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INTERVIEW: Magic Beans’ Scott Hachey Interviews Tom Hamilton & Aqueous’ Mike Gantzer

first_imgBeanstalk Music & Mountains Festival is one of Colorado’s standout summer music festivals. With the beloved event entering its sixth year in 2018, Beanstalk is looking to be better than ever when it returns to Eagle County, Colorado’s Rancho Del Rio from June 28th through 30th. With the host band, Magic Beans, on deck for three nights of performances, plus a stacked lineup of nationally renowned and regional acts and a focus on super jams, Beanstalk has dialed in a truly impressive weekend of music.5 Reasons You Won’t Want To Miss Beanstalk Music Festival This YearWith Magic Beans at the helm of the festival, the band’s guitarist, Scott Hachey, took the time to chat with two beloved guitarists from the jam scene who are joining the Beans on the Beanstalk lineup: Tom Hamilton and Mike Gantzer. Hamilton, widely known for his work with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and American Babies, will perform with his newest project, Ghost Light. Gantzer, on the other hand, is one-fourth of the quickly rising Buffalo-based jam band, Aqueous.You can read Hachey’s interviews with Tom Hamilton and Mike Gantzer below. Tickets for the upcoming festival, which takes place June 28th to 30th at Colorado’s Rancho Del Rio, are available here. For more information about Beanstalk Music & Mountains Festival 2018, visit the event website or follow the event on Facebook.Tom HamiltonScott Hachey: Today we have Tom Hamilton, the genius behind many of your favorite acts on the scene—an artist, a thinker, a poet. Always a delight. Hi Tom. So, your new band, Ghost Light, it’s pretty cool, huh?Tom Hamilton: Yeah, I think it’s pretty cool. It’s really fun. We’re just kinda keeping it loose and fun, ya know? People seem to like it, which is an overwhelmingly nice feeling.Scott: I’ve been following you on Instagram, and it looks like there’s been a lot of work going on with the Ghost Light album. What stage are you at right now?Tom: Mixing… We are mixing this record, man. It’s getting close to go-time.Scott: But you don’t have a release date in mind, do you?Tom: Nah. Once we finish, we gotta figure out how we’re putting it out. Could be in a number of ways, but the nice thing about this band is we’re just trying to take it as it comes, you know? For me, this band is 20 years of me being in bands and seeing detrimental decisions to people or the business and their growth. So one of the main things I learned is to just relax, you know?Like, if this is what we’re doing, we’re all in the band, we’re here, we don’t need to rush into doing things just to do them. Let’s just wait and do things properly. Let’s write the songs and take our time, doing it right. It’s like when you’re in your 20s, and you wanna do things right now, and you’re putting this ridiculous pressure on yourselves and each other. That usually ends up destroying a band. Just do what you do and have a good time.Scott: I think that’s what they call the pocket.Tom: Yeah, man.Scott: That sounds healthy. That’s something obviously the Beans went through. You’re so eager when you’re young to get to a point, and then you realize, once you’re in the “shit,” you know? It’s just a big blob that is the scene, and all that matters is just making great music. If the music is good and the energy is good, you’ll have success… and even if you don’t, you can look back on it and be happy with it and proud of it.Tom: Totally. With the American Babies thing, that was a fun project for me. It didn’t get as big as I may have wanted, but looking back on it, those are all great albums. All very different from each other and all show very significant growth for me as an artist and a person. And that’s the stuff, to me, that matters—the intention, the art. No one will say I was resting on my laurels during my career. If you go from the first Brothers Past record to this latest one with Ghost Light, that’s lots of different music I’ve put out and lots of growth. I never repeated myself and did the same bullshit.Scott: No doubt. What’s the writing process with Ghost Light? Did you write as a band, or did people bring in songs?Tom: I brought in some stuff because the last record I put out was awhile ago, and I had some stuff stockpiled. Bims and bops. Raina [Mullen] brought in some stuff. But then, we kinda sifted through as a band and massaged everything into place as a unit. This isn’t a Tom Hamilton record at all. I’m just a part of the song, and everything is what it is. We all have our fingerprints on everything.Scott: For those of you not familiar with Tom’s work, I urge you to listen to An Epic Battle Between Light and Dark—in particular “Synth Driver”—which is divine. Moving