|'Imagine the minds of Pink Floyd, The Wipers, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Sonic Youth molded into a strange hybrid brew.' That's how April's FAOTM Blue Remedy likes to describe their sound. SkidMcSkidder catches up with founding member, vocalist & guitarist Danielle Sottosanti aka Gutterpunkette18, and talks about, amongst other things, the indie scene in Tucson, Arizona, their heavy musical presence on the internet and what's the latest news from the Blue Remedy camp!|
SkidMcSkidder: Hi Danielle! How're things in sunny Tucson, Arizona?
Gutterpunkette18: Very hot here already. We've been getting temps in the 90s, but it's supposed to get a little cooler this week.
SkidMcSkidder: Wow! That's a rarity that kind of temp this side of the pond! (Laughs Out Loud)
SkidMcSkidder: You've recently begun playing solo gigs under the Blue Remedy banner, but before we talk about that, tell us a little about the original BR line up and how you started out.
Gutterpunkette18: Okay, we started out in 2000 with myself doing guitar and vocals, Todd Lilje doing guitar, Brian Wieber on bass, and then a multitude of drummers. Todd eventually left the band to join the Navy, and Brian and I found Aaron Wootton who became our lasting drummer. Aaron's a great drummer; he played in a lot of punk bands in England (around Bristol).
SkidMcSkidder: Cool! So you've a Brit onboard?! So what spurred you into playing more solo gigs?
Gutterpunkette18: Yeah, I've always admired England a lot, so it was great having Aaron in the band. As far as the solo shows go, in December I saw Calvin Johnson of K Records play with Little Wings opening for him, and I was inspired to start playing solo shows.
Gutterpunkette18: Out of necessity, more than anything as well, because we'd always had to refuse a lot of shows as the full band which I was not okay with. I ended up agreeing to all shows as a solo act.
SkidMcSkidder: Talking of the band - What inspired the band name of Blue Remedy?
Gutterpunkette18: Todd and I had been friends since high school. When we first sat down to talk of the band, he, his friend Jim, our original short-term bassist, and I brought lists of names we liked. We ended up combining our various names and voting on them.
Gutterpunkette18: Blue Remedy came in first in the vote, and Sonic Tangerine was a close second. Originally, I wasn't too sure of Blue Remedy as a name because my aunt said that it reminded her of Tidy Bowl toilet cleaner! But then I grew too like it.
SkidMcSkidder: Haha! I like it! No, I do agree though - it's a much better name than Sonic Tangerine. 8-)
SkidMcSkidder: So, What's the indie rock scene like in Tucson?
Gutterpunkette18: It's extremely commercialized. The University of Arizona's students make up a large part of the audience at clubs. Most U of A students care about little more than beer, so they rather go to bars and watch cover bands play than watch original music.
Gutterpunkette18: But there's also a lot of people here who try extremely hard to make this scene thrive. One of them is Steve Eye, who runs Solar Culture. Solar Culture is an art gallery which also serves as a venue for cool underground touring acts.
Gutterpunkette18: Some other great people here are Kathy who runs a youth venue and caters a lot to the underground scene, and also the people at Radio Limbo.
SkidMcSkidder: And do you get many acts touring through Tucson?
Gutterpunkette18: Yeah, we don't get many big touring acts because they go to Phoenix instead. But we do get quite a bit of indie stuff.
SkidMcSkidder: My US geography ain't that good - Phoenix is the biggest city in Arizona?
Gutterpunkette18: Yeah, it's our capital city. Tucson is the 2nd largest.
SkidMcSkidder: Gotcha. it's a similar situation here..
Gutterpunkette18: You live in Shrewsbury, right?
SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, Shrewsbury is about 50 miles from Birmingham our 2nd city - I have to travel to see bigger acts although there are some cool indie clubs locally such as the Buttermarket's Jazz & Roots Club.
SkidMcSkidder: You mention on your promo page that you plan to tour the South west at some point - any time soon?
Gutterpunkette18: Possibly as a solo act if I can hook up with similar acts. It will probably be sometime after next December when I finish school. I may eventually tour with the punk band I'm playing in, too.
SkidMcSkidder: What're you planning to do when you leave college?
Gutterpunkette18: I have no idea! Hopefully something with music. I've been talking with a sound engineer about hopefully learning sound. Eventually I'd like to start my own indie record label.
