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ISSUE NO. 2
ILLUSTRATION * POETRY
INTERVIEWS * PHOTOGRAPHY
PAINTINGS * STORIES * MORE
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We are so excited to be back for the
second issue of SKULL! Thank you all so much
for believing in us and helping us reach round
two. We had no idea how SKULL was going to
be received, but if this issue is any indication,
we have only just begun.
Like any start-up, of course we still have
kinks on our end we are trying to work out (a
better distribution method, easier deadlines,
the most friendly advertising prices, an ofﬁcial
site, etc.), but I truly think that when we take
into account the bigger picture of what we are
building together here, it is amazing and very
unique, a FREE digital magazine devoted to
showcasing What’s inside your skull. If we
were a print publication, so much of the
freedom we have in inclusivity and visual
quality would be lost due to cost, materials,
and manufacturing restrictions.
Take for instance the scope of creativity we
have going on in this issue; a ﬁlmmaker on-
the-verge, a prog rock band, an article on
building altars, a hipster-antithesis Halloween
comic, two amazingly diverse photographers,
a poet whose work taps into the pain and
beauty of being, and an artist merging girlish
charm with dark fantasy. Not to forget all of the
awesome advertisers in these pages, with
goodies ranging from handmade jewelry to
wheatgrass smoothies! You guys are amazing
and SKULL is honored to share your work.
I recently ﬁnished reading Frida: A
Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera.
We all know Frida was an amazing artist. Her
paintings speak volumes of the personal
experiences she went through as a woman,
wife, mexicana, communist, artist, and invalid.
But apart from the fascinating account of
Frida’s life, there was a tiny line of text that
struck me as really relevant to our work over
here at SKULL.
Diego Rivera, muralist extraordinaire and
Frida’s husband, is quoted as saying, “Art is
like ham, it nourishes people.” At SKULL we
very much believe it to be true... except that
we would personally substitute the ham with
organic kale or free-range eggs or a few nice,
hearty shots of tequila. Rivera was surely being
tongue-in-cheek when he said that, but art is
like ham! Sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s
considered vulgar, and sometimes it’s delicious
(who knew ham was so multifaceted?). That is
what makes art so great.
Art is for everyone, regardless of taste or
personal style preference. Whether you are
creating art or experiencing it, art exists to
nourish your spirit. Ultimately, that is what I
hope SKULL is doing here.
and green chile,
SKULL is a FREE indie platform for artists and creatives to
share their work with the public. The art, articles, advertising,
etc. appearing within this publication reﬂect the opinions and
attitudes of their respective authors and do not necessarily
represent those of the publisher or editors. We encourage all
interested parties to contact the contributors to give them cool
creative jobs, money, and kudos. ©2012 WIYSKULL, Inc.
We encourage you to share this publication! Reproduce it,
store it in any retrieval system, or transmit it in any form by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise. BUT DO give credit where credit is due and DO
NOT alter or republish content without the individual
contributor’s express permission. That is fucked up and goes
against creative brotherhood. Karma will kick your ass.
For advertising and editorial queries, submissions, subscriptions, email and address changes, and back issues, email
email@example.com. Online at facebook.com/SKULLmagazine. JAN/FEB ISSUE #3 RELEASE: JANUARY 15, 2013.
