Its time again to introduce you all to another radical human that embodies everything we like to think goes into being an Expert Fan! Los Angeleno Emily Saex is absolutely someone you need to know.
I believe my initial “meeting” with Emily was via social media, both being music fans and such, this happens often. I quickly realized that Emily has a gig writing for Grimy Goods, an awesome LA based music media site. Eventually, we officially met at a PLaNETS show, and it was so nice to put a face to a twitter handle! As I got to know Emily I found that she is at shows many, many times per week and like most Expert Fans, is a die hard loyal fan, supporting the bands she loves as often as possible. She also knows the struggle of working a day job all day, and hitting shows at night. Talk to her for a few minutes and you’ll be wowed by her vast knowledge and love for a wide range of music, but also her more serious love affair with punk rock.
Emily was kind enough to sit down with me a few weeks ago and we nerded out over The Clash amongst hitting other topics. Read the interview to find out who her favorite bands were growing up, how she started writing for Grimy Goods and what solid advice she has for bands.
North Hampton, Massachusetts
When did you move to LA?
Well, I went to school in Redlands, I did all four years there. Then after I graduated in 2007, I ended up staying here. Oddly enough, the reason I ended up staying here is that when I was in London for a semester abroad, I met a girl there who was from LA. She was like, “You should come work with me!” so I thought why not? I ended up applying for the job and I just stayed.
Favorite bands growing up?
I’ll admit this here. I have a Hootie and the Blowfish thing. I got to meet them with my dad. He randomly knew their touring keyboardist, Peter Holsapple, from a few encounters in the eighties. The eighties were clearly a good time. I don’t know how that got us backstage, but it did, and we got to meet the whole band. Of course, I am like a raging ten year old and was like oh my God!! I did grow up with a lot of sixties music because my dad likes a lot of garage rock and pop and motwon. I followed bands like that at festivals and stuff. Then, I sort of developed my own thing around age 12 when I got really into The Specials and all kinds of eighties ska and punk rock. I love Joe Strummer and The Clash. I got to meet Joe about a year and a half before he died. They played in Hartford, Connecticut, so my dad took me to the show. I was about 15 or so at the time. We waited with a bunch of other people outside afterwards. They brought us into the backstage area and I basically just hugged Joe Strummer. After like 30 seconds my dad was like, “Okay Emily, we have to leave.” I just wanted to stay with my idol forever. It was brief, but really cool. Its so hard because there are so many bands, I liked a lot of local bands like Cappuccino Jelly Bean, and Medicated Savages, they were really badass. I went to metal shows a lot. I used to overplay The Offspring Smash album on CD or Cassette and I would make my mother play it in the car all the time. I would make her listen to The Offspring and Rancid. It was funny because she would let me play them in the car, but sometimes when they’d swear she would be like, “What! What are they saying?!” and I would try to skip over it.
How did you start writing for Grimy Goods?
I actually entered one of their contests to win tickets to see The Black Lips at The Fonda. Usually, we say write something clever, so I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I wrote something partially in Spanish because I had seen earlier that The Black Lips were tweeting partially in Spanish. She (Sandy) liked it, so I won!
I also followed them on twitter and I saw at one point she posted something about getting really busy and she needed some help and wanted to see if anyone was down. So I was like I’m down! At the time, aside from going to concerts, I wasn’t doing anything music related so I was trying to get back into it. I responded that I could help with stuff. So, I started to write some features, do some contests, and now I do that and more! It’s really fun that it developed from winning a ticket giveaway. I encourage all to enter those contests! We have some pretty sweet giveaways!
Best live show you’ve ever gone to?
It’s hard because I’ve been to so many since I was little. Obviously, the Joe Strummer show was the highlight of my life. I could die happy after that. Also, one of my favorite punk bands, The Street Dogs, every time I see them it’s like the best show ever for me. One of my favorites was every winter they play a Boston hometown show, and there was one year in the mid-2000’s where they were playing smaller venues at the time. It was cool because during the encore kids were getting up on stage. I was still young enough to be able to get up on stage, so we were up there just jumping and singing.
Back in high school when I was on the East Coast I used to also book some shows, they had a non-profit artist space called The Flywheel in East Hampton. Those were all pretty fun. Except do NOT hire a Misfits cover band, there will be fake blood all over the place! I’ve seen The Specials a couple of times too, those have been pretty awesome. They’ve played Club Nokia a couple times the past few years. Those were great because Terry Hall rejoined the band, so it was like finally he’s back!! Oh, off the punk spectrum, another band I like is Ozomatli. They are from LA and are latin, funk, hip hop. Every time they play is amazing. One of my favorite shows of theirs was on the East Coast, and my mom and friend’s sister went with me to the show. By the end of the show, my mom was dancing on one side of the stage and my friend’s sister was dancing on the other side of the stage. At then end of their shows they always come down into the audience for a percussion circle, which is really awesome! Another cool one I went to was during my study aboard semester in college. I went to Dublin for a week. My friend Emily, and her now husband Will, were there too. I went over for St. Paddy’s Day, and The English Beat happened to be playing at this small club for a good price. It was one of the few instances where they were playing with the other lead singer, Ranking Roger, so it was super rare to get to see them with him. He brought his son out on stage and it was just the best!
Aside from the music, what else makes a live show great to you?
Usually, probably the ones where people are dancing and you can tell they are totally just letting loose. I always love that. I am not a huge festival person, but if its one where the weather is perfect and its just right, that is nice. You know that moment where the sunset is going on and someone is jamming, and you’re like, “Ah, I can relax!”
What advice do you have for local bands?
Obviously, the industry is constantly changing. I can barely keep with everything going on in addition to my day job. It’s interesting to be navigating all these things, but bands should be constantly reading about the industry and things going on. Here and there you may find different avenues to pursue that might be right for your band. Andrew W.K. has awesome advice online about everything! He is the man. Persistence is important too because here are so many avenues you can take. You hear about bands being together for a long time and nothing happens until their seventh year, but then it blows up. You never really know. Don’t assume its always going to go a specific way for you, be open-minded. You may find success in one area, then it might change. Also, I hear a lot of people say this and I think its true, seek out other bands you like. They can help you out and you can help them out. I know for some artists it’s trickier, but keep your eyes and ears peeled too, maybe there is a scene you don’t know about.
Who are you listening to right now?
Certain things will come in to Grimy Goods and sometimes its things I already know about and others I think, “Oh cool! I need to take a listen!” We’ve covered Jessica Lea Mayfield before and she has an album with Seth Avett from the Avett Brothers and its Elliot Smith cover songs. She is really, really, good. I never really listened to Elliot Smith before, I heard his name in the nineties but I was so wrapped up in my punk rock. But I’ve been listening to this album and it is great. It’s been on repeat on my phone. They bring a little something to it. Other than that, I haven’t gotten into it yet, but a friend gave me a Delerian CD, they are a local reggae ska band. I’ve seen them live before, but had not had the chance to get their music, so I am pretty stoked to bust that out. I did a review on them at the end of last year, and I started listening to these guys again because they played Origami Vinyl recently, The Bloodhounds. They are more like a Rolling Stones rockin’ bluesy vibe. They are really good, kind of young. Its unbelievable that they are so young and rockin’ it.
You can follow Emily here: @icecreambetches & @grimygoods!!