Friday, September 23, 2011

Practical Magic Party Favor: A Visit With Artemis


Alternative / Downtempo / Electro-pop

“Bay Area trip-hop artist Artemis’ CD, ‘Gravity’ (RTFM Records/Magnatune) is a sensual blend of daydreamy beats and starry- eyed breaks. Keyboard Magazine called the New York native's self-described ‘lush, symphonic electronica’ a ‘world-class creation.’ We just call it damn good!” – Bill Picture, San Francisco Examiner

Grown-up electro-pop, trip-hop that doesn’t sound like 1993” – Steve Lawson


If such a joyous sonic welter as the music of Oakland's Artemis needs a handle, then call it “pavement psychedelia,” or “urban robot raga” or “trip-pop.” On a song like “Hypno,” spectral keyboard washes and sinuous dance beats set up a feeling of warm alienation before the singer's voice heats things further. Over the thump and shimmer, she croons with detached fervor, the production dissolving in a storm of pixie-dust disco until a rude riot of effects snaps the tether and she vanishes.

Aesthetically, the band is a poppier variant on trip-hop, with layers of beats and synth effects providing atmospherics for sophisticated classic rock song structures and the velvet swoop of Artemis's vocals.  Artemis co-produces and performs with various members of the RTFM collective, which includes the polymathic likes of Daniel Berkman (aka Colfax, multi-instrumentalist and wizard of the kora, a twelve-string harp-lute used extensively in West African music), Cliff Tune (the drummer, who adds to orthodox skin-pounding masses of programmed beats layered for pallidly funky effect) and Keith Crusher (producer, programmer and sonic theoretician) lowering the ambient temperature to dry-ice. Despite the variety of syncretic means, the whole wraps around the singer in true rockist fashion like a flash-frozen Big Brother & the Holding Company.

The music pulses with downtempo beats while ambient sound FX sinks tethers from the world outside into the listener only to pull them pleasantly loose with the band's coruscating riffs and hooky churn. Artemis presides over this aural slow-burn like one of Wim Wenders' angels; warm, wise, detached and waiting for you..

Press and Praise:

Artemis’ releases Orbits (2007), Gravity (2005) and Undone (2001) are all top sellers on online music label Magnatune, and have garnered praise and press in publications from the New York Times to Remix, Electronic Musician and Keyboard magazines.  Her music receives global airplay and is featured regularly on major podcasts and popular online radio shows such as Dave’s Lounge, SomaFM, Groovera, and Below Zero.  Songs have been licensed for television, video and compilations, and she has recorded and collaborated with producers worldwide including Banco de Gaia’s Toby Marks and former Duran Duran manager Paul Berrow.  Tracks from her most recent release, t?he Auralei EP (2010), have already won awards and spotlights, with the Colfax remix of ‘Here and Now’' earning top marks at the first Epiphyte Records Test Press event of 2010.

From the Official Artemis Biography sent by the artist.

Artemis: An incredible artist

I first came across Artemis while going through the Reverbnation lineup of bands that were set to get votes for Austin's mega show, South by Southwest. It was a battle of the bands with over 250 downloads available. As a music reviewer, I was in heaven.  From the second I hit the preview button, I was completely hooked. Artemis captures the essence of what I love about music. The ability to express yourself and create magic for everyone around you. Please share my love of this great artist with a special interview just for On the Broomstick for our Practical Magic Blog Party. Check out her YouTube Video and head over to her website for even more goodies and tidbits about the artist. 

Be sure to enter the giveaway! There are posters, CD's and a bracelet made by Artemis herself up for grabs. Please take a moment to thanks this talented artist for sharing her passion for music with us for this amazing party.


Artemis: An Interview with On the Broomstick:

1. You chose the name Artemis as your artist's name. What does the name mean to you?

Artemis is a huntress.  She is attuned with nature and speaks for the wild beings, and the beings whose voices we have trouble hearing in our human world.  She's whole unto herself - Artemis was a 'virgin' when the word meant not what we know it to mean today, but meant only that one was not owned by anyone, but was fully self-claimed.  She is creative and free.  She loves the moon.  I relate to all these things.  But when I chose the name Artemis, it was just because I was riding my bike around one day and kept hearing the name in my head over and over, and realized, that must be the one.