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Next Digital Issue:
Jan. 15 ☥ Issue No. 3
2013 Digital Issues:
March 15 ☥ Issue No. 4
May 15 ☥ Issue No. 5
July 15 ☥ Issue No. 6
Sept. 15 ☥ Issue No. 7
Nov. 15 ☥ Issue No. 8
March ☥ Zine No. 1
June ☥ Zine No. 2
September ☥ Zine No. 3
December ☥ Zine No. 4
Blog, EPub Books & MORE
For More Info:
SKULL is a proud sponsor of the upcoming Wild
Winter Bazaar, hosted by Prince Tuesday and the
Royal Jellies. Present will be belly dancers
sensuously shimmying through a mad man’s
mouth, a pagan carnival costume contest, live
music, indie art displays, food, craft vendors, and
everyone’s favorite, FREE BEER! WWB takes place
Sunday, December 16 from 4 to 10pm in
Fredericksburg, Texas at St. Joseph’s Hall. For
more info or to register as a vendor, visit Studio
Bumble Moire or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
☥ Photography « Page 4 »
By Jessica Chiles
☥ INTERVIEW « Page 6 »
Kathy Swift Albert
By Jackie Pardue Scripps
☥ PAINTINGS « Page 8 »
By Ashley Scarlet
☥ Article « Page 9 »
Making an altar
By Wade Winchell
☥ Photography « Page 11 »
By Deleigh Hermes
☥ Comic « Page 12 »
☥ POEM « Page 12 »
☥ INTERVIEW « Page 15 »
ThE Aaron Clift Experiment
By Jackie Pardue Scripps
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Thank you to our
These guys kick ass
and we literally could
not have put SKULL
together without them!
Please support them
by checking out their
sites, attending their
shows, buying their
work, taking their
classes, or donating
funds to them so they
may continue to
practice their craft.
community is US, so
let’s support it!
A BIG thank you to
Kathy Swift Albert and
The Aaron Clift
Experiment for the
Another big thank you
to the Shaw/Gibler
“research center” and
the Brickner “internet
cafe” for help keeping
☥ BRANDEN « Page 13 » and associated aliases has been known to be an Artist, a
Pirate, and a Magickal Elf Princess. When not painting, writing, ﬁlming, acting,
sculpting, sewing, or otherwise making things, he can commonly be found inside of
giant monster costumes or helping to prepare lost souls for enlightenment. You can
keep up with BrandEn’s strange exploits at poisonedgrace.com.
☥ Jessica Chiles « Page 4 » has been a passionate photographer since 2005. She
quickly fell in love with macro photography and photographing unusual objects. Her
desire is that when people view her photography they will see the beauty she tries
to capture in things that may otherwise go unnoticed. Jessica is based in Austin.
Her ﬁne art and wedding work is at facebook.com/jessicamorganfotography.
☥ DELEIGH HERMES « Page 11 » has been a creative soul since she was a youngster.
Finding her grandmother’s Nikon at age six pretty much began her love for
photography and she has never set it down. After graduating from Texas State
University with her BFA in Photography, she now resides in Austin, Texas shooting
portrait and travel photography. To see more of Deleigh’s photos from Australia,
Central America, and beyond, visit her at facebook.com/dlhermesphoto.
☥ Ashley Scarlet « Page 8 » likes to keep things dark and mysterious, yet the other
side of her feels compelled to bring out the naieve child-like beauty in her art.
Growing up in the Midwest, Scarlet broke the rules of Society and hides inside a
house made of candy, painting to her macabre delight. Never judge a book by its
cover. Ashley’s portfolio is at scarletcreations.daportfolio.com.
☥ Jackie Pardue Scripps « Cover » is a human creator/destroyer fathered by a
spirit from Orion and a mother born of bass (i.e. feral cats). Her primary creative
interest is storytelling through visual media and the written word. She’s about to
begin editing and contributing to a mind-warping book-to-be-turned-screenplay by
Josh Frank and Black Francis. Jackie posts occasional illustrations and photos of
the Hill Country at jackiescripps.tumblr.com and daily bullshit @JackieScripps.
☥ SKIRISH « Page 12 » is an amateur artist who received her BA in Anthropology from
Texas State in 2008. She currently lives in Austin with her two cats and fourteen
imaginary friends. She enjoys history, manatees, bad television, and consuming
human ﬂesh. Her artwork channels the sarcasm and isolation often felt in modern
society, where a group of friends is sometimes closer than a family. Also, time travel.
Her heroes include the Incan emperor Pachacuti, Guaman de Poma, and Aquaman.
☥ Wade Winchell « Page 9 » is a photographer, writer, and musician from Austin,
Texas. Presently he is studying medical laboratory science at Texas State University.
