Category Archives: Interviews

A Night Of Music With David Justin


David Justin performing in Houston at Stereo Live  Oct. 23, 2014
David Justin performing in Houston at Stereo Live Oct. 23, 2014

On October 23rd, 2014 Houston’s Stereo Live was pulsating with artists of all types from slam poets, visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians. That night I was there to see and interview singer/songwriter David Justin who just released his new single, “Supernova”. Since the single’s release earlier this year Supernova has been played on Pandora, Sirius, and BBC Radio and is steadily gaining popularity.

David is a Houston native, and upon meeting David I found him to be the down to earth guy he was described to be. His love of music grew after he was presented with his first violin lesson at the age of eight. David proceeded to teach himself the drums at age 12 and eventually picked up songwriting. He never intended to make music a career but after writing several songs while in college David decide it was time to make his mark in the world, and he did. In 2009 David was nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Awards.

However, “Supernova” is not David’s first well received work. In 2012 David’s first album, “Speak to the World”, which included fan favorites such as “Maria”, “Covergirl”, and “Paper Heart”. David’s acoustic style music, voice, and lyrics invite the listener to relate with clearly sung lyrics. I especially like his song, “Unspoken”. His music is reminisce of singers Gavin Degraw, John Mayer, or Michael Bublé.

The night of his performance David sat down with me for a short interview before heading on stage.

© 2014 Budom@brouhaha-access.com
The interview with David Justin at Stereo Live

Budom: How are feeling tonight? Excited? Pumped?

David: Yeah, I’m excited. There is always excitement, that’s what makes playing live so much fun.

 Budom: So tonight you’re going to be playing acoustic?

David: Yeah, yeah that’s pretty much how it all started by playing acoustic and playing by myself. Of course when I am out in LA I play with a band. But then tonight I’ll be playing acoustic style, and I have a drummer who will be playing the Kahuna it’s like a beat box thing, and then my other friend will be playing the bass. It’s going to be a good change up because there is going to be another band playing a full set, and I think the people will enjoy that a lot more. The music will be a lot more raw.

Budom: I read in your bio that you started at a very young age. Was your father your biggest influence as far as getting into music or were there other influences?

David:  I mean from a young age I was around music, and of course my dad was my biggest influence because he was the one around the house who played music. So without him I probably wouldn’t have chosen the path I did, and done things or learned the instruments that I learned without him. But yeah, I would definitely say that  he was the main person that I looked up to.

Then throughout my teenage years I got into songwriting. When I was about 17 or 18  I got really serious about it. I wrote about 10 or 12 songs that I felt really comfortable with and proud of and I didn’t know what to do with it. I never really thought about being a recording artist. I just loved music, I loved writing, and I would play for my all my friends  and family and they said, ‘you should really records these things’.

So, I started off with a little tape track like a cassette and started to record myself playing, and the more I would do that the hungrier I got to make something bigger. I ended up meeting a producer in Dallas who actually produced my first record and recorded my album.

Then about two and a half years ago I got hit up by my manager, Joe Fontaine out in Los Angeles. We started a dialogue and started talking, and his mentioned to me what he was doing and trying to accomplish. Joe said he actually knew some producers and songwriters in Los Angeles. So he asked me to fly out and I flew out. I did a session or two and things went really well. We recorded some songs and I ended up signing a deal with him.

I have been flying back and forth maybe every two to three months going out there just writing and recording. It’s really been a fun experience. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m starting to meet a lot of people in the industry. It’s good being out there and then being able  to come back home and play shows where I can play to almost two different audiences.

Budom: Yes, two different types of demographics and types of people? 

David: Yes, yes, it really is. Because different people respond to the songs differently, and that what’s really exciting, seeing how people respond and connect with the songs.

Budom: You were nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Music Awards. How did that feel? Did you expect that or was it like “wow” after getting the nomination?

