Ale Campos looks worried. She just finished listing several reasons why Testökra may no longer be a band anymore. A few people are waiting in front of Sweat Records for Darsombra/Holly Hunt to take the stage, talking about this and that. There's some noise coming from a block or so south of where we're standing, black sunglasses, beanie and gold hair. She knows it's time to spill the heart wrenching news that the band and tour has fallen apart, but after not even 2 minutes and with a smile as big as NE 2nd, she tells us the tour is back on and has been converted into: Smut / Rat Bastard Tour 2014.
Several weeks after getting back into Miami I sent Ale some questions, curious about the journey with Rat, but also interested to find out more about her new one-piece act, Smut.
With Clang Quartet in NC
Bogdan: First off, how did the project, Smut, take form? What was your reasoning and inspiration to go solo?
Ale: The idea of Smut has kind of always been present in the back of my mind. I've always wanted to do a project where I'm completely in control of everything and I can record all the instruments myself. About less than half of the songs I play now were ideas I had for Testökra songs. At the time we were working on a bunch of new songs, I felt it was better to finish them rather than push them aside and forget about them. It gave me an excuse to play the guitar again, which I was excited about. Smut was officially a thing in the summer of 2013. Born out of laziness in my parents living room.
B: Your first release is Matter That Soils or Blackens, it has 10 songs and ended up on a tape. Describe your creative process. No lyrics are present on your bandcamp, what do you sing about, what's your message?
A: I started off writing 3 songs last summer, became overwhelmed, and kinda left it at that. Playing in 3 bands and working full time at Guitar Center took a toll on me...musically. I'd say about the time I quit GC, when I was "funemployed", I began to polish up the songs a bit. Every now and then I'd come up with simple riffs and record them on my phone so I could come back to them later, but for the most part I just stuck to those three. I also started planning Testökra tour which kind of fell through last minute, so I decided to make it Smut tour instead. That gave me the motivation I needed because I had about two months to write 6 new songs, record them and put them out on tape. I came back to those riffs I had recorded and added things here and there. When it came to lyrics, there about as simple as my music. I don't like sharing them for that reason, they're just silly. To be honest, I don't think my songs even have a message other than catharsis. I write songs to let go.
B: What are your musical influences behind Smut as a band and sound? Usually when someone starts a solo project, it's because other musicians around may not share the same tastes and/or beliefs, is this the case with Smut?
A: I'm not really sure who my influences would be as a band. I write and record all the instruments and usually play as a two piece with Alex Nunez on drums. Musically, I'd say I'm influenced by Ty Segall, Babes in Toyland and the Reatards. I know a lot of musicians who are into the same bands as I am, I just prefer working alone. It's just easier and I can go at my own pace.
B: While you were on tour I noticed that in some cities you had a drummer backing you. Who were they, and was there a place that you enjoyed the most?
A: Since I couldn't bring a drummer with me on tour (too short notice for anyone to join) I decided I would just play alone...just me and my guitar. It occurred to me as we were leaving Florida, that I could ask whatever drummer that happened to be at the venue to join me on stage. The only two who I knew and I could ask beforehand were my good friends James Lyter (Male Bondage) and Ryan Morris (FKMT). Everyone else kinda had to wing it. James and I practiced about an hour before the show in Indianapolis and Ryan and I practiced while playing in Greenville, then we played his house in Columbia the following day. It was excellent. Also in Minneapolis, I played with Susan from Permanent Makeup.
There were so many places I really loved, it's difficult to say which city won my heart over. Columbia will always be special to me, everyone is incredibly polite and cool in Indianapolis, and of course Austin was rad. To be honest, I like all the cities I visited except Cleveland due to the sketchiness. I'm thankful to Rat for asking if he could come on tour with Testökra and helping book everything and deal with all the crazy changes. He was definitely my tour dad.
With James (Male Bondage) in Indianapolis
With Ryan (FKMT) in Columbia
B: What plans does Smut have for the future? And what about your personal plans?
