Get to Know: Scrunchies

Ahead of Scrunchies’ performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask Laura Larson (Kitten Forever), Bree Meyer (Double Grave) and Danielle Cusack (Bruise Violet, Tony Peachka) a few questions. Read what they had to say below:

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Emily Csuy: This year you played your first show together as Scrunchies, debuted your album, released a music video, and embarked on a summer tour. Looking back on 2018, what are some of the biggest highlights?
Danielle Cusack: Honestly just announcing the band and seeing people’s reactions that we had a music video shot & a full ass album recorded already. The Palm show at the Entry was really fun as well. But the biggest highlight was for sure the Fresno date of our tour when it was a 5 band bill of all women/femmes and was one of the most validating nights of playing music I’ve ever had.
Bree Meyer: Our tour was probably the highlight of the year overall for me, but in general it was wild seeing how people supported what we were doing, sight unseen.
Laura Larson: I felt really empowered by this entire year and being so hands-on throughout the entire process of the video, the album, and the tour. Getting my copy of Stunner after we made it really sticks out for me, Landing #2 on Picked To Click was cool, guest hosting The Local Show was cool, playing Sweet JAP’s reunion show was very cool.


Emily: During your summer tour, you played fifteen nights in a row in different cities. What helped you reenergize and stay sane on the road?
Danielle: Honestly, podcasts & a magnesium tablet before bed. Tour exhausts me but I was lucky to be around people who I really admired & were able to keep me grounded during my meltdowns.
Bree: I’ve never toured out west before, and I get a lot of energy from traveling in new places with new friends (like huge cactii and redwoods). I tend to sneak away on walks alone when I can, and usually bring a craft. This time it was weaving!
Laura: I’m a nerd who likes to eat healthy on the road somaking sure I am getting my vegetables (or at least a daily multivitamin) helps me a lot. Also stick me in the ocean at least once and my batteries are charged. I’ve been on a million tours but this was the first with Scrunchies and I felt really energized and thrilled to be touring with friends that I got to know better and have a bunch of cool experiences with. We were met by so much generosity and kindness everywhere we went too so tour ennui was minimal. Also we brought a frisbee!


Emily: What was the creative process like for the “Wichita” music video?
Laura: We had a vision of creating an atmosphere of teenage girls discovering witchcraft in a time before the internet, using intuition and minimal resources to create their own magic. We wanted it to be visually very colorful, kind of weird (like Bree and Danielle drawing all over their own faces), and fun to watch. Gordon Byrd directed and we co-produced it together; our history of growing up playing punk shows in basements together really vibed with the DIY concept and the “live” scenes. There is a lot of references to water in “Wichita” and we had a lot of fun pouring food coloring and half-and-half into glasses of water and making rainbow bubbles in the bathroom sink with glow sticks.

Emily: What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Danielle: Best New Bands!! And honestly a brand new year of unexpected possibilities tbh LOVE A FRESH START.
Bree: Agree with Danielle, new year new you, fresh start energy! I’m excited to see what the year has in store for us.
Laura: I’m excited to start writing new songs, and to see what the next stage of the band feels like. We are going to be playing Best New Bands as a three-piece and I’m excited to work with Bree and Danielle in that capacity. We’re going to play around with more dynamics, and maybe even write some songs that are longer than two minutes and twenty seconds.

Blog by Emily Csuy (Graphic Design Intern)

GET TO KNOW: FAITH BOBLETT

Ahead of Faith Boblett's performance at our showcase of the Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask Faith Boblett a few questions. Read what she had to say below:

Kerry Gay: How has your creative process changed since the start of your career? Have you found that this process has changed from your 2013 album Oil & Water to Enough (released this month)?
Faith Boblett: I used to give others’ opinions about my songs a lot more weight. That’s not to say there’s no room for collaboration - because I think that is wildly important. However, I’ve learned to trust myself more when I’m writing a song. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredibly talented musicians and songwriters since the very beginning of my musical endeavors, and hope to continue to foster those relationships. I think there’s just more confidence in my own abilities now.

KG: Are there any other artists (local or not) that you would be interested in collaborating with in the future?
FB: I would love to collaborate with Caitlyn Smith. And Har Mar Superstar. And Sheryl Crow. And Kacey Musgraves. And Margaret Glaspy. I also really enjoy singing harmonies and backup vocals, too - so if you know anybody? Send them my way!

KG: Do you have a personal favorite song of yours to perform?
FB: I love playing “Clay”, which is on the new album (Enough). It feels almost visceral singing some of those lyrics; and in my head, I’m demanding that the men in the room listen to what I’m saying.

KG: Do you have any advice for aspiring local artists/bands that want to follow in your footsteps?
FB: My advice? Hmm. This might sound so cliche. But, my advice is to always write songs that genuinely mean something to you. At the end of the day, if you believe in what you are creating, I think things will fall into place. Sometimes that takes 3 months, and sometimes it takes 10 years. And nobody really knows what they’re doing! Be patient, have fun, love what you do. The rest shouldn’t matter. 

KG: Are you a fan of any bands/artists that may surprise your listeners stylistically?
FB: A few albums on repeat for me the last year or two that may (or may not) surprise people:

  • Sweetener by Ariana Grande (Do not hate. Listen and listen again, because the layers & talent are there.)
  • Good Thing by Leon Bridges (absolutely no explanation needed!)
  • Ctrl by SZA (again. no explanation necessary.)

Blog by Kerry Gay (Marketing Intern)

First Avenue To Purchase Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul

FIRST AVENUE TO PURCHASE FITZGERALD THEATER IN SAINT PAUL

First Avenue and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) have entered into an agreement for First Avenue to purchase the Fitzgerald Theater from MPR. First Avenue, one of the longest running, independently owned clubs in the U.S., is continuing to extend its reach across city lines.