on, remember JRAD at Beanstalk? That was pretty cool…Tom: I do, man. That was a helluva night.Scott: That was my Chris Farley on Farley Show for Saturday Night Live.Tom: Hey, Paul McCartney, remember when you said, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make?” Was that true?Scott: For our younger readers, this is a satire on an SNL skit from, like, 20 years ago.Tom: Kids are like, “What’s SNL?”Scott: You seem to like film and TV. What’s your favorite show that you’re watching?Tom: For me, it’s either super serious stuff or super hilarious. That’s where I live; there’s no middle ground. It’s either the first season of True Detective or South Park binge watching. I think South Park is the best social commentary on the planet right now.Scott: As someone who grew up with South Park, I will say it has bred a generation of critical thinkers. Maybe a tad cynical, but critical none the less. I completely agree with you. They run the gamut and hit it out of the park. On another note, there’s a big emphasis now on “jamming,” like “The longer, the better.” Do you agree?Tom: No. Not at all.Scott: [laughs] I didn’t think you would.Tom: Doing it, just to do it, is weird for me.Scott: Do you ever plan those things? Like a 30-minute jam or whatever? I always wonder when people put those up on online, are they planning on going for that long? Or are they just like jamming, and all of a sudden they’re like, “Whoops, there goes the whole fucking set.” We never really plan that stuff. Sometimes, we’ll just say let’s go big on something, but that can mean anything.Tom: No, it just is. This is one of my peeves with the scene in general—that people do things because other people do things. It’s like you don’t see a Domino’s trying to incorporate donuts and coffee cause Dunkin’ Donuts is making a killing. Just do what you do.Scott: I’ve been working on that in my writing recently. Trying to write whatever comes naturally and not think about its live application, or any application. Just writing as much as I can to express myself. Been getting some of my best material.Tom: For me, it’s just about doing what comes natural and putting it out there. We don’t use setlists for Ghost Light. We have a song list and try to piece it together out there on stage. If you’re gonna improvise, just improvise. If you’re not, I think people are gonna hear the difference. And I think that’s why people like JRAD and are liking Ghost Light.Scott: Dead fans like Joe Russo’s Almost Dead because you’re not trying to copy the Grateful Dead. You’re just honoring the songbook and the intention of the band. Staying true to who you are and how you play is the truest way to honor the band, not just copying what they do.Tom: I think lots of bands are afraid to have bad sets and trainwreck a little bit. It’s gonna happen if you’re truly improvising.Scott: I agree. Sometimes, I feel like the best stuff comes after a sour part of the jam. Like once it’s going south, people hear it, and you get this heightened sense of awareness from the band and listening. It can sometimes result in the most original and unexpected improv of the night.Tom: When nobody is in their comfort spot, that’s when the new stuff happens.Scott: So, I’m gonna wrap it up with the famous closing questions of Bernard Pivot. What is your favorite word?Tom: Probably… fuck.Scott: What is your least favorite word?Tom: No.Scott: If heaven exists, what would like to hear God say when you arrive?Tom: Good job.Scott: Solid responses. Alright, bud, thanks so much for taking this time. Always fun to chat with you. We appreciate you returning to Beanstalk for your fifth year—this time with your newest project, Ghost Light.Tom: Let’s do this.Mike GantzerScott Hachey: Hey Mike, how are you doing? Thanks for talking to me on what I’m sure is a rare Friday night off for you. First off, you guys—Aqueous—are great. We like to listen to you in the van, out on the road. Speaking of the road, how long have you guys been at it?Mike Gantzer: Believe it or not, this is our 11th year as a band. We started this thing in high school, you know? As a basement band learning, like, Pink Floyd covers for fun. Then, eventually, it turned into a real thing. Also, thank you. Appreciate you guys listening to us.Scott: That’s very similar to Magic Beans. We definitely started with us just making music in college to entertain ourselves and friends. It can be deceiving when you tell people “we’ve been a band for eight years” or something, but half the time, in the beginning, was just kinda messing around.Mike: Totally. I’d say the first half was way different from the latter half. We were just sitting around playing Mario Cart in the basement and playing some music too. Then, it changed quite a bit.Scott: So, Buffalo—where you guys are from—we love it. They’ve