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Micro Spy

Micro Spy

By Erik Ratensperger
Micro Spy is a podcast that takes a closer look at the lives and work of musicians and creatives I admire.
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Jesse Draxler
In this episode, I speak with visual artist, Jesse Draxler. Jesse is probably most known for his abstract, visual manipulation through collage. He’s had solo exhibitions between New York and Los Angeles and has done commercial work for brands like Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Ferrari. One of his most iconic works became the cover art for Daughters’ 2018 comeback album, “You Won’t Get What You Want”. Jesse has also worked with Nine Inch Nails, and Chelsea Wolfe. Our conversation explores creative process during a pandemic, using collage as a way to warp reality, isolation as a concept, and his latest project entitled Reigning Cement.
1:04:13
April 3, 2020
Robert Pettersen and Rex Shelverton of Portraits of Past
In this episode, I speak with Robert Pettersen and Rex Shelverton of the band Portraits of Past. Portraits of Past was a hardcore band from Half-moon Bay between 1993 and 95, and did a handful of reunion shows between 2008 and 2009. Their debut LP, released on ebullition records came out after they had already broken up. And it wasn’t until overtime did people start to catch on to the brilliance of this band’s music. I met with Rex and Robert in San Francisco. We recorded this conversation at Rex’s rehearsal space and talked for almost 3 hours. They reveal their very beginnings with punk rock and paint a very saturated picture of their surroundings during the time Portraits of Past was a band. We discuss how environment affects creative process, and how there are some things in art that simply can’t be articulated.
2:08:44
March 13, 2020
Anthony DiDio of Vein
In this episode, I speak with Anthony DiDio of the Boston hard-core band Vein. Vein is one of the heaviest hardcore bands out there today. Their creativity along with their musical capability is arguably unrivaled. Their 2018 full length, Errorzone is a blistering and beautiful record that pushes musical and conceptual boundaries. This band has such a unique style, combining various influences, creating a sound and visual world all of its own. Anthony and I discuss those influences, creative process, what determines a good song, and the nuance of triggering emotion.
49:24
March 5, 2020
Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder, The West Wing Weekly, and The One AM Radio
In this episode, I speak with Hrishikesh Hirway, creator of the award-winning podcasts, Song Exploder and The West Wing Weekly. His most recent endeavor is hIs new podcast entitled, Partners — where he explores the bond between people who have made something together. Hrishi is also the executive producer and theme composer of The Jump, a Podcast hosted by Shirley Manson of the band, Garbage. He is also the musical talent behind The One AM radio and a member of the hip hop group, Moors, with actor Lakeith Stanfield. Hrishi and I met in 1998 when we played a show together in New Haven, CT. Our conversation recalls moments of our past but quickly moves to the inner workings of his relationship with music, design, and creative process.
53:56
February 27, 2020
Geoff Garlock of Orchid
In this episode, I speak with Geoff Garlock of the band Orchid. Though Orchid hailed from Massachusetts, Geoff grew up in Connecticut like me. And not surprisingly we were exposed to a lot of the same bands. We talk about the Connecticut hardcore scene in the mid-nineties and how the state acted as a sieve for bands that came through between New York and Boston. Jeff also talks about his relationship with hardcore and the pros and cons that have come with it as he’s become older.
1:05:46
February 20, 2020
Jeff Howe of Reversal of Man
In this episode, I speak with Jeff Howe of the legendary hardcore band, Reversal of Man. He also played bass in Combat Wounded Veteran and is currently playing in the band Horsewhip. Jeff is also the co-founder of Nah Dogs, an all vegan hot dog stand, which he runs with his wife in St. Petersburg, FL. Jeff and I talk about Reversal of Man’s history and the challenges they faced and endured through their end. We also talk about the biggest takeaways of punk rock, friendship, perseverance, and how ROM turned an unfortunate conflict into a song that to this day, people still talk about.
