Saturday, February 26, 2011

Emarosa Interview Will Sowers (bass) and Jordan Stewart (keyboardist)

Photo by Amanda Elsberry

Five days into their tour with Chiodos, Go Radio and Decoder, I had a chance to sit down with a couple of members of Emarosa. Join us as we discuss how the band operates, some of their favorties places to play shows and the future goals as a band...

Cliche one to start off, how has the tour been so far?
Jordan: It's been really good so far. We like Chiodos, and they like us.
Will: There keyboard player is kind of weird though (laughs). It has been a blast. We have had a really good time, and the shows have been a lot of fun.
Jordan: There's really not a lot of pressure, everyone is having a good time, and everyone has toured before.
In December of last year, you guys toured the U.K.. How was that experience? I have heard that the crowds are completely different there.
Jordan: They are like your best U.S. crowd every night.
Will: I don't know, people just seem to have a lot more respect for musicians over there.
Jordan: I don't think that they get as much of it all the the time. They are also much more aware too, they seem to be picky. If the sound (of the live performace) is at all weird, they know and will tell you. Over here, kids just wanted to punch each other and that's kind of there thing.
Will: There's not a lot of the "lame scene" stuff that's over her, that's over in the U.K..
What has been your favorite country to play in?
Will: Either England, or Austrailia.
Jordan: Canada.
Will: All three.
Jordan: Just not mainland Europe.
Will: Yeah, just the U.K. part.
Why not mainland Europe?
Jordan: It's just rough.
Will: Music doesn't go through there very often.
Jordan: You can literally play a show one day for a ton of kids, then the next day you are in another country where no one knows your band.
Will: You can play a show in Germany, where it is more than sold-out and then go to Poland the next day and there are like a hundred kids...
How does your writing process noramlly pan out as a band? Do you guys just jam together?
Jordan: The five of us just play together, and then Jonny comes in later with the lyrics.
Will: We are going to start doing some new stuff, for our next record after this tour, where we are all going to be writing in every step of the process. In the past, it has always been all of the musicians sitting around and then Jonny comes in after we record the song and then kind of does his thing over it and we re-arrange the song to fit his lyrics better.
Have you started to discuss what direction you want to take on this record?
Will: Yeah, we have talked about it a lot this past week and we are going to start writing once we get home from this tour. We are going to spend a lot of time on it, and we are really excited about it.
Is there anyone that you are currently listening (bands/musicians) to, that you are seeing through your music?
Will: We are all over the place. Jordan listens to a lot of hippity-hop, like Kid Cudi, Kanye and Chiddy Bang. I listen to a lot of Temper Trap, Phoenix, Joy Division and a lot of David Bowie. Everyone listens to a lot of Radiohead. We are all over the place, so there is no telling what it will sound like for sure.
With Jonny Craig being involved in so many projects, how do you guys make it work and continue to grow as a band, continually becoming a larger presence in the scene?
Will: Even though it seems like he is doing a lot, his number one focus is always Emarosa. He does a lot of side-projects, but whenever he does those they are really done in a matter of days. We are alwwyas on the road, but if we ever have time off he always tries to work in something while we have time off. Since the first day he has been in our band, Emarosa has beenhis main focus. Whenever our tour schedule is made, then he can choose to do something else...
Where do you guys see yourselves five years down the road?
Jordan: Just trying to grow...
Will: Probably headlining Madison Square Garden with Motley Crue.
Jordan: Playing the Super Bowl...
Will: With the Black-Eyed Peas...
Jordan: We aren't setting a limit, there are goals in place.
What are some of the goals?
Will: Expand out to other generes of music, and tour with different bands that people really wouldn't expect us to. Like more Rock n' Roll bands, becuase we've done great tours but it has been almost the "cliche scene." So just trying to get out of that world, and doing more stuff that goes along with our music better.
Perfect day, windows down, driving in your car what are you listening to?
Jordan: The Format.
Will: Outkast, "Aquemini"
Jordan: That's pretty Atlanta right?
What do you have after this tour?
Will: We are going to be writing right after. We are also making a lot of switches with who we work with, so we are doing a lot of over seas stuff and international stuff. We are doing another headlining U.S. tour in the fall probably. We just have a lot of stuff that is up in the air right now.
Tanner(Drummer in Chiodos): Celebrity question, if you could be any animal, or combination of hybrid animal, what would you be?
Jordan: Shark-Horse. Imagine a shark that fast.
Will: I would be a eel-mu. An eel combined with an emu. Think about an emu, with the neck of an electric-eel.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ari Hest Releases New Music Video for "How Would I Know"

In support of his soon to be released album, Sunset Over Hope Street, singer/songwriter Ari Hest has released a video for his first single "How Would I Know." Check out the video below, and pick up the new album on March 1st! Tour dates attached below:


Feb 27 - Jammin' Jules - Woolwich Township, NJ - Tix

Mar 2 - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 3 - The Kent Stage - Kent, OH - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 4 - The Ark - Ann Arbor, MI - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 5 - Rumba Cafe - Columbus, OH - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street

Mar 6 - Garfield House - Northville, MI - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 8 - Radio Radio - Indianapolis, IN - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 9 - Intersection, The Lounge - Grand Rapids, MI - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 11 - Schuba's - Chicago, IL - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour - Two Shows!

