Posts Tagged ‘From Scratch (Currently Unsigned Artists)’
By: Rob Brayl
ROB BRAYL: Lock and Load! Obviously taken from your song ‘Getaway’ (which I love BTW) — Was it an intention from the start to make such fun infectious pop music?
XOE: Yes! I have always been a huge fan of straight up pop music that gets stuck in my head all day. I wanted to make music that was fun, upbeat, and catchy. That’s the kind of music that puts me in a good mood, so I wanted to create something that would make people happy.
RB: Let’s backup. How would you describe yourself + your sound. I’m getting a Ke$ha vibe! But not trashy. So maybe a Taylor Swift/Ke$ha hybrid, perhaps? [Laughs]
X: [Laughs] I would agree that I am very influenced by Ke$ha’s style of music, with my own flair! I wanted to combine classic pop with a dance edge, and a bit of humor. I also took inspiration from Britney Spears, especially on my song ‘Getaway’ and ‘Stuck On Repeat’. So, yes, a sweeter version of Ke$ha!
RB: You moved to LA two years ago to work on music. Most of us creative folk tend to target NYC or LA. Why LA?
X: I am originally from San Diego, so growing up, my mom and I visited LA all the time. I was able to get a glimpse of the culture and vibe of the city, so when I graduated high school I instantly knew I wanted to be in LA. But I would love to explore New York in the future!
RB: What has been the driving force that has pushed you into creating music?
X: I grew up doing tons of musical theater, and I was always obsessed with Broadway musicals. As a kid, I attempted to write my own mini-musicals just so I could perform them for whoever would listen. I knew that entertaining was my passion, and I transitioned my passion from show tunes into pop music. I also come from a very creative family; my mother is a photographer/painter and my father welds sculptures out of old car parts. Based on my upbringing, I had no choice but to choose a career in music.
RB: Just curious… What was the last song you listened to on your iPod?
X: The last song I listened to was Cinema by Benny Benassi Featuring Gary Go. It is such a genius pop song!
RB: BTB is all about spotlighting independent artists. Do you feel technology has made it somewhat easier for unsigned artists to be heard or do you feel the industry as a whole is still frustrating?
X: I think the internet has given unsigned and independent artists a bigger platform to get their music heard- which is a wonderful thing. Technology has created new outlets to share music, but only for the artists who are really thinking outside of the box. There is so much new music online, that in order to be heard, you have to stand out now more than ever. The industry is frustrating, but if the music is good, people will listen. That part of the industry will never change.
RB: And finally, give us something entertaining to end this interview on.
X: I am obsessed with cats! I also collect salt and pepper shakers.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Whoâ€™s ready to get their party on? Donâ€™t fret if youâ€™re new on the club scene. Blood On the Dance Floor has all the equipment necessary for a bring-the-house-down bash. They are a yummy mix of emo pop and dubstep. Yes, they mostly channel pure cheek and trance melodies. You may not be able to listen to them lest youâ€™re raving it up or partaking in substances that weâ€™ll leave unnamed. Theyâ€™ve got enough songs to last the night, and then some.
I will always be a sucker for bands that deliver heavy messages in their tunes. But in these troubling times, escapism is a valid element as well. We will always need songs that help us smile and get up and dance, especially on those low days.
It surprises me that theyâ€™re not signed yet.
Their fashion sense is chic, unique, and screams counter culture. They definitely have room to grow, but what band doesnâ€™t?
Blood On the Dance Floor is recruiting. Bring your own glow sticks.
I leave you with my favourite song of theirs, Find Your Way. It delivers a serious message in between razzle-dazzle instrumentals. They talk on gay rights, how messed up the world is, and how each individual has the power to fix things.
By: Rob Brayl
This summer, on my daily commute around the city that never sleeps, I stumbled upon a diamond in the rough. Turns out, the diamond was/still is the best artist I’ve seen perform acoustically in the underground world of New York City. To read more on this day of discovery click the related post link below, which features the awesomeness of Freddy Marx Street.
Now, the Ukrainian-born singer/songwriter has independently released his debut music video and, as expected, it’s breathtaking.
When I asked Max (a name he prefers to be called) to give his perspective on the clip, this is how he responded:
“Well, the song is about life. And how it always changes after everything… It’s good because that means you are on the way. Some words in the song are dedicated to my sister’s little daughter. I was writing that song when she was borning (but I knew nothing about that). By the way, in the video, that baby is not my sister’s. So the video shows that you can choose to live in your own little cold world with its thick walls or to leave it for real life with more “air” and colors. But you need to let someone help you. And sometimes THAT is one of the greatest challenges of your life. You think that you know everything, you are so aware…”
The stunning video was filmed at Grebnevs’ estate in Russia and by the walls of the Penal Colony-43 in the Ukraine. The clip was directed by Marina Nikitina, who also took the artist photo above.
