Entertainment, Interviews, Music, The Features, We Love Music

Q&A with Taylor Hanson of Hanson, part 2

photo courtesy of Hanson

In the midst of their US “Musical Ride” tour, Hanson‘s lead singer/keyboardist Taylor Hanson took some time to talk with WLDC’s Alexia Kauffman. You can read the first half of the interview here. In the second half of the interview Taylor talks about being in Katy Perry’s video for “Last Friday Night,” playing music with Adam Schlesinger (songwriter and bassist for Fountains of Wayne and Ivy) and how that led to forming the supergroup Tinted Windows, as well as Hanson’s charitable work and more. Continue reading

Entertainment, Interviews, Music, Night Life, People, The Features, We Love Music

Q&A with Taylor Hanson of Hanson, part 1

photos courtesy of Hanson

Most of you out there remember the band Hanson  (brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac) as the cheerful trio of kid pop stars responsible for the infectiously catchy song “MmmBop” in the late nineties. What you may not know is that they were more than one-hit wonders. Their major label debut album Middle of Nowhere earned them three Grammy nominations, and produced six top 40 singles in the US. After that album the group split from their major label, formed their own label and has since released five studio albums. They have maintained a loyal fanbase, and are dedicated to giving their fans unique and personal experiences through their live shows. While Isaac, Taylor and Zac are still young (30, 28 and 25 respectively) they have the kind of  musical career that so many work for their whole lives to attain. They are successfully maintaining their own label, touring, and continue to produce albums that chart high on the Billboard Independent Albums chart. Their latest album, Shout It Out returns to their roots, bringing back a more pop sound, with some nods to Motown and old-school Rock & Roll.

Hanson is currently on tour, and will be playing Wednesday, October 19th at the State Theater in Falls Church. Lead singer/keyboardist Taylor Hanson took a break out of his busy tour schedule to talk with We Love DC’s Alexia Kauffman (and make one of her teenage dreams come true) about tour, becoming famous as a kid, the music industry, and even Katy Perry. (Full disclosure: Alexia was a big fan back in the 90s, and knows all the lyrics to every song on Middle of Nowhere.)  Continue reading

Entertainment, Interviews, Music, We Love Music

Q&A with Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!

courtesy of Girlie Action.

If you don’t know Holy Ghost! by name yet, there is a good chance that you’d know one of their many remixes if you heard it on the dance floor. Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser have been best buds for twenty years, going all the way back to the 2nd grade (talk about old school)! Music has played a big part in their friendship in that time. Most recently and successfully as a DJ/Remix duo and live band Holy Ghost!. Their disco-inspired originals and retro-synth remix style has them in high demand as both producers and as an opening act.

Holy Ghost! are opening for Cut Copy at two sold out shows at 9:30 Club next week. Alex Frankel took some time out from the studio to answer a few questions about the band and his life-long friendship with his band-mate.

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Entertainment, Interviews, Music, We Love Music

Q&A with Benjamin Plant of Miami Horror

Our guest writer Alexia Kauffman of The Torches enjoyed Miami Horror’s show so much the first time they played DC that we asked her if she’d like to interview the band’s creator for us in advance of their return this weekend.

Miami Horror is the electro/disco-pop creation of Australian DJ/producer/artist/musician, Benjamin Plant. Originally a solo endeavor by Plant, Miami Horror has grown into a full band and has done remixes for Gorillaz, The Presets & Bloc Party to name a few. Miami Horror is currently on an extensive world tour promoting their 2010 EMI release “Illumination”.

These charming gents played U Street Music Hall last year and their show was super fun, energetic, and a little goofy. They are returning to U Street Music Hall this weekend. If New Order and Air met at Studio 54 and had a torrid affair, Miami Horror would be their futuristic disco love-child. We Love DC was lucky enough to catch up with Ben for a chat amidst the band’s insane tour schedule; fresh off a week that included shows in Mexico City and Austin’s SXSW music festival.

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Entertainment, Interviews, Music, We Love Music

Q&A with Andy Moor of The Ex

courtesy of PMA PR.

