Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cinema Cinema Interview
with Anthony Servante

Cinema Cinema


On May 31st, 2014, I saw BLACK FLAG in concert at the Anaheim House of Blues. Opening act was the Pop-Punk band Dollyrots, a band that should be headlining shows by now. The next band up was a duo called Cinema Cinema. With a guitarist/vocalist and a drummer, the band assaulted the HOB with an experimental fusion of Death Metal, Industrial, and early Progressive, especially the sound of King Crimson on the LP Islands. The crowd was mesmerized. Save for the last song, the group did not announce the songlist and instead played a jam quality set that sounded like one long continuous piece. For me, only the best LPs achieve this quality of sound, where the entire album plays like a unified symphony, with movements, highs and lows, crescendo and sustained fades. The transitions were seamless.

After the show, I tracked the band down and invited them to interview for the Servante of Darkness Blog. I was thrilled when they accepted. They are still on tour, but they were kind and professional enough to answer my questions between concerts. So, let's get to it.

The Interview:

Anthony: Can you introduce yourselves to my readers?

Ev Gold: Hello, my name is Ev. I play guitar & sing in Cinema Cinema. We're a loud/crazy experimentally inclined, duo comprised of cousins.. born & raised in Brooklyn, NY!

Paul Claro: This is Paul, drummer and one of two cousins from the aforementioned loud/crazy experimentally inclined duo!

Ev, left, and Paul, right.

Anthony: Is the song-writing a shared job?

EG: Yes, 100%. As a duo, we work our best when allowing the other the chance to fully express themselves in song/jam. Together we review all the new ideas that filter in from playing together so often (we've done 400+ shows since our start in JAN 2008 & also keep a steady rehearsal schedule) and refine the ones that we feel strongly about into "songs" in the practice room.

PC: We are lucky to have an amazing musical connection that translates to easy communication during song writing. We're also lucky that almost anytime Ev has a guitar in his hands, a potential idea is born! So if it's something we jam on for a while and feel good about, we'll try to find other parts that work well with it. Definitely a collaboration. 

Anthony: What were you guys doing before you got together in 2008?

EG: Trying to find committed musicians to form a band with who would make it a priority in their life and work hard at it.. and not having much success in doing so whatsoever.

PC: I was in another band at the time that really wasn't working for me. I had always looked up to Ev as a musician, and honestly hoped to play with him one day. He came out to gig I was playing with that previous band and afterwards asked if we could jam. We've been doing Cinema Cinema together full time ever since.

Anthony: What was the musical impulse that kept you guys to forming a duo?

EG: How effective & full we proved to sound at our very first practice together as a duo, on January 11, 2008... that was a poignant moment. We realized right then that we could execute as a two man operation just as strong as a "full band" and with less drama/issues by staying economical and adding no one else into our equation.

PC: I think we just truly enjoy playing together. We enjoy the freedom that we offer one each other by being in this type of band. We're really able to communicate so easily as duo, which allows us to explore and experiment with our jamming.

Anthony: I hear so many influences in your music, I could list a hundred bands and artists, but I’d rather hear from you: Who were your influences in Rock, Jazz, etc?

EG: Bad Brains, Black Flag, Django Reinhardt, Fugazi, Benny Goodman, Frank Zappa, Swans, John Coltrane, Wire, Miles Davis.

PC: I was actually the drummer for my high schools Jazz band, so Jazz is a very important part of my playing...especially Buddy Rich! We are also devout RUSH fans, as well as Daniel Johnston who is an endless source of inspiration for us.

Anthony: Describe your sound for our readers, who can go buy it after they read the interview.

EG: Rather than use my own words, here are some press quotes:

"raw, unrestrained insanity" - ABSOLUTE PUNK

"a mind-bending thrill ride" - PopMatters

"gripping & grueling" - Big Takeover Magazine

"Cinema Cinema = Black Flag + Babes in Toyland + Hella" - SLUG Magazine

"raucous, fast-paced, muscular punk with noise and math rock influences" -
The Deli Magazine

Anthony: Is your music growing? Where is it headed?

EG: Yes, hopefully in directions we can never predict!

PC: Our playing style grows as we grow as musicians. It's an integral part of who we are as human beings. So if we keep down the path together, the sky's the limit for what we can do in our music.

Anthony: My brother mentioned that when you played guitar back-up for Black Flag, your guitar work really shone, like the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Do you ever plan to add more members to the band? Why or why not?

