Swerve Festival 2007:Films, Music, Art  

Oh No! Oh My!

Thomas Campbells paint

DJ Franki Chan


Foreign Born


Thee More Shallows

Beautiful Losers

The Man Who Souled the World

Art in Action

Swerve Festival is a new annual festival dedicated to celebrating West Coast creative culture and its community inspired by art, film, music and action sports. The three-day celebration will be held in Los Angeles to bring together a dynamic group of innovators and thinkers and to spotlight some of the most exciting work to come out of these creative disciplines.

The More Schallows

Thee More ShallowsSince picking up the violin at age four, songwriter Dee Kesler has spent 99 percent of his life dreaming up songs. There were brief detours, notably a high-school devotion to pectoral form and tanning, and errors in judgment, like the period spent emulating Yngwie Malmsteen. But through it all, Dee has been a man obsessed with sound. If you meet him and he seems distant, even a little simple-minded, itís only because youíre talking to the one percent currently unoccupied. Drummers/multi-instrumentalists Chavo Fraser and Jason Gonzales are no less dedicated. Every morning before Chavoís first cup of coffee, he sits with a block of wood and taps away on it until his mind is good and blank. And Jason spends every night, all night, in front of a computer, scanning AM talk radio for samples to freeze and manipulate. TMS met in 2001 at a concert where all three were playing with other bands. Finding their fixations compatible, the trio convened in a basement practice space in San Franciscoís Tenderloin District, and along with Tadas Kisielius, made 2002ís A History of Sport Fishing. Composed and recorded entirely during a two-week period between the hours of midnight and 9 a.m., the band took an interest in long-format, classically-influenced music (Debussy and Mussorgsky, slow-core, dub, Krautrock, house) and developed it into something immersive, more like a film than a collection of songs, yet still bound to pop structure and lyrical form. After tours of the US and UK, they built a studio in West Oakland, and began work on their second record. Though they started with a simple-enough list of songs, the process of recording them, revising them, adding to them, and tweaking them again, eventually took two grueling years. The result, 2005ís More Deep Cuts, is a world in and of itself. Bursting with huge atmospherics and the tiniest details, it takes almost as much time to fully absorb as it did to make it. In 2007, the respective mythologies of Thee More Shallows and Anticon come together. A mutual love of one anotherís oeuvres was realized when Dee discovered that the neatly dressed man living behind his house was Anticonís very own Odd Nosdam. After numerous collaborations, including a remix by Odd Nosdam (with Why?) on TMSís Monkey vs. Shark EP, string arrangements by Dee on Oddís remix for Boards of Canada, and contributions to both Nosdamís Burner and Why?ís Elephant Eyelash, talk of a TMS release on Anticon came naturally. On Book of Bad Breaks, instead of slow-core, Deeís storytelling is this time set to a backdrop of Wireís 154 and early Bowie. Huge sound scapes and minute details still flesh out the sound, but theyíre animated on a bounding skeleton of double-time drumming and razor thin drones. And thanks to the one-track minds of TMS, the results are spectacular.

DJ Franki Chan is one of the leaders of the indie DJ movement in the USA, is an accomplished illustrator and he is the owner of IHEARTCOMIX, a record label, an event promotion company and a marketing brand. As a DJ, Franki has traveled the world, rocking dance parties from east to west and sharing the turntables with the best of the best, helping to influence a whole new generation of DJs.

In addition to DJíing, Franki has began releasing a series of mix tapes and has begun to produce his own remixes and edits. He is also focusing a lot of his time on his recently launched record label, IHEARTCOMIX RECORDS, which has current and upcoming releases by Matt & Kim, Protokoll, Ocelot, The Toxic Avenger, Le Castle Vania, Roxy Cottontail, and Dreamburger.

Frankiís motivation from day one has always been about having fun, being creative and exposing those that share the same sentiment. He treats DJíing no differently.


Noisy guitars of fuzz and echo thread through this group taking its name from Joseph Hellerís satiric Catch-22. Heady vocals and lyrics from principal songwriter Jordan Jeffares coerce even the most pretentious into tapping toes. Hands clap and drums trip over flashy rhythms while guitars stutter through unique melodic progressions. Snowden, largely follows the evolution of Jeffaresí post-collegiate home recordings in Athens and Atlanta. Impressed with his bedroom demos, Jeffaresí brother put Jordan in touch with likeminded players and the band was born. Having self-recorded and released its first EP, the group immediately charted all over indie radio in their home state of Georgia, prompting Jeffares and company to brave the long, monotonous drives up to New York for shows. The traveling quickly paid off with Snowden opening for groups such as the Unicorns, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Xiu Xiu and Arcade Fire. The groupís Jade Tree debut, Anti-Anti, expands studio credit to include some tracks engineered by Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky, My Morning Jacket) as well as a few helmed solely by Jeffares. Although Snowden grew from a rather isolated situation and mood, ironically those same conditions are what continues to draw listeners in.

Foreign Born

After spending their post collegiate summer getting drunk at other peopleís weddings, Lewis Pesacov and Matt Popieluch decided it was time to further their careers as professional musicians. The two met up with Garret Ray and Ariel Rechtshaid in Los Angeles, and the current inception of Foreign Born was conceived. Placing a dark spin on traditional acoustic psychedelic, the bandís influences range from Roy Orbison and John Lennon to Primal Scream and Brian Eno. With a tour of the US and the UK in a borrowed van powered by vegetable oil already underneath their belt, the band will add to their list of accomplishments a full-length album set to be released this August by Dim Mak Records.


