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All posts for the month October, 2015

Artist Katlyn Jackson displaying her original artwork.

Artist Katlyn Jackson displaying her original artwork.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Down time is a strange concept to Katlyn Jackson. At just 18, she runs both a successful photography and custom jewelry business, holds a steady day job and manages to trip out in her own unique artistic vision. And she’s quite the accomplished artist, having gained a good amount of notoriety locally.

“I love everything I do and it’s hard to do all those things with having your daily job to support yourself and hobbies you absolutely love. I plan on my projects throughout the year due to seasons and when I’d have the most free time to work on certain projects,” said Jackson.

Although she doesn’t have the ample abundance of free time to spend on her art that most her age would, it doesn’t stop her from taking advantage of any and every moment to find that spark.

“The hardest part is finding inspiration with having so much to do and only so many hours in a day. I’m always scrolling Instagram, Etsy, Facebook or Pinterest to find my own ideas to put on paper when I have 10-15 minutes. It’s best to make a list and come back to it when you’re ready,” Jackson said.

Artwork by Katlyn Jackson.

Artwork by Katlyn Jackson.

The Raw Alternative recently spoke with Jackson at length on how she began her artistic journey.

The Raw Alternative: How long have you been at this?

Katlyn Jackson: Honestly, since I can remember. In high school I took it more seriously and put a lot more focused time into my pieces when contests and scholarships were important.

RA: How did you discover your love for art?

KJ: Just growing up I liked to draw similar things in different positions and sceneries. Of course they were kids drawings still, then I learned how to really apply my skills in school.

RA: What does art mean for you?

KJ: Art is very expressive. Looking back at it now, I never played sports and kept to myself mostly in school. I was always spending extra time in the art room. It was my escape, I guess you could say. Something I put effort into and felt proud of.

RA: What inspires you? Do you pull from certain emotions?

KJ: Honestly, being in a positive mindset. I get so many ideas and eventually spin off those ideas from there. Personally, I have a lot of anxiety, so it helps keeps my mind occupied to work on something and when I’m done, feel accomplished.

Original Artwork by Katlyn Jackson.

Original Artwork by Katlyn Jackson.

RA: Are there any other kinds of art/artists specifically that inspire your art? Or perhaps any music? And have any one piece of art directly inspired one of your works?

KJ: I have a couple pieces that are inspired from other works. For example, the really intricate works are recreated in my own form. I love watercolor paintings, city photos, abstract graphics. I’m drawn to many different pieces of art not specifically by any artists but I’m very supportive of all forms of artists out there. My favorite is recreating a piece of art as another art form. For example, taking a photograph and sketching and shading it out or recreating it as a stipple photo.

RA: What are some of your achievements so far? What are YOU most proud of?

KJ: Looking back now, I’m pretty proud of how far my photography has gone. There’s no going backwards so in free time I’ll look for contests, other local photographers to collaborate with and my freelance. Today, all the work I did starting at 14 landed me a studio job for Robert Senn, now at 18, making a decent wage. Sometimes I get blind-sided and forget how hard I worked to get where I am with opportunities still awaiting. It just amazes and also frustrates me all the different directions I’m pulled in with photography and art. There’s just so much I want to do!

RA: You’re also a photographer. How would you say those talents inspire your art? Is there any crossover?

KJ: Most definitely. I started off with photography first and got more interested in trying out new art forms and got hooked on seeing what I could do next. There’s so many different art forms, I wanted to see what I was good at and some things, I learned on my first try. Every piece amazes me, “Wow, I made that?” It’s always a surprise to see your own ending result starting from scratch and what things can turn into. I’m more visual, like a see-it first kind of person and go from there and spiral into something of my own. Soon I’d like to create new art from my own photographs.

Katlyn Jackson at work.

Katlyn Jackson at work.

RA: Tell us what you’re working on now? What are some of your short-term and possibly long-term goals?

KJ: I have some ideas and photos stored away when I have a fair amount of free time at once from my jobs. Right now I’d like to experiment with modeling with the help of a few close people and take the photos in my own hands. Not exactly a main focus for now but something to have on hand when I decide it’s something I might want to pursue. After that, I plan on picking up the pencil again and work on booking a month long gallery at Branch Street Roasters in Boardman. I’m very excited to work towards that and hopefully something exciting comes from that. I love selling art and having a variety of forms to show.

RA: What advice can you give to aspiring artists like yourself?

KJ: Just. Keep. Trying. Always have fun with what you’re trying to do, otherwise it feels like a chore and it’s not as fun. Don’t forget where you come from and what you really want deep down. I tried putting things I enjoyed aside and always came right back to doing it again. There are always different routes to take and try so never be afraid to experiment and fail because it will happen sometime and you’ll also succeed from those attempts.