Mar 12 - Gino's Place - Danville, IL - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 14 - Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, IA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 15 - The Mill - Iowa City, IA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 19 - The Walnut Room - Denver, CO - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 23 - Railway Club - Vancouver, BC CANADA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 24 - Green Frog Cafe Acoustic Tavern - Bellingham, WA - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 25 - Tractor Tavern - Seattle, WA - Tix - w/Dan Bern - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 26 - Alberta Rose Theatre - Portland, OR - More Info - w/Dan Bern - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 27 - Tsunami Books - Eugene, OR - More Info - w/Dan Bern - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 29 - Don Quixote - Felton, CA - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 30 - Cafe Du Nord - San Francisco, CA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Mar 31 - Hotel Cafe - Los Angeles, CA - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 1 - Lestat's - San Diego, CA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 2 - Rancho Manana Golf Course - Cave Creek, AZ - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 5 - The Blue Door - Oklahoma City, OK - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 6 - Swank Presents at Rock House Films - Dallas, TX - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 7 - Saxon Pub - Austin, TX - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 10 - WorkPlay Theatre - Birmingham, AL - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 12 - 12th & Porter - Nashville, TN - More Info - w/Sarah Siskind - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 13 - Eddie's Attic - Decatur, GA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 14 - The Pour House - Raleigh, NC - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 15 - Downstairs Live - North Augusta, SC - More Info - w/Toby Lightman - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 16 - Evening Muse - Charlotte, NC - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 20 - Jammin' Java - Vienna, VA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 21 - Ashland Coffee and Tea - Ashland, VA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 22 - Kennett Flash - Kennett Square, PA - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 23 - World Cafe Live - Upstairs - Philadelphia, PA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

Apr 27 - The Rivoli - Toronto, ON - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street

NEW VENUE - May 5 - Hiro Ballroom - New York, NY - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

May 6 - Club Passim - Cambridge, MA - More Info - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour - Two Shows!

May 7 - New Hope Winery - New Hope, PA - Tix - Sunset Over Hope Street Tour

May 20 - Brennan Coffeehouse Series - Jersey City, NJ - More Info

June 2-5 - Mountain Jam Festival - Hunter, NY - Tix

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Good Problems Interview with Pat Brown(formerly of Sing It Loud)

Former front man Sing It Loud, now has a new project that he has been working on with long time friend Mod Sun, called Good Problems. I recently chatted with Pat about how the project came together, amongst other things...

How did the Idea/vision for Good Problems come together? Were you developing it when you were in Sing It Loud?
I was developing it when I was in Sing It Loud. I had a feeling that the band would break up 6 months before we actually did so I was already planning ahead. I wanted to start something that people could believe in. Not just believe in like they believe i'll succeed and believe i'll get big but believe in what I'm saying. Believe that it can help them and make them a better person. That's what it does for me and I want to spread that feeling to other people.
What can fans of your previous works look forward to in this project? What would you say are some similarities/differences in comparison to your previous works?
Honestly it's very different from what I was previously doing. It's still my same vocal style but the lyrics and feel of the songs are very different. I don't sing love songs like I did in SIL. I write about my life and how I deal with situations. It's not full band stuff either it's all beats and orchestration that I make on Reason. One really fun thing about it is I collaborate with a lot of my friends who are Hip Hop artists. I'm trying to bring a unique urban vibe to the project. Good Problems isn't something you are going to be able to take or leave. People will either really enjoy what I'm doing and find it intriguing or it's not going to be their thing.
Who are some of your current influences? Anyone you just can't get enough of right now?
Right now I've been really into MIA, Santigold, Kid Sister, Gorillaz, and the new Kanye album.
How did you get hooked up with Mod Sun?(By the way, heard Jimmy Fallon talk about him on his show the other night!)
I've known Mod forever. The first band I was in he was the drummer. We grew up playing in bands together in Jr. High and High School together. In fact his first show as a rapper was in Fargo with Sing It Loud. Right when he started his new thing I put him on a bunch of shows and backed him up really hard. I've always believed in that kid and helped him anyway I can. Now he's doing the same for me. He co produces all of my music and all of my decisions with me. I also work with his people. We're building a really unique inner circle style team, it's dope. He's one of my best friends.
How has it been working with him?
Fantastic. He's one of the most talented and inspiring people I've ever met. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have been able to make the decision to keep doing music after SIL. He encouraged me and scraped me off the ground during a hard time.
You currently have a free Ep out, I'm Changing My World, what was the inspiration behind that title?
I was writing the song and I had just written the bridge which goes "All the things I used to love I've kicked to the floor, i'm talking about the old clothes and talking about the girl, I'm changing my world" and I wrote it about how I ditched the mega tight skinny jeans, extra small shirts and cut my hair because I wanted to change my look and how I broke up with my girlfriend and when I read that line back to myself I just felt very good. I emailed Mod Sun and said "Dude I just figured out the name for the EP."
How did the songs come together? Did you co-write with anyone?
I co wrote the whole thing with Mod Sun. I wrote most of the lyrics but he helped a lot with the beats and percussion aspect of the EP. The songs came together very naturally and the lyrics easily because I had so much to say after what I had just experienced in my life.
I see that you tweeted recently that you were working in the studio, do you have a full length in the works? Ep?
Yeah I'm always in the studio! In fact Mod Sun, his DJ (Beanie) and our executive producer Mikey Bryent run a recording studio in downtown minneapolis called BloomingSounds together. We have unlimited access to recording so we're always bangin out jams in there. I'm going to be releasing a FREE full mixtape in 2 months online. I can't wait. I've gotten to spend a lot more time on the songs. "I'm Changing My World" was my introduction to the world and this next release will be my follow through.
Any shows in the future? Touring?
I'm doing some dates in April with my little brothers band, Skies Alive. Then after that Mod Sun and myself will be doing some tour dates together.
Where is the best place to keep up-to-date with what's going on with the project?
http://twitter.com/thepatbrown and http://facebook.com/mygoodproblems

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Go Radio Interview with front man Jason Lancaster

