Ricky Rebel, a former lead singer of the 90′s pop group No Authority has transformed himself into the International Pop Star Ricky Rebel. His new track “I Adore You” (feat. Jayk Gallagher) has everything you would want from an electro pop gem, solid danceable groves, lush synth arrangements, sexy lead vocals, and perfectly timed breakdowns. A little bit about Ricky Rebel, also known as Ricky Felix Godinez ; No Authority was discovered by Michael Jackson in the 90’s and was signed to his label and SONY. He was then a teen idol. No Authority’ first album was recorded with Grammy award-winning producer Rodney Jerkins and their second self-titled album was released under Madonna’s label, Maverick Records. They opened for multiple huge acts including, Britney Spears, Monica, Christina Aguilera, Lenny Kravitz, Jessica Simpson, and 98 Degrees, and they had a popular song on the radio called “Can I Get Your Number.” After the end of the No Authority era Ricky went on to be cast as the character, “Showpony” for My Chemical Romance’s album “Danger Days: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”. This led to an appearance in their pre-album videos and he opened up for the band at their CD release at The House of Blues in Hollywood. This garnered him some attention for his solo act and he began the process of reinventing himself through, fashion, style, glamor, and magic. Ricky’s current band can be seen in and around Los Angeles. The band is also working on a new video featuring live video from performances and daily life for an upcoming reality project. Ricky wrote and produced all his tracks on his current LP “Manipulator”, available on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. Listen to his newest track “I Adore You” here on Sergeant Sparrow.
Like him on facebook: here
Interview by Angel Russell
Edited by Spencer Thurlow
Where are you located/from?
I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and grew up in Berlin, Germany from age four. I’m Armenian-Bulgarian, but my mother grew up in Germany too and German is my native language.
How does your location effect your creativity?
That I ask myself a lot. What if I wasn’t here? Fact is, in my head I’ve always/partially lived someplace else. For as long as I can think, I wanted to emigrate to the USA. I was and still am obsessed with America, stemming maybe from an early childhood tale I was told about my absent father staying “in America” (not particularly true). I grew up with Michael Jackson and Elvis music, Carl Barks comics, and spoke fantasy English with my mom until I finally had English classes in elementary.
I owe a lot of my imaginative world to my country-obsessions with Victorian England and Japan, too. Berlin is by far the best place in Germany to live and work if one likes big cities, but my biggest goal is to move out of the country, carry my art and career in a low-fi way throughout the world and settle in California, or Louisiana, and set up a second place to live in Tokyo, oh and a third one in Buenos Aires, maybe.
How do you begin creating a piece?
Sometimes by day(or night) dreaming, but mostly I’ll think about something interesting, a form or a subject or a memory, a listen, a feeling, a funny…yes, it gets cryptic before it becomes clear.
After I have pondered the emerging object in question for hours, days, or weeks I’ll start to make a lot of sketches and try to figure out how it will work out. Often there are problems that I’ll have to solve one by one. I’ll probably research online where to get certain materials. I order a lot online, and go out to my different material suppliers as well. I always work on up to 10 things simultaneously, so one object may take a year or just one month. It depends.
Often, right before the idea has become an actual idea there is a
phase where everything is hazy and I think about the first tender idea
only occasionally and deliberately
unfocused, as if it would vanish once I stare it in the eye too early.
Do you keep a large collection of items to create your pieces? Do you go out and find things?
I have a lot of basic stuff like hinges and joints organized in boxes and other containers and I keep my stock always high on certain items and tools. I always have plywood, a huge pile of old clockwork bits and pieces, vintage screws and nails, miniature screws and nails, ring screws… I found my absolute ideal of an overcrowded but still and neatly organized and stylish workspace many years ago on page 139 in the modern classic Tokyo: A certain style, a little photo compendium of Tokyo apartments. On the other hand I am constantly afraid of a fire or a plane crashing on our house so I’d rather have less stuff and live out of a suitcase. But with my collections of books, clothes and work material that’s currently not possible.