I cannot wait to see what blossoms from this talented soul in the future.
Please watch + pass along! Support quality indie artists like Max!
[Related Post: Exclusive Interview: Freddy Marx Street]
By: Rob Brayl
Then listen up!
Last summer I interviewed Marga Lane for BTB’s From Scratch section, spotlighting unsigned independent artists. And now,the singer/songwriter/New York native is back with a striking music video for her pop/soul-infused single, Rebound.
If you’ve ever been screwed over by a guy who likes to plays with balls — you know, basketball, football, that sort of thing — then this song is for you. Or pretty much anyone who’s been screwed over. That works, too. Yeah.
For the interview with Marga click HERE.
Check out the music video for Rebound below.
And spread the word! Support independent artists, you turds.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
What am I listening to? Itâ€™s something sleek, fresh, and a hard hit of seduction. Something I could take on a treadmill or out on the town. Something called Midnight Mob.
They describe themselves as â€˜five strangersâ€™ who came together with one blazing motive: â€˜to set the world on fireâ€™. Now weâ€™re cooking with gas. Thatâ€™s the kind of ambition I like to hear about. As soon as I took a sip of their love potion, I was done in. Iâ€™ll bet theyâ€™d play until their instruments begged them to stop.
Theyâ€™re arsenic-pumped, fully armed, and refuse to submit to apathy.
And here I thought hard rock was dead.
CAITLIN HOFFMAN: Explain your sound in three words.
MIDNIGHT MOB: Loud, Energetic, Fun!
CH: Midnight Mob is a wicked cool name. What sort of impression do you want to have evoked by it?
MM: That our music is kick-you-in-the-face fantastic!
CH: What group or singer is your ultimate inspiration?
MM: Iggy Pop, he’s a god!
CH: How would you guys orientate yourselves in a zombie apocalypse?
MM: Well we already got a van so I guess if we strap some rockets to it we’ll be okay.
CH: Are you where you hoped youâ€™d be by now?
MM: Totally! Sometimes we look back and are amazed at how far we’ve come in so little time.
CH: If you had to have a plan of attack for not selling out, what would it be?
MM: To keep everything we do personal. We love talking and hanging out with all the people who come to our shows to support us and those who happen to catch our show by chance.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
My darling Kyle Carey (aka Pretty Face 4 Radio) has a new installment to take out on the town. The single is One Day In Love, and comes at me with the spice of a summer festival and the colours of an impressionist painting. Not as dancey as his usual recipe; more riding on the lava-indie roadtrip vibe. If his usual work is pop rocks, this song is chocolate pudding. His delicious vocals compound with a new-found softness, a delicate nature I hope heâ€™ll continue to explore.
Close your eyes, open up and take a taste.
Video is below.
[Related Post: Introducing Pretty Face 4 Radio]ã€€
By: Maria Ciezak
BTB local favorites, Almost There, are back with some new music, and even bigger news! Zach, Ed, and Phill would like to share it with the world themselves:
“We are happy to announce we are returning to the recording studio August 21st to start recording our first full length album. We’ll be recording at Overlook Studios in Warminster, PA with producer Bruce Wiegner, former member of Victory In Numbers (Bullet Tooth Records). The track list will include 8-10 new songs as well as some re-records of a couple older tracks, a cover song, and even some bonus tracks. We’ve been working hard all spring writing and demo-ing the new songs and we feel these are easily and by far our best works to date. We are already planning a CD release show this fall as well as a tour to support the album. Details on the release show and tour will be released soon!”
[Related Post: Jersey Shore's Best Kept Secret: Almost There]
By: Caitlin Hoffman
No Witness leaves no man behind! Local bands with a bang-up ensemble are hard to come by, so I consider myself lucky. These three flesh-winding maniacs hail from my very own Edmonton, Alberta. I like a trio that has moves on the stage and a rocket launch affect on your electrodes. These guys give it all without anticipating a thing in return. Punk is always delivered best with a raw edge, and theirs is one with jagged material. Whatâ€™s more, we all know an anti-establishment genre shines when the band in question gives it their own unique pinch. Plus, theyâ€™re pure indie and self-managed, making them the epitome of what punk rock should be.
Do be a darling and check out their Myspace and treat yourself to red-hot tracks like Dirty Suds and Grounded.
