Fan of the Month – Karl Reed

Karl Reed is EAW Art Director at LOUD Technologies Inc. However, graphic design is not just a job, but a way of life. In fact, he happens to spend the majority of his free time designing. Karl recently upped the ante by purchasing a silkscreen press and now makes t-shirts, too. In the rare moments when graphic design isn’t taking over his life, Karl likes to cook. His favorite dish to make? Enchiladas, of course! But Karl is here now to discuss the music that moves him.

One Louder: The desert island question: if you could take the collected works of five artists, who would the five be?

Karl Reed: Monster Magnet, Pink Martini, Dr. Dre, Bob Marley and Radiohead.

OL: Who’s Pink Martini?

KR: They’re a 12-piece band out of Portland, Oregon. The band leader, Thomas Lauderdale, is an amazing pianist and composer while the lead singer, China Forbes, has one of the most fantastic voices I’ve ever heard. The rest of the group is pretty top-notch too.

OL: Are there any particular albums of theirs that stand out from others?

KR: Their first album, Sympathique, is the only album I would take with me.

OL: Wait…so, out of the zillion bands out there, Pink Martini makes your desert island five solely on one album? That must be some album!

KR: Well, okay, I might take the other albums with me but I wouldn’t listen to them. I’d use them as reflectors on the bike I plan on making out of coconuts. To me, Sympathique, is perfect; the music, the singing and even the album cover are about as good as it gets. Unfortunately, it was so good that all their other albums failed to meet the unrealistic expectations I had set for them.

OL: How were you introduced to them? When did you get into their music?

KR: An artist friend of mine turned me on to them in 2000 while I was visiting Seattle. The first time I heard them it blew my mind. Their sound was so grand, so foreign. I had never been exposed to music like that growing up in Phoenix. I was fresh off a divorce and looking at the world through different eyes and their music meshed perfectly into my new life.

OL: Have you seen Pink Martini live?

KR: Man, I think I’ve seen them seven or eight times. My buddy and I were like groupies there for a while, traveling around and seeing them wherever we could. The best, however, was the very first time I saw them. I was in San Francisco to see Radiohead and found out that Pink Martini was playing in Sacramento the night before. I packed into this little bar with my friends and a couple hundred other people and had my first musically induced religious experience.

OL: Do you get the same sense of satisfaction from their live shows as you do with their releases? In other words, do their live shows live up to your expectations?

KR: They’re absolutely incredible live! Not because they have crazy dance moves or great pyrotechnics, but because they play perfectly. I’m not a musician but their music seems extremely complicated to play and they seem to do it so effortlessly. Plus China’s voice is even more amazing live than it is recorded. Her range and power is unmatched and I’m blown away how she can switch from French to Russian to Spanish and more. Unfortunately, I don’t go to any more of their shows, though. They mainly cater to the wine and zoo venues now which are usually filled with people more interested in merlots or monkeys than they are music.

OL: Last question. Have you ever had a pink martini?

KR: Ha, no. I tend to drink things that make me look more manly… like something on fire or in a giant stein.


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