Do your pieces exist as a set or are they purely independent sparks of imagination?
I am pretty sure every maker’s body of work is considered as a whole, no? Things I don’t consider good anymore I throw away or reuse parts of, so everything I discard simply doesn’t belong to the whole anymore. The more of my work I make visible to (future) audiences, the more you will see a loose coherence among my individual works, I guess. I just try to follow through my own agenda of good art against my own inner mediocrity and laziness.
Can you give us a brief description of your creative past and present?
Throughout my early childhood and teens there was a string of mostly creative career fantasies from fashion designer to Nintendo engineer to saddle maker and writer. I also went through a failur-y phase of making collages and ugly paintings when I was 16 (I’m 25 now), after which I wanted to study Japanese and film studies. A few years ago though I finally settled for Art. Before, I thought I couldn’t take the freedom of creating anything I wanted without restrictions, but ever since that decision, (with which I had cut myself off from any other scholarly options all at once) I found that this is exactly what I need and my imagination became a never-ending well of new creations. I feel like I don’t have enough time and physical energy to fulfill everything on my to-do list but this is negative make-believe. I am very grateful for everything going on in my head (but I do hope to get prescribed things to help me sleep less and work more!) and I try to get better at expressing it through my work.
Can you explain your speaker box project and why you selected the piece that plays inside?
Music Box 1 and 2 were the original idea that once bore the name Head Box. Back
then, the original sketches for the Head Box incorporated music but
I decided to go with the pure form around the head without electronic matters complicating it. Years later I revisited old sketches and liked the idea of the muffled sound of beautiful music (without sticking your head in styrofoamed wood) and thus the Music Boxes were born.
The original idea was of a far away place that you cannot enter, that is only accessible through stillness and the dark endless space, an outer space in your head. The Head Box is definitely the superior execution of this idea, but the Music Boxes can play music, hey! Well, we’ll see how it looks once they’re completed (should I install a lamp inside the dark one?) and once I actually use them to play music. I am still undecided with which music pieces they’ll go best. I once listened to the short Charles Ives piece “The unanswered Question” in a concert and it sums up just about everything for me. But maybe the piece is too delicate to deliver it’s wisdom through the styrofoam. I bought some of Ives’ other pieces and especially the “Universe Symphony” is a hoot! But it’s pretty long and one has to listen to it to understand it’s humor, so that’s not an option for the Boxes either. Arvo Pärt’s Für Alina Spiegel Im Spiegel EP was the only soundtrack in Gus Van Sant’s film Gerry and I remember it bore through my heart when I watched it. The pieces are poignant, beautiful and non-complicated but engaging, and not as heart-wrenching and easy-pleasing as anything by Max Richter. I liked the OST of Tony Takitani by Ryuichi Sakamoto, too. Holy Other makes wonderful music and maybe it is suitable as well. I’ll hear.
Oh, you know, lust, transcendence, childhood, friendship, religion. Also, I am a BIG cinephile, and I am a terrible know-it-all. Years of release of all of Hitchcock’s movies? I know them. Unfortunately I also tend to let everyone else know that they can always count on my expertise in terms of great taste and knowledge about film history. So, movies, ALL kinds of movies are a great and constant inspiration to me. I am often writing down ideas for film scripts, too, but right now I’ve no time to dedicate to writing and and immersing myself in writing and developing my style as I did with the objects. I read Georges Bataille a lot, and books on film studies, social studies, neuroscience, psychoanalysis and a lot about architecture, especially the International Style architects and Japanese traditional architecture. Those are all big subjects in my head. And the book about Japanese apartments I always have around, as well as the Story of the Eye and several Bauhaus books. Also, nature. I can stay for years on end in Berlin and when I get out for a few days to the sea, I become very depressed when I get home. That is another reason I want to go to the USA. I imagine It’s grand and diverse nature will be much closer to me in a city close by the sea. Food is very much an inspiration, too. Recently I designed quite a few new objects with cakes.
