Jordan de Graaf, also known as against realism, is a skilled organizer, arranger, and distributor of compilations through the Bedroom Skramz & DIY Jamz server on Discord. Working alongside a group of talented artists, Jordan leads the charge in creating several compilations a year to support various charities while having fun in the process.
Their latest compilation was released on April 7th, 2023 as a digital download on Bandcamp, with CDs available through Partymouse Records and cassettes made and shipped from Japan by Jordan. Each compilation has a theme, with artists given the freedom to create music that speaks to them while still adhering to the chosen theme. For this project, the theme was to cover an artist from their respective region, whether it be their place of birth, their grandparents’ home, a place they’ve immigrated to, or somewhere they’ve visited and felt a connection to.
The “spring roots & lullabies” compilation had a unique theme for its participating artists. They were required to cover a song by an artist from their “home region,” which allowed for a broad interpretation of the term. Some contributors chose to focus on their place of birth or cultural background, while others opted to showcase locations they have spent a significant amount of time living in.
The idea of home is complex and can be a sensitive issue for many, especially within the LGBTQ+ community, who face anti-human politics that threaten their sense of safety.
With this in mind, Jordan and their team chose to support trans youth by donating all profits from the compilation to Trans Lifeline, a charity that provides a phone line for trans people in the US and Canada, run by members of the trans community.
By coming together through music, Jordan and their collaborators aim to promote a positive and supportive message while making a difference in the world.
In our special feature today, as part of the interview process for the “spring roots & lullabies” compilation, participating artists were given free rein to answer the following questions as they saw fit:
- What motivated you to select the particular song you did in relation to the theme of hometown/region?
- If not already stated, what significance does the song hold for you?
- Why did you decide to join this compilation and support an LGBTQ charity?
- Lastly, take a moment to give a shoutout to yourself and any local scene/bands that you feel deserve recognition.
spring roots and lullabies features 36 artists covering 36 songs by artists of their choice. The album showcases a diverse range of genres and styles, with an emphasis on lo-fi punk, screamo, emoviolence, and all kids of post hardcore off-shoots.
Our today’s guests include kusuriuri and Garden Angel, clay birds, eva ras, Mosquinha, aylos aylos, A Rise And Fall Of a Dilapidated Home, Chair Chairington, BoyGirlPersonThing, castle rock but smaller, heep of reeps, Son Vae, and Henry cron.
All artists sat down with us to answer our questions above and discuss their covers of songs by notable artists such as iwrotehaikusaboutcannibalisminyouryearbook, Flowers Taped to Pens, VIS Idoli, Dinosaur Jr, Spinvis, Spencer Radcliffe’s California Furniture, Birds Fear Death, our sunday affairs, viper, the raisins, and Neutral Milk Hotel.
kusuriuri and Garden Angel – Anime Love Story (Flowers Taped to Pens)
I chose the song “Anime Love Story” by Flowers Taped to Pens because we’re both from the United States. The song is very special to me as I first heard it during a time when I was discovering my interest in emo and my identity as a trans girl in my later middle school years. It’s about feeling unable to help someone you love feel like they’re special and cared for, and that resonates with me heavily.
The cause of this compilation is extremely relevant to me as a lesbian trans person. I would like to support my community in the best way I know how to, with emo music haha. Some cool Tennessee bands/projects are Lachance, Every Promise Kept, So Long…Partner, and Linwood. Also, a shoutout to Carson, Zappa, and Seán from the Nashville scene for being so inviting and kind to me!
If you want to check out my music, just search “Garden Angel” on Bandcamp or Spotify. Thanks!
clay birds – untitled 3 (iwrotehaikusaboutcannibalisminyouryearbook)
1. We originally chose the song because Zach from Crochet, an LV screamo band, taught us the chords and we just played it for fun when we first started as a band. But as we played it more, I developed a lot of respect for Iwrotehaikus and decided to name our band after a lyric from the Haikus song “9.”
2. To me, the song is about two young people in love where one of them is having suicidal thoughts. They feel that if they kill themselves, their love for the other person will never lose its value. That moment in time will forever be in their mind because they killed themselves, and it will be theirs forever like the stars.
3. Some of our members are gender nonconforming, and any way we can give back through our music is a pleasure.
4. Shoutout to Widowdusk, Versera, Onewaymirror, Crochet, Knumears, Vs Self, and Haikus for this amazing song.
Eva Ras – Retko Te Vidiam Sa Devoikama (VIS Idoli)
1. Back when Yugoslavia existed, there were plenty of LGBT-themed songs by cult bands, mostly from Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia (where homosexuality was decriminalized in 1977, particularly in Vojvodina, excluding the rest of Serbia). So, it seemed progressive to bring up a topic that was considered taboo in a socialist republic. Out of all the LGBT-themed songs that I’ve heard so far, I decided to cover an Idoli’s song at the end.
