Align with Double Experience

Everyone could use a little experience, but double is even better! That’s what has drawn me time and time again to the Canadian duo who call themselves Double Experience, a band who embraces its nerdy side and has built a following with songs about games and pop culture. And now, after a string of stand-alone singles, they’re back for more with their first concept album, Alignments.

We are so proud to reveal our new album, “Alignments”. As our first concept album, we’ve arranged it into 3 separate parts (Neutral, Good, and Evil) to demonstrate its underlying story. The first EP is available to stream on Nov 15 and includes the debut single, “New Me”.

1. Perish Song
2. New Me
3. Something’s Got to Give
4. Ghost in the Machine
5. My List
6. Your Biggest Fan
7. Born For It
8. So Dumb
9. The Imp
10. Alignments

In the RPG that is your life, who holds the dice? When thoughts and prayers are as disposable as this week’s pop culture, where are the lines between reality and fiction drawn? Is this state of disarray all according to someone’s plan? We can assure you that the soundtrack to these end times is kick-ass, but we’re dying to know…

What’s. Your. Alignment?

Alignments consists of three EPs, released over time. You can start your adventure now by streaming Neutral, and pre-ordering a copy of Alignments right here!


 
For more on Double Experience, visit:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

Interview with Persephone Phoenix about all things ‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’

Interview by Danielle Boise, Photos Courtesy of Leo Photograpahy

‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’ Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

I had the great pleasure to sit down and chat with Persephone Phoenix, the mastermind behind Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!! and get the dish on the next set of Harry Potter-inspired burlesque shows that Hysteria Machines are putting on at The Atlanta Shakespeare Company. The first showing will be Saturday, May 21 for a late night viewing starting at 11:30p. The second run of Sexpelliarmus will be on Monday, May 23 at 7:30pm. Each night will offer something new and exciting to see. So if you are fans of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or even Slytherin, then this is the show you MUST see. If you are looking for something a bit geeky, with a side of nerd and a twist of titillation, then look no further because all you need is a good dose of Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!! and you can grab your tickets to either night’s show here.

What is the thesis statement behind the production company Hysteria Machines, and how in your opinion, what do they offer that is different than other burlesque troupes in the area?

Hysteria Machines is Atlanta’s Own Nerdlesque and Pop Culture Burlesque performance collective, filled with professional, dedicated performers of all shapes, fandoms, and specialties. Founded in 2013 by Sketch MacQuinor and Persephone Phoenix, Hysteria Machines’ goal was to provide a unique, atmospheric burlesque and variety revue, engaging the audience in an immersive experience while also giving new local talent the opportunity to shine!

Currently, Hysteria Machines is Atlanta’s Own (and ONLY) troupe dedicated exclusively to Nerdlesque and Pop-Culture Burlesque.

‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’ Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

For those who do not know what Nerdesque is, can you provide some insight for them?

Burlesque as an art has evolved greatly through the generations. Its origins are in so-called “common man theater,” where the acts consisted of satire of serious literature. In the early 20th century, American burlesque gradually incorporated more and more striptease into the lineup, featuring the artists as principal performers. The terms “burlesque” and “striptease” eventually became tied, and remain so to this day. After fading out of popularity in the 1970s, American burlesque had a revival in the early 1990s with the so-called “Neo-Burlesque” movement. This modern version of burlesque broadened and expanded the classic striptease theme, and included a strong female empowerment movement as well as more contemporary subjects, music and themes.

This is where the term “Nerdlesque” comes in. Nerdlesque merges the classic satirical roots of burlesque with the Neo-Burlesque movement, by parodying current pop culture, geek fandoms and common nerd archetypes. As Atlanta’s Own Nerdlesque and Pop Culture Performance Collective, Hysteria Machines seeks to immerse the audience in this art form, steeped in history and peppered with current cultural phenomenon.

‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’ Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Now down to the nitty gritty. What is the wonderful world of ‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’ and how did the show go from the first inklings of a thought into the ever evolving production we are about to see at The Atlanta Shakespeare Company on May 21 and May 23?

Sexpelliarmus started out with what seemed like an impossible dream. I remember thinking “this is way too big for me to do.” My first brush with nerdlesque was graciously provided by Atlanta performer and producer Talloolah Love when I was accepted to perform a Ravenclaw love potion number, where my character devoted it to Neville Longbottom, on the Dragon Con Burlesque stage in 2013. It was very easy, when further diving into the Potterverse, to see each of these significant characters as parodies of themselves: Lupin peeling to “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Bellatrix swinging her wand and dancing with crazy fervor to “Maneater.” A whole host of silly, sexy acts played out in my head, but at the time, they felt like pipe dreams.

