PUNK BLACK Brings the ATL Scene to NYC

We first discovered the PUNK BLACK collective on Instagram a couple years back. Instagram has become a great repository of 15-30 sec clips of underground music captured in real-time from all over the globe. When I saw these little snippets of this Atlanta, Georgia based community moshing and rocking out in Cosplay – I sensed they were on to something heavy, gritty, and real for young folks of color. Each year the collective explores new ways to engage local youth and share an underground truth most people don’t know. More Black and Brown youth in America than you realize love rock music. From punk to death metal, it’s actually a thing. And though thousands of us can’t meet up as often we’d like, when we do, its a beautiful moment of braids flying, hips swaying and faces glowing.

PUNK BLACK (PB) is expanding its reach this summer by presenting an NYC music fest in Brooklyn on August 22, 2018. As Von Phoenix, one of PB’s founders tells it, “We’d like to create a space in NY were PoC can feel at home while doing what they love, as well as plant the seeds for a PB Chapter in New York. Not to mention we want to have fun (maybe, *ahem* get a little sauced) and see some kick ass bands.”

We asked Von about the upcoming NYC event, and how the collective came to be. Check it out.


Who founded the PUNK BLACK collective?

The original founders of PUNK BLACK (PB) are Kharis Ellison – age 26, Arkkade Kult – age 38, Jamee Cornelia- age 25, and myself Von Phoenix – age 28. There are 6 of us in the primary collective not counting contributors.

What inspired you to create Punk Black and the need for more representation in the scene?

I discovered rock music around age 12, and I noticed right away that I didn’t see many People of Color (POC) in main stream bands. Around that time I was still trapped in the notion that Rock music was created by white people, and POC weren’t really fond of it. This of course made me feel even more like the odd man out, and unfortunately fueled my self-hate phase at the time. It wasn’t until I started a band at the end of high school did I realize how bad the lack of representation was on the scene. Being an all Black band we got all kinds of looks, condescending remarks, and general hate.PUNK bLACK QUOTE

Was Cosplay always a part of the Atlanta Punk Scene? The collective seems to fill a need for youth interested in all things alternative, was that a natural progression?

Not that I know of. I definitely know a lot of cosplayers who like punk, and a lot of punk fans who like cosplay/anime/comics. It was a natural progression for us, as most of the collective grew up being influence by anime, and our designs have always been anime influenced.

About Community organizing, was finding space for shows and funding new projects something you had previous experience doing?

Definitely not. We had played a lot of shows before the first PB, but we had never really put on our own show, let alone organize a monthly event.

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Photo courtesy of PUNK BLACK

Access to creative space is one of the key barriers for artists in NYC, how was it navigating venues in Atlanta?

When we started in 2015 it was a lot easier to find venues in ATL, but as time goes on it’s getting more and more difficult. We normally like to use a combination of house and DIY venues but as the siege of gentrification intensifies, we lose more venues. Over the last year we’ve luckily found a home base at Union EAV, which has been an awesome help to the movement.

When did you first get the idea to launch an event in NYC and what drew you to this city?

NY has always been one of the places we thought about setting up another chapter of PB, but it was when we were contacted by Mecca Shabazz earlier this year that we realized we could actually make it happen. She’s now our NY event director, and our eyes in New York. New York’s new scene is definitely what drew us to the city. It’s been the birthplace of things like Punx of Color, AfroPunk, and dope ass bands over the years. (Shout out to Shinobi Ninja).

Are there a couple organizations out there you admire? Why do you admire them?

Definitely Southern Fried Queer Pride (SFQP) in Atlanta and Punx of Color in New York. SFQP promotes and features the LGBT art community through events and festivals, and their style and the way they run things is really dope. I’ve been following Punx of Color for a few years now, and though I haven’t been able to make it to an event I can tell that do great work for punks of color. It shows not only in the numbers, but in the reactions of the community they serve. I’ve only seen and heard good things about them, and after speaking with Gayla Brooks I can tell they try to do what’s best for the community as a whole. I think both of these organizations think about the community first, which is one of the hardcore reasons I dig them both as well.

Pre-Order Our Summer Zine

Ahh, it’s crazy y’all. We tried a new printer this time and we are so pleased with the bright colors and glossy pics.

