You’ve Got a Fast Car… And a Slow Car: A Look at The Band, Fast Car Slow Car

Fast Car Slow Car in action. Listen to those vibes.

On a brisk November night, a friend texted me, asking me to attend a concert. I was taken aback because usually concerts require ticket money and vast preparation for a concert outfit. I was skeptical until she said, “It’s low key and a folky kind of band.” Instantly, I was intrigued.

It was a short walk to a tiny record store in Station North. The venue, intimate, was crowded yet clear enough to see a full view of Fast Car Slow Car. The lead singer- a twin, who is also in the band- is the definition of a carefree Black boy. His voice is husky. His husky voice paired with the light euphoric playing of the keys creates another world for the listener. In other words, some songs make you feel like you’re floating to another planet. Some songs make you want to just close your eyes and be absorbed by the sound. It’s a good time listening to the guys. The sound is a fusion of folk and electro- a pleasant fusion. The band is an eclectic mix of styles, personalities, and talents. The sound is soothing yet mystical to listen to and the live experience was amazing.

When watching the band live, I forgot I was in a small record store. I forgot I wasn’t in a large venue or that I was surrounded by vinyl and retro 70s funk records. The band has big energy, big talent, and a big sense of humor. Fortunately, they are humble, sensible humans that were easy to talk to.

After the show, I had the pleasure of kicking back with the band in a pool hall/bar. Here is where I kind of forgot that they were musicians and just down to earth guys. We chatted about music, flawed school systems, and traveling across state lines to pursue music.

Read our Q&A with Fast Car Slow Car below:

Tell us about the band. Who are you guys? What are your names?

Hello, we’re a new band called Fast Car Slow Car from Philadelphia. Prolly played our first show full band about 5 months ago. And as for members we got Alex Held on keys, Breshon Martzall on vocals, Gabe Rosen on drums, John DiCocco on Guitar, Keondre Martzall on keys and percussion and for the show y’all caught we had our friend Shawn Fitzgerald filling in on bass. 

What does artistry and music mean to you all?

Honestly, it’s hard to know what it means to everyone in the band but at this point makin/playin music is the only thing we know lol. Hopefully that doesn’t ruin the magic. We’ve all been doin music so long.

Where does the name of your band come from?

The name of the band comes from a Tracy Chapman song.

How did you guys meet? 

Good ol’ Philadelphia. Breshon and Dre are twins so that might go back a bit further.

What inspires your sound? 

Movies? Skateboarding? Love? Other music less than you’d think.

What inspires you to do music and create a band?

I think we’re all chasing a check. Time to take it to the bank.

What do you want people to get from your music?

 It’d be cool if our music made other people want to make music. Then we can all play producers on those records when we’re washed up. 

Describe your tour experience. How long have you been touring? What was your favorite city?

Our tours are great, we’re all real good friends who like to party and skate. So it’s usually a pretty good time. We’ve only done about a week with this band but hopefully we do a longer one soon. Chicago and Baltimore are tight!

What is the best and worse thing about being in a band?

Best thing is making something your proud of! Worst thing is bein broke and hungry. 

What’s your craziest tour story?

Hmm we got booed for a whole set by a small biker gang, then we went to square up but they weren’t with it. I don’t think they took us very seriously, lol. But not too many crazy tour stories yet hopefully next time! 

How does being from Philly effect your music or your image? 

Everyday we struggle if we should sound like Hall and Oates of Meek Mill. But we can never decide so we meet in the middle with Lil Uzi.

Where do you see yourselves in 3 years?

In three years hopefully a headlining tour! That’d be really cool.

If you could solve any problems in the world what is would they be and why?

Oh man that question is loaded. I’d say if you could get a time machine and eradicate colonialism we’d have a lot less problems to fix. But that’s not possible so let’s start with bringing back the old butterfingers recipe. It tastes different I can tell.

What is something that music or artistry is lacking right now?

 More records on tape.

Anything else you want us to know about you guys?

We are all good friends who love each other. And Dre has a crush on the Wendy’s girl. 

Keep up with Fast Car Slow car via Instagram or hear their music on Bandcamp or Sound Cloud.

