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April 14, 2015 11:30 AM

UO Matters has posted a "notice of emergency meeting" at 12.30 pm today, April 14, sent out to the University of Oregon's Board of Trustees today that will be followed by a press conference.

Meanwhile, Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week has posted that:

The University of Oregon will name Michael H. Schill, currently the dean of the University of Chicago Law School, as the university's new president today, WW has learned.

Let the games begin …

April 13, 2015 10:24 AM

Remarkable time-lapse photography of the Matterhorn in Switzerland by Christian Mulhsuser.

April 13, 2015 04:41 PM

Update: Pretty in China has canceled the original party and instead will host a benefit for sexual assault and domestic abuse. Read the latest update here.

In a Facebook post they write:

"For those that are wondering about the nature of our Project PiC poster, it is inspired by the movie flyer for Project X. We in no way meant anything derogatory. For that reason we would like to formally apologize those we offended, and will ensure to make all future promotions more in line with our mission.

Over half of our staff at Pretty in China are female, and there is no way that we would try to support any form of sexual assault.

Additionally, the subject person in our poster is also the creative designer for all of our promotional materials, including this one. The intent was to be humorous and playful by making fun of the original.

That being said, our Project PiC will instead be a Benefit raising awareness for domestic abuse and sexual assault. More details to come."

A party flier distributed both on the UO campus and by social media today is causing an uproar.

Many are upset at the flier's apparent disregard for the prevalance of sexual assault, especially on college campuses, by showing a young women passed out facedown at a party with two red plastic cups overturned next to her.

The flier in question (as seen above in a screenshot from Pretty in China's Facebook page, since removed) advertises a "Project PiC" party hosted at local restaurant and bar The Granary on Thursday, April 16. Hosting the party is Pretty in China, a local nonuniversity affiliated event company that describes its goal as to "break down cultural barriers, promote cultural proficiency, and create a thriving local community supported by the international community."

The R-G described them as a group that "throws epic nightclub-style parties."

EW contacted Pretty in China for a comment and reached an associate for the company who would only give his first name — Kai. 

“The lady you see in the promotion is a member," he says. “It’s actually an idea that we created that we based on a movie called Project X.” Adding that the film is about young Americans planning a “really good party.”

See the poster for Project X below.

“We are not going to do anything illegal. We just want to have a very successful party,” he continues. “We just want people to know we’re going to host an awesome party. We will not allow any sort of sexual assault at our party.”

According to the Pretty in China website, Mercedes Benz and Hub on Campus Eugene are sponsors. EW is waiting to hear back from Mercedes Benz and Hub on Campus Eugene. EW left a message with The Granary, but the restaurant is closed Mondays. We will update this post as we hear back.


 

April 12, 2015 05:53 PM

The eagles at Skinner Butte are parents to at least one fuzzy gray eagle chick this year!

April 10, 2015 01:30 PM

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Words by Bryan Kalbrosky • Photos by Brinkley Capriola

Much like the music itself, memories from the Odesza concert at McDonald Theatre on Tuesday are perfectly fragmented into pieces of an unforgettable night.

Together, the experience and the music blend into a colorful quilt in my mind. For those who dig a good electronic music show, this was either an incredible sample size or introduction to the scene. Here’s what made this particular concert so special: you didn’t need to know every single song to have an incredible time, so long as you were dancing and grooving along. The crowd had a humming noise of enthusiasm and approval all night, and the light show was the single best I’d seen in Eugene.

From the moment the first song dropped, the dance floor was raging with a unique brand of happiness. That’s because Odesza, an electronic music duo from Seattle, displayed such an incredible musicianship on stage.

Not only was the night dominated by two incredible producers on stage, but Seattle frontmen Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight were also supported by a multi-instrumental sensation. This included two floor tom drum kits and a light crash cymbal, as well as a horns section, which even had a trombone. Occasionally, two different singers graced the stage as well. Dan Vidmar, the singer from Shy Girls, was belting it and kept energy high on stage.

In addition to a dominant light show and bright lasers that kept the crowd on their toes, the A/V projector displayed erratic scenes including: a gorgeous desert, molecular designs, old black and white horror films, countless Chinese fire lanterns and brilliant cityscapes. The crowd reacted with friendly dance circles, and most seemed content whether or not they were clapping in rhythm and/or dancing with a partner.

