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Today we welcome MADemoiselle Veronique Chevalier.

Veronique Chevalier is the eccentric Françican (Français-American) Chanteuse (Songstress) known as The “Weird VAL” of Dark Cabaret.  She’s an unparalleled Parodist; a Steampunk-lish Chanteuse, and Spooky Polkanista, who has been described as a twisted incarnation of Edith Piaf from an alternate reality – the one in which her parents are Jim Morrison, and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and her godparents are Lucille Ball and Weird Al.  As a self-proclaimed “Mad Sonictist,” she takes maniacal pleasure in combining previously unrelated musical forms into new, unholy combinations. She vows to leave no genre unadulterated in her quest to create the ultimate Sonic Frankenstein.  She originated the genre of “Gothic Polka”. Her twisted brand of humour hits at the core of daily reality. Being gonged off the premiere season of America’s Got Talent (which is FAKE reality) was irrefutable proof her gifts are wasted on the masses.

What Is “Steampunk Music?”

by Veronique Chevalier

MADemoiselle Veronique Chevalier

There seem to be more and more debates floating through the aethers on the subject of “Steampunk Music,” so I wrote this piece from the viewpoint that I have as an artiste. Although I have performed at numerous Steampunk events, and shall continue to do so as long as the invitations keep coming my way, I don’t call myself a “Steampunk” artiste, per say.

I prefer the word “artiste” without any descriptors, because I create to please myself, and I appear at non-Steampunk events (Cabarets/Music Halls/Gay Venues/Burlesque Rooms) as well. I do feel very privileged and honoured that many fine folk in the community appreciate my special brand of ODDitory MADemoiselle-ness.

However, I know that people new to the Steampunk community, as well as long-time adherents, yearn for more musical choices, so that they might have a soundtrack, as it were, to complement the aesthetics and spirit that drew them to the community initially.

In the spirit of inclusiveness, I’d like to share a couple of invaluable resources for Steampunk-ish music. Incidentally, there is no universal agreement about what constitutes “Steampunk” music, since it commenced as a literary and aesthetic movement. However, it does seem to follow that numerous music artistes enjoyed by many Steampunks (and in whose ranks I am honoured to be included) are congregated in the following two websites:

Gilded Age Records
* http://www.gildedagerecords.com*
*https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gilded-Age-Records/122519387775698*

The world’s only artist collective, founded by Joshua A. Pfeiffer of Vernian Process & Evelyn Kriete, focused on musician’s combining old world aesthetics and sounds with current genres of music. Steampunk/Cabaret/Swing/Ragtime/Gypsy-Punk/Darkwave/etc.

Sepiachord
*http://sepiachord.com*
*https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_208390005860341*

Founded by Jordan Bodewell, “Sepiachord is the “genre that doesn’t exist”. It is to music what “Steampunk” is to literature and cinema: something that looks back to the past to comment on the present while looking sideways at the future. A cubist aural experience. As goth & glam are the bastards of David Bowie, Sepiachord is the made from the genetic material sown by Tom Waits.

Sepiachord is assembled like a clockwork orchestra, from such elements of music Sinister Circus, Cabaret Macabre, Chamber Pop, Organic Goth, Celtic/Gypsy Punk, Mutant Americana, Ghost Town Country It is the music our grandparents or great-grandparents would have listened to, if they were as off-set as we are.”

“A Sepiachord Passport” released under the Projekt Records imprint, is a compilation with a generous selection of 20 tracks by as many artistes, and is an excellent way to dip one’s toe into the Steampunk Music pool. It may be ordered from the Projekt website:

Coming late fall 2011, Steampunk is a two volume CD soundtrack for G. D. Falksen’s novel The Hellfire Chronicles: Blood In The Skies. This musical compilation represents the combined work of some of the top steampunk bands and musicians from across the world, who have come together to provide you with music to listen to while reading Blood In The Skies. The soundtrack also features an exclusive preview of the book, read by the author.

Disc 1

Disc 2

With great eSTEAM,

~Veronique Chevalier

http://weirdval.com/

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Today we have a very special guest thursday post.  Lolita Deb is interviewing musician Jyri Glynn creator of the musical experience, Anguisette – The Creation Chamber.

