Concert Review: The Faim

April 16th, 2019 @ The Depot

Normally, on a Tuesday night during the heat of finals, you can find me cramming textbooks and coffee in a dark corner of the library.  Last Tuesday, though, I was at The Depot in the heart of a crowd, dancing away my assignments, just to anxiously remember them in the morning.

Back in Black

The first thing I noticed as I arrived to the Depot was the long line filled with jet black swooping hairstyles, ripped skinny jeans and more fake leather than a Harley Davidson store. I should have expected this, considering the opener was Andy Black, lead singer of the infamous emo punk band Black Veil Brides. I changed and grew out of that phase, and I assumed others had too. Clearly I was wrong. It was at this point I knew the crowd had not come for The FAIM. But by the end of the show, would leave with them.

The FAIM

If Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco had a love child, it would be The FAIM. Still, their music is a melting pot of musical diversity, every song bringing a new sound. Lead singer Josh Raden stunned the crowd with his polished melodic voice that is even better live than on the recording. They started with “My Heart Needs to Breathe”. A jumping, pumping bop of a song and the perfect opener. Within seconds they had the crowd dancing along with them, with a few singing along as well. Truth be told, I can’t remember what came after the first song. It didn’t matter because all of their songs carried the same hyped up intensity as the opening act, a feat not many bands can achieve.

The FAIM didn’t falter for a minute from start to finish. Their set was mesmerizing and passionate. Intoxicating the crowd, holding them captive, and making them beg for more. Songs “Amelie” and “The Saints and Sinners” feature entertaining rock riffs and a catchy drum beat paired with dark lyrics. Ambitious and unpredictable with their shows, The FAIM create an ultimate alt-rock vibe. I caught up with bassist/keyboardist, Stephen Beerkens. He told me that every night is different, no show is the same. This is a band that truly loves what they do and are humbled and full of love for fans. Night after night The FAIM rises to the stage to live their dream and it shows.

A recap of K-UTE Radio’s Hip Hop Drip local talent showcase.

Hip Hop Drip: Voice of Salt Lake

Utah may have some unique cultural factors, but despite these the state still has a very strong, dedicated, and promising Hip Hop culture. During my time spent as a DJ and host at K-ute radio I have had the pleasure of interviewing and getting to know much of the local Hip Hop scene here in Utah on our rap segment, the Hip Hop Drip, that airs weekdays from 4-7 on Kuteradio.org.

Here at K-ute radio, it is our mission to give those that want a first shot at exposure and recognition the platform they need to have their music heard! This gives Artists the opportunity to promote themselves with an interview, play their music on air, and grow their following from our loyal listening base. In addition to this, we have begun holding regular K-UTE Radio presents shows, to showcase the talent that has come through our doors and to show them the love and respect they deserve!

K-Ute Presents

We held our second K-UTE Radio and The Hip Hop Drip Presents show at Kilby Court earlier this year and fans came out from every corner of Utah, in freezing temperatures, to turn up with us! We had an incredibly talented lineup of performers, most of which having dropped new projects within the last 6 months.

Getting Things Started

Our opener for the night, Undecided Music, gave us a taste of what is to come from them in the future. As one of the younger and less experienced acts of the night, they absolutely killed their set and were hopefully given the confidence they needed to keep making dope music!

This is when the 44 clique began showing up in droves to see their boy Koba perform songs off his latest project Dreams. This project is available for stream on SoundCloud under the FourFathers music page. Dee came out with some fresh out of the oven features which was a sweet surprise for the fans. Moving on in the night, big homie Pur2x showed up and showed out, performing tracks off of his debut EP Village Boy also available for stream on SoundCloud.

The Night Continues

The last three Artists to perform were the ones I was particularly excited for. I have personally interviewed them multiple times and I’m a big fan of their previous work. In addition to that, Lisa Frank, vinniecassius, and Adam Banx have been performing together at shows for sometime now. They’ve become the go to openers for big hip hop acts in the valley having worked with Kaskey, Rob Bank$, and Wifisfuneral in just the past few months.