EG: That's very high praise! Tell your brother thank you!! haha. It's always great to collaborate with other musicians.. it's a great source of learning.. But for the present future I can confidently say that Cinema Cinema will not be adding any members officially.. actually, i can guarantee that we will NEVER add a 3rd official member to the band, its duo until we die.

Anthony: Can you let the readers know where they can buy your CDs or MP3s? Links here would help.

EG: for ALL merch needs please visit

Anthony: Can you give us a Top Ten List of songs, either your own or another band’s, that has made your music what it is today? And could you tell us a bit about each song?

EG: I think since we are currently on tour ALL summer long with Black Flag, it would be appropriate to name some of our favorite songs from their amazing catalog. 5 of my fav's are:

1. "Rise Above"

2. "My War"

3. "Black Coffee"

4. "Retired at 21"

5. "Beat My Head Against The Wall"


6. Rush - Spirit of Radio 

Whether it's the start of an 8 hour drive to a gig or the end of night race to the next one, we put this song on and it just fills us with joy.

7. Rainbow - Man on the Silver Mountain

I bought a Rainbow disc on the road when we passed through Chicago. It's pretty much all we have listened to since. Dio is such the man!!

8. Daniel Johnston - Walking the Cow

Favorite song by one of our favorite musicians.

9. I'd Rather Die - Good For You

This is a killer track from Greg Ginn and Mike V's other project. They play this as part of the current Black Flag set and it's always a highlight for me. 

10. The Changeling - The Doors

Just an amazing track that opens the Doors LA Woman album. It has been played on repeat many times while on the road.


(all dates are with BLACK FLAG)
Jul 11 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
Jul 12 - Baton Rouge, LA @ Varsity Theater
Jul 13 - Memphis, TN @ Young Ave Deli
Jul 14 - Knoxville, TN @ The Concourse at the Intl.
Jul 15 - Louisville, KY @ Headliner's Music Hall
Jul 16 - Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
Jul 17 - Muncie, IN @ Be Here Now
Jul 18 - Lombard, IL @ Brauer House
Jul 19 - Springfield, IL @ Donnie's Homespun
Jul 20 - St. Paul, MN @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall
Jul 21 - Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
Jul 22 - Aberdeen, SD @ Slackers
Jul 23 - Rapid City, SD @ Sports Rock
Jul 24 – Billings, MT @ The Railyard
Jul 25 - Butte, MT @ Evel Knievel Day Festival
Jul 27 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
Jul 28 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Jul 29 - Grand Junction, CO @ Mesa Theater
Jul 30 - Cheyenne, WY @ The Drunken Skunk
Jul 31 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theater
Aug 1 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Rawkus
Aug 2 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
Aug 3 - Lubbock, TX @ Backstage
Aug 4 - Fort Worth, TX @ The Aardvark
Aug 6 - San Antonio, TX @ The Korova
Aug 7 - Corpus Christi, TX @ House Of Rock
Aug 8 - McAllen, TX @ Metropolis

For more information, visit these sites: 


Thank you to Ev and Paul of Cinema Cinema. But we are not through here. Our modest duo did not share one of their songs with us. Now I expect you to visit and pick up some of their music. But here is a small taste of the dynamic assault you can expect from this pair of synchronized Rockers. Remember, you are only hearing guitar, vocals and drums. It's an amazing combination. 

Till next time when we talk with another talent from today's pool of music makers and leaders in the experimental field, I leave you with these clips of Cinema Cinema.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Art of Caril Chasens: Of Flesh and Of Wood
A Critique by Anthony Servante

The Artist in the Art

Caril Chasens is part of a new movement of Art (with a capital A). In music it is called "mash ups", playing two songs simultaneously to create a harmonic third piece. This is not quite new. We used to, as kids, sing Frere Jacque and Row Row Row Your Boat at the same time to harmonize the music, but did not create a new song that we recorded. It was simply two different songs that worked together for practice. Today, though, mash-up music, short stories, novels (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, for one) have created a new form. In short, Chasens create new art from wood and human idealization. She finds pieces of wood that she can sculpt into an idealized form. Here she Ms. Chasens' explanation for her artistic mash-ups.

Casting Molten Wood
by Caril Chasens
In wood, I represent human and animal figures within abstracted environment.

Right now, in the 21st century, some of us are looking at nature and at human affairs with ideas that are potent and humane.