Photo By Amanda Elsberry
I got a chance to catch up with Go Radio’s front man, Jason Lancaster, while on tour with Chiodos, Emarosa and Decoder, as they prepare for release of their full-length album “Lucky Street.” After hearing their first single off the album, “The Truth Is,” I am sure that big things are about to happen with this band! Check them out…. http://www.facebook.com/goradio?v=app_178091127385
I know that you are only five days in, but how has the tour been so far?
Lancaster: It has been really good. All the bands are really chill, and everyone is just hanging out.
You guys have a new album, "Lucky Street," coming out March 1st on Fearless Records. Can you describe the writing process behind the record, and Fearless' expectations?
Lancaster: We demoed fifty songs for them. We were writing on the entire tour, but getting them together as a band on the road wasn't really an option. So we had a total of nine days at home to demo them out, send them to the record label, who when sent then sent them to Tim (O’Heir). It was very fast paced indeed.
With so many songs in the bank, do you see yourselves putting out a “b-sides” record soon after? Or maybe a deluxe edition with extra songs on it?
Lancaster: I doubt it, just because I have always thought those things were kind of cheap. If I was sitting there thinking these (songs) aren’t good enough to make it on the record, and the label is saying going these aren’t good enough to be on the record, then why would we ask you guys to buy them? (Laughs)
Did you guys go in a different direction in terms of themes for the actual songs on the record?
Lancaster: This album is more about life in general. Really just life and death, and faith and lack thereof, and everything in between. I think that there might be two songs on the whole album that are about girls (laughs). “The Truth Is” was written with Burns, for his wife.
Did you guys have creative control over the recording process?
Lancaster: Yeah, Fearless pretty much told us to do whatever we wanted to on this record. We were very lucky. Every step of the way was the band’s decision. It was a good thing.
How did the recording process pan out? Was it pretty fast paced?
Lancaster: When we got in from touring, we moved the band up to Brooklyn for a month and a half. We spent a month and a half in Williamsburg with Tim O’Heir and we did about a week of pre-production and then went straight into the studio. It was very, very quick. We were doing twelve and fourteen hour days, really just busting it out.
What did Tim O’Heir specifically bring to the table that you guys were really looking for in a producer?
Lancaster: We always liked his production style, because Tim has never really been a “formula” kind of guy. He’s not like “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, Verse, chorus, bridge,” he’s not that guy. He is more about finding out what’s going to make the song move best, and that’s what first attracted us to Tim. It proved sturdy, and I am really stoked on how it turned out.
What have the reactions been so far, of those who have heard the record?
Lancaster: Everyone is stoked. We haven’t had a negative reaction so far, granted the audience gets a lot bigger in a couple of days (laughs).
Last time we talked about your songwriting process, and how your songs start out in an acoustic-folk format and then you worked on making the sound bigger. Did you stick to that formula? Or are we going to hear songs closer to their original format?
Lancaster: Its closer to the original ideas, it is a lot more true to the song. We didn’t go “hey, let’s pop this up and hopefully fourteen year-old people will like it!” It is a lot more adult, and every song has its own feel on this record. If it is a sad song, it sounds sad. We didn’t try to mask the identity of the song with a breakdown or a hook. It is a lot more honest.
What would you like for listeners to take away from this record?
Lancaster: Just pretty much the story of the last year of my life. These are songs about everything that I have been through, everything the band has been through, and everything that we have done as a unit. It’s about losing family members, losing close friends, and Burns has picked up the relationship that will last the rest of his life. So much has happened this past year, and its all there.
Did you write all of the lyrics on the album, aside from the song with Burns?
Lancaster: If people weren’t writing with me, then we were all critiquing in the studio. So it was definitely an effort from everyone.
Are there any specific artists/bands that you are listening to a ton of right now?
Lancaster: I have been listening to a lot of Manchester. I stay true to Bright Eyes, always. I am also really stoked for the new Starting Line to come out; I’m really excited about it. I listen to a lot of the same thing over and over, like Death Cab and the Postal Service, that’s my jam. It never really falters and changes.
Perfect day, windows down, driving in your car, what are you listening to?
Lancaster: Perfect day? Say Anything’s “…Is a Real Boy.”
So you are going on tour with A Rocket to the Moon after this tour, and then heading out on the Warped Tour this summer. Have you gone out on Warped before?
Lancaster: This will be my first time playing the entire tour. I haven’t really done it, just followed it so I’m really excited about it.

Pre-Order the album here:
http://fearlessrecords.com/goradio/wearegoradio/

Monday, February 21, 2011

Motionless in White Interview with front man Chris Motionless

What would you say your latest release "Creatures" brought to the table, that your previous EP lacked?

I think "Creatures" is leaps and bounds ahead of our EP in every aspect. The EP was alright at the time and helped us gain a solid fanbase, but there was nothing on it that really stood out except a few catchy breakdowns and choruses. This new record is so much more in-depth. The music is much more aggressive and emotional. The lyrics are insanely personal and hold back nothing. It's just a product of evolution.
How did the writing process pan out for you guys? Was it done in-between stints on tours? On the road?
Fortunately, we had a lot of time at home for the writing of "Creatures" so most of it took place at home.
Your music on "Creatures" seems to be a combination of so many different sounds and genres. Who are some of the big musical influences behind this album?
Bleeding Through and Cradle Of Filth I would say are two of the biggest influences. We wanted to have the big epic symphonic feel to our music and both of those bands are prime examples of bands that do it best.
Could you please describe the inspirations for the songs "London In Terror" and "Abigail"? What was the concept behind your latest music video, "Abigail"?
"Abigail" the song and the video is about the Salem Witch Trials. The video is sort of a mix of "The Crucible" and a more modern feel of crime shows like "CSI." We blended them together to make things new while keeping the same story. "London In Terror" is about Jack The Ripper.
You guys seem to have a very strong fan base, what kind of advice would you have for a band starting up in terms of connecting to fans/crowd (both on and off stage)?
Be true to who you are and stop trying to be what you think is going to skyrocket your band to fame. Too many kids who start bands follow the examples they see some bigger bands doing and think that it's magically going to work for them. You need to find out who YOU are and work from there. Don't label yourself as a Christian band and start wearing V-necks and get your chest tattooed just because it worked for 200 other bands that are all exactly the same. It might get you signed and get you on tour with whatever band is big at that time.. but in a few months.. no one will care about you because the next band that ripped you off will be taking your spot. Do something that will get you fans who LOVE your band forever. Give them a reason to come back.
Where did the idea to let fans help in the writing process for the title track of your latest album come from? Were you pleased with the results?I wasn't only pleased, I was SHOCKED. It was amazing to get over 300 emails, 90% of these kids submitting lyrics that were all like mine - very personal and emotional. It made me feel like the stuff I'm writing about is actually going to reach kids and speak to them. I got the idea from 30 Second To Mars. They had fans sing on their record and since I couldnt do that, I tried to think of the next best thing and this was the idea I came up with.
Who are some guys that you have looked up to in the past as far as stage presence goes?
Morrissey is a huge one - he has this magical power to make your emotions run wild with his words and actions. I watch Morrissey and I could either actually laugh out loud or become really emotional, and that's true performer in my eyes. Someone that can cause you to react.
What is your favorite song to perform live, and why?
I like playing "Abigail" live because it has the best crowd reaction of any of the songs. Kids go insane every time.
Perfect day, driving with the windows down, what are you listening to?
The Smiths for sure. Put "The Queen Is Dead" record on and I'm good to drive for forever.
What is next for you guys, after this tour?
After this tour we are going out with a band called For Today and then we have some summer plans I can't mention yet... it's gonna be a big and busy year for us.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sherwood Interview with Nate Henry (audio)

