hip hop, and ferocious politics. We looked around and saw an absence of women like us making music we wanted to listen to. So we decided to do it ourselves. We parlayed our poetry into rap fluidly, and performed as Canary Sing for five years. We were bold, political, lyrically deft and a lot of fun. Performing with my best friend made the plunge into music much more manageable as we learned how to make music and navigate the music scene together. Both of us are unsure of whether we would have ever made that leap without our friendship to enable it.
I still have tons of other career aspirations that I still entertain: professor, novelist, education policy specialist, music video producer, public radio producer… I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to be creative and make a difference. I still hope that, even as I continue to place more and more of my eggs in the music basket.
Q: You graduated from Seattle University when I was just a freshman. Being in a music-centered city like Seattle and even more so a neighborhood like Capitol Hill, did that help your involvement with music at all? Did you spend your weekends frequenting Neumos or the Showbox? On a typically weekend at college, where would we have found you?
Hollis: Going to school straddled between Capitol Hill and the Central District was a huge part of my education – learning the history and the culture and the tension of Seattle, growing a rich network of artists and community members, and being in an urban environment. I went to see hip-hop shows at Neumos and Chop Suey regularly, and wrote in writing circles and read at open mics at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. I was a serious student during college so you could find me in the library quite frequently, but I was also always off campus: freestyling in the back seat of a friend’s car driving through Lake City or on Maddy’s back porch in the Central District; eating late night treats in the International District; studying at cafes on the Ave.
Q: You’re producing music videos for Macklemore, running operations for Blue Scholars, and at the same time are recording music, yourself. What does a typical day look like for you?
Hollis: There’s no such thing as a typical day for me! I am a nomad. I typically wake up at 9 AM and start immediately with e-mails, then will go off to do a variety of things: meetings, recording sessions, work sessions, poetry meet-ups. I also tutor high school students for SAT/ACT test prep and general enrichment, so there’s some of those sessions sprinkled in there. I’m anywhere from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill to Greenlake to West Seattle. Over the last couple of months, I have made sure that I am in the studio working both on my solo material and The Flavr Blue’s new music every week for a significant amount of time.
Q: How did you get hooked up with Macklemore and the Blue Scholars?
Hollis: I met Blue Scholars through an Isangmahal poetry open mic where Geo and I were the featured performers. I was so nervous; I knew every syllable of their self-titled LP and was hugely inspired by their music. Geo was hella nice and I felt so cool that he remembered who I was a week later when they headlined Quadstock. We ended up hanging out two summers later in New York City and I was friends with Geo and Saba ever since. When they changed up their management to handle it themselves, they hired me to do coordination and communications, which allowed me to quit my non-profit communications job and essentially freelance full-time. It’s been 3 years since that happened.
I met Macklemore through my friend Gabriel Teodros and Khingz, who were huge early supporters of Canary Sing. Canary Sing actually opened for Macklemore at a show at Chop Suey in 2007 or 2008 (we’d then open for him again at Showbox in 2011). But I didn’t really get to know him until he, Ryan Lewis, Zia Mohajerjasbi and I worked tirelessly for months on the “WING$” song and video. It was such a huge process and learning experience for all of us, and I became really close with all of the guys through that. It was great in particular to grow a friendship and a creative relationship with Ben, who I consider one of my closest friends.
Q: At 25, not many people can say that they’ve performed on stage with mainstream acts like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in front of thousands? What is that like? Is it something that felt natural to you or did it take some getting used to?
Hollis: I feel grateful that in my young life as a performer I’ve gotten to perform on some pretty impressive stages that have made it so that performing, say, on the main stage of the Gorge for Sasquatch isn’t a harrowing experience. At 19, Maddy and I performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for Brave New Voices, the national youth poetry slam; we performed in front of over a thousand opening for Saul Williams two years later. Performance has always felt natural to me, and more than anything, it’s confidence and comfort on-stage that makes a performance truly great. As long as I know exactly what I’m doing on stage, I feel good. If anything, I need to combat my overly analytical, totally lucid mind, and appreciate and take in the experience that so many performers wish they had. It’s a crazy lucky thing that I’ve been able to perform on the stages that I have and hopefully will continue to in the future.
Q: Tell us about The Flavr Blue. How did you guys get together? How long have you been performing with each other? This summer, fans can catch you at Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot. How does it feel to be performing at two of Seattle’s major music festivals?