It wasn’t until I got some real production experience under my belt, through various other outside endeavors –some successes, some not-so-successful- that I even entertained the idea. Honestly, at first, I was just hoping to bring some acts to a local Harry Potter party! I had sourced a whole cast worth of people who shared my passion, all ready and willing to perform these acts, putting together costumes, discussing plot, planning meetings. When the party fell through, it seemed a waste to discard all the preparation the cast had done, so with the help of a mutual contact that was scored through my partner in Hysteria Machines, Sketch MacQuinor, Sexpelliarmus found a venue!

The acts weren’t the only big plans that seemed impossible, though I wanted a whole, immersive experience, complete with floating candles, living newspapers, seating by your House, character mingling, food and drinks from the Potterverse. So, with a lot of ingenuity from a cast I consider to be some of the most professional, committed, positive, amazing people ever, most of these things came to fruition. And what started as a small time production quickly had greater demand than we could accommodate in a smaller venue. We then moved to one of the most immersive venues in Atlanta, The Shakespeare Tavern, which brings with it a whole host of new, fun challenges to creating that signature Harry Potter experience.

Now, having one run of this show (and several runs of other shows) under our belt at the Tavern, we are ready to magic the pants off of our audience!

Will each night offer something a little different or will they be the same show, just at different dates and times?

Yes! Saturday will be our opening night, which is always very exciting! Those coming that night will be able to see a ONE NIGHT ONLY performance by none other than Coquette du Jour of Athens, Georgia. Monday night will also have some special offerings, with the house opening early for the Students of Hogwarts to enjoy any one of the Shakespeare Tavern’s many British dishes, participate in a photo booth, or maybe even get to dance a little!

‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’ Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Can you give us any secret tidbits of what can one expect to see, taste and experience walking into the world of Harry Potter at The Atlanta Shakespeare Company, which by the way is the perfect place to see this show, as seen through the eyes of Hysteria Machines’ Sexpelliarmus?

Well, as always, we will have themed adult beverages, including Butterbeer and a special Dragon Heartstring Potion, as well as chocolate frogs and pumpkin pasties. You will be surrounded by fully-costumed characters, epic Harry Potter music, and decor, including living newspapers, banners, props and more. We really go out of our way to make the experience magical for everyone. This is, of course, not to mention the awesome BRAND NEW acts that we’re bringing for this show.

What is your favorite thing about producing a show of this magnitude?

There is something really magical (and I hate to keep using that term, but it’s accurate) about walking out into the lobby or the house of the Tavern, with the audience in their costumes, characters mingling around, music piping in through the speakers, with decorations all about. Literally the experience of that is what I find the most gratifying. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

There are multiple options of how one wants to experience a show, from full immersion of a VIP experience to more of a laid back approach for those that may be a little more timid. What can you offer as advice for first timers coming out to a burlesque show as what to expect, especially from this particular show, as it is layered with such an intricate storyline? Also, is there encouragement to dress up as your favorite character, like Hermione Granger or rally behind say one’s favorite house, for instance say Gryffindor?

Yes, there are a lot of options on how you can experience this show. Tiered seating, for instance, comes in three levels: floor, which are tables and chairs to fit your party on the main level. Box, which is on the perimeter of the main level, with tables and chairs. Or balcony, which overlooks the entire event from above, with counters on which to eat or set your drinks or wands. VIP, however, is a whole other level entirely! You’re super close to the stage, you’re included in the show throughout, the table is littered with goodies, signed posters, and you get themed drinks! Our VIPs receive a really neat experience. Also, if you can’t do a whole VIP table but still want some of the experience, we offer upgrade goody bags and themed drinks.

My best advice for those coming to this show as their first show: expect to laugh, and be prepared to become a student at Hogwarts, if even only for the night.

‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’ Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Geek is the new chic, do you think that’s half the fun of putting on a Nerdesque show?

Geek is definitely in right now, so riding that wave is no small contribution to our success. But truthfully, my biggest love of this genre is transporting people out of the real world for a few hours.

Finally, what is the one thing you want viewers to walk away from an experience of ‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’?

I want them to leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling, which is a potion consisting of excitement, humor, and nostalgia. I really want the audience to EXPERIENCE this production, and not just WATCH it.