Lisa Frank, took the stage by storm, opting out of an intermission, handing me a confetti canon instead to get his set popping off. He kept the crowd alive with the relentless energy of his music and interaction with the crowd. Keeping the vibe set by Lisa, vinniecassius performed his project Revenge Until Death that dropped only weeks before the event. Chockfull of high BPM bangers and trancelike melodies this project is certainly something you want to experience live someday.

Finally, a long time homie of mine and veteran of the Salt Lake City Hip Hop scene, Adam Banx took the stage as our headlining act. Arguably one of the most musically gifted artists in the scene right now, Adam writes all of his own music, composes a lot of his own beats, and engineers all of his projects for himself. He stays true to his unique style and doesn’t box himself into any specific genre. If you are into something a little more melodic, Adam Banx has definitely got what you want and plenty of it. He already has two complete projects, Illmedicine and Caution: Lanes Merge available on all major platforms, but also has the most amount of unreleased content and new material of any artist I have seen come through the station so far.

Whats next?

The night wrapped up around 10 o’clock and was a huge success for everyone including the station, myself, and the artists involved. By holding shows like this 2-3 times a year, K-ute Radio and the Hip Hop Drip hope to become a staple in the local music scene. As a go to source for promotions and opportunities we invite any artists looking to be heard to reach out to us and get an interview set up. Here at K-Ute Radio, the only thing we love more than music, are people who have a passion for music. We want to hear your story and help make your dreams a reality. Keep your eyes peeled for more live events and tune into Kuteradio.org for all of your favorite music and info regarding upcoming events and ticket giveaways.

I want to take this time to shout out all the performers and fans that came out and put shit down for local Hip Hop!

Interview with Ritt Momney

Evolution is a tricky topic, especially in Utah. And if you were to name your band after the most famous Mormon in the country, you might assume that a lot of controversy would come with it. But local band Ritt Momney hasn’t found that to be the case. Yet.

With that said, it’s impossible to talk about this indie rock/pop group without noticing the transformations they’ve undergone since the band started 3 years ago. Only one original member remains, they have found a new age niche and taken Spotify’s bedroom pop playlists by storm. K-UTE Radio’s Jackson Card and Max Becker sat down with the up and coming group to talk about the creative process, future plans, and life in general. With a California tour coming up and an album in the works, it looks like this could be a breakout year for Ritt Momney.

New Beginnings

The current iteration of Ritt Momney, consisting of Jack Rutter on vocals/guitar/keys, Jonas Torgersen on guitar, Noah Hamula on bass, Auden Winchester on keys, and Sam Olson on drums, has only been together for a couple months. They found each other in classic Small Lake City fashion: childhood connections and high school parties. As Jack put it, “It was just kind of a string of people pulling each other along.”

Their memorable name came up during a jam session but was not borne of any particular feeling for the former presidential candidate. “It was not thought out at all, whatsoever. If we would have known [the band] was going to be this big of a deal, we definitely would have thought it out more. We like to keep it really neutral. We don’t want to be trashing on him or loving him either.” The name seemed a better fit for their initial style but the group doesn’t mind shaking expectations. “I’d rather have an odd fitting band name than a too fitting band name… It gets people talking about us.”

People are Talking

The hype around Ritt Momney has been growing steadily over the past year. They now have 100,000 monthly listeners (per Spotify) and generate more listeners in Los Angeles and Chicago than in Salt Lake City. Their unique blend of classic indie themes and chord structure, electronic production elements, and Jack’s signature croon has led to an explosion of popularity since “Something, in General” hit streaming services in 2018.

Their music takes on an undeniably endearing quality without being trite and it resonates deeply with listeners. That authenticity stems from their personable songwriting process.

Creating a New Sound

After the initial band left in 2018, Jack realized he could craft the band’s sound in a totally different way than before. “I’d gotten better enough at producing so that I could do my own stuff just on my computer at home. It’s so much easier to just use the electronic stuff because I can’t play drums at all but you can quantize it in logic. So that was somewhat convenience but also taste, I guess. I think we all agree the super basic indie rock feel of “Young Adult” and those earlier songs is just straight down the middle of indie rock. I think we all like the newer stuff better. Like more electronic, more experimental stuff.”

