13 07 2013

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!

“It’s important to have goals and dreams,” Alec Stephens III tells me, the lead singer and frontman of the soulful and funky Bushwick music collective I AM THE THIRD, “and to me it kind of speaks to the music that we create, which is positive, but real. Stuff that people struggling could relate to, people hustling could relate to, people striving could relate to… Celebrating where you are and where you want to go – that’s what our music is to me.” Minutes ago I AM THE THIRD successfully headlined the show at Rockwood Music Hall, a two-space venue located on one of the many dimly lit streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It’s not an easy task for a local music collective – that isn’t even local to the area they are playing – to bring a big crowd for the show that begins less than an hour to midnight on a Sunday, but I AM THE THIRD did just that and the band couldn’t be happier with the big turn-out. It’s now long past midnight and we are standing outside the venue in the breeze too cold for April. Constantly interrupted by the local homeless we are chatting about the essence that makes I AM THE THIRD the band that it is today.


“A lot of people ask me what genre of music we play, and I could never quite pinpoint it. The sound that we create comes from many different musical inspirations,” bassist Kat Melen shares. “However different, those inspirations are blending together really well at this point,” adds keyboardist Brandon Bujnowski. “We’ve been together for two years now and all of our different styles and backgrounds that we come from are turning into one thing that is I AM THE THIRD. We have ‘the sound’ now that we all understand and respect.”

“Prince pioneered the Minneapolis sound,” Kat laughs, ”so I guess we’re pioneering the Bushwick sound.”

We all laugh along, but she is right. It’s difficult to accurately describe the band’s sound. Although deeply rooted in soul, funk, R&B, and indie rock, the music that I AM THE THIRD creates is nothing like any of the mentioned genres. It’s an original explosion of telepathic energy within a large group of people. The musicians are then able to radiate that same energy onto the crowd and pull everyone around them into their own positivity ritual. A tight rhythmic section, consisting of the drummer Steve Rays, percussionist LS Bell, and bassist Kat Melen, provides an ever-present tribal spirit. Brandon Bujnowski’s quick and playful touch on keys dances along to the beat, while Dan Victor’s guitar ties the whole wild rhythm together. As the soulful voice of Alec Stephens III soars over the music you can imagine the risky harmonies falling apart at any second, but they never do. The musicians feel exactly where they are all going with their music and they hit it just right.

“Groove Machine” live performance from Rockwood


“I come from an acting background,” Alec tells me, “but when I moved to Brooklyn I was inspired by the music scene there. Soon enough I wanted to be a part of it.”

“First time I met Alec,” Dan recalls, “he was the MC at a newly formed Potion Collective open mic. He would introduce the bands that went on to play.”

A lot of musicians of I AM THE THIRD met in one way or another through these Potion Collective open mic nights, but Alec was the catalyst that put the band together. “He really has a vision and we let him guide that vision,” Dan explains. “We all come from different backgrounds musically and we all contribute our own personal touch. We create music that truly is a blend. We’re inspired and we’re trying to attain a certain level of being, a connection with people.”


JEANNE MARIE BOES: Hard work breeds sweet fruits

29 11 2012

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!


“Someday I want to make my living just playing music,” Jeanne Marie Boes tells me. This young singer-songwriter from Astoria, Queens doesn’t doubt her upcoming success one bit. “Music is my life,” she says, “I go to sleep and wake up to it. For the last few years I’ve been taking every possible way to make it as a performer and I believe that hard work breeds sweet fruits.” There is not a sign of doubt in Jeanne’s voice and upon listening to her music performed live and on her records I must admit her confidence is well-deserved.

Jeanne on BalconyTV in 2012 – watch the video here

Jeanne grew up in a house where Frank Sinatra was played alongside Led Zeppelin, so her musical background is anything but one-sided. “My parents always listened to different kinds of music and I loved it. We had a piano in the house, so naturally I began tapping the keys and hearing the different sounds it made. I started playing the piano seriously at an early age and simply never stopped. Probably never will,” says Jeanne.

Jeanne’s latest video for “Answered Call”


MMPR interview: Power Rangers reimagined!

18 08 2012

“Alpha, Rita’s escaped! Recruit a team of teenagers with attitude!”

… Not exactly.

Presenting (cue the lightning bolts!) MMPR: Power Rangers reimagined!

As you probably guessed, once SNT heard the awesome folks at Codebreaker Productions and Rollin Studios were shooting a brand new POWER RANGERS WEB SERIES – we were all over it.