Andy Moor, guitarist in The Ex since 1990, lives in the Netherlands; his adopted home ever since he accepted the invitiation from The Ex to join their ever-changing ranks. I have been a fan of The Ex since high school, which means I have been a fan of theirs for (ahem) quite some time. The Ex are playing at the Black Cat tomorrow night and I thought it would be a fine opportunity to interview Andy about one of my favorite bands.

The first time I tried to call Andy, he was sleeping off jetlag having just returned from Addis Ababa. The second time I tried to reach him, he was out for a bike ride. The third time, he was on a boat ride with visiting family. I guess that’s what I get for expecting a so-called “anarchist” to stick to a schedule! Andy and I finally connected via Skype on the fourth try and we proceeded to have an epic conversation about some of Andy’s side projects, The Ex’s rich history of collaboration, the recent departure of G.W. Sok (the group’s lead singer for 30 years), the band’s excellent new album “Catch My Shoe”, and that pesky “anarcho-punk” label that follows The Ex everywhere, much to their chagrin.

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Entertainment, Interviews, Music, We Love Music

Q&A with Andy McCluskey of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

all photos courtesy of The Musebox.

When it turned out that I would be unavailable to conduct this interview myself, the first person who came to my mind as the perfect pinch hitter for the gig was Mickey McCarter. By day, Mickey is a professional journalist, covering homeland security and military affairs for Homeland Security Today and Fox News. On nights and weekends, he is one of DC’s foremost experts on the New Wave and synthpop genres.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, founded by UK songwriters Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, led a synthpop revolution from the ‘80s through today in the United Kingdom, consistently charting in the UK top 30 with each of their 11 studio albums, including their very latest History of Modern. McCluskey alone kept the band’s name alive throughout the ‘90s until he and Paul Humphreys reunited for a successful return-to-form last year.

Now the band returns to the United States for the first time in more than 20 years, playing the 9:30 Club on Thursday, March 10. We Love DC caught up with synthpop virtuoso McCluskey recently to talk about Pretty in Pink, the new generation of synthpop musicians, and the sound of the future.

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Entertainment, Interviews, Music, People

Q&A with Henry Rollins

courtesy of Henry Rollins.

At this point does Henry Rollins really require an introduction? Since the hardcore punk era Rollins has been a jack-of-all-trades entertainer and thought-provoker with his bands, books, acting gigs, radio shows, spoken word tours, stand-up comedy, and most recently two National Geographic television specials about ‘the warrior gene’ and about snakes! Rollins grew-up in DC and to celebrate his 50th birthday on Sunday (50th!? We’re getting old!) he is coming home to put on two sold out shows at National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium. I recently caught up with the notoriously tight-lipped Rollins and wrestled a few answers out of him.

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The Features

A We Love DC Interview: Amy Morton of Morton Fine Art

*A Pop-up Project, Pretty Little Things, 2010.

Since art appreciation and collection has historically been considered a past-time saved only for the affluent and rich, it is no surprise that a fine art gallery can sometimes be an intimidating place to enter.  However, a new take on the art gallery in DC, called Morton Fine Art (MFA), will challenge every preconceived notion you may just have about the art world.  Morton Fine Art is an art hybrid – one part traditional art gallery and one part, well, one part anything but traditional.  This month, MFA is presenting Pretty Little Things, a jewelry exhibition, as part of their on going and super successful exhibition concept called *A Pop-up Project.

We Love DC had the opportunity to talk with the founder and owner of MFA, Amy Morton, about Pretty Little Things, DC, and what art currently hangs on her living room wall.
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People, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Carolyn Sewell Interview

You can’t walk down the street without seeing a sign.  Signs are there to inform or instruct you, to get you to stop, go and yield to pedestrians. But what good do these signs do if they are difficult to read, provide an unclear message, or get lost in the peripheral?  Graphic design was established as a result of these glaring errors, and developed a universally recognized profession in which people are trained to convey a message, to a target audience, while following the principles of design.  However, the profession has outgrown the average political advertisement and cereal box, and now is an appreciated art form.