For as much credit as the band wants to give him for his brilliant writing, Jack concedes that he couldn’t do it alone. “Sending it to these guys and having them critique it is such a big part of [the process]… [and] the jam sessions kind of bring the songs life, make them different. When we’re trying a bunch of stuff… everybody’s had their input through just jamming together and thinking up parts.”

Art Over Business

The band runs the gambit on influences (from Feist to King Gizzard to James Blake) so the final output is never what you’d expect but it flows together seamlessly. Even at their live shows, the band doesn’t play exactly what’s on Spotify or Soundcloud. “[The music] kind of changes every show honestly just cause something might sound better the day before the show when we’re practicing it and then we put it in. We don’t have the attention spans to just play the same songs over and over. We kind of just want to switch it up for the sake of switching it up.”

Keeping it fresh is a crucial piece of Ritt Momney; in their music and their shows. They don’t want to sacrifice their creative freedom to appease fans or a label. As idealistic as that sounds, maintaining autonomy over their sound is a main priority for Jack, saying, “I think down the road, I definitely don’t want to ever be business over art.” Their sound is still developing and is going to continue to evolve as the group moves out of their teens and the confines of their hometown. Some A&Rs have reached out but the band isn’t ready to enter that stage of the process just yet. They’ve only just begun exploring what Ritt Momney could be and they don’t want to ruin the magic with industry pressure.

Future Plans

The group has plenty on their plate with four California tour dates this month, a South by Southwest performance in March, an opening gig for Death Cab for Cutie this May, and an album set to be released this summer. Jack’s been working on the album for a while but doesn’t want to commit to a release date just yet.

“I need to stop being such a perfectionist about it cause I just spend way too much time like, ‘Oh no, I need to figure this out’ or ‘I don’t like that anymore, I’ll just scrap it.’ So hopefully the rate at which I’m finishing songs will start picking up. I wouldn’t say we have a timeline but definitely this year. 100% this year. Should be before the end of the summer. Like 95% before the end of the summer.”

Ritt Momney has shown their ability to evolve and defy expectations, so however long the wait, I’m sure it will be worth it!

Hidden Gems of SLC: Crosswalk To Nowhere

Crosswalks are not a destination

After all, the chicken is simply trying to get to the other side of the road. Maybe you’ve got an “aesthetic” photo you really want to take, but as it stands, the middle of a road doesn’t have a lot to offer. It’s not terribly safe either. Anyone who’s used a crosswalk at the intersection below President’s Circle can attest to this.

Despite the danger, most people will brave crosswalks. Whether it’s to get to the brand new Publik by the University or the pizzeria four doors down, we use them to get to where we want to be. But what about when there is no destination on the other side? What if, for some absurd reason, a crosswalk you found lead you to nowhere? It seems as unhelpful and meanspirited as manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency to favor one political party over another.

The “Crosswalk to Nowhere”

To find it, drive up I Street until you reach 13th Avenue. Once you’re there, you’ll be greeted by a five-way intersection. On the right, there are two possible routes, 13th Avenue, which goes directly east, and Northcrest Drive, which veers uphill. Take Northcrest Drive, and almost immediately you will find the crosswalk, marked by a standard crosswalk sign and another sign with its “official” title.

While the sign in question looks professional, it’s made out of corrugated plastic, and one has to wonder if someone took it into their own hands to give the crosswalk a name. After all, why would the city name such a crosswalk? It connects one sidewalk of insignificance to a gutter and a bunch of bushes.

In all sense of the word, the “Crosswalk to Nowhere” is frivolous. It is because of this quality, however, that I find it appealing. In a world that seems to have stopped making sense (or never made sense to begin with), it’s oddly refreshing to find a place that so eloquently conveys the absurdity. In his time with the Talking Heads, David Bryne was the master of not making sense. I cannot think of a better song to compliment the “Crosswalk to Nowhere” then the band’s similarly titled “Road to Nowhere”.

 

 

 

Skalloween 2018

Neighbors have decorated their houses and lawns with skeletons and ghosts. Stores have candy stocked constantly. Horror movies are being released in theaters left and right. The Tower is playing Rocky Horror Picture Show! All of this means Halloween season is upon us, and in full swing! But you’re a music fan at heart. Where’s your Halloween hallmark? Don’t fear the reaper, because Skalloween has you covered!