 The summer/fall after I graduated, I found myself working in a dry cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama for one of my closest friends. I spent many hot days in a plant assembling shirts, and then delivering them to various hotels and stores. Two things got me through those long days. The first was the occasional conversation I had with my boss/best bud, when he wasn't running all over the place, making ends meet. The second was Sherwood's second full length album, Qu, playing in my ear over and over again, courtesy of my i-pod. I can't explain how incredibly rare it is for me to listen to an album from start to finish, due to my short attention span. To me, Qu had been perfectly crafted to ease you in with the first couple of tracks, build you up on the following songs, then slowly bring you down again. It can only be compared to the feeling of riding an amazing roller coaster, where you get to the end and you turn to your friend and say "one more time?"
 Sherwood has the gift of creating pure pop-songs with a stripped down feel, which is very refreshing in an age where most pop songs are ridiculously over-produced and consist of a thousand layers. We need more bands like Sherwood out there, that are able to draw influences from the 60's and 70's when pop-rock was just a baby. 
 I was able to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with Sherwood's front man to discuss my favorite record (Qu) and the band's future plans. Please support these guys, because their time may be coming to an end.... listen to the interview below to find out the deets.

Laura Means photos from the interview, including the one below, can be found here http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?id=57701330&aid=2062219 


video


Glass Pear Interview with Yestyn Griffiths

  Glass Pear is the solo-project of Welsh native Yestyn Griffiths, and is currently getting a great deal of support from TV shows such a as One Tree Hill, Grey's Anatomy, 90210, Bones and Vampire Diaries. The singer-songwriter attributes a great deal of his success (30,000 downloads), to these American shows and owning all of his songs and his own record label (WOL Records).
   Griffiths' strong vocals, swooning melodies and beats from varying genres found on his last two releases, Streets of Love & Sweet America, have held my attention non-stop for weeks. Please join me as I talk to Yestyn about his newest release, success in television  and his obsession with Juicing!

What have you been up to lately?
I’m really getting into juicing vegetables at the moment. Is that a boring thing to talk about? Try carrot, ginger, celery, apple. Yeah! I’ve just moved flats so I’m walking round in a daze moving objects around until it feels right. I’ve started work on recording a new album. Its more fruity than “vegetably”. Its feeling like a ripe mango at the moment, summery. Beach Boyesque. Exotic rhythms.
Coming from a family with many successful musicians, was there a great deal of musical collaboration early on?
Well, we all used to sing along to my dad strumming the guitar to Rocky Racoon, Turn turn turn and It ain’t me babe. And there was a lot of music in our home. But the family collaborations were more theatrical than musical. We’d stage productions of Hitchcock type murder mysteries for our relatives and friends. Murder in the shower with tomato ketch-up as the blood – that kind of thing.
How have you seen success through your songs being played on American Television?
Its been equivalent to getting mainstream radio play. I’ve sold over 30,000 downloads because of the TV synchs in Grey’s Anatomy, 90210, Bones, Vampire Diaries and One Tree Hill. Presumably double that figure if you take into account piracy. Because I still own everything – record label and publishing – it means I can survive as an independent artist and make the music I love and juice vegetables all day.
How important has social networking/media been to the success of Glass Pear?
Mmmh, the features in the TV shows happened independently of social media. Social media tools have been useful to stay connected to fans but I wouldn’t say they’ve been critical. What’s far more important is the quality of the music itself. No one juices rotten tomatoes. Then every artist needs some form of exposure: either radio, tv, touring and/or press. So social media and bloggers like yourself really do help spread the word around but it won’t create a career for an artist just by itself.
How would you say you approached the writing and recording differently for your latest EP, Sweet America?
It was intentionally a mostly acoustic record, with the primary instrumentation being acoustic guitars, vocal and piano. There are exceptions such as “Eyes wide open” which is more in the style of the debut album. I wanted to explore the basic elements of songwriting so that it all comes down to the song itself, and not the elaborate decoration of it in production. I have a belief that a song is really good if it still sounds beautiful when its stripped back to just voice and one primary instrument. Once you have a song like that, of course you can produce it in many different styles. That was my goal with this EP, to have a set of songs like that.
In Sweet America, you seem to combine sounds from several different genres. Was that intentional, or just a product of having many different musical influences?
No, it wasn’t intentional. I love the spontaneity of writing and making music. For me that’s the gem. I do hope to always be a progressive artist, always exploring new territories. I think its in my character. Believe it or not I’ve even tried drinking juiced cabbage!
How important is it for artists to widen their span of music they listen to?
You gotta do what you love, listen to what you love. I don’t think you have to listen to every type of music as a strategy. The only reason I do is because I LOVE music in most of the forms it has found an expression. It definitely gives me a greater diversity of vegetables to juice when I pick up the guitar, so its positive in that sense. Going back into musical history is also rewarding to understand how we got to where we are in music.
Are you working/ writing with any artists at the moment? Any new songs with Jem?
Yes Jem is about to put out a new record and I have co-written some lovely songs on that. I've also been co-writing with the artist VV Brown.
Is co-writing something that you would like to continue doing? Do you see Glass Pear going down the co-writing path?
Yes, I’ll definitely write songs with other artists in the future. I really enjoy it. Someone brings the spinach, I bring the pineapple, another brings the banana. Mix it all together…..wowza! It’s a green smoothie, it’s a beautiful song!
Who are some artists that you have looked up to in the past, in terms of live performance/stage presence?
Jim Morrison, Jeff Buckley, Prodigy, The Smiths, Blur, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Lykke Li.
Perfect day, windows down, driving in you car what are you listening to?
-Jonathan Johansson Aldrig Ensam.
-Stone Roses Stone Roses
-Trentmoller The Last Resort
-Killers Human
What do you have coming up soon?
Writing, recording new album. Due out this summer! Video shoots, weird photos, juicing, London gigs. Walks in parks. Cat or dog or both?

