Tag Archives: Drunken Mermaid

And We’re Back with a Vengeance: Former champs, Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands

So August 2013 came and went in blur, and law school kind of kicked our publication schedule in the teeth – but the good the news is we’ve a got a glut of great contest submissions. The Battle of the Bands is now closed to entries, and we will resume running the finalists starting NOW.  What better way to challenge the awesome Red Nova, and what better way to come back, than with Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands? Those of you who’ve been with us know that they were the champions of our first 500 Dollar Battle of the Bands. We would LOVE to put them head to head with Missy and Chelsea (or better yet, on a double bill) somewhere down the road. For now, just consider them on the short list of “Bands that we will suck up to until we launch our record label” (2014 – its coming!). Without further ado, here’s their 2013 entry, Especially Your Mother:

It has been a very busy year for Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands, with over 150 shows from Canada to Austin, TX and New Orleans to Nashville in support of the latest release, “Muses and Bones.” Bright is rising through the ranks quickly and performed with the North Carolina Symphony in 2011 on an arrangement of her song “Toy Hammer,” at SXSW and Savannah Stopover in 2013 where she was highlighted by Savannah Now as one of the “Must See” acts, and will be featured as one of the On the Rise performers at FloydFest 2013. The group has an eclectic, haunting but yet whimsical, carnivalesque world folk sound. Singer/Songwriter Crystal Bright plays accordion, musical saw, concertina, piano, Taiko drum, adungu (Ugandan harp), and various others, leaving people captivated with her operatic & soulful vocals and virtuoso command of her exotic instruments. Together, the band “creates an uncommonly dignified circus sideshow or a melodramatic, gorgeous Eastern European street performance. Think Kate Bush with Tom Waits’ sense of humor, or maybe a Tim Burton film with the steampunk quotient maxed, alternating between reckless klezmer and enormous gothic ballads.”

drunkenmermaid.com: Who are your biggest influences these days?

Crystal Bright: Tom Waits, The Tiger Lilies, PJ Harvey, Lhasa de Sela, Yann Tiersen, The Gotan Project, Michael Nyman, Tori Amos, Flamenco, Children, Dreams

drunkenmermaid.com: It’s been about a year and a half since we last “spoke” –  which of your songs or albums is your favorite to date?

Crystal Bright: “Muses and Bones” is by far my favorite album so far. There was so much time and love put into it and it really encompasses all of my different sounds to date.

drunkenmermaid.com: What makes you unique?

Crystal Bright: I really play and write from my heart instead of trying to play a certain “genre.” I really love to collaborate with different kinds of artists, dancers, and performers. I am a crazy multi-tasker and love to play many different instruments from around the world.

If you need proof and Especially Your Mother didn’t do it for you, here’s Drowned Out that won the 2012 Spring battle:

drunkenmermaid.com: What has been your biggest challenge/hurdle to date?

Crystal Bright: Keeping a steady line up of musicians that can go on tour with me constantly and still have jobs. It’s been pretty stable for a year now, which has been great!

drunkenmermaid.com: What has been your best experience to date?

Crystal Bright: There isn’t just one, but I really love all of the new friends that I’ve made from touring. It has been amazing. Also, playing with the NC Symphony on one of my songs was pretty amazing.

drunkenmermaid.com: When is your next song/album coming out? What can you tell us about it?

Crystal Bright: I will hopefully have an EP out by the end of 2013.

drunkenmermaid.com: Are you working on any videos?

Crystal Bright: There is a live DVD of one of our Cabaret shows being worked on right now, so can’t wait to see that! It involved silk aerials, acrobats, fire dancing, burlesque and a lot of other dance while the band played live.

We can’t wait! – drunkenmermaid.com

Our Other Favourite Creature from the Deep: Brother Octopus!