You can view more of his work at facebook.com/wadewinchellphotos, where he
uses a vintage Canon AE-1 and unusual color from light and low quality ﬁlm to take
non-traditional photos that can be controversial or not applicable to most
mainstream media sources. Follow Wade on Twitter @WadeWinchell.
Would you like to be a contributor? Are you a poet, artist, writer, photographer, performer, creative visionary, etc.? Have an idea
for an interview or a topic you would like to see included in the next issue? Email your submissions to email@example.com!
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505 W. Main St. ♦ Fredericksburg, Texas
s/ar//aç a/ $3
Freshly made juices!
Gourmet fruit smoothies!
Delicious healthy lunch!
CLOSED FOR REMODELING BUT REOPENING SOON!
(830) 307-3173507 W. Main St.Fredericksburg, Texas
VISIT US ON FACEBOOK!
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By Jackie Pardue Scripps & Kathy Swift Albert
Photo by Stephanie Harrison
Kathy Swift Albert is a force. She has managed
to successfully segue from the newspaper and
publishing industry into the ﬁlm industry, where
she has spent the past several years
developing a bold resume as a writer, director,
and producer. Kathy is deﬁnitely bright light in
Austin’s indie ﬁlmmaking scene.
Jackie Pardue Scripps: As far as style goes,
who or what are your biggest ﬁlm inﬂuences?
Kathy Swift Albert: There are some really great
women ﬁlmmakers right now... I'm obsessed
with Andrea Arnold, Leah Dunham, Lynne
Ramsay, and Soﬁa Coppola to name a few.
JPS: You studied at Austin Film Works. Have
you taken any other classes?
KSA: I studied under UT professor Steve
Mimms and he was amazing. Starting with ﬁlm
really gives you an appreciation of shooting
digitally and I think he's a brilliant editor.
Whenever I go to cut, I sort of hear him
in my head.
JPS: What type of work you have produced
and are looking forward to producing?
KSA: So far, I've focused on short ﬁlms.
However, I've written a lot of feature scripts
and would love to work on a full-length project.
JPS: As a ﬁlmmaker and producer, what are
some challenges you have faced? In the
community or in your own creative processes?
KSA: The hardest part of being a micro-
budget, indie ﬁlmmaker is lack of funds.
Although we barter our creative talents with
one another, I'm committed to paying people
JPS: How important is it to be part of a creative
KSA: Being part of the creative community,
especially one as inclusive as Austin, has been
crucial. The ﬁlmmakers in this town are
generous with their time and expertise.
Words by Jackie Pardue Scripps & The Aaron Clift Experiment
Kathy Swift ALBERT
Director Kathy Swift Albert on set with DP Leon Rodriguez
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JPS: What is your favorite part about the Austin
KSA: The informal ﬁlm screenings around town
as well as the festivals; AFF, SXSW, AGLIF, and
JPS: Personally, I know you are very politically
active. How does this inform your ﬁlm work?
KSA: I like to make ﬁlms that either have a
social message or possibly create a catalyst for
JPS: In Texas we are a right-to-work state (i.e.,
in Texas you cannot be denied employment if
you are, or are not, part of a union, e.g., SAG,
Teamsters, etc.). What is your take on the
relative importance of unions?
KSA: I'm just getting to a place where I really
want to work with unions because I think it's
the right thing to do... but on the other hand...
for a really small ﬁlmmaker it deﬁnitely adds a
lot more paperwork and expense.
JPS: Have you been able to utilize some of the
ﬁlmmaking resources the state provides?
KSA: My understanding is that the Texas
incentives are for budgets of $250,000. I'm not
even close to that, so as a no/low ﬁlmmaker,
it's sort of a non-issue.
JPS: In the indie scene particularly, crew
members and actors work long hours,
occasionally 12 hour days, and are sometimes
poorly compensated or “hired” under the
pretense that the work is an unpaid opportunity
to add a credit to their resume. This deﬁnitely
gives potential crew and actors an opportunity
to build their knowledge base and network, but
in the larger scheme of things, how does this
affect the ﬁlmmaking community?
KSA: I think it's unfortunate. This happened on
my ﬁrst short, mostly because of my naiveté.
