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The Find Magazine - Interview

origins of Times Neue Roman; gratuitous hair swipe; pain and play in creativity; stylistic promiscuity; making mistakes and repeating them until they’re intentional; fuck art

An interview conducted at my apartment by Oz Futura for the The Find Magazine.

Jul 29 2012
Press Times Neue Roman

Two Interviews with Times Neue Roman

1. On German Blog, The Daily Hype

Interview with Times Neue Roman!

Vorab, die beiden Jungs suchen jemanden, der einen gesanglichen Part bei ihrem Mix zu dem von mir unten eingefügten Track “Sade is in my Tape Deck” einnimmt. Wenn jemand interessiert ist, soll Er sich bei mir melden. 

Sieht man die beiden “Typen” von Times Neue Roman, denkt man erst an Johnny Depp und der Indianer von Black Eyed Peas haben sich zusammen gefunden, um Musik zu machen. 

Nicht ganz falsch der Gedanke, zumindest äußerlich. 
Wir sind natürlich nicht so oberflächlich wie andere Seiten, (Dies ist kein Seitenhieb an andere “populäre” deutschsprachige Facebookseiten - Nö), Times Neue Roman zeichnen sich durch wirklich schöne Beats, Melodien etc. aus. Zu dem hat der “Frontsänger” Arowbie eine wirklich angenehme Stimme mit Wiedererkennungswert. Viel Spaß beim lesen!

DH: Can you quickly introduce yourself?

AlexanderTHE: We are Times Neue Roman.

Arowbe: I’m back though, hipper and more collegiate. 

AlexanderTHE: Groomed and well-mannered after being in the studio cave for a couple of seasons.

DH: How did you come up with the name? Does it really derive from the font type?

Arowbe: When we started - we were playing with some different themes of media and broadcasting in lyrical content on songs like ‘of silence’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBkzCKFF3eY)and ‘music and math’ (http://soundcloud.com/arowbe/times-neue-roman-music-and-math). So we almost called the band some crazy academic sound theory shit like ‘schitzophonia’ but then we were like ‘what if we just name it after a medium that everybody knows?’ And that was Times Neue Roman, the font.

DH: Favorite kicks?

Arowbe: Clark Desert Boot.

AlexanderTHE: Definitely Clarks

Arowbe: Since before Vybz. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zZOxew_pcc

DH: What‘s your favorite track?

Arowbe: Maybe ‘Hey Ma’ http://youtu.be/m60XKqEEnfg - If you would’ve paged me in ’02-’03 you would’ve heard 20 seconds of that on the message. Hey girls from ’02-’03: I miss you. 

Alexander THE: East of Underground - “(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below”

Such a fast upbeat track that plays for a while. I still put it on repeat. It’s pretty much lost tapes from winners of a U.S Army Talent Contest. Band formed just for the talent show & won a chance to record in Frankfurt, Germany never to release anything new after this. Best music ever & such a document of soldiers amongst music, very motown revolutionary.

DH: If you were a Star Wars character, which one would it be?

Arowbe: I’m not familiar with “Stars Wars.”

AlexanderTHE: EWOK. From what I know they spoke the same language of my mother tongue, ‘Tagalog’ from the Philippines. Pretty fuckin’ weird if you ask me. 

Arowbe: If I was a STYLE WARS character I’d be “Min 1”

DH: What do you have in your pocket?

AlexanderTHE: A gem that I use as an analog filter when I instagram…. You just gave me a reality check. FUCkin’ Artists. Always doing art.

Arowbe: I have a hip new phone in my pocket.

DH: What genre/s would you choose to describe your sound?

Alexander The: Industrial / Pschedelic Rap

Arowbe: Rap Deco

DH: Where are you right now?

Arowbe: In a box in the sky looking over Lake Ontario. Toronto. (http://instagr.am/p/K6IKO3Imcc/)

DH: What inspires you?

Arowbe: Lately? Riding in cars with girls. 

DH: Who is your musical hero?

AlexanderTHE: James Hendrix & Robert Marley. 

DH: What do you think broke the barriers between traditional rap music and club music?

Arowbe: OutKast’s Bombs Over Baghdad 

DH: What would be the perfect collab? 

Arowbe: E-40 and Cee-Lo rapping though

DH: What has been the most exciting moment of your music career thus far?