Odesza, like similar electronica and chill-wave projects including Chet Faker and Glass Animals, is a band known for their listen-ability. Perhaps my highlight of the evening (and the morning after recap) was when the duo played “IPlayYouListen” from debut album Summer’s Gone (2012). This song, which samples “Airplanes” by indie rock band Local Natives, shows the impressive cross-genre nature of a talented producer.

Of course, at a show like this one you often start to wonder about the drug culture of Eugene when you see some of the attitudes and outfits rocked by much of the crowd.

There were the typical “raver” gloves in the crowd; don’t mind those, they’re just a distraction from a good show on stage. I would, however, like to sincerely thank the wonderful individual who not only briefly lent me their 3D refraction glasses, but also instructed me where I could purchase a pair of my own.

By the time the night was nearing an end, Odesza rewarded the crowd with their biggest treat of the night:

While the show began with a brief hint at the beat from hit single “Say My Name,” which also seemed to appear briefly later in the show, the encore included a full-blown rendition of this track far more incredible than anything on the recording. Guest vocalist Zyra from “Say My Name” was an absolute favorite of the crowd. She was a brilliant addition to an already incredible evening.

Perhaps my favorite Tuesday in recent memory ended with the venue PA system blasting my new favorite soul singer: Leon Bridges.

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April 8, 2015 11:04 AM

New video from Willamette Riverkeeper promotes Paddle Oregon 2015 which will be Aug. 17 to 21. Many kayakers and canoeists from Eugene and Springfield participate and even serve as leaders in this annual 100-mile adventure. The trip is similar to Cycle Oregon is that meals, camping sites and entertainment are provided, along with gear shuttles.

April 6, 2015 02:03 PM

Tickets are still available for Chef’s Night Out 2015, the culinary extravaganza taking place Tuesday, April 7, at the Hult Center that is also a gala annual fundraiser for FOOD for Lane County. Don’t miss this opportunity to dive into dishes by a slew of Eugene’s best chefs, brewers and bakers when they pack their fares into three floors of deliciousness at the Hult. And if you feel guilty about indulging your inner glutten, just tell yourself its all for a great cause as proceeds go to feed Lane County’s less privileged.

Chef’s Night Out gala fundraiser for FOOD for Lane County takes place 6:30pm at Hult Center; tickets are $75-$90 and available at wkly.ws/1zq or by calling 682-5000.

April 3, 2015 02:53 PM

Owners Mike Hergenreter and Danny Kime have announced that their new 700-person capacity music venue, Hi Fi Music Hall — featuring two stages, a full-service bar, restaurant and patio — will open in early May at 44 E. 7th Ave.

Hergenreter, Kime and Doug Fuchs, the Hi Fi's publicist, stopped by the EW offices today to discuss the new venture, which has been in the works for three years. Look for the full story from William Kennedy in our April 9 issue.

Formerly Rock 'n' Rodeo and Dusk night club, and kitty corner from the Hult Center, Hergenreter and Kime say they removed the dropped ceiling and that the space feels much more expansive now. "I want somebody to have that feeling when they walk in of 'Wow,'" Hergenreter says.

Hi Fi is teaming up with the Sandwich League for the venue's restaurant, which will be open seven days a week. They are also focused on band development and live streaming shows. "Hi Fi will serve as a one-stop shop for the industry," Hergenreter says.

Hi Fi has booked it's grand opening show for Friday, May 8, and will announce the artist Monday.

April 3, 2015 04:16 PM

The digital and performance arts festival (sub)Urban Projections kicked off last night in the Hult Center lobby to a full, buzzing house. The fantastic event was even more packed than last year. The lobby was also pretty dark, making it feel like the most badass sleepover ever: People were sitting on the floor, leaning over the staircases and milling around the bar and pop-up lounge watching dance acts, spoken word and different video and 3D projection mapping on the multifaceted walls.

A couple pieces had the audience completely rapt. One was a two-person spoken word dance piece by UO dancers Katie Sherman and Alyssa Puleo called "Assez" (French for "Enough"). Their movements were at once graceful and fluid, jarring and anxiety-ridden. Another piece featured one of the dancers of Quixotic Fusion performing infront of a screen with interactive projection. It was, in a word, spellbinding. (See video below — sorry for vertical framing.)

