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RazoracK Takes EDM to New Heights

EDM Artist Omri Efrat
                              EDM Artist Omri Efrat aka RazoracK

Multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer Omri Efrat has been making waves with his innovative cross-genre style of electronic music for years, both in his native Israel and in the U.S. At the age of just 11, Efrat began working with digital compositions, combining samples and loops while still in grade school. In addition to creating and performing his original work under the stage name RazoracK, he uses his years of experience to produce work for artists whose styles range from electronic dance music to metal to traditional rock.

As a producer, Efrat has worked with a wide array of performers, including the immensely popular Israeli progressive metal band Distorted Harmony. Formed in 2009, the band has attained a huge following and immense success, and their album Utopia was nominated for Classic Rock Magazine’s Progressive Music Award for New Blood. Efrat said working with Distorted Harmony was fun and gave him a chance to mesh his unique style with theirs.

“I love to work with people from the metal community, they’re very open minded and enthusiastic about new ideas and new directions,” Efrat said. “When I was working with them I tried not to step on any toes and not to take over the production, but to be part of the band, which worked out great because everyone was very pleased with the fusion that we created.”

Efrat plays drums and keyboard and performs vocals, all of which he incorporates into much of his own work. His compositions encompass the full spectrum of electronic dance music, and while the common roots of those compositions are grounded in EDM their varied styles defy genre conventions.

“I feel like the EDM scene tends to sound very monotonic,” he said. “I wanted to prove that you can have EDM elements, a groove you can dance to and hard-hitting sounds, but at the same time you can have a story, a purpose and something of which to relate to.”

The massively popular EDM-centric YouTube channel VitalFM described Efrat’s work as “RockStep,” a label Efrat embraces but believes is too narrow. More often than not his work falls outside the dubstep category, and he prides himself on his genre-blending approach to composing and recording.

“I like the term ‘Electronic Rock,’” he said. “They’re rock songs – they all have a story and a meaning – they’re just built with electronic elements instead of traditional instruments.”

Showcasing his ability to work adaptively around artists’ personal styles, Efrat recently produced Israeli musician Evyatar Sivan’s EP Inside the Abalone. His touch can be felt on the title track, which centers around Sivan’s vocals and soft guitar but bears the mark of electronic ambiance, with a subtle chamber-like echo and rich harmonies.

“After some experimenting with sound design and different instruments we ended up having really huge and epic productions with many different and exotic instruments and it really gave a deep and unique tone to the production,” Efrat said. “We used a broken flute for the end of one of the songs and it sounded really weird at first, but after experimenting with different effects and secret sound design tricks we ended up with something that sounded like a war horn.”

That innovative, outside-the-box approach is what Efrat loves the most, and is perhaps his strongest asset as a producer. With each performance and artist collaboration, his repertoire grows and his style becomes even more distinct. Such a multi-faceted skillset is rare in a musician, and rarer in a producer, so Efrat has understandably become a hot commodity.

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One of Iran’s most talented actresses, Nazli K. Lou, opens up about her career and upcoming projects!

Nazli K. Lou
Actress Nazli K. Lou

Originally born in Tehran, Iran, the breathtaking actress Nazli K. Lou is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the silver screen. Her most recent film For the Birds has brought to light the traumatic and true story of a young Iranian woman named Atefeh, who was wrongly accused and put to death in a public execution. Read more about this gifted actress in our interview below!

PL: Can you tell us a little bit about the film and television projects you’ve done?

NKL: I was cast in an independent feature film called Parts of Disease where I play the wife of a potential terrorist and FBI agent who is heavily involved in an investigation.

I also starred in the film For the Birds, which has been incredibly successful on the festival circuit. The film has won several awards and was recently screened at Cannes.

PL: Can you tell us about the making of the film For the Birds, and some of the festivals it’s been to?

NKL: It was a challenge to prepare for this part, but my entire being was dedicated to perfecting this character. I play a 16-year-old girl who is getting publicly executed; not only is she a minor, but she is also innocent.

We wanted to make sure we captured the essence of the girl, so there were a lot of rehearsals and discussions that went into the character’s development. As the lead, I had a lot of one on one time with the director, which made the filming process go smoothly. On the first day of shooting I arrived on set and it was still dark outside. I will never forget the moment where I stood in front of the justice sign and the feeling that ran through my body. I knew I could not change the past, but I was thankful to have the opportunity to do this tiny act that will hopefully change the future.

Our movie won best short at Cleveland Film Festival, Spokane Film Festival, Best Female Director at both the Directors Guild of America and the World of Women Cinema in Sydney.

The film was also an Official Selection at the following Film Festivals: Cannes, Montreal, Vancouver, Sedona, Rome, Bend, New Port beach, Hollywood Reel, New Film Maker LA, Cinequest, Denmark, and the list growing each month.