Artist Turned Scientist Back to Artist

“Baltimore is the city that broke me and birthed me in the same breath,” a quote from the emerging writer, rapper, and scientist currently known as 1202 Duece Lee (born Daniel Chapman). Baltimore was his home for a little over a decade. The city became a character in his life, adding to experiences that became inspirations. Despite tough times, Duece manages to keep a humorous and lighthearted outlook on life.

Although, Duece Lee was not born in Baltimore, his time and artistic stamp has made him apart of the artistic community and he is an artist that we will happily claim. After attending the prestigious Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (yes, I am a fellow Poly grad and will fever hype it up) he went on to Harrisburg University. He studied science alongside publishing two children’s books and Youtube project called “Projection” (a SciFi series read by Duece himself).

In addition, Duece tried his hand at establishin an arts community, and now a publishing company. The publishing company will promote self publishing and keeping most of your rights as the author. We had the opportunity to have a word with the author and rapper.

Tell us about you. Who are you? 

This question I fear more than anything in the world. I am Daniel Chapman, III. I am a representation of a legacy my grandfather left behind. 

What is your writer name or rap name? How did you choose that? 

I like this question. My writer name is 1202 Duece Lee. Though I do rap, I identify my artistic presence in writing any and everything I can experience. Duece was actually a nickname I adopted when I was 10 for myself. My older cousin called himself Ace and I just looked up to him so much. Note that Duece is spelled wrong. (Did I mention I was 10). I started off doing music under the Pseudonym Danny Duece credited to my older brothers bestfriend / my big brother T. Dot Sinz. Recently it got its final change to Duece Lee with a suggestion from my older brother, a fun play on my original moniker and middle name. I actually am a huge fan of Bruce Lee so I enjoyed the playfulness. The 1202 is the most important part, though. Many authors in “ye olden times”; namely women authors, wrote under Pseudonyms initialed to hide their gender. Many writers still use the initiating hack because it markets better to a specific audience. 1202 is my anniversary date and the most important number to me, but that’s another story. I am not pandering to a specific audience so I don’t want my name marketed to one. I try to write stories, or poems, or songs that are real experiences. Things anyone regardless of race, religion, gender or background can read and pick out SOMETHING that makes them fall in love with wanting to open their hearts a little bit more. 

Where are you from? How did you move to Baltimore? 

I’m from Newark, Delaware. My mom is from Baltimore and moved us there to search for her Dad when I was 7. He died a few years prior. 

How long were you in the city? 

I lived in the city for the following 11 years. 

Why did you leave Baltimore? 

I left Baltimore for growth. I love the city like no other, but recognized I wasn’t going to be able to grow into a properly functioning adult while still living in my trauma, so I left. 

You are a musician, writer, and scientist. How did you come into music, writing, and science? How did all these things become part of you? 

I’m a religious soul and deep thinker. Something in my heart when I was young told me to pursue what made me feel whole and never look back. I don’t feel whole not doing all of these things. 

How difficult is it to exist in all those spaces and make them work? How do you find time for all of the projects? 

I have to find a way to blend them at times to make them work, but not so difficult. They allow me to exercise all parts of my brain without over stimulating. I write sci fi shorts to keep up on different topics in the community, but write passionately on whatever inspires me. Many of our famous scientists were inventors as well as artists. I think science and art are much more closely related than people allow them to be. 

Does the scientific part of you ever influence or coincide with your creative projects? 

Why, yes! Lol. Inspired a whole novel. 

How long have you been a musician? 

Ive been trying my hand at music for abt 10 years. 

How long have you been a writer? 

I’ve been writing for about 15 years. 

How did you get your start? 

I started by writing a pretty sappy love (what I thought was a haiku) after joining poetry club in 5th grade… I got made fun of but it made me want to get so much better. And I fell in love from there. 

How did (or does) Baltimore influenced you? How did the city or its people shape you? 

The city helped me realize that people’s experiences are not being told. That no matter what I should keep pushing for my voice to be heard, because in the end, it’s not really just my voice. 

What inspires you to write? What inspires you to make music? 

I’m thoroughly inspired by the creativity of others. 

What are you currently working on? What was the inspiration behind that? 

Got a little novel I’ve been working on called “Projection.” It started off as a way for me to explain to my fiance all the things that run through my mind of how I feel we were meant to find each other. I’m a deeply religious guy but have studied a lot of different philosophies to try and expand my mind and fell in love with how similar a lot of the worlds philosophies are. Everything surrounds one deal, true and honest love. But I think we as humans have a very hard time with that… so I kinda wanted to write my take on that ideal. 