Perhaps the most fun interactive piece was the projection art — “Trails” by Benjamin Geck, Clara Munro and Zachary Dekker — happening in the second floor hallway near the restrooms. It felt like painting with light, a peak into what the future of digital and interactive art holds.

The festival did run into some of the same problems it did last year, mostly visibility and overcrowding. Some of the acts on the higher levels were nearly impossible to see unless you were on a higher staircase. And the large crowd just didn’t flow quite enough to see all the parts of this multi-layer and level event.

Bob Keefer of Eugene Art Talk writes:
“What was missing, for me and a couple other cranky old folks I talked to, was any overall scheme. I wanted something big and bright. What I got instead resembled a booking convention, with small acts competing against one another on small stages, most of which you couldn’t get to even if you tried.
There was no overall presence, nothing that tried to fill that big, beautiful and intriguing space.”

I do agree that last year’s event seems to have made better use of the vertical real estate in the lobby. The show could have used more of a focal point, but I also appreciated the broken-up competing acts. It almost felt like walking through the alleys of some big-city arts district at night. You never knew what you were going to find around the corner. And no one can argue this: There was some major local and national talent in that lobby.

Harmonic Laboratory has some major arts chops and I’m excited what to see what they’ll do next. Quixotic Fusion performs the world premiere of their show “Gravity of Center” tonight at the Hult.

April 2, 2015 05:07 PM

On Tuesday, April 7, oral arguments will be heard in court about a climate change lawsuit brought by local youth, which argues that Oregon "is failing to meet its carbon emission reduction goals and is not acting to protect Oregon’s public trust resources and the futures of these young Oregonians."

The full press release is below and some opportunities for activism from 350 Eugene are:

2:00 Children’s Tribunal, featuring Oregon youth and Mayor Kitty Piercy  Students / youth "testify" during Children's Tribunal, saying to "judges" [the crowd!] what they want to protect. 

2:00 – on Selfie Stations: Participants make photo petitions to Governor Kate, asking her to work with--not against--Oregon’s youth plaintiffs and protect the climate for Oregonians. We’ll tweet photos to her. Postcards available to decorate and send.

2:30 – 3:30 Silent Vigil HELP US ENCIRCLE THE COURTHOUSE:  Everyone invited to join circle of silence to honor the significance of this case; our fervent hope that judge takes right action; and to dramatize the silence to come for all living things if we don’t protect the climate. Our circle symbolically protects what’s happening inside—a potent bid for environmental justice.

People hold signs depicting everything at stake.

PLEASE bring poster / sign / photo / depicting something or someone you love and want to protect in Oregon. Or dress up as that thing without a voice (as otter / cloud / flower / river / democracy, etc).
We will hold these posters during our silent vigil. 

When hearing ends (estimated at 3:30):  Julia Olson, OCT Executive Director reports on proceedings

Press release from Our Children's Trust:

Oral Arguments for Youth’s Landmark Climate Change Lawsuit Held in Eugene at Lane County Circuit Court 

 

WHAT: Two Eugene youths’ climate change case, Chernaik v. Brown, will be argued before Judge Karsten Rasmussen and in front of national news media at Lane County Circuit Court. Oregonians from across the state are coming to support these young women in their fight for state action on climate change. Supporters will also be participating in a special climate change tribunal and silent vigil, organized by the 350 Eugene chapter, outside the courthouse. 

WHEN: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, Court hearing begins at 2:30 p.m. PST 

WHERE: Lane County Circuit Court, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97401

WHY: Kelsey and Olivia brought their case against Gov. Kitzhaber (now Gov. Brown) and the state of Oregon because the state, by its own admission, is failing to meet its carbon emission reduction goals and is not acting to protect Oregon’s public trust resources and the futures of these young Oregonians. The youths ask the court for a declaration of law that the state has a fiduciary obligation to manage the atmosphere, water resources, coastal areas, wildlife and fish as public trust assets and to protect them from substantial impairment resulting from the emissions of greenhouse gases in Oregon and the resulting adverse effects of climate change and ocean acidification. In its initial motion in the case filed in January, the state renounced any obligation to protect these public resources, arguing that the public trust doctrine only prevents the state from selling off submerged lands to private interests. Kelsey and Olivia’s lawyers say that the governor is flat wrong in her defense of the case.  