 

Model/Actress Colleen Hagerty, AKA Miss Kittee, on set of her upcoming film, Muck: The Feast of St. Patrick.

Model/Actress Colleen Hagerty, AKA Miss Kittee, on set of her upcoming film, Muck: The Feast of St. Patrick.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

2015 has certainly been a busy year for model and upcoming actress Colleen Hagerty. The young starlet has not only landed roles in two feature horror films, but her modeling talents have been published in several major publications including a long-running stint in the Horror/Erotica magazine, GOREgous Girls. She has visited the Playboy mansion, performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos and has appeared at a number of horror cons.

Hagerty, whose modeling alias in Miss Kittee, is looking to take her career to the next level. The Raw Alternative recently sat down with Miss Kittee to discuss showbiz, breaking out of a small town and all things horror!

THE RAW ALTERNATIVE: Tell us a little about yourself: How long have you been modeling/acting?

MISS KITTEE: I’ve been modeling for a little over two years now and I actually just got into acting maybe eight months ago.

RA: How about some of the films you’ve been featured in previously?

MK: I’ve done a lot of background work in some Indie films mostly in the Cleveland area. One of them is called Contract: Redemption, and it’s based off of the Hitman games. I would say about five months ago I decided to start going for speaking roles and I’ve actually been nailing the auditions.

RA: Tell us about your current film: What is it? Who will you be playing? Who’s directing?

MK: I’m currently involved in two, possibly three films, right now. One of them is called Muck: The Feast of St. Patrick. It’s a horror film and right now I don’t know my character’s name for it. The director of that one is Steve Wolsh. The second film is currently being called The Director’s Cut, until he decides on a more fitting name. It is also a horror film and my character for this one is named Raven. The director of if is Col. Richard Hunter. Then there is the third film that I just recently auditioned for and am waiting to hear back about. It’s called Gretchen’s Lock and its a horror film based off of Gretchen’s Lock out in Salem, Ohio. I auditioned to be Esther Hale, but they also had me read for two other characters, Amy and Jenn. This one is also a horror film and is being directed by Josh Menning.

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RA: How did you get involved with these projects?

MK: The first and third film I got involved with because of my one modeling group, GOREgous Girls. My photographer Eric “eRock” Littlefield was promoting the Muck movie and I asked if he could talk to the director about me and see if I could get even just a walk on role, and then it turned into going to the PlayBoy Mansion with him, meeting the director, and getting a bigger part. For The Lock film, one of the models found it and sent the link to eRock to post of all the models to see and I submitted and landed and audition for it. The Director’s Cut movie the director actually found me on Facebook though my modeling things and asked me to audition and that got me the role of Raven, a victim, for his film.

RA: You’ve had a very success career model thus far. Tell us a little about that world. Did your modeling work lead to your acting work?

MK: My modeling definitely did lead to my acting. If it wasn’t for my modeling I would have never gotten into GOREgous Girls or worked with other photographers and I probably never would have gotten half the opportunities that I have now. Modeling can be pretty crazy. You use a lot of muscles you didn’t think you would and sometimes you have to stand in the most uncomfortable position for what feels like forever, but in the end its honestly so worth it. I love every minute of it and wouldn’t trade it, or the people I’ve met, for the world.

RA: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

MK: The amazing people I’ve met and the crazy things I’ve gotten to do. I got to go to the PlayBoy Mansion with eRock and Jessy, who is our MUA (she does our crazy blood and makeup and our hair). I got to go to Vegas, I’m going to be going to Cape Cod for filming in early October. Jessy and her family have become like a second family to me. Along with the GOREgous Girls group in general. We are like one big family and I love that so much.

RA: What are some of your favorite horror movies, or favorite types of horror movies?

MK: It would have to be the oldies like Halloween and Friday the 13th. I really like the campy horror films too though. They aren’t scary, but still fun to watch, like Sharknado or Zombeaver.

Miss Kittee on the set of the music video for "Loose Cannon" by Restriktid.

Miss Kittee on the set of the music video for “Loose Cannon” by Restriktid.

RA: You recently starred in a music video. Tell us a little bit about that. Did you volunteer or were you asked to take part?

MK: The music video was awesome! It was for this Horrorcore/Muder Rap artist, Restriktid, from the Toledo area. I actually met him a few month prior at The Gathering of the Juggalos where I was at with my GOREgous Girls modeling group. Restriktid’s wife actually got a hold of eRock and asked him to ask his girls to get bloodied up and play victims or bodies in his new music video for his song “Loose Cannon.” That was a blast. I got to get prettied up and then bloodied up to jump around in a grave, a cage, even a well like area, just crazy things like that.