shown up for us since day one, and we just love playing there. Tell me what being from that community means to the band.Mike: That’s great to hear and honestly not surprising because Buffalo is a super passionate music city with a rich history—from moe. to Goo Goo Dolls, [laughs] and so much local music. Also, somehow, the scene has cultivated an appreciation for original music, which isn’t always common.When we started, we thought everyone wanted covers. When we went to the city, they were all like, “Shut up with those covers and play something real,” you know? It was a validating experience. So glad you guys had a similar experience there. I’d say this city is underrated.Scott: I’d put it as top three or top five cities for us, outside of Colorado. We love it. I’m from Minnesota, so I love the people there. They remind me of home—very honest and straightforward, just easy to read and easy to get along with.Mike: Oh yeah, I’ve noticed that touring too. Good vibes up around these Great Lakes.Scott: Yeah, I think the cold keeps you honest.Mike: I could definitely see that.Scott: What do you know about Beanstalk, if anything?Mike: Well, not a whole lot. Seen its lineups pop up these past few years, once you guys were on my radar. For me, I have some insight on how much work it is to put on a festival, so props to you for doing that. If you’re reading this, it is truly staggering what goes into it, so all the credit to you.I also noticed that at our Denver show a week ago, I heard people saying how they were going to see us there too. They all said how there’s such a vibe and talked about hanging out and floating down the river with us, which sounds great. Everyone reported excellent vibes.Scott: Yup, vibes are high for sure. No cell phone service up there, which brings people down to earth. Lots of music lovers. So feel free to get weird with it.Mike: Sweet. We can get weird there. Noted.Scott: [laughs] Yeah, you have my permission. Next up is a guest question from [saxophonist] Nicholas Gerlach: If you could go back in time, what instrument would you play instead of guitar?Mike: Piano, hands down. That’s easy for me. When I listen to the piano, I feel the most direct connection and emotion. My dad was a pianist, so when I grew up, I was inspired by watching him play. I just never a chance to really play it myself. From a theory standpoint, it makes so much sense. I think the piano allows you to learn music in a more general sense that’s easier to branch out from, whereas guitar can be specific to guitar. The second one would be a drummer. I tend to listen to drummers first when listening to a band. I’ve also taken to incorporating more rhythm in my playing, leading with my right hand and not left.Scott: Here’s another guest question from Nick Gerlach: If you weren’t in the jam scene, what scene would you wanna make music in?Mike: That’s a good question. I’d probably wanna be in the indie-rock, alternative area. Lots of my favorite bands I’ve been listening to recently—like Wilco and Fleet Foxes, Incubus—bands like that, to me, are just as engaging and cool. Like maybe try to take the musical sensibilities of the jam scene and refine it a little bit, in terms of trying to figure out how to write poignant songs and hone in emotion. With lots of my favorite bands, the emotional part comes first, and then the musical side comes afterward. Also, growing up listening to music and skateboarding, I’m really into punk and hip-hop still. It’d be fun to be in a scene like punk, where it’s a totally different energy.Scott: I hear you. I love that type of music. I feel like some of those bands—My Morning Jacket, War on Drugs, Wilco—can capture a lot of the magic you get at jam shows, but it’s more condensed and not as long-winded, which I think has its own merits.Mike: Yeah. We’re all lucky to be in the jam scene though, ’cause we’re free.Scott: I agree. I think the “jam scene” is a really terrible label because the scene encompasses so much, from players like Adam Deitch and Stanton Moore to Jimmy Herring and Warren Haynes. People like to put a stigma on the word, but some of the greatest musicians of our generation are making their living through the “jam scene.”Mike: Totally. I agree.Scott: Good time to segue here. Ballads: are they dead? Why do you think we don’t see them in our scene as much anymore?Mike: Good question. There’s something to be said about a band that has a lot to prove, and I think there’s less of a space for that in the set now. Maybe one of the critiques I have for the scene is that people don’t always appreciate dynamics as much, and I think sometimes people just wanna rage. There can be a split between people there for the vibes of the crowd, while some are there for the musicality and what’s happening on stage. I do have a sense that