Arowbe: For me, the best moments are when a fan or a writer, or another artist or anyone, takes a moment to think critically about our work. When they put the meanings together in ways that I hadn’t connected. We’re blessed to have an audience. I’m glad to have your Facebook ‘Like’ or whatever. But when someone really takes the time to formulate an opinion or a new idea about our work, that’s what excites me.

DH: What else should Times Neue Roman fans be looking for in the future?

Arowbe: Our first album is coming this September.

DH: Anything else you want to let the world know?

AlexanderTHE: Don’t take music too seriously. You’ll kill the mood.

Arowbe: Yeah. I think we work in a tension of seriousness and irreverence. I try to approach the art with seriousness, deliver it indifferently, and reflect on it in jest. As soon as you’re on the screen, you’re the joke. Are you in on the joke? Do you care? It’s so hard at this moment to make pop music un-ironically. 

DH: If you had to listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?

AlexanderTHE: If it’s one album, it’s D’Angelo. Voodoo. I’m still waiting for the next one!

Arowbe: Joni Mitchell - “Blue” comes to mind. So does Miles’ “Kind of Blue.” I must be blue.

DH: When are you guys the happiest: recording in the studio or playing live on stage? Why?

AlexanderTHE: Can’t really say. I love my solitude in the studio. It’s my safe house. But I also love performing and feeling the love & vibing with the crowd… also challenging the art & destroying the risk of failure. It’s a back and forth cycle always need the two to balance. 

Arowbe: For me it’s the studio. Stage is all egos and endorphins. 

DH: Last question. When will we see you in Germany/ Europe?

AlexanderTHE: As soon as we can. We feel that’s the playground we need to be in. 

DH: Thank you so much for your time! I love your stuff and I’m looking forward to hea- ring much more of it in the future.

Arowbe: OK. Stay aloof.

2. Another Recent Interview (Audio) at the9elements.com

Community 54 x Times Neue Roman

A selection of some other recent press after the jump:

Read More

May 12 2011
1 note Press

International Songwriting Competition

So - this happened: Broad Way Sleep's Shy and Out of Season won 1st place in the R&B/Hip-Hop category in the 2010 International Songwriting Competition. Thank you to everyone who supported this record. Coolest thing about this? The list of judges which includes: Rihanna, Regina Spektor, Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, Timabaland. 

Broad Way Sleep - Shy and Out of Season

BROAD WAY SLEEP will be playing in Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall on May 28 2011 following a concert by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the popular Chinese composer Tan Dun. Tickets.

Mar 29 2011

Video launch covered by Manifesto

Upon arrival at the undisclosed video launch party location, one is immediately confronted with what looks to be a fugitive gentleman’s library:  stacks of vintage Playboys cover nearly every table’s surface, while every wall has a bookshelf containing books that were obviously stolen from various university libraries.

I’m greeted by Arowbe, one-half of the Times Neue Roman (or TNR) outfit, who offers me a strong handshake and a slight smirk.  I look around to see if I could find the prolific Alexander The, the second-half and production arm of TNR, but I am immediately escorted to a holding area filled with canned juices, breads, cheeses, cakes, Italian meats and cantaloupes.

The event itself was organized by Arowbe and a local design-think cabal ominously named “The Village”.  Like the food and beverage table, the event is made up of a smorgasbord of personalities; from acclaimed illustrators and designers, to community leaders and self-described “persons of leisure”.  Everybody is talking to everybody.  And if somebody isn’t talking, they’re reading from the venue’s literary collection and creating new conversations.

Read the rest here.

Mar 29 2011

Profile on Tasty Spoonful

See the original article here.

It’s easy to have good conversations with Toronto-based poet/musician/composer/performer Rob Bolton.  But this particular conversation was having a tough time getting off the ground.  When we finally got vchat to work on two finicky wireless networks, important business interrupted:

“Hold on one second, I think my coffee is ready,” he said.  It was Saturday morning.

Rob writes and performs for the group Broadway Sleep, as well as for the duo Times Neue Roman (which has a new video dropping today for Hands no Hands).  He has also written songs for artist Tanika Charles, including Silly Happy Wild, which was nominated for a Stylus Award in the category of Canadian Best R&B Single.  He participated in TEDx Toronto as a solo artist and with Broadway Sleep.  He writes hip-hop odes to Music and Math; homages to motown; and writes Lacanian lyric poetry.  In other words, he’s pretty busy these days.