‘Sexpelliarmus, A Whimsical, Wizarding Burlesque Revue Part 3!!’ Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

Photo Courtesy of Leo Photography

I personally have been lucky enough to see each rendition of Sexpelliarmus, and let me tell you it’s so worth the ticket price. There is comedy, lots of laughter, inside jokes and you get to immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter for a couple of hours, with lots of laughter and a bit of naughtiness. What’s not to love about that? I know I do. So you should come out and check out one of the shows. So grab your tickets, because this show will sell out and you don’t want to be left out in the dark all alone, by yourself, now do you?

Interview – Go Robo! Go! at Momocon 2015

Go Robo! Go! is a a self-described  “Nerd Rock” band from Atlanta. They are colorful, loud, fun and convention favorites. Last month, at MomoCon 2015, the band took the stage in the Hero room and put on their first concert in 8 months. It was a triumphant return for Go Robo! Go! and marked the third time that they have played at MomoCon.

Go Robo! Go! is made up of Sarah Rose (Guitar and Vocals), Joe Dolan (Bass, Banjo, Keyboards), Shilo Dangerous (Guitar) and Chris Preziotti (Drums).  Their music styling is hard to define, but has the all the elements of punk, pop, and energy that make for a fun listening experience. The band’s Bandcamp catalog is filled with great, well produced tunes that both pull you in and make you want to know more about the band at the same time.  Go Robo! Go!’s latest EP, Survival Songs was released last year, and their newest music video for “Sins/Sacrifice” can be watched below!

TAM took the opportunity to sit down with Go Robo! Go! during MomoCon and get to know more about the band, it’s musical style, the Atlanta music scene, and their take on independent music publishing.

gorobo4

Go Robo! Go!: (L to R) Chris Preziotti, Joe Dolan, Sara Rose, Shiloh Dangerous

Tell us a bit about who Go Robo! Go! is and how you came to be a band.

Sara Rose (SR): We started about 8 years ago. I was working at a music store right outside of Atlanta, and Joe and our old guitarist, Blake, were working there way before I started. I had heard through the grapevine at work that they had this band, and had been in a few bands before that and they had some demos on MySpace, which should show you how old the band is. I went and I listened to the songs on MySpace, downloaded them and thought they were awesome. But, they were like these eight, nine minute long songs…

Joe Dolan (JD): Far too long. Just terrible prog songs.

SR: So, being the dork I was, I decided that I was going to chop these songs up on my home recording software and make them into 3-minute pop songs. I didn’t tell them I was doing any of this and I went up to Joe, told him “Hey, I so I kinda made your songs shorter and wrote some verses to them. Can I come jam with you guys?”

JD: So, Rose shows up to practice and Blake was like “This is our new singer!” But, she came to practice and things went pretty well and we’re listening to the demos and trying to learn them, and Rose said “By the way, I booked some studio time next week…” and we were like… “Ok? Why?” So, we ended up recording our first little EP in 2007 and still play one of the songs.

SR: One of the songs, “American Poet,” off of that EP is still the fourth most popular song on Spotify for us. So, a lot of the songs have had weird staying power for how quickly they came together.

JD: It’s so interesting to me, because we’ve gone through so many different formulations of the band and we’ve had so many different ideas of what we wanted to be. It’s amazing to me that we can still find people who share our vision and may have even more of an idea of what our vision is than even we do. We’re just really happy and proud that we’ve been able to keep this passion project of ours going for as long as it has been.

You describe yourself as “Nerd Rock,” but what exactly does that mean?

JD: That’s because we’re dorks who play Rock and Roll.

SR: We love nerd culture. That’s the best way to explain it. It’s always been really receptive to our band. We always say MomoCon is our favorite place to play. It seems that every year we play at MomoCon, it’s like a big family reunion of all the people who like our band.

JD: We picked a dorky name… we picked some random throw away thing that we thought was really funny. But, it’s been really good for our identity.

SR: It wasn’t our own doing, but when we started playing shows, people would draw the robot that we picked for ourselves. They would come up with stories and ideas and fan art. There’s really a whole canon around it. If you listen to the records, it was unintentional, but there is sort of a little myth arc around the lyrics. There are references to old songs in new songs and different characters that sort of popped up. It’s become its own little universe.

 

As a local band, based out of Atlanta, how do you feel about the music scene here?

JD: We love Atlanta. We love the fact that we started playing these shows when we were teenagers, so didn’t have much of a chance to play some of the bigger venues. We’ve been really embraced by a lot of the people, and some of the larger local venues like The Masquerade and Drunken Unicorn.