Director/Cinematographer Dominick Sivilli and Producer Louis Maldarelli answered some questions for SNT about their latest project, which was kept strictly under wraps – until now! The teaser trailer is premiering at the Official Power Morphicon convention in Los Angeles this weekend, and is now LIVE on the web!

Questions and teaser after the jump!


MARY DESIREE: Music is my sanctuary

25 07 2012

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!


“Music is my sanctuary,” says Mary Desiree. “It’s my shelter from the wind when I feel angry or upset. To me music is like libraries and diners… When I’m feeling mad or upset about something – that’s where I go to find peace. Or I just sit down and write a song!”

Mary Desiree, the 21-year old singer and songwriter from Queens comes across as a quiet girl with a radiant smile, but this is a classic case of don’t-judge-the-book-by-it’s-cover. Her music speaks of heartbreaks and loss. “Music is very personal to me,” says Mary. “Every song I write is based on something real, something that I have experienced. This is my way of dealing with things.” She admits, however, that the first few songs she ever wrote were a lot happier. “I was a high school sophomore taking vocal training classes and writing a well-structured song was a homework assignment. And just like any normal sixteen-year-old I wrote about love and wore a heart on my sleeve. It was very cheesy. But that was years ago. Time passed. I got introduced to new things. New experiences happened. My view on the world had changed and, naturally, so did my songwriting.”

Now Mary Desiree is a waitress and a mother, but often enough she picks up her guitar and makes the magic happen. “Having so much to do every day makes me tired and more irritable. And when I get irritated – I write. It’s a great way to release emotions. Anger is my inspiration nowadays and songwriting is my way of coping with it. I realized that the songs that I wrote when I was upset and angry – they are the most beautiful ones. It’s strange… I am normally a pretty happy person.”


ed tullett: poetic sounds from the UK

12 04 2012

i first heard 18-year-old UK musician ed tullett‘s song “ribboned blood” on a random tumblr playlist, and was struck immediately by the jangling banjo and his strong, distinct sound, both musically and lyrically. the brooding acoustics on his new album never joy – released december 2011 – were completely (and impressively!) written, recorded, and produced by ed himself. he’s a great example of just how independently successful you can be when you embrace what the internet can do for your music. never joy is available for free download on bandcamp, and thanks to his open dialogue with fans from around the globe on multiple social media platforms (and of course his undeniable talent), the first pressing of his CD recently sold out. we spoke to ed to find out more about his music, what inspires him, how he feels about the new model of the music industry, and more. check it out!


FUCTIPHINO: live + interview!

10 04 2012

New music writing from Ignas Bautrenas!

FUCTIPHINO: 1) A mystical animal; 2) #%^&!@$?/*; 3) A punk rock trio from Brooklyn, NY.

Lee Pilgrim drives me to Brooklyn and I meet up with the rest of FUCTIPHINO around 1pm. Their practice space is located in the basement of an apartment building, on one of Bushwick’s residential streets. They’re hanging outside, sipping their morning coffee, and Babs is cursing out loud at the paper cup for being too hot. Tim Skrewd is chewing his sandwich and complaining about a headache from a party he went to a night before. It’s still just a casual Saturday morning for the three of them although the time is long past noon already. Once Tim’s sandwich is gone they go downstairs, plug in their gear, tune up, and pound through their set which takes approximately twenty minutes. The music is quick, loud, simple, with a few curse words here and there. But hey, it’s punk rock! And as opposed to many punk rock bands – you can actually hear what these guys are saying. “We don’t crank our instruments up to the max like most bands do,” Lee Pilgrim tells me during their cigarette break, “our lyrics are just as important as our music. It would be good for people to hear what we have to say.”

Who are these three guys, you ask? Fucked if I know!

No, seriously, I’m not being rude. FUCTIPHINO, pronounced “Fucked-If-I-Know” as you might have guessed, is a simple-minded and straight-forward punk rock trio from Brooklyn, New York. “Why do you spell your title this way?” I ask the lead vocalist and bassist Lee Pilgrim. “Well,” Lee tells me, “imagine, that you’re in a safari, right? You’re wearing the whole hunter gear, have a gun by your side and you’re driving around looking to kill the infamous, bloodthirsty Fuctiphino. Get it?” That pretty much sums it up, I think.


NOW FUNDING: Send hennaflower to Africa Fashion Week NY!

27 03 2012

The always lovely Miss Robin Shumays – New York-based fashion designer, Middle Eastern dancer, and brand new mommy – recently kicked off an IndieGoGo campaign to relaunch her gorgeous fashion line hennaflower and take it to Africa Fashion Week NY this coming July!

