Kari Leigh Ames and Brianne O'Neill
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Far Out Fest Fierce Female Duo

Kari (left) and Brianne (right) joined forces to revive the psychedelic art and music scene in Nashville while simultaneously hustling their own projects


Hold onto your seats, folks, this week you get a 2 for 1 deal at no additional cost!

That’s right, this weekly spotlight features TWO Homies, Kari and Brianne, who are the hared working genius machines behind Nashville’s very own Far Out Fest. Technically, only Kari is the HOME member, but she and Brianne are a symbiotic creative entity deserving the spotlight. Plus, Brianne will definitely join eventually.

 Brianne O'Neill

Brianne O'Neill

Brianne is a 2010 Nashvillian, having moved from Philly, while Kari kind of grew up here and there, and attended Nashville School of the Arts, but graduated in Michigan. Both Kari’s parents are professional musicians, so growing up with them meant going back and forth between Nashville and other cities; she describes her experience at NSA like the movie Fame, but grungier. The reason Kari finally decided to permanently reside in Nashville was her love for the arts scene. Having been in rural Michigan, she craved to be around creative people again. Nashville was the perfect choice for her, since you can’t turn your head without running into a musician or artist. As for Brianne, she came for the freeing music. During her time in Philly, she worked a corporate job for a kids’ TV network, which was cool, except for she had to wear business clothes at the office. She already had a friend who was living in Nashville, so it made sense for her to swap to Nashville business attire (aka jeans).

The two met when they both started working for a mobile boutique called The Trunk; the job involved lots of teamwork but also lots of downtime. The two quickly realized that they worked extremely well together and have not stopped since. Later on, their friend PsychedelRick was diagnosed with cancer, so they organized an event with a raffle, among other fun engaging activities, to raise money for his hospital bills. After that event, Kari realized that she could organize festival-like events, and decided to reach out to friends willing to help organize a full-on festival. Funny enough, Brianne mixed up the day of the initial meeting, and didn’t show up, but she was the only friend of Kari’s who stayed to see the festival project through to the end.

For those of you unaware, Far Out Fest is an annual multi-media psychedelic weekend spectacle in East Nashville, chock full of music, light projections, art installations, and good times.

All the event information your heart could ever desire is on their website and Facebook page.

HOME entered their picture via Sam Jump, who met Kari through the Nashville art scene and invited her to participate in a light show event. In Nashville, especially for the DIY scene, there is a deficit of venues for events, but here at HOME, there is more control to make the space your own; our community went hand in hand with what Kari and Brianne were cooking up. Kari eventually did a light show for King Corduroy in the space and began curating playlists for heavy metal yoga, sometimes hosted here. On the wall at HOME to the immediate right of the super-secret entrance, there was a Far Out mural, painted for a reveal party, but is unfortunately no longer there, completely covered in white blankness.

For Brianne, she grew up with her parents listening to anything and everything Irish from Enya to U2. Later on during her rebellious phase, she would sneak around to watch MTV, introducing herself to the pop world. Then, when hardcore was a huge trend in the music world, she would attend shows at the YMCA and YWCA. Deftones became a favorite because they weren’t too hardcore. Once college rolled around, Brianne began experiencing the world of listening to the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, which is how the psychedelic bug bit her. These days, she is the lead singer of Black Moon Mother, reaching its 1 year mark this mid-summer. Of course at Far Out Fest, after she had been serving bands vegan food to performers in the green room and running around doing general “make sure this festival runs smoothly” tasks, she and her band floored the audience once she took center stage. In addition to being a musician, Brianne is a writer, both in music and literature. Her years working for kids’ public TV still lingers with her while she writes a children’s book; all she needs to complete the project is an illustrator.

 Kari Leigh Ames

Kari Leigh Ames

Kari’s music/arts origin story is slightly different from Brianne’s, starting with parents who are already in the music industry raising her. They were session and touring musicians, serving as an example to Kari that it was possible to be a part-time professional musician. Though for Kari, she prefers to be behind the stage (or audience) during live shows as opposed to front and center like performing musicians; she desires people to see her art through her light shows, but not necessarily see her. She does, however, jam with her close ladies in a chill setting. Her musical influences include: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, which are the main ones, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Black Sabbath, and other psychedelic bands that utilize(d) light shows during their performance, expressing themselves through both sight and sound. To hear Kari’s curated music listening, check her out on her radio show WXNA 101.5 FM as DJ Karl. That’s spelled K-A-R-L, which is homage to people always misreading her name.

What goes down during a liquid light show is astonishing.

Traditional artists at the Fillmore, as well as the Allman Brothers, first inspired Kari to indulge in the world of liquid lights. The process involves old school overhead projectors, colored oil and water, and concave/convex glass lenses; when mixed together properly, the ingredients create colorful dreamscapes that illuminate any surface in front of them, with the possibility to integrate light transparencies with colored prints or patterns to further create unique visual experiences.



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Liquid light shows speak to Kari because she likes chaos in her visual art, to experience a moment for what it is, and for the art to never repeat itself, to be impermanent and one-of-a-kind. If it is hard to capture on camera, it’s perfect. Light shows, therefore, are definitely a form of performance art.

When the already incredible experience of live music collaborates with live light shows, everyone in the room travels into another realm.

From a performing musician’s perspective, having a light show during the set takes some of the pressure off. Instead of staring at the walls or down at their hands, the musicians can interact with the swirling colors, enjoying their bright and omnipresent embrace.

“Far Out” and “psychedelic” are two terms rarely thrown around today. Kari and Brianne chose those adjectives for their fest not because they only showcase music that “fits in the genre,” but primarily because their fest benefits MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). In fact, they both consider music genres to be very fluid labels; psychedelic is more of a feeling or transcendence than a label. Anything that allows the mind to reach an altered state, to open something new, is psychedelic; so the term can technically be applied to anything, like eating glorious soft-serve ice cream or watching an incredible and moving kid’s movie.

For a first experience using music to heighten physical experiences, I (and Brianne) suggest attending heavy metal yoga here at HOME. The playlist consists of metal tunes leaning more towards the drone-y end of the spectrum. The empowering feeling of practicing yoga and the intensified listening of metal music simultaneously amplify one another during the metal yoga session, channeling a heightened sense of power through the whole body.

If Kari and Brianne’s vibe speaks to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to them via phone or socials. They would love to talk and continuously expand their artist network!

https://www.facebook.com/faroutnashville

https://www.faroutnashville.com/

https://www.instagram.com/faroutnashville/

http://www.karileighames.com/

https://www.instagram.com/karileighames/

https://www.instagram.com/blackmoonmother/

https://blackmoonmother.bandcamp.com/releases


Interviewed and written by Andra Ingram