Santogold Helps Trouble Andrew Find His Second Calling

What happens when a Burton-sponsored Olympic snowboarder irreparably tears his ACL (knee) at the height of his career? My guess is that most boarders would just retreat to the backcountry for a while to hole up in haze of frustration, and eventually open up an overpriced snowboard camp for kids in Tahoe. However, if your best friend and fiancée is the hotter-than-hot musician Santogold, and she helps you rehab by channeling your rebellious snowboarder mentality into songs, you might end up finding your second calling. That’s exactly what Trevor “Trouble” Andrew did a little over three years ago, and now his group is shredding stages (and the occasional slope) with their fresh crunk-rock sound. After a show last week at the Mercury Lounge, members of Trouble Andrew sat down with us in the venue’s bunker-like basement. Amongst beer boxes filled with empty bottles, Trouble Andrew, guitarist Joao Salamao, and bassist Masa took us behind the music.

So, Masa, let’s start with you. Is your head sweaty under that fedora? Trouble: You should see his hair under that. We told him not to cut it off. It looks like a helmet. Masa: It’s Lego hair. Trouble: You know, the little Lego guys. That’s what Masa’s hair is like.

Joao, I see a wedding ring. Masa, are you married? Masa: Yes and no. Trouble: Not married, but Santi and I have been engaged since last Christmas.

Do you ever feel like you are cheating on your wives or girlfriends with your art? Like music as your mistress? Joao: What a weird question … Maybe? Trouble: No, because my partner is a musician and she totally gets it.

How did you meet Santogold? Trouble: We met at an event six and a half years ago, when she was in the band Stiffed. After that, we would talk every day by phone. Then, when I injured my knee snowboarding in 2005, I had to stop boarding and rehab it for nine months. So I moved to Philadelphia where Santi lived, and she encouraged me to write down the lyrics in my head and helped me work them into songs.

If the universe hadn’t provided her inspiration and practical help, do you think you’d be here now? Trouble: I think it would have happened a lot later, that’s for sure. Originally, I only wanted to make music for myself and the snowboard kids. I wasn’t looking for success in the commercial sense. I already had that kind of success from snowboarding. But as I continued writing and performing, I now understand that the hustle is so the music can reach people. I mean this crunk rock won’t stop, you know?!

How does training for a professional sport compare to training for music? Trouble: You’ve got to really love what you do in order to succeed in it. I’ve been snowboarding since I was very young, and I remember way back, Shaun White’s mom being at the top of the half pipe being like, “Let Shaun drop in.” I consider skateboarding and snowboarding like art and in that sense. Shaun is a fucking great athlete and artist. For musicians and athletes, to succeed it takes great determination and dedication.

Backstage Pass to Concert Fashion Ideas

When Converse hooked up with Pharrell Williams, Santogold and Julian Casablancas on the song “My Drive Thru” to mark their 100th anniversary, we were all, OMG, music and clothes totally go together! That’s why models date musicians! So to honor their perfect union, here are some clothes best worn while being serenaded. Whether it’s Summerstage or Bonnaroo, be sure to check here first because, your de facto Ramones shirt is kind of meh (unless it’s vintage). Whether you wear a denim mini (we’d rather you didn’t) or a pair of skinny jeans (better), we ask that in honor of its 100th b-day you scamper around in your favorite pair of Chuck Taylors. See more ideas after the jump!

For concert chic pair a pair of flaming “A” crop and roll with crystals in peking blue cropped denim from seven for all mankind with a plain white tee (not the band) and a Lux Halter Vest from Urban Outfitters. Top off the ensemble with the Plaid Gauze Square Scarf, also from Urban Outfitters. Rock on!

In Search of the Next ‘Umbrella’

It’s June, everyone (as if you’re a complete lunatic and needed reminding), so start your internships, season your skewers, and keep your ears open, because the search for the Song Of The Summer is on. Two potential candidates: head Stroke Julian Casablancas has teamed with head Neptune Pharell and head next-M.I.A. Santogold on the garage track “Drive Thru.” It’s part of a Converse campaign called Three Artists, One Song, and the song is quite fine, notable for its tres-cool trio, but it begins to grate, especially when Casablancas wails. This would have worked better if Santi and Pharell had gone in on it alone.