SkidMcSkidder: That'd be a cool job
Gutterpunkette18: Yeah, it would be cool.
When did you first pick up a guitar and what inspired you to play?
SkidMcSkidder: A bit of a drummer groupie huh? (Laughs Out Loud)
Gutterpunkette18: Yes, I still definitely am a drummer groupie. When I see bands play, I look at the drummers and think, "Oh, he's cute!"
Gutterpunkette18: Some things never change. (Laughs Out Loud).
SkidMcSkidder: (Damn! I'm a guitarist! (Laughs Out Loud)). So, did you learn on an acoustic or electric guitar?
Gutterpunkette18: (Laughs Out Loud). Electric. I never liked acoustic until I was in college. My first guitar was a cheap Strat copy, and then I sold my drums so I could buy a better one - a Fender Jag-Stang. I was a huge Kurt Cobain fan.
SkidMcSkidder: I ask as, as a kid a number of my friends (who all were into the same scene) started playing together and the two who picked up acoustic guitars sort of dropped out eventually and took a different, more mellow route in the music scene.
Gutterpunkette18: That definitely makes sense.
SkidMcSkidder: Okay, let's talk about the internet....
SkidMcSkidder: I see the band name all over the internet at different music web sites you really are making use of the net as a promotional tool - how do you find it has helped get the Blue Remedy scene noticed?
Gutterpunkette18: The Internet has been essential to Blue Remedy! I'm secretly very into learning about marketing and other promotion. I've always felt that the Internet brings the world into one huge scene which is better for artists getting known and sharing ideas.
Gutterpunkette18: One of my main goals in Blue Remedy has been to create a strong Internet presence. And IUMA for example is what got us our song released on Humble Rocks! Records out of Seattle, so I think it's paid off. And thanks for saying that about the band name. You literally made my day!
Gutterpunkette18: (Laughs Out Loud)
SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh - you answered my next question in your last reply - I was going to ask: How did the humble rocks CD deal happen? but there you go! So, Humble Rocks actually approached you?
Gutterpunkette18: Yeah, I'd always fretted about getting noticed by record labels, and when it happened I was totally surprised. One of their other bands, Kingpin Hayes, heard our music online through IUMA. They told the head of Humble Rocks!, Travis Luther, about us and he sent a long email.
Gutterpunkette18: I was more impressed by his musical vision than anything--"Recording tomorrow's music today!" So I was all for it.
SkidMcSkidder: Way cool. (Wonder when my pages'll get noticed?!! (Laughs Out Loud))
Gutterpunkette18: One of my dreams had been to get somehow involved in the Seattle music scene so I couldn't be happier!
SkidMcSkidder: How close is Seattle to you?
Gutterpunkette18: It's up the coast from us. About 2000 miles. I was there last summer and it was great.
SkidMcSkidder: Staying on the subject of CD's - you released a 4 track CD in December 2002 "Live & Raw" - any plans to follow up with a studio album?
Gutterpunkette18: Maybe as a solo project. I'd love to work in the Waterworks studio here with Jim Waters who worked with Sonic Youth. I don't know what's going on with the full band.
SkidMcSkidder: If you could play a set with any artist who would it be and why?
Gutterpunkette18: Cool question. I guess it would probably have to be Calvin Johnson from Beat Happening, etc. He seems to really foster the growth of new music, so I think it would be helpful.
Gutterpunkette18: Also, playing some shows with other SkidMark bands would be cool too like your band, or maybe The Bed from London.
Gutterpunkette18: For me, one of the best things about your site is that it has given me the chance to connect with such cool people in music that I otherwise wouldn't know.
SkidMcSkidder: Ha ha thanks Danielle - yeah, the Bed really have a completely new and distinctive sound but me aka Incubus Lovechild - I've resigned myself to purely writing / recording in my home studio - apart from a couple of shows on Bumpskey.com and the odd family shin dig, I haven't played live since '93!!
Talking of Bumpskey.com - do you get much internet radio exposure?
Gutterpunkette18: Yeah, we've gotten on Bumpskey and on garageradio.com. Those are the two that come to mind.
SkidMcSkidder: Excellent - Jerry's a great guy, in fact it was him that inspired me to launch SkidMark 2 years a go!
Gutterpunkette18: That is so great to hear. I always love hearing how people in music inspire other music.
