EVENT: Noise & Toys Showcase
DATE: May 14 – June 7, 2020
FEATURING: Rat Babies (GA), NUSS (NC), Mr Blank Toys (GA)
LOCATIONS: GA, AL, TN, KY, IN, MI, OH, PA, NY, MD, VA, NC, and SC.
Rat Babies / Mr Blank Toys: firstname.lastname@example.org
NUSS: email@example.com or 703-434-2917
FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/183462196193146/
The NOISE & TOYS tour series (now in its second year) is a curated pop-up event showcasing an eclectic mix of heavy music and designer toys for one night only. Our unique boutique approach affords everyone the opportunity to engage with fresh local and touring music, while also introducing some amazing indie art toys and games to audiences looking to discover something new!
Headlining the event will be the road warriors RAT BABIES and NUSS who have combined forces many times on past tours. Now partnering with indie art-toy producer MR BLANK TOYS & GAMES and other local artists we are bringing you an exclusive showcase of sonic sounds and rare collectible art. This tour will run from May 14 thru June 7th stretching across multiple states including: GA, AL, TN, KY, IN, MI, OH, PA, NY, MD, VA, NC, and SC.
The sludge/doom noisers the Rat Babies (Athens GA since 2005) recently spent time in Joshua Tree CA at Rancho De La Luna recording their sophomore album release with David Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal, earthlings?, Desert Sessions) and Jon Russo. Mastered at Chase Park Transduction in Athens GA by Jason NeSmith. Sound clips and news about the album will be available on the Rat Babies website.
After 20 years of prolific sound manipulation NUSS (High Point NC) now manifesting as a solo doom/heavy-psych project incorporating elements of drone and industrial… and will be making a limited edition EP available as well.
Mr Blank Toys & Games (Athens GA) develops indie video games and produces limited edition custom hand-made resin art figures inspired by the nostalgia for the 80’s, 90’s, and today.
[NOTE: see: “More Artist Bios” below for detailed information of featured performers]
Rat Babies: Read more at http://www.thecompleteguidetocaringforyourratbabies.com/
Mr Blank Toys: Read more at http://mrblankisdead.com/mr-blank-toys/
NUSS is the solo project of Scott Nussman. In the early 2000s in the Virginia suburbs of DC, Scott collaborated with friends to play noise using everything from contact mics on scrap metal to samplers to microcassette recorders. This led to the formation of a harsh noise collective known as Piasa in 2005. At the same time, Scott also played bass in the DC doom metal band called VOG. Over the years, Piasa would tour and play shows with the likes of Andrew W.K., Wolf Eyes, Prurient, and Panicsville; releasing splits with Realicide and Kurse Go Back as well as 2 EPs of their own. VOG played shows with such bands as Weedeater, Unearthly Trance, Earthride, and Black Cobra; releasing a split 7” with Valkyrie, ‘The Colors Of Infiniti’ EP, and a self-titled full length CD on Shifty Records. NUSS recorded his first solo tape in 2006 and established the group Pastures in 2007 with Baltimore noise artist, Legless. While he left VOG in 2007 and Piasa disbanded in 2008, Scott played his first show as Nuss in 2007 and first show with Pastures in 2008. In 2009, Pastures did a Southern US tour, with NUSS holding it down as Legless was unable to participate, playing with such groups as U.S. Christmas, Across Tundras, and Rat Babies. NUSS continued to put out numerous releases and forming, performing, and putting out releases with short-lived groups like Lobo (hardcore punk/sludge) and Callosum (amplified cello and analog synth). When he moved to North Carolina in 2009, he decided to focus on NUSS and collaborate with Pastures from a distance. NUSS established himself in North Carolina. In 2010, he performed at the Wilmington Arts Exchange Festival and the International Noise Conference Festival in Chapel Hill. In 2010, he did a Southern US tour with Cheezface, the Nothing But Noise Festival in Providence, the 2010 Denver Noise Festival, and did an on-air performance on WXYC 88.1 FM Chapel Hill. In 2011, NUSS moved to Providence. He played the 2010 Denver Noise Festival and the Providence Noise Festival before being asked to join the DC doom band, Akris. Scott joined them on their 2011 tour supporting Backwoods Payback and 2012 tour with Rat Babies. He also collaborated on two tacks they recorded with Steve Mackay (of The Stooges, R.I.P.). After having to part ways with Akris due to not wanting to move back to DC, Scott moved back to NC where he went back again to focusing