Sometimes used interchangeably with “guitar pop rock”, in the mid-1980s, the term “indie” began to be used to describe the music produced on punk and post-punk labels. During the 1990s, Grunge bands broke into the mainstream, and the term lost its original counter-cultural meaning. Yet, it became associated with the bands and genres that remained dedicated to their independent status. By the end of the 1990s it developed subgenres and related styles including lo-fi, noise pop, emo, slowcore, post-rock and math rock. In the 2000s, changes in the music industry and in music technology enabled a new wave of indie rock bands to achieve mainstream success.
– Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia
I spent three or four years as a student in school and University, playing in rock bands and organizing music events. These years were the best of my life, filled with music, love, learning, friendship, and joy. It was also a tumultuous time, with stress, illness, and injury plaguing my life. In the band “Mint,” we played loads of gigs around my University town of Durham and recorded an album, “Leaving It Late,” which marked the culmination of our collective collaboration with a flourish.
After going “off the rails” slightly for this short period, I had to force discipline back into my life. I quit the rock and roll lifestyle completely and returned to being the hard-working, sports-playing, family-oriented guy I was before. I played rugby four times a week. I completed my degree eventually and got married to my girl.
In May this year, I found myself becoming disillusioned with music, something I never thought would happen. No matter how many hours I’d put into creating pieces, they always felt hollow and meaningless – maybe a technique here or there was exciting, but for months, it all felt like nothing.
With roots firmly in ambient and noise music, this was an unsustainable position to be in, and I felt like giving up.
The most vivid artwork I’ve ever seen was a series of blank frames.
The first time I walked into the Dutch Room at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, I was gobsmacked. This room was the site of the most notorious art heist in history, where thirty-three years ago, two thieves disguised as police officers broke into the museum and stole half a billion dollars worth of masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas. I’ve never witnessed such a visceral display of the absence of art.
Subtle Amnesia is a one-person band prioritizing new sounds. With these sounds, I introduce philosophical ideas and the more grim aspects of reality to my music. I am a spiritual person who has had my fair share of mental health issues, and that ingrains itself into my music quite heavily.
Since I can remember, I’ve been performing. My earliest memories are dancing around my childhood home, singing along to my mom’s records, or doing what I can only describe as a cobra pose inside the giant planter boxes at our local shopping mall, pretending I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I used to feel like I could fly when I sang, like I had tiny wings sprouting from my back.
As I got older, my grandma taught me how to play piano, back when my hands were so tiny I couldn’t hit an octave. In school, I added choir, theater, and dance team to my repertoire, and I was sure I would be a big theater star one day. But of course, pragmatism won, and I went to college for something far less fun and ended up in a career even less fun, leaving a part of myself behind.
For years, my creative self was suffocated. I was dying to tap back into the freedom that came with being on stage, that rare out-of-body experience when you get to leave yourself behind and become something else entirely.
How can you convey a song about a disease? Especially a disease like epilepsy that most people have heard about but probably know very little about. And can I express the feelings and the hopelessness associated with having a child with this disease without it being simply too much for others to listen to?
Among other things, it was with these thoughts that I started writing the song Epilepsy. A song that has now become very central to my album The Admirer, which is my most personal album to date. The song was also the first single from the album, and was released on International Epilepsy Day. That all made sense.
People ask me what instruments I play, and usually, I respond with, “Whatever gets it out of my head.”
Music has been an outlet for me for more than half my life at this point. I come from Chesapeake, Virginia, a place where music (let alone any form of art or entertainment) is totally underrated, never even remotely appreciated.
Penelope Arvanitakis and I go way back to 2005. I would spot her at open mics in mysterious and leafy Belgrave, the creative centre of the Melbourne hills, and simply marvel at her talent. The cadence of her voice was like no other, her piano playing was so highly advanced for one so young, and her songs were quirky, honest and deep. She was a cut above the rest.
In 2007 we recorded three songs together at her parents’ house, one of mine and two of hers, and then … we promptly fell out of touch for 16 years!
Many years can go by, and one would have just a faint idea at best of what was going on in the midst of those rote routines, cycles, ellipses that engulf the conscious mind on a daily basis. The constant whirring of the gears, the hum of the system casting a tint across one’s attention span to prevent any particular deviation from the expected routine of the machine as it rolls along in its tread.
An observation of Tennessee Williams’ characters that seems inescapable to me is that of the unconscious voice that breaks through that cacophony of time rolling along. It’s the precarious tendency of the soul to drive the outward behavior against the will of the conscious mind, and it’s inside this space, the point of contact where the winnowing drill of the conscience irks the daily systems in one’s life to force itself forward – that is the locus of creativity to me. A slow moving, but insistent, generative focal point.
My name is Corynne Ostermann; I’m a multidisciplinary artist and musician playing bass & providing vocals for the Baltimore-based group Natural Velvet.
Natural Velvet started in 2012, and I’ve been involved since the beginning, as well as with my bandmates Spike Arreaga (guitar), Kim Te (guitar), and Greg Hatem (drums, production). I genuinely feel so lucky to have had my bandmates’ attention for as long as I have had, and as a result, I’m very protective of them and the long-term sustainability of our project.