It is no longer unusual to visualize an environment as an active interrelated system where the least can change the whole. I want art that reflects this understanding. I choose to carve sculpture from wood; the substance of wood contains, resonates with, the processes of nature and the wild complexity of the natural world.

And, we look at ourselves. It is no longer unusual to see person, people, human experience as active interrelated flow, where the smallest part is potentially active and vital. Here again, the least is potent, the whole is interrelated. Of course we share the nature of natural systems.

I proceed within a collaboration of the wood and the idea. Whether each blademark should be retained, I approach as an artist's decision. Where I sand and smooth, I seek to reveal the process of growth of the wood within the shape of the idea.

In a previous century, when I was a child, with a child's intolerance and self-absorption, I saw the know the one. A block of concrete. The absolutely-reduced simplicity probably did many things. To me, it snubbed details. I knew that I was a detail. Now, as an adult artist, I would say that human-including and nature-including artwork is also necessary.

I believe in wood as a medium for the 21st century. Its grain, complexity and flow resonate with natural and human systems. Wood responds to the density I look for in my work.

Woodcarving..I like to claim that I cast the stuff in molten wood.

I now wish to share some of my favorite works by Ms. Chasens and discuss this "mash-up" molting. 

Hominidium birch burl

The wood is birch. The flesh is an idealized combination of human and ape. The deep blue eyes are life-like and quite startling if you stare at them too long. The thick brow is all gorilla, but the smile is human. The mash-up of "humanoid" features play the gray area of where the ape begins and where the human begins. By encasing this area is wood, Ms. Chasens challenges us to reconsider our perceptions about our origins. For her, this perception began in the wood, not in the man or gorilla. Thus the mash-up includes us and wood. Look at those blue eyes again. Try not to see yourself or someone strangely similar.

Horsey face pine

The wood is pine. The flesh is a combination of human and horse. Note the face is flat rather than long, yet the mane, nose, ears, and the eyes on opposite sides of the head are all horse. There is no expression, as we had with the smiling ape. Here the horse dominates the idealized flesh. That is what Ms. Chasens found in the wood, so that's what she captured. The downplay of human qualities were determined by the pine, the shape the wood had as found. So, the artist captured the horse with a flat human face. It is not as startling as the "birch" piece, but haunting nonetheless. 


Of course, the word Ent comes from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, the tree-herders led by Treebeard. The ents already are a combination of human and tree, but Ms. Chasens takes it one step further. This is the "seed" that will become the ent. The wood is not identified, but the human features are clear: a hand and a face that will sprout into a mash-up of walking, talking tree. Even the shape of the wood the artist found looks like a big seed, a grotesque acorn. We have a bit of metonymy at work here, that is, we can see that already idealized "ent" of the famous Tolkien trilogy, but we are forced to imagine its growth from this seed, its infancy, its teens, its old age. Note, too, that it sleeps in its wood womb, awaiting birth. Here the wood is dominant, as the horse in "Horsey" and the Ape/Human in "birch burl". You can almost see the eyes ready to open and the fingers ready to spread. The wood is life, just as the seed is pre-life for the wood. 

Consider Mouse

The mash-up is wood and mouse and human. It is wonderful to see how that piece of wood held this imagining in the artist's eye and makes me wonder what the wood looked like originally. I guess it looked like a blank canvass before the paint turned it into a melting clock or Guernica. Here there are two mice: one with human likeness, the other just a mouse, but as they play off of each other, we must "consider" the idealized human behind the rodent(s). Again we have the stark eye that stares forward, the ear the size of a human and shape of a human ear, but conforming to the idealized mouse as well. It's as if the sculpture is saying, I am not a mouse, I am a mouse, but which is which, thus the title, "Consider Mouse", not "mice", but singular, for there is only one--the mash-up, of course.

Well, I could spent all night talking about Caril Chasens' works, for I love the emotion behind the dualism of the pieces. We see that her mash-ups entail more than two elements, as music and literature do, so the art has more layers to appreciate with each viewing. I can only imagine that third layer that we are so deprived of, and that of touch. Perhaps some day I can feel the grooves and contours of the wood and human features, the animals and mythical creatures. Meanwhile, sight alone will have to do, but for this critic, I could stare at these works by Ms. Chasens all day and all night long. 

To see more art by Ms. Chasens or to purchase one of her pieces, visit this link and use the contact form at the bottom of the page.