Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jarrod Gorbel Interview

Photo Credit: Bryan Sheffield
Check out Jarrod's site for tour information and to purchase his music: http://jarrodgorbelmusic.com/

With your tour beginning right around the corner(June 1st), what would you say people can expect when they come to see you live?
The tour that starts June 1st. I will be playing mostly songs off my solo record and two solo EPs (Devils Made a New Friend, Bruises From Your Bad Dreams, Ten Years Older). There will be a couple of headlining shows in between these shows.  For different areas of the country, I will  have different accompaniment, various female voices, keyboards and violin.
Who are some artists/bands that you have looked up to in the past regarding stage presence and live performance?
When I was in my teens I was all about epic rock/metal presence, overly dramatic and laughable at this point but so entertaining all at once. When I got older I just loved when artists were humorous/real.  If a band doesn't have pyrotechnics to match the inflated stage ego it typically isn't sellable.  Obviously a singer/songwriter is a completely different world.  I love the banter of Tegan and Sara, the emotion of Conor Oberst and the musicianship of Death Cab.
When approaching your latest ep ,Bruises from Your Bad Dreams, did you have a specific type of sound in mind?
The 'Bruises EP' was meant to be more stripped down and time was limited so it turned out to be more of a live performance with a couple of added tracks.
It seems to have an even more "live" feel to it that your previous releases, was that intentional? Or did it just pour out that way?
The writing process for 'Devil's' was basically all in the year leading up to its release. I tend to write songs in bunches. The only song that was pretty old was 'Weight.' I had the chorus for that song for many years.
How did the writing process pan out for the album? Had you been working on any of the songs for a long period of time(pre-Devils Made a New Friend)?
Sometimes I miss having the band, other times I don't. I really do enjoy writing by myself - that's always been the case. I just miss finishing off songs with a ton of musicians and getting their feedback.
Are you someone who writes continuously, or are you more of a periodic writer?
Do you miss having the collaborative effort of a band, versus writing by yourself(with the assistance of a producer of course)?
Sometimes I miss having the band, other times I don't. I really do enjoy writing by myself - that's always been the case. I just miss finishing off songs with a ton of musicians and getting their feedback.
What would you like for people to take away from Bruises from Your Bad Dreams?
 I hope that people will truly listen to "Mother/Father" and "Snow Cruncher" off the Bruises EP. Those two songs mean the most to me.
"Miserable Without You" features Nicole Atkins, how did she get involved with the song? (absolutely beautiful song by the way!)
"Miserable Without You" was written with a female singer in mind. I had become friendly with Nicole earlier this year and she lives down the street from me in Brooklyn. Couldn't think of a more appropriate voice to sing the female role.
Could you please explain how the idea/concept for "Snow Cruncher" came about?
"Snow Cruncher" was a song that didn't make it on the 'Devil's....' record. It was recorded for that but didn't seem to fit, the name was conceived by Blake Sennett (the producer) just because we didn't have an actual name for the song, so it was a funny nickname of sorts. I wrote it while trudging through the snow this past winter, but it covers a wide spectrum of memories.  The stairwell mentioned is in the Lower East Side, the snow ball fight is in Brooklyn, the choruses are all the annoying aspects of our girlfriends or boyfriends. Whether its tales of exes you don't wanna hear, or endless negativity, or the desire to stop an argument and use affection instead.
I absolutely love the videos that you did with the PS22 chorus for "Ten Years Older" and "I'll Do Better." Can you tell me a little bit about how the idea came about? Were you blown away?
PS22 are an amazing talented group of kids lead by an amazing and inspiring teacher, I reached out to them as a fan and was grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate, of course I was blown away by their soul, talent and enthusiasm.
Being a successful musician, what kind of advice do you have for an artist/band that is just now starting up? Any specific lessons that you have learned over the years?
Advice - always expect the worst then when things truly suck they don't feel that bad.
How important is social networking for an artist like yourself these days?
Social media is of course really important for musicians, unless your fans are all over 60, but nowadays even grandparents are on Facebook, so it's quite relevant. It's a place where many of your fans/potential fans are at, though it's changing so it's important to keep your tabs on what's the next big one.
Any new videos in the works?
Currently working on an animated video for 'Miserable Without You'
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Sunny day, blasting Dusty Springfield, and '80s hits from Billy Joel and Hall & Oates, this week at least.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dev Interview

I had the great privilege of speaking with an artist that is blowing up so fast. You may know her from her very popular single "Bass Down Low," or collaborations with the Cataracs including "Like A G6," by Far East Movement and "Backseat" by the New Boyz. Check her out on tour with Usher right now...

How is the Usher “OMG Tour” going?