Brother OctopusWay back in August of last year, we at Drunken Mermaid became sober enough to realize there was something else interesting lurking in the depths, something lurking in that OTHER pond on the left coast of North America, where Drunken Mermaid gets far too infrequently, given our penchant for washing up on Cape Ann, or heading up the Thames for a pint or twelve. That “something else” has since emerged from the Pacific Ocean and is taking over Edmonton, much in the same way as Godzilla owns Tokyo, albeit with electronic riffs and plush octopods rather than pyrotechnics. We give you 2013 Edmonton Music Award Nominee BROTHER OCTOPUS!

drunkenmermaid.com: Where did the concept for Brother Octopus emerge from (other than the deep)?

Brother Octopus: Under the depths of the Pacific Ocean, it can become quite dark and lonely at times. Luckily for me, a “human” from above decided to drop a guitar into the ocean which had sank down to where I resided. I picked up the guitar and played it to my hearts delight, eventually I learned how to play the drums and keyboard. The name Brother Octopus began to take it’s place through the voices of my friends. Lady Friend had loved my name so much that we decided to stick with it as our band-name.

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about yourselves – who are Brother Octopus and Lady Friend in the real world (whatever that is)?

Brother Octopus: The real world is boring. I’m half man, half octopus currently living in the city of Edmonton, Alberta. Canada. The only real thing here is the snow and it gets cold!

Lady Friend: I would prefer not to state my real name since I’m a wanted woman for stealing a chocolate bar in my early ages. If it wasn’t for Brother Octopus, I’d still be serving time in jail for life! I owe him the world but all I can offer him is my vocal and tambourine skills which I put to good use on Tentacle Trauma.

drunkenmermaid.com: You recently released your first full length album, the 7-track Tentacle Trauma.  What went into its creation? 

Brother Octopus: It’s actually a 6-track EP since the 7th track is a hidden bonus track (thanks a lot Drunken Mermaid!). We incorporated plenty of silliness into this album including songs about Jurassic Park, Animals and even Aliens. We like to write songs out of the ordinary but with serious intentions. It’s meant to make you laugh and enjoy the overall track at the same time so I think Tentacle Trauma nailed the tail on the donkey.

drunkenmermaid.com: How does it differ from your debut EP, Yukilo?

Brother Octopus: Well, Yukilo was the first album we’ve ever released and so it will always be dear to my heart. Since it only had 3 full tracks on the album, I think that Yukilo was considered more of a sampler album – a taste of what’s to come and Tentacle Trauma is the icing on the cake. However, the cherry on the top is yet to come.

drunkenmermaid.com: What are your favorite tracks to date?

Brother Octopus: Underwater Mysteries from Yukilo

Lady Friend: Recreational Zoo from Tentacle Trauma

While we’re at it, here’s the video for Recreational Zoo:

drunkenmermaid.com: Who are your influences? What do you take from them? What do you add?

Brother Octopus: For me, I’d have to say The XX and King Cobb Steely are my main influences for Brother Octopus. I love the elements that The XX brings into their sound and we have the boy/girl vocals in common with them. King Cobb Steely just has that cool electronic vibe to his tracks and so we incorporated that to our music and added some playful lyrics.

Lady Friend: Daft Punk, definitely. I’ve always been a fan of the electronic sounds of Daft Punk and I’m happy to be in a band that can bring in some of that awesome sound. Chemical Brothers is also a favourite of mine.

drunkenmermaid.com: Good stuff. What song do you wish you’d written? How would it sound as performed by Brother Octopus?

Brother Octopus: Lately, I’ve been digging that Tegan & Sara song called Closer but I’m sure if Brother Octopus wrote it, it would become to be a song about Robots for some reason. I like Robots.

drunkenmermaid.com: What does the future hold – is there a particular direction you’d like to take your unique brand of music?

Brother Octopus: We are already working on a full-length album which will be entitled Sea Of Champions and is due for release in late 2013. I’d like to get our music into a comedy film or commercial. It seems to be the most prominent way of receiving exposure. However, with so many artists to choose from, I’m sure we’re just a drop in the ocean (see what I did there?).