Award-winning designer and blogger, Carolyn Sewell, displayed her yearlong project Postcards To My Parents at The Fathom Gallery this September. Every day from July 23, 2009 to July 23, 2010 she sent hand-drawn postcards to her parents with messages of love and adoration, snarky quotes from friends, family and television, and the occasional drawing of a gnome.  Sewell currently resides in Arlington, VA and shares creative (and sometimes not so creative) graphic design with the masses on her blog Pedestrian Typography.

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Entertainment, Interviews, Music, We Love Music

Q&A with Paul Oakenfold

Paul Oakenfold
photo courtesy of MSOPR.

Paul Oakenfold is arguably the biggest dance music DJ and producer in the world. The closest thing to a household name that the hardcore dance world is likely to ever produce, Oakenfold has been a major force in electronic dance music for twenty years. Rising from a basement bar in Covent Garden at the end of the 80’s with an arsenal of Acid House and cross-genre Ibiza DJ stylings he went on to conquer the London nightclub scene and then the world. They simply do not make DJs bigger than Paul Oakenfold.

Oakenfold is bringing his Facelift Tour to the 9:30 Club on Tuesday November 23. He took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with me about his career and the current landscape of dance music.

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The Features

A We Love DC Interview: r:u

“u:board Sample”;  r:u, 2010

In December of 2009, I graduated from The George Washington University with a Graduate degree in Interior Design.  During my schooling I learned that it takes a lot of hard work to become an Interior Designer.  Just having phenomenal taste and being really, really good at tearing out magazine spreads doesn’t cut it anymore.  Now you have to be able to sketch, compose sections, build models, create 3-D renderings, and even pass your NCIDQ exam if you want to be taken seriously.

When I heard about the DC-based design team of residents:understood, I just knew that I had to get them on WLDC.  Not only can the firm do all of the above, but they also do it in a really unconventional way.  I caught up with the three principles of residents:understood, Kiera Kushlan, James Wall, and Jessica Centella, and got all of the insider tips for how to create the perfect “personality-driven design” while living in D.C.

We Love DC: What is residents:understood?

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The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Interview with MIJA

Image Credit: MIJA Jewelry

In less than four years, Michelle Guest has turned her passion for art and jewelry design into a thriving business.  MIJA Jewelry is literally everywhere, and has graced the pages of almost every fashion magazine and tabloid – decorating a truly A-list clientele (Gwenyth Paltrow and Ellen Pompeo are huge fans).  In this We Love DC exclusive interview, the designer and Glover Park resident lets us know a little bit more about what makes her collection special and where she goes to find inspiration in her very own backyard.

We Love DC: What is MIJA?

Michelle Guest: MIJA is a combination of the first two letters of my name (MIchelle) and the first two letters of my sister’s name (JAni). My sister was the one who really inspired me to start the business by creating a collection of children’s jewelry.  The company has since expanded and now also features a huge collection [of] women’s jewelry.  She really encouraged me to jump into a business I initially knew nothing about.  If it was not for her, I’m not sure I would have ever done it!

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Interviews, People, The Features

A We Love DC Interview: ArchitectDesign

Image Credit: National City, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign

D.C. is home to its share of blogs and bloggers, and our passions cover a wide range of topics.  Residential architect, Stefan Hurray of ArchitectDesign focuses his writing on architecture, design, and travel – often times, sharing with loyal readers some of the inspiration he finds in his very own backyard (i.e. Logan Circle).

Archute.com recently shared with me his passion for architecture, design, and of course, D.C.

We Love DC: What is ArchitectDesign?

Stefan Hurray: A visual diary of places I find inspiring. It might be something I’ve visited myself or the occasional magazine story.

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People, The Features

A We Love DC Interview: Author Stephen Salny


Image Credit: Stephen Salny via Michael Taylor Design

Last night at the Corcoran, author and design expert Stephen Salny provided a comprehensive look into the legendary designer Michael Taylor.  One of Architectural Digest’s “20 Greatest Designers of All Time” and best known for his popularization of the “California Look”, Taylor continues to revolutionize the industry 25 years since his passing.

I had the unique opportunity to chat with Salny about his book Michael Taylor Interior Design.

