Sugar Percussion at the 2015 Oscar Awards

February 22, 2015

Oscar Shot Maroon 5

If you live in Santa Cruz, I’m sure you know any number of truly amazing artists. I think you should meet another one. It’s time you met Sugar Percussion. Tonight their custom five piece Honduran Mahogany drum set built in Santa Cruz made its way onto the stage at the Oscars thanks to Maroon 5 drummer Matt Flynn. The Oscars is a big stage and slowly but surely, Sugar Percussion is doing big things.

Founded in 2011, Sugar Percussion specializes in custom stave-built, solid wood drums. Rooted in nearly 20 years of custom woodworking, Sugar Percussion drums are conceived and built like fine furniture, carefully and precisely designed, dedicated and deliberate in their construction and custom to the nuanced particulars of every client.  There is no ‘stock’ model.  Every drum is built from and specifically to the  deliberations and conversations between player and builder.

Before Maroon 5, Black Crowes drummer, Steve Gorman, was one of Sugar Percussion’s first clients.  Introduced to the company through one of their snares, Gorman immediately ordered the rest of his full kit, all built from a single plank of Eastern Black Cherry.  Quoting his immediate response to the delivered kit… “Exactly how drums are supposed to sound, exactly how they’re supposed to feel.”  Gorman used the kit throughout the final Black Crowes tour, and subsequently ordered a second kit made from Alaskan Yellow Cedar for his latest project, Trigger Hippy.

On the recording side of the glass, producer Eric Valentine was also introduced to the company through a single snare.  A full kit and 3 snares later, Valentine continues to be a treasured ‘family’ member, as well as a tremendous resource.  It was through 3 weeks of correspondence between Jefferson and Eric that the Eric Valentine Signature Recording Kit was born.  Aiming to design a better kit made specifically for recording, the two employed shallow depths, thicker shells, blunter bearing edges and a dimension schedule based on prime numbers to inhibit sympathetic resonance between drums.  All of this and more rendered a controlled and balanced sound ideally honed for studio use, scratching every itch of a meticulous, perfectionist producer, as demonstrated in a video produced by Jefferson and Eric using only a single microphone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FzziEGoUfQ

Sugar Percussion continues to build recording, live and hybrid kits and snares for a wide range of clients including Gadgetbox Studios (Santa Cruz), Blackbird Studios (Nashville), The Blasting Room (Ft. Collins), SIR (New York City), as well as backlines regularly for bands in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York
City.

Contact them at:
js@sugarpercussion.com or http://sugarpercussion.com/

Do You Know Gail Rich?

January 21, 2015

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Every year the Santa Cruz  Arts Council Associates puts on the Gail Rich Awards at the Rio Theatre. You’ve probably never been, but I think yo u should go. Here are my top 10 reasons to go to your first Gail Rich Awards next Wednesday, Jan. 28.

  1. It’s a awards show that celebrates the spirit of the arts in Santa Cruz by formally recognizing, “our friends and neighbors who are committed to living lives of artistic passion.
  2. You will be way more inspired than usual on a Wednesday night.
  3. It will give you that feeling of community that you forget you love until you experience it again and then remember it is why you live in an artistic community in the first place.
  4. There will be live music.
  5. It’s free.
  6. You will hear stuff like this (quote from honoree Robbie Schoen): “I want to do what art is supposed to do,” Schoen said. “I want it to stop people in their tracks and give us pause to reflect on our place in the world as human beings. It’s here to remind us of the things that matter and take us away from our day-to-day lives.”
  7. Excellent networking, especially if you like the artist types.
  8. There is often wine.
  9. You pay a lot of money to live in a town that has really cool shit like this, but if you don’t go out and support it, it goes away.
  10. There are always free cookies.

I really hope I see you there.

19th Annual Gail Rich Awards
January 28th, 2015 at 7:30pm
Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz
FREE and open to the public

2015 honorees:

Carolyn Hyatt – arts philanthropist
Dale Ockerman – White Album Ensemble, Musicscool
Robbie Schoen – Felix Kulpa Gallery
Johnny Simmons – KUSP radio personality
Cat Willis – Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center

As Simple as a Tweet

January 20, 2015

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This week I am taking part in the #YourTurnChallenge, a 7-day blogging challenge inspired by the Your Turn book by Seth Godin. Since being introduced to his daily blog years ago, I am constantly inspired by his views on work, art and how to treat people. A lot of what he writes about is along the lines of, “go, make something happen.”

It was in this spirit that we approached starting the rehearsal studios in the first place, and most recently propelled our involvement with the SoundSwell project. Back in August of 2012 I read an article on Hypebot about the Iowa City Public Library and how they were offering free downloads of local musicians for those with a library card. I couldn’t help but think that if they were doing it in Iowa, we could do it here in Santa Cruz. I tweeted as much to the Santa Cruz Public Library and the next day got an email from the virtual services coordinator.

