Good luck Phil and Hannah!

So we went on a small few week hiatus recently and spent some time traveling down to South Carolina and Georgia for a close friend of the band’s Phil Helm. I was the best man at his wedding and traveled down to celebrate the not so newfound love of the newly weds and spend some time with one of the main men that pushed for the band from the beginning.

After the ceremony preceding the reception.

Phil even wore the old “Are You Make Believe” tee he designed back in The Offset days underneath his suit during the wedding! It did me good to know that while we were in a full catholic mass (in latin!) Phil was wearing that glow in the dark tee the whole time!


Either way I was proud to be involved in the wedding of one of my closest friends and look forward to the many years he and his lovely new bride Hannah plan on spending together. Thanks again for having us down! It won’t be the last time! We get regeared up starting next week!

Phil and Hannah

Mike Richards



What’s on the L.O.W.?!: Scott Siskind – Vinny Vegas

In this edition of What’s on the L.O.W.?! I reconnected with an amazing musician and graphic designer Scott Siskind.

Vinny Vegas – Audiotree Live from Audiotree Live on Vimeo.

Scott not only founded the group but also makes fantastic music with them. They have performed all over the nation and also have a few tours under their belts.We’ve been fans for years now and have continued to keep up with their work since we had performed with them as The Offset years ago.

This time around Scott and I discussed their music, their love of performing, their favorite tracks from their latest record “The Big White Whale” and how life, friends, and loved ones have affected their music. The Moose cover and font scheme for the group was done by Erin Ellis and the Big Blue Whale, The Treehouse and the Blue Tunnel were all done by Michael Miller. Check into their work, maybe you’ll get some work done by them soon for your next album!

An2S: What are the roots of Vinny Vegas? When did you guys get started? What brought you all together?

Scott: The band started with Jason Cohen and I back in 2007. We began no differently than a lot of bands in that we would just go down to the basement and jam for hours. I had a few song ideas I was trying to put a full band together for, and once we formed a full lineup, we all began writing together.


An2S: How do you decide on the cities to visit when you go on tour? Which has been your favorite to play so far?

Scott: Well, when we first started traveling and playing, we would mostly just go to where ever we wanted to visit that was close enough to get to in a few days off of work. In time, we started building small followings and sort of built a little circuit for ourselves. Mostly these days, we honestly just try to keep coming back to the places we know people and can have the best time at shows with friends we don’t get to see often.

An2S: What’s your favorite song to perform from your latest album “The Big White Whale”? and Which is your favorite to listen to?

Scott: I think if you ask most members of the band, you will get the answer of “Highs and Lows” as our favorite song to perform live. As far as my favorite song to listen to, I think it’s probably a tie between Sleeping Cliffs, and Taste of Your Own Tongue.


An2S: Where do you guys draw inspiration to write and perform the music you do?

Scott: I could list about a thousand bands and musicians here as influences. But honestly, for me at this point, the inspiration comes from life I would say more than anything. After doing this thing for the past 8 years and getting to experience the things I’ve gotten to with these guys(both good and bad), I find myself very grateful to just have this artistic expression in my life, and it’s really opened me up to putting my best effort into creating good, honest music.



An2S: What can we expect next from Vinny Vegas?

Scott: We’re really focused on writing at the moment, and are working on a new record.


Check out Scott’s stuff with Vinny Vegas at and be sure to pick up their latest, The Big White Whale.

Where it’s A.T.!: Douglas Lawlor 

For the first ever edition of Where it’s A.T.! I had the pleasure of interviewing a long time friend and phenomenal artist Doug Lawlor.

Bali Indonesia 2013

Doug Lawlor is an artist that is skilled in many different facets of art. From acrylic, to oil and pastel, to pen and ink, and even photography, and film. Doug is a seasoned artist that has a serious passion for what he does and knows it’s what drives him to the fantastic works he’s made.

Oil on 8×4 Board 2009

I recently got in touch with Doug via Facebook to catch up and get his opinion on some things as well as pick his brain to see how he ticks. It’s always interesting to see where a person is coming from when they have made so much in the form of fantastic works.