Skalloween

…is an annual concert featuring four local Ska Punk bands — The Gringos, Scheming Thieves, The Anchorage, and Show Me Island. Each captures the sounds of ska, from jazz to reggae to rock, in their own way. The Gringos vocals evoke the scratchy sounds of jazz lounge singers. Scheming Thieves embody Ska music’s early 2000s pop-punk influences. The Anchorage brings the moody sounds of hard rock and emo to their wonderful brass. Last but certainly not least, Show Me Island is for the classic Ska fans. Their walking bass lines, composition, and lyrics will remind you of your first time listening to Madness or The Specials, but with a female vocalist!

The bands dress up too!

At Skalloween, everyone dresses in costume, dance and mosh together for a night of trumpet and bass-fueled fun. If you love Ska music, this is absolutely your place to be. You’ll be right at home in Skalloween’s pits that are full of moshing and skanking. Almost everyone there is dressed in costume, so if you’re looking to display yours before halloween, you’ll fit right in. Even if you’ve never heard of Ska, you’ll probably still love it because everyone else is having so much fun. Ever since I was introduced to this show, it’s been my favorite concert every year. I think every music fan should make it a tradition to go to this concert.

Skalloween takes place this year on Oct. 20 at the Beehive (666 S. State Street) @ 7:00 p.m, $7 at the door. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you too! Dress up and bring all your friends!

Salt Lake Hip Hop: Agustist King

On September 13th, Hip Hop Drip DJs StavoSteelo and KyleInPlay had the pleasure of interviewing the up-and-coming SLC rapper Agustist King. King is a Salt Lake City native, hailing from the Central City neighborhood. He reps his own label called Independent Money Gang.

King has been seriously rapping for the last two years. He has recorded over 200 songs and released more than 50 of those. He works on numerous projects and releases them on all streaming services. Some of his projects include West Coke, Valentine’s Day Massacre, and Nirvana.

The Interview

Agustist King had much to say about his life, music, and reasons why he raps. However, those are only a few of the topics discussed in this 30 minute interview. It’s chock full of interesting content from a rapper that’s as real as he says he is.

Click the link below to listen to our interview with Agustist King. Be sure to follow him on his social media accounts @agustistking (instagram) and @agustistk (twitter). If you like what you hear, check out his website agustistking.com and Soundcloud. His Spotify and Apple Music profiles can be found searching his name, Agustist King.

Listen to the Hip Hop Drip radio show every weekday from 4-7pm to get your daily fix of quality hip hop from local Utah artists and the biggest stars in the game right now.

Songs from interview:

“Park Place Carter (Fiyah)” – Agustist King

“Off The Scale” – Agustist King

“Down” – Agustist King

Reflections of a K-UTE Freshman

Starting a new year at the U

Geoff & Sage (me)

Hello! My Name is Sage Holt, I am a brand new Freshman here at the University of Utah.  And I would love to share my experience working for K-UTE Radio as DJ Bug Bite. Before I jump into it, I feel you should know a little bit about me. Just like many of the incoming students, I was nervous, terrified, and also excited to start college. Like many others, I had little to no friends at the U,  I did what any logical person would do trying to make friends; I signed up to rush. (a choice i’d soon regret). 

DJ Dum Dum Boy

Here Comes K-UTE

Not even halfway through rushing I got sick and had to leave thereby excluding me from being able to join. But little did I know I already had a family on campus, I had just yet to realize it. As a kid I remember my mom always telling me that the friends you make in college are the friends you keep for life. And as a freshman new to the scene of the college radio station, I was meeting people left and right, each one kind in nature with a character all their own.

Gary Potter & Father Cactus

People who would help me and guide me, as if they were my family. Brothers who would protect me and sisters who would lend a shoulder if needed.  Working for the radio has also given me a voice to be heard in the college community, a voice to share my thoughts, ideas and perspectives with my fellow students. Due to K-UTE Radio, I will not be just another student in the classroom. I will have left my mark on this campus as all of us should. Little by little I have come to see that these people have become so much more than my producers, managers and interns; they are some of the greatest friends, giving me memories to last a lifetime.