As a child I was pretty religious, and I started out with “making” first when I turned my former childhood Christian pendants into wearable objects. Currently I am building a big object inspired by my former faith connected to video games.
Lauren Harding, an artist originally from Massachusetts and relocated to LA, has a new EP out called, Heart in a Box. It is a piano driven set fueled by Lauren’s strong vocals. Electric guitar gives the somewhat soft sounding songs a bit of an edgy vibe. Influenced by David Bowie and Cabaret, she isn’t shy about belting it out vocally. Song three, “My Heart Flies”, holds on to that cabaret feel with it’s lighthearted melodies and staccato piano base. “Poison”, the fourth track on the EP brings it back to Rock with hints of Jazz. I think if it had just a bit more of a unique flair it might be more attention grabbing. It sounds just a tad overproduced.
Barren Waste has a three song album with each song about 15 minutes in length. This music is sure to grab the attention of experimental music junkies and noise fans. Sounds wash over you in long sequences interspersed with bells, trinkets, and high pitched noise makers. Guitars appear that seem never to have begun and play tones that seem never to end. Crashes and clanks, drones and rusty wheels, this appears to be music made by the undead. With song titles like; Feel like dying, Crippling notes, and Dialogues in filth , I might not be far off. Who knows maybe a ghost sent it to me because only a link appeared in my inbox. oOoooOOoOoOoOh!
You can check out the album by Barren Waste called, For Who here. I’d also recommend checking out their other work while there.
On this recording, Jake Bouquet lead guitar, Scot Stewart rhythm guitar/various, Dorian Duffy bass, Matt Kooi keys, Sammy Del Real drums
Colin Tyler has a back woodsy sound about him. Like he just spent the better part of the winter living off of bear meat and building ramshackle shelters out of their hides. I’m pretty sure he owns a gun. I’m also pretty sure if I don’t review him in a positive light I might get it. His music is bawdy and graceful at the same time. It’s sad and introspective one minute and then really pissed off the next, like being sad in the first place is what made him so angry and screw you for listening in the first place! Then he hollers and the song is over. You kind of want to curl up in a ball. Then he lulls you back into a sense of security again with another song but your not quite sure what he has up his sleeve. Is this coldplay? Where did the mountain man go? In his EP “The April Sessions” (listen below) you can hear a myriad of styles but his presence remains the same; intimate, forceful and penetrating, kind of like muscly romance novel cover boys. Just don’t shoot me for that comparison, Fabiozly Adams.
PS He recorded it with Steve Albini. Uh-mazing!
Mykul Lee has a new album out on May 1st entitled “Fortress”. It has ten songs and a mellow folk feel to it. Fans of Elliot Smith and Jeff Buckley will find something to love in Mykul’s newest work. He has a quiet voice and almost whispers his lyrics along to the music. His lyrics are heartfelt and flow well over piano, guitar and drums. We were fortunate to get an interview with him which you will find below.
Where are you located/from?
Who is involved in your project?
For the most part, it’s just me.. I’ve taught some of my willing friends the songs from my first few records and occasionally, when I play live, they will join me. Otherwise its just me, a guitar and a mic! For the albums I usually do all the pre-production in my home studio and take it to one of the many amazing studios here in Hollywood like Sunset Sound (our personal favorite) to finish everything.
Is Mykul Lee your real name?
Funny you should ask.. I actually inherited the name from my days in the mercenary business from the dreaded pirate Mykul Lee after I slew him. Turns out the mercenary business is actually just a distant cousin to the record industry, just a bit more whimsical and lighthearted.
How does your location influence your creativity?
