Posts Tagged ‘BTB Exclusive’
By: Rob Brayl
ROB BRAYL: First things first, you’ve really surprised me with the direction of your new single Love War. I’m hooked! I love that you’ve broken the mold of American Idol. Was it always your intention to steer towards electronic music?
ANOOP DESAI: Not consciously, no. It was really a process of musical evolution for me. Going to shows, being around music as a professional, advancing as a writer, etc. It was an organic process for me, just trying to find my voice within the genre for the past three years. People may have a memory of me from “Idol” that seems different from the new sound, but it’s really just filling a niche in EDM that I felt was there for the taking. My rule when making this latest record was that I could only make music that I personally liked. It was a decision that seems to have led to a wider appreciation of my music, which I’m thrilled about.
RB: The video treatment for the song is incredible. I’m really impressed with everything your doing at the moment. Can you tell us a little about the visuals in the clip? (I’ve noticed some horses and country scenes which I think are cool, meshing with your North Carolina upbringing.)
AD: We filmed parts of the video in the North Georgia mountains, parts of it on a white backdrop with cool lighting, and of course there’s the military footage in there. It’s meant to be jarring but also visually clear. And you sort of hinted at it, the idea is that the song is referencing a past gone by while really trying to express the reality that struggle still plays in everyday life. Essentially, no one comes out unscathed from a Love War.
RB: What artists have you been inspired by with regards to this new sound/style?
AD: This answer really changes weekly for me, but I think at the time I was writing Love War I was listening to a lot of Bassnectar, The Weeknd, the first Ellie Goulding record, and because I was a recent Atlanta immigrant, LOTS of hip hop. I’m in a space right now where I’m really into James Blake, Kishi Bashi, Purity Ring, Active Child, M83, etc. (and still a lot of hip hop), so we’ll see how that affects the next batch of stuff I’m working on.
RB: You must be stoked about your debut album? Any idea/timeframe as to when it might drop?
AD: So stoked. I think I owe it to myself and my fans to make sure that it has everything behind it that it deserves, so there’s of course a financial and promotional element there that we need to set up when it’s done. We’re already done with half of it, and I’m personally aiming for late this year or early next year. In the meantime, I’m releasing a new remix package of Love War in June.
RB: Like most girls and soccer moms, I loved you on American Idol! [Laughs] What I don’t love is hearing that you experienced some racism after the show. That sh*t really bothers me. But major kudos to you for being able to be vulnerable and real and open about it. I think that type of honesty encourages change.
AD: Thanks. It’s nothing new, although it was new to me at the time. I don’t think it’s headline news that there are dumb people in the world, but it’s always weird when that kind of stuff is directed at you. I’m fully aware that I don’t get as much of that stuff as a lot of other people. As messed up as it is, sometimes people have to be peer pressured into acceptance. (I hate the word “tolerance”.) Hopefully, the kind of mainstream success I am working towards can be part of that pressure.
RB: Do you feel like your experience on the show pushed you in a way to break away from the more safer styles/genres the show seems to embrace/push winners towards? Meaning, there’s not many artists from the show who are doing what you’re doing right now, which is making really rad electro music!
AD: In a way… I tried to do the “safe” thing at first and it just didn’t really work for me. On a critical and personal level. Like I said earlier, my rule for the new sound was that I had to like everything that I was putting out there. I didn’t have that rule before, and I think it showed. At first, I pushed myself towards that bubblegum ideal because I felt like that was what my audience wanted. Whether that was smart or just pandering, I don’t know, but it definitely didn’t get me where I wanted to go. As I’ve begun to write more and really focus on the craft above anything else, I’ve evolved as a musician and as a fan of music. And, of course, that will never stop.
RB: This is a staple in questions I ask artists: What’s a few of your current guilty pleasures? Music or non?
AD: The new will.i.am album, bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
RB: Last album you purchased.
AD: James Blake – Overgrown. It’s just complete mastery. I went to his show at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC the other night and it was literally awesome. Although I’m also a fan of the new Charli XCX, Django Django, and Major Lazer records.
RB: Are you planning on touring with the upcoming album release?
AD: This fall, but no dates are set in stone yet.
RB: Finally, I wanted to say that BiggerThanBeyonce focuses a lot of energy spotlighting incredible indie artists like yourself. Although difficult at times, do you feel a sense of personal triumph and victory being free to make the music you love?
AD: Of course! It is difficult at times, but that’s going to make what’s ahead even sweeter.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: For those who may not be familiar with The Neighbourhood, can you provide us with a brief backstory?
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD: Growing up in Thousand Oaks (ish), it was easy for kids who played music/in bands to meet. We all met a couple years ago & decided to try & make music with our best friends. Luckily, we all trust each other as musicians & everyone is bringing something unique to the table. It’s a good feeling. We made some songs, put them out, made some videos, put them out, toured around a bunch & here we are.
MC: Is there any specific meaning to the change in spelling of the band name?
NBHD: Initially it was only because the other spelling was taken. That being said, I think it is one of the best things to happen to our band, we feel it fits us so much better.
MC: Did you always know you wanted to make music?