“Our goal is to bring together people with diverse interests and backgrounds, and part of that is expanding the First Avenue family to include other venues throughout the Twin Cities,” said Dayna Frank, First Avenue owner. “We’re excited about the opportunities for more events and performances in another iconic space in this community.”

MPR has owned and operated the historic theater since 1980. “After commissioning a Historic Structures Report several years ago, we focused on what’s best for this amazing facility, the community, and how we can best serve our audiences throughout Minnesota,” said Jon McTaggart, president and CEO, Minnesota Public Radio. “We were excited to find that First Avenue leaders share our vision to serve many more people. We’re pleased the theater will be in good hands with First Avenue.”

The transition from MPR to First Avenue allows MPR to broaden its reach in hosting events across the Twin Cities and the state while giving First Avenue fans another option on the east side of town. “Saint Paul is becoming a destination for many musicians, just as Minneapolis has been,” said Frank. “We’re committed to helping to grow Saint Paul’s music scene as well.”

“As we aim to serve more Minnesotans, one of the ways we are doing that is by going to where our audiences are,” McTaggart said. “We’ll still host plenty of events in Saint Paul. In fact, we anticipate that MPR will continue to use the Fitz. Now, we will have even more flexibility with our events and performances.”

First Avenue’s commitment to the community made it an ideal purchaser for this space. “Our roots in the community are far-reaching and I think MPR felt good about selling to another organization that is committed to the community, to local music, and to expanding perspectives in the entertainment space,” Frank said.

The deal is not finalized, and details are not yet available.

First Avenue owns and operates the 250-capacity 7th St Entry, the 350-capacity Turf Club, the 650- capacity Fine Line, 1550-capacity First Avenue Mainroom, and co-operates the 2400-capacity Palace Theatre. Additionally, First Avenue promotes concerts and events at numerous venues in Minnesota, including but not limited to, Amsterdam Bar & Hall, The Cedar Cultural Center, The Historic State, Orpheum, and Pantages Theatres in Minneapolis, as well as Surly Brewing Festival Field.

First Avenue is celebrated as one of the longest-running, independently owned and operated clubs in the United States. Its commitment to independence is led by the belief that unique, locally-owned live music rooms are imperative to the health of the community and economy. First Avenue is dedicated to promoting artistic expression in voices old and new, to provide a community by offering artists a stage and a mic, and fans a place to gather.

As the musical epicenter of the Twin Cities, First Avenue—and by extension, the venues it owns and operates—opens its doors to all of the thousands of music lovers who are First Avenue's past, present, and future.


Job posting: Kitchen Manager (Depot Tavern)

Job description: Kitchen Manager – The Depot Tavern

To Apply:
Please e-mail your resume, cover letter and references to jobs@first-avenue.com.

First Avenue, the Twin Cities’ premier entertainment venue and music promoter, is seeking a dynamic and self-motivated individual to help lead the kitchen for The Depot Tavern with possible additional roles for the right candidate. The Kitchen Manager is detail-oriented, focused, and can work quickly and efficiently with distractions in a fun and fast-paced environment.

This position is part cooking, part staff hiring, development, and training, with an emphasis on Menu development, execution and ongoing training. The right candidate should have relevant experience in these fields. A passion for music is a must, as this position works directly for The Depot Tavern, First Avenue & 7th St Entry, Turf Club, and Palace Theatre, as well as other special events and festivals. This position reports directly to the Director of General Operations.

    Responsibilities & Duties
  • Assist with the creation and delivery of menu execution, and more
  • Hiring of staff and proper staffing level scheduling
  • Assist with research and analysis for upcoming menu changes, concerts and events
  • Responsible for the creation and execution of necessary restaurant and event specific procedural expectations.
  • Help manage physical food, supply, and beverage elements including ordering, inventory and quality food menu execution
  • Assist in researching menu option items and excellent food menu item execution.
  • Maintain relationships with key purveyors and local partners
  • Assist with quantifying success and efficiency of menu mix and menu offerings
  • Track and report food and supply costs; help manage to-budget on all areas of responsibility
  • Coordinate with various departments (booking, finance, box office, production, events)
  • Miscellaneous administrative tasks including filing, record keeping, and reporting as needed
    Job Requirements
  • 4-year degree or comparable relevant experience
  • Minimum of three years experience in a full-time relevant position
  • Multi Unit management a plus for possible immediate growth for right candidate
  • Experience creating and managing quality menu item executions
  • Traditional scheduling, ordering and new training planning experience a plus
  • Excellent communication skills required. Strong verbal and written communication skills are essential, as well as diligent attention to detail. Candidate will be collaborating with, presenting ideas to, and contextualizing results for a broad audience
  • Must thrive in a team environment, but be able to take initiative and work independently
  • Candidate must have strong computer knowledge of Excel, Word, various food system applications and excellent knowledge of relevant online industry ordering systems
  • Must be highly organized, detailed-oriented, and excited to work in an all-hands-on-deck team environment
  • We value motivated, creative, innovative folks
  • Be prepared to proofread
  • Must have a passion for music, and diversity in musical taste, the arts, and entertainment
    We Offer
  • Salary commensurate with experience
  • Health, Dental, and 401K benefits after 90 days
  • Health savings & flex savings medical accounts available through company benefits
  • 10 vacation days + sick/safe time days + birthday is a paid holiday
  • Paid holidays as identified by First Avenue
  • Fun and pleasant work environment
  • Downtown office on many bus lines and blocks from the light rail
    Hours
  • This is a full-time, exempt position. On occasion may be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays in addition to normal business hours.

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