Last summer, in a nationally significant decision in their case, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled the circuit court must decide whether the atmosphere is a public trust resource that the state of Oregon has a duty to protect. Kelsey and Olivia were initially told by Judge Rasmussen that they could not bring the case, but the Court of Appeals overturned that decision, and Kelsey and Olivia will have their case heard in Lane County Circuit Court once again.

Kelsey and Olivia are represented by Crag Law Center, Liam Sherlock at Hutchinson, Cox, Coons, Orr & Sherlock, P.C. and the Western Environmental Law Center. Kelsey and Olivia’s lawsuit was filed with the help of Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit orchestrating a global game-changing, youth-driven legal campaign to establish the right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate. The legal effort advances the fundamental duty of government today: to address the climate crisis based on scientific baselines and benchmarks, and to do so within timeframes determined by scientific analysis. 

Short documentary films of Kelsey and other young people taking legal action can be seen at www.ourchildrenstrust.org/trust-films

Our Children's Trust is a nonprofit organization advocating for urgent emissions reductions on behalf of youth and future generations, who have the most to lose if emissions are not reduced. OCT is spearheading the international human rights and environmental TRUST Campaign to compel governments to safeguard the atmosphere as a "public trust" resource. We use law, film, and media to elevate their compelling voices. Our ultimate goal is for governments to adopt and implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans with annual emissions reductions to return to an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 350 ppm. www.ourchildrenstrust.org/

April 1, 2015 04:47 PM

On March 31, the Oregon House of Representatives passed the K-12 budget — $7.255 billion. Many in the local education community say this number is inadequate to cover the cost of full-day kindergarten and continue an upward trajectory of funding — last week, Lane County superintendents wrote a letter to state legislators and asked for increased funding. 

EW spoke with Bethel School District Superintendent Colt Gill earlier this year, when the Joint Ways and Means Committee proposed a budget of $7.235 billion. Gill said that because Oregon K-12 schools are implementing full-day kindergarten this year, this number simply doesn't work (see full interview here):

We need that $7.235 billion just to cover what we’re doing right now plus annual roll-up costs, such as cost-of-living increases for staff members. All those costs go up, and the $7.235 billion pretty much covers that, or it covers full-day kindergarten, but not both. So where we need them to move the budget to is $7.5 billion, which would be even, meaning that what we’re doing this year, we could continue to do next year plus the full-day kindergarten.

So that seems like, “Oh, OK, that’s good.” But where we’re at now is not really that great. Right now we’re 49th in graduation rates across the country. The only place that’s underperforming Oregon is the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. And we’re 49th in class size. Just to get to average in class size, we’d have to have six fewer kids per class ...

The number that we’re all asking for and hoping for is $7.875 billion, and that doesn’t get us to the national average. But, if you increase by that amount every two years when the Legislature meets, then in 10 years, we’ll be at the national average. We’d like to say in Oregon that we’re better than average, but right now we’re just struggling to climb the ladder and get up there.

Democrats of the House say that $7.255 billion can provide stable funding for Oregon school districts while funding full-day kindergarten and paying for lunch for students from low-income families. 

From a House Majority Leader press release:

“Let’s be clear—we all want to do more to invest in our schools. I will fight until the day we sine die to get every cent possible into our classrooms, ” said Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene & Junction City). “But let’s also be clear that adding more funds to K-12 schools without new revenue will require more cuts to critical programs like mental health care, public safety, and services for low-income seniors.”

“I’m heartened to hear bipartisan support for increasing funds to K-12 schools,” Hoyle added. “I’m calling on our colleagues across the aisle to stay true to their word and join us in a conversation about how we find the revenue we need in order to make a truly game-changing investment in our schools.”

April 1, 2015 05:26 PM

Below is a press release from periodic  EW columnist Kayla Godowa-Tufti and Honor the Treaty of 1864

Klamath Tribal Members Refuse to Support Water Settlement

April 2, 2015 (Upper Klamath Basin, Oregon)

All across the United States, on the west coast in particular, Indian water settlements are taking place at a rampant rate. The Bureau of Reclamation, a branch of the Department of the Interior, is securing water reserves for the best interest of the United States, predominately the industrialized agricultural economy.