NBHD: It’s always been undeniable. It was easy to get discouraged about it, though. It took meeting the guys in this band for me to not give up.
MC: Sweater Weather in my opinion is one of the best songs I have heard in quite some time. How does it feel to be riding the wave of such massive success on this track?
NBHD: We are very humbled by the love. It’s a great feeling when people like your songs. Hearing ourselves on the radio is pretty insane.
MC: So let’s talk about the album I Love You. For those who don’t have it yet, is there somewhat of a theme here?
NBHD: Definitely. I think a lot of the songs have to do with love, and not necessarily exclusively a person/person love, and not exclusively positive or negative.
MC: Some of my favorite tracks are Let It Go and Flawless. The whole album is extremely refreshing. Is there a specific track that the crowd reacts to most?
NBHD: People seemed to catch on to Afraid before the album was even out. I think that song definitely resonates with people.
MC: I see you guys are on the road through the end of July. What is your favorite part about being on tour? Any crazy stories?
NBHD: Playing shows (now exclusively headline shows) in places so far from home and selling them out is a great feeling. Um, crazy stories… I won’t get into too much detail, but we recently broke a window playing Frisbee. Accidentally. [Laughs]
MC: How about venues? Any cities you are most excited about?
NBHD: The coasts are always fun. California & New York are undeniable. I’m excited to go back to Canada as well.
MC: There are so many young bands out there trying to be a part of the movement. How do you separate yourselves and keep your sound and style original?
NBHD: We aren’t a band. We are a unit… a group. We have this plan for all of the content that we put out. We don’t just put out songs. We put out content (music, videos, artwork, etc.). Everything is thought out & everything is done in-house by our team.
MC: I wouldn’t really classify The Neighbourhood into a specific genre of music. Would you agree?
NBHD: It just feels so forced to try and put it into anything too specific.
MC: So what is next after the tour? Back to recording?
NBHD: We should have some new music out relatively soon, actually…
MC: I feel you guys are well on your way, and wish you the utmost success. Any advice for bands starting out and our readers at home?
NBHD: Give it 100%. If you have a backup plan, you aren’t giving it 100%.
By: Maria Ciezak
There is a new buzz in the music world that goes by the name of Social Club. Fresh off of SXSW, and with a brand new album (Gamma Rays) under their belt, they are destined for greatness. I recently had the opportunity to chat with the band about their story, music, touring, and more. They are artists on the rise, so be sure to join the movement.
MARIA CIEZAK: For those who are unfamiliar with Social Club, can you provide a brief back story?
SOCIAL CLUB: Well, it all started a little over two years ago, when lead singer/guitarist John Levan and bass player James Spratley left a local hip hop band to start their own project. They started going to all the local open mic nights, and that is where they met drummer Jeffrey Litzman and keyboardist Thea Tochihara.
MC: Any crazy, inspirational story behind the name? I had to ask.
SC: [Laughs] Nothing really crazy. We felt the way we all came together to form the band, it was a very fitting name. We all have different backgrounds and personalities. We are bringing that all together to put out the best music we know how.
MC: How was the music scene growing up San Diego? Was there one?
SC: We actually didn’t grow up in San Diego. We are all transplants from different states. James is from Virginia Beach. Thea is from Denver, Colorado. John is from Charleston, WV. And Jeff is from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. The music scene in San Diego is awesome. And that is why we love playing venues like the Casbah, that has been around for a while.
MC: If you had to place your sound into a particular genre, could you?
SC: We really don’t like to. But I guess you force us to do so. We would say indie alternative pop rock. [Laughs]
MC: Tell us a little bit about your new album, Gamma Rays.
SC: Oh, we definitely shed a bunch of blood, sweat and tears over this album. [Laughs] Nah, it’s pretty much a feel-good album. We tried to stay true to ourselves and stuck with whatever came out, pretty much. We put all genres aside when it comes to writing music. And this album shows how our different backgrounds all came together.
MC: Now that age old question that I am always curious about, for I am the furthest thing from a musician: What comes first? The music or the lyrics?
SC: Definitely the music. We like to jam out at practice, just to see what comes out. And that is how a lot of our sounds came to be.
MC: What would you say you enjoy more? Studio time or live shows?
SC: Honestly, there is nothing better than live shows. You get to share the magnificent feeling of playing music to all your friends. And also it is great seeing their reaction to what you have created.
MC: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
SC: If we weren’t making music, we would be listening to it. Let’s be honest, there really isn’t anything else to do in life, right? [Laughs]
MC: You are absolutely right in that statement, hence what I am doing here!
SC: Dream collaboration. That is one of the toughest questions for us. Probably Muse or The Killers. Actually any bands, MCs or DJs that are good at their craft and want to join forces to rock the world. This is now an open invitation. [Laughs]
MC: What social outlet is best for fans to connect with you?
SC: The best way to connect with us is to come out to one of our shows, or you can visit www.SocialClubJams.com, where we have any social media outlet you are most comfortable with.
MC: Now that the record is successfully out (and I highly recommend everyone to pick one up), what’s next?
SC: Next we will be rocking as many shows as possible and promoting the album Gamma Rays. We also have some video ideas we are gearing up for. So keep an eye out.