Hollis: The Flavr Blue was originally a duo—my bandmates Lace and Parker—and they invited me into the studio to sing on the last song of their debut EP. The studio happens to be in the house where my boyfriend lives, so I was frequently on the couch right outside. We made that song, “In My Dream,” and suddenly the debut EP of a duo became the first half of a debut LP from a trio. Right away there was a natural chemistry between the three of us: they were heavy into production and experimenting with vocals, and I was interested in writing solid, fun pop music after having recorded hip-hop and acoustic R&B for years. It was a musical departure for all of us, and we realized that the three of us had a great synergy to make The Flavr Blue a thing. That was two years ago. And we’re still growing and learning so much.
It feels like a great accomplishment and a huge challenge to perform at Block Party and Bumbershoot. It’s my first time performing on music stages at both festivals, and they’re the big ones for local bands: Neumos stage and Fischer Green. We are determined to put on a spectacular show and it’s definitely pushing the limits of what we’ve done in the past. I’ve learned a lot about live show production in the last half-year and look forward to growing the experience of The Flavr Blue as more performance opportunities emerge.
Q: Should the audience expect any surprises from your set at all?
Hollis: We’re performing four completely new songs with surprising instrumentation, and we’re working on a really stunning visual show. Hopefully it all translates! We’ve felt so grateful for the support we’ve received thus far.
Q: I hear you are originally from the Bay Area. San Francisco is becoming a fast favorite for me after Seattle of course. Can you let us in on some of your favorite spots?
Hollis: Oh man! Too many awesome places in the Bay Area; hard to say what my favorite spots are. I’d say one of the most underrated neighborhoods and one that shaped my teenage years was the inner Richmond and Clement Street. Burma Superstar, Genki crepes, Green Apple Books, and King of Thai Noodle II were all regular haunts of mine. My favorite venue in the Bay is probably the New Parish in Oakland.
Q: How does your family feel about the career path? Are you all a musically talented bunch as well?
Hollis: My family is very supportive of now, although it was definitely an adjustment for my parents during college that their academically motivated, for-sure-headed-for-grad-school daughter was making hip-hop music. My mom in particular has always wanted for me to go to grad school and be educated and successful, but over the last year both of my parents have recognized that the work I’m doing is groundwork for a veritable career; that I’m not a drugged up deadbeat just because I’m pursuing music as a vocation. It was a gratifying moment to invite them to see me perform with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the Fillmore in SF, then invite them again two weeks later while I was tour managing the Blue Scholars for their winter tour.
We are not a particularly musical family honestly. I’m the only person in my immediate and extended family on both sides that’s pursuing music as a career.
Q: You mentioned to me that you are currently based in Seattle (since you’re not touring) what are you most looking forward to this summer in the city?
Hollis: Sun and work! I am so busy. But this nice weather has been really great and allowed me to relax in between tasks much better :) It will be really cool to be at Seattle’s two biggest festivals as a performer and a fan.
Q: 2013 has been an incredible year for you and we’re only halfway done! If there is one accomplishment that you are most proud of so far, what has it been?
Hollis: Thanks so much. It’s hard to pinpoint. My bandmates frequently make fun of me for being “unimpressed” and “uninterested” while I move through my life. Sometimes I think I overcompensate for the potentially overwhelming amount of things going on by being super level-headed and not getting particularly excited about what’s going on in my sphere. But weird things will pop out at me sometimes. Like when I saw that the Billboard Awards had nominated “Thrift Shop” as a video of the year, and I was like… “I produced that! Holy shit!” Or when I was going on about how intense and stressful my summer was going to be, a friend of mine said, “So, you’re basically performing in every major music festival in the Seattle region this summer.” And I was like, “Oh shit. Yes. This is basically my dream come true I think.”
I’m actually extremely proud that “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring my friend Mary Lambert is on the verge of going platinum and has become a watermark for the year of progress on gay rights that we’ve had. It was a gorgeous union for me of my musical spheres and my poetic past, as I met Mary as a youth poet in Youth Speaks and was able to introduce her for her feature on that song. I am immensely gratified by that collaboration and the fact that a young queer musician and spoken word artist whose work has touched me greatly has broken into the mainstream. So dope.