For now, dig the action in their music video for M.O.O.B. The song is all instrumentals, but the vid does good for a laugh.
By: Rob Brayl
When I first met Max AKA Freddy Marx Street, I was running late & pissed by the fact that I was waiting on the train. Then, I looked across the platform and suddenly felt the need to remove my headphones. There, against the tile wall underneath one of the busiest cities in the world, was a scruffy boy in his 20s, stroking his guitar with a voice and emotion so honest it cut like glass.
I struggled for change to put in his guitar case, but only found a piece of Orbit Maui Melon Mint gum. As I placed the gum in his case I asked for his info, and the rest is history. For the record, Max is a musician from the Ukraine who came to NYC to pursue his dreams, living off the money earned while playing the streets of New York City.
He is amazing and needs to be signed ASAP!
He is currently back in the Ukraine (damn you, rules of America), but should be back for his second round of NYC domination in June.
This is a look at his story.
[Sidenote: Please keep in mind that English is not his first language.]
ROB BRAYL: I have to say that out of the three years Iâ€™ve lived in New York, youâ€™re probably the best subway artist Iâ€™ve heard. No joke. Immediately, when I heard your music, I felt a strong connection to it. Would you agree that your music often carries an emotional weight?
FREDDY MARX STREET: Well, emotions and feelings are the power that makes me turn to music. Even more, music talks to me with the help of those emotions. For me, if there are no emotions then itâ€™s not music. Yeah, music exists to show the depth of feelings. Canâ€™t imagine anything else.
RB: Youâ€™re from the Ukraine. You dropped everything that youâ€™ve always known to move to New York to perform on the streets for a living. Can you tell us a little about what was going through your brain the day you left your country behind?
FMS: Tons of lie, there was just the lie in my head. I didnâ€™t and I do not want my mother and sister to know the entire truth about my trip to the US. So I needed to lie. They still think that I am an art-manager in one of the Ukrainian galleries as I was before. And we have some international projects in NYC. So my family has no worries about my living here. I hope so. Barely a couple of people in Ukraine are aware about my real trip.
And sure, at the same time with that lie I felt the truth: Ok, man! You have no shelter, no friends in NYC. Nothing! Just your dreams. And definitely itâ€™s not gonna be a movie. So I was a bit scared. But that was my choice. My decision. I was given some skills in writing and singing and not for wasting them. Feel that I need to prove that was a mistake. This thought is always with me, especially when I have hard times.
RB: I know weâ€™ve talked about the struggles youâ€™ve faced along the way, one of them being the times youâ€™ve crashed in Penn Station, but besides the financial aspect, have there been any other struggles youâ€™ve faced while being in New York?
FMS: Our Ukrainian terminals are not as safe and peaceful as yours. Oh, I have not been to Port Authority for a whole month already. Are they doing well? Must go and check. They are like my family.
And about strugglesâ€¦ Every day is the struggle. Even in my country, all the time I had to fight. I donâ€™t mean financial things, but music and dreams and the real purpose of my life. Why am I here? Why do I face all these problems? And it doesnâ€™t depend on what you are – musician, physician, or politician, thereâ€™s some truth everyone must find in his life. You can easily find this theme in my music.
RB: The fact that you moved here with raw talent and a guitar and just went for your dream, refusing to give up, shows incredible passion. Where do you think this passion comes from?
FMS: First of all I must believe, believe in my lyrics and music. If you donâ€™t this music will fail. And if you believe then itâ€™s true. And you are ready to fight for it for its truth. I guess the passion we are talking about comes from right here, from this truth.
RB: Itâ€™s apparent when you listen to your music that you pour out every ounce of your heart into it. Whatâ€™s the ultimate goal?
FMS: Sharing… I donâ€™t feel that all this music is mine. Sometimes I use other people’s stories, experiencesâ€¦ Letâ€™s call them co-creators. I mean, yeah, thatâ€™s my luck, that my skill is in music. But it doesnâ€™t make me better for you or for anyone else. We all are sisters and brothers. My music is my happiness and itâ€™s wonderful that Iâ€™m able to share it with people.
RB: So, youâ€™re leaving for the Ukraine soon to update your visa. Youâ€™re definitely coming back to perform in New York though, right?
FMS: I am. Thereâ€™s no way back. I must fight till the end. Hope to meet NYC in June again.
RB: I almost forgot, can you give us the scoop on the origin of the name?