2. Your songs are fresh, original and have a spark of magic in them. Where do you get your ideas?

From everywhere - bathtubs, walks in the woods, watching old film-noir or art films, evesdropping on people at parties, reading the great name it.  If it's out there, I'm happy to grab it, morph it and make it my own.  A lot of my ideas come to me in dreams.  I'm lucky when I can catch them and reel them up into the waking world, like little fishies still wriggling on the line. 

3. How many members are in your band and what instruments do they play?

The core of my band is myself and Keith Crusher.  I sing and play flute, guitar, and enough keys to be slightly dangerous.  Keith mainly does production and mixing...he comes up with lots of electronic juiciness.  Other folks join us regularly in the studio and on stage, including Daniel Berkman on every instrument under the sun (literally), Cliff Tune on drums, David Earl (writing/production and keys), Bobby Cochran (writing/production, drums, and guitar), Mike Jordan (production), Daniel Durrett (live mixing and twiddling), and Tom Lattanand (production/writing, guitar).  Lynda Arnold aka Divasonic sometimes joins us on stage with her fabulous vocals.  We're always mixing it up.

4. Of all the songs you have worked on, what is your favorite and why?

Oh my.  Today, I'd have to say Here and Now is at the top of my list.  It gets me in so many ways.  I wrote it when many things were changing in my life, and it always reminds me of the power of just being completely in the present moment.  Which seems very useful these days, when the world is turning at the speed of light, it seems.  But my favorite song changes on a weekly, daily basis, and it's often something new, because...well, it's so easy to be inspired by the latest visitation from the muse.

5. What were some of your musical influences?

Listened to lots of classical and folk as a kid, plus the Beatles.  Loved old Genesis and Peter Gabriel growing up, and have been inspired by Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, Bjork, Boards of Canada, Sigur Ros, so many others. 

6. You mention in your Reverbnation profile that your inspiration comes from poets like Rilke, Walt Whitman and Pablo Neruda. What about their work inspires you?

The ability of a poet to describe a moment in a stunningly simple, visual and visceral way, is profoundly inspiring to me.  These guys get straight to the heart of what it is to be human. 

7. What is your favorite witchy book or movie?

I'd have to say...I loved a book called The Heart of the Fire, about a young Scottish witch in the 13th century or so.  I read it years ago, but still remember how it made me feel.  I couldn't stop crying at the end.  It was wonderful.

8. You mentioned you were interested in astrology? What about it fascinates you?

Astrology is a window into our inner workings, and a really powerful, multidimensional language for understanding and talking about the human psyche and how we evolve through our lives and all the changes we go through as we grow and learn.  It's a very alchemical language - if explored with a creative and open mind, our charts can be like a blueprint and road map - we can see the possibilities in ourselves and how to best turn the elements we've been given into something beautiful and powerful.

9. What is one thing you want listeners to take away from your music?

If the music helps you discover something inside yourself, or gives voice to something you haven't yet found a voice for, or if it's simply been something to enjoy and relax with, cry with, celebrate with...if it's a good companion to go with you where you're going, then I've done my job.  That's what music has always done for me, and it's what inspires me to keep making more.

10. Your new album, Body of Glass is due to be released soon. When will it be available?

Soon!  How's that for tantalizingly vague?  Hopefully early 2012 or sooner.

Thank you Artemis!

Now for some giveaway fun!

*You must be a follower to enter this event.
*US only.
*All prizes have been donated by Artemis, but will be mailed by me. I am not responsible for any issues with the postal system should the prize not get where it needs to go.
*Winners will be notified by email and have one day to respond before the next winner is chosen.
*One entry per person.
*To enter, you must fill out the form.
*The contest is from September 23rd- October 1, 2011.
*Have fun!


  1. There isn't any particular connection to Practical Magic, is there?

  2. No. Just a sound that is purely magic!

  3. I'm sorry sweety the size of that font wreaked havoc on my eyeballs and made it a bit hard for me to read!

    Unfortunately I kind of have to agree with Birgit - I thought the PM party was for PM themed posts?

  4. Hi Pabkins! Sorry about that!

    When I first heard Artemis, I knew I had to feature her during this event. She has a magical quality to her sound and lyrics that inspired me to ask her for an interview. While it may not be entirely PM related, it is magic, much like the Etsy artists featured on my second post. My hope is that everyone will enjoy her sound. I have been listening her as I read the book and it is wonderful!