“My desire to have a mix of genres and styles is a big part of who I am as an artist,” Rob said, describing the varied approach that characterizes his projects.  And what strikes me about his work in its various iterations is not the variety itself–but rather the consistent practice that binds together the different forms.  There’s an underlying (and as-yet still forming) commitment to cross-disciplinary method to Rob’s work–not to its own end, but rather as a means of answering questions about contemporary life.  It’s tough to see this when browsing through his evolving portfolio of work (though I would argue that the track Music and Math relays it pretty readily).  Rather, to understand where Rob–or Arowbe, as he’s better known up north–is coming from, the best starting point is Aesthetics of (In)Betweennesss.  In this video, Rob lays out what he calls “a statement of poetic”–one that embodies an important perspective on the nature of contemporary artistic production.

In a cultural moment dominated by the increasing influence of the virtual–as online life encroaches on the “real”–Rob explores the traditional borderlands between genres as a means of trying to redefine the role of art/music/poetry/image.  The digitalization of ordinary life produces a virtual space into which we upload our ideas, photos, tweets, likes, and other identificatory information–but also some important piece of the content of our relationships, emotions, and desires.  What is the nature of the space of social networks?  What part of our self-identify resides there?  How do we create and disseminate mediatized identities of ourselves?  How can art help us understand the middle places between forms of media and the meanings that these forms produce?  These questions become central to Rob’s inter-genre projects.

Aesthetics of (In)betweenness provides a primer for why artists working in the current moment should be considering the collisions and combinations of genres and forms of expression.  Throughout the video Rob walks through mostly uninhabited, industrial, and generally abandoned spaces in New York.  These are the spaces we think of as traditionally “in between”–the places we navigate on our way to somewhere else.

But in a key scene, Rob stands stationary, as crowds flow around him in Times Square.  “I’m Totally fascinated by Times Square,” Rob said, but only to the extent that:

it’s my least favorite place in the world.  It’s an inbetween space but it’s also a destination.  Nobody really ends there.  Everybody is coming and going there.  But then it’s the center of the dissemination of media and advertising.

Times Square is the quintissential in-the-world embodiment of an in-between zone: a place where information is constantly flowing elsewhere–a place where people come to see precisely the flows and non-interactions of others on the way to a different destination.  It excites the senses, but can also be deeply unnerving.  Inhabiting the middle space–occupying a borderland between multiple destinations–is what cross-disciplinary work in the arts (when done right) should do.  And it’s what Arowbe is working on in Toronto.

Mar 18 2011
Press Broad Way Sleep

Broad Way Sleep: IMA Profile

I was recently nominated for an Independent Music Award for the Broad Way Sleep song, Something to Touch. The IMAs interviewed us and posted this profile. Click here for full text.

TNR App Featured on TechVibes

We’ve relaunched our EP Talking Sporty as an app! Find it for free in the iTunes store. Collaboration with CMANGO DESIGN and Cardinal Media Technologies.

Mar 09 2011
Broad Way Sleep Press

Shy & Out of Season (Video Shoot / Shortlisted in ISC)

About a week ago, I reconnected with Jesse Blight, a smart director and my old dorm-mate from first year at YorkU. About fifteen minutes into our reunion, we agreed to shoot a video for the Broad Way Sleep song, Shy & Out of Season. About three days later we shot the video—mostly on location at the vintage store Cabaret, Queen Street, Toronto.

About two days ago, Broad Way Sleep was honoured to learn that Shy has been selected as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition! Very exciting news. The competition is judged by Rihanna, Peter Gabriel, Timbaland, Keane, Regina Spektor, Adele, Robert Smith (the Cure), K’Naan and others. 

About a day ago, I saw a cut of the video. Count on me posting that soon!

Thanks to Liana Yates for her behind the scenes photography.

Broad Way Sleep - Shy and Out of Season

Music: Alexander Punzalan Junior, Ralph Joseph

Lyrics: Robert Bolton

Vocals: Robert Bolton, Sarah Shafey, Alexander Punzalan Junior

More photo’s after the jump.

Read More

IMA Nomination


Broad Way Sleep has been nominated in the 10th annual Independent Music Awards! A song I wrote with Ralph Joseph and Alexander The, “Something to Touch” is up for best rap/hip-hop song. Judging panel for this international awards program includes Seal, Suzanne Vega, Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Beth Gibbons (Portishead), Jeremy Taggart (Our Lady Peace), Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy), Ozzy Osbourne and more. Fans can vote too, so please do!

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