Dev: It’s amazing. Me and the Cataracs have been traveling around in this big ol’ bus. Itg’s been great!
For people that haven’t seen you live, what can they expect when they come to see a show with you and the Cataracs?
Dev: It depends, we play a lot of everything. The Cataracs do a mash-up set that really show off their production and all of the songs that they have produced. I sing a couple of “ballady” songs, and then I jump around. We play “Bass Down Low,” “Like a G6” and stuff like that, so it is pretty much non-stop for about thirty minutes. They can expect a lot of everything(laughs).
How was SXSW this year?
Dev: I was out there and I did a Moodswing360 showcase, which is my booking agency. I was also out there for the MTV Woodie Awards. I was nominated and then I got to present an award which was pretty rad!
Your full-length is set to drop in the fall, are you completely done with the recording?
Dev: Its pretty much done, there’s still a little bit that I want to go in and fix up. Yeah, it comes out in September and there’s a lot of little dittys on there for everybody. I’m really excited for it to come out! I can’t wait!
I heard that you did some of the recording in Costa Rica, how was that experience?
Dev: It was amazing! It was everything that I could ever have wanted or imagined. It was just me, the Cataracs, our manager and a friend that came down and filmed everything. The was me living in a house on the beach with like 12 bros. It was amazing, we were literally in the studio everyday, but whenever we took a break or were done for the night, we were right on the ocean. It was absolutely beautiful. I had never really been out of the states like that, except for Canada. I was in heaven, as you can imagine(laughs).
Did you decide to go there to record, to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life?
Dev: Yeah, that is pretty much exact idea behind it(laughs).
How does the writing process normally pan out for you? Does it vary from song to song?
Dev: It is very organized and very unorganized at the same time. Its really organic, I guess. The Cataracs and I did the whole album together. They sort of “found me” or “discovered” me three years ago, and they have been the people that I have been learning the whole process from. It is dope for me that I get to work with, and write with people that know me so well. I’m with them all of the time(laughs). The process behind it is really cool, sometime I will come to them with an idea, or maybe I will write something to one of their beats. Sometimes they will come to me and say “hey, I have this idea but obviously it is more from a ‘girl’s point of view’ and I couldn’t really get away with singing about this(laughs).” They really help me get everything that I want, out. Sometimes I am a little neurotic and they really help me get it all down. They have really taught me a lot when it comes to songwriting. So yeah, I guess it is whatever we feel (laughs). There’s never really any pressures or anything like that when we get into the studio. We kind of just vibe it out every time, which is kind of how we have always worked.
Is the writing/recording with you guys fast-paced, or chill normally?
Dev: It depends, it seems like it is always really chill. We all work together so well, we kind of have it down now it thin. So we can really go in and knock stuff out for sure. I guess it really just depends on how much time we have to make a song, or if its something that needs to be quick and finished up. It depends on how we feel for the day. Our manager is usually like “stop messing around(laughs),” because we just want to kick it all of the time. But, we got it down, so I guess it depends on how we feel.
Since you have been working with the Cataracs, what would you say are some of the biggest things that you have learn/picked up from them?
Dev: I definitely think that the process of making and creating a song in the biggest thing. I hadn’t really even sang in from of anyone until I met them. I had this idea, and vision of what I really wanted to pursue and and I always enjoyed it personally. When I met them they helped me learn how to structure out my writings. I didn’t know what a bridge was, or anything like that. They also taught me how to work in the studio, and how to paint pictures with my words and say what I really feel. Its really dope. So I guess the whole process going into that i what I definitely learned most form them.
How did you get hooked up with the Cataracs in the beginning?
Dev: I had recorded a song or two into my Macbook on Garageband and put it up on the Internet with my friend who had a MySpace page with beats on it. It was literally up there for like two months maybe. I was just messing around, still living in northern California and I got in contact with them. They were like “your sound is kind of cool, and weird. You should come and we should make music.” So I drove to Berkley and we clicked really well off the top, so I would just go out there four times a week in between work and school to record as much as possible and soak up as much as I could.
How did your latest single “In The Dark” come together? What was the idea behind it?
Dev: That song was made in Costa Rica, as you can probably tell because its so flavorful. Going into the album, it was important for me to make music that was really close to me. I talk a lot about moving, abut the whole entertainment process so far, about my family, I make Portuguese and Mexican references. The sax line, was just a really cool line that Niles from the Cataracs had for awhile. We kind of wanted to play it up a little bit, and I felt that the vibe really represented what I wanted. I just wanted to make sure that I added the whole cultural vibe into the album. It is this kind of weird, creepy and yet sexy song to fit along to it. Then it ended up being a really cool sounding song that everyone around us like, so we thought that we should push it and see what everyone else thinks. It was just super nonchalant, and we were just in the studio in Costa Rica and just came up with it.
You have had some very successful features come out as of late. Do you have any features coming up soon?Dev: I have one with Timbaland that is coming out, that I am so excited about. He is amazing and I got to work with him for a few days in a studio in Miami over new year’s. He is completely talented, its unreal.
Is it for your album, or for one of his records?
Dev: Well, we have one for both. Which on we are going to go with first, I do not know. I don’t know if he is going to beat me to it or not(laughs).
How did you get hooked up with him?
Dev: Through a mutual friend, then they sort of went through my management and he was down and interested to how I was. I went into the and we vibed so well, it was insane, so I went back there two days after. So yeah, just through some mutual friends, then our management and stuff.
Was it intimidating?Dev: Well, he sat down right next to me and I felt like he was definitely was going to boss up on me, you know? After he saw how I acted, and that I wasn’t some pretentious person that was trying to run the studio, I think he realized that I was there just to learn from him. It was really cool. He’s nuts. The way that he goes and makes music is really dope. Also, it was cool to learn a different way, because I am so used to working alone with the Cataracs. It was definitely an amazing experience for sure.
Speaking of features, how did “Backseat” with the New Boyz come together? Was that through the Cataracs?
Dev: Yeah, I think that the Cataracs and the New Boyz had seen each other around L.A. a few times and they came over to the studio type of thing. We had a studio in our loft, that we lived in together (me and the Cataracs) and the New Boyz came by and made a couple of songs.
Has it been surprising that the song has been huge so far?
Dev: It’s so amazing. I hear it all the time(laughs). No matter where I’m at, it’s so great!
I heard you were a swimmer growing up, like me. What was your main event?Dev: That is so dope! I did the 200 breaststroke. I always swam random events though, like I would swim the two hundred IM every now and then. But breaststroke was my thing.
200 breaststroke sounds like club-level swimming?
Dev: Yeah, I swam Varsity in high school all four years, and then I was on a club team for a few years. It was gnarly, it was all I did every morning and every afternoon.
Perfect day windows down, driving in the car what are you listening to?Dev: It depends on my mood. I would either want Rick Ross or Radiohead(laughs).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seeing Skies Interview with Parke Cotrell (vocals/guitar)

