INDIEcent Exposure #38: NTRVW — Phil Hawkins on STAR WARS: ORIGINS

We speak with Phil Hawkins about his mammoth project getting an original, yet painstakingly faithful, Star Wars derivative short produced, and, of course, a stockingful of new Indie tunes

Still from STAR WARS: ORIGINS, courtesy Phil Hawkins

PLUS: Eight music artists you should give a listen to NOW.  * EXPLICIT * (but just a tiny bit…)

Editor’s Note: Musicians’ bio info comes from the artists, their websites, or their publicists. Click on names below to visit their websites where you can get the full story, photos, and very often video.

Welcome, my INDIEcent, yet faithful, legions of music addicts, to episode number 38 of INDIEcent Exposure. I am you host the mongrel — known in an alternate zip code as Jay Vee.

Before we get into this week’s episode, I want to remind you to subscribe to this podcast in Apple Music, Google Play Music, or via your podcatcher of choice. And if you have an extra 30 seconds, leave us a five star rating and review — that really, really helps new listeners discover us. We work hard to help promote the Indie music scene, and you can too by turning people on to INDIEcent Exposure.

While musicians get the lion’s share of attention on this show, I should remind you all that the podcast was also constructed as a home of Indie creators in performing arts, literature, game development, and most definitely film. And this episode is just the show to remind me how much more we should be doing to support those brave, starving artists.

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Featured in this Episode

Chris Considine • “On the Cusp” • single
Firebug • “Sinner” • Wandering Soul
Cass Clayton Band • “Flowers At My Feet” • Play Nice
Joe Olnick Band • “Sticky Floor Nightclub” • Iguana
Shokazoba Funkestra • “Script Reader” • Illusion of Choice, EP
Myki Tuff & the Friendly Fire Band • “War General” • Saturday Night Riddim
El Desollado • “Intro” • Flaying
Samara Moni • “Doctor” • Samara Moni, EP

So, in addition to great new music, we’ll be hearing from Phil Hawkins, director of the original, yet painstakingly faithful, derivative work of film, STAR WARS: ORIGINS. He’s done a mind-bending job, both with good, old-fashioned story telling and with state of the art effects unusual in short, independent films. I wouldn’t blame you if you scrolled down to the embedded trailer straightaway to see what I’m talking about. During this episode, I’ll play clips from my conversation with this up and coming director. Later on, I’ll let you know how to hear our whole discussion. He’s a fascinating personality in the film world today, and I know you’ll be hearing more about his work in the near future.


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Right now, though, let’s have a listen to some of those tunes I promised. We continue to feature music artists who count on ReverbNation.com to connect both with fans and music industry folks listening for the next sweet noise. ReverbNation believes that. DIY shouldn’t mean you’re all alone. Build your career with ReverbNation’s easy-to-use services and exclusive industry access. Check out all the awesome opportunities at ReverbNation.com ASAP.

In fact one of those artists is the Berkshire’s own son Christopher Considine. I love that while scanning through hundreds of submissions from all over the world, I stumbled across some of the most brilliant lyrics brought to life by one of the most arresting voices from just down the road. He comes from a talented family, so I shouldn’t have been too surprised. His gift for accompanying lyric tales with panache and imagination are evident in “On the Cusp,” a single that dropped even after his 2019 release of his full-legth album Dugway.

Chris Considine

“Chris Considine is a singer-songwriter and a one man band, performing his own unique brand of indie pop/rock with a guitar, harmonica, and drums. ​Dugway is Chris’s newest album, produced by Dugway Productions and released in 2019.”

We’ll hear from another ReverbNation discovery, Firebug,” who hail from Joshua Tree California after their relocation from New Orleans. You can trace a wobbly path through their musical influences of 70’s folk rock through 90s grunge, arriving on the cusp of the Roaring Twenties’, (Part II), with a blues infused contemporary rock genre that has yet to be named. We’ll spin “Sinner” off their latest release Wandering Soul and give you a chance to hear what is truly a once-in-a-generation voice in lead singer Juliette Tworsey.


“Spectra Records recording artist FireBug have captivated audiences at music venues and festivals across the globe. Performances in North America that include appearances at SXSW Austin, CMJ NYC, and NXNE in Toronto. Furthermore their shows at festival events in the European Union that include Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth UK and London’s famous Dublin Castle, just scratch the surface of the mileage that FireBug has covered since their inception. Their signature modern rock sound injects a New Orleans influence with elements of 70’s rock, grunge, blues, and folk-rock.”