The Paper Raincoat Interview with Amber Rubarth and Alex Wong

A couple of weeks ago I was watching(and listening), to On Tree Hill and a song caught my attention. After a little bit of digging, which is one of my favorite parts of hearing songs that I like on television, I found out the name of the song I liked. "Rough Cut," is a really catchy tune crafted by a duo from Brooklyn by the name of The Paper Raincoat. As I began to read about the duo, and listen to the remainder of their self-titled Ep, I realized that there was in fact something very unique behind the project... Join me as I interview Amber and Alex...
With you both being such successful musicians, how did the idea for The Paper Raincoat first emerge?
ALEX: (Laughs) Well actually I think we first had the idea of forming a band during a period of unemployment. We had started writing more the summer after my previous band, The Animators, broke up, and Amber was home from touring... and eventually we realized that the songs were taking on a sound of their own... so we decided to give it a name.

Did you originally set a goal/mission for the project and how you wanted it to sound?
ALEX: We did... there were certain words/adjectives we wrote on a chalkboard in the studio that we would constantly check, to make sure everything we were putting down adhered to those concepts. Some of the words were compelling, cinematic, and optimistic
In your debut Ep “Safe and Sound," you seem to create a fantasy world with fictional characters, accompanied by vivid imaginative stories. How did this idea first develop?
ALEX: we had started doing some creative exercises during our writing sessions as experiments. One of them was a comedy improv exercise our friend Vienna Teng showed us. One person closes their eyes and the other person asks them to describe whatever they see in their mind's eye. It's supposed to take the pressure of having to "create" away, so you're just "describing" something that exists somewhere. The more we did it the more we were describing the same world and the same characters, so we decided to spy on them more and more...
Will the stories continue to develop through future releases?
ALEX: We're not beholden to the story forever, but as long as it is interesting to us and we're curious about it, I think we'll continue to explore it.
Were there any failed story lines, that did not make the cut?
ALEX: hmm, never thought about that. There were some plot ideas that ended up not being used, but we both feel like we're mostly just following these characters and they tell us what they want to do rather than us directing them. In his book On Writing (one of our favorites), Stephen King talks about setting up "situations" rather than plots, and letting characters behave naturally. If you've created interesting people and a compelling situation, the plot unfolds on its own.
How did you approach the writing process, both lyrically and musically, for this album?
ALEX: We wanted to make sure the songs were relatable to us and the listeners with or without the back story, so a lot of the songs come from our personal experiences and then applied to the story. Musically we really tried to let every song tell us what it wanted - no preconceived notions of instruments/sounds. We wanted each song to work just right for itself, and felt that would make a better collection of material in the end.
Has your writing process changed since the debut Ep?
ALEX: I guess we were more deliberate with the Full Length. There was a self imposed deadline of a release date and limited time when we weren't touring, so we really had to be efficient during the time we had together. It worked out for that record but this time around I think it would be nice to have some more breathing room during the writing process.
How does your writing for this project differ from other project you are involved in?
AMBER: This is the first project I've been involved with where it really feels like a complete collaborative effort. Also the first one that has its focus in made up characters and fantasy worlds rather than observations and personal experiences. In a lot of ways, it's very freeing. The synergy with three people collaborating is very great too, and with Alex and I writing together I feel like it takes both of our songs to a new place that's very different than with our solo projects.
How has TV/film placement impacted the success of the project?
AMBER: We've been so lucky with this from the time we released our first EP. It has really allowed us to reach a broader audience before hitting the road like it usually takes. Alex and I both have other things going on and didn't want to throw ourselves for years onto the road with this, and it's given us the opportunity to still get our music out and have time to work on other musical things at the same time.
How important is social networking for the Paper Raincoat?
AMBER: I think it's been somewhat important, but we could probably be better at it.... we have some friends who are masters at giving a lot of new material on YouTube or Facebook, I think we are pretty low key with all of it. I think we'll get better though. You should be our friend.
Any full-length plans in the near future? Any new Ep's in the works?
AMBER: We're working on writing some new songs! Most likely it's going to be after the summer that they're released as we both have other albums being recorded right now. I'm doing a solo album with Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, Cold War Kids) next month and Alex is doing his own solo record plus some touring with Vienna Teng and lots of production projects. But it will come!
Any touring lined up yet?
AMBER: Besides a couple scattered dates (Feb. 25 @ Highline Ballroom in New York City and April 22 @ The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI) we're mostly off the road until we have a new EP.
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
ALEX: the ocean.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Joshua Clothing Interview with Owners Josh Bundra and Kyle Bundra

Joshua Clothing is an awesome company based out of Las Vegas, and ran by brothers Josh and Kyle Bundra, Recently, the brothers have the opportunity to work will many successful bands/musicians and have generated quite the buzz in the music clothing world. Check out their products at bundraclothing.storenvy.com. I had a chance to briefly speak with Kyle and Josh about the history, mission and future plans...