David: (laughs) No, I didn’t. I, uh..just finished recordings some songs from my first record and I was just really trying to get a break, and get my name out there. It was actually the first contest I had ever submitted to.  I was kind of leery about submitting to a song writing contest because they get thousands of entries, and you never know if they’re going to hear your song or what.

Yeah, I got a letter in the mail saying that I was a finalist and I think it was out of four or five thousand entries. It was really neat, it was kind of the first time I felt justified as a songwriter. I was up against pro songwriters and I really felt justified and excited. It really made me want to pursue more and do more.

Budom: So you mentioned that you want to build a bigger fan base in Houston. I have a teenage daughter, and I asked my youngest what type of questions she would ask if she had the chance. The first one question is: If there was someone you could collaborate with as a songwriter or singer who would you choose?

David: Hmm, that’s really tough because there’s so much talent out there. I mean it seems when I find a favorite artist then I find another favorite artist. I think that’s just the power of the Internet, and there’s so many tools to discover artist. I would definitely say I think it would be fun to collaborate with John Mayer. He’s a very versatile songwriter and musician.

Budom: Would you ever consider a collaboration out of your genre like Kesha and Pit Bull did as well as other artist? 

David: Uh…No, the way I write songs I don’t usually listen to other people and think. ‘I’m going to write a song like that’. It really comes from within me I’m pretty true to myself and I don’t try to be anybody that I’m not. I try to keep it pretty pure.

Budom: Okay, last question. If you had a fandom what would they be called? Here are some examples for you Justin Bieber’s fans are “Biebers”, Lady Gaga’s are “Little Monsters”, and Taylor Swift’s fans are known as the Swifties.

David: (laughs) You know this has been an on going conversation with my manger. We’re still trying to pin point that now. I thought maybe the “Little DJs” but that’s kind of corny, you know? Or maybe the “Little Supernovas”, I don’t know that something we’re still working on. I think it’s going to be like one of those things when somebody else says something and then that’s it.

Budom: (laughs) Well, we need to get that out there. We need to see what your fandom is going to be like. That’s what we need to get a rally started on getting an idea on what to call your fandom.

David: I think so, yeah. We need to work on that. That’s actually a good question because I always think about that.

Budom:  Well, David thanks so much for setting aside this time to sit here and chat with you. I look forward to seeing you on stage.

© 2014 budom@brouhaha-access.com
Houston performance.

I had a wonderful time corresponding with David through social media and at the interview. He’s a musician with heart and soul and  you can hear it in his music.

“It takes courage to chase your dreams and dreams to create courage, but either way I’m committed to both.”
– David Justin

David’s album “Speak to the World” and new single “Supernova” is available on iTunes. Look for the official “Supernova” video release coming soon, featuring Caitlin O’Connor (Sports Illustrated, The Gambler) and Christine Lakin (Step by Step, Melissa & Joey). Meanwhile, you can catch his “Supernova” lyric video on youtube.

A Chat With Omar Farhad About Debut Novel ‘Honor And Polygamy’


Can a foreigner ever understand the harsh reality of the constant struggle of the Afghanistan people and their culture?  

Omar Farhad’s début novel gives readers a closer look at what it takes for people to survive in a world where chaos has become the norm, but  where deep cultural rituals and habits are kept alive.

While Farhad’s story is fictional the novel sheds light on real living conditions in a world constantly torn apart by war. Honor and Polygamy shows Afghanistan’s plight from a different perspective.

 

Nicholas Blake, a UN diplomat from New York is assigned one last deployment to Afghanistan. However,  Nicholas does not realize how much this deployment would change his life. He never planned on getting kidnapped, and used as a tool for the very Taliban he is trying to help remove from Afghanistan. Nicholas takes readers on his journey of hardships, and the terrible decisions he must make to stay alive, and return home to his wife and children he left behind. Farhad describes both Nicholas’  American world and his Afghanistan world with the relatable interactions of his characters. Will Nicholas’ knowledge of Afghanistan culture, and his nearly perfect Pashtun help him survive his captivity? How far will he go to save his life?