on Nuss and Pastures. In 2014, NUSS did a short Southern tour with Mr. Blank. Since 2015, Nuss has played at least a show every year. He relocated to High Point, North Carolina in 2016. In 2018, Nuss made his first trip down to Athens to form a side-project with his friends, Rat Babies, which would later be known as NARB. He made additional trips In 2019 and 2020 spending a few days writing and recording a song or two. With two tracks completed and two waiting to be mixed and mastered, the group will release their first EP prior to touring together as Rat Babies with supporting act, Nuss, in 2020. In 2018, NUSS recorded and released the ‘Mistakes & Growth’ EP, combining processed samples of foreign instruments with distorted analog synthesizer and processed screams. In 2019, Nuss played the pre-International Noise Conference Festival in St. Petersburg, FL and released 4 EPs, each with its own type of sound and recording process. In 2020, NUSS has evolved to focus more on songwriting using electric bass, a drum machine, and pre-recorded ethereal guitar loops. NUSS has manifested into a solo doom/heavy psych project while also incorporating elements of drone and industrial. He is focused on producing one album this year focused on this sound and will have a limited tour EP of all of the songs in his set.
To date… NUSS (or solo as Pastures) has played live with Sourvein, Cough, U.S. Christmas, Across Tundras, Amps For Christ, Concrete Violin, White Mice, Laundry Room Squelchers, Crank Sturgeon, Andras Fekete, Baseck, Suffering Bastard, Shawn Greenlee, Anthony Saunders, and more.
NUSS has collaborated live with Armenia (Ecuador), GX-Jupiter Larsen of The Haters as part of the Noise Consequences set at Denver Noise Fest 2011, and with Smell The Rott (RIP Mark Williams).
“Nuss offers harsher tones, referencing noise rock and black metal with strangled shouts burdened by dense, swirling electronics.” Steve Reed, ‘Independent Weekly’ (Raleigh)
WHAT ARE DESIGNER TOYS?
“What was once the dominion of large toy companies has, in recent years, become a medium for independent artists who mold, cast and package plastic and resin collectibles — sometimes using repurposed parts of other toys — to celebrate the niche obsessions of their youth.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/23/style/bootleg-toys-action-figures.html)
“Designer toys, whether oversize or pocket-size, are typically made from materials like resin, vinyl or wood. Some are original designs by urban artists, but most have pop-culture roots, which has led to brisk business for the figures at fan conventions like Comic-Con International and at specialty shops where they are sold.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/29/business/smallbusiness/funko-kidrobot-designer-toys-collectibles.html)
Although still considered a niche interest, the designer art-toy market has experienced a recent surge that can be seen in many different instances. What may have formerly been known as an underground scene, is now getting world-wide recognition and distribution. Independent toy companies like Kidrobot, Funko, Super7, and DKE Toys have become very recognizable names at Comic Cons and trade show conventions built upon this niche collector market. Big annual event such as Five Points Festival in Brooklyn NY, Designer Con in CA, and *Assembly Required in Asheville NC just to name a few, have emerged as the premier events for the designer and bootleg toy underground. Now top media outlets like The New York Times and industry outlets such as Clutter Magazine, and The Toy Chronicle (UK) are introducing well known designer art-toy artist like the Sucklord, Killer Bootlegs, Dogman Toys, Frank Kosik, Ron English, and so many others to a larger world-wide audience. We’ve even seen Hollywood crushing on the toy scene more recently with shows like “The Goldbergs” that feature toys made by formerly unknown artists like “Dead Greedy” in episodes due to creator Adam F. Goldberg’s own fascination with this underground pop art phenomenon that drives him to collect. All this lends credence to reports that this niche designer toy underground is “fast-growing” into something worth paying attention too. Whether a true toy/art collector, or the occasional purchaser of these funky artistic conversation pieces, many have discovered for themselves: “That feeling when you come across something new, unexpected, shocking, offbeat. A raw reaction that drives you to keep exploring and discovering – it’s pure childlike wonder that you can experience over and over.” (https://www.kidrobot.com/pages/about-us)