MC: Describe Social Club in five words.
SC: Your next favorite band, hopefully.
By: Rob Brayl
“… hypnotizing … a completely different sound.”
“ … no matter the vibe or subject matter, Eve doesn’t seem to let up on her flow … Lip Lock may shape up to be a smart, modern update to her already confident songs.”
“…fierce bars from Ruff Ryder’s former First Lady … Eve keeps the momentum strong leading into the release of her comeback album, Lip Lock.”
“… bossy rhymes over a bouncy anthem … haunting hook … dancehall flavor.”
Today, all eyes are on EVE. The multi-platinum selling artist and iconic hip-hop pioneer has unleashed the fierce video for her latest single, the self-titled EVE, TODAY via VEVO! “EVE is one of my fave songs on the album,” the rapper recently told Rolling Stone, who premiered an exclusive stream of the track online last week. “It’s in ya face, it’s all me.”
In celebration of the upcoming release of her long-awaited album, Lip Lock, out May 14, BiggerThanBeyonce.Com is doing an official giveaway!
For your chance to win a SIGNED COPY OF THE NEW ALBUM + LITHOGRAPH, please follow us on Twitter (@biggrthnbeyonce) and give us a shout-out with hashtag #EVE. Be creative and have fun with it!
The winner will be announced day of release!
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (May 3rd)
Good Morning America (May 14th)
106 & Park (May 15) &
The Wendy Williams Show (May 16)
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: For those who aren’t aware of The Mowgli’s, can you let us know a brief backstory?
MATT DI PANNI of THE MOWGLI’S: Most of us met growing up in Calabasas. Some of us have been friends since elementary school. Colin and Josh are from the Midwest and we were all lucky enough to cross paths with them a few years back.
MC: It’s rare to find a band with eight members. Does it ever get crowded on stage?
MDP: It’s always crowded on stage with just the band, and then we generally ask the crowd to join us on stage… I think of it as a big house party and everyone is hanging out in the kitchen.
MC: How was the music scene starting out in California? I am sure there are a lot of bands out there struggling to make it.
MDP: The California music scene seemed easily receptive to our sound. Most people in Southern California had grown up with bands like The Beach Boys or anything from the 60s love era, so it’s easy for our Love Rock to feel familiar to them. The same goes for Northern California because of the beatnik and love movements in the 60s & 70s.
Bands do struggle in LA, but there’s so much amazing music coming from the city. We do our best to help all of our friends and their bands because we want people to hear their music too.
MC: What would you say you enjoy more, recording or live performances?
MDP: Live performance. Feeling the room swell with sweat and people dancing is one of the most intense feelings.
MC: San Francisco is becoming a massive hit. Every time I hear this song I want too dance. How do you feel about the success it’s been getting?
MDP: Really excited. I’m just really happy that people are getting the chance to hear what we truly believe. People around the world are feeling our positivity and I hope it’s making them inherently better towards each other.
MC: I also love the video for this track. Where did the concept come from?
MDP: We met Justin Baldoni, the director of the video, and we went back and forth on so many ideas within his vision. Justin wanted to create this one singular movement of random acts of kindness between the band and strangers. We worked with a choreographer to make the video flow perfectly, step by step. We had always wanted to make a video where we were doing good for other people and Justin really helped us actualize the scenario.
MC: What music is on your iPod right now?
MDP: As I answer these questions I am listening to Hearts Alive by Mastodon, but I’m currently very into Dead Sara, Lissie, The 1975, Code Orange Kids, Burnt Books, and Explosions in the Sky.
MC: If you weren’t playing music, what would you be doing?
MDP: My other passion used to be video games, so I would probably be involved in that industry. I used to test video games before we started touring.
MC: You guys will be on the road this spring and I will be catching you in New York. Any venues you are looking forward to the most?
MDP: NYC (Mercury Lounge), April 5th and Chicago (Schubas), April 12th.
MC: What’s next after the tour?
MDP: Home for about three days and then back on the road. We will be doing more touring and festivals throughout the entire summer. At some point in the next few months we will be releasing a full-length record with PhotoFinish Records, so expect that too!
MC: Can you provide any advice for bands just starting out?
MDP: Stay humble no matter what, don’t give up if its your dream, and don’t forget to remind the people you love that you love them every day.
MC: Describe The Mowgli’s sound in five words.
MDP: Fun and positive Love Rock.
By: Rob Brayl
ROB BRAYL: I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the new album (‘Wax Wings’, due out May 7th), and it’s an exquisite record! You MUST be getting butterflies leading up to its release?
JOSHUA RADIN: I am but mainly because I’m self-releasing a record for the first time. It’s scary but fun.
RB: I’m literally sitting here with my headphones on, trying to pick a favorite track from the record. I’m having a hard time, but I’m leaning towards ‘Your Rainy Days’ and ‘Like They Used To’. May I ask your personal favorite?
JR: Thank you so much! Well, that’s nice to hear. I guess if I had to pick a favorite it would be ‘Back To Where I’m From’.
RB: Being that this site is known for spotlighting indie artists, I was particularly fixated on the fact that you chose to release your new album independently. What was your frame of mind regarding this move?
