Thursday, September 1, 2016

Interview: "Stranger Things"-Themed Concert This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 11:45 AM

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We know, you finished watching the first season of Netflix's hit series, "Stranger Things," a long time ago. You've already gone through the worst of your withdrawal symptoms from blatant 1980s references.

But this weekend a group of artists are coming together at Broadberry on Saturday, Sept. 3 to perform DJ sets and live music inspired by the series' dark, synth-heavy score (also similar to the one used in the Carpenter-inspired film, "It Follows.") Here's the Facebook page for the Upside Down RVA dance party; tickets are $10 in advance and the show is 18 and up.

The DJ sets will be by Mass FX and Cam Dinunzio (ex-Denali) while the live performances wil be by Magnus Lush, Heartacer and "multidimensional instrumentalist" 11:11.

Fans are encouraged to come in costume. Plus there will be installations, inspired visuals, a fan art wall, a polaroid-style photo booth, and of course, a "ceremonial shotgun for Barb." Also if you don't know what we mean about the show's music, watch this cool synth-heavy video tutorial.

We caught up with Charles Rasputin, the Norfolk-based muralist and conceptual artist behind the event, via e-mail for a few questions:

Style: Who is putting this on?

Rasputin: The UpsideDown is the name of the event but ALCHEMY UNDERGROUND is the name of our Norfolk-based creative team. I am the CD and lead operative and also work as a muralist and conceptual artist. My collaborative partner is Careyann Weinberg, she helps coordinate a lot of what happens behind the scenes and helps with big picture stuff in executing special projects. We do venue and event management, brand development, curatorial consultation and a bit of interior design. We have a great team that helps us out on nuanced projects and special operations so we can stay versatile and informed. We operate the venue and artspace Work | Release in Norfolk, Virginia in addition to client work and community work.

How did the "Stranger Things" night come about?

This was a fun thing we cooked up at our artspace and venue in Norfolk/Va Beach and wanted to share with other fans of the show. We loved the show's influences and the dark / sci-fi legacy of the '80s. "Stranger Things" seemed to capture lots of elemental feelings and aesthetic very concisely and perfectly in a tight little package. The UpsideDown (named after the nether dimension in the show) gave an update to the '80s dance party format that has typically in 2016 become such a "neon headband" parody. It gave us a darker aesthetic to sample - sci-fi and horror with accessible materials for creating props and set building. Also the show was so much of a remix that we thought it fitting to borrow and remix in the same spirit with adoration and credit.

What appeals to everyone about the music from the series?

There is an element to the aesthetic that makes you feel like you're curling up with a book, when you're just binge watching something fun on Netflix. The music is at the same time nostalgic and futuristic and the soundtrack filled with classics and great original composition.

Part of the show's sourcing of Austin's S U R V I V E is why we try to use locally specific synth based bands or bands that share aesthetic with key classics on the sound track. "Stranger Things" is amazing at setting a mood using classic and original music and we wanted The UpsideDown to mirror this as well.

What do you know about the bands performing?

Magnus Lush is an awesome Richmond band we had run across in our research. They are a dark, ambient, postpunk three-piece. There weren't necessarily synth-based, but captured this very tough and thoughtful feminine presence with elements of everything from Joy Division to Jefferson Airplane that I thought would set a perfect tone.

Heartracer is a group of fellows from Richmond that are impeccable performers and have a perfect 80s synth sound that really keeps the energy high and executes a mix of visual creativity and pop infused musician ship. Their original songs will make a dancefloor move like the best local cover act, but these guys write and play with a synth-pop aesthetic that will definitely make them your new favorite band.

I was lucky to have a really talented pool to choose from but didn't get to invite all the bands that i thought fit the aesthetic and some were impossible to get in contact with thru traditional means. I do wish we could have made STEPHANIE work for booking on that date as well. Ken Hicks and STEPHANIE are another really amazing synthwave project that is coming out of Richmond right now as well. I CANT MENTION SYNTHWAVE IN RICHMOND & NOT MENTION KEN/STEPHANIE. here is his link too its super good and has a very promising future if you ask me.

Hope to get them and lots of other talented musicians involved in any future iterations of the party that may happen in Richmond and beyond.



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