How did the idea of this clothing company come together initially?
The idea for the company came out of a desire to create Christian inspired clothes that didn’t only relate to just Christians, and to bring exposure to music that may not otherwise be heard.
Has music culture always been part of Joshua Clothing?
Kyle: We don’t believe that we could exist without music, as cliché as that sounds, music is such a huge part of our culture as a company and who we are as people, and they coincide.
Josh: Yes, definitely.  We have always had a huge passion for music and it was something that we incorporated from the very beginning.
What is your company's overall mission?
I would say that our goal overall as people and as business owners is to love people the way Christ did without an agenda .In a nutshell it is to express ourselves through designs, to contradict the negative stereotypes of Christianity and to promote music that we love.
 What types of clothing products do you guys offer?
We currently offer Shirts and Foodies.  We are planning on expanding to other products soon. 
Any personal favorites?
Josh: I would say my favorite shirt that we have made would have to be the “Never Surrender” design.  The design was inspired by an idea that I had of surrender flags burning.  The representation of this was to convey that we were willing to fight for what we believe at all cost, even to the point of exhausting any way of escape and/or retreat.  
Kyle: Same for me I would say that this shirt speaks very deeply to both of us on a personal and spiritual level.
How important is social networking to you guys?
Social networking has definitely helped us along, but from a business standpoint we don’t rely on it to build our brand.  There is no guarantee that social networking will continue on forever. A perfect example of that would be MySpace.  We don't ever want to build our business on something that we cannot control.  
Where would you like to see the company in five years? What are some overall goals?
Josh: One, five, ten years down the road, I just want to be able to look back and see that we have made a positive impact in peoples lives.  We don’t have some lofty goal of making a ton of money; we could care less about financial success.  The best way for me to describe this companies overall goal, is to create an experience for the people that invest in our company.  An experience much like the one you get when you go see your favorite band in a small venue.  You feel connected; you feel that you are a part of what they are doing.  
Kyle: I would like to see the company 5 years down the road impacting people's lives in a way we never expected.  It is hard to answer a question like this because our goal has and never will be to make money.  If people see our brand and know what we are about just by the name, then we have done our job.  Whether we are selling three hundred shirts or three shirts a month.
Who are some bands that you guys have worked with (past/present)?
We are extremely blessed to work with the bands that we do now and have worked with in the past.  To mention a few…. As Cities Burn, Memphis May Fire, Oh, Sleeper, Ivoryline, Progress In Color, The Wedding, Sent By Ravens, Life On Repeat, Nick Rich (Buddy Rich’s grandson), From Indian Lakes, and Phinehas.  These are just bands that we can afford to work with, we have many other friends that play in bands that we would love to work with in the future
What do you guys have lined up for the next couple of months? Any new products coming out soon?
Yes we have a new line coming out.  We are currently working with a couple of our bands to put some new collaborations, which we are very excited about.  Keep up to date on our website and facebook.
Perfect day, windows down, driving in your car what are you listening to?
Josh: The Dangerous Summer, haha Kyle is going to say the same thing and anyone who reads this interview that is friends with us is going to roll their eyes.
Kyle: I would strongly disagree with Josh on this one, I am more of a fan of a band out of Maryland called The Dangerous Summer.  But we tend to agree on Barry Manilow as the bestest singer ever! ;)
Where can people purchase your clothing, and find out the latest news about the company?
The store url is bundraclothing.storenvy.com.  We are in the middle of redoing our website so for now the best way to stay connected is through facebook.  And like everyonee have a twitter which is @Joshuaclothing

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Like Moths To Flames Interview with Aaron Evans (guitar)


One of Rise Records latest signees, Like Moths To Flames, have been creating a great deal of buzz in the hardcore communtiy with their new EP "Sweet Talker. I had a chance to speak with guitarist Aaron Evans about the new EP and future plans.Catch them on the Hails and Horns 'Welcome to the Jungle' Tour in April...