Check out my interview with Parke Cotrell of the indie band Seeing Skies, out of Knoxville TN. Also click here to hear their music:http://www.facebook.com/#!/seeingskies
What have you guys been up to lately?
Cottrell: Well, we just got done at the end of 2010 with our "Sofa Series" tour. We went on weekend runs to several different cities playing acoustic house shows for close friends, family and fans. It was really special, and the "Sofa Series" DVD is coming out hopefully very soon. we also recently snagged ourselves an awesome new drummer! his name's Josh and he's ballin'. we're writing new music for an EP to look out for in the coming 3 or 4 months as well.
Can you give a brief synopsis on how the Garret and Parke story began?
Cottrell: In 2007, Garrett and I started hanging out at a local espresso/gelato shop in our hometown of Knoxville, TN called De Colores. It soon became a second home. We would spend hours upon hours there daily just talking, writing, singing, meeting new people, creating games.In a nutshell, it was a big community. From our times at De Colores, lots of ideas were talked about and a ton of song ideas. So we the crafted a bunch of songs and took them to our good friend (producer Chad Robison) and we made a record called 'Wake Up & Wake Up!' under the name Seeing Skies. We played for two years with some good friends of ours and then parted ways at the end of the summer of 2010 which is when we started the "Sofa Series" tour.
Recording soon? Full length/EP in the works?
We are still in the process of writing new music, but yes. We are planning on coming out with an EP early summer of this year.
What are some differences(writing/recording), that you are seeing in comparison to your previous works? Cottrell: For starters we're taking a much more honest approach lyrically to our new music, as well as branching out from the sound we achieved on 'Wake Up & Wake Up!'. There are definitely tendencies that are reminiscent of older Seeing Skies music but it's definitely a new spin on our sound. It's a great blessing having nice recording equipment at my house, so when I get an idea I can just set up a mic and jot it down. Having the capabilities of recording on the spot is an incredibly helpful tool in writing. We are able to try out all sorts of tones and parts to see what fits and what doesn't.
How does the writing process normally pan out for you guys?
Cottrell: Most of the time writing consists of me having a general idea for a song and I go to Garrett, and then we revise/refine it together. Though there have been some really great songs that are just the brainchild of us both equally. Sometimes it starts with a lyric idea, or with a melodic idea but we always take the starting point and try out what feels most natural.
How would you say your faith impacts your music?
Cottrell: We're all Christians in the band, but a lot of people think that means that we've got some agenda that we want to impose on our listeners. We're a band. We have problems just like anyone else and we're just as helpless as anyone else in the world. But the hope we have in Jesus Christ is what drives us to live and to love and to craft excellent music, no matter what form it takes. When we make music we ask ourselves, 'why is this worth singing/playing? What am I trying to say; if anything?'
Is there anything that the Lord is really showing/teaching you right now that you would be willing to share?
Cottrell: If I can cop out with just putting one word: patience.
What would you like for people to take away, when listening to your music?
Cottrell: At the end of the day, we want people to walk away from our music with a sense of hope.
What can people expect to see/experience when they see you live?
Cottrell: A high energy performance of great rock music.
Who are some people that you have looked up to in the past in terms of stage presence and live performance?
Cottrell: MuteMath, Ben Folds, John Mayer, Switchfoot, Thrice. All have been huge influences to us as well as incredible performers. Garrett's music: Beatles, Cold War Kids, The strokes and Brett Dennen.
Are there are bands/musicians that you are really hooked on right now?
Cottrell: For me personally, I'm on an Elbow kick as well as going through all of Beethoven's symphonies.
What do you have coming up next? Any shows?
Cottrell: We're playing at MTSU's Wing Fling on April 9th, as well as looking towards booking from the Summer through the rest of 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ethos Interview with Austen Earp

Several months ago, a friend of mine suggested that I check out a band that was quickly gaining recognition that from a town near where I went to college in North Georgia. The band was Ethos. Immediately I found myself drawn in by their heavy mixture of modern, electronic sounds with classical sounds.  With such a diverse sound combined with honest and meaningful lyrics, Ethos seems to have something for everyone. This band really has the potential to be great, and I am really look forward to their release of Vessels, this summer(2011).  
For the latest news on Ethos, check out their FaceBook Page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/ethosATL
Cliche one, where did the name Ethos come from? Is there a story how it was chosen?
Actually, I really love telling this story because the name is so much a part of our music. Matt and I were sitting in Music History (before we were music school drop outs) learning about ancient Greek music and the idea of “ethos,” which is the power of music to influence or move people in a very real way. At the time, it was just the two of us and I said to him, “That’s perfect! That’s what we want to do right?” We were already so in love with the idea of writing music that made an impact and unlocked some of the mysteries of music and sound. So that was it. No questions asked. We were Ethos.
How did the project begin? How did the group assemble?
Matt and I met in College. I had been in several local bands in the area but was hungry for something different. Matt sought me out, we had English together. He wanted to “jam” and that terrified me because that idea is always so awkward. What if you don’t like them or they suck, you know?Anyway, we locked in perfectly. I showed him a few things I had started writing on the piano and he picked it right up. When I wrote them I couldn’t even picture any electric guitar but what he played was perfect. We finally picked up Nick and Tribb after a year and a half. We had recorded a demo, just the two of us, and were sending it to locals, trying to get people to audition and after Nick heard it he brought Tribb in to audition. They had been playing together for over eight years or something stupid like that. They’re like Siamese twins. I’ve never seen anyone pick that kind of music up that fast. It’s funny because Matt and I used to joke about having them join our band cause they were way too talented.
What can people expect when they see you live?
I’ll tell you what I expect of myself, maybe that will help. First and foremost, I hope people hear incredible musicianship. We may not be jumping off of amps and swinging microphones around our heads, but we’ll be delivering top notch sonics every time. We’re musicians, that’s what it’s about for us; sound. The performance side of it really involves four guys connecting their hearts to their instruments. In my opinion, people connect to that more strongly than the showy stuff. Our stuff is fast-paced, catchy, and new. It makes us want to move.
Who are some bands/artists that you have looked up to in the past, in terms of stage presence?
That question is tough for me because I have my head in so many different places musically. I saw Muse in Cincinnati last year and was blown away by the amount of visual aesthetics they tie into their live show. On the other hand, Thrice puts on a really great, raw, rock performance. They’re not trying too hard, you can tell they just enjoy doing what they’re doing. As far as front men go, Freddie Mercury has to be my the top in my book. He was alive and real on stage, not to mention he was an incredible musician. You can’t look at him without knowing he was born to do it. I admire that because it demands your attention, you can’t ignore truth.
How does the writing process normally pan out for you guys? Is it a collaborative effort?
It’s definitely collaborative. Sometimes Matt and I will studio write a whole idea and bring it to the other guys. Other times we all just end up jamming on a riff we discovered while warming up. Either way, we end up tearing our ideas apart over and over again before we’re through with them. Once we like the structure, we throw some scratch tracks down in the studio and I write vocals. A lot of people ask how we come up with this riff or that concept and the only thing I can say is that we take praying about this process pretty seriously. I don’t think we’ve written a single song that wasn’t God-breathed.
How do you see your faith impacting your music?
My faith has everything to do with everything I do. You can’t separate that. A lot of people ask if we’re a Christian band and I tell them no. We don’t correspond with that genre of music and to be honest, I think that a lot of bands that do are sub-par and I’m not the only one. Labels like that mean 10 different things to 10 different people so I try to avoid branding as much as possible.Is God the driving force behind this group? Absolutely. Matt and I dropped out of school to chase this dream, probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s okay because God is preparing every step of the way. We’ve been through some crazy times as a group and none of it is coincidence. I believe we were all created with gifts and purpose and this is mine. That fact is still crazy to me. I’m just a guy, you know? I’m not Beethoven. I hadn’t even sung before except for in Church when I was a kid, or whatever, but I wasn’t particularly good. Actually, I sucked. I was a classical pianist. But I knew I had to become the lead singer for this thing, I just knew. So I started praying real hard about it. I’ve become completely committed to this idea. There is no other option in my mind. I believe that kind of commitment demands success because no amount of failure can stifle that.
How has the recording process for the upcoming album been? Who have you been working with?
It’s been really great. You hear things differently when you record. Writing is definitely my favorite part of being a musician and there’s nothing like sitting back and listening to something you’ve written and saying, “Wow! That’s pretty good.” This whole thing is being produced by us. That’s why it’s taking a bit longer than most bands our age tend to take. We’ve got a home studio. It’s humble, but it does the job. We decided we didn’t want to put out an OK demo or EP with 3-5 songs; We wanted people to hear more than that. Our stuff is hard to sum up like that. We wanted to put something out that we could be really proud of and that would be a little crazier than typical. So we raised some money and bought some more gear and I taught myself how to use Logic. I’ve been working part time just so I can spend more time producing. It’s definitely time consuming and I don’t really know a thing about it but that just leaves more room for God to do something insane.
Who are some of your bigger influences right now?
Classical composers have always been a huge influence for me, that won’t change. Chopin is probably number one, followed very closely by Beethoven. They were both so innovative. I like innovative music. I don’t care what kind of music you write as long as you’re doing something different and you pull it off. Today’s music gets really messy because up and coming artists see the success of another artists’ idea and try to ride off of it. I totally disagree with that concept. Then this question becomes “who do you steal most of your ideas from?” Goethe said, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” And so to answer your question, I’m really digging Thrice, Brand New, and Karnivool right now. Circa Survive’s “Blue Sky Noise” has also been on my iPod. People tend to hear a lot of Muse in my writing but I think what they actually hear is the classical influence. Belamy and I both share a classical background. I love Muse, they’re phenomenal, but I don’t want to play their music. Same with any other artist. I want to offer the world something it never had, I want to create my own unique sound.
Do you have a time frame for the release of the album?
We’ve set Summer 2011 as our goal. It’s all self-produced so that complicates things, especially when you’ve never done anything like this before. We’ll post a date as we get closer to wrapping it up. What that means is, it will probably be near the end of summer. Like August or September.
How important is social networking/media for bands like yourselves?
It was huge for us. You’re looking at a band that started with two guys recording tracks in a home studio with over a three thousand plays on myspace and several hundred facebook fans at the time. We didn’t play live but people knew our music. We were together for over a year and a half before we ever played live, but people were singing along at our first show. Even now, people love being able to keep up with what we’re doing in the studio or what our next big move is. I think people like being a part of the process. In fact, I don’t think it would be possible for us to release a self-produced album as an unsigned band without the online distribution that social-media networks offer.
Any shows coming up?
We’ve got a few shows booked for the summer. We’re mostly focusing on recording but I’m itching to perform so we’re going to do as much of that as we can too.
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
“The Devil and God...” by Brand New.