“What if I had done it differently? Would I be in the same mess? If I explained it to Lisa, would she understand? No . No matter how good my intentions were and how bad my circumstances are, my wife will never understand. She will always feel betrayed by and disappointed in me.” –Nicholas Blake in the novel Honor and Polygamy by Omar Farhad.

As a spouse, mother, sister, aunt, and friend of men and women who have deployed to Afghanistan. I am very aware of the dangers that can occur for people on deployment military or civilians. I also think much about Afghanistan people and how the war must affect their way of life. Honor and Polygamy stirs the hearts of readers to empathize with Nicholas’ actions to survive. Readers are left to reflect on how Nicholas’ survival may conflict with their own cultural beliefs and moral values. How far would you go?

We speak briefly with Omar Farhad about his novel and what brought him to tell us his story.

Budom: Were you concerned how recent current events might affect feedback from your readership regarding the political nature of the story?

Omar Farhad: First, I want to thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express myself and at the same time explain the nature of my début novel.

Honestly, I am very concerned with the recent US government’s reckless behavior in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Looking at the recent government changes that the US made or encouraged starting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and now in Syria, the political situation in mentioned nations have become more dangerous. The new weak and corrupt governments are not able to defend their nations against the new created fundamentalist ideology. Therefore, “one dictator is better than many corrupt official”. That in mind, the US experimentation of forced-fed democracy in the Middle East must stop at once before the entire world is pulled into a world war III.

Budom: As an Afghan-American man writing, a reader might assume that the book is very one side. However, I found it was not. Was it difficult emotionally for you to write the story?

To answer the first part of your question, every reader will judge my point of view according to his or her level of understanding. As a writer, the very first thing I have learned in writing is to be honest and truthful. I will never deviate from stating the facts directly or indirectly.

I used to work as a contractor in Afghanistan for a little over two years. After the end of my second year, I realized the US efforts in Afghanistan will ultimately have fruitless ending. In Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East where the United States has been involved politically, the US government simultaneously failed to recognize the cultural distance, societal complexities, and change political practices. One size does not fit all.

Budom: Could this have really happened in Afghanistan if someone like Nick should request “Nanawatai,” which means “asylum” in Pashtun’s culture, and the language of the southern and eastern Afghanistan people?

Omar Farhad: The honor codes that I have mentioned in my book does exist in reality and yes, if someone like Nick who needed asylum “Nanawatai” would have been taken in by a Pashtun family. These codes of honor are many thousands year old. In a tribal uneducated society like Afghanistan, these codes of honor are still good as gold to bring order and to keep peace.

Budom: What do you want ‘Honor and Polygamy’ to accomplish as a novel? Do you find it is getting good reception with readers and critics?

Omar Farhad: Yes, the book is received warmly. Feedbacks from Amazon and goodreads.com are all positive.

I as an Afghan born had many hopes for Afghanistan. However, “seeing is believing” and what I have witnessed in Afghanistan did not give me hope for a better future.

After 14 years of US involvement in Afghanistan, after many lives lost on both sides, and after billions of dollars lost to a created corrupt system, the American public does not understand why we are involved in that war. The most typical and basic perception of the American people is, the spread of democracy. Well, that is a great idea but, did every American woke up one morning and realized they were born free? The answer is no. Democracy in the United States was achieved over a period of 300 years with many sacrifices made by those before us. The same is true about other nations and the same process and time is needed to achieve democracy.

With Honor and Polygamy, I am hoping to point out missed opportunities, cultural distance, and cultural complexities that were first missed by the British invading Afghanistan in late 1800s, the Russians in 1980s, and the US since 2001. 

Budom: Will you be writing more on this subject on a future novel or do you have something else planned?