JR: I like releasing music more often than most labels will allow. So I’m going at it on my own in order to put more music out into the world.
RB: I understand the title comes from Greek mythology. Can you speak on this a little bit?
JR: In several past songs, I’ve referred to my love as the sun. The album title is a reference to the myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun on wings made of wax and feathers. The wings melted and he fell, just as I have, over and over again. Sometimes I think love is something I’ll never get too close to again, and other times I feel the confidence to fly too closely to it.
RB: Obviously rap will never be an influence in your work, but since you’re from Cleveland and all, I have to ask: What do you think of Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly?
JR: To be honest, I don’t know who that is.
RB: Speaking of influences, what is your driving force when creating music?
RB: I always ask this, because it’s fun… Current guilty pleasure(s)?
JR: Girls. (The TV show)
RB: If I were to steal your iPod, are there any artists I may be surprised to find?
JR: Probably not. But who knows? I like all kinds of music.
RB: I saw you perform last year here in the city and actually met you very briefly after the show. You seemed as genuine and real as your music and I think it shows in your performances. The connection you have with the audience is incredibly honest. Are you planning on touring with the new material?
JR: Thank you! I try really hard to connect with everyone during live performances. I am going to tour this record but in just a few intimate venues in just a few cities. I spent half of last year on the road and I’m a little burnt. I’m needing home right now.
RB: It’s a well-known fact that you performed at Ellen DeGeneres’ wedding. I just wanted to end this interview by saying thank you for supporting gay rights. We love you!
JR: [Laughs] Yes, I did, and I do. She is an amazing woman as is her wife.
By: Rob Brayl
ROB BRAYL: Ok, Mr. Daniel, first things first… You’re back, completely independent, and NAKED. I feel like I need a cigarette (and I don’t smoke) after watching your most recent videos (‘Rocks Off’ & ‘Secret Fear’) from your latest ‘Secret Fear’ EP. Do you mind if I call you sexy?
DANIEL BEDINGFIELD: I have been known to accept compliments of that nature before. Nice to have someone focusing on something other than the girls in my video for once.
RB: In all seriousness, the visuals are stunning. Can you give us a little insight regarding their inspiration?
DB: Everything was designed to portray contrast. Relationships are very complex. And the relationships I’ve experienced in the past have been innately complex. The video seems to successively provoke opposing feelings of entrapment and obsession in the viewing audience, the eternal spin-cycle of revolving binary emotions and triggers. The nudity invokes the traditional desire of artists throughout the centuries portraying humans without their trappings of culture or status enabling the viewer to see the work as a human experience.
RB: When listening to the new material and watching the videos, knowing you are an independent artist now, it all makes sense… There’s an incredible sense of liberation present. Do you feel less chains and more freedom now to create the music you want to create now that you’re indie?
DB: I paid with years of my life to procure this freedom, it’s everything to me. No fat-cats sitting over my shoulder, trying to mould my art as I make it. I AM very limited without the financial backing of large corporations, but I find the limitations serve my purposes, rather than curtailing my activities.
RB: Back to being naked (laughs)… The part of your music that I cling to the most is the emotionally naked pieces. My favorite track on the EP is ‘Don’t Write Me Off’. It’s breathtaking. I love it so much! I just wanted to speak as a fan for a moment and say thank you for bringing such beautiful songs to life.
DB: You’re a sweetheart and I greatly appreciate your support.
RB: Are you touring with the new stuff?
DB: Of course! But without record company backing it’s a lot more difficult. If you’d like to organize a large enough audience for me, I’ll come and play in your town.
RB: What’s next on this fresh new journey for you? (Please come to Brooklyn!)
DB: A ha! Brooklyn! This I can do. How’s Williamsburg? New E.P out shortly, and I suspect you may enjoy this new video too.
RB: Current guilty pleasures. Give us something juicy!
DB: Telling little kids how to sing better as if I know what I’m talking about. Judging talent competitions and mentoring, voice coaching and shaping young talent.
RB: If I were to look at your laptop or iPod, what kind of music filth would I find?
DB: Marilyn Manson, Rowdy Superstar, Azealia Banks, Mykki Blanco… And that’s just half of the filthy stuff.
RB: Are there any charities you’re currently working with?
DB: I’m working to free the 26 million slaves on the planet with Stop The Traffik. I’m particularly focussed on ending sex trafficking of women and children.
RB: And finally, this blog, much like yourself and your incredible new material, is completely independent. So thank you for taking the time to speak with us. To end this interview, give us something random to close out with? Make it count!
View the new & improved indie/sexy/stunning Daniel Bedingfield below.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: For those who don’t know Toothgrinder, what’s the backstory?
