It’s amazing how much music can bring people together.
It’s been three years since the last “boardie” reunion. Three years ago, I didn’t know any of these people; rather, they were just images and faces I had seen through social media. I’ve interacted with a few and never had the chance to meet anyone prior because I was only 18–stuck in my suburban hometown in the East Bay Area finishing up high school, with only a few notable covers on YouTube and endless rants about concerts I’ve attended (though, who knows if anyone saw them at the time).
That last “boardie” reunion was at the Troubadour, Los Angeles. March 2012. My first year here at UCI, finally living within the vicinity of the musical hub of Los Angeles.
Jump three years forward to now–February 2015–and I’m a little overwhelmed at how my “not knowing anyone” has turned into “everyone knowing me!” Being much older (and much “wiser,” I hope), it’s nice to see how much I have “grown up” and grown into my own since that day.
day weekend was definitely an adventure. My older brother and friend flew in from NorCal that Saturday before. From attending a free improvisational comedy club with open bar in the middle of someone’s backyard in Los Angeles (the “Brew Ha Ha”) on Saturday night, bumming around Irvine and Orange County that lazy Sunday, and then feeling the real anticipation hit that Monday morning because the day we were all waiting for had finally arrived (Archis EP release day, and also release of my story “The Beast of Burden,” profiling manager Mike Kaminsky and Meg & Dia Frampton’s careers), it’s been a fun weekend getaway for this college senior who is doing everything she can to get away from the dry and mundane college lifestyle.
My brother Anthony consistently joked to me over the weekend, “Why are you so popular on the boardies? Get ready for them all to swarm you!”
Matt also agreed and added, “It’s because you’re the only one who consistently posts about Meg & Dia.”
The entire weekend almost felt like a drag to me. I had been finalizing and reading over my story for weeks, consistently talking back-and-forth with Mike and my brother (I just wanted to release it already); from the long school week, riding on papers being due and having gone to a concert, show and food event the days prior, I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep (I could barely keep up with myself); I had attended an early morning school culture club practice running on just three hours of sleep that Saturday morning, only then to come home at 5pm and pick my friends up from the airport (sleep is a luxury). Archis, the release of the EP, seeing the boardies, seeing the band–it all had not crossed or concerned my mind. I just wanted to get through the day.
And then I woke up that morning. I checked my phone and saw a couple Twitter notifications. “Release day is here!” “Check out our new video for ‘Bittersweet’ released today!” I shrugged and suddenly realized that everything was going down tonight. “It hit me,” I told my brother.
So we made our way to L.A., in all the 40 or so minutes it took because we beat the traffic that would hit by 2pm (and would’ve caused us to be in traffic for up to 2 hours). I checked the boardie text to see where everyone was at (it seemed everyone was running late). Rain began to drizzle over Griffith Park, and here I was in my semi-casual semi-proper “cocktail attire” that the ticket holder just notified everyone of wearing for the release show the day before (thus, my friends did not pack “cocktail attire” for the show). We spotted Mario (or #redhatjessy) and ended up meeting everyone in a parking lot, as it was my first time meeting all of them in-person (though, they were already familiar with me!). Alyce, her GF Lola, Nick, Jessy, Kenny, Jill and Vil… We ventured over in the rain across Griffith Park, going from some playground to a carousel to under a tree through the muddled grass and my damp flats. We had some pizza under the rain and drank a couple beers over some small talk. Then Johannes–who had somehow been venturing around Griffith Park for two hours because he had gotten lost and is originally a German boy from Utah–finally came by Alyce’s rescue. (I feel so bad for the kid–but hey, he lived Archis though, right?! Ha ha.) He came out with just his blue t-shirt, khaki shorts and duffel bag, all dampened by the rain with hair soaked as he
treaded hiked throughout all of Griffith Park. (Ha ha! Poor kid! I feel so bad, but my love goes out to you!)