Love Your Art? Walk Away From It

I’m writing this for artists. If you’re at a point where it doesn’t feel right, isn’t working, you’re lacking inspiration, I want to give you this piece of advice; walk away. Just walk away. That may sound counter intuitive to everything you’ve heard or felt but, if you’re stuck, I encourage you to walk away.

I’m an actor. Was an actor. Am an actor again. I studied, trained and have worked in a variety of venues from theme parks to Shakespeare festivals, from film and TV to voice over and commercials. I am not famous, that was never the goal. If that were to happen I wouldn’t mind at all however, I didn’t get into this thinking, I’m going to be famous. I got into this hoping I could be a working actor. I am a working actor. Those in the business know this term and understand that it’s not a bad place to be. I pay my bills, fund my entertainment, buy my bourbon by acting. I’ve done it for about 30 years and it was wonderful. Then it wasn’t.

 

A Working Actor

Let me explain the working actor thing for those of you who are not in the business or don’t have a connection to it. We see movie stars on screens and sometimes we see them on stage. We see stories about them in the news and images of them in fine fashion on carpets of red and in sleek cars and swanky houses. That may be the only image you have of actors. But, it’s a very limited view.

There are actors, good actors, great actors, inspiring actors all over the country who never achieve national fame. There are fine actors in your local theaters, in regional theaters all over the country. These actors are working actors meaning, they go to rehearsal, put up the show, run the show and move on to the next gig.

Now and then, they may get a role in a film, a guest shot on a TV show and that’s great. Most of the time working actors spend their lives going to auditions, (many, many auditions), getting cast, doing the job and going on to the next job. If you get three or four plays a year, maybe a few guest shots, a few small films, or, wow, a national commercial, then you’re doing well. You’re getting insurance, your pension is being paid into and you don’t have to do a day job. That’s the goal of the working actor. They’re everywhere and they are the backbone of the American theater. I have been very lucky to count myself among them for a long, long time.

 

It Just Wasn’t Working Anymore

Photo Credit: Nick Hidalgo

One day, it changed. I’m not 100% sure of what triggered it, I’m not sure of exactly why it happened but, one day it just didn’t work any longer. The joy I got from starting a new show, doing a rehearsal, discovering the depths of a character, creating a life with other actors, wasn’t fun. It was frustrating and making me angry. I was coming home from rehearsal and complaining to my bathroom mirror about this actor or this director.

First I stopped being generous in scenes, then I stopped listening. I was just angry all the time. My agent was sending me on auditions and I was giving excuses why I couldn’t do them. I had no real excuse, I just didn’t feel like standing in the room, reading what I thought were poorly written scripts and hopingfor the three line gig in a bad movie. Everything that I enjoyed about being an actor was making me angry and lost. I was making myself sick, and as a result I caused the actors I worked with some level of pain.

“Why not stop?” a dear friend asked me and my reply was interesting, if only to me. I didn’t say “No, I can’t.” I didn’t say “No, it will get better”. I said, “You know, I have good mind to do just that, just stop and see what happens.” I didn’t understand the sheer arrogance of that statement until a few months later but, it was symptomatic of how I was feeling at the time.

The real reason I didn’t want to stop, even though it was clearly killing me, was because I didn’t know who I would be. For most of my life I was an actor. People at parties would ask that terrible question; “So, what do you do?” and I was always ready with “I’m an actor.” I defined myself, my existence, my very being with the phrase; “I’m an actor”. If I stopped, who, what would I be? I also had this stupid notion that if I stopped the theater world would crumble without me. Let me stress again, I am not famous so, if I stopped nothing would happen. I just didn’t want to believe that.

Then, it just got to be too much. I stopped because I was too angry, too unhappy, too sick. I called my agent and told her I was stepping away. No one else knew, I just stopped. I did what my parents had always wanted me to do, I got a “real” job and I started living a very different life.