JUSTIN MATTHEWS of TOOTHGRINDER: Everyone in the band has pretty much known each other for most our middle and high school careers. We have all played in other bands at one time, and coincidentally, all of our previous bands have played shows together. When everyone went off to college and our high school bands had broken up, Wills, Jason and Milky were still jamming on and off. One summer after my first year of college, Milky asked me to jam with them. I was a little hesitant at first, considering I thought my music career was over and I didnâ€™t want to get involved in something that wouldnâ€™t last. We had a couple jam sessions in Wills’ parentâ€™s back room and realized we could make this work. We then picked up Matt as a bass player; we knew he had a background in jazz composition which helped evolve our eclectic style. I ended up going back to school as well as everyone else. Considering all of us were attending school full time, it was extremely hard to practice and play shows. Up until this year, we were only able to play during the summer and short winter breaks. I was going to school in North Carolina and remember about ten different occasions where I was driving a total of 20 hours to play one show. Though it was stressful, it made me more emotionally committed to the band and solidified my passion for it. Now that we have all graduated, I feel this is the first year we can call ourselves a real band. Up until now it has felt more like jam sessions and random shows. Fortunately, it is now more exciting than ever.
MC: Was the lineup always the same?
TG: Yes, the lineup has always been the same. I feel I can speak for everybody by saying the band would probably end if one of us split from the group. Each and every member of the band is irreplaceable. This goes beyond talent and creativity, we are pretty much family. I have spent more time with these guys than I have with a lot of close people in my life. It is something hard to understand unless you are in that particular situation.
MC: Where was your first show?
TG: Our first show was at a place called â€œGood Timesâ€. Letâ€™s just say it was very anti-climactic. This band started off extremely different than other bands I have been in. We pretty much began playing shows with absolutely no buzz and no one knowing who the hell we were or that we even started a band. We were the anti-facebook, anti-myspace band, with a more grassroots style.
That has clearly changed.
MC: What are your thoughts on the metal scene in New Jersey? Is there much of one?
TG: Yes and no. Yes, there is a metal scene with some great bands and great musicians, and no, in the sense that I feel the local fan base is not what it used to be. I remember chewing my nails to the bone just trying to find some sort of live video online, and now they are everywhere. I feel technology has a little to do with why so many kids do not go to local shows on the weekends anymore. I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Though, I am extremely grateful there still is a metal scene, because for a while I thought it was going to completely die out.
MC: Who are some of your musical influences as a band?
TG: I cannot speak for everyone on this topic since we all have very different tastes in music. As a vocalist, I am greatly influenced by Mike Patton, Daryl Palumbo, Phil Anselmo, Phillip Lebonte, Greg Puciato, Chris Conley, Geoff Rickly and Maynard James Keenan, to name a few.
MC: What is on Toothgrinder’s iPod right now? Digging any new bands?
My iPod is ridiculous. I have been listening to a lot of nostalgic throwbacks lately. Some bands include Glassjaw, The Bouncing Souls, Shai Hulud, Pantera, Gin Blossoms, Pink Floyd and Crosby Stills Nash & Young. As far as â€œnewâ€ music goes, I am really digging this dude Wills introduced me to. His name is Charles Bradley. He has this James Brown style that I tend to like a lot.
MC: You guys just released a new record, however, it’s only three songs long. Explain!
TG: We have all decided that as an unsigned band it is better to release little bits of music more frequently, rather than an album with 60 minutes of music on it once every two years. We feel it gives people the chance to listen to everything we have to offer rather than skipping through an entire album until they find their favorite songâ€¦ Technically, the album we just released is one song, but we split it up into three parts so people can skip rather than fast forward to a part they want to hear. It really is just our preference. We tend to do things our way, and we hope people appreciate that.
MC: Where can fans go to learn more about you?
TG: As clichÃ© as it sounds, our facebook page and live shows. Personally, I feel our fans will not learn what we are about until they see us live. That is where the magic happens.
MC: What is your proudest moment in your career thus far?
TG: Honestly, I do not have a â€œproudest momentâ€. I am just so happy and thankful that I have come to a point in my life where I am involved in a musical project that is putting out quality music that people like to listen to. The fact that people listen to something we write, and enjoy it, blows my mind. It really does.
MC: What’s next for Toothgrinder? Tour? Studio again?
TG: All we want to do at this point is get on the road and keep putting out music. We are all at the crossroads where we want to quit our day jobs, say goodbye to our families and be gone for nine months. That is our dream and we are doing all we can to make it happen. Right now we are putting together a â€œdo it yourselfâ€ tour for late spring. It is extremely hard, but I have the confidence that we will get it done. New music will be out in the next three months as well. Until then, we just got to keep on keepinâ€™ on.
By: Maria Ciezak
EVEREST: During the touring cycle for our last album On Approach, we performed Let Go on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and it went over pretty well. From what we understand, a savvy ad exec at the agency that works with Corona liked us just as a real band. They thought we were right for the commercial they were pitching. They just wanted Everest as we are, no changes, no acting required. We filmed half the spot on one of our hometown stages, The Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, and shot the beach scene on the actual Corona beach in Tulum, Mexico. It was a strange turn of events, but when you see the commercial, itâ€™s just us being usâ€¦
MC: For those who are just getting to know your music now, how did you guys meet? And where does the name â€œEverestâ€ come from?