RA: What’s next for you? Is this the humble beginnings of a bright career?

MK: I truly am hoping this is a beginning to an awesome career! A lot of the people I’ve been in contact with are really interested in working more with me and some of the other girls. I’m just going to keep trying my best with my modeling and my now acting careers and see how far they can take me.

Hagerty has been featured in every issue of GOREgous Girls magazine since its inception. You can check out here appearance in “Loose Cannon” by Restriktid here, as well as some exclusive stills from the video shoot and more by clicking the links below.

Behind-the-Scenes: ‘Loose Cannon’ Video Shoot

Behind-the-Scenes: Muck: The Feast of St. Patrick

 

 

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

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Artist: Alex Hall’s Figurehead

Album: Alex Hall’s Figurehead (EP)

Release Date: 6/2/15

Rating: 9/10

Lengthy jams. Infectious grooves. Soaring vocals. Wailing guitars…

It’s not easy to capture all of these elements at one time, in one place. For many, it takes years and years of honing one’s craft before such a bold attempt can not only be made, but mastered. Not to mention carrying the lofty tag of “Progressive Jam.”

However, Youngstown independent act Alex Hall’s Figurehead has somehow managed to wrap their head around this concept while simultaneously blowing ours.

With their three-song self-titled EP, AHF has taken a perfect snapshot of what their band is all about; see above. Recorded at Central 8 Studios in Akron, by the band along with Nathan Doutt, AHF are carrying on the tradition of area mainstays Jones For Revival and Vibe and Direct, only with a unique signature twist. The band channels complex arrangements more akin to the heyday of Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Yes than the Grateful Dead or Phish, only condensed down into a powerful, more conventional run time. Add in some good vibes and soulful lyrics, and you have one of the area’s hottest up-and-comers, Alex Hall’s Figurehead!

Alex Hall's Figurehead performing live in 2015. Photo Courtesy of facebook.com.

Alex Hall’s Figurehead performing live in 2015. Photo Courtesy of facebook.com.

The EP opens with the pounding Reggae-like rhythms and ripping guitars of “Perform.” The track swings back and forth from an attention-grabbing rocker to a more chilled-out jammer, climaxing with an elevated, melodic guitar solo on par with that of David Gilmour. From there, the psychedelic riffs and organs of “Credit Hole” take a listener on a blues-heavy groovin’ trip. The shifting middle section gives way to yet another soulful guitar solo. Finally, the EP concludes with the Doors-esque “Shakespeare,” with exceptional instrumentation by a band who sounds very comfortable together.

All in all, Alex Hall’s Figurehead is a very rare debut in the fact that it showcases a band firing on all cylinders from a very early point in their career. The band has set the bar rather high for itself, leaving the listener wanting more, and in anticipation for the next release! The only disappointment is in there only being three tracks on this EP.

Alex Hall’s Figurehead is set to perform the Friday, Oct. 9, at Cedars West End in Youngstown, Ohio, along with Sleepy Hahas and Knife Fighters.

 

Buzz Osborne Talks Cobain Documentary, Vinyl Resurgence

Reviews

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Art

Poetry

Ms. Rose

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

By the late 90s, the promising musical landscape that was “Alternative Rock” took a dramatic turn into strange, unsettling territory. And there was none more unsettling than that of Nu Metal.

This hybrid genre, comprised of post-Thrash groove metal, alternative rock and rap/hip-hop, left a very bad taste in the mouth of 90s alternative audiences. The decade that saw the rise and mainstream success of acts as influential and diverse as Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Kyuss, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana to name a few, fizzled out into an instantly nostalgic radio-rock wasteland.

Enter Nu Metal: A bastardized version of alternative metal which filled the gap between Electronica and third generation post-grunge.

Looking back, rock music was almost just as much an integral part of rap and hip-hop at its inception as anything else. DJs lifted just as many samples from 70s hard rock as they did from funk and soul. The idea of a slick, repetitive guitar riff under and funky beat was undeniably infectious, as proven on Run DMC’s rendition of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way:” The first major hybrid hit. Also, in the late 70s, punk and hip-hop were akin to one another, speaking socio-political truths to disenfranchised youth.