Carter Hulsey New Album "What You Carry" Interview/Review

There is nothing quite like listening to a record on vinyl. The soft cracking sound filters through each song, providing each listener with a warming sense of comfort. In a time where technology has made listening to music increasingly accessible and mobile, the idea behind “the album” has gotten lost somewhere along the way. People used to buy albums in their entirety, allowing them marinate in the raw form it was intended. The Carter Hulsey Band understands that music fans should let their music roll over them. It is for this reason they are releasing their latest album, “What You Carry” on 12’’ vinyl, May 23rd (available on iTunes May 17th).

   “What You Carry,” features the country/southern-rock sounds of Joplin, Missouri natives Carter Hulsey (vocal/guitar), Thom Hoglen (Bass), Isaac Duncan (Guitar),Tof Hoglen ( Keys) and Caleb Denison(Drums). While the overall sound may be classified as country, the band bounces around the genre creating a very diverse set of six songs. “There is a lot of variety in this album,” says Hulsey. “I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing, but it seems to always happen when we record.” Hulsey’s previous release “A Note In Your Pocket,” also sported the same type of diverse track list, delivering songs ranging from country, rock, pop and folk. Hulsey commented further by adding, “Maybe we will find a style to stick with, or maybe we will keep being diverse!” “What You Carry” proved to also be the group’s most collaborative work to date, with half of the songs written by members other than Hulsey. “We each had something to add. We then just sat, collaborated and made it work for everybody,” states Hulsey.
   The record begins with an upbeat track written by Hulsey, Duncan and Denison, called “Black My Lungs.” The song Hulsey’s lyrics seem to effortlessly pull memorable references for one main premise. “It’s about growing up, changing and realizing who you are and what that means. What it will mean for rest of your life.” Carter reveals the nature of the lines in the track derived from one of his favorite movies. “You are something that I am going to loose. The hole in my pocket carry walls through the yard,” refers to the 1994 film “The Shawshank Redemption” Tim Robbins character Andy Dufresne, daily picked away pieces of his cell wall and disposed of them through a hole in his pocket. “I have always loved that scene, it’s beautiful,” says Hulsey, “He is walking like a free man, in the yard of the prison.” Hulsey then goes on to explain that the title phrase, “Black My Lungs,” derived from a conversation that he had with Lovedrug vocalist via e-mail when he was fourteen. “A long, long time ago I loved the band Lovedrug. They had just broken up, so I wrote him because my band also broke up,” reveals Hulsey. “We were talking about how that all works out and at the end of the e-mail he said ‘and Carter, start drinking and smoking, it helps with everything’, which just stuck with me,” states Hulsey. He then goes on to explain “the phrase black my lungs comes from the fact that when you are going through difficult times, people seem to smoke because it is just a mind-numbing thing to do.”
   “Let The Sunlight See Your Face Again,” is an inspirational tune penned by the group’s piano player Tof Hoglen that slightly forays into the pop/rock genre. Husley’s tone and wide vocal range seems to be a perfect match, while Tof Hoglen’s harmonies on the chorus add a special touch. The song’s catchy melody will surely have you humming the tune for the rest of the day.”What You Can’t Have” written by Thom Hoglen, features guitar riffs that seamlessly float through the entire song while sending a message to the listener about making peace and moving on.”You Don’t Wanna Hear It,” written by Hulsey, is an upbeat song that showcases his uncanny ability to take a small folk sound, and then build it into an anthem that is worthy of people singing it back at him. Thom Hoglen contributes the following song on the record, “Punchline” which has a slightly darker sound, and features standout performances by Duncan and Tof Hoglen. The old-school sounds keys of Holgen, paired with the haunting riffs that Duncan provides a very unique feel that is oddly catchy.
   The last track on the record, “Everything Falls Apart” happens to be the most personal track on the record for Hulsey. The melody and music for the song were all based off of a dream he had in the middle of the night. “I was walking through the ghost level of the Nintendo 64 game, ‘Mario Kart Racing,’ and there were all of these women dressed as mice. As I am walking through this crowd of girls, there is a normal girl walking alongside of me. I turn to her and say ‘I wish you looked like that, ‘which was a ridiculous thing to say because all of the other girls looked like mice. As I was walking, the music and melody were just happening.” Hulsey awoke from the dream and immediately grabbed his music journal to jot down lyrics, while quickly humming the melody of the music he had just experienced. Hulsey shares that “the paper in my journal had turned to carbon copy paper. There was nothing to write on, there were just the black pages left. I then actually wake up and realize that I had still been dreaming!” Hulsey then explains “there is a lot of stuff in there that is real personal, but hopefully I mask it well enough to where its not that bad.” Lastly, the song also briefly explains how Hulsey feels about a lost art within music, “I feel like with a lot of the new music, the ‘romance’ of the music and of pen and paper is going away. I have seen a lot of music that is generated by people that are just trying to write songs, and producers that are sitting at a computer. I just miss the pen and paper aspect, where a guy just sits down with the guitar and talks about what is real to him.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stephen Kellogg Interview