PL: How did the fact that you were playing a non-fictional character affect your feelings about the role and your overall preparation for the part? (ie: were you more motivated to bring the trauma and truth of the character’s experience to life etc.)

NKL: I wanted to portray this character in a way where the audience could feel the every emotion that was going through this child who was wrongly accused of crimes against chastity and was executed with no chance of having legal representation nor her family informed of her sentencing. Yes, it did affect my feelings and made me more determined to make sure I delivered the message.

PL: How do you feel about the finished product of For the Birds?

NKL: I am very pleased. As you can imagine, just like any other project, we had complications during shooting the movie. However, I can’t stress enough how much all the cast and crew did to make this movie happen. It was almost like the purpose of this movie was pulling us all together to give our 100%. Of course the response we have had so far speaks for itself.

PL: Can you tell our audience a little more about the film Parts of Disease, and how you prepared for the role?

NKL: Four Graduate students travel to various sites of US terrorism for a school project. After one of them disappeared, and was discovered to be linked to people on the terrorist watch list, there is suspicion that he may have been plotting a terrorist attack of his own.

I had to create the character of Kalila who is a Middle Eastern woman married to a potential terrorist and also an undercover FBI agent. Obviously she is torn between decisions and plays a very significant role in how the story evolves.

PL: Your roles in theses films are very different, what made you choose to participate in them?

NKL: When I auditioned for the film For the Birds I was very touched by the story. I felt like it was my obligation and duty as an Iranian woman to use my skills to bring the story to the attention of the world and raise awareness about child executions, which are still happening in many countries around the globe today. What better way to bring such horrific act to the attention of people than through the power of film.

PL: You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?

NKL: Its important to me who I work with, and what message I am conveying.

PL: What do you feel has been the most important role of your career?

NKL: My part in For the Birds, because of the film’s message, as well as the amazing cast and crew. Everybody involved in this project did an excellent job and I believe that we were all touched by the story and that is what brought us together.

PL: As for genre, what is your favorite? (Comedy, Drama, Horror, etc.)

NKL: I am open to all genres, however I have been involved in dramas mostly. I was recently selected out of approximately 600 people to be a part of the Persian version of SNL. So I am very excited about that. I am too scared to watch horror movies, but I would love to be in one. Maybe after a part in a horror movie my fear of watching them will disappear too.

PL: What projects do you have coming up?

NKL: My SNL Persian comedy that will be broadcast internationally on a weekly basis.

PL: Can you tell me a little more about the show? Has the name been announced, and will you be a regular star?

NKL: We are at the early stages of creating this show. Very similar to SNL style, so we will have skits and involve current affairs in our work. Yes I will be a regular and am very excited to explore comedy.

PL: What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actress?

NKL: Difficult question. Basically to do the best I possibly can. I think for any job or career to succeed you must deliver your best efforts and fight your battles. It is important to me to be part of projects that make a difference, whether they aim to raise awareness or serve as entertainment.

PL: Why did you choose this profession?

NKL: I love the fact that I can tell a story and bring a character to life.

Multi-Talented Swedish Actor Linus Ekman!

If you live in Los Angeles and are a connoisseur of the theater then you’ve probably seen Swedish actor Linus Ekman starring in a series of recent stage productions that include Seminar, Glengarry Glen Ross and Hurlyburly.

While still living in Sweden, Linus was a part of the renowned improv group Rattle with which he toured for several years.  An original member of the group, Linus is known for his spot-on comedic timing, a feature that led the group to win the title of Sweden’s Best Improv Theater in 2011 during the Battle Royal competition.

A multi-talented actor whose strengths extend far beyond comedy, Linus has played leading roles in several films including that of Jesper in the Swedish hit Unruly (Banga inte) written and directed by Fanni Metelius.

Set in Gothenburg circa 1999, the plot centers around three girls during the summer transition between middle and high school with the leader of the trio being Mickan, played by Linnea Cart-Lamy who is known throughout Europe for her role in Ruben Östlund’s De ofrivilliga (Involuntary), as well as other projects. The film follows the girls who, in the midst of drinking, partying, and flirting, try to figure out what it is they really want from life. Linus’s character Jesper is the antagonist of the film and the character responsible for the film’s conflict.

The incredibly demanding role required Linus, who is as sweet and innocent as he looks, to transition in to a show no mercy school ground bully, something he accomplished to the ‘T’. After Jesper disrespects one of Mickan’s friends, the young woman filled with teenage angst and the desire to stand up for something, attempts to force Jesper to apologize, a move which ultimately leads to the eruption of the film’s infamous fight scene. Executed perfectly, the scene was like an excerpt from Fight Club with Linus being the antagonistic Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt).