FMS: Long time ago one guy in Ukraine found on my face some familiar features with Freddie Mercury. One letter was changed. Thatâ€™s how Freddy appeared. Marxâ€¦ My name is Max. We added one more letter to this word to make it, to make it not so obvious. During some years only FREDDY MARX was used as the band name. But I felt that there was a great lack of something. I was walking down the street one late night thinking about a new song. Got back to that street the next day to finish the lyrics. Suddenly all my songs’ characters rushed to that street. And they still live there. The name of this place is FREDDY MARX STREET.
RB: My friend recently joked, saying that we should all hope that Adele gets her heart broken again because her latest CD is a masterpiece because of it. How do you feel about pain and how it can create beautiful music?
FMS: Pain can easily get your heart, your real heart where you donâ€™t pretend and play no fake role. So pain gets your truth. And if you donâ€™t miss this moment, this truth will be in your music for sure. I feel music just wins from this.
RB: If I were to steal your iPod right now, whatâ€™s on your current playlist? Can you give us a few artists, songs, or albums? Any guilty pleasures?
FMS: Sigur Ros, Beyonce, Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel, Atmasfera (a cool Ukrainian world music band) and of course some mantras.
RB: And to wrap this up where can readers find out more/stay connected with Freddy Marx?
Listen to my favorite Freddy Marx Street song, the hauntingly beautiful Sorry, below.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Jâ€™aime Payne is simply beautiful. Her voice is wind across water, a songbird tentatively resting on its branch. She hits every note with an unpassable grace, a calm aura, an enchanting rhyme. Effulgence isnâ€™t a term I use often, but for her, Iâ€™ll make the exception. Even just talking to her through the folds of cyberspace, it is clear she thinks her art as much as she feels it. Indulge in the interview below.
CAITLIN HOFFMAN: One of the things I like about your music is itâ€™s so accessible to the listener. Have you always found it easy to communicate through your work?
J’AIME PAYNE: Yes and no. More than once has someone come up to me and asked me about particular songs, confused as to why I would write that or where it came from after they had completely misinterpreted the song. So in this case, I am communicating with the audience but not what I intended. Fortunately, this opens up the opportunity to talk with the audience and elaborate on my lyrics which creates more of the feel I’m going for: a completely honest environment.
CH: How did growing up in a small town change the culture of your music, if at all?
JP: The only thing that growing up in Huntsville, ON changed about my music was my confidence with performing. In such a small town (50% made up of my family [laughs]), support is so easy to come by. Without this continuous support, my confidence, and therefore ability to stand in front of a crowd, would have been limited greatly. I am fortunate to have lived in a small town, where the music venues are owned by your friends or friends of friends.
CH: You have a lovely tone in your voice; thereâ€™s a unique ring to it that I really take to. That being said, are there any singers out there that you wish to emulate? Or are you content striking down your own path?
JP: Although I really adore some of the singers and songwriters that are emerging, I can’t say I would trade in my tone for that of another. Obviously unique is the key to music, so anything I have going for me now, I’m going to try and build off of.
CH: Out of the shows youâ€™ve played so far, what venue was your favourite and why?
JP: It’s a toss up between a festival I played in last summer called Windsong Music Festival in Powassan, Ontario, and one of the many shows I did participating in Via Rails On Board Musician Program. Windsong was such an intimate festival; a backyard with tents and lawn chairs covered with white lights, such a perfect venue in so many ways. The Via Rail gig was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Up to four days with some listeners really allowed a relationship and appreciation to be established. A fan and a friend.
CH: Are your best pieces driven by pain or peace?
JP: It really depends on what is considered my best piece. Personally, I find the most joy in performing songs derived from peace, but I know I can relate the most sometimes to listeners when I perform my songs derived from pain as commonly that’s something we can all relate to.
CH: Biggest pet peeve in the music industry?
JP: Sappy love songs. I don’t care about your boyfriend, your ex-boyfriend, your wanna-be-boyfriend. But really, I guess that’s not the pet peeve. It would have to be that the music industry is built, ran and supported off of these songs. The good news is, this can be changed by listeners. I’ve started to see this happening slowly.
CH: What makes it all worth it?
JP: Seeing how far I’ve come. I started out as the electric-guitar-shy-singing-little-voiced-girl. Now acoustic-not so shy-woman. I think it’s really important that I appreciate, for myself, what I’ve accomplished; as to ensure that my happiness and joy is not based on an audience that could take that away from me. Sounds a little selfish I know, but it’s something I constantly need to remind myself of.
CH: Are you working on any new material right now?