Not straying too far away from the blues and into funky soul drenched territory, we’ll hear from the Cass Clayton Band, whose 2019 album, Play Nice, gives this vocalist the chance to tell it like it is through a set of pipes widely acknowledged as some of the best in the business. And she plays a mean guitar, too, so she’s pretty much all that and a bag of chips, as we used to say. “Flowers at My Feet” does a good job showcasing her astounding musicianship and an attitude built for Rock ’n’ Roll.

Cass Clayton Band

“Cass Clayton Band is the culmination of a songwriting and composing collaboration between Cass and Taylor Scott that led them into studio to explore new translations of their combined influences of rock, funk, soul, blues and R&B. Cass’s 2018 album won 2018 Album Of The Year (CO Blues Society Members’ Choice), and Play Nice is a continued deep dive into the story telling she is known for. This new-school rock/soul album has countless inventive sounds and unexpected twists. Taylor’s virtuosic guitar playing and composing skills combined with Cass’s lyric writing, smoky 3- octave vocal range, and soulful vocal style have led to music that grooves like nobody’s business.”

Right after we Play Nice with Cass, we’ll waltz the Sticky Floor Nightclub with Joe Olnick, off his brand new release Iguana. I have to tell you, I have been waiting for this LP to drop ever since I played the track, “Glendale Avenue,” off his 2016 release Defiant Grooves way back in Episode #1 of our American Roots podcast The Cornbread Cafe.

Olnick’s latest effort is a great instrumental collection of cosmic experimentalia, jazz-infused folk-rock, and super-tight funk rock, an example of which we’re going to serve up with the aforementioned “Sticky Floor Nightclub.”

First though, let’s kick off this long set of new Indie delights with Christopher Considine and “On the Cusp,” here on INDIEcent Exposure.

The Joe Olnick Band

“Guitarist & producer Joe Olnick explores new directions in modern instrumental music. With over six albums of independently released original material, his work generally falls into two different genres: rock/funk/jazz with his band as well as solo ambient. His last two releases have each had a single hit the US college radio charts (“Funky Traffic” and “Downtown”).

The Joe Olnick Band has a rocking vibe of “avant-jam” and fusion like Medeski, Martin & Wood, New Mastersounds, Phish, and John Scofield. The band’s latest release, Iguana, tells the musical story of a misunderstood hero who overcomes challenges to eventually get what he is looking for. It is their most rock-oriented recording project so far.”

On January 24th, Cass Clayton Band brings the soul, funk, and R&B to the Jazz Funk Connection, 2355 Platte Place, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Check out the bands’ respective websites for more information and upcoming 2020 event schedules.


I promised that I’d bring you excerpts from my conversation with director Phil Hawkins, whose STAR WARS: ORIGINS has been blowing minds in the short time since its release. Whether you’re a sci-fi fan, action adventure fan, or just a lover of expertly crafted cinema, this is a work you have to see to believe. When I stumbled upon the trailer on YouTube, at first I thought that LucasFilm Ltd. had somehow managed to keep the most outrageous crossover project secret from the media for an impossible length of time.

When I dug deeper, I found that the truth behind ORIGINS even more impressive. I know a lot of you are going to want to hear my entire interview with Phil Hawkins, and even though I was going to make it premium content, I’m in a generous mood. Just look for the audio player directly above Hawkins’ photo to listen to our extended chat — it’s the perfect example of how that Indie spirit flows across art forms and why we’ll be bringing more voices from across disciplines onto the show.

Explore STAR WARS: ORIGINS yourself.

Watch the film in its entirety, then find out more about the filmmaker and the work behind the scenes.

Phil Hawkins and Philmco
Behind the Scenes

About Phil Hawins

Hawkins has a love of film that goes back to some of the classics he saw for the first time as a kid. I suppose you could say the same of most cinema-philes; in Hawkins’ case, though, when the credits rolled at the end of a great film, he didn’t just leave the theater satisfied at having seen a good story. He walked out with the gears in his head turning over the question of how the film was made exactly. In early adolescence, with no budget and some patient friends, he set out to unlock the mysteries of movie magic.