Q: Hollis, this year on Yow Yow! we are focusing on the life of a 20-something and being a recent post grad transitioning out of college. What advice do you have for young adults our age and moving into the adult world? /// In a city like Seattle, teenagers are always trying to break into the music industry whether it is on the performing or the booking side. I started booking when I was still in high school for the Kirkland Teen Center and I wouldn’t have gotten there if it weren’t for the adults already involved in music helping me get my foot in the door. What advice do you have for people who aspire to work in the industry?
Hollis: I think we’re in an amazing time to be a young person. More than growing a career in one path, it’s more about growing your capacity, particularly in the creative sectors. In music, success is equal parts artistry and entrepreneurship, which means we have to be original, inspired, and savvy in order to prevail. It’s a great challenge. I also encourage all young people to have purpose in their work – a drive and a passion, but also a motivation larger than self. No matter what your focus is professionally, there is always a way to connect it to a larger cause, to be aware of how what you do in the world can either silence or empower people with less opportunity. All people are capable of teaching and of learning constantly. It’s easy for us to be isolated in the age of social media even though there is an illusion of immediate connectedness, and to be instantaneous experts because we have the latest technology or we can Wiki really fast. Truly great work takes time to cultivate, and humility, and thoughtfulness, and exertion. There’s no replacement for it.
There’s also no need to rush. Working with intention is way better than hurrying down a road you didn’t want to go down. I used to think that I was too old at 22, 24, even 26 to be an emerging artist; if it was supposed to happen for me to be well-known or successful, it would have happened already. Not true. I’m so glad that I’m the age I am now, with the self-knowledge that I possess, where I can really focus on the work I have to do. It took me those years out of college to try new things and struggle financially and fail gloriously and build the relationships that now have proved fruitful for me as an artist and a human being.
I facilitated a panel conversation and Jake One, arguably Seattle’s most renowned hip hop producer, had an amazing insight that spoke to me greatly. He attributes the success to the relationships he forged in his early years as an artist with people who were just as earnest and ambitious as he was. As his career grew, their careers grew; they grew together, probably exponentially so. We are nobody without our people, our networks, and the genuine relationships we form with our peers that aspire and inspire to new levels of greatness. It’s better to not look so high into the stratosphere and get disheartened by the gulf between where you are and where and who you want to be ideally, and instead look at ground level at who is doing the work and has the passion and fire you have, and let those people push you up.
Q: At this point, what is next for you? You’ve accomplished so much coming out of college already with your multiple projects. Are there any solo projects in the works or things going on outside of music that you are pursuing?
Hollis: I appreciate that even though I feel like I’m really at the beginning of what I hope to do. I am working on a solo EP and honing what my individual sound is like. I am grateful to be working with my friend Budo, an amazing producer, on that end. The Flavr Blue’s new EP is something I’m also really excited to release to the public. It will be kind of crazy to see what happens when the video for “White Walls” is released to the masses. I’m not really sure what’s in the cards for me, but I definitely feel like it’s now or never, ya know? I’m working hard to be ready for whatever comes my way.
I am just beyond excited for this year’s lineup. Not only is it packed with amazing local talent, but the festival is also bringing back Death Cab For Cutie and Matt & Kim who I have seen in the past AT Bumbershoot. There are also quite a few bands that I have never seen that I am anticipating. It is also great to see a former band that I have booked – The Physics – as well as former Seattle U peers of mine – Kithkin – on the bill.
I cannot praise this lineup enough; it is incredible!
You would think that because of how diverse the lineups are at every music festival that you would get a general mix of people. To an extent, that is true. However, every music festival has its own atmosphere, its own style, and its own personality. Even without knowing that that the above illustration was for Glastonbury, I would naturally assume that because of the Hunter boots and olive jacket. That place is a mud fest every year! In looking at my own experiences, I attend Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot every year and maybe I’ve never paid any attention to it until now, but I can definitely see that the way I dress for one festival differs from the other. Since Bumbershoot is spread out over the Seattle Center, I make sure to wear comfortable shoes. I make sure to bring a cardigan of some sort or dress in summer layers. At Block Party, that’s just not the case at all. Bring on the short shorts, tank tops, and little dresses. It’s the culture, the environment, and the people that tend to affect your surroundings.
Refinery 29 had Joana Avillez create these illustrations for 7 different major music festivals and I’d say that it’s spot on. I’ve never been to any of them, but I’ve caught the Street Style Snap Shots every year.