A conversation with Kyle Nicolaides

In 2013, my former band had the chance to join the Rockstar Uproar Festival tour alongside Alice in Chains, Jane's Addiction, Coheed and Cambria among other heavyweight hard rock staples. Sharing one of the smaller outdoor stages with us was a band by the name of "Beware of Darkness". Each day, I watched in awe as Kyle, Dan & Tony displayed some of the most energetic and authentic rock 'n' roll performances one can find. More substantially, however, was the level of songwriting behind the cascading distortion. With a knack for lyrics and melody and a heavy penchant for the classics, Kyle is an old musical soul that somehow manages to exert an air of novelty in today's sonic landscape. In this DMC, we trade notes on the bizarre world that can be the LA music scene. We also discuss some of the major internal challenges and hurdles he and the band have had to face in what still would be considered a nascent stage of their careers. Finally, I learn how the time he spent on semi-hiatus led to a massive turning point, not only for the band, but for Kyle personally, allowing him to contemplate the type of environment he wanted to create for Beware of Darkness along with the series of lifestyle choices that would begin to help him finally feel comfortable in his own skin.

A conversation with Jillian Lauren

Jillian Lauren is a writer, storyteller, mum, rock-wife, and Los Angeleno, by way of New Jersey. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoirs "Everything You Ever Wanted", "Some Girls: My Life in a Harem" and the novel "Pretty". She writes a lot of essays and articles, some of which have been in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Magazine, Elle, The Daily Beast and Salon, among others. Jillian also speaks and tells live stories, often with my favorite, The Moth. There’s a chance you may seen have her on The View, CNN, 60 Minutes, Joy Behar or maybe you heard her on the radio with Howard Stern or Barbara Walters. Not too long ago she did a Ted talk about identity and adoption at Chapman University. Jillian and her musician husband (Scott Shriner from the band Weezer) live with their two sons on the top of a hill in East LA where she claims to battle hipsters on daily basis to reach the Intelligentsia coffee counter.

In this DMC, we discuss the year and a half she spent, at the age of 18, as a "guest" in Prince Jefri Bolkiah’s Bruneian pleasure palace where each night she and 30-40 other girls would attend parties with the prince and his immediate entourage all competing and vying for his coveted attention. I learn how she became intimate with the prince and also about her brief sexual encounter with his brother, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, at the time the Richest man in the world and who has recently implemented Sharia Law in his country where adulterers are now stoned to death. We then proceed to discuss life after the harem and the journey she and her husband embarked on to create their family via the adoption of their first son, Tariku, from Ethiopia. Jillian is a fascinating individual who has led a rich life full of adventure and excitement but like many of us, some regret. However, she’s managed to take any level of remorse or sorrow and turn into a positive by telling her story. As always, I hope there’s something in this podcast that resonates with you on any level. You may wonder how anyone who has not led as rare a life as Jillian’s can relate at all but I think you will be surprised.