Premium audio content below — player visible only to supporting patrons.

Patrons, please log in to hear our full-length interview with Star Wars: ORIGINS writer/director Phil Hawkins.
Not a patron yet? Apollo level members ($5/month) and higher get immediate access.

On Set of The Last Showing; photo by Gareth Gatrell.
On Set of The Last Showing; photo by Gareth Gatrell.

(courtesy http://www.philm.co.uk)
I was one of those weird, driven kids who directed their first short film at 13, dragging their friends into rip-offs and no-budget remakes of Star Wars, The X-Files and had an unhealthy obsession with Jurassic Park that continues to this day. It was the start of my unofficial ‘film school’ and I continued making as many shorts as possible to hone my skills as a filmmaker. I also had an early passion for the theatre which, later, provided an invaluable insight into working with and directing actors.

After writing and directing a short film for the BBC (aged 16), I fell into the commercials industry. After a chance encounter with a production manager who came to see my short and was shooting a commercial the very next day. I jumped at the chance to be a runner (I still make a mean cup of tea) and worked through the ranks from VT Op, Camera Assistant, 3rd Assistant Director, 1st AD, a diversion into being an assistant editor then editor of ads and then, finally, I had the opportunity to direct a low budget commercial. It won a Roses Advertising Award (I’m very happy to say the first of many) and I took the plunge into the big scary world of being a Freelance Director.

Phil Hawkins

Naturally, I streamed STAR WARS: ORIGINS to the largest screen in my house the day it released. And I’ve had to work extra hard not to let drop any spoilers, because, believe me, any hype I shower on the film won’t even come close to doing it justice. As I mentioned earlier, the trailer is embedded in the shownotes, so watch that immediately. Then set aside twenty minutes or so, follow the link to the complete film, and sit back and enjoy a true masterpiece of a sci-fi short, in every way deserving of a place in the Star Wars constellation of tales. And, because I know you’ll want to find out more about Phil Hawkins after watching, I’ve also provided links to his YouTube video blog and to the website of his production company, The Philm Company. And just an FYI to anyone who manages an independent cinema, Hawkins shot Origins with the tools and techniques used by studios with deep pockets with the hope that at least some audiences might get a chance to see it on the big screen as it deserves to be. If you’re interested in gifting a screening of this short to your patrons, get in touch with him.

So, we’re heading back to the music for the rest of this show, and I am de-freaking-lighted to bring back Shokazoba for this episode. I played them a couple few episodes ago right before their secret stealthy appearance at HiLo North Adams. If you’re familiar with this nine-member, horn-driven powerhouse, you probably know that they have this weird way of offering blistering social commentary that you can dance your ass off to. So, it’s like happy rebellious, you know? Anyway, the track I’m going to spin for you goes back to 2012, but given the dumpster fire the mainstream media has become, the tune, “Script Reader,” seems like it could have been written yesterday.


“Shokazoba is a nine piece horn driven new world funk powerhouse! We perform top quality, high energy music to move your feet, inspire the mind, and activate our souls. You will find us playing in theaters, underground clubs, on festival stages, at weddings, house parties, and wherever the cosmic tides take us. We aim to inspire greater human awareness through original, conscious, funky fusion jazz with progressive topical lyrics. Shokazoba offers our deepest love and gratitude to Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Tony Allen for inventing Afrobeat and for inspiring our existence.”

After that, we’ll begin our tour of The Saturday Night Riddim project, which started as a de-mix ( the opposite of a remix) of Mr. Williamz and Chopstick Dubplates’ Jungle track “Saturday Night,” which was replayed as a reggae track by the Birmingham UK–based Friendly Fire Band.

The riddim sounded so fat that Tippa Irie and Myki Tuff both recorded their own versions. Myki Tuff’s sound-killing anthem came out digitally at the end of last year and made a lot of noise, so Friendly Fire Music has unleashed the other cuts on all streaming platforms and two Limited Edition seven inch records : Mr. Williamz’s party touch down, and Tippa Irie’s plea to reckless Mini Bus drivers in JA, together with a vinyl only version of the riddim.

In this episode, we’ll spin Myki Tuff’s “War General,” and follow up with the other two versions of the riddim in later shows.