54:01
February 12, 2020
Mike Taylor of Pg.99 and Pigmylush
In this episode, I speak with Mike Taylor, guitarist of the seminal hardcore band, Pg.99. Mike and I share some punk rock history, having played numerous shows together in our band’s earlier years. From playing Food co-ops, the flat bottom of a half-pipe, to our bands sleeping on the floor of an old movie theatre somewhere In Virginia, our memories are fond and plenty. Mike’s fluency in music is inspiring. We talk about his love of hip hop and how shows like “120 Minutes” and "Yo MTV Raps" changed the way he consumed music as a kid. We also discuss the origins of Pg.99 and their recent tours that raised money and awareness for organizations supporting equal rights for all.  If you enjoyed this episode and would like to support the podcast, please subscribe and share on social media. You can also make a donation, buy a t-shirt, or simply send me a note of encouragement. That’s always nice.  Follow @microspymusic and check out microspymusic.com
1:00:04
February 5, 2020
Justin Pearson of The Locust, Dead Cross, and Three One G Records
In this episode, I speak with Justin Pearson, probably best known for his work in The Locust and one of my all-time favorites, Swing Kids. He is the founder of Three One G records and also plays in Dead Cross with Mike Patton of Faith No More, and Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies. Justin is also one half of the assaulting electronic endeavor, Planet B in collaboration with Luke Henshaw. He just finished recording the second Dead Cross record and will be touring with The Locust later this year. Needless to say, there's a lot going on in Justin’s world. We discuss everything from ethics, hatred and violence within the punk community, creativity and expression, and the difference between "what we are vs. who we are", as people who grew up in the punk scene and are still trying to figure it all out. This is the first time Justin and I have ever spoken, though the conversation felt as if we’ve already met — so without further ado, here is episode 004 with Justin Pearson of The Locust, and Dead Cross.
58:53
January 29, 2020
Jack Shirley of The Atomic Garden Recording Studio
In this episode, I speak with Jack Shirley, a musician, an audio engineer, producer, and owner of The Atomic Garden studio in Oakland California. Jack is probably best known for his work with the band, Deafheaven, whose sophomore album, Sunbather was named Best New Music by Pitchfork. He has also recorded and produced bands like Loma Prieta, Gouge Away, Joyce Manor and countless others, including my band, Jeromes Dream. He was a founding member of the punk band Comadre and now plays guitar in Dangers! We talk about his beginnings with recording, the Oakland punk scene, work/life balance, and using ACDC's Back In Black as a sonic reference point for all his recordings.
53:04
January 20, 2020
Alexis Marshall of Daughters
In this episode, I speak to Alexis Marshall, vocalist of the band, Daughters. In November 2018, Daughters released their first LP in almost 6 years. It was followed by 15 months of grueling and unrelenting touring that just wrapped this past December. Their critically acclaimed record, ”You Won’t Get What You Want“ has sold over 40,000 copies and has since amassed a devout and loyal following. The band went from playing DIY punk shows in their hometown, Providence, Rhode Island, to playing festivals and shows to thousands of people all over the world. It’s incredible to see a band from the underground rise to this level while maintaining full integrity and creative clarity of their work. My band toured with Daughters this past fall, and it completely changed our perspective on the meaning of catharsis. Seeing them live gave me such a deeper understanding of the band’s artistry, talent, and focus. It was truly inspiring. Alexis and I discuss life after tour and the challenge it brings, his relationship with music and performing, the importance of ambiguity in his lyrics, the struggles of his earlier years, and so much more. So without further ado, here is my conversation with Alexis Marshall of Daughters. Be sure to follow and subscribe to the podcast! Website: https://www.microspymusic.com/ You can follow me: https://www.instagram.com/premiumfantasy
1:03:39
January 15, 2020
Sean Leary of Loma Prieta
Hey everyone, my name is Erik Ratensperger and welcome to the first episode of Micro Spy, a podcast that takes a closer look at the lives and work of musicians and creatives I admire. My first guest is Sean Leary of the San Francisco-based hardcore band Loma Prieta. I first met Sean in 2019 when I reached out to him to see if Loma would like to join my band Jeromes Dream on our first tour in 18 years. I fell in love with their blistering and beautiful version of hardcore, their aesthetic, and the instant resonance I had specifically with their song, “Love”, the opening track on their full-length album, Self Portrait, released on Deathwish in 2015. I can keep going on about how much I love this band and how much of a privilege it was to tour and get to know them this summer, but I’d like to dive right into my conversation with Sean where we talk about his musical history, his influences and how he is still obsessed with making music, the process, and what’s next. 
45:23
January 8, 2020