Well, we live in Hollywood so it’s obviously a pretty interesting spot to be, but I guess it kind of attracts musicians and artists just as much, if not more, than any other place in the world. So there’s no shortage of creativity going around. Having a home studio also makes a huge difference. Being able to wake up and work on music, whether it’s my own or not, is a dream come true.
Can you give us a brief description of your musical past?
I have been playing music in one form or another for longer than I can really remember. I started with piano about 6 or 7 years old, moved to guitar and drums at about 10. After, I kind of had that stuff figured out I guess I moved to songwriting. That’s where I am now and will probably be in one way or another for the rest of my life. I love song writing more than anything. Along the way I’ve spent some time in recording school, music school, art school, been engineering/producing bands as well, but songwriting and playing music with honest musicians is my favorite
Do you write all of your songs?
Are others involved in their creation?
I used to have what we call “demo-itis” which is a severe attachment to the pre-produced songs on whatever album I’d be working on. Now that I’ve made some records and understand the value of nuance in the studio I am always open to having people suggest or even play certain instruments on the records, whatever it takes to create something beautiful that we’re satisfied with. Something we could have only done by chance. For the most part no one else is really involved in the creation/writing of the actual song, just in the studio.
If so, how do you overcome your differences in song writing?
It depends on what you’re writing for. If it’s for my own stuff I would be much less inclined to compromise if I thought I knew better. If it’s for/with someone else than there shouldn’t be differences. Just try to find a way to enjoy writing with other people. Try to find a way to make your ideas make sense with theirs. There will always be more songs to write.
Do you have any advice for those who’s creativity has reached a stale point?
If your creativity has reached a stale point, you need to find some more creative people to hang out with!
What does it make you think when you are compared to Iron and Wine, Elliot Smith and Jeff Buckley?
It’s a complete honor that anyone would make any of those connections.. I have loved Elliot Smith since day one. I was so happy when Iron and Wine finally broke out because there aren’t really very many bands doing the post-Elliot Smith kind of folksy thing. Jeff Buckley fans would probably be pissed that anyone is compared to him and I can completely agree on that one. All phenomenal musicians and singer/songwriters.
Movin into a new studio! Doing a follow up record this summer entitled “SAIL”
Like him on facebook!
Pre-order his new album and get a free signed poster!
Artist’s Bio “Hailing all the way from the collapsed Soviet Union to the beauteous San Francisco, comes to you an individual of unsurpassed originality and wisdom. After years of travel, studies, and personal experiences, Nika brings her unique dimensions to her works. Art by Nika encompasses modern culture and perspective with a blend of tradition to instill an atmosphere of mystery, awareness and curiosity. A harmony of contrast and shadows within the human mind with images blend familiar with the fantastical. Live color and a personal style characterized by the ease of lights and shadows help capture the energy of Nika’s works. We, at ArtByNika.com invite you to open your mind to a unique perspective from contemporary art, so take a gander and see what you discover…”
For two years Rob Schuyler has been on a mission to write 100 songs. The project is on going until complete. “The essence of the project is not just one song but the magnitude of the journey that’s captured through music.” You can trace his musical journey on his site. http://www.songsbybert.com
Black Nacirema is a hip hop group from Los Angeles out of Eighties Baby Entertainment and Mile High Records. Their song TWOM becomes a new favorite quick. It has a simple but interesting beat and a pretty straightforward theme; “The world owes me, I hope it kills you when you see me.” Savvy and Hen Hollywood are the lyricistists. Their voices don’t shout out like some hip hip artists which can often be a guise to cover up lack of talent. In Black Nacirema’s case their voices are provocative without trying too hard and because they are so laid back you trust they know what they are doing. “Don’t look now but I’m rising like I’m levitating, and looking up at a nigga got yo neck breaking, plenty haters told me quit and that’s understated, now them niggas sick cuz they mad that I’m celebrating, and I be grinding till I’m stepping on the red carpets.” TWOM reminds me of another recent favorite, Lil Wayne’s, Drop the World. Check them out below.