JP: I’m working on touching up/changing some songs on the CD I released a few months ago. I did the whole album in a month on a time crunch I put on myself for the Via Rail gig. Obviously, a month is a very short amount of time and although I’m happy with the product, I do want to change a few things.
CH: And finally, if you had to choose a plan of attack for not selling out, what would it be?
JP: Play for audiences who appreciate genuine, honest, music. If this means I never play for more than 500 people that’s ok with me. If I can grow around people who like my music for what it is, I don’t see why I would need to change anything about it to conform to the “money-making” style.
Intelligent and talented. I love this girl.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Why is it you can only find first class acts like Josh Gillingham in little, socially conscious gigs? He played at (and helped organize) a concert whose proceeds went to water purifiers for impoverished countries. Oh yes, weâ€™ve got another musician with a heart as big as their talent.
I first met Josh in his natural habitat — on stage. Instantly I was drawn by the tightly knit composition of his songs. They brought a silence to the room, a pause in your ears, a consideration of taking things nice, easy and beautiful. His lyrics strike clear, treading softly, full of such approachable concepts that anyone could relate to. At times, theyâ€™re so honest it can be heartbreaking.
I managed to snag this guy for an interview, and got to dig in to the person behind the music, and how his faith in Jesus keeps his songs alive.
Read the interview below.
CH: Give me a backstory on how you became so musical. Were you influenced by your atmosphere or did it just come naturally from within?
JG: Music has always been a part of my life. My parents met while touring on a Christian music team and so Iâ€™ve been immersed in music my whole life. I have these hilarious pictures of me rocking out a ukulele in the kitchen at age two or three. As I grew older I claimed more ownership of my music and it became more than just part of my family culture. So I really canâ€™t say either or; I acknowledge and embrace the huge influence my family has had on my musical upbringing and I also draw on my own deep love of music, both as an art and as a mode of expression.
CH: Is your music your venting agent or your retreat centre? Do you visit your creativity to face your problems or to escape from them?
JG: Totally! I believe everyone needs an artistic outlet and mine is music. I find that times of great emotional upheaval and personal chaos are fertile fields for harvesting good art of any kind. Iâ€™m not sure facing or escaping problems is quite what music does for me, perhaps itâ€™s more of a personal processing method. Iâ€™m a huge over thinker, but music (mine or othersâ€™) can really help to clear the smoke around issues that are bothering me.
CH: Now, letâ€™s get to your lyrics. Many of them are almost balladic in the sense that thereâ€™s a story behind them. Do you fictionalize your lyrics or base them on real things in your life?
JG: Stories are so powerful. That is definitely one of the many lessons Iâ€™ve received from historyâ€™s master communicator, Jesus. He told so many stories and the messages he shares through them are so powerful in part, I think, not only because of the profound truth in them, but because they are so universally accessible in story form. As to whether my lyrics are anecdotal or fictional, I feel to tell a story you need to understand it, and there is no better way to understand a story than to live it, so I try and draw on personal experiences as much as possible.
CH: Quick! A man has a gun to your head and demands that you sing him one of your songs! Which do you choose?
JG: Oh, perhaps the last song I sing before I bite the bullet! Probably â€˜Old Manâ€™ because it drags up questions of meaning and purpose in life and perhaps that would sway the individual to re-evaluate his or her performance-at-point-blank-method of entertainment. And itâ€™s pretty long so Iâ€™d have longer to live…
CH: Whatâ€™s your favourite muse?
JG: Live music just gets me. Or maybe I get it? I love all types of live music, but especially singer/ songwriter performances and improvised jazz musicians. There have been several musical epiphany moments for me throughout my life and most of them have been in either of those two aforementioned genres. Seeing people do music (or any form of art) well inspires me to improve my craft.
CH: What are your plans for your musical career?
JG:I have considered taking music on full time, but right now I am really enjoying living the university life. Music is important to me, but itâ€™s definitely not the centre of my life.
CH: So you plan on making this your full-time gig or sticking to your day job?
JG: [Laughs] I am so scatter brained that Iâ€™m not really sure what my day job is. I do school and I work four different part time jobs, so I canâ€™t say I really could pin down what my day job is. I hope to teach someday and travel a lot, but if I ever had the opportunity to tour I would take it in a heartbeat.
CH: You definitely donâ€™t seem to have the tortured artist vibe. So where do you find strength when dealing with hard times?
JG: I used to jokingly bug my dad that Iâ€™ll never become a great artist because my family didnâ€™t give me a torturous upbringing. But you know, my faith in Jesus is the rock on which my life is centered. Many artists are deeply conflicted and concerned with the injustice that occurs both in their lives and in the lives of those around them as they should be and as I am. However, so many people, not just artists, lack hope and that negative energy pervades all they do. I really strive to share that sense of hope and life through my music while still tackling the hard issues in life.