E: We met as friends who were all working in touring bands based in Los Angeles. When faced with the daunting task of naming our new collaboration, we ended up taking the easy route and named the group after Jason Soda and Russ Pollardâ€™s pre-existing analog recording studio, Everest Recorders. The name for the studio was based on an old story about the Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick and his brand of cigarettes â€“ Everest. For a short time, the lads thought about calling their final album â€œEverestâ€ and even some of the tape boxes from the sessions were labeled â€œEverest.â€ Later, they settled on another titleâ€¦ â€œAbbey Road.â€
MC: What is it like being musicians from Los Angeles, for I almost feel that is the place that many aspiring musicians migrate towards to pursue their dreams.
E: The geography of our home base has in some ways been a detriment, I feel. Thereâ€™s just so much traffic here (figuratively and literally). There is a ton of talent and innovative art, but itâ€™s extremely hard to stand out from the crowd. We have a tight collective of friends in great bands based out of the Silverlake and Echo Park areas, but in general the LA â€œsceneâ€ is so fragmented and spread out that it feels like more of a wash of noise than an actual focused community. Weâ€™ve always just done our own thing anyways.
MC: Ownerless is amazing. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of recording this record?
E: Ownerless was a very collaborative record from start to finish. We began by taking two trips to Cottage Grove, OR to record with a gentleman we love and respect named Richard Swift. Swift helped us focus a batch of brand new songs and record them quickly without too much over-thinking. An approach that was really perfect for us at the time. We were in the process of changing from a major label to an independent, and we just needed the freedom to relax and play music for all the right reasons. After doing a bit of touring, some of the songs had grown, so we went into Mant Sounds in Los Angeles with producer (and friend) Rob Schnapf. We re-recorded a handful of the original songs and also wrote a few more during that process. When we felt like we were done, Rob mixed the record and we dove into a mastering process where we spent a lot of time thinking about the proper way to link the songs to help them tell the whole story of where our heads were at, at that time. Certain themes started to become evident, and I actually made a chart at one point of what the songs meant to me, and used that to help find some direction for the overall sequence. People donâ€™t really listen to albums as a whole piece much anymore, but I think if you listen to our record youâ€™ll be rewarded with a pretty good journey.
MC: What would you say is more enjoyable, recording the music or taking it live on the road?
E: Both recording and playing live are super fun for different reasons. Itâ€™s great to shape sounds and record good tones in the studio, but itâ€™s also a blast for us to deconstruct the songs live and allow them to take on a new life.
MC: Do you have a favorite track to play?
E: I really love all the songs live. I wish we played the slow ones more. That said, Hungry Ghost and Ownerless are two pretty epic songs where we allow ourselves room to stretch out live, so those two are always different and challenging. Itâ€™s nice to hang your toes over the edge of the cliff in a live setting, and see what happens. Far Off, Away has great personal meaning to me and itâ€™s really easy for me to get lost in that one every time we play it. I truly love playing every song from Ownerless. Iâ€™m always singing my ass off to Give A Little whether Iâ€™m on the mic or not.
MC: As of this moment, what is your proudest moment as musicians?
E: Iâ€™m proud that we are still a band after all of these years. We love/fight each other like brothers, and weâ€™ve learned to understand and appreciate each of our individual strengths and weaknesses and celebrate them. Iâ€™m lucky to be a part of this group of musicians.
MC: Who are some of your musical inspirations, and what artists are you listening to right now?
E: My biggest inspirations come from all genres, â€œfrom the history of recorded musicâ€ as our bassist Elijah Thomson likes to say. The list goes on and on! My musical education ranged from The Beatles, Stones, Neil Young, Hendrix, Mingus, Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Ramones, Dylan and Sleater-Kinney. When I started out, bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana opened a door for me into songwriting and inspired me to give it a shot. These days, Iâ€™ve been listening to a lot of George Harrison, Richard Swift, Two Sheds and a ton of Brazilian jazz and African guitar rock. Definitely on a big Ornette Coleman kick of late, particularly Skies of America.
MC: Whatâ€™s next for Everest? A tour? New music? Fill us in!
E: Our next performance will be on January 3rd on Late Night with David Letterman. I grew up loving Letterman and have always respected his showâ€™s musical programming. I used to daydream about being on his show. Itâ€™s unreal that itâ€™s going to become a reality. After that, weâ€™ll seeâ€¦ We have some offers to play some festivals in 2013, and I know weâ€™re all sort of writing on our own and starting to think about recording a new record sooner than later.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: BTB fans, please allow me to introduce you to Lincoln Parish of Cage the Elephant.
So we havenâ€™t heard new music from Cage the Elephant in a while, so letâ€™s cut right to the chase! When are you guys going to brace the world with another smash record?
LINCOLN PARISH: [Laughs] Well I promise we will in the fairly near future. We had been on the road solid for almost three years touring the second record, and we all felt we needed some time to go home and do some normal things again, like taking out the trash, and that kind of stuff, so we got off the road and just took it easy for a couple of months. We’ve been writing now for almost two and a half months, and we should be going into the studio within the next month… So we apologize for the delay, but we’ll be just that much stronger when we get back. Hopefully we’ll have some new stuff out to your ears this coming spring.Â
MC: Now, I really noticed the growth in the band from the self-titled record in 2009 to Thank You, Happy Birthday in 2011. Both records are completely different styles, in the best way possible. Iâ€™m not going to ask you to describe your sound, but can you explain what direction you guys are headed in with the new music?
