Bootstraps, Motopony

Bootstraps (10:15 PM)

Motopony (9:15 PM)

Jon DeRosa (8:30 PM)

Thu, June 18, 2015

8:00 pm

$10.00 - $12.00

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Bootstraps - (Set time: 10:15 PM)
Bootstraps are a testament to the idea that good songs always find their audience. The Los Angeles-based band specializes in heart-on-sleeve rock grandeur; their songs unspool dramatically and determinedly, with the guitars and frontman Jordan Beckett’s world-weary vocals taking the listener on a road trip through a rocky emotional landscape. Even before the release of the band’s debut, Bootstraps’ music has been featured prominently on television and film soundtracks and has garnered them a small but loyal following.

Not bad for a guy who hadn’t even planned to play these songs for anyone else, much less release them to the public in any form. A Portland native who moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in screenwriting, he turned to music during a “down season in my life,” he says. “I was watching a relationship dissolve, so I would take these long drives up the 101. I would write songs for myself in my apartment—in the bathroom, in the bedroom. It was a creative outlet for me.”

It was only by chance that anyone else heard his music. Beckett loaned out a Radiohead CD to a friend of his named Sam Jaeger, but forgot that he had included two of his own lo-fi demos at the end. An actor and filmmaker best known for his work on Parenthood and Eli Stone, Jaeger soon devised big plans for his friend’s music. When he started filming his directorial debut, Take Me Home, he urged Beckett to flesh out a few of his songs for the soundtrack.

Beckett recruited two college friends—David Quon and Nathan Warkentin, both from the group We Barbarians—as a makeshift backing band, and even before they could start thinking about labels, distribution, touring, or any other promotional outlets, “Guiltfree” found its way onto an episode of No Ordinary Family.

“What is probably the most surprising aspect of this project is that people saw exactly what I was going for,” says Beckett. “From the very beginning people just naturally understood what kind of music I was trying to make and what kind of artist I wanted to be. There’s the greatest sense of fulfillment in that.”
Motopony - (Set time: 9:15 PM)
"There's a long, twisty story that comes with this batch of music," singer-songwriter-guitarist Daniel Blue says of the new Motopony EP Idle Beauty, his band's second release and Fast Plastic/ eOne Music debut. "It's kind of all over the place, but I think it reflects where we've been, what we've been through, and what we're in the process of becoming."

Indeed, the Seattle outfit's long and sometimes convoluted journey to its current stature as one of America's hottest and most acclaimed young bands has been an unconventional one. In the TK years since chief visionary Blue first launched it as his creative alter ego, Motopony has evolved through a variety of permutations, into its current form as an expansive sextet whose raw-nerved mix of vivid lyrical explorations, inventive sonic textures and hard-rocking melodic punch mark it as a singularly potent musical force.

Motopony's resonant merging of emotional warmth and hard-hitting assertiveness is prominent throughout Idle Beauty's five sonically diverse yet consistently potent tracks, which range from the infectious, anthemic exhortation of "Get Down (Come Up") to the humanistic uplift of "About A Song" to the intimate immediacy of "Buffalo Medicine" to the epic flight of "She Is Spirit' to the haunting spoken-word excursion of "Breakthru."

Motopony has already achieved considerable national attention, thanks to the surprise success of its self-titled 2011 debut album, which became a grass-roots hit despite its low-key release on the independent Tiny Ogre label. The album sold over 10,000 copies and was embraced by an impressive groundswell of fans, critics and alternative radio stations, which helped to make the infectious tune "King of Diamonds" a viral hit.

Some of the band's most enthusiastic support came from Seattle's influential KEXP, which commented, "Motopony is the essence of folk 'n' roll on fire with poetic passion." Meanwhile, Austin's KUT praised Blue and company's "incredibly catchy tunes" and L.A.'s tastemaking KCRW noted, "Motopony is an automatic for the KCRW airwaves. The lyric and musicality is magnetic."

MTV, meanwhile, proclaimed Motopony "the best band ever," while Paste magazine raved about the group's "exuberant personality and untamed vocals" and Nylon enthused, "We haven't been able to get Motopony out of our heads" and praised the band's "easy, blues-spiked melodies that can't help but feel simultaneously new and weirdly familiar."

Motopony has already toured widely, winning attention for the impassioned intensity of its live sets at the SXSW and Bumbershoot festivals, with Rolling Stone naming the band as one of 25 Can't-Miss Acts of SXSW 2012. Meanwhile, various Motopony tracks have been featured on several TV shows, including House, Hung, Cougar Town, Suits and How to Make It In America.