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Interviews, People, The Features

He Loves DC: Walker Lamond

Photo courtesy of
Walker Lamond from the “Rules for My Unborn Son” Media Kit
courtesy of ‘K1rkles’

Walker Lamond can be described as the fatherly sage of the masculine aesthetic.  Perhaps you don’t know his name, but it’s more than likely that you’ve at least heard of his blog, “1001 Rules for My Unborn Son.” As the title suggests, Walker doles out practical advice to his son on his popular Tumblr page.  He’s gathered a substantial following over his past year and a half of blogging, including the attention of a few publishers.

Tomorrow, Walker will join the ranks of the bloggers turned authors when Rules for My Unborn Son, a book of his axioms, is released. It turns out that Mr. Lamond is a resident of DC and, on the eve of his literary debut, he graciously agreed to answer a few questions about his book and life in the city.  He even gave some advice while he was at it. So, continue reading to discover Walker’s thoughts on becoming an author, DC’s greatest sartorial misstep, and how to improve our taxi system.

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Foggy Bottom, Interviews, People, Special Events, The Features

He Loves DC: Antonio Burrell

Antonio from Commonwealth

It’s been a wild ride for Antonio Burrell, the Chef de Cuisine at CommonWealth Gastropub. Since the opening in August of 2008, the British food joint CommonWealth has fast been popular with foodies and Columbia Heights regulars. I was able to catch up with Burrell, talk through his opinions on the DC food scene, find out what he does in the city on his days off, and discuss what his ideal food day in the city would be composed of.

Katie: How long have you lived in DC?

Antonio: I moved to DC in October of 2000. I actually took two months off and took a nice vacation, stayed in North Carolina played a lot of golf and fished a lot with my Dad. For the first year and a half I lived in Alexandria, but have lived in DC since then.

Name the best part of DC, in your opinion?

I like a great many things about DC, chief among them are the people I have met and its central location to Manhattan and my extended family, who live in North Carolina. However, the best part of DC is all the great cultural things you can do. The Smithsonian Institute Museums are a great way to spend a day, topped off by a nice stroll down the Mall, taking many stops along the way, especially to dip your feet in the fountain at the Korean Memorial.

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Fun & Games, People

He Loves DC: Crickett The Clown

Photo courtesy of
‘Just hanging out’
courtesy of ‘afagen’

As many of us are aware after the parade yesterday, the circus is in town! I had a chance to catch up with one of the clowns in the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Crickett. Crickett hails from the DC area, and I was able to  talk to him all about what it’s like to be a clown, what he misses about DC, and even about that mysterious bearded lady…

Katie: Tell us how you and DC intersect, how long you lived here, what your early memories are?

Crickett: I moved to the DC metro area when I was in 10th grade from New York and simply fell in love with it since I got here. Over more than a decade, I have lived here off and on while working and studying. Many of my early memories consist of taking the metro into the city and riding the trains with friends and just hanging out and seeing all the free sites.

Any favorite places you miss?

Of course! After I have lived/ played/ entertained (I hesitate, for obvious reasons, to call what I do work) in large arenas, such as Verizon, I enjoy being entertained as opposed to doing it myself. The Palace of Wonders is my favorite place to go in DC. It’s a tiny little club that hosts regular nightly entertainment, both amateur and professional in vaudeville, burlesque, comedy, variety and such. One of my favorite groups, the Lucky Daredevil Thrill Show performs there regularly. It’s a great place to meet up and coming performers, relax, or see weird sideshow ephemera such as Fiji mermaids, swords, and other oddities. Other than that, I love the Smithsonian and the masses of other free museums DC has to offer, especially the Air and Space Museum or the Zoo

Name the best part of DC, in your opinion?

The cherry blossom trees when they’re out. On a sunny spring day, there is no better place to be or better company to have than the cherry blossoms.

How did you wind up a clown?

While I was attending University in Newport News, VA, I happened upon a now-defunct traveling sideshow. It was then I realized I could act outrageous, tour, color my hair, wear makeup, and have fun touring without being a rock star (or a drag queen for that matter). This appealed to me because I can’t keep a beat to save my life!

More on Crickett’s career as a clown, and where you’ll be able to find him while he’s in town after the jump. Continue reading