I've tried really hard to keep work days down
and to make the atmosphere on set, especially
with food, a positive experience. As long as
supply [exists] for people willing to work in this
industry for no pay to build up their resumes,
there will be opportunities for that to be
JPS: What is your favorite part about
KSA: I love absolutely every part of making a
movie. From the idea to the screenplay through
preproduction, production, it is all important.
JPS: What projects are you currently working
KSA: Our next project, A Perfect Cocktail, is a
short ﬁlm about appearances, relationships,
and expectations. While “cocktail” is used as a
metaphor for a mixing of elements, the
audience experience will be ﬁlled with
unexpected reveals. The ﬁnal twist at the end is
a challenge to our expectations of what
constitutes a family.
For more information on Kathy Swift Albert’s
work, visit studio-e2.com or follow @Studio_e2.
♦ H uevos R ancheros♦
♦ B reakfast B urritos ♦
♦ B risket S andwiches ♦
breakfast until 2PM!
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Regardless of your religious
afﬁliation, an altar can be deﬁned
as a creative expression that you
make to understand your deepest
nature. An altar in your home creates
a link between the vital force that
animates your existence, nature, and
your true self. As far as most of us
have been told, we assume there are
"rules" and standards to making and
presenting an altar. This, however, is
untrue. Your altar can be formative
and religious, or it can serve as an
unveiling tool of expression.
The most common holding of an altar revolves around spirituality or religion. What if I told you
that I am an atheist? What beneﬁt would an altar hold for someone that doesn't give in to
"mumbo-jumbo"? Here are the most undeniable facts regardless of your spiritual orientation: we
are alive, we are creators, all things are connected by atoms and inﬁnity, and no matter from what
background, we are all facing a hard journey. Just because someone doesn't believe in spirit
doesn't mean they don't need methods to cope with the journey of human life. There are tools
and traditions older than time that have been passed down to elevate and inspire the true self -
why not utilize them? You can change or adopt the old rules, take from them what you like, and
you can build a new path.
An altar can be used to heal parts of your emotional an mental body by serving as a
reminder for the things you wish to change about your perspectives. An altar is a physical
afﬁrmation that you design with objects that hold personal power. You should trust your
subconscious to design the altar for these areas of healing - only your deepest self will be able to
weave the right presentation for your personal situation. Get creative. Begin to notice things when
you are out in nature, shopping, and rummaging through heirlooms. Collect objects that will help
set these ideas into motion. Write your ideas down, use poems, quotes, or verses. Take from the
creativity of others. If you are inspired by something someone else has created, use it, because in
the end the same universal messages are speaking to you and nothing is copyrighted.
An altar can also simply be used to represent your personal power of creation. It is an art
form. The way we arrange the objects in our homes shape our awareness. Have you ever heard
the saying, "messy bed, messy head"? Whoever created this rhyme was speaking of the affect of
space on your personal, mental, and emotional state. Comically, I am a very untidy person and
don't share the same unrest as the original author of that statement, but I have noticed a
correlation to how I arrange my space and the clarity of my feelings with its upkeep. In keeping
an altar you will begin to notice how certain arrangements can expose how you really feel. Your
arrangement will create new pathways in your brain. It will inspire new ways of thinking, new
creativity, and new understandings of beauty, because you are desiring to link the intangible mind
with the physical world.
Making an altar
Article and art by Wade Winchell
Altars serve many purposes including acting as an “art form.”
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As stated before, there are no rules, but following are some things that have helped me form
powerful and interesting altars. Take from these ideas if you like:
• Dedicate a purpose to your altar, (i.e., art, self-healing, afﬁrmation, nature appreciation,
prayer, meditation). Themes that are simple will remind you of your focus every time you see
your altar. Each time you remember why you created your altar, that pathway in your
consciousness will become stronger.