Photo by Laura Means
In celebration of Mousertime turning one, I had a chance to speak with Stephen Kellogg again while on a month long solo-tour. We had a chance to speak about the last Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers release “the Bear,” their anticipated upcoming release and the most influential concerts he has attended.
Link to first interview: http://mousertime.blogspot.com/2010/04/stephen-kellogg-and-sixers-interview.html

How did the idea for this solo tour come from? Is it just a solo tour, or are you working on a solo project?
Kellogg: Oh no, it's just a tour. I've played solo before, but I have never gone out before and had my "own night." I have done opening sets and stuff like that. The artistic thing was that I thought that it would be fun, and different. Also, I thought that it would be challenging in a different way. Even when I go out to play a couple of solo shows, I always come back with some new ideas and a little bit better as a band guy. We haven't put out a studio record in almost two years, and we have done a few tours of the whole country. The one thing that I have gotten into more and more is not "over-touring," so that I'm more balanced. So it's a real celebration every night when you're playing a show, and you're not like a hamster on a wheel. That has made the shows more refreshed, and more inspired. I didn't want to go out and just do another tour, just because it's like "well. We need to do another tour because we need money, we haven't toured in a while." It was more like what can we do that would be interesting to fans and artistically stimulating, that will still make it exciting when the new record comes out in September. I thought this was a great idea and it's just a month. When Tift (Merritt) signed on (for the tour), I was psyched about that. I just thought this seemed perfect, and was happy that it came together.
You briefly mentioned that challenges of doing a solo-tour, are you referring to the musical portion of the show?
Kellogg: Yeah, for me there are other challenges that aren't musical too. Like you just don't have as many people to feed off of energy wise, you are loading in and out and you are driving yourself more. Most of the challenges that count are the musical ones. I don't know why people come out to the shows, but I never think that it is to hear me play the guitar and sing. I think it must be in the writing and the presentation, which are the areas that I feel most comfortable. As a guitarist and a lot of the times as a singer, I don't feel that comfortable and you really feel that when there's not an electric guitar or a nice beat to back it up. But, I enjoy challenges as a rule. I have always felt that what doesn't kill you, will make you stronger. I have learned to love with the rawness a little bit more and I know what I need to work on a little bit more as the tour goes on.
You have a new album coming out in September?
Kellogg: Yeah, its slated for September and I think its going to happen. The record isn't totally done, but we are about to start to mix it. From what I have heard, it seems like we will make the release date.
If you don't mind, I would love to hear about the new record. What were some of the main differences in comparison to your previous full-length "The Bear?"
Kellogg: This album is pretty different. Thematically it kind of extends out where "The Bear' was, there is still a lot about family. That seems to be the thing that I am writing about right now. One of the big differences is that we did a lot of searching to find out where to make this record, and who to make it with. I sent letters out to a lot of producers that I love, all of my heroes. A few of them got back to me and were really nice but for the most part we didn't have any bites on that. I mean I shot really high. One of my letters was to Jon Bon Jovi, so I shot way up there. I figured why not? I didn't feel particularly inspired to make the record with anybody other than somebody that I adored. Then I met the guy that we ended up making the record with, and a lot of what he said was "I love this poetry, but if we put a back beat here just think about how many people would have access to it!" I totally get that. It was a point that resonated and makes total sense, but lyrics have always moved me the most. So a "groove(back-beat)" would be a weak spot for me, so bringing in a producer that had suggestions like that was great. Its got all of the exciting elements to me, like when you could tap your foot to it and maybe you don't realize what you are listening to on the first listen, but later you realize it's a cool song. To me "Jack and Dianne" and "Free Falling" are songs like that to me. So in that sense, the new record is more fun as a first listen in comparison to "The Bear." That was the goal of this record, to put a groove in it and make it happen that way. Also, when I wrote "The Bear" I was sort of in a a dark introspective period. There are a couple of happy songs on there, but a lot of that stuff was painful in a way. This record feels like really hopeful, and grateful. I have always been an optimistic person, but
something with the age and feeling a little disillusioned. Finding out that your life doesn't go exactly as you planned it would go, and you're not sure what is going to happen so "The Bear" was about getting through some of that. "Born In The Spring” and all those songs were really cathartic. I think that this record feels a lot happier to me, in a lot of ways.
You said that you wrote “The Bear” during a specific period of your life, are you normally a period writer? Or do you write continuously?
Kellogg: You know, I have always continuously written but I have always written a lot more than we release. The process at the beginning of every record has been “OK, what is the batch of songs and what are the rejects from the last record? Do they maybe fit better?” We would go through and pick which songs fit together, and as a result “The Bear” had a bunch of ”b-sides” because we recorded quite a few extra songs. We didn’t spend a ton of time on the sonics, that was more about setting up in the room and just playing. Trying to make the magic happen, and stuff like that. That became a period because we picked all of the songs that we thought would fit that format and we wrote them specifically to match the mood. All of these songs about desperation and disillusionment like “Born In The Spring,” “Mayday(b-side)” and “Mabeline.” All of those songs seemed to fit together and seem to then fit the aesthetic of the way that we were recording. We were a little bit searching and just had that exhausted feeling in your life where you are like “OK, I know that I have a lot to be thankful for, but I gotta get up today?” Pretty much when you feel like your aren’t living up to your potential. I feel like we gravitated towards those songs for “The Bear,” and we recorded those songs and did them tat way. And there were some bright moments, but I’m not going to pretend it’s darker than it was. That was kind of that record and I realized it mostly, when it was done. In this record we picked songs that we thought would fit what we are trying to do, which was songs that would be immediate and songs that you didn’t need a total road map. Like I really dig a song like “Lonely In Columbus” but you kind of have to commit to listening to it. It’s one of those songs that you throw on and people are talking over it in two seconds, but if you listen to it I think it can be a really rewarding song. I think with this record it’s like, without shaving off any of the depth or meaning, can we make a record that we can throw on and whether people are talking or not, it is going to sink in. But having done that, I am going to figure out what it is that I what to do on a record first and then write. Opposed to deciding later and then picking the songs that fit the mold, that I will really think about on the next record which I have never done but I am excited to do. I have kind just started thinking about that over the past week, like “boy that would be fun if we decide what we what a record to say and set out to do it.” I think that will be neat. I’m told that the Beatles used to do that from time to time, and they knew something about something(laughs).
The first time that I heard you guys was when you were the main support for Needtobreathe’s national tour, and your performance blew me away. Who would you say are some acts that you have looked up to in the past regarding live performance?
Kellogg: Well, my answers do occasionally air on the side of long-winded, but I do have a pretty precise answer. I have had a few concerts that were seminal concerts for me. The first was my very first concert, which was Whitesnake actually, and I was ten. The level of entertainment that came with the rock made me go “whoa, I want to do this for a living!” Walking into that arena and seeing David Coverdale spinning that mic stand was incredible. Then the next big concert that knocked me off of my feet was during my junior year of high school, when I went to see the Grateful Dead. I went to go see them because I thought that it was just going to be a big party, and it ended up being this incredible rock and roll show and they changed it. That had a huge influence on me, because for years I never wanted to repeat anything we did. I loved the way that the Dead did that, where every night you got a specific portrait for that night. I really dig the value of that, although in recent years I have found the value in fine tuning your show so that everone gets a great show all of the time. The real pitfall of that(putting on a unique show every night), is that you gets clunkers along the way because you had to take chances. The Dead took lots of them, and you would see a great one and then a bad one. I loved it, but I’m not sure that it is always right for songwriter type music. But it was hugely influential. Then I went to a Telluride Bluegrass Festival and I saw John Prine play. He broke a string on the first song in front of ten thousand people, and he didn't stop playing. He just smiled it away(laughs), and I just saw the power that a guy could have when he is emitting love. John Prine to me emitts love, when he is singing. The fourth show hat really blew me away was when I saw Ryan Adams on “the Demolition Tour,” and he was on that night. He is another one that can be on or off, but he was so on that night. He was so funny, so charming and yet so cool. In my mind he will always walk on water for putting on one of the best shows that I have ever seen. He was just up there making me laugh hard, and then making my eyes well up with tears. Very few performers can do that. He takes a lot of heat, because he seems to be on the nutty side. Those for shows are always touchstones for me. The only thing I would add is that Needtobreathe is one of the best live bands that I have ever seen, while touring with them. There wasn’t really one show, but just hanging around Bear a lot. They went through a period where they changed their sets and did whatever he wanted to do for years, because we are both similar band leaders. They had recently decided to dial it in and start playing the same sets and stuff. He was just saying what a difference it had made. He felt that a lot of their success that they had had came from, them deciding to work on creating a great show and bring it to each city, and not worry so much about growing. We talked a lot about it, and at the time I was still mixing it up every night and I think after that I decided that I was going to lock it down now, and do this. Needtobreathe was a big one, and another one is a songwriter that I’m friends with and look up to immensely named Josh Ritter. Those two are modern artists that I go see play, every time I get a chance to see them. I always get some great inspiration from seeing them.
Perfect day, what are you listening to?
Kellogg: You know, I had a perfect day yesterday so I am going to roll down that road. I have some kids, three daughters and they said hat they wanted a beach day. I am from the Northeast and it has been a long cold winter. It was cold and rainy day, but the sun came out right when my oldest daughter got off the bus from school. We put on our bathing suits, got a picnic table and I just cranked up Bob Marley really loud. We all went outside, we had a beach ball and I threw some Trader Joe’s coconut shrimp in the oven. My little daughter’s were eating shrimp, which was laughable. And although I don’t know that we have listened to Bob Marley before, they got it immediately. It is so universal, that music. You just don’t run into a lot of people that are like “uh, I just can’t stand Bob Marley.” I love music that almost everyone can agree on, and that was pretty great. So I would say that is music that never disappoints me.
Photo by Laura Means