She was aware of the ICPL work and was also about to attend a leadership retreat the next month which included the development of a year long project for which she would get help applying for grant funding. We got to emailing, she got to talking around her office and before you know it, we started to make something happen. Serendipity? It was through this one interaction that we opened the door to being involved with this amazing project from the ground up.

To date the Santa Cruz Public Library has paid local musicians over $5000 to license music for library patrons to download free of charge. This year they have another $4000 waiting to distribute to new local bands what would like to join.

This project is a win / win. Local musicians get real money in the bank ($100 for full length LP, $75 for EP). To earn that much from iTunes band would typically need to over 100 downloads. With SoundSwell, bands not only make the money up front, but only local library patrons can download the music, so bands are not only earning money, but also making new local fans. Our community also gets access to a library of free local music.

All it took was one tweet to make to make the connection to start this project. I encourage you to send one email, or tweet, dedicate a FB post or an Instagram hashtag to foster more SoundSwell connections.

If you know a local musician, tell them about the opportunity. If you have library card, download some new music. #keepsantacruzweird #liveformusic

 

Five Years Young in 2015

January 19, 2015

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2015 marks the five year anniversary of Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios. We’ve been high, we’ve been low, but we’re still here paying the rent every month thanks to our community of local musicians. Thank you.

Some days it is all we can do as a small business to just keep the doors open with all equipment running, other days (like today), we’ve got energy to spare and start thinking about all the OTHER projects we’d like to do in and around our space in the world.

The short list includes:

  • Video stuff. We’ve got an epic GoPro Hero w/the music bundle that we can rent to bands for cheap. It is under utilized and the whole idea of video in the studio needs attention.
  • Art. In the beginning we put a lot of time and energy into First Friday and having new artists in the studio every month. Then life happened, and we skipped a month, an artist flaked at last second, and the whole thing just went on the back burner. We’d really like to bring it back, or maybe it looks like something else, artists taking over the space, a collaboration event to learn to make show posters or DIY merch ideas.
  • Teaching / Co-working /Networking. We have a community, we have free rein of a physical space, there are more things we could be doing to share resources, have more fun and get more creative together. We’ve been inspired by things like  Cohere Bandwidth, Backyard Brunch Sessions, Balanced Breakfast, etc. We want to use our space not just for rehearsals, but do MORE, more impact, more, more, more.

I am writing this blog as part of the #YourTurnChallenge, the goal is to blog for seven days straight. I realized I had not taken the time to blog since September, 2014 so I wanted to get the ideas flowing again and you know what, it’s Day 1 and I feel like it’s working.

If any of this inspires you in some way, please reach out, let’s make something happen in Santa Cruz or beyond. You can email direct at jenn@santacruzrehearsaltudios.com or connect w/ us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

GoPro Available for Rent

September 25, 2014

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SCRS now has a GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition/Music camera available to rent to film your rehearsals. The HERO3+ Black Edition/Music bundle has everything you need to capture engaging, pro-quality photos and video of your rehearsals. Mount the camera to instruments, turntables, mic stands and other stage equipment for immersive GoPro-style footage. You can also download the free GoPro App and GoPro Studio editing software, providing all the tools you need to create professional content to promote on YouTube, Facebook®, Instagram or just use internally to work on your stagecraft.

Included in Rental:
HERO3+ Black Edition Camera
Jaws: Flex Clamp
2 Removable Instrument Mounts
Mic Stand Mount
3.5mm Mic Adapter

Introductory rental price will be $5 per hour. 

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SoundSwell Local Music Collection

June 5, 2014

SoundSwell-Webslide

 

SoundSwell is a new online database of local music that library cardholders can download for FREE. It also establishes an archive of local music that people can listen to for years to come. SoundSwell was created in partnership with Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios. The database is scheduled to go live on June 3, 2014.

To find the SoundSwell Local Music Collection online, visit the library home page or go directly to scmusic.santacruzpl.org. For people without internet access, there is a physical collection of CDs that can be checked out at the Downtown Branch.

Anyone can find and listen to the SoundSwell streaming Local Music Collection. Library cardholders can download songs with active license agreements for free with their card number and PIN or Password. All songs in the collection currently have an active license agreement. All music in the collection is produced by Santa Cruz County musicians.

This project has the potential to bring listeners and the musical community together where public dialog happens— at the library. SCPL wants to help the creators of our local culture connect with each other, connect with the community, disseminate their art, and contribute to the historical record of Santa Cruz while receiving fair compensation for their work. By helping musicians to grow their fan base locally, SoundSwell can have a positive impact on local venue attendance. Ultimately, we hope the library will play a big role in supporting the artistic musical identity of our community. We are dedicated to supporting local musicians and building a collection that celebrates the richness and talent that makes our community so unique. What a fantastic way to explore new music and discover the creative pulse of Santa Cruz.