After at around 4pm or so, Vil and the group decided we go to a bar close to the venue and just chill out there until the show. (Day drinking?) So, we ended up at The Griffin in Atwater Village, which is this utterly cool, swanky little “cavernous watering hole” with brick-ceilings, cozy fireplaces and a spacious patio (this is DEFINITELY a place I would love to come to again). Their happy hour ran from 5-7pm I believe, so the whole gang decided to get a couple of beers. I thought it was “too early” for me to grab a drink, so I waited a bit until I said, “Screw it. Might as well drink now. I’ve time to sober up before I have to drive again!” I sipped on my brother’s Triple Belgian Ale and Kenny’s extra sample of the Hazelnut Beer. As a big coffee-lover and stout/porter-drinker, I had been eyeing the “Smog City Groundwork Coffee Porter” on their draft list all night. Apparently, that was the only drink excluded from the Happy Hour deal, but the lady proceeded to still give it to me for a whopping $5 (as opposed to everyone else’s bottled $9 or $11 drinks)! That may well be my favorite coffee porter as of now, yum! We ended up being there for like 3 hours, chilling, having small talk about Kenny’s interview for being a Google chef, Alyce’s dinner with Meg I was supposed to go to over the summer, Jessy’s flight from Pennsylvania and Lola’s “social awkwardness” (which I totally get–no shame!). It was just fun chilling with everyone–and lazing it out as our beers dazed over our heads. Vil, Johannes and Wynette, who came later, went to the early show at 6:30pm, so the rest of us decided to just chill it out, while some went back to their hotels to nap (our show wasn’t for another 3 hours at 9:30pm, hah).
We decided to drive to the venue to see what was around–maybe look at a couple shops and whatnot–until we realized, yup, this is just in the middle of nowhere because it’s a rehearsal studio/warehouse room. Thus, it’s all just detached neighborhoods (makes total sense though; when you work in these studios you need to be set apart from the main city). I needed to finish my homework assignment that was due by midnight, so up until about 8:30pm, I wrote my reading response homework on my tiny little phone screen in the car outside the venue, waiting by the doors (struggles of a college student in LA on a Monday night, hahaha. Damn.). My brother and I drank another Guinness (our personal faves) before heading in.
As we walked up the front of the doors, I saw a bunch of boardies I recognized. Albert was up-front with Alexis (Y-Axes). There were a couple others waiting in line behind him as well–randoms that looked familiar but didn’t think I knew (judging from their looks, I could sense they knew who I was but I just didn’t know who they were). Evan “TheRealConcertKing” was standing up-front as well and he said hi to me, saying that he read my story (he was the first one who read it on the Facebook group!), gushing to me about how he loved it and thought it was really cool I was able to interview them (he has been trying to morph his videos/love for talking with people into video interviews on his YouTube). Other people started coming by, such as Joya and her boyfriend, then Alyce and the gang from the hotel, Jessy and Nick and all of them, then Randell, etc. I felt bad because we hadn’t even fallen in line and were just upfront chatting with everyone (we all basically swarmed the front of the line, disregarding the “line,” haha).
After some waiting, the guy eventually let us in and as the rest of the boardies went to fall in line, I was able to stay and chat with everyone upfront (they didn’t mind, ha. I was just too busy socializing to even think!). I went upfront and was checked in by Jenay (my contact for Dia) and Khalif, who handed me the signed EP and Jenay noted to me that she got my e-mail and will have her and Dia read it sometime soon.
I walked into the studio, ran into Wynette, said hi, and then walked with her in to see Vil, Johannes and her manning the “Complimentary Wine Bar” (ha ha ha! So this is what they put the boardies up to in the mean time?). I thought it was just so hilarious. I introduced myself to Kyle, who was the Santa at the “Casa de Awesome” party last December (and personal friend of some of the band). Some of the boardies were inside and as they went in as I waited for my brother and friend, they said they saved me three seats right upfront (wow! That is so kind! I was so surprised, haha). All us boardies sat in the same section upfront, Alyce saying how she’s gonna cry (since she cried at the Archis show opening up for Lindsey Stirling last summer); Randell, who was behind me, kept telling me I better record the show since my “videos are the only best” online; I talked with Alexis about her band, writing and being from SF; I wanted to get more wine as I somehow downed my first glass of red wine. (They had said, “Be generous,” with the portions for the wine, since they had still had so much leftover.) Mike was also saying that we should all make some noise and cheer after the songs, because the first seating was really quiet (well, if you have all us boardies in that room and trying to get us drink with all this wine, you have nothing to worry about!). I wanted to take a selfie with all the boardies behind, so Matt kept yelling, “Where’s your selfie stick?!” (I personally dislike selfie sticks, but hey–it could’ve come in handy!) As the night went on, we could feel the real anticipation for the show coming on. I grabbed another glass of wine (this time white) and somehow downed it again without even realizing.
