By Matt Ashworth, Nada Editor
Helmed by local musicians Carlos Tulloss (Afrocop, Screens) and Alison Tulloss (Screens), and multi-media visual artist John Theroux (Blazinspace), Astral Media Lab is a production and consulting company based in Seattle that brings collaborative creative projects to life. Seattle music fans have probably witnessed this trio’s impact on the city’s live and recorded music scenes, whether they knew it or not.
Incapable of sitting idle in a quarantined world, the group launched a new audio-visual podcast series this month that features discussions with local audio/video artists and creators. The second episode airs Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. on the Weird At Night Twitch channel and will feature a discussion with Katrina Kope, Tyler Kope and Devin Bews from the band Purr Gato, which has delivered music driven “by ethereal vocals, seductive melodies, deeply rooted bass lines, and beats from beyond” for more than a decade.
Carlos captured some screen grabs from the band’s performance on The Lab. Below that, I chat with him about the series.
NadaMucho.com: Why the hell did you start a video podcast?
Carloss Tuloss: Allison and I are podcast junkies like everyone else. They provide the antidote to the fast paced, clickbait-driven, un-nuanced media habits we have become used to.
NM: There sure are a lot of video podcasts and streams. What’s unique about The Lab?
CT: We see The Lab as an artist’s view of performance and conversation. The bands we feature are unique and interesting, made up of good human beings who are still making art, undeterred, in a world that makes that pursuit harder and harder.
NM: What was the inspiration for the format?
CT: In 2014 we started having house parties with bands every summer for Allison’s birthday. We witnessed some incredible performances over the years, and we observed that late at night, when it was usually only musicians left, the performances would take on a rare intimacy and depth. We wanted to bring that special vibe to more people.
NM: Where is the live footage coming from? I assume most of that was shot pre-quarantine?
CT: We shot much of the live footage in 2018-2019 when we first set off on this journey. Many were recorded in our home studio, no audience, with live visuals by Blazinspace.
NM: The jump from live music to a video podcast makes sense, but how did you come to include artist interviews? And how are you selecting your guests?
CT: We knew we wanted it to be performances mixed with interviews. We wanted to bring that long-form format to life and generate conversation. So, we just decided to explore our personal network of musicians for people we wanted to talk to and worked our way outward from there.
NM: What kept you from launching the series until this month?
CT: In September of last year, right in the middle of production, my brother passed away suddenly. That halted production. Aside from Mark being someone we loved dearly, he was instrumental to so many things we were working on, including making the show.
NM: When did you decide you were ready to re-start the project?
CT: After the pandemic started, Astral Media Lab produced dozens of live-streams. During those long days together John and I started talking about it again. We discussed how the pandemic exposed the glaring lack of humanity and compassion, and the dysfunction many of us are experiencing, while simultaneously revealing how important music and art are to combating those things. We saw how the lock-down had redefined local music business to emphasize the performers as “essential” because venues couldn’t operate in their usual manner. We saw a lot of great bands prove that it was viable to reach audiences through the new explosion of live-streaming events, and that connecting with audiences remotely was possible. These discoveries felt very connected to the original intention behind making a podcast.
We also talked about how we have a very special community of artists in Seattle, many of them coming into their artistic strides at a time when making art is being threatened in new ways. People around us, like Patrick Galactic and his show Weird At Night, were gathering their creative resistance to apathy and darkness. We wanted to be part of that.
John deserves a lot of credit for not only resurrecting the project and naming the show (“The Laboratory” was their idea), but for helping with the final edits and landing the project.
The Lab: Astral Media Lab’s A/V Podcast
With Special Guests Purr Gato
Sept. 22, 2020 @ 8 p.m.
Live on the Weird At Night Twitch Channel