sometimes the younger generation of bands and their fans just wanna party. But like, I honestly love ballads and slower songs. All I listen to is ballads.Scott: That’s my shit! [laughs] We noticed when we started touring outside Colorado and trying to branch out, we’d play a ballad and see a migration from some for cigarettes or to get a drink. And it’s scary because, in our scene, you usually have one chance to impress someone before they decide they don’t like your band. So there’s definitely this fear of trying that again because you wanna be accepted.Mike: We definitely have been guilty of that sometimes—trying to deliver. It reminds me of being a Phish fan early on and how people would describe some songs as piss-break songs, and I would be like, “What?! You don’t like that song?” Those are the songs I’m there for. One the of the first songs that caught my attention was “Squirming Coil” and Trey [Anastasio’s] sustain on it. But Phish wasn’t playing at that point when I started listening. Then, when they came back and I started going to shows, people would describe “Coil” as a piss-break song, and that always blew me away.Scott: Phans can be hard critics. I remember traveling to see Phish, and after the set, people were describing it as lackluster cause there weren’t enough bangers. I ran into a kid who had traveled, like, 1,000 miles for the show. He was saying how the only song he wanted to hear was “Heavy Things”, which is not a banger, and how it was one of the best moments of his life. It really stuck with me—how any song or moment can mean something different to another person there, and how what you like isn’t always what is best for everyone. If you’re gonna ruin someone else’s experience because you don’t like a certain song, that isn’t really a good way to enjoy live music.Mike: Yeah, you never know what song could change somebody’s life or something. [laughs] Everyone has a different experience out there. You gotta respect that.Scott: There’s a big emphasis on “jamming” right now, it seems. Like, “The longer, the better.” Do you agree?Mike: You know, I don’t. It’s easy for people to get caught up in that side of it. The tangible number means something to them or equates to quality. I think a part of it is that people love the risk of it and putting it out there. But you can take a short time to get your point across or you can take a long time to do nothing. Recently we’ve been doing much longer jams, which is actually kinda new for us, but we’re also trying to find a balance with that.Scott: I’m good at that second part: taking a long time to do nothing—like in my life [laughs]. Do you ever plan those sorts of things? Like a big thirty-minute jam or something?Mike: No. In fact, that’s our whole thing. We don’t talk about it at all. We discuss the setlist and segues, but that’s kind of it. We’re trying to be honest and trying to real. I think if you try to plan, it can come out contrived. The whole point of live improvised music is that it’s fucking improvised. Like if I had sat and planned this conversation, then it would have been super weird.Scott: Well, I actually did kind of do that, but in my defense, that is because I need questions to ask you [laughs]. Speaking of which, I have another guest question from Shawn Swain of Kitchen Dwellers, who wants to know how many shows in a row is it acceptable for your band to wear the same shirt? For us, it is as many as you want.Mike: Zero. [laughs] That’s a hilarious question. You know, I never really thought about it. My biggest thing that I’m guilty of is that I wear the same pants sometimes. Usually, we all are wearing new shirts, but like, I’m guilty of probably wearing one of three pairs of pants.Scott: Does the band have a preferred fast food stop? If so, does it vary by region?Mike: You know, I don’t eat fast food, because I have dietary restrictions. But Dave [Loss] really likes Culver’s.Scott: That’s some Midwest shit, baby!Mike: I feel like there should’ve been a Bible on every table. [laughs] Beyond that, the dudes really love Chipotle, like every day.Scott: Yeah, I personally don’t care for Chipotle, but my band loves it. They see it as a healthy option, that’s not fast food. I see it as not that… but, I’ve also eaten over a thousand burritos from there, so I can’t really talk.Mike: I don’t know how accurate that healthy-option thing is…Scott: Here’s another guest question, this time from Taylor Frederik of Eminence Ensemble. What are some warm-ups or drills you and Dave practice to keep you guys so in sync on stage?Mike: We start by warming up separately, but then we’ll do something like playing a random melody and seeing how fast the other can lock into a harmony with it. Also, we’ve been trying to figure out how to give each more room on stage and let it flow. Maybe as