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Elizabeth and The Catapult Interview with Elizabeth Ziman

My interview with singer/songwriter Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth and the Catapult. For the latest on Elizabeth, including tour dates check out the website listed below

You have been pretty busy lately with a bunch of touring. How was the SXSW experience?
It was as overwhelming and overstimulating as it usually is this year, but unlike recent years, this year I actually got my act together and saw some great music instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off and only seeing really mediocre music. So I felt way more satisfied at the end.
What about the Sara Bareilles shows?
They were amazing- her audience was delicious, and Sara is through and through one of the nicest people I've ever met. So this tour was like a walk in the park.
For people that haven't seen you live, what can they expect to see when they come to see you live?
Don't get angry if we play too many new songs all the time, it's the only thing that keeps me interested. Also expect a good heavy dose of cornball jokes, I get it from my dad.
Who are some people that you have looked up to in the past, in terms of stage presence and live performance?
I adore St Vincent, David Byrne and Nina Simone. I just discovered an up and coming new york act last night at Rockwood Music Hall- her name is Becca Stevens, and she's been really pushed by NPR/ Brad Mehldau and I think people are starting to perk up. I was absolutely blown away by her performance.
How does the writing process normally pan out for you? Do you write continuously?
When I'm not writing, I'm not happy, so I try to do what's good for myself. But yeah, I usually write the lyrics first, on a napkin or a receipt depending on where I am, and then I run home and flush it out on the piano or more recently, the guitar.
How would you say the writing/recording process for , "The Other Side Of Zero," differed from your previous(super broad question)? Did you approach it in a different light?
I wrote the whole thing really quickly over the course of two month long tours...most of the lyrics were written in the van. I was also going through a "thing" so most of the album is about that "thing". I think that also tends to happen when you churn it out so quickly.
I know that choosing your favorite song on an album can be like choosing your favorite child, but what song(s) were you most proud of how they turned out on "The Other Side Of Zero?"
One of the songs "Thank you For Nothing" is definitely not a quote on quote hit single, but I believe it to be my best song. I was listening to a lot of Bob Dylan's track "Don't think Twice" when I wrote it and I think it has a lot of the same humor and darkness. That dichotomy.
Were their any particular artists that you were listening to while writing/recording the record, that may have influenced its sound?
Always Nina, but yes I was listening to a ton of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Also dabbles of Sufjan and St Vincent. But I shied away from my cinematic orchestrated tendencies on this record a bit----next record is probably going to be way more arranged in that way.
Can you briefly describe the inspirations behind "Go Away My Lover" and "Do Not Hang Your Head," and how they came together?
Go Away my Lover was produced by my friend Alex Wong who just toured with us as a drummer on the Sara B tour---he's a very multi-talented man. Do Not Hang Your Head was a fresh experience for me in terms of recording because I let go a little and let my friend Rob Moose do the haunting string arrangements. It's usually hard for me to trust someone enough to let them do the strings when I already here something in my head, but I knew I had a lot to learn from Rob.
Over the past several years, you guys have put out some fantastic music videos(Perfectly Perfect, You and Me, Race You, Taller Children, etc.). What are some of your all-time favorite music videos?
I love Chris Isaak's Wicked Game- also the video for Johnny Cash's Nine Inch Nails cover was pretty amazing....
I read that you are friends with Esperanza Spalding, and she even played bass on your first record? How pumped were you when she beat out the little guy in purple for best new artist this year at the Grammys?
I was totally freaking out. It was probably one of the best moments of my life. I was eating (of course) and I literally through my sandwich at the wall when they announced it. A bit messy really.
What kind of advice would you have for an artist/band just starting out?
You need to grow really thick skin. And perform and play as much as possible. Never stop.
How important do you find social media/networking? I hate to say it, but I really do love facebook.
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Well, unfortunately I can't drive. But the ultimate 2011 summer jams are definitely off of Blake Mill's new CD "BREAK MIRRORS". And song in particular, "Hey Lover".
What do you have coming up next? More touring?
I'm touring with Harper Blynn this month and Lenka in June.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Daphne Willis Interview