Interview with Jyri Glynn, musician and creator of the musical experience, Anguisette – The Creation Chamber

By Lolita Deb

Deborah: Welcome to Steamed! We’re so glad you could come to visit. Tell us about yourself. Have you always wanted to be musician?

Jyri Glynn:  Thank you, Deborah for this opportunity. 

I first started taking classic violin lessons when I was about seven years old.  I can’t tell you exactly why I picked that particular instrument but I continued to play it throughout most of my school years in various school and church orchestras.

Once I got about halfway through high school, I started losing interest in playing sheet music and resented my insistent parents because I really wanted to play electric guitar.  I started getting into rock music and really wanted to play it — but because of my strict religious upbringing, it simply wasn’t allowed. 

Around seventeen I quit playing and ended up dropping out of orchestra.  This was mostly as a revolt against my folks, but I also felt like it was “uncool” (when it came to my peers) to play a violin.  I wanted to be a rockstar, not a nerd with a violin case on his back. 

About ten years later a musician friend of mine and I were talking and I mentioned that I had once played violin and still owned an acoustic violin with an electric pickup.  He encouraged me to bring it over to his house and play around.  So I ended up doing just that. 

I was absolutely intrigued with all the interesting sounds one could create running the violin through different effects.  I had tried this nearly a decade earlier but the technology back then just wasn’t the same.

After playing around with the newer, modern equipment, within no time, I found myself newly inspired.   I immediately started relearning the instrument while constantly experimenting with various combinations of sound modules and pedals.  Within a few months my buddy and I ended up starting a band together in which I played the electric violin.

D: Tell us a little about your band? How long have you been together? How did you come together as a group?

JG: I play electric violin in a rock band called The Sins and Anguisette is a solo project that I’ve been working on for roughly eight years off and on.  It is an EBM/Electronic project that I have composed most of the music for, with the help of some of my closest friends.  I’ve also had various female vocalists write and record vocals to the music based on a title or theme.

D: How did you decide on this particular sound? What is about your music that makes it Steampunk?

JG: Because my primary instrument is violin, I tend to initially write string parts when first composing a song.  The additional instruments are typically added afterwards. 

I’ve always loved the sound of a beautiful, yet sorrowful string instrument — particularly cello and violin — and I write the majority of my music in a minor key.  I guess that’s what gives Anguisette the signature sound that it now has.

I’ve always viewed Steampunk as the combination of modern technology with the antiquities of another age.  A violin is very much an antique instrument, as its origins date back hundreds of years, yet an electric violin enhances this classic foundation with elements of modern technology. 

I don’t know if that necessarily makes my music “steampunk,” but I’ve certainly heard people categorize Anguisette’s music as such.  Not unlike the Goth moment of the nineties when everyone started dressing like vampires, I see much of the steampunk music genre based more on fashion than on a specific style of music. 

Personally, I’ve always loved steampunk fashion, so when I filmed my first music video for “29 Years,” I incorporated these types of styles into the dream/nightmare scenes of the video using costumes and props. 

D: Is there a story behind your band’s name? Does Anguisette translate to something?

JG: I first heard the term from a friend who suggested it after reading a book by Jacqueline Carey called Kushiel’s Dart

In short, an Anguisette is a person who takes pleasure in pain.  For me, though, it doesn’t necessarily mean in some S&M or physical sense.  It is more about learning from painful situations and then taking pleasure in the knowledge one gains in the end.  So basically, it’s the whole “beauty in sorrow” thing.

D: Can you tell us more about your most recent album, The Creation Chamber? Does it have a back story? The songs seem to take the listener on an emotional journey.

JG: Most everyone has experienced the loss of a love one or the death of a relationship.  The concept behind this album is to express the different emotions that one feels while going through that sequence of events.   

From the death of one, another is born.

D: This album has an amazing variety of singers on it, how did this collaboration come about?

JG: As I’ve mentioned already, my goal was to create an album that would capture each individual emotion one experiences after a major loss.  All the vocalists and guest musicians involved played an integral part in the conveyance of these emotions and themes.

