Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quick Question...

If you have ever read one of my interviews, you may have noticed a trends in some of the questions I ask. One of my favorites to ask is, "Perfect day and driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?" I would love to know what you would be listening to...

Please post answers in the comments below! Thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Such Gold Interview with Nate Derby(Guitar) and Ben Kotin(Vocals)

You guys recently release your new Ep "Pedestals," can you briefly describe the writing and recording approach that you took for this record?
Derby: ‘Pedestals’ was our first real opportunity to sit down together with the purpose of writing an album, and our first time working with a producer. We wrote all of the music and most of the lyrics at home; our practice space at the time was Ben’s parent’s basement - unfortunately we are too broke to rent out a practice space elsewhere. The rest of the lyrics were finished up in the studio. Our producer Greg Altman hooked us up with some old colleagues - Nik Tyler and Josh Unruh - who put us up in the studio built in the basement of Nik's giant home inBaltimore, MD. We are very happy with the way the record turned out.
How would you say it most differed from your previous release "Stand Tall"? What did this album specifically bring to the table, that the previous record did not?
Derby: In comparison to ‘Stand Tall', 'Pedestals' is definitely of much higher production value, the songs are more emotional, personal and heartfelt, and the music is catchier and more in-your-face. It's definitely a more solid representation of us as a band, and the direction we intend to take with our music from this point forward.
I was specifically a big fan of "Sycamore," can you tell me the inspiration behind this song? How did it specifically come together?
Kotin: Sycamore is about my life before I was in this band. There was just a lot of pressure to go to school and take a path that I was not really interested in. After I joined Such Gold it just seemed to make sense that this is what I’ve always wanted to do and I’m so much happier as a result. “Sycamore” is also about the people who were a major part of my life then, i.e. parents, friends, girlfriend and how I’ve always trusted those people but they don’t always know whats right for my life. -Ben
How did you guys come about getting Kenneth Vasoli (Person L / the Starting Line) and Karl Buechner (Earth Crisis) involved with the record?
Kenny worked with our manager R.J. on a Person L release through R.J.'s label Academy Fight Song, and 'Pedestals' producer Greg Altman is an old friend of Kenny's as well…so the word about us was spread to Kenny through a couple sources. When we got word that Kenny was really into us we decided to ask him to sing on the record. As for Karl Buechner - our bass player Devon's brother Scott is a founding member of Earth Crisis so for him it was as easy as asking an old friend.
How did you guys decide to release the album digitally, before the physical release?
Derby: Well when a rough copy of the record was leaked a couple weeks before the official announcements were supposed to go out we really had no choice but to make the official release available to kids as a form of damage control. The digital release helped keep the spread of the rough leak relatively contained.
What specifically attracted you guys to 6131 Records/Mightier Than Sword Records? How did it come about?
Derby: MTS was the first record label that contacted us - when we put up our 3 song demo on Myspace in March 2009, MTS contacted us a week later expressing interest in putting out an EP, which became 'Stand Tall'. R.J. who runs the label is a close, personal friend and team member of ours, and is now our manager as well. As for 6131 - we also hooked up with them via Myspace…label owner Joey Cahill contacted us about doing another EP, which became 'Pedestals'. We definitely consider ourselves a hardcore band so we wanted to stick with a label closely involved with the genre and felt 6131 was a good fit. Joey has done a lot of good for this band and we are extremely happy with the choice we made in working with 6131 on the release of 'Pedestals'.
Were there any specific bands/artists that you guys were listening to specifically during the making of this record, that may have influenced the sound of the record/specific songs?
Derby: Definitely the newest Propagandhi record, Strike Anywhere, Third Eye Blind, Bigwig, The Progress, Boys Night Out.
Who are some of the bands biggest influences, both past and present?
Derby: Oh boy - tons of bands…The Movielife, Marathon, Lifetime, At The Drive In, NoFX, Propagandhi, Boys Night Out, A Wilhelm Scream, Hot Water Music, Fall Out Boy, Saves the Day, Kid Dynamite, Green Day, Snapcase, Northstar, This Is Hell, Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, The Progress, Shai Hulud, Gatsby's American Dream, Ambitions, Transit, Paint It Black, Polar Bear Club, Damiera, Fire When Ready, AFI, Crime In Stereo, Attack In Black…the list goes on.
What about bands/artists that you look up to as far as live performance goes?
Derby: For live performance, we look up to bands that have a lot of energy on stage. As well as a solid and tight stage sound and performance, and also meaningful commentary and interaction with the crowd.
How do you guys feel about file-sharing?
Derby: File-sharing is a double-edged sword. It has gotten us exposed to an extremely wide audience in a very short amount of time, but has done little to fix our financial woes. All-in-all what counts is that we get our music out to as many people as possible, regardless of how they acquire it.
How important is social networking to artists like you guys?
Derby: Unbelievably important. Social networking has completely changed the way we connect with our fanbase, and the bands, people and companies we associate with, as well as the way we do business. Twitter and Facebook are so essential for us to spread information to those that follow us, and to connect with people in a heartbeat. When you break down all the ways that we use social networking sites, it is insane how important they have become to us.
Perfect day, driving in the car with the windows down, what are you guys listening to?
Derby: Saves the Day - Through Being Cool, Hot Water Music - A Flight and A Crash, The Progress - Merit, New Found Glory - Sticks and Stones, The Anniversary - Designing a Nervous Breakdown, Product of Waste - You Won’t Take Me Alive, Dangers - Anger, Propagandhi - Supporting Caste
What do you guys have coming up next? Touring? Full-length in the works?
We're currently on tour on our way down to the Fest 9 in Gainesville, and on the way back we'll be touring with Into It Over It and Koji. in late Nov/early Dec we tour with A Loss For Words and Lions Lions, and we are doing 5 Northeast dates with Hit the Lights in December, before Christmas. January has us touring out to California where we'll fly out to do dates in Australia with a TBA headliner into February, with more US dates to follow that. In the Spring - possibly UK/EU and another US tour. We'll more than likely have a full-length out by Fall 2010, with a couple of TBA splits in between now and then.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Graduate Interview with Corey Warning (lead vocalist)