By the early 90s alternative scene, acts like Faith No More and Rage Against the Machine had emerged. With their aggressive heavy metal guitar overtop deep grooves and rap-like vocals, new audiences flocked. With the former taking it to experimental and avant-garde territories and the latter taking on a punk rock-esque political platform, the musical marriage undeniably made sense. By the mid-90s, angst-driven metal-ish acts like KoRn, Deftones and Limp Bizkit ushered in and solidified the sound of Nu Metal, taking the groove and hip-hop influence even further, with downtuned, bass-like riffs, screamed/growled vocals and later introduced a Turntable-spinning DJ as a predominant instrumentalist.

In its humble beginnings, the genre seemed just as promising as any of Lollapalooza-era offshoots. However, by the time of its peak mainstream accessibility, it failed to capture the admiration of either heavy metal or rap audiences. It instead found it’s niche in (predominantly) white suburban teen angst. The fashion choices of this scene are perhaps cringe-worthy enough (baggy clothes, overly-abundant accessories, poorly spiked hair), but what about the music itself? Here is a look at some of the best and worst the Nu Metal scene had to offer…

 

THE BEST

Incubus_make_yourself

IncubusMake Yourself 1999

Of all the acts from this scene, Incubus may have been the most musically diverse, and certainly had the best vocalist; Brandon Boyd. The album features signature scratching and rapped vocals, however, they are used sparingly and actually add quite a bit of flavor in contrast to Boyd’s impressive vocal range. Lyrically, the album isn’t as angst-y as most of its contemporaries either, and instead takes turns into the philosophical and ethereal. The album as a whole has more in common with post-grunge than KoRn. One could argue that if the scratches and raps weren’t present, it’d work as a decent Stone Temple Pilots record. The band would eventually abandon the signature Nu Metal sounds all together on future releases and explore more alt-rock territory on later releases.  Overall, Make Yourself holds up rather well almost two decades later.

Slipknot_-_Slipknot2

SlipknotSlipknot 1999

Perhaps the most aggressive and extreme of their contemporaries, Slipknot drove deeper and darker than your average teen angst Nu Metal act. The fact that they wore unique masks and dressed in post-dystopian-like jumpsuits worked as both a gimmick and the most initially intriguing aspect of the band. The music was ugly, and sounded just a bit more demented than the rest of the crop. Slipknot incorporated elements of Industrial, Thrash and Death Metal, along with distorted turntables, horror film samples and hard-edge rapped vocals (possible influence on Tech N9ne?). Their chugging guitars were not far off from those of Ministry. They would eventually go darker and heavier on their follow-up Iowa, before teaming with Rick Rubin for  more crossover appeal on 2004’s Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses. Still, their debut stands out like a severed head in a period of mostly dormant heavy metal.

Sepultura_-_Roots

SepulturaRoots 1996

Is it fair to label Sepultura a Nu Metal band? Absolutely not. The Brazilian quartet took Thrash metal into exciting new places in the early 90s with albums like Chaos A.D., and also made a name for themselves as an early Death Metal act in the late 80s. So what happened? Finding influence in their native Brazilian and African percussion-heavy “roots,” and looking to emerging acts like KoRn and Deftones, they teamed with producer Ross Robinson for something new and heavy. Robinson’s signature sound saw the band eliminating almost all high-end from their guitar sound, trading leads and guitar solos for low, downtuned riffage. For what it was, and when it was, its the perfect marriage of old and new school heavy metal. Both new and old fans embraced this momentary direction. Frontman Mx Cavalera would eventually abandon Sepultura entirely to go in a complete Nu Metal direction with his next, and currently still-running band, Soulfly.

Korn-Korn

KoRn KoRn 1994

It’s almost hard to believe this album came out at a time when Nirvana, Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins were dominating the rock landscape. The sound was at least three or four years ahead of its time, and no one sounded like KoRn before KoRn. Their decision to utilize (then-cutting edge) seven-string guitars and tune them a whole step lower, was something unheard of even in the deepest corners of extreme metal. Their riffs steered far away from traditional heavy metal by sounding more percussive, with all instruments locked into a tight, heavy groove. In ’94, Death Metal was still a very underground phenomenon, and this was the heaviest thing to alt-rock audiences since Pantera. As a result, it spawned a new approach to metal which would come to the forefront in the late 90s and early 00s.

Deftones_-_Around_the_Fur

DeftonesAround the Fur 1997

With their sophomore release, Deftones took the rough edges of their debut, 1995’s , smoothed out some, and sharpened others. The vocals, although still mostly screamed, had just enough accessibility to lift the song to higher levels when needed, without losing any edge. The riffs were still very grove-heavy, but stronger. The main difference between Around the Fur and Adrenaline was that the band learned when to hold back before exploding, giving these tracks a truly powerful impact. There are hints, albeit few and far between, of the Post-Punk and Shoegaze avenues the band would eventually take. However, Around the Fur is probably the most artistic record of the Nu Metal era.