The SoundSwell project was supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. Each artist was compensated $50 – $100 per album (depending on number of tracks) for inclusion in the collection.

Local musicians interested in participating in SoundSwell should contact Diane Cowen, Virtual Services Librarian: by mail at Santa Cruz Public Libraries, 117 Union St. SC, 95060; by email at cowend@santacruzpl.org or by phone at 831-427-7706 x 7763.

Krusch Rhoades

May 28, 2014

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First Friday – June 6
Krusch Rhoades

Available to view for the month of June anytime the studio is open.  pillars of my existence,” said Rhoades.

Krusch Rhoades, 33, spent the formative years of his youth in the “armpit of New York, the shoulders of New England and on the polluted teat of New Jersey.”

Since then, Rhoades has travelled all over the country, and currently calls Santa Cruz his home. He has painted, drawn, molded, and scrawled for as long as he can remember.

“Identifying myself as an “artist” at an early age somehow allowed me to view life with a golden preciousness. Being enraptured with the architecture of simplicity, the constant dance of light. I’m so thankful for this perspective,” said Rhoades.

Rhoades enjoys large scale work, especially when working with spray paint, which he calls the “closest synthesis of dance and paint.”

“The large sweeping strokes is so pleasurable when compared to the restricted movements of smaller pieces,” said Rhoades.

That being said, the artist produces work of all scales regularly, and even paints bicycle frames.

“Paint and bicycles have been the most consistent relationships in my life and have therefore becomes the pillars of my existence,” said Rhoades.

April Art

April 3, 2014

Frist Friday April

Photographs by Melanya Hamasyan
Available to view for the month of April anytime the studio is open.

Transitory Frames – Dehistoricized Spaces 

These set of captured video frames are taken from a discourse among people of the Armenian descent, whose ancestors have immigrated to the United States as a direct result of the Armenian Genocide.  They speak of the forgotten cities, villages, and churches of their ancestors.  They speak of fear and loss of identity along with the  loss  of  ancient  cultural  and  historical  spaces.  Although  the  tragedy  of  the physical genocide has ceased, cultural genocide is still being carried out.  In current eastern Turkey (historic Armenia), places are recontextualized to exclude Armenian historical  presence.  Ancient  Armenian  monuments  and  churches  are  being destroyed or appropriated  as  barns and geographical spaces are renamed.  As a result, ancestral spaces are dehistoricized and people uprooted.

Artist Summary

My work often involves cultural and social issues which I explore in photography, video, performance, and multi­media sculpture. These often take the form of installation or socially engaging art. Whether social, historical or literary, research is an integral part of my process as it provides a framework for the final product.  In the past I’ve studied Armenian folklore in photography. I’ve created dialogue in visual poetry using voice, movement, and space within the medium of digital video. Recently I’ve begun to explore dehistoricized spaces and cultural genocide in multimedia. In all my projects, the chosen theme is one that I am personally attached
to but also one that is often a question due for research. Hence, my work isn’t purely documental, as it also enters a very personal realm. Within this realm, there is a strong presence of an intimate act of the hand, whether in the form of calligraphy on bread, puppetry or photographic composition. This in turn creates an intimation of my presence, suggesting a very personal relationship to the question at hand.

 

Lending Library Now Open

March 2, 2014

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I love books and have a bunch related to the music industry (booking, touring, etc.), the entrepreneur spirit and marketing. The following awesome books have been literally collection dust in my house, so I’ve decided to start a little SCRS lending library. Here is how it will work. The books will be at SCRS, if you’d like one, just drop in and give whoever is working your name/number/email and a sincere promise to return the book within 6 months. Then go read.

Books Available so Far:

  • The Indie Bible (11th Edition) – 4200 publications to submit your CD to for review, 3500 radio stations.
  • Tour Smart – first real book about the business of touring
  • The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing – What you need to know about protecting, and profiting from, music copyrights
  • Crush It! – Cash In on Your Passion
  • Anything You Want - 40 Lessons for a new kind of entrepreneur
  • Do the Work! - A Child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.

If you also have books collecting dust that you think other musicians could benefit from. Feel free to bring them by and I’ll add them into the lending mix.

First Friday March

February 13, 2014

First Friday, March 7
Dream Scapes:Fleeting Lines From the Human Consciousness Paintings by Whitney Romberg
Available to view for the month of March anytime the studio is open.

Artist Statement: From a young age, I have always been fascinated by the concept of dreams within the human brain. Within these paintings, I strive to explore the tangibility of dream scapes using color, texture, and symbolism to illustrate the vagueness that our conscience is capable of making, expressing our deepest thoughts that our rational mind isolates during waking.


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