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Very recently I was a part of Intiman’s Launch Party for this campaign, DJ’ing alongside some other rad performers and speakers at the beautiful Canvas Event Space. As I took it all in, I was moved by their words, energy and plans for this years Theatre Festival. Their 2016 program will highlight Black female playwrights, while also encouraging more racial diversity on their stages. This fundraiser will fuel that program. My initial thoughts were, “I feel inspired, but, I’m not a part of the theater community, so maybe I’m not cut out to help with this.” I was focusing more on perceived differences instead of what brings us all together. As I reflected more, it was obvious that we are on the same team. A team of passionate individuals expressing themselves in a variety of ways, who believe in lifting up others, especially those voices that have been forgotten or overlooked. I know the power of the arts to encourage, empower and challenge accepted norms, at times more easily than mere conversation or debate. I have dedicated Disco Droppings, 7 Deadly Records and everything else that makes up Jimi Jaxon to those qualities. As a gay person of color myself, I feel drawn to their program, as a way to connect more with a part of my heritage in a new way. But, the benefits of the work Intiman is doing, and plan to do are for everyone. Regardless of your background, we can all relate as human beings, each with our own unique lens, more similar than we are different. The more we seek to build community and encourage conversation, the more understanding and harmonious coexisting we can generate. So with that, I’m happy to jump on as a Team Leader for this fundraiser. If you feel inclined to support, I have a page here where you can donate and let Intiman know I sent you there. This campaign runs till February 29, 2016!

*UPDATE* Numbers are in, $131,943 Raised!

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Intiman has been a part of Seattle for 45 years now, producing more than 200 American stories as well as brand new works. In 2012 they became a summer festival. Since then they have produced 12 plays (3 new), trained up-n-coming artists, employed artists and staff each year, and connected with over 45,000 audience members. This years festival will be curated by Andrew Russel (Producing Artistic Director) and Valerie Curtis-Newton (Head of Performance at UW School of Drama, and Artistic Director of the Hansberry Project).

Intiman – Facebook Twitter

intiman.org

– Jimi Jaxon

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MORE TBA

Engine Farm – Soundcloud Bandcamp Facebook

Sphyramid – Soundcloud Facebook

– Jimi Jaxon

 

My love affair with Keith Haring is in full swing again. How could I forget?

Just when I need it most, I’m reminded of the vast collection of his work digitally, through Artsy. We are blessed with the now easy ability to view 208 of his works (and counting)! Which really is a super small piece of the gigantic output of this marvelous man. Click on each picture for the larger view.

Fertility #3, 1983

 

 

 

 

I’m always struck by his ability to convey so much with relatively simple designs, that translate quickly to a wide range of individuals.

 

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Just seeing Keith in a video like this is electrifying for me. I just missed him here on Earth, gone way to soon in my eyes. Keith was superb at challenging his surroundings. Not just taking in his surroundings, but zooming out for a more broad picture, discovering his point of view, and then demonstrating that point of view in a forceful, yet playful way. So, in the spirit of not taking “reality” at face value, I encourage the continued research and discussion into the nature of Keiths death. Question. Everything.

I love you Keith, shine on

– Jimi Jaxon

 

Works respectively: Self Portrait, Fertility #3 (1983), Untitled #7 (1988), A Pile of Crowns for Jean-Michel Basquiat (1988)

 

Perfect time for reflection. In case you missed it, we had Disco Droppings first release a few months ago. “MMXV”, Free 7-track + mixed version from Sphyramid. Was able to get some of our friends behind the video, artwork and tunes to share their perspectives..

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Sphyramid, Producer

DD Knowing and working alongside you over the years, this seemed to be your most involved project so far. There were many elements coming together over what ended up being 6 months or so. Now that some time has past since the release in October, how do you reflect on it all?

SPH Well the whole thing is pretty coincidental, it started as a single track and video (Loud Enough). I didn’t have a computer at the time but my roommate was going to Mexico for a month which gave me the opportunity to use his computer to record the rest of the release.

This collection of tracks represents a huge release of negative energy. My father passed away in January of 2014, then I experienced an intense process of betrayal and forgiveness between a lover and a close friend the following October. then in April of 2015, I quit my food service job that I once loved but had become a personal hell. Somehow being driven to my most extreme state of overwhelming despair gave me the courage to look at my self and make that jump to being a creative professional. As soon as I left that mental and physical space of loathing to focusing on my art I received more and more opportunities. I started the video project with Tucker and put the call out for people to help. All of a sudden I realized that I had this huge crew of supportive, loving friends and fans.