As the show was about to go on, they started motioning people from the lobby to go inside. All 100-seats seemed to have been taken now. Archis went out, and as Dia came out and all us boardies were woo-ing and cheering, the feeling being in those seats was amazing. All us boardies in that one section (all them behind me, feeling their “woo’s”), coming together to enjoy each other’s silly company to see Dia up there with Joseph and his orchestra behind her, Meg and guitar beside her, and other back-up vocalist David… I ended up “double-fisting” recording the show, with digital camera in one hand and occasionally snapping photos on my iPhone (ha ha. So dumb. I don’t know why I did that). For the most part, I wanted to enjoy the concert so I held my camera idly while seeing Dia perform one song after the other. During the second song, it seemed as if Dia were about to cry. She would occasionally glance over to us all and smile, all the weird remarks we would say and loud cheers. She powered through her set, though mildly, but very professionally.
After having written my story, it was strange to think how she’s been battling this thing for ten years. It almost feels as if we have gone through her journey with her; through all the ups and downs and her consistent battling to power through the music industry. It’s amazing how we’ve all grown up with her music–and to see her take on this new venture, still powering through and still fighting–it was quite a powerful realization.
I admit that maybe it was the anticipation, all us boardies having been drinking since 3pm, endless wine in hand or just pure excitement that didn’t make us feel like we wanted to “cry” during her set (I probably grooved just a little too much). As this was my first time really being able to hang out with the boardies and come to a show with them (and actually knowing them), I realized that, when it comes to these boardie reunions, it’s more for us. When the meet-and-greet comes after, it’d be too overwhelming for the band to personally talk to each and every one of us and, since we spend a good majority of time with each other, we’re more familiar with each other and have each other. It’s absolutely amazing how much music can build a community and bring us together–these unlikely people from all across the nation, New York and Utah, Texas, etc.–to enjoy something that binds us altogether. It’s pretty cool (it even flew in my brother and friends from NorCal!).
I had to use the restroom really badly after that, so I walked out into the lobby, passing by Dia and Joe who were photographing with fans–awkwardly saying, “‘scuse me!” I walked back and I ended up being my too-social-self when too-happy-talkative-Rachel comes out after the show, socializing and chatting with just about everyone I knew.
Yoori also remembered me from the show with Vil from a couple months back and, as one of the Archis tees had a small wine stain on it, she sold it to me for $10 (Shhh! Steal! “Don’t tell Meg I did this”), and said, “Thanks Rachel!” and advised me on ways to cut the shirt.
But, just imagine: You are at this orchestra event with industry professionals and label mates in their professional “cocktail” suit-and-tie attire, while you have all these “kids”/boardies, who are all not collectively in that attire, and you give them the responsibility to man the wine bar (kids who appear obviously drunk). So, of course we’re gonna egg each other on to drink more and more to get rid of it! (What’s the harm?) I personally couldn’t feel much. I was debating on a third glass, and Joya laughed to me and said, “I’m going for a third one!” so I obliged while my brother said, “You’re good.” I ended up talking to Jimmy a bit, who is currently working on a new record; I talked to Jenay, who is a mutual friend of a friend from the Bay; I snapped a photo with Meg, as she was heading out to go home. For some reason, my too-social self never got the chance to take a solo photo with Dia and Joe by their photog area, so Albert called me over to take the “boardie photo.” I had wanted to take a photo with her after, and Albert listened and pushed me toward her, and I asked, “Do you remember me?!” And she was like, “Yeah from the OC right?” Then we had to take our boardie photo, in which I said, “Do we make a silly face? I don’t want to be the only one!” And I heard Dia reply, “I’m making a silly face.”
Later, Mike had to take Dia and Joe to the back, so I waited until they came back out to take my photo–which ended up being a while. I ended up taking photos with Albert and Randell, Joya and Rommel–no idea why they wanted more photos but I was there anyway. I had small-talked with Joe a bit on his music. The rest of the boardies went to eat at House Of Pies. Once Dia came back out, Mike was like, “TWO MINUTES!” until he had to close the place out. Ha ha. Albert kept wanting me to ask Dia about the Instagram photo she IG’ed of us, and “how she found it.” (Photos float around the Internet all the time and I moreso just wanted to snag my photo!) While Albert kept pushing that topic, Matt and Anthony were behind me saying, “Get the photo! Get the photo!” (So here I was caught between Albert trying to ask Dia about the photo, and Matt and Anthony pushing me to ask for the photo.) Albert kept asking, maybe as if interrogating her, and she was all like, “I don’t know, I’m not a hacker or anything!” (Hahaha.) Anyway, took the photo, which they took with a weird flash. She was changed into her “nerd” glasses and sweats and then we all left. I waited out front to get my photo with Mike then proceeded to House of Pies to eat with everyone else.
