interview Archive

Mdou Moctar Plays By His Own Rules

The digital age brought with it some fundamental shifts in music industry paradigms. Tuareg guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar was a beneficiary of those changes, leveraging them to catapult himself to prominence in his home country of Niger. More than a decade later, he’s signed to an established label and touring the globe with his

Combo Chimbita: The Music Tells the Stories

It was five years ago when the four Colombia-born members of Combo Chimbita released their debut EP, El Corredor del Jaguar. At the time — and for a couple of years to follow — the group made a point of defining its music as “tropical futurism.” They explained that to mean that the group made

For Destroy Boys, The Personal is Political

Co-led by guitarist Violet Mayugba and singer Alexia Roditis, Sacramento punk band Destroy Boys debuted with the 2015 studio EP Sorry Mom. The band’s profile got an early boost when they were favorably mentioned in a 2016 Rolling Stone feature on Green Day. And by 2018 — around the time of the release of their

Don’t Fret: Banjoist Nora Brown

Nora Brown is a celebrated roots musician. She released her debut album, Cinnamon Tree, in 2019. That album showcases Brown’s facility on the banjo, as well as her keen understanding of the musical traditions of the Appalachian region. A popular fixture on the festival circuit, Brown gave a TED talk, appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk

A Conversation with The Residents’ Spokesman Homer Flynn (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: The Residents’ Ralph Records was launched in ’72, and the label always existed well outside of what could be considered the ‘commercial sphere.’ In some ways, that almost made its existence sort of counterintuitive. Was there ever a point at which the label was financially remunerative, and was that

A Conversation with The Residents’ Spokesman Homer Flynn (Part 1 of 2)

I recently interviewed Homer Flynn of The Cryptic Corporation, discussing the Residents, the anonymous avant garde group of which Flynn may or may not be a founding member. The conversation – a kind of followup to my 2006(!) interview of Hardy Fox – formed the basis of my feature for SF Weekly. But a great

Permanent Residents: SF’s Notorious Avant Garde Collective Looks to the Future

Few in the early 1970s might have predicted that one of music’s strangest (and most original) acts would continue to tour and release new music well into the 21st century. But San Francisco-based avant garde collective The Residents have always confounded expectations. Though the group’s history is by design murky and mysterious, it’s generally accepted

Flights Are Back on Schedule for Travers Brothership

Brothers Kyle and Eric Travers launched their band, Travers Brothership, nearly a decade ago in Black Mountain. After a few years of honing their approach, they recorded and released their debut album, A Way to Survive, in 2016. That same year the rock/jam/blues band won the title of “#1 Alternative Band in WNC” in the

Rodrigo y Gabriela Take on Jazz, Metal and the Future

Though their music is rooted in acoustic flamenco guitar, Mexico City-based instrumental duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are open to – and draw from – the entirety of popular and traditional music. Across more than two decades, six studio albums, three live releases, three EPs and countless live dates across the globe, Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela

Sandy’s: Rewarding the Listener’s Investment

The third album from psych-pop outfit Sandy’s, Magic Mind has a shimmering, multilayered character that may evoke thoughts of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots-era Flaming Lips, early Crowded House and even Pet Sounds. Yet it sounds like none of those things; the third album from the Bay Area group is a fully-realized work that showcases