A: I think I'm just gonna keep Smut a secret like I have been for the past year. Believe it or not, I'm a very shy person, so the less face I have to show the better. And yes, I'm aware I play in a bunch of bands, but for the most I'm tucked away behind a drum kit or hiding behind a curtain of hair while playing bass with Wastelands. I don't like being in the spotlight, it scares me. I plan on hopefully starting a new project with my best friend, Carolyn. Currently, I play drums in Bleeth and Desistance and bass in Wastelands...so my hands are kind of full. B: Touring with Rat...
A: Well, I know for a fact Rat doesn't plan on touring with anyone ever again...at least that's what he told me when we got back home, hahaha. BUT if he does decide to take you on tour I suggest having a valid driver's license and going with him to get the rental car so your name can be on the rental agreement. Or else he won't let you drive....and I believe he has narcolepsy. I mostly kept to myself and didn't argue with him because arguing is stupid. We talked about Churchill's a lot, shared band stories....I asked him if he was ever once in love and he said "Yeah, that was the dumbest shit I've ever done". It was nice to know that even Rat, the toughest dude I know who doesn't take shit from anyone was once in love.
This tape’s been out for a couple months now (www.noworkrecords.com), and these young lads have been thrashing, perspiring, and causing chaos in Miami for a while, so this review is slightly overdue, but we're doing it anyway. Bringing to mind the early Bay Area and 80’s thrash (Exodus, Obitury, fucking Overkill) these boys seem to soak their songs in beer, pizza, clouds of various smoke, and party sweat. That live energy is totally summoned in the six rage filled thrashers that are featured on this well put together piece of analog packaging (the yellow tape is just a GREAT color; the cover art is classic and brings to mind authentic old school metal art). The song that stands out: “Cuz I’m Fucking Broke” (I mean who reading this can't relate to that, huh?). Anyways, purchase a tape of their's on this very here site. Then go get a cheap beer.
I came across this great band's newest LP on the very awesome CUT & PASTE blog (http://cutnpasteyoface.blogspot.com/) and fell right in love with it. It's moody, ethereal, dreamlike poppy, and reminiscent of the shoegazey, My Bloody Valentine, with a touch of goth/post-punk sounds. That aside, Siamese Twins are not scared to pick up the tempo, like on their track, "Alone," an almost CUB like power-pop beat, and my personal favorite song. Get it now at http://eunuchrecords.storenvy.com/ at give yourself a nice break from all the grinding and/or power violencing!
Alx Czo- She Is a Galaxy
In full disclosure, Alex Cazo is an old friend and I’ve heard him DJ and play music several times. However, his latest self-released tape, “She Is A Galaxy,” is all new to these ears. And boy, is it really beautiful. Instrumental and lush, the music seems like a soundtrack for flowing through space as a disembodied consciousness. That’s really the best way to describe this great tape, that for two days now has helped me drift away over a cup of hot coffee. You can get this tape, and one other release “Mujeres Infieles” at Sweat Records in Miami or Radio-A-ctive in Ft. Lauderdale.
Earth Girls- Wrong Side of History
The new Earth Girls 7” on Grave Mistake and Drunken Sailor Records is just about the best summer record you could get. Girl fronted pop-punk that bounces along fast and fun (the whole record clocks in at under seven minutes) and it’s so addictive you just wanna flip it over and start it again. This is a good selection for fans of Discount, The Fastbacks, and just about anyone who wants a fun, plucky record to bounce to.
Holy - Seclusion MMXIV 12'' EP
I couldn’t end a run of reviews without some good new power violence, and these Italian dudes rip through a layer of crust with a pulverizing power violence sound that will have you punching things and hating life as the songs fly by in seconds. This is another band I found on CUT & PASTE (http://cutnpasteyoface.blogspot.com/), and you can check out most of their stuff on there as well. Get this release, their latest, as it’s fresh, new, and powerful.
