BY CONTRIBUTOR CIERRA RICH
If you’re ever looking for a Thursday night out on the whim, the Cozmic Cafe in the heart of Placerville, California is one of the ideal places to be. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a small town; local artwork embellishing the beautiful vintage walls, a menu full of local specialty drinks and a crowd of people with a laid back vibe. Within the original stone walls and hardwood floored building, the main part of the cafe rests downstairs, as the bar, stage and loft area are placed upstairs.
Many of you may have passed through the town on your way to Lake Tahoe, but most of you have probably never even heard of it, especially if you reside anywhere outside the Nor. Cal bubble. There's plenty of little community shops to see downtown, surrounded by nature views, with a mix of humble residents and curious tourists passing through. But over time, this place has become a favorite spot of ours, being that the Cozmic has vegan options that leave you feeling refreshed and in addition to that highlight, it also showcases emerging talents that strive to be recognized. You’ll probably even leave there feeling an afterglow – if you caught what we did – because everyone inside the venue seemed to have such an enlightened energy, where it was actually rather contagious. There were several performances that night that caught our attention, but three specific indie musicians drew the room into the center.
Tieren Salstrand; one of the first to play, has a folk/reggae feel. His performance was loose and carefree, enough to where you couldn't take your attention away from the natural flow of words.
“I love being able to discover new things as I play and let that become a part of the piece. I started playing covers mainly and began writing my own music about two years ago. I love uncovering untold stories and hearing people use their voices. I find that the most inspiring aspects to my artwork are: when people who are used to being silenced or don't usually speak, choose to tell their story or share their experiences.” said Salstrand.
Tieren’s percussionist and best pal, Dante Cairns, spontaneously patted along on a canteen. When asked about the story behind the choice of the object as an instrument Salstrand said,
“Funny story behind the canteen: he had gone to pick up his cajon and guitar from his house, but found he had left them at school. In a funny twist of events, he picked up the canteen and decided he could slap a beat on that while I borrowed another friend’s guitar for a completely unrehearsed and unpracticed set of songs! Dante is just awesome that way.”
Tieren had just began performing a few months ago, he grew up in Placerville as well, but now goes to UCLA and occasionally performs at local venues where he can.
On the other hand, Kyliana Mari a pop/country singer, who is currently a Junior in high school, performed with her dad and a percussionist they’d recently met at another performance gig. The orginal song she had performed could take you back to your first love: “You said I’m perfect, but I ain’t that perfect."
“I have been interested in singing from a young age. I started performing in talent shows around the age of 7, I have sung the national anthem at a few high school sporting events and I have sung karaoke at many venues. Singing by campfires with my dad really inspired me to keep singing and singing karaoke at the venues helped me gain confidence on stage.” said Mari.
Mari noted that her parents have supported her journey into music and that her brother takes her to concerts to get inspiration from different bands. She even recently begun taking guitar lessons with Larry Park from the band The Random Strangers. As she grows in her craft, she hopes to play at the local El Dorado County Fair along side her dad and audition for American Idol as solo act in the future.
“Spending time with my dad's start-up band has inspired me to write my own songs. They started getting into the groove of writing and singing their own songs, which made me believe that I could too.” said Mari.
During our conversation with Mari, she had explained. that she and her dad would be creating a youtube channel in the nearby future, to post their collaborative work on.
The final artist to draw us in, near the closing of the evening. It was Aaron Reeves, an indie artist born in England that plans to relocate to Humbolt county in the fall to continue performing. He mentioned a few things about himself during our talk:
“I use soundcloud as a way to keep a record of ideas for songs to expand and improve on. I released my first album on bandcamp in 2015, it was all self produced and recorded. I was learning everything so it's not as clean as I would have liked, but the intention is there.”
Reeves gave us an inside view into his background, by explaining where the drive to perform comes from.
"I was raised by parents who played music and worked at festivals so I was surrounded by people playing music and practicing art. It was incredibly inspiring to see people who paid their bills and made a living from doing what they loved." said Reeves. "I was given my first guitar when I was twelve, I never took lessons but I have been learning from my friends and elders ever since. I have a bluesey indie folk funk rock style, and I been playing a lot of latin music with friends from Argentina and Chile. I moved to the states when I was little, my parents traveled across the states with me until they purchased property in California. I just moved to placerville a month ago to save money so that I can go on living like a hippy.”
He is working on releasing his next album soon, but while you're here, these are some of the selections below that we enjoyed from his collection: Intuition, Sensitive Issues and Fruits of Procrastination. Give a longer listen to Reeves music on SoundCloud here.
Tyler J. Drinnen, is the Founder and Editor in Chief of iTEM MAGAZINE,
a freelance fashion writer, poet,
photographer and abstract visual content producer.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Sonoma State University, where he wrote a weekly Opinion Column For
The Star, dabbled with his own radio podcast format, titled Saturday Nite Scandal, and helped to create one of the first of 25 Professional Student Lead PR Firms in the USA.
From there on, he continued his work by interning with Sonoma Discoveries Magazine and then shortly after wrote and interned for Fashion School Daily, where he solidified his love for feature writing and working with emerging talents from around the world.
In December of 2016, he received an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University. And what an achievement that was, to be the first in his program to have graduated a full semester early. Bringing him to four degrees in a short five and a half years, nothing will stop him from bringing art to the eyes of many.
He has worked in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, from commercial retail management to corporate level ghost writing. Now - he the poet - T.J.D. takes his life public with the independent launch of the urban California lifestyle based fashion-art movement, iTEM MAGAZINE: A Platform For Rising Artists.