photo by Laura Means
The first time I heard The Graduate was live at the Masquerade in 2008, and I remeber their thirty minute show vividly. Have you ever been to a concert where the opening act completely blew you away? To where you started getting ready to leave when they finished up, but then you realize that there is still another band that hasn't even played yet? Well, the Graduate was that for me. Afterwards I purchased their album, "Anhedonia," which was equally as good as their live show. The song "I Survived," was often on repeat in my car. Now two years later, The Graduate has released their second full-length "Only Every Time." I had the chance to sit down with lead vocalist Corey Warning, and discuss the story behind how they created this wonderful album...

Cliché one to start it off, how has the tour been so far?

Warning: Good actually, we were pretty surprised. We were off of the road for so long; it could have been considered a hiatus. Even though we weren’t on one, it felt like it while we were writing this record and finishing stuff up. It has been nice, because we thought we were going to have to start completely over, with the long break we took. Fortunately, kids still remember our band, and they are still coming out. So that has been nice!
Yeah it seems like yesterday when I saw you guys play here (The Masquerade) with Secondhand Serenade.
Warning: Oh yeah! That was the last time we were here in Atlanta. The summer of 2008, it has been two years since we have been here.
Your new album, “Only Every Time,” is absolutely fantastic. How would you say that this album differed from your first LP “Anhedonia?”
Warning: Writing wise, we took a lot more time to finish this album. It wasn’t really by choice; it just took longer this time around. So is that sense, we had a lot more material to work with. We were writing the record for almost two years, so we had almost thirty songs by the time we got finished. There was a bunch of stuff that we could pick and choose from. If there was one part in a song that we like, but didn’t necessarily know what to do with it, we could just take a little piece off of one song and put it in another and keep it going from there. I think that we were able to focus on the record more, as a whole, rather than just song by song. Any other records that we have made, have just been whatever songs you have, that is what goes on the record. This time around, we could pick and choose and really nail down the sound that we were going for on this album.
As far as the recording went, how was it working with the same producer Brian Mcternan?
Warning: There was never a doubt in who we were going to work with on this record. When we finished, “Anhedonia,” we had talked as said that we couldn’t imagine working with anyone else. I think this time has solidified that even more for us. Brian is like a sixth member of the band. He’s like family to us at this point.
Was he along with you guy through the writing process?
Warning: Yeah, He kept in touch with us after Icon went out of business, and everyone was ready to give up on the whole thing. He was one of the few people who refused to give up on our band, and did whatever he could to help us stick through it. We definitely wouldn’t be here today, if it weren’t for him.
Your previous label folded in 2008, correct?
Warning: Yeah, at the end of 2008 we got a phone call from our A&R guy there and he was like, “hey, I know you guys kind of saw this coming, but we are closing up shop.” We had been hearing rumors for six months, that something like that was going to happen. We weren’t really prepared for it, and it was tough at points. We had to do everything on our own dime, and we wanted to make a record that was up to par with “Anhedonia,” so we in turn needed a budget for that. Of course, none of us are “rich kids,” so we didn’t have that budget. It just took a long time to figure everything out with how we were going to make the record, but I don’t think that it would have turned out the way that it did if things would have been different. We are all happy with how the record turned out, so at the end of the day it is what it is, and we are happy to be where we are right now.
Where were you at in terms of finishing the record, when you signed with Razor and Tie?