LP: Sometimes it can be hard to tell ourselves if we are taking a certain direction with our music. I guess the music that you listen to rubs off on you, and a lot of times heavily influences what you write. Everyone in our band has their own taste, and although we do share many of the same, every individual brings in their own thing, and I would say thatâ€™s probably the biggest part of Cage’s sound right now.
MC: Some bands become sort of complacent, where a lot of their material sounds the same. Do you personally feel itâ€™s important as a band to keep your sound evolving?
LP: YES, YES, YES. We have always said from day one that we never want to make the same album twice; I guess we have the world to witness our attempts at doing it. [Laughs]
MC: I recently interviewed Micah from Iration about the new single you guys did together, Porcupine. He spoke very highly of you by the way. Do you have any other side projects up your sleeve in the near future?
LP: That’s awesome; I love those guys. No side projects for me, but I do love working with other bands on the producing side of things, and it’s cool to watch how all these other bands work and operate, and their songwriting approach. It definitely rubs off on everyone in the process. Â
MC: Cage the Elephant goes on the road a lot, and when youâ€™re not, youâ€™re in the studio, or starring in live DVDs! What would you be doing right now if you werenâ€™t in Cage?
LP: You know, I don’t really know. I dropped out of high school when I was 15 to join the band, so I’m not really sure at all, but I definitely would be doing something in music I feel like. It’s always been my best friend and had my back when I needed it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything outside of music regardless of what avenue that may be. Â
MC: You guys are one of those live bands I always tell my friends â€œyou have to see live before you dieâ€. And each time I have seen you live, the set list has been different. How do you go about deciding what songs you are playing each night?
LP: Usually at the beginning of a tour we find a basic order of the songs that we like, and then throughout the tour we will re-arrange or tweak to whatever we feel will move the show the best. Then sometimes we like to just mix it up an occasional night or two if we’re feeling saucy. [Laughs] Â
MC: You guys have been together for a while now, and it always seems like youâ€™re having a good time and really enjoying each otherâ€™s company, which is sometimes uncommon to see. How do you think that factors into your success?
LP: We have never been shy to call each other out, and itâ€™s about as simple as that really. We all like to keep each other in check; this band is a family, family argues at times, but love each other no matter what. Â
MC: Who is your favorite band at the moment?
LP: Hmm, there are a couple… but that would be Electric Guest, a band from Nashville called Bad Cop, and another band from Nashville called Western Medicine with a very Cure-esque sound. Â
MC: Since everyone was a startup once, can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs and airplay some advice?
LP: Best advice I can give is play as many shows as you can, and never stop. One show is the equivalent of five practices. Â
MC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Lincoln, and if you need someone to test out the new songs on, I am offering an ear!
LP: Definitely. Thanks for having me, and the band hopes to see you all soon.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: Your debut album and single Headlights are blowing up. How do you feel about all of the success you have encountered this year?
MORNING PARADE: It’s great to start seeing our record do the rounds and giving us ever-growing opportunities! Things have been building very nicely, to the point where I’m sitting in a dressing room right now about to soundcheck for our first support with The Smashing pumpkins! So yeah, it’s been an amazing journey, and we are all very lucky to be on this great ride!
MC: How did you guys meet? What is the backstory behind Morning Parade?
MP: Well, Steve and Phil went to school together and had played in a few bands around that time. I met Steve in college and then joined a band him and Phil were working on. Andy and Ben were in bands in the local area, so we all knew each other. One day we all crossed paths and decided to jam together just for something to do on the weekends. It seemed to just click right away, and here we are.
MC: I feel like this record emphasizes a lot of situations in your life, for they are somewhat deep. Would you agree?
MP: The record is about us, friends and family, basically everything that we witness from our point of view. Writing songs is a way of escaping or working on emotions that we would be either apart from or analyzing.
MC: On that note, how do you guys go about writing your songs? Do you work on them one by one, or does it sort of just happen?
MP: There isn’t a set pattern when it comes to creating songs. Sometimes Steve may have a song worked out on an acoustic or piano and we have a clear picture of where it is going, or sometimes inspiration may come from a drum beat or a single sound. You never have a set formula, so it always keeps it interesting.
MC: My personal favorite track on the record is Under the Stars. Have you guys noticed it as a fan favorite while taking it out on the road?
MP: Under the Stars is probably our all-round favorite. It always seems to give off something special on the stage. It was the first song we recorded for the album, and it still seems to be shining through.
MC: You guys have been on the road with The Smashing Pumpkins and will soon be joining Anberlin. What an incredible opportunity to be on the road with such established acts. Have you learned anything from these bands while on the road?
MP: Well, I’m not too sure on tips just yet. I’m still in the dressing room about to play our first show with the Pumpkins! Give me a couple of days and I’ll let you know some tips!
MC: Other than music, what are some of your influences as a band?
MP: It’s hard to find time to get out of the world of music, especially when you’re into a heavy touring circuit as we are, but we have our outlets. I have an interest in science, spirituality and ascension, reading a book called “The Source Field Investigations” by David Wilcock. That keeps my mind busy and inspires me as a person. I wouldn’t like to say what truly inspires everyone else’s minds, you may have to ask them next time.