Recently I have really been getting into a singer/songwriter by the name of Daphne Willis. Her latest album, Because I Can, perfectly showcases her honest writing and soulful sound. Check out my interview with her...
For the latest news on Daphne, check out http://daphnewillis.com/

You have a ton of shows coming up, how have they been thus far?
The shows are great! We've been playing all different styles of venues... listening rooms, bars, bigger venues, and house concerts. I actually think I enjoy the acoustic unplugged shows we do in peoples houses. The energy and level of connection is just incredible :)
How was the SXSW experience?
SXSW? Was I even there? LOL. I love SXSW!!! It's always so crazy and you pack as much as you can into such a tiny little slot of time. Blur.
What can people expect to see when they come out to one of your shows?
It totally depends! I have different configurations and different people that I perform with regionally. Usually I'm travelling and performing in an acoustic trio configuration. We rock it out though ;P It also depends on what kind of venue we are playing.
Specifically, how did "I Will Be Waiting" come together?
I wrote I will be waiting with a couple of friends of mine in Nashville. Hunter Davis and Chris Faulk. At the time I was in a relationship and traveling a lot, as I am now. When you're in either a long distance relationship, or in one where one person is traveling a lot, theres always this constant sentiment of waiting for something, or missing something. We wanted to write a song that really captured that emotion, so we wrote "I Will Be Waiting."
Your LP, Because I Can, has been getting great reviews. What would you like for people to take away from this album?
When I listen to music, I love to feel inspired or motivated. I just want this record to put some smiles on some faces, lighten some moods, and maybe create some thoughts of motion for some people. If nothing else, maybe it'll be great driving music ;)
How did the recording process pan out? How did it differ from your previous experiences in the studio?
I did this record with Tim Lauer in Nashville. We had a blast! I think the main difference between the two records was really just location. We tracked a lot of the first record in Chicago, all of this record was done in Nashville. I think I also the fact that I started doing some co-writing really changed the process as well.
You have a couple of features on the album, including Trevor Hall on "Circumstances" and Megan McCormick on "Weatherman." How did they get involved with the songs?
They have been friends of mine for a long time. Megan and I wrote "Weatherman" together, so it just felt right having her on.
With such a soulful sound, I am curious who you listened to growing up?
I listened to TONS of Stevie Wonder growing up. Lots of Motown and jazz as well.
How important is social networking/media to an artist like yourself?
I think being a young artist, in any genre, you have to be willing to embrace the social media beast that is modern pop-culture. But the cool thing is that it has become so diverse, that you can really make it your own and have fun with it :)
Perfect day, driving in you car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Micheal Jackson!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Andrew Belle Interview

Brief interview with accomplished singer-songwriter Andrew Belle. For the latest news on Andrew and tour dates check out the following sites:
How was the SXSW experience?
Really great! It was my 4th trip down and by far the best thus far. This was the first year I was accepted as an official showcasing artist so it was great to have full access to all of the shows we wanted to check out while we were there. Oh, and the food trucks were impressive! Mighty Cone was a treat.
Who are some people that you have looked up to in the past as far as stage presence/live performance goes?
Chris Martin of Coldplay does an amazing job of controlling an audience. For 2/3 of the show he jumps between guitar and piano and the other 1/3, he runs around like an acrobat and keeps everything interesting. He’s quirky and not afraid to be fun and silly. I love it.
How has your writing process been panning out for you lately?
Pretty good. Inspiration always comes in waves and happens very unexpectedly, but I’ve had a few good moments lately.
How would you say your faith impacts your music?
It definitely determines the worldview from which I ultimately broadcast the message of my songs. My music is generally about love, loss, redemption, hope, and forgiveness; the foundation of what Jesus’ message.
I was reading about how you used to make mixed tapes off the radio, of pop/rock because your parents discouraged you from listening to "secular" music. Do you think your music would be different if you hadn't have has that influence from your parents?
I really don’t think so. My greatest inspirations were found in college, well after I was granted musical freedom. I’ve always been attracted to words and melody so I think that it was inevitable that I would find my biggest influences eventually.
Are you working on any new music? Ep soon?
Yeah, I’m starting to write songs again. I’ll probably release a new single in the fall. Not sure if I’ll do an EP or go for the full album, but either way there will definitely be new music soon.
How important is social networking for an artist like yourself?
Extremely. It’s the only way an artist like myself can stay relevant and in the public sector without any major radio play or tv coverage. It is the lifeblood of what we do. Without it, I might be working at Chipotle or something.
Anyone, music wise, you are currently hooked on?
Radiohead. I only started to really appreciate these artists in the last few years. I can’t get enough.
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Feist – The Reminder.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Freelance Whales Interview with Kevin Read (acoustic and electric guitar, glockenspiel, mandolin, synthesizer, vocals)

I recently caught up with Freelance Whales member Kevin Read to discuss the bands' groundbreaking album Weathervanes, viral videos and future plans....
For more info on the NY band, and to purchase their latest release "The Benefit for Japan Ep" check out http://www.freelancewhales.com/

