Saturday, January 18, 2020

Letters From the Pit

1. What is your name? Tell me a little bit about you AND what you do (intro/history of band/organization/company/etc.)

Jon Burrier is an American audiovisual outdoor artivist, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. His primary instruments are drums, percussion, xylophone and no-input mixer. 

He writes and performs compositions in many contexts, including solo, klezmer, grindcore, ambient, avant-garde, free jazz, and more. Burrier has performed with Les Rhinoceros (Tzadik) Lilu Dallas (Five Point Records) Me and This Army, Janka Nabay (Luaka Bop) and solo as JB5D (or self-titled by name) 

Tzadik is dedicated to releasing the best in avant garde and experimental music, presenting a worldwide community of contemporary musician-composers who find it difficult or impossible to release their music through more conventional channels.

Luaka Bop is a world music-oriented record label established by musician and record producer David Byrne, former lead singer and guitarist for the art rock–new wave band Talking Heads.

Burrier is a registered yoga teacher, bearing credentials in plant-based nutrition through Cornell. In addition, Burrier is certified as a detoxification specialist through Dr. Robert Morse's International School of Detoxification. These qualifications are the catalyst for Burrier's "School of Holistic Vibrations," a book, program, animal sanctuary, and retreat center (future plans) based on a holistically intersectional approach involving yoga, meditation, nutrition, and sound (healing) - fostering activism in others. 

2. What brought you into your scene?

Raised on 90s hip-hop and electronic music (huge prodigy fan) led me to play church basement shows and youth centers throughout my childhood. Discovered "power violence, grindcore, math metal, black metal, hardcore" and Vegan Straight Edge simultaneously  The perfect avenue for rebelution against my traditional Catholic upbringing and (ironic for Catholicism) poor family values. 

3. What struggles have you faced finding home in your scene?

I feel that my approach to activism has pushed me out of the scene. I am known to actively "call out" glaring contradictions (regarding intersectional anti-oppression efforts ignoring a truly holistic approach) and people don't seem to like this (actions speak louder than words and people seem to detest accountability) I also haven't owned a car or cell phone in about ten years and essentially "live in the forest" running trails and tracking poachers. So as a drummer / percussionist, I guess that makes me rough to work with, which is why I focus on solo work these days. 

4. What was your “homecoming experience”? (when you knew you found your niche)

This has occurred several times throughout my career. First, joining Lilu Dallas, proving I could learn the songs and play them not only faster, but cleaner and more musically articulate than the line-up prior. Learned a ton about food, travel, and composition, work ethic, life etc. Second would be joining Les Rhinoceros. Always a huge fan of John Zorn (and all the musicians he has worked with) so touring and recording in a band on his label was a dream come true. Working with Janka Nabay was life changing. Working with Me and This Army also taught me so much. To me "niche" means, "finding your voice" which comes from hours (adding up to years) of hard work and dedication to a craft. Yoga and proper (species specific) nutrition, managing stress levels etc. have a huge impact on artistry. I'd say the accumulation of life experience finds the niche for you. Objectivity is crucial. I abhor nihilism, apathy, and cynicism, but understand the necessity of perceived "darkness" I would say my niche is easily expressed as "The Percussive Existentialist" 

5. What sort of struggles has music brought you through?

Music propelled my Vegan Straight Edge trajectory. Music distracted me from life when I needed a distraction. Music increased my stamina and improved my overall health and fitness (mental and physical) Music introduced me to friends I wouldn't have met otherwise, and took me places I wouldn't have seen. Music has introduced me to food, cultures, nature, architecture and more.  Music has helped me through break-ups, and is responsible for my brain developing in ways I still don't fully understand. 

6. What cool things do you see happening in the scene that you are in? How do those things translate outside of the scene/in the bigger picture?

These days, I've made a conscious effort to not be part of any scene, though if I had to choose one, it would be this hybrid of spiritually minded (seemingly retired) XVX skate-punks, enthusiastic about yoga, meditation, and buddhism, still dabbling in music, but mostly trying to stay positive living fulfilling lives. The impact of this lifestyle transcends vastly perceived cultural boundaries. Examples: Running, cycling, and lifting etc. #fortheanimals -  no borders, resisting war tax, rent is theft, total liberation movements, supporting political prisoners, food not bombs, open rescue / direct action, LGBTQA support, ally in tribal / indigenous support, decolonize your diet concept, and more. 

7. What sort of changes do you hope for/envision for the future in and out of the scene?

Technology is a tool for spreading information - I get it - That said, I would love to see kids put the phone down, and pick up an instrument, or positive sport, paint brush, skateboard, healthy hobby. They only put down the phone to pick up the vape. We still see "rock and roll" but I miss those viceral, heart breaking, gut wrenching shrieks of Layne Staley, Chris Cornell, the bone chilling swag of old No Doubt horns, rhythm section, and Gwen's sassy vocal aesthetic, the authentic loops and flow of The Wu-Tang Clan. I'm not into art feeling contrived, or people / bands doing things for attention, I want to see less bands trying to be weird on purpose. I love 90s grunge for its authenticity. Pearl Jam, Bush, Nirvana, Sound Garden, and less on topic, but still relevant, early Green Day. Smashing pumpkins, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine. I think this is why people really like bands like Lightning Bolt, Hella, Death Grips, the art is real. 