I am currently working on my own memoir, which also have a political side to it. My journey as a child begins right before the Russian invasion and I grow to a young man in war torn country and as a refugee in Pakistan.

Thank you Omar for giving us a look into another world and culture. I look forward to your next book. Honor and Polygamy can be found on Amazon.com.

About the author:

Omar Farhad

Born in Kabul, Afghanistan Omar Farhad move to the United States over 27 years ago, and now resides in California.  Farhad holds degree in Aviation from Spartan School of  Aeronautics as well as a degree in Global Economics from the University of Phoenix.

You can follow Omar Farhad at Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Related Stories:

lecturaobligada– by Alberto Berenguer

Q & A with Omar Farhad, author of the novel, ‘Honor and Polygamy’ – by Kevin Peters

 

Coiled-Through The Eyes Of Director Tim French


Richard Hoyt as Cobb Mills in Coiled. The film “Coiled” are the property of Tim French/Moot point pictures.
Richard Hoyt as Cobb Mills in Coiled.
The film “Coiled” are the property of Tim French/Moot point pictures.

The Shakespearean definition of “coiled” is described as the troubles and activities of the world. Coiled, a new drama directed by screenplay writer and director Tim French, can be described in this way. Coiled is the story of a man named, Cobb Mills (Hoyt Richards) who carries the weight of guilt in the death of his daughter Tess, seven years before. On the anniversary of Tess’s death Cobb returns to the small sleepy town to leave flowers at her grave stone then heads for home. However, this year will be different as Cobb finds that he won’t be heading straight home as planned. Cobb’s car breaks down during his annual visit, and he finds that repairs will take several days. Cobb has no choice but to stay in the town and wait. While he waits, Cobb becomes involved in a series of events that may lead him down the road to either condemnation or redemption.

During his stay Cobb meets and falls romantically for a much younger woman, Nash Fuller (Anabella Casanova) who has her own dark secrets. Cobb falls under her spell feeling that his love for her can break his bonds of guilt and remorse. That is until Nash runs off with $100,000 of his money. Soon, the police is hounding him to turn against Nash, and help them put her away for a long time. Cobb must make a decision he doesn’t want to make because even after Nash’s betrayal he still loves her. Nash’s betrayal hits him hard, and he goes on a self-destructive streak that will eventually lead him to answers he has been seeking all along. Cobb is definitely coiled in the troubles of his world. The question is, will he ever become uncoiled?

David Kagen as Lt. Jackson. The film “Coiled” is  the property of Tim French/Moot point pictures.  Or a
David Kagen as Lt. Jackson.
The film “Coiled” is the property of Tim French/Moot point pictures.

Director Tim French speaks on the making of Coiled and how the storyline came about. Tim French’s Q&A gives us a look at his enthusiasm for filmmaking and writing a screenplay.

Q: Hi Tim. “Coiled” sounds like a drama that many can relate to.  A life ruled by regret of a long ago action can definitely impact a life. I read, on the Coiled Facebook page, that you and Michael French wrote the screenplay. What is your relation?

Michael is my padre and a novelist by trade. He currently has a new book he is promoting called “The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder”, which is available at amazon.com.

Q: What inspired this story line?

The story line was loosely inspired by the loss of someone very close to Michael and I. Both grieving, we decided that writing about someone who experienced a loss of their own, would be good therapy for us. Next thing you know we wrote the first draft of “Coiled” and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Q: Do you and Michael write a lot of your screenplays together?

Yes, we have written three screenplays together and hopefully we will collaborate on more in the future.

Q: What was the your favorite scene in the film to direct?

Jeez, that’s a tough one. I don’t know. I loved working with all the actors involved so… I guess one of them would be the scene when Detective Jackson (David Kagen) and Sergeant Flanders (Chris Cleveland) question Cobb at the police station. There was just something about the chemistry between the three actors that put a big smile on my face.

Q: Is drama your usual genre or have you also directed other genre?