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about your live gigs. What is it like to see Brother Octopus in the flesh?

Lady Friend: Brother Octopus insists on always bringing a plush toy of an Octopus to EVERY show and sometimes throws toy tentacles around on stage. It’s really a sight to see. I’m usually the one in the background trying to avoid the soaring tentacles, I’d like to keep my eyes intact.

Brother Octopus: I like to have fun on stage! I wear my bright red top hat and octopus ties. I mean, we’re already singing about silly things, why not dress silly as well?

drunkenmermaid.com: That said, where can we see you in the near future?

Brother Octopus: Although, we’ve only been touring around in the province of Alberta, we’d like to expand our tours not only within Canada, but to the US as well. You can always keep up to date with our shows by liking our facebook page and following us on twitter.

Drunken Mermaid suggests you do, while we wait for their immanent victory in the 2013 Edmonton Music Awards.

Dinner, Sex and a Movie

Dinner, Sex and a Movie_ebookAnd now to start the new year with some shameless self promotion – Drunken Mermaid/drunkenmermaid.com co-founder Sean Develin has just released his latest work, a five-act stage play/romantic comedy, on Kindle. But be warned, it’s chick lit, or wants to be, anyway. The female advance readers loved it; the men, not so much. Their responses ranged from “It’s OK” to vomiting followed by testosterone replacement therapy. We say give it a read, and if you feel you’ve been estrogen-poisoned, listen to some Reverence and that will purge all that from your system and get your T levels back up.

Happy New Year.

From Bulgaria with Love: Bee in the Bonnet

Drunken Mermaid got turned onto Bulgarian rockers Bee in the Bonnet through our friends at One Song World. Bee in the Bonnet is Martin Profirov (Drums), Bogdan Dmitrov (Kitara), Krasimir Tenev (Bass), and stunning frontwoman Teodora Ilieva. We caught up with Teodora fresh off their appearance at Spirit of Burgas, where they played alongside the likes of Sum 41 and Korn.

Bogdan Dmitrov, Krasimir Tenev, Teodora Ilieva, and Martin Profirov

drunkenmermaid.com: How did Bee in the Bonnet form?

We all love playing, travelling, making our own music, meeting different kinds of people. This is our lifestyle. That’s what brought each one of us in the band. The initial idea was to play covers abroad. But, even during our first tour, we started making our original songs. And from the very beginning until today everything happens at high speed and passion.

drunkenmermaid.com: How did you come up with name Bee in the Bonnet?

The idea came from the fact that we do not restrict ourselves to one style. Sometimes we have more ideas in the field of alternative rock, sometimes it’s funk and sometimes it is a ballad with alternative elements. So that’s why: “Bee in the Bonnet”, whatever comes in our minds, it is out!

drunkenmermaid.com: What is your favorite Bee in the Bonnet Song so far?

It is always the last one! Now we are making new records again. My favorite is the one that I recorded yesterday. It’s called Requiem for a Bastard. Soon you’ll be able to hear it.

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about that making of the video for Sundays.

The video was filmed very light and it was extremely fun. Because of our great happiness in our work it always goes like this. In this video we have a lyrical hero. Her name is Martina Dimova and she did a great job. She was extremely professional and brought the presence we needed.

drunkenmermaid.com: Musically, who are your main influences?

Every one of us likes different music and probably has different influences. But anyway, we are able to have our own approach and thinking in the creation of our music.

drunkenmermaid.com: What song would you most like to cover?

If it should be only one, there will be disagreements, for sure… Maybe something by Muse. Just maybe…

drunkenmermaid.com: What are your favorite venues to play live?

We love playing at festivals. Our last festival performance was this month at Spirit of Burgas. We also play very often in all kinds of clubs, bars and parties and it is always a good experience for us.

Bee in the Bonnet at Spirit of Burgas (2011 edition)

drunkenmermaid.com: Where would you like to perform that you haven’t yet?