Our vote goes to the hottest heads in rap, Weezy and Yeezy, for a song called “Let the Beat Build“—and that’s exactly what they do. The song begins with one of Kanye West’s signature and singular soul samples, no drums, while Lil Wayne raps over it, all but begging for a beat to come in. Kanye eventually gives it, and the MC runs wild. Is this the song of the summer? So far, yes.

A MidSummerStage Night’s Dream

The sweltering heat that comes from “summering” in New York—suck it, Easthampton—may be oppressive, but nobody does SummerStage the way we do. Well, nobody else does SummerStage at all. The free show showcases some of the best emerging local, national, and international artists. The 23rd season of the Central Park SummerStage concert series, which runs June 13 until August 17, seeks to offer music lovers a feral music experience. Yep, feral. This year’s line-up boasts local acts like Battles, Santogold, and Vampire Weekend. It also features out-of-towners, and an assortment of DJ acts like Diplo and A-Trak. Bottom line: Never Mind the Sunburn.

We Lykke Her, We Really Lykke Her

The release of Santogold’s justifiably-hyped album was like a starter’s pistol being shot off—and the race to become the next M.I.A. is on! just named Santi, Robyn, Uffie, and Yelle as the top competitors for a throne we doubt Maya is even ready to relinquish. “The next M.I.A” is a compact (if somewhat lazy) way to describe fashion-forward, beat-driven, female solo artists who get heavy coverage by websites named after farming tools. But if we can all on agree what we’re talking about here—an “electro-pop hopeful vying to be Pitchfork‘s next favorite commercially disappointing MySpace phenomenon,” as NY Mag puts it—then we’d like to enter our own racer as well, Lykke Li.

Europeans and blog-hounds may already be familiar with the Swedish songbird’s lo-fi pop sounds, but Lykke is still just a not-sure-how-to-pronounce-it name on our side of the sea. Her first single “Little Bit” is a perfectly pretty piece of moony electro, that sounds as good in the studio as it does on the street. With unashamed lyrics like “”And for you I keep my legs apart/ and forget about my tainted heart,” the song is a submission to infatuation. And one visit to her MySpace page proves the catchy inflections of “Little Bit” are no fluke. Songs like “Breaking it Up” and “I’m Good I’m Gone” could easily have stepped up as first singles. The 22-year-old’s debut album Youth Novels (produced by Bjorn, the filling between Peter and John) will be released in the U.S. on May 6, to coincide with a small North American jaunt. Music critics will undoubtedly sprinkle praise all over her album (we predict an 8.3 on Pitchfork), which in turn, may not even chart.

But Li is part of a very special and new stable of female pop stars—mostly from Europe—who manage to make cool, credible tunes without the help of Timbaland or Pharrell (Li collaborates with Swedish producer Kleerup). Don’t get us wrong, hers is music for the masses, but the masses have to seek it out. In a commercial landscape where hype machines are scanning waves for the next “someone,” Lykke Li should be perfectly content being just who she is. So on second thought, we withdraw her from the M.I.A. race. Santogold was probably going to win anyway.

What if Santi Looked More Like Taylor Swift?

Watching this clip of Santogold performing her “L.E.S. Artistes” single on the soon-to-be Jimmy Fallon show, we’re baffled by all the M.I.A. comparisons she’s received in the press (granted her song “Creator” has tinges of Maya, but it ends there). You can’t read a record review or a breaking-artist profile about the Brooklyn singer without a mention of her similarities to the Sri Lankan rapper. We can’t help but wonder how apt the comparisons would be if Santi looked more like Taylor Swift.

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Santogold vs. Jodorowsky!

The video for Santogold’s hit single “L.E.S. Artistes” is said to draw on the psychedelics of Alex Jodorowsky’s surrealist cine-masterpiece Holy Mountain. That’s cute. Check out the above Santogold video, followed by the first ten minutes of Holy Mountain after the jump—the latter making the former look like a cotton candy-fueled romp through Disneyland. Or a petting zoo.