• Make offerings that you won’t get back. If you are willing to give something up, it makes
room for something new to come your way. Decide who or what force the offering is for and
make it clear. You can use an "offering bowl" on your altar, give the offering to another person,
or present it out into nature. Nature is a great place to give an offering, being that nature
provides us with all the essential things for life. Plant seeds, write or read someone a poem,
sing songs, feed a pigeon - it doesn't have to be an expensive offering. The value of your
offering is determined by your heart. When it comes to offerings that are also ﬁnancially
valuable, remember that these objects have been traded previously as offerings for money -
and they will certainly bring you different perspective if you choose to give them up. They are,
however, not a necessary offering.
• Use objects that are natural, inspiring, or sentimental. You alone can choose what to place
in your sacred space, but beware of synthetic incense/candles/oils because they create toxic
fumes, and your altar should be there to help you. Items that contain petroleum, synthetic
perfume, plastic, or were produced by near-slave labor shouldn't be considered as sacred
tools. I like to buy recycled, and found/repurposed objects if I need things such as offering
bowls or incense burners. In other words, large chain stores probably don't have what you are
looking for. How you arrange your objects is entirely up for interpretation. You can research
traditional methods, or create your own. I am all for your own personal arrangements.
• Harm no one. Enough said. Don't use an altar to reinforce ideas of doubt, hate, or self-
• Don't be too serious because part of keeping an altar is to make sure you are achieving the
happiness you are desiring from having one. If you expect too much from the "power" of your
altar, you will most likely be disappointed. The power comes from the ever-increasing
inspiration from YOUR creations, from YOUR ability to let go, and YOUR willingness to change
- not from the altar.
I hope you best on the creative journey of your altar creation. Inside of your creative scope and
subconscious are all the ideas you need to make powerful, uplifting, and beautiful altars.
Good things your way.
For more inspiration on altar building and a beautifully dark collection of pagan-inspired images,
visit Wade Winchell’s Black Crystal Witch Tumblr at blackcrystalwitch.tumblr.com.
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as if reversed by some playful goddess -
the structures of nature
and the conventions of man
concede to the tender thread of Irony
the stars pooled at Her feet
a vast ocean, deep and glittering
Moon, shining rebirth - “Memento Luna”
serving as the beach of Her celestial deep
the wind carried tide through the shore of trees
leaves, breaking audible surf
close your eyes and extend your soul
and you can feel this
pushing and pulling undertow of an inverse lunar sea
Swimming through a Churchyard
Drowned Angels of the Abyss
the Memory Bench
more blessed than the sky
anchor to the Lost
compass to the Saved
luminous eyed creatures
swimming past perfection
unaware of bliss
as it thrives within the shallows
She turns on the breeze
catches the current
and is swept deeper still
and I stop
look up (or down?)
This is an Expanse of Life
how will you remember your time here?
hiding in port for fear of storms?
I will Captain this ship
and we sail -
across a holy galaxy of faith
on, across a main that never was
carried by a wave as loud as the wind in the leaves.
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belly dance studio
traditional and fusion inspired
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The Aaron Clift Experiment is not your average
prog rock band. The members didn’t grow up
jamming together in a suburban garage. They
don’t live together in some shabby Eastside
party den. These four men are professionals,
classically trained and currently making their
way around the Austin performance circuit. We
caught up with these Austinites, ranging in age
from their 20’s to 60’s, to hear their story and
see what ﬁres up their passion for music.
Jackie Pardue Scripps: Describe your sound
in ﬁve words.
Aaron Clift: Dynamic, intense symphonic
JPS: Why does the Aaron Clift Experiment
Clift: I can’t imagine life without music. It’s
such a big part of who I am that I just can’t
help but write songs. For me, songwriting and
performing is a rich, rewarding experience. My
hope is that our music will play a role in
bringing people together and helping them get
in touch with their emotions.
JPS: How long has The Aaron Clift Experiment
ofﬁcially been together and how did you join up
in the ﬁrst place?