How did you guys originally come together and create this project? 
Evans: Well Chris and I had talked about starting a band together a few months before both of our old bands broke up. He and I met a year or 2 before because both of our old bands were on the same label. So when those bands fell through we just hit the ground running with LMTF. 
What attracted you guys to Rise Records? 
Evans: Rise has just always been at the forefront of record labels for our style of music, producing strong bands that do really well for themselves. When the opportunity came about we were all extremely excited to become part of the Rise family. Seeing bands like our friends in Attack Attack and Miss May I doing great for themselves in a short amount of time, we felt like we were in the right place. 
Had you completed the “Sweet Talker" EP before signing with Rise? 
Evans: Yeah we recorded the EP a few months before signing and had planned to self-release it but Craig Ericson was really excited about the band and wanted to get behind it as soon as possible so he offered to put it out on Rise. 
What advice do you have for other DIY bands that are just now starting up? 
Evans: Play music for you and enjoy yourself. We started this band and wanted to make music that all of us would enjoy listening to, as well as playing. So we did exactly that and hoped it would catch on. We are really happy with the direction and growth of the band in the past year and really hope it continues. Nothing we do would be possible without the help from everyone who listens to our band and come to shows. So the best advice I can give is to be thankful that you can be in a band and be thankful for any fans you can gain. The music industry is so over saturated with bands that sound the same, so it's really a roll of the dice that your band will "blow up" so just enjoy yourself and the music you play. 
How does your newest EP "Sweet Talker" differ from your previous works as a band and from other projects that you have been involved in? 
Evans: We took a lot more time on "Sweet Talker" than we did on our past songs we released as a band. As a whole the songs are structured and flow much better than, for instance "Avada Kadavra" or "Death Eaters" (2 demos we put out in early 2010) We grew together as band and figured out what it took to write music that we felt was up to par with other bands of our genre. We hope to step it up a notch more on the full length.   
Being Christian guys, how has that impacted your music/lyrics? What made you guys decided to not label yourselves as a "Christian band?" 
Evans: Not everyone in the band is Christian so we knew going into it that the band would not be a "Christian band". However we all have our own beliefs and have no problem talking to anyone about it in a one-on-one situation. As far as the band as a whole though, we will never preach from the stage. And well, lyrically Chris wrote much more about his real life situations and much less metaphorically than in his past bands. He just wanted to project the fact that he was pissed off. Ha-ha 
How did the writing process unfold for this EP? 
Zach our guitar player does a lot of the brainstorming as far as the instruments go. Then he and I will get together to work on making parts fit together and structuring a song. That way when we went to the studio with skeletons of songs it was easy to make everything work while were there.   
How was working with Landon Tewers again? 
Evans: It was great; he is a close friend to us personally not just as a producer. Landon is a genius when it comes to making stuff happen in a song and we trust and really appreciate his guidance and opinions on our music. When we went to him for our first demo of our song "Dead Routine" he really helped us find our sound as far as getting guitar and bass tones to come out the way we wanted to making parts hit as hard as they could. That was all really just multiplied when we went back for the EP. 
Who are some artists/musicians that you are really into right now? 
Evans:I personally can go through CD's really quick but one I and everyone in our band can always come back to is Architects "Hollow Crown". We listened to the CD a lot while writing "Sweet Talker". I don't listen to a lot of metal really, I enjoy like poppier stuff. In my opinion Conditions "Fluorescent Youth" was the best CD of 2010 I can listen to that CD on repeat all day. 
Who are some people you have looked up to in the past, in terms of stage presence/live performance? 
Evans: We recently did a tour with Texas In July and those are some of the best dudes we've ever met. They kill it as band EVERY night. Really, just a good live band from stage presence to the tightness of the band playing as a whole. As far as someone I have always admired, when I was a kid I loved Joe Trohman from Fall Out Boy, he never ran out of energy on stage, the guy is nuts. 
Any full-length plans in the works? 
Evans: We are currently writing for a full length. There are talks of it being released before the end of the year, so keeps your eyes and ears open for that. 
What is next on the list for you guys? Touring? 
Evans: We have a few shows with our friends in The Color Morale to support them for their sophomore Rise release, then a short run with Oh, Sleeper those are in March and early April. Then in mid April through May we are on the Welcome To The Jungle tour with Upon A Burning Body, The Color Morale and I The Breather. So check out facebook or myspace for the dates and come hang out. 
  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bridget and the Squares Interview

Photo by Laura Means
Other photos from the interview can be found here : http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=2063196&id=57701330
Lately I have been hooked on the album "Still Life," recently released by Brooklyn based Bridget and the Squares. The bands debut release is filled with catchy hooks, soulful vocals and refreshingly honest lyrics that has already left me wanting more. Recently, the group hit the road for their first official tour of the East Coast and I had the chance to meet up with band leader Bridget (Laura Regan) to discuss the debut record, their growth as live performers and future plans...

How has the tour been? Have you ran into anything interesting yet?