Robin puts passion into everything she does, and this chance to bring her line to life in a new way is such an important one. hennaflower is an original couture party dress line with a fun, flirty, ethnic edge that stems from her love of Indian, Middle Eastern, and African culture and textiles. Robin’s first pieces were a cross between Bollywood and Old Hollywood, and she is now dreaming up the line’s return with a new collection that marries Africa and French can-can dancers! We really want to see how it will turn out – and you can help!

Her campaign is a relatively quick one, so please check it out by CLICKING HERE – your contributions will go towards the entrance fee for the fashion show, fabric and notions to finish the collection, new photos, a new website and promotional materials in preparation for the show. There are some really fantastic rewards like hennaflower headbands and scarflettes and opportunities for exposure on the hennaflower website and lookbook. And if you can’t contribute, PLEASE share share share the link! In crowdfunding as in most of life’s efforts – every little bit helps!

We asked Robin a few questions about herself, what this opportunity means to her, and for recommendations on some of her favorite things – check it out!


SNT’s Audrey Leopard gets styled by Sammy Davis Vintage!

2 12 2011

I had the awesome pleasure of being styled by the fabulous Sammy Davis of the blog Sammy Davis Vintage recently!!!

Sammy is such a bright personality – I was instantly hooked by her style, vintage savvy, and super upbeat attitude! She’s a stylist and writer who runs her blog to share tips and tricks for vintage newbies, sellers, and enthusiasts alike, and she’s got a ton of great visuals and videos to boot (and not to mention a very healthy dose of positive energy)! For this video, we met at lovely NYC vintage boutique A Little Wicked and I got a crash course in shopping for vintage for the first time, and it was SUCH A BLAST. Vintage virgin -> vintage convert. TRUTH!

Watch the video below and then click HERE to jump to Sammy’s site to read the article and find out which of the outfits I picked ;)

Thank you SO MUCH to Sammy (and producer Chris, of course!) for this opportunity – keep an eye out for SNT’s exclusive video interview with Sammy coming up SOON!

Vintage (convert) loveeee,

– da leopard

VIDEO INTERVIEW: MC Lars + live clips!

11 11 2011

A few weeks ago we got to hang with the one and only MC LARS after the last show of his tour at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory on 10/29/11 (the same weekend of NYC’s freak October snowstorm!) to film a little interview video that features some seriously golden advice for creatives of any kind, especially when it comes to validation and what “making it” really means!

Interview by Audrey Leopard, shot (in the rain/snow & darkness..) & edited by Eric Whiptastic

We love MC Lars and his post-punk laptop rap because he’s a true inspiration for DIY’ers everywhere, especially indie musicians. He runs with the new model of the music biz – download/steal/burn my music, buy my merch (see “Black and Yellow T-Shirts“!!), come to my shows and we’ll all have a good-a$$ time. He wisely turned his back on the superficialities of the industry in favor of doing it all himself, working REALLY hard, and having an awesome time doing it. MC Lars stays true to himself, his message, and the music he wants to make, and because of his work ethic, devotion to his fans, and killer business savvy he’s been able to make a real living off of it, which is every DIY’er’s dream.

MC Lars, you f&@*(!king RULE. Check out the interview for some awesome words of wisdom from Lars in the falling snow ;) as well as what’s coming up next for him – including a kids hip hop album, a literary album, a book on the history of hip hop AND a kids hip hop TV SHOW!!!

Check out his music HERE on Bandcamp (he just dropped his latest album Lars Attacks!), AND don’t forget to check out our clips from the super sick show that night at Knitting Factory after the jump!


VIDEO INTERVIEW: Miss Coney Island 2011 and burlesque starlet Lefty Lucy!

9 10 2011

We couldn’t imagine kicking off our SNT video coverage in a more awesome way than with the 2012 Miss Coney Island pageant!

We spoke with Miss Coney Island 2011, LEFTY LUCY, before the start of the show. Looking as glittery and fabulous as ever, Lefty talked to us about what wearing the crown has been like this past year, what makes her burlesque acts unique, and what you can expect from Coney Island this fall – this fun doesn’t stop just because summer is over!

Lefty made her debut in the NYSB Showcase in January 2009 at the Slipper Room, and has been performing, kittening, and gogo dancing all over the East Coast ever since. She’s a founding member of Storybook Burlesque and original cast member of Epic Win Burlesque, and also co-produces Drive Thru Burlesque with Sizzle Dizzle.

Video interview by Audrey Leopard, shot/edited by Eric Whiptastic – check it out after the jump!