As DeVotchKa, these four musicians have quietly become one of the most celebrated bands making music today. A disparate, yet articulate union of Eastern European, Southwestern, South American, and American roots music, both punk and folk. It is music unique enough, performed at virtuosic degree, and teeming with enough intangibles, to rightly be called Ďspecial.í Behind three records (SuperMelodrama, 2000, Una Volta 2003, How it ends 2004), DeVotchKa began its touring life as a house band for a North American touring Burlesque troupe. Since then, DeVotchKa has traversed the continent with a wide range of like-minded musical peers including Belle & Sebastian, M.Ward, Calexico, 16 Horsepower, Los Lobos, Jim White, and the Dresden Dolls.

Oh No! Oh My!

Drawing influences from art-pop makers like Belle and Sebastian and the Magnetic Fields, Oh No! Oh My! delivers an assortment of catchy pop melodies with a wholesome Ė and somewhat quirky Ė charm. The trio (touring five piece) is made of Austinites Greg Barkley, Daniel Hoxmeier and Joel Calvin.

The guys may have some uncertainties ahead of them, but theyíre always looking on the bright side with songs chocked full of sunshine, wit and feel good energy, which translates into lively, interactive performances that will get your head bobbing and hands clapping.

FILMS: ControlIan Curtis has aspirations beyond the trappings of small town life in 1970ís England. Wanting to emulate his musical heroes, such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop, he joins a band, and his musical ambition begins to thrive. Soon though, the everyday fears and emotions, that fuel his music, slowly begin to eat away at him. Married young, with a daughter, he is distracted from his family commitments by a new love and the growing expectations of his band, Joy Division. The strain manifests itself in his health. With epilepsy adding to his guilt and depression, desperation takes hold. Surrendering to the weight on his shoulders, Ianís tortured soul consumes him.

Control is Anton Corbijnís first feature film. It is one of his most ambitious projects to date and a further testament to his versatile artistic career. The subjects of Ian Curtis and Joy Division are very close to Antonís heart as the Manchester band was the reason that he moved from Holland to London to ďbe closer to where their music came from.Ē
It has been over 30 years since Anton Corbijn, born 1955 in Strijen, Holland, discovered photography through his love of music while still at high school. Using his fatherís camera to take his first photos at an open-air concert in 1972, stage photography quickly developed into portraiture. Anton Corbijn has lived in London since 1979 and is today widely regarded as one of the most influential portrait photographers in the world.

Anton Corbijnís exhibitions have been extremely successful throughout Europe and his work can be seen in museums, galleries and in 14 published books. In addition, his work can be seen on around 100 record/CD sleeves for artists including U2, R.E.M., Travis, Morrissey, The Rolling Stones, John Lee Hooker, Marianne Faithfull and Metallica. He has directed approximately 80 music videos for, among others, U2, Johnny Cash, Mercury Rev, Depeche Mode, Nirvana, Metallica, Nick Cave and The Killers.

Beautiful Losers (work in progress)In the early 1990ís a loose-knit group of like minded outsiders found common ground at a little NYC storefront gallery. Rooted in the DIY subcultures of skateboarding, surf, punk, hip hop & graffiti, they made art that reflected the lifestyles they led. Over the past ten years this group, and the subcultures they sprang from, have become part of the most influential cultural movement of our generation. Beautiful Losers celebrates the spirit behind this movement as it explores the creative ethos connecting these artists and todayís youth. ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Aaron Rose is an artist, writer, and independent curator currently living in Los Angeles. Aaron founded the highly influential Alleged Gallery in New York.

The Man Who Souled the WorldThe Man Who Souled the World tells the story of Steve Rocco, the irreverent genius who transformed the skateboard industry from corporate to skater-owned with a do-it-yourself punk attitude. Steveís antics and entrepreneurial impact on the skateboard business are huge and have ultimately had a significant impact on broader mainstream culture as Steve is the man who gave Spike Jonze his first directing gig, discovered Jason Lee and created Big Brother magazine which became the genesis of Jackass. ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Born August, 1978 in Melbourne, Australia, Mike Hillís teenage preoccupation of making movies of dubious quality and morality has now become his full time career.

Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell is a painter, photographer, filmmaker, writer and amateur philosopher. He is almost entirely self-taught, learning his skills via personal experience and trial and error. He spends most of his time traversing the globe on surf trips, making films and shooting photographs, but he maintains a small painting studio in Santa Cruz, California. Campbellís artworks combine scribbles and scriptures, taking slogans and anecdotes from his unique vocabulary and juxtaposing them with a profound look at human nature. The works, typically composed of several panels, are free-flowing with wide expressionist swipes of color, bold graphics and intricate renderings of characters and text. Campbell has mounted solo exhibitions at galleries in New York, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles and The Netherlands. In the late 1990s, he began directing feature-length surfing films (The Seedling, Sprout) and is currently in production on his third.

Art in ActionThese films celebrate the creative process and independent spirit of artists emerging and influenced by street culture.

Swerve Festival 1st anniversary
The Black Angeles

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