Clift: In early 2008, I had a vision of a solo
The Aaron Clift
(L-R) Joe Green (bass), Aaron Clift (vocals, keyboards), Jim Ragland (guitar), Joe Resnick (drums)
Photo by Brio Yiapan/Brio Photography
By Jackie Pardue Scripps & The Aaron Clift Experiment
16 « SKULL » Nov/DEC 2012 facebook.com/SKULLMAGAZINE
project in which I could write and perform
music that would combine my classical and
rock inﬂuences. At ﬁrst, the project consisted
of me on vocals, my friend Julianne on
keyboards, and drummer Joe Resnick, who
was recommended to me by a recording
engineer friend of mine.
In fall 2009, Julianne, Joe and I went to the
studio and recorded demos of “Seven,”
“Lonely Hills,” and “My Andalusian Love.”
When I listened back to the ﬁnished recordings,
I realized that there was a hole in our sound
that needed to be ﬁlled by guitar and bass. I
also wanted my music to rock harder, so I
decided to make the project into a full-ﬂedged
band and model my songs after the music of
the progressive rock bands I really liked. As
part of turning the solo project into a band, I
gave the band a name – The Aaron Clift
In late 2010, Julianne and I mutually parted
ways due to musical differences (though we
remain really good friends to this day) and I
took over keyboard duties. I spent 2010 and
2011 trying to ﬁnd a guitarist and bassist. After
several false starts, ﬁnally in October 2011 I
found the right guys for the positions. Jim
Ragland (guitar) and Joe Green (bass) had both
recently moved to Austin (Jim from Los
Angeles and Joe from Houston) and were
eager to play original music. I felt that Jim’s
background writing music for theater and Joe’s
background playing jazz combined with their
professionalism and excellent musicianship
would make them the perfect additions to the
band. With Joe Resnick on drums and me on
vocals and keyboards, the band lineup was
JPS: You all have such unique musical
backgrounds and training. Clift (vocals,
keyboards) studied music at university and
classical composition in grad school. Jim
Ragland (guitar) started in the New York rock
scene and composed theatrical scores
including that of the Pulitzer Prize-winning
Broadway play The Kentucky Cycle. Joe Green
(bass) studied music at university, performed in
a jazz combo in Minneapolis, and has studied
under a Dallas Symphony Orchestra member.
Joe Resnick (drums) also studied and taught
music at university and performed with the
Detroit Symphony Orchestra. How does the
underlying commonality of the band’s
experience in composition and classical
training play into your sound? And into the
Clift: For me, it all goes back to dynamics and
intensity. Rock music at its core is all about a
raw, visceral experience. Classical music
sometimes reaches rock levels of intensity, but
overall seems to be more concerned with more
subtle, nuanced expression.
What I think unites all of us in the band
musically is the understanding of how to blend
the raw power of rock with the sophistication of
classical music. I’ve said it before and will say
it again that my band mates are the ﬁnest
musicians I’ve had the pleasure of
JPS: Who or what are your biggest musical
Clift: In rock music, my biggest inﬂuences
include Genesis, Pink Floyd, Rush, Led
Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Kate
Bush, Porcupine Tree, and Opeth. In jazz: John
Coltrane and Miles Davis. In classical: Ravel,
Debussy, Bartok, Schubert, Bach, Reich, and
Shostakovich. I also like a lot of soul singers
like James Brown and have lately been
listening to a lot of underground hip hop artists
like Tech N9ne and Hopsin.
My biggest musical hero is Frank Zappa – to
me he represents the consummate artist: he
was an amazing songwriter, producer, guitarist,
composer, comedian, and philosopher.
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Jim Ragland: Ry Cooder, Frank Zappa, Lyle
Lovett, Randy Newman, George Harrison, The
Band, Brian Setzer, Leo Kottke, George Martin,
Paul McCartney, Eyvind Kang.
Joe Green: Led Zeppelin and Miles Davis.
Joe Resnick: I've been inﬂuenced by too many
bands and too many styles to name. Probably
the most jarring moment of my young musical
life was the ﬁrst time I heard Abbey Road, side
two speciﬁcally. That feeling of amazement and
wonder hasn't been duplicated since, although
I'm inspired constantly by new music.
JPS: If you could play your dream show with
any musicians or bands, who would they be?