Though recent statements made by agricultural parties have been supportive of water agreements because farmers help “feed the world”, the truth is the meat raised specifically in the Klamath Basin does not feed the local community, adds to the carbon footprint and degrades Indigenous habitat utilized for cultural, spiritual and substance purposes.

“To date, twenty-eight settlements have achieved a federal settlement act and are involved in implementation. Sixteen settlements are in progress with two, the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement of 2011 (Montana), S.399/H.R 3301, and the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Settlement (Arizona), S.2109/H.R. 4067 having been introduced in the 112th Congress. Many more tribes’ water rights remain to be addressed, including tribes with claims on the Colorado River, the more than 100 California tribes with federal recognition, the Oklahoma tribes which share two rivers and many more in the Midwest, East, Alaska and Hawaii.”
Darcy S. Bushnell, Ombudsman Program Director

Recently, we have witnessed local water settlements of the Nez Perce Tribe (Snake River basin adjudication), Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, Confederated Tribes of the Colville, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and The Kalispel Tribe of Indians (Columbia Basin Fish Accords)

The most current settlement is the signing of the Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Water Rights Settlement at the end of February 2015.

Simultaneously, in the Klamath Basin, the Klamath Tribes, Karuk Tribe and Yurok Tribe have also entered into water negotiations known as the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and associated documents. Whereas, Hoopa Valley, Risighini Rancheria, and Quartz Valley refused to be signatory parties to this agreement.

Signatory tribes, such as the Klamath, Yurok, and Karuk Tribes have hailed the agreements as a path toward dam removal and fisheries restoration. Through the KBRA and Upper Basin agreement those Basin Tribes with water rights, or which have advocated for Salmon, have been promised funding for restoration and economic development in exchange for not pressing for increased flows in the Klamath River.

Particularly in the Columbia Basin Fish Accords, there was a catch that has been a trend in other local water settlements. According to an article published in High Country News by Ben Goldfarb December 8th 2014, signatories had to stop fighting the biological opinion (KID BiOp), which the tribes had attacked in court for it’s failure to help fish. They also agreed not to advocate for dam breaching or an increased spill- water that’s allowed to flow over dams, rather than through the turbines to help juvenile fish survive their trip downriver.

“My reaction was that (the Accords) were bribes,” said Michael Blumm, a professor at Lewis & Clark law school.

In these Indigenous territories, Native peoples are witnessing a theft of our sacred, priceless life source. Throughout our history and relationship with the federal government, the Department of Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs has thrown their trust responsibility, a fiduciary duty, to the wayside to execute the federal agenda.

Land, timber, gold, oil, gas, uranium, furs, children and now our irreplaceable water have all been vied after by the United States and associated parties. Prosperity, sovereignty, self sufficiency, and economic development have all been promises made to Native peoples, promises that have never been fulfilled according to our local history.

Specifically in the Klamath Basin, Klamath tribal members have been silenced by tribal water negotiators and tribal elected officials in order to proceed with a water settlement since negotiations began in the early 2000’s.

Although legislation expired December 31st 2014 in the House, Klamath Tribes chairman Don Gentry and the Klamath Tribes negotiation team have proceeded with these agreements without consent of Tribal members. In order to proceed once legislation was reintroduced in January by Senator Wyden, tribal negotiators had to be granted consent by tribal membership, which did not take place.

Since the recent sale of the Mazama Tree Farm, Klamath Tribes elected officals have been in meetings with the US Forest Service in hopes to acquire a new parcel of land to replace the recently sold MTF.
 
Four new land alternatives offered by the USFS have come into discussion, though no consent of Klamath Tribes General Council regarding new land acqusition has been granted. These options include parcels referred to as the Chiloquin Ridge, Remaining Members, South Klamath Marsh, and Yamsay Block options.

Potential options were set to be discussed amongst tribal members at the March 21st “special” general council meeting in Chiloquin, Oregon but due to unforeseen circumstances the meeting was adjourned. Which again, has given no opportunity for Klamath Tribes General Council to grant consent to any further action of tribal negotiators or tribal elected officials.

Unbeknownst to tribal membership, on Monday March 23rd Klamath Tribes chairman Don Gentry testified at a hearing in Salem, Oregon before the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee claiming that the Klamath Tribes offer their support for senate bills 206 and 264 as amended, though tribal members are not aware these senate bills exist.