Only did a short run of 30 copies for now but we’ll probably print more for live events as the season kicks off. Keeping our prices under $10 for the youth so head over to Etsy to see the deets on this fun and fresh #blkgrlswurld zine 😘

#Blkgrlswurld featured in Tom Tom Magazine :D

Yassss! Tom Tom is a magazine for female drummers and musicians, and we’ve been featured in their 31st issue! It’s based in NYC and it does so much great work inspiring women musicians and kicking serious ass in the rock scene. We are so honored they took an interest in our Black Girls Dreaming Coloring Book and chose to feature a review of that work by writer, Lola Johnson. Thank you Tom Tom Mag 😀

You can order their latest issue Online HERE

Print versions are available across the nation in shops like Barnes and Nobel. Check out more of the funky femme talent they’ve been dishing at http://tomtommag.com/

The Acacia Strain Deliver A Properly Heavy Summer

If you ever catch us on Instagram, you’ll know we’ve been headbanging at the heaviest NYC metal shows all summer. Much of it having to do with saying goodbye to our fav venue, Webster Hall, set to close for the next 18 months and less likely to book heavy music when it reopens. Another safe haven for new metalbands lost to corporate takeovers, grr.

I’d been patiently waiting for east coast band, The Acacia Strain to finish up the Vans Warped Tour this year and bring on the jams to NYC, when I heard about a new album they were dropping in late June. Yassss. Idunno what it is about doomy metalcore music, but what I like most about their style are the playful moments in their songs when the time signatures get screwy and unpredictable. This doesn’t happen as often as say, a composition from The Dillinger Escape Plan, but I enjoy the surprise when Acacia Strain explores this.

 

I found their newest album, Gravebloom to be their most polished project so far. A quality to the recording and mastering that leaves previous works like Coma Witch sounding more scratchy unfinished somehow. Not that there’s anything wrong witha rougher sound but, its nice to hear an artist tightening up their craft and focusing on the best elements of their songwriting.

Nothing trumps hearing their songs live, but Gravebloom has some great moments – enough to be added to our #blkgrlswurld Spotify playlist.

Songs we enjoyed from this album include, “Bitter Pill”, “Abyssal Depths”, and “Cold Gloom.” They each have a churning heaviness in their rhythm, the sort that makes you wanna stomp around the mosh pit like some 100ft Godzilla…or you know, in your living room wearing pajamas while growling at your cat. For me, this sort of metal is cathartic, calming and allows me to rest. I realize others have more stimulating reactions, lol- the point is, The Acacia Strain’s latest work is quite satisfying and a great soundtrack for our summer in this big ‘ol city.

I look forward to catching them touring this live.

##blkgrlswurld

Last Night w/ The Dillinger Escape Plan

Last night at Webster Hall the Dillinger Escape Plan blew my goddamn face off 😀

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It was my first and last time seeing them perform live with this being a sort of farewell tour for them and it was INSANE. I love bands like this that have been real and authentic from the beginning, inspiring so many other bands to form in the past 20 years but none of them ever really comparing to the originality of everything that is DEP. phew!

Everyone warned me their live shows were crazy, and I’ve had my share of wild times in the mosh, but I wasn’t prepared for this mayhem and it was Beautiful. Sigh, if only every band went this hard. The closest I’ve seen in recent years are the sets from Every Time I Die. (They’ll be playing with Beartooth on Halloween this year in NYC)

 

The band has been gracious enough to leave us metalheads with a parting gift, a new album titled Dissociation that stands to inspire musicians for years to come. I have mad respect for Mathcore techniques and love coming across bands that keep the music unpredictable, damn near genre-less and freeform. Definitely gracious I was able to witness what makes these guys a legendary movement.

Architects New Album Out Today for U.S.A.

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I’m so proud of the Architects guys for releasing their latest album ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ today in the States.

blkgrlswurld w/ Architechs masterminds Tom and Dan, Warped Tour 2013

blkgrlswurld w/ Architechs masterminds Tom and Dan, Warped Tour 2013

They are the last band from my college days that I personally supported as a fan and fellow musician. In earlier days of the Midwest metalcore scene, it was common for bands to fall apart in less than 2 years from loss of confidence and personal drama.

To help combat this my little sister and I would do our best to encourage the bands we liked most to keep making music, and stick with tough cross country touring so we could see them again. It became really important to not just support DIY band merch, but to help keep their self confidence up if the audience wasn’t sold yet on their musical style.

blkgrlswurld w/ Architects lead vocalist Sam Carter in NYC, 2014

blkgrlswurld w/ Architects lead vocalist Sam Carter in NYC, 2014

We’d meet up after shows, chatting over what was good about that nights performance and where they could improve; provide them snacks, candy and care packages for the road ;P it was a lot. So when bands like Architects would come back to town a year later saying they were still committed to this music it was a huge deal.