I basically spent the remainder of this year fine tuning the tracks, getting them mastered, and corresponding with Alden for the artwork. Now that we are approaching the end of the year its fitting that we look back on “MMXV” because that is exactly what I named it (roman numerals for 2015). This might just be post rationalization, but this project was like some kind of offering to the gods, a sacrifice or something. It’s like saying, “Here take this darkness, I don’t need it anymore. But it has served me well.”

Next year I would like to re-release it as “MMXVI” (2016) with as many vocal edits and remixes as possible. But until I find all my vocalists and get that recorded I will continue my research and development for my next project. “MMXV” was like therapy, but it was also just a snapshot of a year in my life, a collection of ideas that happened to fit together. My next project will be a more cohesive concept album focusing on some more positive and playful feelgood vibes, I think I have earned it :]

 

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Alden Lee, Artwork

DD I was impressed with some of your previous pieces, and pleased to have you on board for artwork. How do you go about creating, and how was it being involved with this project?

AL I sift through magazines looking for anything that catches me eye and cut them out, and those cut-outs go in a bin. When I make something new I spread out all the paper pieces on the floor and see if any of them look good together. If they do, then I add more pieces and go from there.

It was a lot of fun contributing to the MMXV release. The design was inspired by some stills of the video shoot, and I wanted to make something that could key into those mystical and occult elements.

 

Tucker Grindstaff, Video Director

DD I remember being a small part of one of the shooting days for “Loud Enough” over in Everett earlier this year. You were noticeably apt at guiding a sizable group of people through the different scenes in a calm, upbeat way. What did you take from this whole process?

TG The “Loud Enough” video shoot was a party in a bedroom of Sphyramid’s house with all of his friends who were there to have fun, dress up, and get absolutely crazy. All I had to do was tell them when to party in the bedroom and when to eat tater tots to go with their champagne. I couldn’t have done it without my production team, especially Alexander Vincini and Adam Bagley who helped tremendously in wrangling the crowd; really my job was just ensuring that people knew there were tater tots to eat and where the tots were. The end product showed the fun and ‘maniacally smiling from the shadows’ vibe that drew me to Sphyramid’s music in the first place, and in the end I think it was a lesson in how to create an atmosphere that mirrored the artist’s intention. Really though, those tots took it to another level.

Sphyramid – Soundcloud Facebook

* Thanks to Lealia and anyone else that was a part of this project and was not mentioned.

– Jimi Jaxon

nero1 -@jameshawkridge

The last time this group manifested itself, they demonstrated a quality that was  just so dazzling and mind blowing. I witnessed their power first hand live years ago, along with their personal charm working backstage in Seattle. So the bar was way, way up there. And getting clues that they were returning, I was very eager to hear, and slightly uneasy. The landscape of electronic music feels very different this time around, and I was curious to see how they’d stamp their name in album two.

 

After a first listen around the release date of Between II Worlds this past September, and several over the next few months, the album resonated with me more and more. At first, it didn’t seem to hold the same cohesion as their debut, Welcome Reality. I enjoyed pieces, but as a whole I wasn’t fully satisfied. This perspective has changed, as I’ve changed. There is still a distinct, “Nero” vibe.

This theme of some sort of relationship having issues was given a whole new context the other day, playing the film Man of Steel on mute while letting this new full length play through. Watching the new born Kal-El sent off Krypton by his parents, just before the planet self-destructed was moving on a whole other level, soundtracked by those first few tracks, such as “Circles” and “It Comes And It Goes”.

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This time around, they sound more band like. The production style feels less monstrous, still vast, with moments of a kind of old-school flair. One thing that remains throughout both albums is such incredible emotional strength. If you’re having intense, unsettling and/or chaotic experiences in your life, Nero really “goes there”, riding waves of feeling with a whole lot of spunk. They are still securely holding their own space, and I welcome artists challenging it all with their ventures down these varying locations in time and space.

nero3 - @vtlmedia

Their 2015 Essential Mix, (round two for them on this legendary UK based series, with Pete Tong) was also one I warmed up to. I mean, what DO you do after crafting a mix like they debuted on Radio 1 in 2010?? I would boldy state it’s one of the best mixes ever constructed on Earth.  But hey, they won me over once again. Huge cheers to Dan Stephens, Joe Ray and Alana Watson!! Thanks for stickin’ around, we love ya’ll.

 

Photo credits respectively, @jameshawkridge, Legendary, @vtlmedia

Nero – Twitter Soundcloud Facebook

thisisnero.com

– Jimi Jaxon