By Lexi Lane
Move over, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, and other Vegas-grown bands – The Art Show has arrived and is fully on display. The five piece group, the Art Show, has been teasing their artistic creations since fall of 2016 when the band’s Instagram account made their first post– dropping hints of future exclusives for those who followed. They laid dormant for about a year before exploding back on the scene, posting again, and dropping their first EP, “The Gallery” on December 2017. The EP is the brainchild of lead singer/songwriter Liam Christensen, as well as brother and drummer Calvin Christensen, guitarist Brady Henrie, bassist Marcus Dugenia, and Stephen Douglas on keyboard and guitar. “The Gallery” consists of five tracks, each one contributing to their unique and brilliant sound. Their debut release EP is currently available for streaming on platforms such as Spotify, and for purchase on iTunes. The band played their first house show in February of this year, but this is only the beginning for these five guys.
The Roar: What are your biggest influences (either externally or musically) that inspired the EP?
Liam Christensen: Man… lots haha. I think political satire as a subject in music has always been really cool. Bands like Ariel Pink, The Voidz, and Clarence Clarity are some of my biggest influences sound wise. Seeing some of those artists trying to make a weirder genre popular inspired me to try to do the same.
TR: So you don’t really see you and the band conforming to a particular genre then?
LC: I like to stay around the indie rock vibe, but I also get bored really easily and want to try new things. So, yes and no.
TR: How would you describe the sound of ‘The Gallery’ in three words?
Christensen: Chaotic, fun, diverse.
Brady Henrie: Colorful, madness, vivid.
Marcus Dugenia: Experimental, beautiful, exciting.
TR: How do you start writing a new song? Do you have a certain process or they just come to you?
Christensen: It depends. Sometimes if I have a cool idea for a melody, I’ll record a voice memo of myself humming it and come back to it later. 99% of the time I listen to the ideas and have no idea what I was going for, but sometimes it works. Most of the time though, it starts with a guitar lick that I just expand over time.
TR: What’s your favorite song you’ve written? Or a favorite lyric?
Christensen: Probably ‘The Electoral College’ because it’s ridiculous and was really fun to write.
TR: Where do you see yourself as a band within the next six months to a year?
Christensen: The band only plays the live stuff. I’m in charge of most of the writing, so I’ll probably be writing a lot more and playing less shows, depending on who is still here in Vegas (due to college and such).
TR: What are your plans for upcoming shows, music, or videos for The Art Show?
Christensen: All the above! Haha. I like to stay busy and try new forms of media relating to music. I think my biggest project right now is working on a video for “The Electoral College.” I’m also trying to write for a debut album release sometime in the future and another house show soon!
TR: What are your ideas for ‘The Electoral College’ music video?
Christensen: I have this really cool device called the ETC (made by Critter and Guitari) that basically creates cool images and can sync it to the beat of the music. I’m probably going to use that a lot in the video to have this chaotic, colorful vibe. My ideas are all over the place, though, so I don’t even know yet to be honest.
TR: What was it like playing your first show together?
Dugenia: It’s actually kind of a funny story. An hour before the show started, we were doing some last minute sound checks, and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. First, we got the timing complete off (especially me) on a few of our songs, and it was way too late to go over the entire setlist to clean things up. Then, our mic speakers basically blew out; the speakers were so terrible that Liam, our vocalist, sounded like he had a massive sore throat. But we had to go on with the show as scheduled and deal with the cards we’d been dealt. Luckily for us, everything worked out perfectly. The speakers magically started working just before the show. Then, we played the best we’ve ever played; we didn’t lose the rhythm once. The show was a complete success, and I couldn’t be anymore happier about how it all turned out. We played for around 60 people, and they all really enjoyed our music (or at least I think they did).
TR: If you were stuck on an island with only three albums, which ones would you bring?
Christensen: The Brockhampton trilogy, of course.
TR: What’s your favorite Brockhampton song?
Christensen: SISTER/NATION speaks to me. It just goes hard, Lexi. A very good tune.
TR: How do you think artists can make themselves stand out and be heard on a streaming platform? Do you think there’s one platform (i.e. Spotify, Soundcloud, etc) that is best to combat the competitive nature of the music industry and put music on?
Dugenia: The best way for an artist to stand out in this competitive industry is by bringing something completely new to the table. Some examples are King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard who experimented with microtonal tuning while releasing five great albums in a single year; Mac Demarco who writes the most chill indie tracks you can find while also being the most humble and interesting person in the entire industry, and Death Grips who successfully combined elements of glitched-out techno and violent rap to create an entirely new genre of rap. There isn’t necessarily a single streaming platform that’s better than the rest; it’s more like choosing the right one that best caters to your style. These platforms all offer their own features that can inadvertently cater to specific groups of musicians. It just helps to release music where you have a better chance of being heard. Think of rappers favoring Soundcloud or indie bands favoring Bandcamp.
TR: How do you think music has evolved or where do you see the future of the industry going in general?
Dugenia: The future of the music industry is going to be extremely competitive going forward. Given the fact that music itself has become so much more prevalent in everyone’s lives and how much more accessible it is to the masses thanks to streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, more and more people are going to want to be musicians. This can be seen as both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because more people now have the chance to become successful in the music industry. Almost anyone with money to spare, access to internet, and a knack for writing music can easily get on a streaming platform. The bad thing is more musicians means more competition. There’s so many great artists out today that could have made it big before the days of music streaming, but now they can barely get 1,000 listens on Spotify. There’s just too many artists and not enough listeners willing to explore.
Henrie: I feel that much of music has already been done. So a lot of today’s artist borrow ideas from the past but turn them in with their own creative influence. I feel the industry is getting more minute by the year and is withering away. There are many more solo labels and indie artists doing their own thing.
Christensen: That’s a good question. Due to streaming, music is more accessible than ever. I think that can be good for local artists that maybe want to throw their stuff onto Soundcloud/Bandcamp. The whole Soundcloud community is really cool, too, and you can connect with any genre and artist very easily. As for the future of the music industry… I have no idea. That’s the magic of it all.