SR: Places where you would never have expected a band like us to play. We’ve sort of carved our own niche, and I guess it’s kind of weird because we’ve always sort of seen ourselves as the black sheep of our little scene. We don’t have a lot of good connections or networks with a lot of the more typical pop/punk or hardcore bands. We just don’t do it… not to disparage it. They’ve always sort of looked at us like we’re weird because we sing about gay sex and robots and the apocalypse.

JD: I feel like whenever someone books us, they never know what to put us on. If they’re having a pop/punk night, ok “Go Robo! Go!.” If they’re having a hip hop or a metal show… “I don’t care, I don’t know… just… whatever, they’ll be fine.”

SR: Honestly, we’ve been embraced a lot more by the Atlanta Hip Hop community, sort of weirdly.

JD: There’s a hidden Go Robo! Go! EP that’s like a Rap/Rock thing that we’ve done that will NEVER get released.

SR: It was pretty bad. But, we’ve done some pretty crazy things. We’ve collaborated a lot with the Atlanta area rappers. If you dig hard enough through their mix tapes and stuff, you’ll see me doing vocals and them doing guest vocals on some of our stuff. I think Atlanta Hip Hop artists somehow understand how spastic we are.

JD: We just don’t take ourselves too seriously, and I feel like the same thing can be said about a lot of Atlanta Hip Hop. I think that’s really what music should be. I think if you get too caught up in what your genre is and what your persona or overall presentation is, then you lose a lot of the authenticity.

How do you feel about your MomoCon concert this year?

SR: We were all just talking about it. It’s in our probably top three favorite shows that we’ve ever played.

Chris Preziotti (CP): This is my first MomoCon experience. I have always supported Go Robo! Go!. Joe and I are childhood friends. I always played in bands as well, and we always jammed together, but never officially until I moved back from California and became Joe’s roommate. Their drummer went MIA and they needed a new one, so here I am.

JD: We were playing TimeGate and literally 48 hours beforehand, our drummer wasn’t responding, so I called up Chris and I asked if he wanted to be in the band.

CP: I said “That’s absolutely fine. Give me the set list and I will learn it.” I remember, I had just moved back from California, and I was going to the DMV tag office and I just had my earphones in, listening to Go Robo! Go! on loop. I dreamt about Sarah’s voice. I remember going to TimeGate and Joe was texting me while I was in my car. He comes out to find me, and I’m in the car practicing. This was my first show and I’m learning these nine songs and was playing live in 3 hours.

JD: It went phenomenally well!

As far as independent publishing, how is your approach to it?

SR: Streaming is an interesting thing. Our royalties from Spotify are minimal at best, but since we’ve been on Spotify and other streaming services, we’ve been available to a lot more people that wouldn’t have normally taken the time to listen to us. I can’t tell you how many times last night people were asking how they could listen to our music and within a few seconds they had pulled us up on their phone and favorited our album. Even 2 years ago they wouldn’t have been able to do that.

JD: The interesting part about it, especially with Spotify is that for a small independent artist, it can cost us $50-$100 a year just to have an album on there. So, it’s an expensive thing to do, but that’s something we’re more than happy to take on because we want people to enjoy our music for a long time. We do tell people that if they want to purchase our music, they can. Go to Bandcamp… we get more money that way. It’s going to cost the exact same, or you can pay what you want. People can consume it however they want. If they feel like supporting the band, they can. But, this is something that we’ve all put a lot of money into, and we’re happy to do it because it’s very much a passion project.

SR: We’re fortunate if 1,000, 2,000, 6,000 people own the album. That’s awesome to us. I think that we’re saying to people that if they like the album and really want to support us, you can buy a record and pay what you want for it. I think that with that prompt that we’ve given people, we’ve actually gotten a lot more revenue from kids that might not have bought it otherwise.

JD: We’ve never Kickstarted anything or asked for money. The independent publishing has always been something that we felt if we were going to do, we needed to take it on ourselves. We’ve had label offers before, but the control goes away when you take a record deal. These smaller labels are just not going to support our lifestyle in a way that we would want it to be supported. Once you sign that paperwork, that’s your job.

SR: That’s not to say that we wouldn’t be open to something besides Go Robo! Go! that wasn’t a passion project like this. I think for Go Robo! Go!, we’re so protective over creative control over this project; it would have to be a very specific set of circumstances for us to consider it.


Check out Go Robo! Go!’s BandCamp and Spotify pages, and follow them on Facebook.