MC: I love the video for Headlights. Who thought of the concept?
MP: We worked with our record label and they threw out a few ideas. We wanted to keep things as real as possible and give the audience a chance to see what we are like live, and listen to the song without too many bells and whistles. Stripped and to the core.
MC: Have you all discovered your favorite venue to play at yet?
MP: I think this may differ for everybody, but my personal favorite is Rock City in the UK. A really good venue with amazing people who work there. Always leave there feeling respected and having a good show.
MC: Any advice for bands just starting out?
MP: It can be a long road! Play music for fun, and keep that in the forefront of your minds! Always evolve and progress your art! Be ready to sacrifice everything for your dreams. If you don’t, then you are not living.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: First and foremost, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. I’m a big fan; in fact, Lincoln Parish of Cage the Elephant actually turned me on to you guys. I had the chance to interview him back in June, and he is your biggest promoter!
I recently saw you play with The Expendables, and you are an amazing live band. How did this tour happen, and how is it going?
MICAH from IRATION: We have toured with The Expendables before, and we were both going out at the same time, so we figured instead of having competing tours we should just combine efforts. It’s been great; one of the smoothest tours we have ever been on, and the crowds have been great.
MC: It almost seems as if you guys had success overnight, which I am sure is not the case. How was the music scene in Hawaii, and what made you all reunite in Cali?
MICAH: Well, we weren’t a band until we met up in California, so we were never really in the scene in Hawaii, although we love local music. We were all friends in school in Santa Barbara, so it made sense.
MC: Was it hard to break out? What would you say was your first big break as a band?
MICAH: Yes, it took a lot of hard work, and we don’t even feel like we have ‘broken out’ yet. We are still working hard. But our first breakthrough was probably the release of the Sample This EP. Falling is still one of our popular songs, and its success kind of jump-started our career.
MC: You guys combine such a cool blend of genres, including rock, reggae, and more. Your sound is very unique. What do you guys categorize yourself as, or do you not put yourself into one specific genre?
MICAH: I guess you could consider us reggae/rock, but yeah, we also kind of consider the songs ‘cheeky pop’ in that many of them have a tongue-in-cheek feel to the lyrical content.
MC: If you could tour with any band in the world, who would it be?
MICAH: That is tough, but probably a big rock band like the Foo’s or Chili Peppers. Muse, arena bands.
MC: How is the response to the new single Porcupine, and how did you hook up with Lincoln?
MICAH: The response has been great. We realize that it is a different sound for us, but we know our fans are music fans first and foremost, not genre fans.
We met Lincoln at a 92.9 KJEE radio show and Lollapalooza. Our manager made the connection, and the rest is coffee-fueled history.
MC: What do you guys prefer more: recording or touring?
MICAH: We love making records and the creativity of the studio, but we are a live band first and foremost, and playing in front of our fans is the most fun we can have.
MC: Whatâ€™s next after the tour with The Expendables?
MICAH: Back to Hawaii for some vacay, then back on the road for our Winter tour in early 2013.
MC: For any BiggerThanBeyonce.Com readers who are not familiar with Iration yet, any parting words?
MICAH: Beyonce… Huge Iration fan.
By: Rob Brayl
Just got in from seeing Fiona Apple, live from Terminal 5 here in New York City. To say the show was intense would be an understatement. Homegirl sang 17 of her best jams (see set list below; don’t sue me, Fiona!) with microscopic pauses in between each track. Seriously, it was impressive. She barely spoke the entire show, and when she did, her voice felt rattled and uneasy, as if she was a young girl unsure of her words.
Obviously, that was not the case. When Fiona’s frail body stepped foot on stage, she f*cking owned it. Every moment she owned- her vocals dilated; her pain piercing like an open wound. Her voice was beyond groundbreaking.
I’ll reserve making judgements that have no bearing on her actual music or talent. All I’ll say is that it was pretty apparent that Fiona was not in the same room that the rest of us were in. Like many brilliant artists, she was floating in a different orb. Whether that was raw intellectual depth, drugs, or a mixture of both, it doesn’t matter. Because in the end, none of us were there to figure out this bold, complicated girl. We were there to appreciate the complexity, the beauty slash brains, and relish in the truth that oozes from her incredible body of work.
It was truly an honor to witness the magic of Fiona in person.
Thank you for an unforgettable show, Miss Apple!
By: Rob Brayl
In the age of tweets and texts, it’s rare that an artist can take the stage and f*cking own that sh*t in a way that paralyzes technology. Well tonight, Paloma Faith did just that. Within seconds of stepping foot onto stage, in the intimate setting of Joe’s Pub in Manhattan, the pint-sized soulstress had the entire audience under her wicked spell, her heavily sequined gold dress shimmering like spilled glitter.
Her first US Tour, and she did the damn thing effortlessly. With nothing on stage but bare basics and a personality as electric as Times Square, Paloma Faith took New York City by storm.
You MUST see this woman live. End of story.
*If allowed, I’ll upload videos from the show.
Stay tuned for updates.