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System of a DownToxicity 2001

Toxictiy was undobtedly a powerful nail in the coffin of Nu Metal. Sure, the band played low-tuned groove-riffs with the occasional growled vocal. But of any of their contemporaries, System of a Down took note from the genre’s most high-profile inspirations; Faith No More and Rage Against the Machine. The spastic outbursts and odd time signatures clearly harkens back to the best days of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, while their socio-political overtone is of the strongest since the heyday of Rage. The middle-eastern influences and overall quirkiness also set the band light years apart. Toxicity is often referred to as an essential metal record.

Honorable Mentions:

Soulfly – Soulfly

KoRn – Follow the Leader

Stuck Mojo – Stuck Mojo

System of a Down – System of a Down

 

THE WORST

Korn_-_Take_a_Look_in_the_Mirror

KoRnTake A Look In the Mirror 2003

By 2003, KoRn were basically the lone survivors, smoldering in the rubble of Nu Metal. And they weren’t in the best of shape either. After failing to find a groove or produce anything new or interesting for several years, Take A Look In the Mirror sounded like a tired reflection of the innovative sound the band became known for, only worse. The lyrics are angry for the sake of being angry, and cheesy to the point of no return. The riffs sound like uninspired rehashes of earlier work. The inclusion of rapper Nas on a track sounds like a failed attempt to recapture the magic of earlier collaborations with Ice Cube. Although the band would try their hand at more electronic and Industrial sounds on future releases to mixed results, this album will forever serve as a glimpse at the end of an era.

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EvanescenceFallen 2003

Evanescence attempted to trick many a young pre-teen and teen girl that their generic, commercial brand of post-grunge Nu Metal was hip and Goth. Shame on them! Although singer Amy Lee has an impressive vocal range, the overuse her high-pitched soprano overtop cheesy, formulaic riffs doesn’t do much other than tire the listener. The fact that Fallen saw much mainstream success at the beginning of the decline of the music industry is also a testament of what the record industry was pushing on the masses during its last breaths. The band declined after this release.

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Papa RoachInfest 2000

Not sure what’s worse: The fact that Papa Roach rose to fame with generic rap-rock anthems of angst at the height of the genre’s reign or that they morphed into some awkward cock rock band who still saw success after its demise. One thing is for sure: The undeniable irony. And it makes perfect sense. Infest was as whiny, angst-y, and lyrically idiotic as it got in terms of frat boy Nu Metal. With the rise of bands like Limp Bizkit, Nu Metal saw success in pop territory, and Papa Roach did well to exploit that. And, unfortunately, they still do.

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Linkin ParkHybrid Theory 2000

By the time of Linkin Park’s debut, Nu Metal was down to a science. Find a group of angry suburbanites who lived through the grunge years, were exposed to punk and Industrial but never quite got it, and who had a deep appreciation for aggro-Gangsta Rap and BAM! You have a successful Nu Metal band. Linkin Park did little, if nothing, to further the genre. Instead embodied literally all of its tacky cliches. Hybrid Theory, a massively successful record, serves as their crowning achievement. And understandably, as it represents this genre at its mainstream peak. It was possibly the biggest crossover hit, having just enough edge (in terms of Nu Metal) for the hardcore fans but enough fluff for rock and pop radio. Linkin Park would go on to attempt Electronica and more traditional radio-friendly alt-rock to moderate success, however the scars of Hybrid Theory are too deep not to notice.

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Limp BizkitChocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water 2000

Initially, Limp Bizkit seemed like a silly joke. Kind of a far-inferior version of Primus; wrought with redneck humor, but overall lacking in artistic integrity. And it was okay. They sounded like douchey frat boys and they owned it. Take into consideration some stellar musicianship, especially from guitarist Wes Borland and bassist Sam Rivers, LB might not seem so bad. It wasn’t until their third album, 2000’s Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, that the real moronic nature of vocalist Fred Durst hit it’s all time high, or low. With jabs at pop starlets, alt-rock titans like Trent Reznor, and whoever else he didn’t like, Durst put it all on tape, ultimately embarrassing only himself. Musically, it sucks. That’s about it. Lyrically, your dog’s farts might be more profound. There are no redeeming factors here (Sorry Wes). You’re best off to just move along.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Flaw – Through the Eyes

Limp Bizkit – Results May Vary

Papa Roach – LoveHateTragedy

Dope – No Regrets

Adema – Adema