This was actually my first time directing a drama. Before this I had directed a dark comedy called “Setback”.

Q: When is the release date for Coiled?

As of right now the rough release date is sometime in November. However, I am hoping to have it out before then. You can always check out the status of the release date at

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2828310/combined 

For more on Coiled hit up their Facebook page.

The Rest is Illusion- A Story of Finding Oneself & Making Peace


The-Rest-Is-Illusion-9781601450562The Rest Is Illusion is a gripping tale of discovering oneself while accepting the things in life you can and can’t control. Dashel “Dash” Yarnsbrook is a college student gripped in a painful illness. As the story unfolds the reader is drawn not only into the life of Dash, but his friends Ahsley and Sara. Then there is the villain of the story, Wilder Rawls, who makes life hell for just about everyone he meets.

Dash, Sarah, and Ashley like many students in college must face issues that many students come up against. There are issues relating to trusting their own decisions and discovering that not everyone in the world is full of good intentions.

Readers can find a little of themselves in each of the characters. We’ve all been in a place where we are not sure of how we feel about each other, the opposite sex, or even how we would react when faced with death. The Rest Is Illusion touches on these subjects as well as giving readers a look on how far a little faith can change a life.

As I read this story I was touched by the realistic approach to the feelings of the characters. I contacted author Eric Arvin requesting an interview and he was kind enough to answer some of my questions. I invite you to meet Eric Arvin. He answers the questions with warmth and an openness that makes you feel like a life long friend.

The character’s perspective of their lives we interesting. As a writer did you plan these perspectives or did they just fall into place?

Eric Arvin: “They very much evolved over time. The tale was originally a short story wherein Dashel was a supporting character and Wilder was the lead, and he was a decent guy, too. But things happened in my life and the personalities of the characters shifted. There’s a psychological aspect to these changes, but that would take way too long to get into.”

 You had mentioned this was your first novel. Was this the first novel you ever wrote?

Eric Arvin: ” The first book I ever wrote – if you don’t count the two I did for the Young Authors program when I was a wee thing – was a book about a boy born with wings called The Demon of Jericho. I’ve just recently shortened and tinkered with that book for publication in the anthology Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open, due out in May from The Barn Cats. Meow.”

Is there a bit of you in these characters?

Eric Arvin: ” There is a bit of me in every character I write, from the most hateful devil to the most beautiful…devil.”

Wilder is the epitome of the villain you love to hate. Have you ever met anyone like Wilder Rawls?

Eric Arvin: ” Not exactly like him. But there were a couple guys in college that came terribly close. Fellas with political aspirations who had no issue with using others to achieve their goals. AND NOW, I SHALL EXPOSE THEM!!! …Not really.”

I love the menagerie of characters such as Ashley being an Albino. Was he intentionally made to be an Albino or did he just evolve?

Eric Arvin: ” Again, that was total evolution. His character wasn’t even in the first version of the story, nor the second. But by the time I began to write the third I realized I needed someone to balance out Wilder Rawls’ character. Ashley is the closest thing to an angel in the book. I reference that in a few scenes, including one at the falls.”

Are there any new novels or writings in the works?

Eric Arvin: ” Aside from the anthology mentioned above, I have written a novella with Tj Klune, Ghouls Gym, for Empire Press’s Zombie Boyz anthology. Also from Empire I have The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles & Men and its prequel Azrael & The Light Bringer set for release this year, both of these set in the same valley as The Rest Is Illusion. The audio book of Woke Up in a Strange Place, as read by Charlie David (Bump, Dante’s Cove), should be out soon.  I’ve just finished writing a spec fic epic called Terms We Have For Dreaming, but that won’t be seen by a publisher for a while.”

Are any of your novels being consider for a film?

Eric Arvin: “The Rest Is Illusion is making the rounds, as is a telescript for Subsurdity.”

 

Author Eric Arvin
Author Eric Arvin