CH: What kind of venues are your favourite to play at?
JG: My heart goes out to small businesses and locally owned coffee shops. They are so personable and I always favour the little guys in comparison to the big dogs on campus. That being said any place where the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly feels like home to me.
CH: When people hear your music, how do you hope it will affect them?
JG: I hope my music is a cup of tea steeped in hope, creative flare, a burst of passion for justice, a pinch of fresh perspective, infused with laughter, and perhaps even a tear or two. I try to make the cup accessible to everyone too, so I aim to have anyone from any demographic/age group/ethnicity/culture (we are all family in Christ, amen?) feel free to connect with my music if they choose to.
CH: And finally, if you had to choose a plan of attack for not selling out, what would it be?
JG: Selling out is ultimately turning your focus completely in on yourself. The plan Iâ€™ve chosen is to keep myself immersed in the stories and teachings of the ultimate anti-celebrity, Jesus.
Listen to Step By Step below.
By: Maria Ciezak
Brothers, Bruno & Ben, of UK pop band I Am Vexed, recently spoke exclusively to BTB on the animation behind their music. Check out the interview, in full, below.
MARIA CIEZAK: What’s the origin of I Am Vexed? How did you meet, etc? Were you guys pissed off at the time?
Ben: Well, Bruno and I are brothers and we both were playing in various other bands and projects. We decided to work together one day and wrote our first few songs – one of which contained the words ‘I Am Vexed’. We liked it.
Bruno: We were a little bit pissed.
MC: Your sound on ‘My Life, My Lifestyle’ is a crazy music of genres — somewhat techno, a little hip hop flavor, and some rock and roll mixed in. What genre would you consider yourself to be in, if you had to choose one specifically?
Bruno: I think we would always say we’re a pop band. We love a lot of different music so various styles seem to work their way in there.
Ben: If there is a particular album we’re loving whilst recording a song, we can be influenced by that, which is often why different styles creep into our music.
MC: Who writes most of your songs, is it a collaborative effort?
Ben: I tend to play around with different musical ideas and we take it from there. Bruno is all about the lyrics, they’re his thing, but I’d definitely say each song is a collaborative effort. I guess we do have our individual strengths.
MC: Is the message in ‘My Life, My Lifestyle’ directed towards someone in particular or just to the world in general?
Bruno: It’s really me making excuses for the way I am and certain things I do. I guess it’s almost having an argument ready for when people pick up on those things.
MC: I love your accents. Do you get that a lot?
MC: After checking out your blog, you seem like a bunch of laid back guys. I mean what is not to love about a video shoot filled with hot dogs and solo cups? Where do you get inspiration from for your videos?
Bruno: Our older brother Leo is a filmmaker and he seems to always come up with ideas that we really like. The new video for ‘My Life, My Lifestyle’ was especially a lot of fun to make.
Ben: We never, ever want to eat hot dogs again.
MC: I saw images from artists such as Cee-Lo Brown and Kanye West on your blog as well. Is hip hop a big influence on I Am Vexed, or are these just artists whose work you admire?
Bruno:I’m a huge fan of those artists and hip hop in general. I think the sort of music those artists are making is particularly inspiring for anyone making music at the moment.
MC: What are your long term goals as musicians?
Bruno: I’d say firstly to keep writing so we have a first album’s worth of songs we love. It can take a little while to work out which songs you like the best and which ones go down at gigs the best, too. Then it would be to release that album and tour it to hopefully great success.
MC: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Ben: Yeah, our website is the best place to hear our new songs as and when we finish them. You can find our music on iTunes as well.
MC: If you had to describe your band to the world in 15 seconds, what would you say?
Bruno: “Music to make love to.”
I Am Vexed – You Need Me (Audio MP3)
By: Rob Brayl
I recently interviewed Jersey based hip hop artist, Perfect Mind. I was drawn to his humble hustle and the raw honesty that pours from his lyrics. Check it!
ROB BRAYL: Describe your childhood.