Walk us through the creative process for you. 

I am always in writing mode. Whenever inspiration strikes, I write without hesitation or doubt. I write until I feel the inspiration has run its course, and then I don’t look at it for a few days lol, come back and see if it’s something that needs more or sometimes even, less. 

What do you miss about Baltimore? 

I miss half and halfs like the real kind. Not that Arnold Palmer bullshit. 

Would you return to this city? Why or why not? 

I hope to one day. And because the city needs people in it who truly love it. It goes back to my projection ideology. If you don’t TRULY love something, then you are only hurting all parties involved. Be where your heart takes you… It actually does know a little more than your brain imo

What’s next for you? What are your ultimate goals/ aspirations? 

Welp, next is med school and hopefully becoming a best selling author. Maybe.

We hope to read more books and listen to more episodes of “Projection.” Keep up with Duece’s projects via Instagram, music via Soundcloud, and more of his writing on Vocal.

Stud Struggles: We Just Out Here Trynna Function

Studs/dykes/butches/bois/masculine-presenting women and the like: Throw down your Playstation controllers and raise your picket signs because enough is enough! How many more cookouts, conversation parties, kickbacks, baby showers, and various events where some girl invited us as her plus-one must we attend where the conversation quickly and unnecessarily shifts focus to our very private business? Business that in no way involves the stranger asking and likely isn’t even relevant to the vibe? Soon as we walk in, it’s like game night to these people and I will no longer be played with. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been minding my own business enjoying very casual conversation before being asked some of the following foolishness at the function:

“So, have you ever been with a guy?”

“Do you strap or do you get strapped?”

“How does strapping work?”

“YOU want to carry a baby??” 

“So. Question about strap-ons…”

“Do you like head?” (And proceeding to not offer any)

“Excuse me sir…oh my bad yo. HAHAHAHA”

Can I eat my honey BBQ wings in peace? Is the sex life you imagine I have more popping than what you should currently be doing on a handstand, sis? There is a time and place for people to ask masculine women these questions, I’m certain. However, I would appreciate the opportunity to finish my Prosecco and two-step with my friends without being interviewed by a bunch of bored, tipsy, nosey individuals. Please do not ask me about my bedroom activities in front of the potato salad! Please respect that I am uninterested in disclosing my plan to conceive children with a stranger I just met in the club. Please understand that you are NOT low when you use a tipsy game of Never Have I Ever to ask if I also enjoy dick. This is what happens when there isn’t enough food at parties. Mouths find less productive ways to keep busy.

I came here to get lit, and these recycled questions are not it y’all. Please consult Youtube for any questions you have for the community because the information is plentiful. The site is booming with women willing to explain themselves to anyone watching. I know masculine women are quite interesting and very fine, but I also know that people (women, men, etc.) can make conversation with us that does not include sexual harassment and other invasive inquiries. Especially in environments that offer free or discounted liquor! So with that said, if she didn’t volunteer this kind of information, please refrain from harassing that masculine woman at the Rona cookouts I know you’re having. Find a snack and keep it pushing.

A Dream or a Nightmare ?

By Donovan Peterson

The local governments of New York and Rhode Island competed to be the capital of the North American slave trade and by the early 1800’s, Newport and Rhode Island outpaced New York to be the top slave suppliers

That is just to say; racism was never purely a Southern issue. And I say this because I know that it makes white liberals feel a bit better if they can pawn slavery on rednecks in the Appalachia with character defects. While they aren’t necessarily wrong, this characterization is a misrepresentation at worst and a deflection at best. If a racist threatens to hang me, I will know my enemy; confirm him. Act accordingly. But silence among friends in the face of tyranny is both deafening and complicit. And confusing.

Racism in fact permeates just about every facet of society. I don’t understand what else anyone would expect after a society is built on slave labor and native land. It doesn’t go away magically after 400 years with a stroke of a feather pen and it doesn’t just stay in the South like mullets and hot chicken. Human minds and values were corrupted. A 250 year machine was constructed that stole lives from birth to death and decimated generations. That’s not 90 second rice.