SkidMcSkidder: Bumpskey to me is THE definitive indie show.
Gutterpunkette18: You've done such a great thing too, Mark. I'm always impressed by how many new bands keep getting added.
SkidMcSkidder: Thanks, I just wish I had the time to put more effort into the site
Gutterpunkette18: Well, the great thing about both Bumpskey and SkidMark is that the people who run them are also really nice. That's always a plus for me!
SkidMcSkidder: Don't - you'll make me blush! (Laughs Out Loud)
SkidMcSkidder: A question I always like asking interviewees, because of the weird and wonderful answers I get in return is: What's the most bizarre thing to have happened at a Blue Remedy gig?
Gutterpunkette18: About a year ago, we played a nice small gig at an art gallery. A homeless guy got past the door people and started doing 60s flower child dances to our music. I was singing "Mirror Mind" and he kept echoing me. The door people kicked him out, but I thought it was great that he was there!
SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh - I dance like that !!!
Gutterpunkette18: See, it was cool! I don't know why the door people got rid of him!
SkidMcSkidder: So what's the Blue Remedy vision for the rest of 2003?
Gutterpunkette18: Hmmm...the Blue Remedy vision. Well, now I'm totally inspired to create an even stronger Internet presence, to promote Blue Remedy and other music through my web/print 'zine De-Institutionalized, and to play a lot of shows.
SkidMcSkidder: Tell me more about De-Institutionalized.
Gutterpunkette18: I actually would really like to do an IM interview of you, and then also Glen of the Bed for the 'zine. I'd like to make an issue focus totally on the UK.
SkidMcSkidder: Rockin'! I'm up for that!
Gutterpunkette18: Well, there's really a lack of zines here in AZ. On the path to my indie record label idea, I'd like to do what Sub Pop did and slowly turn a zine into a label.
SkidMcSkidder: Sounds like a cunning plan
Gutterpunkette18:: I want to put a CD-R of some of the featured bands' music with each issue, so more people would hear it.
Gutterpunkette18: But the CD-R probably won't start for this issue or the next...
Gutterpunkette18: Lack of funds!
Gutterpunkette18: (Laughs Out Loud)
SkidMcSkidder: It's the sort of thing I'd like to do with SkidMark - I often send out an extra CD'r with FAOTM CD prizes which contains free downloaded MP3's from artist resources - to give a flavour of the different styles on the site and yes, I know the lack of funds side!! (Laughs Out Loud)
Gutterpunkette18: You have the right idea! And you've already started creating it with your MP3.com station, which is great.
SkidMcSkidder: I must admit - I've neglected the station since the corporate buy out on MP3.com and this means a lot of the featured tracks have automatically been removed. I must revamp it asap - thanks for reminding me!
MP3.com really is killing indie music by limiting artists to only 2 songs.
Gutterpunkette18: It will be fun when I interview you for the zine. I've never interviewed anyone before.
SkidMcSkidder: Humm.. I don't know how interesting it will be with the shoe on the other foot - I'm not the most interesting of people!!
Gutterpunkette18: Yeah, you are. I'll think of some cool questions before then. It will probably be in May right after my classes end.
SkidMcSkidder: Exactly - I've only just put a page up on Iuma last month.
Gutterpunkette18: You'll like it. I've found that more people use the "email the artist" feature on IUMA, so you'll get a lot of feedback.
SkidMcSkidder: I've only got one track up at present there - must put up my latest song "Black"
Gutterpunkette18: I'll listen to your track. I have one of your songs on my Institutionalized mp3.com station. I have to check that too. See if any of the listing have been affected.
SkidMcSkidder: Okay. Black is downloadable from the SkidMark MP3 links page.
SkidMcSkidder:: okay then shall we call it a day?
Gutterpunkette18: Sure, this was a great interview!
Gutterpunkette18: A lot of fun!
SkidMcSkidder: Well, you have a great day Danielle - Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, and being April's featured artist of the month!
Gutterpunkette18: It was great! I'm going to go back to sleep now, and then I'll go back online later today.
Gutterpunkette18: And you have a great day too, Mark!
Gutterpunkette18: Take care, and thanks for all the work you do!
SkidMcSkidder: Cool. Catcha later! x Skidder
Gutterpunkette18: Take care.
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Interview conducted using AOL instant messenger ™ 13-04-2003
© SkidMark Multimedia Productions MMIII