Photo Credit: Austin Chan

I noticed two things immediately; one; I was a lot less angry. And two; nobody gave a rat’s puckered ass that I quit. No one called and begged me to return. No theaters closed and put up signs saying: due to my retirement this theatre sees no reason to continue on. Movies were made, plays were produced and no one cared that I had quit. Oh, I was upset at first, how could they and don’t they know who I am, what I have done?

After a few months I really started to enjoy going to an office and doing a regular job. I liked having full weekends off. Actors usually get one day off per week. I liked being in my apartment all the time and not having to go off to a theater for 8 weeks and then come back and then go. The holidays were enjoyable, I liked spending the time with people I knew and not cobbling together an “orphans” Thanksgiving because I was on the road. I enjoyed having the life I had always shunned and avoided because I was an actor and being an actor meant you have rules. An actor does this and an actor sacrifices that and …. Blah. I realized, just like no one really caring that I quit, that no one had imposed these spartan rules about acting on me, but me.

 

A Year Off

I had given myself a time frame. I had decided that I would step away for a year. That was a big deal. I had never gone more than a month without a gig so, a full year was going to be tough. After the first few months, I didn’t miss it. I spent time with people who weren’t actors and had nothing to do with the business. I read a lot more. I learned a new skill. I got a steady paycheck. I went places on weekends. I lived a very different life.

Now and then I wondered if I’d ever go back, wondered if a year away would make me forget everything I had known but, those were fleeting thoughts. When I met new people and they asked what I did I would answer; “When” or “Why, what have you heard?” Sometimes I’d say something like, “Well, last night, I took this cooking class.” I stopped defining myself as my job, as an actor, as a profession. It was great. I felt free I felt new— I felt human.

I had told my boss my story when he first hired me and I let him know about my one year timeline. He was fine with that. When my year was almost up, out of the blue, I got a call from a director I had worked with several times and he asked me to do a show with him. I surprised myself with my initial response. I said, “I’d have to think about it, I have a regular job and I really don’t know if I could act again”. He was as surprised as I was. Normally, I would have said yes before I even heard the full offer. I have to think about it was not at all what he was expecting. I talked with my boss and he said the greatest thing; “Why can’t you do both?”

 

“Why Can’t You Do Both?”

Simple question but one, a year ago, I would never have entertained. Do both? Well, if I did both what would I be? Would I be an actor or a copywriter? Do I have to redefine my title. Would I have to do one of those, well, I’m really an actor but right now … things? All the things that would have hung me up a year before suddenly didn’t matter. I asked, can I work remotely, he said yes, I called the director, took the gig and that was that.

Photo Credit: Peyman Naderi

I was thrilled to be back in the room. Rehearsals were enjoyable again. I was happy to be back, exploring, creating and acting again. The big difference, I didn’t define myself as my profession any more. It made things easier. It made me happier. I wasn’t holding on so tight, I wasn’t keeping myself to some unwritten set of demands that I had to adhere to to be an actor. I was just doing it.

When the contract ended I returned to my office and it was great. I was happy to be back, happy to have done the show. I was happy. That was something I had missed, being happy. Shortly after my return I called my agent and she put me back in rotation. I went back to auditioning, feeling much more free, much more present. I was no longer getting crazy over the quality of scripts or the behavior of other actors, I was just present and happy to be so.

Walking away from my art was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Stepping away fully, starting a completely new career, not defining myself by my occupation, was healing and eye opening. I learned more about myself, what I was capable of, what I had limited myself to and what I wanted, than I ever imagined. I’m acting again. At the time of writing this, I’m getting ready to head off to do “Waiting for Godot”. I’m still working as a copywriter as well. I’m not defining myself as one thing. My acting is better. I am happier and I am curious in rehearsal again. I love the art again. And, I didn’t lose a step. All my training and time didn’t just vanish. I wasn’t starting from square one, but I was feeling like a student again and that is wonderful.

Walk away. Just leave it for a month, six months, a year. Do something else. Find out who you really are when you don’t define yourself as your occupation. Don’t worry, it will be there when you return. The world will be there. You’ll recognize it but, you may not recognize yourself.

Photo Credit; Hailey Kean @keanyefoto
Paul Kiernan is a writer/actor/eater of foods. He lives in Salt Lake City, and when he’s not acting he hangs his hat at ThoughtLab.