PERFECT MIND: I was raised by a black father and a white mother. This was always looked down upon but they made each other happy and loved each other. Looking back at this, to me, this is all that matters. My parents made about 15 to 16 thousand dollars a year. That was when business was booming. [Laughs]
Thankfully my dad never bought anything for himself. He saved everything, and when it came to things our family needed he was able to scrounge up enough money for it. I started working for the family cleaning business at 9 years old. For me it was more janitorial, dumping trash and vacuuming. I got paid $3.00 an hour. It taught me hard work and responsibility. I saved my money to buy clothes and CDâ€™s of my favorite artists. I definitely came from modest means. This reminds me of a funny storyâ€¦in middle school I was able to save enough money to buy a Walkman and some rap CDâ€™s & tapes. My first one was Nas, and it was written, which most definitely influenced me in liking poetry and lyrics.
I owned quite a few great collections: Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Bone Thugs & harmony, Big Pun, Tupac, just to name a few. My mom found my B.I.G. tape in my cassette player, decided to put the headphones on and listened to what was playing. She spoke with my father about it and when I arrived home from middle school, they sat me down at the kitchen table. They spoke with me about what I was listening to and the type of message that was being given. My dad said to me, and Iâ€™ll never forget — â€œIs this what you like listening to? Men talking about bitches and hoes?â€ — then he broke my tape and that was that. It impressed upon me to start thinking about who I was going to be. I didnâ€™t want to be the type of person that puts down women or have a negative message to send. Iâ€™m not saying that everything I say is perfect but I definitely try to send a positive message when I speak and when I write lyrics.
RB: Take us back to when you were 13 and you first picked up the microphone. Can you remember what was running through your head at that moment?
PM: I was in my room, I had a double deck karaoke type player and a rap beat playing. I picked up the microphone and started freestyling. I saw myself on stage, lights shining, crowd cheering my name. I felt a rush just thinking about being on stage. I remember thinking this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
RB: Do you have a favorite line from your music? I gotta say, I think the Freddy Krueger line from â€˜Overcomeâ€™ was bloody awesome.
PM:â€œIf you listen to the radio itâ€™s like a sex ballad, bubble gum like Iâ€™m getting served a chefs salad. I donâ€™t want that, I got something to say, born with an open mouth like a clef palate.â€ (From the song titled: â€˜Projectileâ€™)
RB: Thereâ€™s darkness in your lyrics but also a positive truth, where does that energy come from?
PM: The darkness comes from my experiences and feelings, some even self inflicted by not making the right choices. Itâ€™s a matter of growing wise and finding a different way out, constantly thinking â€œoutside the boxâ€œ. Positivity comes from my upbringing. My parents obviously went through a lot. They had to deal with real prejudices and struggle. My father personally witnessed the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King was speaking. He was about 19 yrs old. My parents didnâ€™t make the popular choice, they made the one best for them. When making all decisions, I donâ€™t think about the approval of others, I make the ones best for me and my family. My positive energy started with my parents and has continued on with the friends I keep close and the people I keep around me.
RB: I often say that the best artists are usually those who have suffered and made it through. Would you agree?
PM: Definitely. They have more to appreciate and nothing to lose. They donâ€™t have much, for some, just one or two things, sometimes family and their dream.
RB: Is there one song out right now that if you hear again you might be forced to Bruce Lee someone? [Laughs]
PM: [Laughs] Iâ€™ve conditioned myself not to listen to the radio for many reasons, some even because of your question. Mostly because I want to remain original and true to myself without being too influenced. So I listen to my songs and critique myself, always striving to be better.
RB: Speaking of heavy rotation, why do you feel hip hop culture has become such a huge obsession/mainstream?
PM: I believe that hip hop culture has a honesty to it. People can relate to the experiences, especially now-a-day living with this recession and if they havenâ€™t personally experienced itâ€¦they respect what others have gone through. As for hip hop music, I believe that a lot of other types of music are integrating with hip hop creating and forming its own genre.
RB: Who is your favorite lyricist?
PM: Nas. I respect a lot of other lyricists but he is my favorite.
RB: Other influences/inspirations.
PM: Big Pun, because of his flow. Tupac, because of his emotion. B.I.G. because of his word play. Bone Thugs because of their melodic flow. The Bible because I respect God and life.
RB: Last, tell us how creating your music and seeing it come alive has affected your life.
PM: Creating my own music has gotten me out of a lot of trouble. I put my heart and feelings in my lyrics. I also spend a lot of my time creating music so I donâ€™t have time to be in trouble. Hearing my song, a final product makes me feel invigorated. A feeling of accomplishment.
Listen to Perfect Mind in action below + learn more by clicking here.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
A pianist woke up in the middle of his studies, woke up to a dream that had been waiting to pollinate. Faerience was then born. Yan Krendel has turned a brainchild into a groundbreaking musical project, mixing operatic back-up vocals with the daring thresh of goth rock. This boy can roar within silence, and his voice is just as stunning as the sound of his fingers hitting the keys. Music like his is silk turned to liquid in the ear, and will leave you nothing but impressed.