opposed to matching up, one of us could find a support role in playing rhythm or trying to add layers.Scott: I think when you’re a four-piece, you wanna get more layers going. If you match up with the other lead instrument, it’s basically just one melody over bass and drums, so adding that rhythm is always good for filling out the sound.Mike: Absolutely, I agree you want the full sound. Sometimes, playing counter to the other players gets you that.Scott: Alright, so I’m gonna wrap up with the famous final questions of Bernard Pivot. What is your favorite word?Mike: Fuck. [laughs] I don’t know! Not a tasteful word, but nothing can get your point across like it.Scott: What is your least favorite word?Mike: Moist.Scott: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?Mike: Good to see you. I want him to be happy I’m there.Scott: Wow, great answer. Mike Gantzer everyone. We’re gonna have to get you up for a little jawn with Magic Beans at the festival. Check out Aqueous out on the road, on your Spotify, and at Beanstalk Festival at the end of June.Mike: Thanks, Scott. Sounds great. Let’s jam.With standout musical offerings, a plethora of other activities to keep your day filled, and a gorgeous setting, Beanstalk Music & Mountains Festival is shaping up to the best one yet. Tickets are available here. For more information about Beanstalk Music & Mountains Festival 2018, visit the event website or follow the event on Facebook.last_img read more

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East Side Access Project Moves to Next Phase

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An artist’s rendering of the completed Long Island Rail Road terminal at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.The East Side Access construction project that will bring Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal has moved into the next phase of work: Building the interior of the terminal.Wisconsin-based Michels Corporation was awarded the $200,602,743 contract, the first of three required to build the permanent structural concrete lining, interior structures and equip newly excavated caverns and tunnels, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Monday.“This contract begins the construction on the interior work that 160,000 weekday LIRR customers will experience when the new LIRR station terminal opens below Grand Central,” said Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction.Tunnel Vision: Inside the East Side Access ProjectThe $8.24 billion East Side Access project, currently the largest public works project in the nation, will conclude with an eight-track terminal. Each cavern will contain four tracks, an upper and lower level platform, and a mezzanine.It is designed to cut 40 minutes off the commute time for LIRR riders who work on the east side of midtown Manhattan but are forced to use Penn Station on the west side. The LIRR also expects its first new Manhattan terminal in a century will ease congestion at Penn Station, which sees 230,000 LIRR riders daily.The contract and two others in the works for the north and central locations are being paid for by federal and local funds, the MTA said.The latest estimated completion date of the long-delayed project is 2019.last_img read more

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‘He showed tremendous bravery and courage’ – Harry Arter hailed for heroic Man United display

first_imgJunior Stanislas has hailed Bournemouth teammate Harry Arter as ‘remarkable’ for his performance against Manchester United.Arter started for the Cherries on Saturday despite the death of his newborn daughter just days earlier and was outstanding as he helped his side secure a famous 2-1 win.“He showed tremendous bravery and courage to go out there and play,” said Stanislas, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“As soon as we heard the news, we were all around him, giving him calls and messages and supporting him in training as well. But to deliver a performance like that under the circumstances was remarkable.”Stanislas scored the opener against United direct from a corner as Bournemouth, winners over Chelsea earlier this month, picked up another prized Premier League scalp.On his goal, the ex-West Ham man admitted: “I never meant to score it. I meant to put it in the box but the manager said to try and get as much whip and pace on the ball as you can and thankfully it has gone in.”The win over United stretched newly-promoted Bournemouth’s unbeaten run to four matches and moved Eddie Howe’s side up to 14th.“We are going into every game confident now,” added Stanislas. “Morale within the group and staff is very good. We are enjoying it and looking forward to the next one.“We have got pace on the counter and can cause problems and upset teams.”last_img read more