Glad to see how far we’ve all come from a little music community that no one thought would last over a decade or become such an international movement. We’ve all grown so much and their latest work ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ speaks for many of us.
🙂

 

Architects Tour USA this year and will be in NYC on August 5th, 2016: Architects, Counterparts at The Gramercy Theatre

NYC Summer Metal Line Ups

The Metal this summer season is heavy this year for the East Coast. I’m really bummed at all the great bands coming through like Deftones and Architects that I’ll miss during my August trip abroad, but I will be catching Manson and Slipknot at the beach 🙂 Plus Warped Tour is crazy heavy for 2016 with dozens of #metalcore bands rocking middle America and AFRO PUNK’s lineups are heavenly as well. For even more metal show listings check out Matt’s site nycmetalscene.com

Listen, grab tix early to keep costs down and if you can’t make it later just resell them online. \m/

May 17th, 2016: The Sword, Purson, From Beyond at Brooklyn Bowl

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Alesana at Webster Hall, 2015

May 17th, 2016: Lamb of God at The Paramount 

May 18th, 2016: Filter, Orgy, Vampires Everywhere, Death Valley High at Brooklyn Bowl

May 20, 2016: Apocalyptica, 10 Years, Failure Anthem at Irving Plaza

May 21, 2016: Emo Night at Irving Plaza

May 30, 2016 Discharge, Eyehategod, Toxic Holocost at Webster Hall

June 3, 2016: Gov Ball, The Strokes,The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, Beck, Bloc Party and more.

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Levitate Tour Poster, 2016

June 4, 2016: WAX IDOLS & KING WOMAN: LEVITATE TOUR, w/ Primitive Weapons @ Saint Vitus, Brooklyn.

June 4, 2016: WSOU presents: Hatebreed, Devildriver, Devil You Know, Ashes Of Your Enemy at Starland Ballroom

June 6, 2016: Beartooth, Sylar at Webster Hall

June 8, 2016: PVRIS, North American Headline Tour w/ Lydia, CRUSIR at Webster Hall

June 10, 2016: Sworn Enemy, Maniac Rise at The Studio at Webster Hall

June 11, 2016: Punk Rock Bowling and Music Fest featuring: Descendents, Dag Nasty, Subhumans, H2O etc at Asbury Park

June 15, 2016: Unlocking The Truth (Album Release Show) at the Studio at Webster Hall

19_edp < Unlocking the Truth

June 16, 2016: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus “Don’t You Fake It” 10-Year Anniversary at Webster Hall

June 17, 2016: Blue Oyster Cult at B.B. Kings Times Square

June 18, 2016: Rockstar Energy Drink Presents Taste Of Chaos – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY: Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Saosin, Motion City Soundtrack, The Early November

June 18, 19, and 20, 2016: The Cure at Madison Square Garden

June 19th, 2016: Punk Island Fest: All Day – All Ages – All Free on Governor’s Island

July 2nd, 2016:  The Iggy Pop Festival at Lucky 13 Saloon *Free event*

July 6th, 2016: Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Of Mice & Men at Jones Beach Theater

July 6th, 2016: letlive., Seahaven, Silver Snakes, Night Verses at Irving Plaza

July 9th, 2016: Vans Warped Tour at Jones Beach Theater  feat. Every Time I Die, Emarosa, Oceans Ate Alaska, Sum 41, The Color Morale, The Word Alive, Whitechapel

July 15th, 2016: Jane’s Addiction – 25 years of Ritual de lo Habitual at The Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk

blkgrlswurld, christina long art, mfa, saic, zine, nyc, afropunk fest, warped tour, rock, metalcore, black girls rock, www.christinalongart.com

Afro Punk Fest, Brooklyn 2015

July 22-24: Panorama Fest on Randall’s Island, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, FKA Twigs and more…

July 30th, 2016: Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Alter Bridge, Saint Asonia at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

August 5th, 2016: Deftones, Refused at The Amphitheater at Coney Island

August 5th, 2016: Architects, Counterparts at The Gramercy Theatre

August 10th, 2016: Deftones, Refused at Stone Pony Summer Stage

August 13th, 2016: The Go-Go’s Farewell Tour at Central Park Summer Stage

August 27, 28, 2016: AFROPUNK FEST at Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn. Featuring Janelle Monae, Cee-Lo Green, Ice Cube, The Internet, George Clinton, Saul Williams, Trash Talk, Tyler the Creator, TV on the Radio, Living Colour, Bad Brains

xoxo!