CGak Remixes - Lisa Papineau’s “Out For A Swim”
CGak Remix - Adebisi Shank “Genki Shank”
October 26th at The Glasshouse w/ Man Man & Grandchildren
Los Angeles Times Interview with C-Gak - Show Tonight with Battles
Those familiar with the multitalented pack of musicians that comprised Long Beach’s RX Bandits know the swarm of side projects each member has entertained over the years. Among them happens to be drummer Chris Tsagakis' solo drum venture that melds both man and machine in a hail of creative, atmospheric beats.
For a few years, he performed under the moniker Technology. This year, he wised up and realized that the billions of Google references to that name made him a little hard to find on the Internet. In the end, “C-Gak" — his longtime nickname — seemed more appropriate, and searchable.
Since the breakup of RX Bandits last July, C-Gak has turned his aural hobby into his main creative outlet, finding a well of new energy and creative techniques to bring to the table. On Sunday, the Sargent House artist be performing with Brooklyn’s highly touted instrumental experimentalists Battles at the Glasshouse in Pomona, the stage where RX Bandits played one of their last show just months earlier.
Pop & Hiss sat down with C-Gak for a brief conversation about his inspirations as a drummer, life after RXB and the excitement of bringing his beats to a whole new fan base.
Watch The Sky : video
C-Gak Show w/ Battles at Glasshouse 10/16/11
I Actually Don’t Even Like Remixes
I would like to fill everyone in on current and future projects, first off I have the remixes. Over the years I have met many talented people and have had the pleasure of making remixes with their work, however, I use the word “remix” lightly. In fact, most of the time I hate remixes or even the term “remix”. Most of these were done with nothing but vocals to start, which I think makes them more like “re-writes”. I basically took vocals soloed and wrote a new song from the ground up, not that there was anything wrong with the original songs…I simply wanted to write a song in my own style, and compliment the song with the vocals.
DON’T SLEEP REMIXES : I had a lot of fun making these songs, and hope you enjoy listening to them. Please also visit all of the bands websites because they all rock.
I would also like to share my first webcast, this is the first of what will hopefully be a series of webisodes explaining a bit of how I make music. I personally find it interesting when I learn about the techniques people use in the studio, and the various creative processes used to make a song or project. This is why I am starting these webcasts, I do put a lot of thought into my music and if anyone would like to explore my brain when it steps outside of my head here’s where to find it-
The song from the webcast is on my bandcamp page along with the remixes. Both are up on a donation basis, if you like the webisodes or the remixes, please donate anything you want, its much appreciated. I plan to release two more projects this year and a few more webisodes, so keep an eye out!
Interview with Rock Edition
Over the course of 16 years and 6 studio albums, RX Bandits have crafted an instantly recognizable sound. Their blend of ska, punk, and progressive rock has won over an incredibly loyal fanbase, and their dynamic live show is one of the few places you can catch audiences moshing one second and dancing the next. The band’s last album, 2009’s ‘Mandala,’ saw them at the height of their instrumental prowess, showcasing Matt Embree and Steve Choi’s speedy, skittering guitar lines and drummer Chris Tsagakis’ fluid grooves.
Now, RX Bandits are nearing the end of their farewell tour and the beginning of an indefinite hiatus. Before one of the band’s shows in Boston, Chris was kind enough to speak with Rock Edition over the phone about the tour, the hiatus, and his future plans.
How’s it going?
Modern Drummer Feature - April 2011
More with RX Bandits’ remarkable sticksman—profiled in April’s Gearing Up column—who smoothly covers the broad ground between So-Cal ska and blazing prog rock. - by Corrado Rizzi
It’s safe to say that you will never see RX Bandits drummer Chris Tsagakis play a song live the same way twice. Some of his parts certainly remain constant—his integral grooves, his cues to shift into a different section of a song. But, as Tsagakis tells MD, “I could be in the middle of the tour and hear a drummer or record that I’ve never heard before, and it will influence me to try something new. I kind of leave it open, so that as I grow as a drummer I just change up the fills. Whatever feels good at the moment, you know?”
In the mid-’90s, Southern California was a breeding ground for ska and the bands that pushed the genre into the mainstream. Tsagakis and his band have moved far from their Orange County beginnings over the course of half a dozen full-length albums, including their latest masterwork,Mandala. “We were pretty ska at first,” Chris says, “and we played with a lot of ska bands when the ska scene was pretty big. As we grew we tried to get out of that; we wanted to move on and be something different—but at the same time we didn’t want to just leave all of our fans behind.”