After the March 23rd meeting in Salem, individual tribal members contacted the Chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Chris Edwards by email to make him aware that General Council as the governing body of the Klamath Tribes has not granted consent to chairman Gentry to testify in support of these senate bills. And since tribal members were not aware that this meeting took place, they were not given the opportunity to have their statements be part of the official record regarding Senate bills 206 and 264.

As of Monday March 30th, two enrolled members of the Klamath Tribe received confirmation from Tiffany Telfer, Senator Edwards Communications Director in Salem, that their emails have in fact been passed along to Senator Edwards.

“The General Council has been poorly informed of Senate Bill 206 and 264, literally none of my family members even heard of these. I feel Klamath Tribal council and the Klamath Tribes negotiation team do not handle the day to day business of our Tribal people. Many have not been informed of most of these agreements and for those of us that have we do not agree with them.”
Racheal Kirk, Klamath Tribal member

At the last General Council meeting February 28th 2015, Klamath Tribes General Council made a motion to file a Dispute Initiation Notice and Notice of Impending Failure in hopes to reserve their right to withdraw from the KBRA and associated agreements.

These two documents gave Klamath tribes negotiators and KBRA parties a 30 day deadline to either agree on a new parcel of land or make an amendment to the KBRA, pending the approval of Klamath Tribes General Council, which has not taken place.

Monday March 30th 2015 was the final day for the Klamath Tribes and associated parties to find a “remedy” to the failure of the acquisition of the Mazama Tree Farm.
Allegedly, Senator Merkley is now actively moving a Winema National Forest land transfer proposal, working with Senator Greg Walden, in a desperate effort to keep the Klamath Tribes signed on to the KBRA.

Though this would be prime opportunity to initiate the withdrawal process, as many tribal members would like to see, it is clear that the Klamath Tribes negotiation team will attempt to proceed with the agreements at any cost, even at the expense of the rights of their own tribal members.

“Not being informed on what I am supposed to know by Tribal council is heartbreaking to me and the generations not yet born. This proves how us as Tribal members are not in our elected leaders best interest. It has been this way since the beginning of this so called agreement. Even our most educated tribal members are brainwashed into agreeing with Tribal council and aren’t aware of the manipulation taking place. Our elected officials are full of empty promises.”
Rowena Jackson, Klamath Tribal member

Klamath Tribal Council held a “closed” work session Monday March 30th, where no tribal members were allowed to attend. Countless decisions have been made in secrecy with the excuse of “confidentiality” and “sensitive issues”, leaving tribal membership in the dark on issues they are expected to vote and make informed decisions upon.

Many tribal members have more recently expressed they would like to see the Klamath Tribes withdraw from the controversial “Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement” and associated documents as it has caused internal conflict and a separation amongst tribal membership.

Although the actions of Klamath tribal negotiators and elected officials are yet to be determined, there is a serious abuse of power at play within the Klamath Tribes government that many tribal members hope to see come to an end sooner than later.

In a time where Indigenous people across the world are witnessing the theft of our sacred resources it has never been more urgent to protect that which is vital to our existence as Tribal peoples. Without our sacred water, we cease to be a people.

Honor The Treaty of 1864 is a group of like minded individuals who want to honor our ancestors and our 7th generation by protecting our resources and our rights. While these ideas are not new and many people before us stood for the same things we do, our group was officially formed in 2014. We welcome all people who support our cause.

April 1, 2015 07:47 PM

Interview by Bryan Kalbrosky • Photos by Todd Cooper

 

NIKO IS (aka Nikolai Paiva), signed to Javotti Media by Talib Kweli, came to Eugene with “The People’s Champion” tour—along with Kweli Immortal Technique. Eugene Weekly spoke with both headliners before the show, read here. When we spoke, Kweli told us that he is focusing on NIKO IS right now, and called him “one of the best rappers” he had ever heard. We spoke with Paiva for the blog.

 

We got a chance to see you perform at WOW Hall, which was an awesome opportunity to see hip-hop thrive in Eugene. What was the energy like at that show? What do you typically do to get the crowd hyped?

The energy in Eugene was incredible. I’d never been there before. The people were just receptive to what we were doing. I really enjoyed Oregon. A lot of good vibes, you know? It really set the tone for the show. So I just try and keep it organic, and do what I do and give an accurate depiction of what we do on stage and let the crowd find itself.