His presence thus far is limited to Myspace pages, Youtube channels, tweets and blog posts, and his repertoire consists of several mist-making singles. It may seem heâ€™s hitting below his potential, but thereâ€™s nothing wrong with getting a whiff of an indie enterprise when itâ€™s still in its maturation. Think Nightwish or Evanescence, with that fresh take that only an unsigned artist can bring to the floor.
Best of all, he brings with him a new perspective, and a hopeful omen. He has bold potential to be a new frontman for the ever-dwindling industrial goth rock scene. Like punk, the goth subculture has become bleached out by posers, big label bosses, and corporatists, now standing only as a mockery for what it once was, or could have been. It even holds less respect than itâ€™s anarcho, mohawk-bearing counterpart. With more men like Yan toying with dark sides of poetry, we may be able to revive the mystery lost in goth.
Too expectant? Maybe. At the very least, we can relax in the musical maze he presents. He may just be another Youtube glory who will revel in his indie genius and fade into obscurity, but Iâ€™m always a cockeyed optimist when it comes to visionary musicians. Especially those with a knack for knocking your socks off. After all, why should Britney Spears remain a household name while ingenuity hardly gets exposure?
All rants aside, itâ€™s time for Faerience to have your attention. So open your mind for business, kids. This one is ready to strangle your subconscious.
By: Rob Brayl
Check out a snapshot interview I conducted with the beautiful Jamie Bendell (a singer/songwriter based here in New York) after the jump!
ROB BRAYL: If you could create a storyboard of all the things that inspire you musically, what would we see tacked onto the board?
JAMIE BENDELL: Images of myself looking pensive and quite probably, worried; I don’t mean it in a depressing, sad way, but anxiety plays a huge hand in inspiring my lyrics. I think constantly and I worry constantly and a lot of my inspiration comes from situations in which I feel that someone took advantage of me or acted out of line, or if someone wrongs someone else. There would also be images of me at a regular open mic I attend at Caffe Vivaldi. There would probably be a couple of book covers tacked up, including Cradle to Cradle (by McDonough and Braungart), and a plot summary of the movie He’s Just Not That Into You.
RB: I understand the track ‘Chocolate Milk’ was created after a bad clubbing experience?
JB: ‘Chocolate Milk’ came about after spending a night out at a club with my friends. We were pretty close to my apartment and I was trying to make the best out of the situation, but I just couldn’t handle it. I like talking and listening, and although dancing is definitely fun once in a while, I just get so tired of what I perceive as a “let’s just drink and get wasted, don’t care to hear myself think or anyone else speak” mentality. I was actually standing by the bar, trying to put down a couple of lyrics in my phone to express the way I was feeling, but it wasn’t coming out. I left by myself to walk home, and stopped in CVS on the way. I picked up a bottle of chocolate milk, and when I got home and sat down at my computer, the song just came out.
RB: What’s your goal/vision for your music?
JB: I hope people find my music easy to relate to. I want them to hear my songs, and attribute their own meanings to the words. I’m always happy to share my inspirations for the music, but I don’t want people to lose sight of what the words mean to them. If the words even do evoke meaning. That would be a huge achievement; to make listeners feel something or relate to an idea that I put out as a song. I’m sure many artists say the same thing, but as a songwriter, I especially hope that happens.
RB: You have a super sweet innocence about your image and music. Has this always been the case? In terms of writing about the notion of love, etc?
JB: I think it’s fair to say that the innocent image and musical style has been present for most of my life. I never really had nicknames but the only one that I could say stuck somewhat was the nickname “Pure”. My best girl friends called and sometimes still call me that. I don’t even know why, and I don’t even know if they know why.
I don’t think I’ve ever been in love and I’m almost positive that my music and lyrics reflect that. I think there’s a naivete to what I write, and sometimes I get embarrassed that my writing doesn’t have all of the emotion of someone who has been through heartbreak, but I don’t want to rush anything.
RB: What’s the most repeated song right now on your iPod?
JB: I’ve been having trouble sleeping, so probably ‘You Can Close Your Eyes’ by James Taylor, the One Man Band version. It’s on repeat when I can’t sleep. That, or ‘King of Anything’ off Sara Bareilles’ new album ‘Kaleidoscope Heart’. I think it’s a tie.
Learn more about Jamie Bendell by clicking here.
Listen to an acoustic number by Bendell below.