2. I think it resonates with me as a gay man, particularly in Eastern Europe. Always having to remain in the closet, always having to keep up the act, etc. Otherwise, people (and the authorities) would find out, and they would literally discriminate against you at no cost and ostracize you against your will. The result of this is a torrent of issues with mental health, low self-esteem, and loss of identity. Which is why it’s important to be an ally and look out for your loved ones, regardless of their differences.
3. Because it’s a human right, no exceptions. We will not sleep until those issues that we’ve been struggling with are fixed for us. We will not tolerate any more bigots to step on us and brand us with whatever names in the book. We are here, and we are queer, and we deserve to have rights. Get used to it.
4. Shoutout to my favorite people from MKC Kombinat, AKAB Okretnica, The Phonerings, Technicolor Lies, eaglehaslanded, Hali Gali, Krah, Dzezbollah, especially Stefan of Give Me the Gun and Idiedthisfebruary (he’s from Novi Sad but I don’t care). And special shoutouts to LGBT+ activists Sonja Sajzor, Kvir Stories, Dekadanca, Potent, and many others who are tirelessly fighting for our rights. You mean a lot to me.
Mosquinha – Little Fury Things (Dinosaur Jr.)
1. Our band is based in Northampton, which is located just a stone’s throw away from Amherst – the hometown of Dinosaur Jr.
2. As a band, we are all big fans of Dinosaur Jr. and they have been a major source of inspiration for us. Plus, their music is just so catchy!
3. With the recent passing of anti-trans laws, we feel a responsibility to support and uplift the trans community in any way we can. It’s amazing to be able to do that through our music.
4. We want to give a shoutout to Ms. Conception and our music teacher, Paul Kinsman, for their unwavering support since the beginning. We also want to show some love to Rednave and Letters Of Marque, who we have loved working with.
In terms of upcoming shows, we have a few lined up and are planning to release some merch for them. To stay updated, make sure to follow us on Instagram at @mosquinhaband.
aylos aylos – bagagedrager (Spinvis)
This song is about Spinvis’ first time crossing the Afsluitdijk, a 32km dam that connects Noord-Holland and Friesland. He was alone with his bike in the middle, surrounded by mist, water, clouds, and wind, and he felt completely detached from the world. To me, this song represents the sinking feeling of being in a state of uncertainty. It’s about the desire to leave, doubts about the future, substance abuse, derealization, and the bad weather in the Netherlands. Dams, bridges, and causeways are symbolic of transitional states, and the image of a dam where both sides are eventually invisible is something that resonates deeply with me and many others.
We’re supporting the Trans Lifeline as our charity of choice. If you ever feel stuck on a long dam and can’t see the other side, you can call them and talk to someone who’s been there, done that, and is doing relatively fine now. They’re really cool, and I wish we had something similar over here.
I was supposed to give shoutouts to local artists, but the only “scenes” we have here are full of creepy middle-aged dudes. So, I’m shouting out queer musicians from other parts of northwest Europe instead: Parking Lot Democracy, Quiet Commotion, White Spine Shore, and of course, myself. You can find me as Aylos Aylos or previously as “Are You Lost Or Stolen?” on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
P.S. I found a cool Dutch punk band called Asbest Boys, shoutout to them.
A Rise And Fall Of a Dilapidated Home – Jock Jams (Spencer Radcliffe/California Furniture)
Although not from my hometown, Spencer Radcliffe is very much an Ohio native, having been in bands like Best Witches, Difficult Dogs, and the influential Blithe Field, as well as his solo project California Furniture, among others. It’s difficult to put into words how much his music means to me. It’s almost like a drug that isn’t harmful and doesn’t make you feel terrible for being addicted to it. His music is some of the best I’ve heard in my life, second only to Phil Elverum’s entire catalog, and it truly inspired me to write and record my own music.
Chair Chairington, BoyGirlPersonThing – Pretty Girl Snuff Film (Birds Fear Death)
I decided to cover “Pretty Girl Snuff Film” by Birds Fear Death because I enjoy the song, and my collaborator and I both knew how to play it. This song is meaningful to me because of its lyrics and overall sound. I love music that is both profound and carefree. I am really pleased with the charity selected for the compilation album. It’s personally important to me because I know transgender youth who have a difficult time due to their identity. My name is Chair Chairington, and I collaborated with my friend BoyGirlPersonThing. We play in some fun bands like THE TREES HAVE EYES and others that I’m too lazy to list. Sending love from Massachusetts.
castle rock but smaller – combo move (our sunday affairs)
I chose to cover “Combo Move” by Our Sunday Affairs for a few reasons. The main one being that they are one of my favorite New Jersey bands of all time. I also wanted to push my comfort zones, as it is stylistically different from my normal vocals. There are no screams in the song, which is a departure for me. Our Sunday Affairs has always been a meaningful band to me, and although I do not have a specific meaning for this song, their songs collectively hold meaning for me. Shoutout to the entire New Jersey hardcore scene, Potter’s Field, Final Resting Pose, and Bayway. And, of course, thank you based god.
heep of reeps – you’ll cowards don’t even smoke crack (viper)
1. I chose the song because Viper is cool, and I wanted to make a troll song that was out of place on the tracklist.
2. Viper is a talented producer when he’s at his best, and I love his use of MIDI instruments. It’s a huge inspiration to my own music.