 

The People’s Champion” tour has given you an opportunity to tour with two legendary rappers. What have you learned from this tour now that you’re nearly halfway through?

I learned how to stay consistent. These artists are incredible figures, not just in the music industry but also in the industry of following your own heart and not compromising your art. So I think that really set the tone for what we’re trying to do, and it’s really inspiring to see Kweli on his thirteenth album and still better. And Technique — being vocal about what he believes in. So it’s definitely a blessing.

 

You’re signed to Javotti Media, which is Talib Kweli’s record label. What are some advantages of working with someone like Kweli, who you admired growing up?

Working with Kweli is already such a good advantage. It’s real motivating, for me, to see how far we’ve gone. And now I’m lying in the tour bus, relaxing my feet up on “The People’s Champion” tour. It’s pretty surreal, you know, and it’s definitely a blessing to have Kweli’s blessing when we do what we do.

 

I’d love to hear more about the name NIKO IS. You told VIBE Magazine that “NIKO IS dot dot dot” and I’m curious, what do you think NIKO is?

Well, the name behind what we’re doing is NIKO IS. And I think that NIKO IS is just one of the outlets of expression that we have. It’s like, we’re making movies and with every record, we make a new movie. And every movie, NIKO is somebody different. You know what I’m saying? From Chill Cosby [2012] to Good Blood [2013] to Brutus [2015], it’s always something different, and explores different sides of the personality that we focus on. I feel like people are way more complex than they give themselves credit for. They just, kind of, go in the studio and don’t really care. Which is great, because that makes great music. Because the more you care, the more it sounds prepared. But they also don’t care about the bigger picture. Which is doing this all for us. So I feel with having an outlet like this for us, it’s easier to express different sides of the artistry.

 

Your music pulls from an assortment of genres, including funk and jazz, definitely a lot of hip hop and even a global sound. What are some of the sonic influences you’ve gained as an artist born in Brazil?

Well, Brazil is a big gumbo pot of all these different spices, flavors, vegetables, meats. It’s just this cornucopia of styles, all of the regions of Brazil. I’ve always had a lot to draw from. There are always different types of people pushing the envelope there. There’s Western music and Eastern music and native sounds and it’s really inspiring to listen to that and try and create my own fusion.

 

You’ve worked with artists like Action Bronson and Casey Veggies. But you also sample artists like Warpaint. I’ve also read that you’ve studied the greats, ranging everywhere from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd. Who are some of the other newer artists that you’re listening to right now?

Well, I’m a “new-is-old” man. You know what I’m saying? I definitely check out what is going on. I mainly listen to what the mood requires. I have been listening to a lot of Tom Waits. He’s a big influence on what I do. Both aesthetically and lyrically, I’m a big fan of him. I like Devendra Banhart, and a lot of stuff he does with his music that’s so different. I like hip hop. I like rock. There’s a lot of great stuff, it’s just a matter of being patient. You have to find something. It’s like a puzzle.

 

I’d love to hear more about how Tom Waits has translated into your own style.

Yeah! He’s great, man. He definitely opened a lot of doors in my brain for writing songs and how you can approach it. You don’t have to follow format. You can do what you want. I’m a big fan of him, like Rain Dogs [1985].

 

And then what’s one of the jazzier influences that you’ve had?

I have a lot of jazz influences. That’s kind of what we do. It’s a jazzier take on hip hop. I’ve always been really into Return to Forever (1972), which is a jazz-fusion album by Chick Corea.

 

Readers who have not seen you perform have not seen your iconic hairstyle. Tell me more about how long you’ve grown that style and how long you’ve had the long hair?

When I was eighteen, I decided to have long hair. And from then, it’s just been kind off and on. Around when I was 20 or something, I had to get a real person job so I had to cut the hair off once or twice. But then eventually, I had to come back to it. It’s the hair, you know? The hair set a tone.

 

Is there anything else that you’d like to add or promote?

Everything we do is in house. I’m very blessed to have such an incredible team coming to the concert. What we do is collective. That’s one thing that really sets us apart from everybody else. Thanks Joey is the producer of the records. We’re really blessed to work with incredible musicians to push us forward.