What have you guys been up to lately? Did you do SXSW this year?
Kevin: We actually didn't do SXSW this year. We have just been working on some new stuff. This last month, we were getting some stuff together and getting our energy back. Since last year, we have been on the road quite a bit, so it was nice to get a month and a half off. We didn't play SXSW, so I was kind of bummed because some of my friends would have been down there. We did last year and played about twelve shows.
So you are working on some new stuff right now?
Kevin: Yeah, we are kind of working on some new stuff, and also trying to work on the arrangements of the stuff that we do now. We have tried to be productive on the time off, but it is definitely hard to because when you get back from being on the road for a month and a half, you just want to go to your room and not leave your apartment for three or four days. We did that for a brief second, then we started getting back to work.
Your band is known for perfectly combining modern sounds with organic sounds, how did that develop that in the beginning?
Kevin: We all kind of like to try new things. This first album("Weathervanes"), was kind of all Judah with his ideas when he was starting the band. We came into the band with the form and structure already developed, which is easier at times and harder at other times. It's really just kind of a starting point where we can work from and come up with new ideas. When we were rehearsing, we would come up with ideas and say things like "oh, hey I wonder if this would work?" That's how the sound came together for the most part, but a lot of it came from the instrumentation that is used. There's a lot of glockenspiel, banjo and harmonium, which aren't typical instruments used.
What about the new stuff? With "Weathervanes" you stated that the structure was basically already set. Does the new music come together in more of a collaborative manner, as far as writing goes?
Kevin: Yeah, so far it has. We still have to sit back, put our heads to the grindstone and really try to push hard to come up with completed tunes. Right now, it is a bunch of different ideas being tossed around. I might say something like "hey, I came up with this synth line, what do you think?" Or Jake may say "I have a drum idea," and he will try to imitate it through electronic drums, or actual drums. Its difficult to do rehearsals on the road, so when we are done with this tour we are going to get a space and really trying to get around half or the record done within that the time frame that we have.
What can listeners or fans expect when they come see you guys live?
Kevin: Well, one thing that we try to do is perform the songs as close to the album, but we also try to change parts to make it more exciting live. We try to change something around on each tour, to try and make it sound better. Each song will sound familiar, but won't be exactly the same with different parts and different people playing different things. In some cases some of us have to play multiple instruments at the same time, which also changes things around. In some cases I think that it is better. So maybe you aren't getting the album live, but you are kind of getting an evolved version.
What song do you think has evolved the most?
Kevin: Maybe Great Estates, Generator 2nd floor or maybe even Generator 1st floor. On Generator 1st Floor we added a third verse to the song. Generator 2nd Floor has a different kind of ending. I would say that it is all relative to the amount of parts, to the amount of people playing. "Starring" is a little less changed around, but there are still some parts that are different. The beat changes around a little bit, and during the breakdown parts are added. When the songs start to get to be a little too much for five people, then we try to adapt and change it for the better. "Great Estates" is kind of like that, where I play mandolin instead of banjo in the live performance. It all depends on the song, but they all have a different feel to it.
Freelance Whales songs have be featured in a bunch of commercials, including the new Starbucks campaign. Have you ever had people come up and say that they found out about your guys via a commercial?
Kevin: I haven't had that conversation, but I do get a lot of people coming up an d talking about how they heard us at the subway. Or they say they heard about a band playing in the subway, so they went on YouTube and saw the videos. A good bit of people say that they heard us play with another band live, which is a great experience because we are surprising people enough to want to come back and see us live because they really like us. As far as getting recognized form commercials, the only people that have noticed are my friends. I had a friend that was at SXSW and called to tell me that he had just seen a huge billboard of you guys for Green Label Sound, and I did realize that they were even out there. I normally get those comments from my friends or my parents. That would be pretty amazing if people found out about us through commercials. I have tried to find the band playing in a commercials before and it's not very easy.
Yeah, I try to remember lyrics to google later...
Kevin: I've done that too. You have to go through six or seven pages before you find the band(laughs).
How did the "Subway" idea come together? Were you just looking for a challenge?
Kevin: In a way we were, but I don't think that it was the initial reason. When we had a rehearsal space in Queens, we had a friend who was a drummer that lived in the rehearsal space next to us. He said that we should try playing down by the subways, and that we could make a ton of money doing it. We thought about it for a minute, and decided that we could play two or three songs acoustically. Eventually we put together five or six songs that we could play acoustic, in the original set. Then we tried to do the whole album acoustically, which doesn't work very well because some of the songs don't translate very well. "Kilojoule" seems to be a little rough in its acoustic form, but it is always rough especially at the end of the song. Certain songs like "Starring," "Generator First Floor," "Generator Second Floor," and even "Hannah" have been difficult. Its still one of those things where it is difficult to take something that is almost all electricity (synths, guitars), and arrange it acoustically to make it sound as good. We don't want to play something if it isn't as good as the original. We then started doing it to promote shows, because our first couple of shows were a little bit rough. We thought it might be a good idea to get people interested or aware. The first two times we had a good response, with seven or eight people from the subway show coming to our set that night. We then started doing it a couple more times, instead of doing it just right before the show. We would do one a week before the show, then three days before the show, or even a day before the show. Those worked a lot better, and we would get a lot more people coming in. It became a great way for us to promote our shows. It worked for the most part, we had interesting experiences and it helped us lock in our vocal performances.
What were some of the interesting experiences?
Kevin: We've been told by the police that we had to stop playing and leave because the platform got so packed with people, and that a lady almost fell onto the rails and died. We moved to another part of the subway platform that wasn't as congested and everyone moved with us. We also had this guy that was definitely on some sort of drug, sitting inside of a trash can banging around while we were playing. All of these people were watching us play, baffled that there were these two strange experiences going on at the same time. Almost too much to handle(laughs).
What would be the biggest lesson that you have learned as a band, thus far that you would share with younger bands?
Kevin: The most important lesson that I have learned is even if you disagree with someone, talk with them first before it becomes a full-blown argument. Arguing can destroy a lot of stuff, and make working with someone difficult. That's something that we try to do, not get angry with each other and yell at each other. We always try to talk with each other. You always hear about bands fighting within the group, when the fighting probably began a small disagreements that turned into arguments. Then every time you have a disagreement, it turns into yelling, which is not healthy for a band. Also, practice as much as you can and try to learn from each other. If you feel like your not learning from the people you work with, then you will most likely become bored. If you don't have a bad that is challenging you in some way, then that's probably not the place or position for you.
Perfect day, windows down, driving in your car what are you listening to?
Kevin: Probably the Strokes or the Streets would be funny(laughs).