December 2014

AN2S: Where do you draw your inspiration as an artist, director, and photographer?

Doug: I personally get a great deal of inspiration from the music made for films. I like to allow myself the time to fade off into a meditation a lot with or without music so that I can actually hopefully start getting my mind in the right place quicker than if I just started attacking a painting. It takes hours to get to that right place but I think meditation helps with this.


Oil on Paper Board 2003


Anyway back to the music. Clint Mansell, Alexandre Desplat , Morton Feldman, Hans Zimmer. You’ve gotta check out what these guys have created. And what Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails) are doing for David Fincher. Its fucking nuts.

Ink on Paper Board 2008


AN2S: What influences have affected your work? Life, other artists and film makers, music, and otherwise?

Doug: My work is influenced by whatever source I am most interested in at a time. Looking at the variety of my works bothers me. It’s too all over the place. I need to chill and work on something specific but you will notice a constant that there is always something uncomfortable or upset about it all. There are commonalities in all of my work that are linked by tone. A lot of it is aggressive in some way. It isn’t really meant for children.


Digital Painting 2013

Earlier it was Salvador Dali, and Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. As I get older its more like Fincher, Willem De Kooning, and Cormac McCarthy. Also, the more I learn the more I realize how relentless Picasso was. Such a great mind. Where the fuck would we be without that man?


Oil on Canvas 2011

AN2S: How did you get started in the fields of artistry you’re currently involved in? Which one was first and did that lead you into the others?

Doug: I have a grandfather who is a painter and so I was guided as a painter from a very young age. I painted with him and drew comic characters on my own. Unfortunately, I never was taught the fundamentals an academy would offer until high school and college. I still struggle with things.


Digital Painting 2015


Oil on Canvas 2007

When I was around 10 my grandfather bought my family a hand camcorder that used tapes and I would make videos with the neighborhood kids. We made a film about man eating Clown Gnomes, but the damn video wouldn’t allow anything to be edited on a computer so I had to do all the editing in camera shooting everything in order. I remember as a kid breaking down scenes. I would shout, “FREEZE” so that the kids in the frame would stand still so I could move to another angle and they wouldn’t break continuity. It was a mess.

Pen and Ink on Paper 2015

Creating images that are dynamic is what I like to do so I will branch out and try whatever mediums I can to see how I like them, so even if I had not gotten that camcorder when I was younger I cant imagine I wouldn’t have at some point been interested in film production.


Bali Indonesia 2013


AN2S: When it comes to music you’re taught to practice practice practice. What are some of the habits you have to put your art forms into practice?

Doug: I jump mediums every so often but I always go back to the same few. Oils, Inks, and Digital Photography and Video. Each one I approach very differently than the others and each requires a certain amount of time for completion. These projects then overlap one another and so back-and-forth workflows develop. This is good because I tend to bore easily.

Angkor Wat Cambodia 2014

Really though, the same goes for each of these mediums as you said about music. The greatest painters and comic book artists, Film makers, Game designers, all of them stick to what they know and do not branch out too far because each medium is a discipline and requires immense attention to master. Even if you reach a place where you are comfortable with your style and you let go for a while you will still lose muscle memory as a painter or illustrator, a quickness of eye and steady handling of a camera. I can’t say that I follow that advice because I just can’t. I can lock myself away and do nothing but sketches and drawings for weeks but before too long I will start tricking myself into thinking I should be doing the other thing…and eventually I start doing it.

Cangu Bali


To be honest, a lot of my works, to me are experiments and trivial projects to better myself as an artist to reach an understanding where I will be able to start making REAL art, but that is a mindset and one that must die.

Acrylic and Pastel on Paper 2009

AN2S: What is the next big project for Doug Lawlor and when can we expect more works?

Doug: I have a lot of things I would like to do. I am talking with a writer who is interested in writing a story for a Graphic Novel for us to work on. I have a series of abstract paintings I am working on…and I have a short experimental horror film that is being scored at the moment. I am hoping to send that off to festivals by the beginning of 2016. We will see.

Oil on Canvas 18×24 2014


I’m looking forward to the next project Doug starts. Be sure to keep an eye out for what he has in store for 2016.