Whenever I would hear a vocalist whose work I enjoyed, I would contact them, usually through email, and explain the concept of what I was trying to accomplish. 

Once a vocalist “clicked,” I would email her the music with a working title and an emotional theme, and then I just let her take the track in whatever direction she wanted.  The singer would then breathe life into the piece of music. 

I have actually never had the pleasure of meeting many of the singers on the CD in person, so the project was definitely a bit of an online experiment. 

D: Where can we buy your music?

The Creation Chamber is available at SINister Records; as well as, CdBaby, Amazon, iTunes and at most major online music stores. 

My website is: http://www.anguisette.com

Friend us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anguisette

Fans can hear my music, watch my video and obtain more info on the band at: http://www.reverbnation.com/anguisette

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It’s Thursday, which means we have a special guest for you. Today we have the band Marizane.

Lolita Suzanne: Welcome to Steamed! We’re so glad you could come on. Tell us about yourselves. Have you always wanted to be musicians?

Todd Jaeger: Marizane consists of Todd Jaeger, Debbie Shair, and Jim Laspesa.
I have been playing music since I was about four years old. I started on the piano and then eventually took up the guitar and bass and then the Theremin. Debbie has also been playing music since childhood starting on the piano and was an early adopter of electronic keyboards given that her parents were involved in the home computer and electronics business in the early 1970s.

LS: Tell us a little about your band? How long have you been together? How did you come together as a group?

TJ: Well, Marizane was originally one of my projects (Todd). I originally intended to write a full “rock opera” with the fictional character would be named Marizane. I completed two songs that made specific references to this character but ultimately just adopted the name for the band that I was playing with at the time. This was around 1988. I met Debbie in 1992 by answering her add in a local paper for “Keyboardist seeks band for therapy and gigs”. I thought that was a great heading and immediately called her to set up a meeting. She was the only person that I had met with that understood what I was trying to do musically and she had a very unique style of playing that fit right in with the theatrical vibe of my songs at that time.

LS: How did you decide on this particular sound? It seems so different from anything out there. To me it sounds like Steampunk lounge music—something you might hear while sipping absinthe in a club full of air pirates with ray guns…

TJ: Well the sound of the music today is the result of our collaboration through the years. You can hear elements of it in the earlier songs that I recorded by myself but it really developed between the two of us.

LS: Is there a story behind your band’s name?

TJ: No, I just wanted the character to sound sort of like a classic B movie alien invader.

LS: Nice. Who doesn’t love alien invaders? So, what’s the best thing about being in a band? The hardest?

TJ: The best thing about it is sharing the blame when things go south, the hardest is not being able to take all the credit when it goes well.

LS: Can you tell us more about your most recent album? Does it have a back story? Do you have any favorite songs? Where can we buy your music?

TJ: “Cosmosis” is all about journeys. It could be literal travel or just psychological road trips through the mind’s cosmos. In either case the cowboys are real.

Favorite songs: “Monsters of Karri Mia”, “Fiddler’s Green” and “Ship for Brains”.

The album is available on iTunes and CDBaby as well as Amazon.

LS: Very cool. So, where can we hear you live?

TJ: Playing live can be tricky in terms of scheduling. Debbie is also playing keyboards for Heart and is frequently out of town on tour. However, we are just finishing building our new studio and rehearsal location “TomorrowLabs” with our partners (Wondermints and Brian Wilson members Nick Walusko and Darian Sahanaja). So playing some local shows is not out of the question in the near future.

LS: What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at a performance?

TJ: Well, we do have the distinction of having played at a club that had two dead bodies on the premises, one being the displayed corps of a clown from the 1920s, and the other a taxidermied girl in a wheel chair at the foot of the stage. We also did a show for Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco on the night of September 11, 2001 because as he told us “just because Madona canceled her gig doesn’t mean you have to”.

LS: Do you have any new projects?

TJ: Right now we are just getting the new studio ready for recording, we will then be working on new material.

Thank you so much for visiting us. We really appreciate it. You can also find Marizane on Facebook.

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