Myki “Tuff” and the Friendly Fire Band

“Myki ‘Tuff’ Richards started professionally as a bass player in 1984 with his first band Salem Foundation, that enjoyed the success of 2 charting singles, after which he moved on to playing with Studio 1 singers Eddie Fitzroy, Jennifer Lara, Ranking Joe, Anthony Johnson, Earl 16, and Leroy Smart.

Since 2015, Myki Tuff performs as a vocalist with the Friendly Fire Band both on stage and in the studio, with a number of singles under his belt, and live shows all over the UK’s festival and club scene.”

Soundsystem remains a passion and a central theme for Myki Tuff, who continues to work as a DJ on the Jam Jah Sound,. His latest single, War General, on the Saturday Night Riddim, is a tribute to Soundclash culture and has already received airplay around the world.

After Myki Tuff, we’ll travel back across the Atlantic and join El Desollado in Mexico City for a Doom metal experience I hope to catch live one day. I think we’ll play the first track, “Intro Nebula,” off their new album, Flaying. Now, I don’t know much about these guys, but I know that they’re huge in the CDMX, and if I have anything to say about it, they’ll be huge here, too. As a liner note, the band says that they recorded the instrumentation for the album in one take, and then added the vocals in the same session. That’s some beast-mode studio work.

El Desollado

Flaying is the result of several jam sessions in a room of an old house in north Mexico City. With time they became the 5 tracks for the first work in studio. The homonymous EP from the band is a relationship between the Mexican ancestral culture, Sci-Fi, the obscure and bass frequencies of the strings and the slow and deep rythms of the drums. Tracks recorded in a single take. Voice added later in the same session.”

We’ll wrap up this episode with a song from Samara Moni, an artist whose got music encoded in her very DNA. A relative both of world-renown bolero singer Carmen Delia Dipini and members of popular 60’s recording artists, The Latin Souls, Moni has been following her musical ambitions she was little. Her track “Doctor,” layers the raw, emotional power of her vocals on top of a composition that blends Latin pop and Rock, and R&B with strains of much older styles of crooning. We will absolutely be spinning more tracks from this unique talent in the future if at all possible.

Samara Moni

Samara Moni comes from Latin music royalty, including her cousin, bolero singer Carmen Delia Dipini, who was inducted into the Latin Music Hall Of Fame in 2002. Surrounded by her grandfather’s brothers, who were in the the musical group, “The Latin Souls,” and well-known for such hits as “The Party’s Over,” “Boo-ga-loo,” and “Shing-a-ling,” Samara would always dream of Music in her future.

What did I tell you? It sounds to me like Samara Moni has everything she needs to take over the airwaves and interwebs. Remember, if you love what you hear from her, or any of the artists we play, you should definitely follow them on social media and message them to say you heard them on INDIEcent Exposure and want them to keep the tunes coming. That’s why I provide the links to their sites and socials. They really do appreciate the encouragement — it’s tough work being an Indie artist, you know?

I should point out that Shokazoba will be bringing the funk to the First Night celebrations, New Year’s eve at The Deuce Club at 50 Conz Street, Northampton, Massachusetts. And Friendly Fire Band’s next scheduled show is May 1st at the 0161 Music Festival 2020 at St. Kentigern’s Social Club, Hart Road, M147 Manchester, United Kingdom, though I’d be shocked if their calendar doesn’t start filling up before that — as always, check your favorite bands’ sites often for current tour info, ‘cuz I’m not gonna have you blaming me if you show up at a club and there’s a BeeGees tribute band playing instead of the Indie group you heard here.

Well, that’s it for this week’s show. We’ll be back before you know it with another 2XL sized selection of painstakingly curated tunes for you. Until then, thanks for listening, and make a resolution to get even more INDIEcent in the new year.

Our INDIEcent World, Exposed

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  1. Fabulous show I enjoyed all the music on this podcast . Jason s insight and deep intellect describes the music with spot on description. I enjoyed the candid interview with the filmmaker Who discussed apprenticeship and How Beginning film makers have to put in lots of time without pay , a Harsh reality that song composers , artists and video makers on YouTube face with the anemic payout for streams. Thank you for playing hard working crazy artists that are compelled .
    Rock On Jason

    • Hi, Joanne — THANK YOU for your kind words! I’m absolutely honored to be any small part of the indie content world —my hope is that I can help some of the artists I feature get so big they won’t have time for indie podcasts like mine!

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