"Holy shit, I think the floor is going to cave in and we're all gonna die in this circle pit." That's the thought that ran through my fired up brain during Beyond Pink's amazing set at Grown Up House (local d.i.y. punk house) a few months back. I have to say that the ladies of the band totally capture that sense of energy on the twelve inch slab of explosive wax, "Pride and Prejudice". Clocking in at just under 22 minutes (21 min. 58 secs to be exact) the album shoves you from the beginning and doesn't stop. (The album's cover also features a cat; Jawbreaker throwback perhaps? Oh well, cat's rule.) Anyway, singing in both English and Swedish gives the album a nice balance, I always like multi-lingual bands, different languages allow for different sounding words to scream and shout, more sounds for the vocal palate! The songs, which vary on topics from gender issues, scene shit. or to just playing partying, are all of it played with a level of speed and energy that can only be described as 100% hardcore punk rock. (Live they did a Negative Approach cover, see what I mean?) Stand out tracks are: "Thanx To All The Boys" and "Doda troga kids". Do yourself a favor and pick this record up from international D.I.Y. label Emancypunx label. See you in the pit.
For as long as humans have been making progress and as
certainly as procreation has aided us in evolution, we have been expressing our
passions, loves, and desires. Just as
we’ve historically pioneered, seeking new and alternative ways to give life to
and share our ideas, we have innately in our nature as humans, sought to
fulfill personal spiritual, emotional, and physical pleasures with innovation.
Human sexuality has typically been defined by cultural traditions
and social standards according to varying time periods and regions. A brief look into any distant place or era reveals
almost anything imaginable has been observed, tried, modified, chastised,
damned, worshipped, and most of all, enjoyed.
Prevalence of accessible technology, mainly the internet, has provided a
glorious window to many once secret, sacred, ancient rituals we have come to
regard more commonly and remotely as “just sex.”
This portal has provided opportunities to explore many
exotic arenas, however, it has encouraged solitary self indulgence and fostered
seclusion. Having illuminated all kinds
of acts once kept in the dark and opened forum for enunciation of any and every
fantasy, this has virtually brought us closer while also distancing us from
each other. America’s attitude toward
sensuality lies skewed somewhere between primitive African tribal customs, hijabs
of Iran, lax European sentiments, and Amsterdam’s Red Light District. While we are blessed with freedoms many lack,
we are still shackled by paradigm of patriarchy and shielded by the veil of our
Luckily, Miami is bustling and bursting with a multitude of
communities, civilizations and lifestyles, and being a major city, tends to
boost open-mindedness and tolerance.
There’s nothing like erotic art to bring the human form out
for open celebration. The World Erotic Art Museum - 1205 Washington Ave, Miami Beach has
offered it’s private collection for visual stimulation since 2005. For a slightly more interactive experience,
browsing any adult store provides in the very least amusement and hopefully
insight and arousal. It always piques my
interests to see peruse the shelves for latest state of the art novelty items. Most stores come with an eager sales staff,
willing to explain how their products work .
The Naughty Rooster - 1671 Alton
Rd, Miami Beach is one of my favorite spots to browse, most likely because
they are one of few shops that cater to my latex fetish! Also, while you’re there you can pick up
tickets to any of Miami’s monthly fetish parties! I always considered it a compliment when
people said I was a freak, and this is where the freaks come to get down! For the inquisitive and curious, these events
provide a positive atmosphere, void of judgement, where anyone can come to witness
the uninhibited play and explore in their own comfort zone.
Fetish Factory has been throwing parties in South Florida
for 18 years! They have hosted the some
of the most exclusive avant-garde affairs in the country featuring world
renowned entertainers and acts.
Although FF has hosted their bashes in the Magic City in the
past, they are based in Fort Lauderdale where their store-front is located at
855 East Oakland Park Blvd, Fort Lauderdale and their events can be held at
various bars and clubs anywhere from South Beach to Boca.
A number of similar soirees have sprung up over the years
with the same motives including Electrolust
in Hollywood hosted by Josepher Ringleader, Submission
in South Beach hosted by Robert Frost, Legion
and TheKitchen in Miami. The
distinguishing factor that separates them is that Fetish Factory enforces a
strict dress code policy in order to attend.