Wherever someone would invite us and where our music would be appreciated.

drunkenmermaid.com: In that case, we’d like to see you in Philly, Boston and London, for starters. In the meantime, when will you be releasing your next album? What can you tell us about the new tracks?

We are working on our new album at the moment. But recently our last album “Tick your time and tock the rest of it” is already available in the major sites for distribution. It is issued by the U.S. company FCB records/I.O.D.A.

You can give Bee in the Bonnet’s new track a listen in our Amazon store, and visit them on Myspace and facebook.

Fashion Profile: Maria Smirlis of HARAH Designs

Maria Smirlis and her family have been product developers and manufacturers in the fashion industry for 5 generations in Europe and for the past fifty years in Australia. The HARAH name was established at Byron Bay NSW Australia in early 2006; the hand made limited edition and the one off products have been available to an existing client base for several years. HARAH Designs is always in touch with current fashion trends in London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, New York and with an added individual edge creates a unique, eclectic product. Maria has held shows at venues such as Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Australia and other prominent venues throughout Melbourne and Sydney.

All HARAH products are designed by Ms. Smirlis and she controls and supervises their manufacture in Australia.

drunkenmermaid.com: What inspired you to launch HARAH Designs?

Maria: At age 12 I began making my own clothes and by 13 I had my own clientele. I was really alternative and loved punk music so I use to make some wild, unique clothes that you could not buy in the shops so there was quite a demand for it. By about 16 I was singing in punk bands and making all our stage clothes. I left the music career behind at about 18 and went and studied fashion design. I ended up working for a lot of the major corporations like Holeproof, Dunlop Pacific, Clarkes, and Country Road. This meant going a bit straight and coping with the politics and all the red tape, which was not easy. So after 25 years in the corporate world in Melbourne I moved to Byron Bay and Launched HARAH Designs.

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about your background. Did you study fashion design? How did your career progress?

Maria:  I am a fifth generation fashion designer. My family have been in the business of product development and manufacturing for generations in Europe and Australia. So you could say it is in my blood. I was taught to use all the machines when I was about seven in my parents’ factory. I worked in the factory afterschool and on school Holidays to help my parents. Believe me, I was not always happy about it – one time  I even chopped up some garments in a complete rage!

I ended up just loving fashion and went to Melbourne College of Textiles, RMIT and Box Hill TAFE to study fashion.

drunkenmermaid.com: Where do you draw your inspiration?

Maria: Simply, I draw my inspiration from people and their personalities.

drunkenmermaid.com: How many designs does HARAH usually produce in a year?

Maria: We make a lot of custom made to measure garments for our clients so we can produce hundreds of variations over a year.

drunkenmermaid.com: You currently offer several established product lines. Can you tell us about any upcoming collections?

Maria: Never – it’s always top secret (ha ha). But I can assure you it will be based around comfort and glamour.

drunkenmermaid.com: Who would you like to see in one of your dresses?

Maria: I would love to see Kylie Minogue in one of our dresses. She is so cute and fun.

drunkenmermaid.com: Where can our readers see your designs and buy your dresses?

Maria: Our dresses are available at harahdesigns.com or facebook.com/harahdesigns
We are purely an online business.

drunkenmermaid.com: And one worth visiting.

Ten Questions: R.B. Wood

This week, novelist R.B Wood is re-launching his novel The Prodigal’s Foole as an indie. We took a few minutes to catch up with him.

drunkenmermaid.com: You arrived on the scene with The Prodigal’s Foole in 2011. What was the motivation for the book?

I’ve always loved the fantastical–whether Sci-fi, pure fantasy or old comic books.  The stories that most entertain me are ones with well-fleshed out characters with all the flaws and foibles that we all have.  But the final catalyst, believe it or not, are all the stories about a “magical world” where there was always a reason “normal” people couldn’t understand or see the power.  Muggles in “Harry Potter” or the “Mist” of Rick Riordan’s stories, for example.  I wanted to explore what magic would mean in the real world– who would control it?  What would the modern age of instant communications and cellphone videos mean?  How would the dynamics change?  That theme of awakening will be throughout the series, seen from Symon Bryson’s perspective.

drunkenmermaid.com: Where, when, and how do you write?

