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Fringe Class

Jeff's Plasma Blast 2.0 jumps even deeper into the plasma pool

 Last year, the first round of Jeff's Plasma Blast rolled out to overwhelming success. Its venue, the American Legion up on Alberta, filled to capacity as tickets sold like the hottest of cakes. The mini fest was started by the surfy psych band Skelevision, formally known as Thong. Since the second installment happens this Friday, we exchanged some words with Skelevision drummer Philip Zevenbergen on names, lineups and Plasma Blast details, like how it'll also be the band's release show for their new full length Inside The Horror and tour kickoff...


The Deli Portland: How did the band end up settling on Skelevision for the name change, from the former name Thong?

Philip Zevenbergen: It kind of just became this name that got thrown around in our desperate attempt to ditch Thong. Some weird names were considered. Chemical X (like the powerpuff girls), Warped Tape, and The Shrimpers were all top contenders for a while, but ultimately Skelevision just rolled off the tongue better and was more fitting to our sound.

The name Skelevision specifically came about out of my boredom of working at Wunderland Nickle Arcade. I would often combine random prefixes with objects I'd see around the room, "skele" and an arcade game with "vision" in the title stuck out one day and I wrote it down.

Speaking of names, how did the name for Jeff's Plasma Blast itself come about?

I am a huge fan of David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986). Throughout the film Jeff Goldblum, who plays the lead role of a scientist who becomes a gross monster fly, refers to jumping into the "plasma pool". I found that to be real silly and Jeff's celebration of the plasma pool just seemed like a good name for a music fest for some reason. Originally, it was Jeff's New Years Plasma Blast when we did it in December of 2016. We just dropped the "New Years" and picked up the "2.0" and there ya have it.

What was your process for selecting the lineup for Plasma Blast 2.0?

Well, it started with just asking some bands I am close with about hopping on so I could have a good baseline of acts before reaching out to headliners. Once I had my baseline, I reached out to some more of the scene leaders about getting on, people who have been around longer in the Portland scene and have some street cred from touring or having a notable label. Once that was taken care of, I shifted into getting the headliners which was easily the hardest, most time consuming, and stressful part of the whole show. A lot of agents will lead you on and throw you back and forth on how the likely the headliner you want will take the money you've offered. However Mean Jeans and Walter TV have both been pleasures to work with and so have their agents. We are stoked to have them playing the festival and even more stoked that we get to hit Eugene the next day with Walter TV again.

Is there any particular artist(s) whose sets you're really looking forward to?

I'm most excited to see The Fabulous Downey Brothers. We played with them at the BIG BLDG BASH this year and we were totally blown away. They are going to have a crowd of totally fresh faces and I know they'll tear the house down.

I'm also stoked to see Mannequin, who are opening the festival as this will be their first show. They look like some girls who are gonna kick some serious ass.

Why did you decide to have the event be all-ages and one day long, versus spanning over two days?

When you span it over two days, you have to get the twice the artists. I see it this way only because I am a believer in the short, around 20 minute long set. Show us what you got and get off. To have the amount of artists we are having in Jeff's 2.0 would require 40 minute sets from each band over the two days. I think less people would pay attention to entire sets and the show would move a lot slower. I love this set up because it's going to pack a punch. The music will just keep going and changing rapidly, which is great for a young, unfocused mind like mine. Plus, having it be all ages was a no brainer. You don't have to be 21 to love good music, that's just silly.

You've mentioned to me how Skelevision is now a three piece. How did losing Carlo affect the writing process?

After our first tour the band came to the agreement that we wanted to move forward as a three piece without Carlo. While having to seperate ourselves from him was not something we were super happy to have to do, it really tightened us a band. Our writing sessions feel tighter and more focused on making the core structures of our songs more interesting and I think people have been really appreciating it. People are always telling us how much better of a band we are since we waddled into the Analog over a year ago for our first show. We all wish Carlo could have stuck around, but ultimately our separation with him has been better for both him and us.