Clift: I wish Frank Zappa were alive so I could
do a show with him. As far as living artists go, I
would love to tour with Porcupine Tree, Opeth,
Ragland: I would be Robbie Robertson's
replacement in The Band, with all the other
members still alive, of course.
Green: My dream show would be to play
Resnick: I love many different types of music
and ﬁnd myself favoring particular songs as
opposed to bands. Some songs I'd like to play
include "In Your Eyes" with Peter Gabriel,
"Comfortably Numb" with Pink Floyd, any song
from Graceland with Paul Simon, "Sober" with
Tool, and "I'll Be Gone" with Cotton Mather. I'd
also love to play a show with Silversun
Pickups, Santigold, or Regina Spektor.
JPS: You just released your debut album,
Lonely Hills. First of all, congratulations! Can
you describe the process of recording the
album, from the initial decision to go into the
studio to completing the ﬁnished product?
Clift: We approached the recording of Lonely
Hills a bit differently than most bands would
record a debut album. Usually when a band
records a debut album, they’ve been playing
together live for a while. We kind of did the
reverse by recording the album ﬁrst. Thankfully,
we had producer Matt Noveskey to pull
I met Matt in July 2011 totally by chance. My
mom was shopping in a Nordstrom in Austin
and being the very social person she is, struck
up a conversation with a woman in the shoe
department. She was telling the woman about
my music, and the woman said, “My husband,
Matt, is a musician as well. Tell Aaron he can e-
mail him with any questions he has
My mom called me up the next day and said, “I
met a woman in Nordstrom yesterday and she
says that her husband plays bass in some
band called Blue October. Have you heard of
them?” I said, “Are you serious?! Blue October
is an internationally-famous multi-platinum
band!” I couldn’t believe that I was going to get
in touch with such a famous person!
I e-mailed Matt a few days later and struck up
a conversation with him. He said that he was
on tour but wanted to know if I was interested
having him produce my music.
In February 2012, we hit the studio, and Matt
played a vital role in helping organize and direct
all the players as well as help me realize the
sound I was going for with the album. He even
Cover art by
Danielle Powers/Black Marker Design
18 « SKULL » Nov/DEC 2012 facebook.com/SKULLMAGAZINE
now available exclusively at
the full-length debut from
Austin’s own electric pop duo
Healing Arts & Polarity Therapy
A deep, gentle healing touch to
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19 « SKULL » Nov/DEC 2012 facebook.com/SKULLMAGAZINE
became somewhat of a mentor for Joe Green
since both of them happened to use Aguilar
bass equipment. Matt also pushed me to
deliver some of the best vocal performances
I’ve ever given.
I also have to give credit to the outstanding job
of my bandmates. Even though we hadn’t been
together long and the music was still new to
them, they really pulled through with the
project. We recorded in two weeks what could
have taken months to do.
March 2012 through May 2012 was ﬁlled with
mixing and mastering the album as well as
album design and artwork.
We also have a 10-minute documentary on
YouTube that contains behind-the-scenes
footage of the album recording. It’s called “The
Making of Lonely Hills.” You can check it
JPS: What is your favorite song of the album
Clift: It’s hard to pick a favorite song, but for
me it’s a tie between “Staring at Fruit Out of
Reach” and “Shipwrecked.” Both songs rock
hard and feature every element of the band’s
sound – lots of interesting sections, a huge
variety of excellent guitar riffs and solos,
excellent rhythm section work, cool vocals and
effects, and even a four-minute keyboard solo
at the end of “Staring at Fruit Out of Reach” -
and I’m not normally a solo guy.
Ragland: I don’t have a favorite because there
are just too many moments on the album
that I enjoy.
Green: “Staring at Fruit Out of Reach,”
especially the jam session at the end. It's a
real nice change of pace from the rest of
Resnick: My favorite song on the album is
“My Andalusian Love.” It's not a song with any
acrobatic drumming, but that's not important.
In my opinion, it's the song that's important,
and I love the way it feels. I like the chord
changes, the feel, and the melody, especially in
the chorus. It soars.