The musical and emotional qualities that have won Motopony such loyal support have been deeply ingrained in the band's DNA ever since Daniel Blue first responded to his urge to make music. Having grown up in Colorado and Washington state in a religious family in which he was forbidden to listen to secular music, he nevertheless found himself drawn to music as a vehicle of expression.

After establishing himself in Tacoma, WA's creative community as a graphic artist and clothing designer, Daniel threw himself headlong into music, teaching himself to play a battered guitar with three of its strings removed. It was on that guitar that he quickly wrote his initial batch of "about 50" original songs, which became the foundation for the band that still only existed in his head.

"I just called it Motopony and never got off the train," he recalls. "I didn't know where it was going, but I felt guided and felt a singularity of purpose, and eventually I found my voice."

Blue's initial burst of songwriting provided the raw material for the first Motopony album, which grew out of his unlikely rapport with hip-hop/electronica producer Buddy Ross.

"To me, my collaboration with Buddy was the 'Moto' and the 'Pony': the mechanical part and the organic part. I wanted to combine those things, so I approached Buddy with my twee brokenhearted folkie love songs and he helped me take them to a different place."

Motopony's seemingly unlikely, yet powerful, convergence of elements helped to steer Daniel in a positive direction when it came time for Motopony to evolve into a full band. "It was, OK, I've got these songs that I really believe in, but they needed meat and bones. So I went on a hunt for people who could be a band. It was a challenge to keep a group of people together, and I went through several different people, and finally I sat down and asked myself, 'What do I want this to sound like",' rather than 'Who can I scrape together?'"

Various players came and went, but the ones who stayed, like guitarist Mike Notter and drummer Forrest Mauvais, made an unmistakable mark on the music, as have more recent additions Andrew Butler (keyboards), Nate Daley (guitar) and Terry Mattson (bass). The new lineup is currently working on the next Motopony full-length album with producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Heartless Bastards, Trail of the Dead, etc.) slated for release in Spring 2105, and will tour throughout the fall in support Idle Beauty.

"I think that this EP is a nice way to connect the dots between what Motopony was and what it's becoming, which is more raw and energetic and psychedelic," says Notter. "It can be hard work being in a band, so it can be a challenge finding a group of people willing to share a vision long enough to see it through. But I feel like we've got that now, and that we've got a group of people who have their minds set on the same goal. It's starting to feel really solid and really comfortable, and it's been really exciting to see that falling into place."

"Idle Beauty represents a season of transformation and stands as a testament to the stuff we've been through," adds Blue. "I've always believed in synergy and the idea that the sum is greater than the parts, and the mingling of everyone's input is something that's deeply spiritual and magical to me. My dream is that everyone will feel invested, because when I look around on stage, I want to feel like I'm with my tribe. I think that we're on to something special here."
Jon DeRosa - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Jon DeRosa
The writing of the album really happened in two parts, with the first half being written in New York and second half being written in LA. The initial inspiration was this intense feeling of isolation and disconnection growing in me while still in New York, and really kind of retreating into this inner world, this spirit world, really. After living there for so many years, I literally felt like a ghost drifting through the crowds, invisible and with no real connection to anyone or anything.

Then within months of each other, I lost both my grandmother and grandfather, the latter of whom was a big band singer in the 1940's and my biggest musical influence. So I felt close to death at that time.

I stepped outside myself, as I often do in the writing process, and
started writing the first *Black Halo* songs. The song were written from the perspective of someone who was so profoundly unhappy with his physical reality, that he began manifesting things from outside of this physical reality. Lovers from his adolescence that had passed over. Wandering souls of whores and
alcoholics passing through the walls of the waterfront tavern where he worked after closing time. Restless spirits of past loves manifesting physically to be acknowledged, and not be forgotten. These attempts to try and relive moments, or to be reborn within a moment, and to reside there in some alternate dimension were all an attempt to escape my physical reality.

When I arrived in LA, I continued writing but the new landscape and lack of social obligation drastically changed my outlook. I was still kind of channeling these supernatural things, but the "darkness" surrounding them had begun to lift. I began practicing Transcendental Meditation, the immediate results of which were nothing short of miraculous. I started reading Edgar Cayce again after so many years, and no longer did the veil between living and dead seem so finite. Through extended meditation and
time spent in nature, I was feeling connections to a lot of different
energies and finally understanding my place in this universe again. I began pursuing different spiritual work in Los Angeles and in South America, and basically a lot of healing started to occur the more I opened myself up, shed my negativity and fear, and embraced all that is light.

As the album began to come together, I felt as if I had figured out how to blend these dark and light elements, and structurally maintain a lot of the 1950's and 1960's musical influences that are such a strong part of my musical being. My hope is that there is a certain bit of nostalgia and comfort to these songs, amidst the darkness, the light, the atmospheres, the orchestrations.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change