8. Where have you/do you draw influence from? What artists have inspired you?

I don't really listen to music anymore (since I don't drive) mostly busy making music, but want to start listening more. Mainly draw influence from the natural world / landscape around us, rhythm in visual art (painting and photography) skateboarding, food. Being the best example of a queer xvx drummer, displaying benefits of the vegan lifestyle behind a kit has always been great motivation. Inspirational artists for me currently: Joaquin Phoenix, Walter Bond, Ed Templeton, Earth Crisis, Moby, Marcus Aurelius, Frank Medrano, and more.  

9. What do you have to say to those who oppose your art/interest?

Study what you oppose. "Facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored" -Aldous Huxley.  In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. Be informed, get inspired, do good, be good. Approach ALL life with humility, empathy, compassion and respect. Don't assume or project. Cognitive dissonance via years of cultural abuse has most of us trippin. 

10. What do you have to say to those struggling with mental health issues? What about for those struggling to feel at home in their scene?

We all have mental health issues, so you are not alone. Personally, I've found that self help is crucial. Therapists can be great, but it is important to find the right one, and remember that they don't have all the answers. They usually practice the socratic method, trying to help you answer your own questions and resolve your own struggles (look inward) Avoid negative and toxic energy, surround yourself with people you love, in environments you love. If this isn't possible, just know that it will get better. Everyday changes, our microbiome shifts (impacting our mood) hormones change (hormone health is crucial) Regarding life in general, sugar-water-sleep-relationships (including relationship with self) is my golden rule. We all make mistakes - none of us are perfect. All you can do is your best! 

I don't feel at home in my scene, and I've been playing music here in Baltimore for over two decades. I would say, learn to be okay with not feeling at home. Study an instrument - become proficient, study DAWs - develop workflow in said DAW. You could spend a lifetime managing these two interests considering the foundations on which they are built. Music is great for mental health, drumming led me to veganism, running, cycling, climbing, yoga, animal rights. Prodigy led me to working with DAWs, graphic design, full circle into mental health regarding the death of Keith Flint (who sadly, ironically passed on my Birthday last year) 

Everything in this life is connected, not necessarily in some spiritual way, scientifically, it is all connected. You own nothing in this life. We even give up the body as we pass. That said, the legacy we leave is our body of work, how we treat people, how we treat the most vulnerable (humans and animals) friendships, family, memories, feelings, thoughts, emotions, our impact on the environment, far and wide. If you have a tendency to push people away, or be avoidant, ask yourself why. I like to choose friends, knowing that if I die tomorrow, any mistakes, or perceived ill intent, would be forgiven on both behalfs. High level of authenticity, mutual love, understanding, compassion and respect are paramount. 

The illusion of control

Sunday, November 3, 2019

5 Tips for Chefs | Secrets Revealed | XVX Chef

1. Stay Healthy (Eat Plants / Stay Hydrated / Exercise) Sugar, Water, Sleep. This will help you work harder (smarter) - longer, with more focus increased mental clarity. 

2. Be a Nutritionist First (Chef Second) If you are already a Chef, Train in NutritionCustomers can't return if your food is killing them.  

3. Organize (Work-Flow is Vital) Every Item Consistently Placed. Saves time, energy, money. Reduces stress. Increases production. 

4. Learn to Bake with Yeast and Work with Raw Vegan Recipes (Be Well-Rounded) Develop the ability to make anything, for anyone, anywhere in the world. 

5. Cleanse the Palate (No Cigarettes / No Alcohol) None of us have exactly the same taste, but destroying your palate separates you from the truth. It separates you from the non-smoking customer, whose taste-buds are closer to "normal" 

Bonus Tip   G O   V E G A N  
compassion and respect to all beings

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Les Rhinoceros | Tzadik Records

"Les Rhinoceros is a group of amazing musicians playing whatever they want, or at least it seems that way. They are an experimental group, I guess, who play stuff that ranges from ambient soundscapes to world music to prog rock to jazz. Its way easier to just say that they rip super hard, even though that doesn't really give their musical prowess much justice. Basically, this band is the embodiment of music theory. They have a new album coming out soon that you can pre order via their bandcamp, and you can also listen to some excerpts from their other albums there as well. I think some people who might be reading this have already heard of Les Rhino, they seem to be a pretty big deal. Anyway, check them out, buy their stuff, and go see them if you can" -chuglife

Vagina* Band

"I don't really think that Vagina* is a band anymore, but they are kind of a band I guess. The group was Jon Burrier, his brother, and Zach Abate, but now its just Jon and Zach. I don't know what they are going to change their name to, if they decide to do that. I booked a show last week and they played a set and it was fucking dope.

Jon is in Les Rhinoceros and does some solo stuff. He was in Lilu Dallas back in the day.

Zach does stuff under Death Fetish, he was in Wren Lloyd and Sexgender" - chuglife


Letters From the Pit

1 .   What is your name? Tell me a little bit about you AND what you do (intro/history of band/organization/company/etc.) Jon Burrier i...