JPS: What are your favorite lyrics of the album
Clift: Without a doubt, my favorite is “Lonely
Hills.” I had been writing poetry and stories
since I was a kid, but the lyric for this song was
really the point where I felt that I had come into
my own as a writer, ﬁnding a way to combine a
very personal experience (a breakup with a
girlfriend) with a poetic metaphor, and still
maintain directness with my audience.
Ragland: It’s hard to choose, but I like the
imagery in “My Andalusian Love.”
Green: “Staring at Fruit Out of Reach” has a
really interesting story in the lyrics, and I
Resnick: “My Andalusian Love” – it makes me
want to visit Spain!
JPS: You were recently interviewed on KOOP
91.7 FM’s progressive rock radio show, Virtual
Noise. How did that come about and what was
your favorite part of being on live radio?
Clift: Ted Thomas (a.k.a. “Professor Ted”) and I
had been friends for a while through the Austin
Progressive Rock Record Club, a group that
Photo by Brio Yiapan/Brio Photography
20 « SKULL » Nov/DEC 2012 facebook.com/SKULLMAGAZINE
meets about once a month to listen to
progressive music. When I ﬁrst met Ted, he
gave me his business card for his DJ position
as a host of Virtual Noise, a progressive rock
radio show on KOOP 91.7 FM. When The
Aaron Clift Experiment released Lonely Hills in
June, I got in touch with Ted and asked if he
would interview me on the show.
One of my favorite moments of the interview
was when Ted played “Shipwrecked.” While
the interview was going on, there was a huge
thunderstorm going on outside. The end of
“Shipwrecked” also happens to have a
thunderstorm. As soon as the song ended, the
radio broadcast was interrupted by a National
Weather Service advisory about severe
thunderstorms in the Austin area. Talk about
JPS: Austin has the moniker the “Live Music
Capital of the World.” What are your favorite
parts about being an Austin-based band?
Clift: I like the fact that Austin musicians are
super friendly people and helpful. I’ve had the
pleasure of meeting some famous people who
live in Austin (like Matt Noveskey), and all of
them have been so approachable and
I also like the fact that Austin is a city that’s
growing and developing a vibrant creative
class. Some people I’ve met don’t like all the
change that’s been happening in the last 20
years, but I think that most cities would kill to
be in our position.
Ragland: In Austin, a 62-year-old musician
who hasn't played progressive rock in 40 years
can play with a great band like The Aaron Clift
Experiment and simultaneously work as an
Americana singer/songwriter - and make a
living at it. There is no place else in the world
where that would be remotely possible.
Green: My favorite part of being an Austin
band is the respect people outside of Austin
give to Austin players.
Resnick: It's a city where people are happy to
embrace most anything musically. I've always
enjoyed living and playing here.
JPS: What are some challenges you have
faced? In Texas’ music scene or in your own
Clift: The biggest challenge to being a young
band in a town full of bands is being noticed.
On any given night in Austin, there are dozens
of very talented artists who are playing, and
that kind of competition for the public’s
attention can be very intense.
JPS: What are some tips you would give to
perspective musicians, or those who are
already musicians but want to take the next
steps into performing and recording?
Clift: I always tell people to not pursue a career
in music unless you’re absolutely crazy about
music. The music industry is such a difﬁcult nut
to crack that if you’re not totally head over
heels in love with making music and
determined to succeed no matter what, the
industry will crack you!
On a more practical level, I recommend three
things to the budding music professional:
always be networking, stay organized and
focused, and learn as much as you can about
the business side of music. Also, try to ﬁnd a
mentor in the music industry. I have to thank
The Austin Music Foundation for helping me in
all these areas. For musicians who live in the
Austin area, AMF is such a valuable resource. If
you live in another town, get connected to your
local professional musician’s organization or
join a group like ASCAP or BMI.
You can buy The Aaron Clift Experiment’s
album, Lonely Hills, at aaronclift.com or follow
them on Twitter @AaronCliftMusic.
21 « SKULL » Nov/DEC 2012 facebook.com/SKULLMAGAZINE
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ISSUE NO. 3
January 15, 2013
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