What inspired some of the songs/the concept of the new album?

The lyric "Inside The Horror" specifically comes from the second track on the album, "The Sheets." The whole idea of being surrounded by horror but that we're maybe safe if we hide under our bed sheets is the visual we are playing with on our album cover. The whole album holds our psychedelic lo-fi beginnings but also mixes in our newer more punk and horror influence. I think the blend of it all came out really nicely. 

What city are you most looking forward to playing on tour and why?

Tijuana! Derek H. of On Drugs told me that it would be the most stressful and thrilling city to play, but also the most memorable and exciting too. That has me really pumped. Also, just getting to go play in Mexico is such a treat!

Doors for Jeff's Plasma Blast 2.0 are at 2:30, with music starting sharply at 3pm. Tickets are still available and reentry to the fest is allowed all day, so be sure to come early!

Two Moons and Arbor Daze Tied for Artist of the Month

This last round of the Deli Portland Artist of the Month poll resulted in a tie between two different nominees. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it shows the wealth of good music offered in the city that just can't be ignored. That being said, both Two Moons and Arbor Daze are artists deserving of more than just local attention.

Arbor Daze, a solo project by Aspen Koch, is actually quite indicative of the moniker itself, educing the state of calm often felt while taking in the beauty of a forest. Koch illicits a certain halcyon ambiance, dressed in a doleful cloak. Her interesting usage of looping adds texture to Arbor Daze tracks, taking them to a whole other level of interest and turmoiled relation.

Two Moons bring out a different sort of reaction with their songs of heavier broodiness. Guitarist and vocalist Aaron Liu takes the term "shredding" to a whole other level, using his guitar as a fierce weapon supporting his at times emotionally savage vocality that's especially heard during live sets. While not necessarily always applying the "loud, quiet loud" structure to their songs, Two Moons have proven they've mastered just the right amount of force to strengthen soft songs and the appropriate amount of delicacy to abate benevolently porcine tracks.

Congrats to both Arbor Daze and Two Moons, the latter of which will be playing their next show Sunday at Kelly's Olympian with Fringe Class. The newest round of the Deli AOTM poll features Bruhn, the Empty, Seahorse C-Section and Toothbone, so be sure to give them all a listen and vote for the one(s) you dig!

Get your low key dance on at the Liquor Store tomorrow

Combine the resonating sounds of Mamai with the soul tinged dream pop of Ellis Pink and 80's-esque electronica stylings of Fringe Class and you've got the makings for a chill night of swaying. It'll be the funkiest thing to do on a Tuesday and for $6, definitely not a bad way to take in an evolving music scene in the city. Be at the Liquor Store at 9pm so you don't miss any part of this 21+ show.

Fringe Class EP Release at Backspace 6.28

What can we say about Fringe Class and their new EP, Fringe Class Forever? One might liken it to a slab of butter, melting atop a mountain of flapjacks. It’s a curious combination of pulsating beats and sounds with silky vocals woven into the rich tapestry of notes. “Flower Pigeons” was first up on the playlist. Your ears will feel like they’re relaxing in a hot tub with a glass of bubbly. The vocals and keyboards are welcoming and easy to listen to and the overall character of the song is simply fun and wonderfully happy. “Tidal Waves” was a track that I particularly enjoyed with its slower and hypnotic pace and the bass line standing like Atlas, holding the song in the beautifully drawn out lulls. The title track, “Fringe Class Forever” is MTV worthy. Simply a well constructed and catchy song; you can hear elements of funk beneath the veneer of the 80’s. The vocals stood out on this song as well, with an almost disco edge giving the song added character. Fringe Class Forever will definitely be added to my “frequently listened” list. Fringe Class will be having an EP release party at Backspace hosted by PopOtter Entertainment this Friday at 9pm. Look ‘em up on Bandcamp, see ‘em live, tell a friend and pass it on. Sharing is caring. - Cory Huennekens


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