I believe this why W.E.B Dubois coined a term “double consciousness”.

If you’d like an explanation, you probably have one of those supercomputer things in your fucking pocket that could help. But seriously, the knowledge of my history combined with seeing what feels tantamount to black murder porn several times over the past few years…it makes sense to say that being black in America has caused me irreversible mental anguish and sadness. It’s become an impossible task to compartmentalize it all, but at the same time I’m grateful and proud to be black and to be a small part of the mad man sort of resilience it takes to have some respect for yourself in a country that recently figured out that your people were indeed human beings not too long ago.

Black people have always expressed pain through music or art.

As a gesture of both this sadness and love that I feel; I asked my friends to come and say what they felt on a mic. One of my friends lost his freedom the day after he laid down his verse and I knew this was urgent. For us; there is no refuge. There is no choice. There is no South, East, West or North. There is no taking a uniform off. There is no silence. There is only continued struggle. There is only total liberation.

Click here to hear the contribution.

Donovan is a guest writer who currently resides from Baltimore. Although his beginnings are not in the city, he embodies the Baltimore spirit and drive. He is an artist, cat enthusiast, and writer for medium. He

Sickness, Suicide, & Sensuality …

In my adult life, I have become what seems like a grocery list of mental/emotional issues. everyday is a new adventure down the rabbit hole of what has become me. everyday is a new endeavor managing and evading side effects of mental illness. with that being said, the last two weeks of February were the absolute hardest. Mercury was in retrograde, I was full of phlegm, and having a major depressive episode. It was the worst I have  had in a long time, almost resulting in suicide. I laid in my bed, tears falling, throat sore, and soul hurt. In thought long and hard about the reasons why my life just wasn’t worth it anymore. I thought about how easy it would be for people to move on if I died.

I’ve had this feeling before, where everything would be better if I wasn’t. I’ve teetered the line between life & death before but I haven’t since 2015. I called that progress until Feb. 2020. Maybe it was the flu, dealing with other people children daily, and the constant worry about the future. Either way, I was going through the blues. The surprising thing that kept me somewhat steady was an upcoming Vixen Camp.

Vixen Camp is a class or more like a series of classes exploring sensuality and manifestation through body movement. The instructor, Ciera Adair is a vibrant sunburst with a soothing aura. Ciera has crafted a traveling dance company that promotes getting to know the body, redefining sensuality, and using the power of movement to manifest.

The class started with Adair explaining that choreography wasn’t important-step by step to the “T”. She said, “Y’all know I don’t give a fuck about choreography.” The important thing was doing what felt right to the body, my body was important, for once my body mattered. The movement, the wants of what my body needed was important. The room was dimly lit with a single spotlight. We began with simple movement. Our bodies were getting used to the space. This was a constant theme throughout the entire class as well as be present in the moment. Two things I am rarely ever able to do. The class lasted about two hours.

From the moment I agreed to go, I was biting my nails and gulping hard because I have the sensuality of a rotten dragon fruit and trauma related to my body. For years, I neglected understanding my body and how it relates to my feelings/ mental-emotional issues. Vixen camp brought that to the forefront of my mind but in a subtle and delicate way.I spent time in the class slowly chipping away at a shell that has been built. The class challenged me to move- from simply walking with my chest out to a backwards twerk move on the floor. Adair said something about sensuality- “it’s not super femme.”It doesn’t have to be sexual or for other people. She said, “We dance for ourselves. I’m no t here to show you how to dance for a man. You dance for you.”

In the two hours I spent I learned to move to music, spoken word (surprise performance from the Jennifer Eden), and to let my guard down. I gained a small appreciation for my body and doing what feels right for my body in the moment. It was a therapeutic experience for me. I felt re-balanced afterwards. It helped me think differently. It helped in anchoring my depression and anticipating opportunities to come. I am anticipating taking another class but I’d have to be alive for that. At the end of the previous month, I was sick, suicidal, and searching for happiness. On the last Friday of the month, I regained my strength, my energy, and a new curiosity for life. Whether or not you have depression or body issues, I would suggest taking a workshop. It’s fun, restorative, and gets you in touch with your body.

Catch Vixen Camp updates and Ciera’s adventures on Instagram.

 

Routine we practiced, ^^ above.

 

*Photos and Videos courtesy of Ciera Adair.