Like many writers with ‘day jobs’ and normal lives, the answer is whenever and wherever I can.  I carry a notebook with me at all times.  I cherish the rare quiet times in my home where I can create for hours at a time.

drunkenmermaid.com: Who’s your favorite character? From where did he or she emerge? 

Symon Bryson, the main character of The Prodigal’s Foole is my absolute favorite.  He’s a hero who has absolutely no desire to be one.  Although he has a strong sense of right and wrong; Symon has no code of ethics to limit what he does to get the ‘bad guys.’ He’s a blast to write about.

drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about the next book in the series.

The Young Practitioner takes place only a few months after The Prodigal’s Foole.  The search is on for the evil released in the first book, but the story is about characters and family and the complexities of both.  The action is ramped up as well.  There are ramifications of Symon’s actions (and what he represents to the Church) that have to be dealt with.

drunkenmermaid.com: You are notorious for plotting far, far, down the road. What comes next, when this series is done?

I have five books in The Arcana Chronicles already mapped.  I have an outline for a SciFi trilogy that I’m tinkering with and a few collaboration projects I’m working on.  Beyond that, I have an idea for a screenplay and a comic book series I’d love to get off the ground.

drunkenmermaid.com: You are active in a number of writer’s groups. Who should we be on the lookout for? 

There are a lot of writers out there who have a marvelous sense of the craft.  On the SciFi front, Leah Petersen and Steve Umstead jump to mind.  Steve just completed his first trilogy, a military-style action thriller called Gabriel’s Journey is available now.  Leah’s first book, Fighting Gravity, has just been released by Dragon Moon Press.  (Funny you should mention that, see previous post 😉 – The Eds.) And Eden Baylee is a wonderful erotica writer who’s Fall into Summer is a must-read for couples.  There are many more, quite a few of which feature on my monthly podcast, The Word Count.

drunkenmermaid.com: Who wins in fight: Babylon 5, Star Trek, Doctor Who or Battlestar Galactica?  

Babylon 5.  Because I loved the series arc and Straczynski’s writing—and because the lovely Patricia Tallman– who played the red-headed Lyta Alexander on the series– sent me a wonderful note about how much she loved The Prodigal’s Foole.

drunkenmermaid.com: Still reading comic books? Which ones?

The beauty of having a sixteen-year-old son is being able to get back into comics all over again.  We are wandering through Ironman, X-men and the Amazing Spiderman back issues now.  I have a brand new copy of Watchmen and the entire run of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman waiting for him when he’s ready.

drunkenmermaid.com: And now our signature question that we plague all of our writer guests with, starting with Jim Morrow: Think of one of your favorite novels by someone else.  What is it? How does its first sentence read if you wrote it?

Wow.  Just pick one, huh?  Well let’s start when I was much younger with the stories that started my imagination churning.  I’ll pick one of my earliest influences, H. G. Well’s War of the Worlds— which I’ve probable ready two dozen times at this point.  The original first line which is arguably one of the most famous in SciFi history:

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s…”

I could never improve it, but my take on a start would be something creepy and from the perspective of the Martians:

“For millennia they watched their neighbor from their own dying world with a mixture of jealousy and anger…”

drunkenmermaid.com: Rich, great catching up with you. Where can your readers find you in the coming months? 

I’m always around online via twitter (@rbwood), Facebook and via my website.  Readers can also subscribe to my free podcast, The Word Count, which features new writers reading their own original stories based on a different theme every show.

Away from the computer, I’ll be at ReaderCON this summer as always.

It’s been a pleasure catching up with you as well.

The Prodigal’s Foole is available in Paperback and Kindle editions. It is FREE on Kindle April 20, 21 and 22 – The Eds.