House of Pies ended up being a really fun “end” to the night. Nick and his sassy Bay Area lingo and trying to make “rashe” a thing (fancy term for “ratchet,” I suppose); I talked with Rommel about his doing video production work, and possibly linking me up for a future project (thank you! I’d love that!); Joya and I kept joking about our clumsy sandwich eating, pronouncing “watermelon” and “strawberry/Burberry” weirdly; Wynette and her T-Swift songs (I agree, “Style” is SUCH a good song, no matter how more pro-Miley I am); Albert brought up ScarJo’s new all-girl music band project (way cool!) and showed me the song “Candy.” Everything was just so hilarious as we all finally had the time to just enjoy each other’s company after the show.
As we ended the night and were about to go our separate ways at around 1 or 2am, it was clear (at least to me), that I didn’t want the high of the night to end. We all ended up taking a “boardie selfie” with the selfie-stick, and I proceeded to take a selfie with everyone there to “commemorate the moment.” (It’s all for the memories!)
And, as we headed back home, both my brother and Matt told me, “You’re so talkative and loud, Ms. Popular! You were talking to everyone!” They also added, “It’s like when you’re with your roommates,” as they observed my “loud talking” the days prior with how my roommates and I all interact with each other.
But, as the night ended and the withdrawals hit really hard throughout the entire school week (I couldn’t seem to get the laughs and moments out of my mind sitting through all my classes that week), it was nice to see how lasting a memory this experience made.
It also dawned on me: Why does everyone know me? As a dear old friend of mine in high school used to tell me, “People just gravitate towards you.” It was strange to see that people may be looking in my direction because I’m so young. I’ve always been one of the youngest “boardies” (thus the reason I could never “come out” in the earlier days); they know I write a lot and some (like Alyce) say they support my writing. Perhaps I am some “light” to them. I am that “connector” between all of them, as I’m familiar with them throughout social media. (Hence, the reason I am a journalist–always putting yourself “upfront” and “in people’s faces” to get the story, or make the impression, or just because you feel like it.)
Whatever the case, the entire five-days were glorious.
In the days following the concert, I have realized that I have felt more inspired than ever before to keep writing and playing music. When you immerse yourself in that kind of environment and people, you are reminded of the true passions that lie within your heart–to write, to play, to feel. When I see the ones who first inspired me, just nine or so years ago, to let my 13-year-old self feel inspired to write and play music, it inspires me to continue to do so, as well.
As I am closing in on my college career this coming June, it is time to come to the full realization of my real desires. Albeit, I have been so grateful to have learned everything I have in these past four years here at UCI–for I’ve pushed myself in ways unknown, left home to become an independent person, wrote stories that pushed me out of my comfort zone, and attended events and shows and done projects that aided me in my development as a leader and professional–it is time I return to myself–a newborn person out of all of this, aware of many more things, but ready to fearlessly and shamelessly do what makes her feel “most alive.”
It’s time to get creative again! And thank you–to the band and friends and all my supporters and readers–for continually supporting all that I do. I’m just a simple, clueless little girl trying to navigate and find herself through all of the weird things that happen in life (and weird situations I put myself in), but, it’s time I put my voice forth instead of being that voice and vehicle for others all the time.
Thank you for the memories and for always touching my soul.
As Kenny wrote me, “Your smiles and good vibes are fun to be around!”
(And I apologize for the length of this post. This is merely here for the memory. Disregard my poor, unpolished writing, please. Thanks again. <3)
I’ve probably screwed myself over spending the last 5 straight days going to concerts, seeing old friends and making new memories while being a college student. But, “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” Beautifully bittersweet performance from @archismusic last night. Thank you. #archis #archisep #releaseday #diaframpton #josephtrapanese #swinghousestudios #losangeles #bittersweet #orchestra #pop #concert
I’m making my own acoustic version of #Blood by #Archis, even without an epic orchestra or string section behind me… Let’s go for blood? (P.S. You ought to give this entirely heartfelt, passionate venture a listen. Make @archismusic the soundtrack to your life.) #archismusic #diaframpton #josephtrapanese #letsgoforblood #music #recording #cover #orchestra #pop #newmusic #newcover #garageband