This is to maintain an aesthetic and communal environment where guests
will be at ease. Tickets are $20 at the
door, with the proper attire of rubber, leather, vinyl, uniforms, Victorian,
kinky drag, fetish glam, or anything corresponding the the particular party’s
theme. The admission price is
comparable for any fetish event, with advanced tickets available for half and ¾
“So tell me what’s your fetish?”
“Well, it’s hard to say because I like pretty much
“Okay, well, what’s weird, that you really like, or not
“Well, I don’t know, because I don’t consider anything I
like to be abnormal.”
The conversation then moved to ass play and bestiality with
two of the participants heralding the joys of the first as another disagreed and
one admitting she has enjoyed pornography showcasing women interacting with
dogs, and another openly admitting she would engage in such activities but only
if the dog was willing and initiated it.The male speaker who professed he didn’t deem anything off limits
previously, adamantly declared he would never consider sex with an animal, with
much applause from his friends.
SO! Miami! Before we jump right into talking “dirty” walking
around your personal fantasy, we should talk about the things I think are important
precursors. One of the things that
initially impressed me with all of you was the amount of respect I witnessed you
display for each other, and for yourselves regarding intimate
interactions. This is the first and
foremost building block of any positive relationship, no matter how casual or
serious it may become. Considerate communication
is the best tool you have to understanding and key to building anything with
real substance. To correspond
effectively in a meaningful way should also include honesty. First, be honest with yourself, know your
feelings, boundaries, and limits. Then
tell your partner! No one should be
expected to be a mind-reader. One of the
best ways to bond with anyone is to talk about what you like, what you don’t
like, what you want, can’t stand, and what you could and couldn't offer. Any fetish “player” has a safe word to indicate when they need
their partner to stop the session because they have had enough. It’s always a good idea to know what is safe
and what isn’t in any situation.
My hope is that this can be an interactive column where
anyone can feel free to share and inquire. I’d love to hear from everyone face to face if you see me out and about
or via email or Facebook. The first
things I’m curious about are what FETISH means to you, and how important is
Your feedback is encouraged! Plus more information, any
questions or concerns regarding any of the above topics is available by
contacting me firstname.lastname@example.org
or Shawna Shotts on Facebook.
Strictly, the first fetish fundamental is, whatever you
require for sexual fulfillment. More
loosely, it is whatever you like, a lot.
It could be any object or idea, potent potential, garnering amazement or
I first heard For The Virgin Mary some months ago off a link to their bandcamp page. I listened a bit, downloaded it, put it on my mp3 player, and forgot about it. Shortly thereafter, I was on a roadtrip listening to my mp3 player on shuffle, and the first song "I Am What I Am' came on and I thought, what the fuck is this really heavy shit I don't remember having? I looked at the screen, ah it's Bootsie, cool.
No Work Records has just put out For The Virgin Mary's cassette, "Even Saints Sin". It is heavy, blown out lo-fi, punk and sometimes alternative nineties sounding.
"I Am What I Am" starts off heavy and powerful, plodding to a feedback laden transition into super distorted punk. I like that the chord progression reminds me of Wire's "Ahead".
"I Can't Feel" has an early Cure bass guitar vibe, nicely juxtaposed with "Institutionalized" kind of vocals.
"Noise To Fill The Void" is a pretty and undulating shortish piece.
"To Sleep And To Dream" is very low-fi sounding with sad, soft, pretty vocals that remind me a bit of The Primitives.
"Don't See" barges forward like an anthem for crashing cars. As distorted as it is, it still manages to have an underlying softness to it. One of my favorite tracks.
The title track, "Even Saints Sin", has a kind of nineties alternative vibe to it. It is shoegazey and sad yet is uptempo.
"I'm Not Proud Of Anything" is like a steam train busting through a wall. It would be a great song for fast dancing. It's another favorite.
"I Am Nothing" is sad, slow, acoustic, low-fi. It reminds me of early Guided By Voices, and I love GBV, so that's good.
At the end of the tape there is an untitled, pretty, reversed, noise collage piece. It has nice textures and ends with a patiently building, ambient swell.
Great Tape by Beatriz Monteavaro, August 2013