In Swedish Film magazine Metelius recalls her initial thoughts on what would she thought would be the most challenging part of the film; “Beforehand I thought it would be the sex scene, but it turned out to be the fight because so many people were involved. We worked on it for 20 hours. I was ill and had lost my voice. And it was especially hard on the actors, because the water was so cold…”

An incredible look at the challenges of growing up and fitting in, it is no wonder that Unruly won a special mention at the 2011 Uppsala International Short Film Festival, especially with its all-star cast being led by Linus Ekman and Linnea Cart-Lamy.

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Mac Arellano, Far From a One Trick Pony!

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All too often we see actors who get pigeonholed early on in their careers playing the same redundant roles over and over until they’ve completely worn out the genre and the role, leaving the audience to believe that as far their talent goes they are nothing more than a one-trick-pony. Comedy actors are a great example, however that will never be the case with the incredible Mexican actor Mac Arellano. While Mac is a stellar comedy actor, he has made diversity a point in his career appearing in all genres of work from horror films like The Hunted, to heart-breaking dramas like the film Graduation.

 In Alec Baer’s The Hunted Mac plays Frank, the deceased best friend of co-star Sydney Beltramini who comes back to haunt Sydney and remind him of the unforgivable sins he has committed throughout his life as a criminal.  Frank (played by Mac) appears before Sydney covered in blood in Sydney’s broken down motel room, a scene that reminds Sydney that his actions were responsible for the death of his best friend.  Mac’s portrayal of Frank was mind-blowing. The role not only proved his ability to tap into the subtle traits of a feared ghost, which are more often than not overdone in a way that makes the character come off as corny, but also displayed his knack for the horror genre overall.

In the film Graduation, written and directed by Jeffrey Prosser, Mac’s performance in the starring role of George brought audiences to tears with his dramatic rendition of a middle-aged man who struggles to move on as a single father after the untimely death of his beloved wife. George (played by Mac), who was married and began a family in his 20s, is a hard worker who dedicates his life to providing his daughter with all tools she needs to get a solid education and build a life worth living, but his world gets flipped upside down once again when she gets pregnant and drops out of high school. The film is yet another testament to Mac’s extraordinary capacity for playing a wide range of roles, as well as his ability to realistically portray characters far outside of his age range.

Mac Arellano’s staggering talent is sure to keep him working for decades to come, and a feature that will keep him from ever falling into the feared category of one-trick-ponies.

 

Canadian Heart Throb Evan-Riley Brown!

The Canadian actor Evan Riley-Brown first became the talk of the town in his native British Columbia, Canada, after successfully completing an impressive comedy tour with the well-known improv group Full Frontal Improv. While reviews of his improv work have highlighted him as a quick witted comic in papers across British Columbia, Evan’s talent for acting extends far beyond that of the improv.

The now well-known star began perfecting his craft while he was still learning to walk. Evan’s journey into the world of acting began with the play “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Although he was only three years old at the time Evan had already developed his own personal flair for the stage. “I remember coming on stage and then I spoke in this weird deep, demonic voice, it was a choice I made last minute because I thought since I am playing a father bear I should change my voice,” says Brown.

Leaving his boyhood behind, Evan’s unyielding ability to forget his inhibitions and push the limits with his characters has remained strong. “I really enjoyed playing ‘Eben’ from “Desire Under the Elms” by Eugene O’Neil. The play is just so beautifully tragic and I loved playing characters that are intense and tortured and the play has it all- love and hate and the stakes are incredibly high,” said Brown.

Evan’s magnificent performance as ‘Newt’ in the stage production of “Playing with Fire” directed by Oscar winner Milton Justice unleashed a whirlwind of emotions within the audience. A happy go-lucky painter who comes to discover his wife and best friend are in love with one another, the starring role of ‘Newt’ required Evan to dig deep into his bag of emotions.

“It takes an actor with exceptional ability to properly embody a character in such a complicated and uncomfortable situation. This is precisely why Evan was cast in the role, because he is a well-known actor with the ability to display a wide range of emotion,” said Director Milton Justice.

With a series of starring roles in heavily publicized theater productions already under his belt, it is Evan’s work on the silver screen that has really put him on everyone’s radar.

As fans of the Netflix hit Video Game High School already know from his role as the ‘Annihilist’, Evan’s versatility is impeccable. Showing no signs of his gentle, small-town nature, Evan was able to seamlessly embody the bully of the story through and through. Although Evan’s character inVideo Game High School was initially written for one episode, his performance was so compelling that the production team went back to the drawing board and chose to incorporate him as a reoccurring character.

Evan is also slated to star as ‘Kaleb’ in Victor Trevino’s upcoming biography film Spit. Spit is a coming of age tale based on real life events that pits a group of neo-Nazis against a group of punks in a war for individuality. The recent release of the film’s trailer has created quite a lot of buzz about the film with various publications referring to it as the next American History X. Stay tuned for Evan’s role in this incredible film!Image

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