3. I hate Matt Walsh.
4. Check out my EP “Into the Funny Void.” It’s self-produced, and I’m very proud of it.
Henry cron – Fear is Never Boring (the raisins)
The Raisins were the first band that I ever loved. They were friends of my dad and huge players in the blues scene in Cincinnati. My dad and I used to dance to them in our basement when I was too young to have clear memories. My love for The Raisins kickstarted my love for music. The cause we are supporting is very personal to me. I myself am non-binary and bisexual, and pretty much all of my friends are queer, especially in the Central Florida underground music scene that I am a part of. It’s a kick-ass scene, and I hope everyone in it goes on to do great things.
Son Væ – intheaeroplane, overthesea (Neutral Milk Hotel)
1. There were multiple factors that contributed to my final decision for the album cover. I considered several areas that hold a deeper connection to me, such as my hometown of Decatur, the Boone area of North Carolina, and my Father’s hometown of Johnson City in Tennessee. However, Athens was the easiest choice given its proximity and the numerous landmark musicians that have come from the area, such as REM, Pylon, and of Montreal, as well as other artists within the Elephant 6 sphere like Olivia Tremor Control. Even just looking through the Neutral Milk Hotel discography, I had multiple choices for the cover, such as Ghost, Little Birds, or the King of Carrot Flowers trilogy. However, some of the songs on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea still carry too much emotional weight for me to spend a consistent amount of time fully fleshing out, specifically both parts of Two-Headed Boy. The title track on the album provided the perfect balance of vulnerability and allowed me space to refract the song into a different form. Before I even started recording, I could already hear the song transformed into a new form, using techniques like harmonics, octave doubling/tripling, and electronically manipulated guitars. The sound and methodology of my rendition was meant as a kind of precursor to bridge the sonic gap between my previously guitar-centric material and the electronics of what I have planned for some of my next projects.
2. I have always had a deep connection with In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, as have many before me and will in the future. It has been a long time since I first heard the record, and with that time has come immeasurable change, along with countless memories that have been burned into these songs. Perhaps the most important aspect of this record for me is the connection it shares with the person whom I held a connection with that I likely will never feel again with anyone else. So many of the lyrics exude deep, painful undercurrents of the moments of our lives we shared. The way so many of the songs, especially “Oh Comely,” paint such a vivid, surreal, almost childlike picture of intimacy echoes so much of our relationship, and certain lines conjure memories of those moments like nothing else. Additionally, he also loves Neutral Milk Hotel, which adds an even deeper layer of connection as I sing any of those songs.
3. My connection to the LGBTQ+ community, and specifically the trans community, has always been an incredibly important part of my life in just about every way. As a member of the LGBTQ community myself, for so much of my life, my closest friends have always been intertwined with the community, and a lot of those closest to me are trans. I’ve been mentored by those in the community, been a mentor as well, and I’ve tried to be there as much as I can for the people I know that need it most.
The trans community has been demonized, brigaded, tortured, and murdered ever since the LGBTQ movement has stepped into the light by people who never had compassion or understanding of others in the first place. And now, the people I love are the focus of a campaign of hatred fueled by blind stupidity, propagated by the loudest, most powerful, most dull, most disingenuous, most hypocritical, most blatantly fucking evil people alive.
I would lay down everything, kill and die to protect the people I love from the horrible fucking place we live in and the endless pain of having your existence held under the highest scrutiny possible. These communities are an incredibly important means of support not simply to hold my values without acting upon them, but actually make a difference, no matter how small. I want to do everything I can with what I have, being there for those who need it and giving my time to support a necessary cause.
4. I am known by my artist pseudonym as Son Væ, and I recently released my self-titled record, which is the culmination of everything I’ve done thus far and am still in the process of promoting. I am one half of Jinx, a duo with my close friend and drummer Elise, and we should be getting ready to release some music in the near future.
In regards to my local scene, my connections to it have only continued to grow since my last interview on the site. There are some great independent bands on the rise with members who I consider great friends of mine. First of all, I’d love to shout-out Midsummer Motel, a rising indie rock act with a massive amount of potential. Their drummer, John Hatch, is a really cool person and someone who I plan to work with at some point. My friend Sims has a project under the name Meadowvale and makes some great music in the vein of indie folk rock.
My friend Hunter is in a few different bands, including Moral Kiosk and Sister Ray, both of which are really tight projects that show off how phenomenal of a taste in music he has. I’m friends with all of the members of Instrumental Breakdown, a really excellent Punk act, and actively working on a really exciting upcoming project with their drummer and close friend of mine, Myles.
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