Tsagakis admits RX Bandits struggled with climbing out of the scene that birthed them, while trying to keep their fans happy. “It was a slow struggle to satisfy our inner musicians but also give our fans what they wanted to hear,” he says. “It was kind of unconscious in that we didn’t necessarily plan for it to grow in the way that it did. But we definitely had a feeling inside of us that we wanted to be something different—you know, change it up.”
RX Bandits are, in essence, a band full of drummers. This is perhaps the main reason why so many of their songs are rhythmically centered and incorporate a tribal feel in the drum parts. Tsagakis admits that he is fortunate to be in a band where the drums are placed on just as high a pedestal as the guitars and other instruments. “I’ve been pretty lucky to be in band that really wants the drums to be treated as importantly as the other instruments, and not just be a rhythm keeper,” he says. “I’m constantly coming up with new ideas, and everybody is always really open to anything that I come up with.”
Tsagakis and his guitar-playing brother learned the drums by playing along to Metallica and Megadeth tunes. Formal training didn’t stick with Tsagakis, even if his teacher happened to be a legend whose sons went on to be future drum stars. “I very much dropped the ball in high school,” Chris says. “Chuck Wackerman was our band teacher at La Salle High School, and he’s the father of Chad, Brooks, and John Wackerman, who’ve played with Suicidal Tendencies and Zappa and all that. He was a pretty amazing band teacher, but at the time I didn’t want to go for anything structured. Later I wished I’d taken some free lessons from a drumming master, like I could have.”
When Tsagakis first met up with RX Bandits around 1996, he auditioned to play trumpet. But the absence of the group’s original drummer at a practice led to his filling the throne—for good. (Proof that it helps to know more than one instrument!) Tsagakis has since developed an inimitable style. His warm, organic-sounding drum parts are always at the center of the action in RX Bandits songs, whether he’s playing a thunderous tribal rhythm on the toms or keeping a tight hi-hat/snare pattern during the band’s more ambient moments. “You can tweak a lot of other instruments,” Chris says, “but drums need to have that organic sound.”
So where do the continually progressing Tsagakis and his band go from here? “The same direction we’ve been going,” the drummer says. “We just want to keep experimenting, doing different stuff, and coming up with different things.”
Glassroom Session with Lisa Papineau
REPOSTED From Sargent House
Lisa Papineau performs “Rainmaker” a new song with Chris Tsagakis aka Technology on drums and Michael Morgan also on drums. We truly only got one take of this one and then we got shut down because it was loud. Lisa wanted to shoot at night and after the Fang Island glassroom well let’s just say my neighbors hate me.
FREE Sargent House Compilation
From now until October 15th, Tastemakers Magazine has curated a free download of their hand picked tracks from the wonderful label Sargent House. Check out the tracklist below and make sure you download the compilation while you can!
Gypsyblood – “Take Your Picture”
Technology feat. Aaron Chapman from Nurses – “New Weird Pop”
Tera Melos – “Aped”
Zach Hill – “Memo To The Man”
Fang Island – “Sideswiper”
Native – “Backseat Crew”
RX Bandits – “Breakfast Cat”
Maps & Atlases – “Witch”
Good Old War – “Get Some”
This Town Needs Guns – “Zebra”
Lisa Papineau – “Annette Tessier”
Cast Spells – “Letters”
Omar Rodriguez Lopez – “Ojo Al Cristo De Plata”
Shooting Stars Feat. Lisa Papineau
Chris Tsagakis' solo project goes by the moniker Technology. This song is a cut from his upcoming full length album and features Lisa Papineau on vocals. 1 Take 2 Cameras filmed in the Sargent House Glass Room. And if you missed it, make sure to go and check out another track from Technology featuring Aaron Chapman from Nurses in Sargent House’s “What’s Next” archives HERE.
Biceratops : The Only Evidence
This Heat In Dub (Technology Remix) Technology + The Sound Of Animals Fighting + Keith Goodwin of Good Old War = Sweet Sunday Dub Remix. We’d give you the track but we don’t control the rights to do that, so if you want it, you can get it over here. and yes we know Keith is spelled wrong that is the way C-Gak rolls