Bridget: The tour has been great! We have met some great people, we’ve made some good contacts, we’ve seen some interesting things and we’ve learned some good hard lessons. I think our favorite thing so far, has been Adventure Landing in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was an arcade with all of these wonderful games, and it was pirate themed! That was awesome. This is only our third or fourth show, so we are still early on and haven’t killed each other yet, which is good(laughs).
I see that you got involved with this really cool website, Kickstarter.com, to help raise funds for this tour. How did you get hooked up with them?
Bridget: Well, several of my friends had used Kickstarter for various things and multiple people had told me to try it out. So I looked up the website and said that I might as well try it out, why not? I did it for a while (between 45 and 90 days), so that I could raise $1,000 for a tour and we needed at least that to rent the car and stuff. We started promoting it, my parents helped a good bit, getting their friends involved and other bands helped us out and reposted it for us. Overall, we were able to raise $1,200 for our tour, which has helped us out significantly.
Is it something that you would do again?
Bridget: Absolutely, we are looking at recording an Ep this summer and I am looking into just how much the studio space is going to cost us. We really want to make a dent with this Ep, and we are going in a very different direction from what “Still Life” was. “Still Life” is a decent culmination of what Bridget and the Squares had started from and what my writing had started from. The direction that we are going in now is definitely more of a heavy rock influenced direction. Obliviously the indie-pop is still there, because we are still very quirky and poppy, but it is aggressive and it attacks. I think that is the most important thing that is different about the new Bridget and the Squares, versus the old band. We actually got a review back today that must have come from someone that had seen us a long time ago, because they were saying that the band just kind of plays in the background and I am in the forefront. I don’t think that represents us at all anymore, and we are so much tighter as a band and the band seems to influence my personal performance so much.
With “Still Life,” how far did some of the songs date back?
Bridget: Most of the songs on the record were written in college, or post-college. I am 28 not, so that was a while ago (laughs). More than half of the songs were written during that time, but basically the songs were written over the course of six years. Some of them were pretty old, but they maintained their value to me and I put them on the record.
How are you seeing the writing for the new songs panning out? Is it more collaborative?
Bridget: No, it is still me writing the songs, but I have been putting more stock in the musicians I play with to assist me with the arrangements. I feel that I have become better as a band leader, and I have a better vision of what I want from the songs. Before, I feel like I was trying to hard to fit into this “indie-pop” thing and I wasn’t letting myself be as big as I could be. I feel like I have a very loud voice and powerful stage performance and it was becoming inhibited by me trying to fit into things. I think that a lot of it had to do with being in Boston, where there really wasn’t a very big Indie-pop scene. I feel like I was trying to fill a certain niche that was not being filled, and I wanted to stick to that and be consistent. I hadn’t really come into my own yet. It wasn’t till I moved to New York, that I really learned that people want to see what you are and not you pretending to be someone else, because you can see that anywhere. It is more original so see someone who is really being true to themselves. That is a performance that I want to see. I want to see people being honest onstage, and that is really what we do. We don’t have a lot of gadgets, pedals and re-verb. It’s just piano, voice, bass, and drums. That is our general set-up, but sometime we will just do drums, piano and singing. It is very bear boned, its very honest and very cut and dry.
Speaking of stage presence, there is a very interesting story behind how you developed your stage presence. Who are some people that you have looked up to in the past as far as stage presence goes?
Bridget: Really just all of the classic rock stars like Mick Jagger, dancing like a fool onstage. Singers that just stand up there and have such a presence and you are just in awe of their presence. I have always respected people that can command attention, not just with their talent, but just with their presence. Just being in a room with someone, and you just want to be next to that person. I have always emulated those people. People like Etta James, Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin. All of the classic, strong female personalities and singers. A few years ago, I started getting into some of the signers that had really hard stories and how it influenced their sound, their music and their performance. A lot of that stuff factors in when you are performing, and a great deal of my songs are raw emotionally. I think that it would be doing my songs a great disservice if I didn’t full-out perform them. I think that performance is %90 of music. You go to a show, to see a show and to be entertained. I get bored seeing great musicians just standing there, playing their instruments and not doing anything. I don’t want to see that, I will just buy the record. Music is very complex, there is a lot of knowledge and work that goes into it, but I think that it is a lot of fun (laughs). I think so many musicians get wrapped up in the technical details of everything, and they don’t have fun anymore. I want to have fun, and that’s so important to me now.
So you are definitely seeing growth in your stage performance?
Bridget: Yeah, I definitely think so. I am blown away by how we have been performing (laughs). Amanda Dellevigne is a good friend of mine, who has played in a number of bands over the years in Boston, and I needed a bass player for tour. We were able to work it out to where she could come out on tour with us, and she has been doing great, and it had been a long time since she had seen me perform onstage. When we were playing a show in Richmond, after one of the songs she started clapping (laughs). She was like “that was awesome!” I feel like we have really evolved so much, and I have really come into my own and a lot of it has to do with the fact that I found Kyle Thompson, my drummer. He is defiantly the first drummer that I have played with, that actually matches what I feel. He is playing what I feel, and how I want it to sound. It wasn’t really until we started playing together that I realized that I have the support I need to really scream and get this emotion out!
So how long has it been since you have had the “final three members?”
Bridget: Well, its not even the final three really. Amanda is only with us for tour, and we do have as bass player in New York that we do play with on a regular basis. I found Kyle last summer, when we met at a New York City talent show. He is a singer-songwriter as well and I actually started collaborating with him, doing background vocals and playing piano. Then I needed someone to play drums for me and he was like “I play drums!” I told him that I would believe when I hear it, and then we played together and it was like magic. It just happened organically, we wanted to collaborate, we did and it ended up being perfect. I do still play with him on his project, which we are working on as soon as we get back from tour. The project is called Kyle and the Animal, and I am really excited for it.
Is it completely different?
Bridget: Yeah(laughs). His stuff has a lot of raw emotional material. For the project he plays the guitar and sings, while I play the piano and background vocals. We are currently looking for a drummer, second guitar player and bass player. It is definitely going to take a while, but when we get it done it is going to sound so good. We are probably going to record an Ep for that too, very soon, with some friends. So far, the Ep will be the two of us and then we will add some strings and stuff, to get it to what we want it to sound like so that we can start getting actual musicians to play with us.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences, past and present?
Bridget: I love answering this question, because everyone lumps me into the category with Regina Spektor. I have been writing songs since I was eighteen, so my influences have changed many times since then. Your music evolves as you become a better musician. Once you are able to play the things that you actually admire, you start to evolve a little bit. My roots are definitely in blues, folk and soul. That is really how I learned how to sing and play music. As I evolved, I started listening to a lot more pop and I started listening to a lot more Fiona Apple. What’s funny is a lot of people compare me to Regina Spektor from the “Still Life” record, and I had never even listened to her until after all of the songs were written. The first time that I had heard Regina Spektor, a friend of mine called me up and said “Laura, somebody stole your songs!”(laughs). So I go and listen to Regina Spektor and I was like, “man, she totally beat me!” I think in my head, that she beat me to it but honestly it just makes you want to try harder to be different. When you are new, you are going to be compared to different artists because they have to have something to associate you with. We aren’t re-creating the wheel here, we are making pop music, so I don’t expect not to be compared to other people. I would say as of late my biggest influences have been Ida Maria and Florence and the Machine. Other bands that I enjoy listening to that haven’t influenced our stuff yet, but probably will once we start recording, like Frightened Rabbit and Jeremy Messersmith from Minneapolis. Their lyrics are amazing, and lyrics are really important to me , so I am always trying to get new angles on how to approach writing. I also really like Manchester Orchestra a lot and how they have this amazing ability to build into this huge wall of sound that comes at you. There have only been a few bands that I have seen that have the ability to do that live.
What are you up to after the tour?
Bridget: After the tour we are recording a music video for “Left for Dead,” and then after that we are going to start working on our new Ep. We actually want to re-record “Left for Dead” and “Treat Me Bad” because we play them very differently now. We want to kind of show what the direction of the band is, using something that people are familiar with. We are also going to do two news songs, “Leprosy” and “Goodbye,” which is a really powerful song. It will be like six songs total!