Warning: When we actually signed the contract, we thought that we already had a record in the bag. We thought that we had all of the songs; we just needed to lay down the ones that we hadn’t laid down. We recorded six songs with Brian, before signing to Razor & Tie. We planned on going back, and had made this studio time while we were flirting with Razor & Tie and things were starting to look good. We had booked this studio time, just hoping that everything was going to work out, and luckily it did because if it hadn’t everything would have been a huge disaster. We signed our recording contract with Razor & Tie in May, and the next day left for Baltimore to finish the record. When we got there, we thought that we had all of the songs done and he was like, “hey, let’s try to write five more songs.” So we ended up writing more songs when we got there.
Did any of those make “the cut?”
Warning: Yeah, I think all but one of the songs we wrote in that session made the album. Which was “Permanent Tourists,” “Stuck Inside My Head,” and “All At Once.” So three of those songs ended up making the cut, and we ended up scrapping a couple of songs that we were sure were going to be on there. That’s just how it goes though. We are planning on trying and releasing the songs that didn’t make it on the record because we still go good recordings of them, they just didn’t really fit.
So a “b-sides” kind of thing?
Warning: Yeah, something like that. We will look to do something like that later down the road, after people have heard the record for a while. We are going to keep putting out more music, and not make people wait for two years.
Which has become the average these days for artists/bands…
Warning: It has, but we really like making new music and we want to put more out as much as we can. Even if it’s just putting out a b-side Ep, it’s just songs that people haven’t heard and we just want to keep that music coming out.
What were you guys doing work wise, during that two-year period? Working odd-jobs?
Warning: Yeah, we were all writing as much as we could. I live in Chicago and the rest of the band lives in Springfield, which is almost four hours apart. We would e-mail stuff back and forth, and I would go down as much as possible, which was a lot. We all just worked odd-jobs. I was working as a floor installer in my off time, and a couple of the guys working for a catering company and Tim droves was driving an ice-cream truck at one point. We were just doing whatever we could to keep things going. We just never stopped writing, even though there were points where everyone had to stop and save up money. I actually got married at that point, and had the time to focus on the relationship for a while and then two weeks after I got married, I had to leave to go finish up the album. It has been a crazy couple of years.
With all of the hard times, what would you say kept you guys together?
Warning: I think that it is the music, really. We have the same group of people that we started this band with, which is rare these days. Everyone in our band writes, so everyone has the same amount vested. If any of us wanted to quit at any point, we would write another song that would just keep us going. We would write two or three terrible songs, and then we would write one that would get us really excited. Also, at the same time our band had a big enough “macho vibe” to where nobody wanted to be that the one guy that quit.
The last time I saw you guys perform, you completely blew me away. Who are some artists that you guys draw from as far as live performance goes?
Warning: I listen to a lot of Radio Head, and I think that sometimes I have this head-wobble that I unintentionally stole from Thom Yorke a little bit (laughs). We really like MuteMath, in that we try to bring in some extra percussion and make things a little bit more exciting. We still want to be our own band, so we try not to take our influences too hard.
What about during the writing of the record, were there any bands that you were listening to a lot that may have influenced the sound?
Warning: Over the past couple of years, we have all become obsessed with the Arcade Fire. Right now they are my favorite band and have been for two years straight and I bet that a couple of the guys would agree with me on that one. I almost wish that, “The Suburbs,” had come out later. I got so excited when that record came out, that I wanted to keep writing but I was a little bit dried out from the last record. I wish that it (“The Suburbs”) had come out later, so that I could have drawn inspiration from that for our next record. Music like that has been a big influence on us.
Being a band that has almost had to start from scratch twice, what kind of advice would you give to a band in the same position?
Warning: A couple of bands that we are friends with were kind of in the same position actually, and one thing that we would all talk about is that you cannot stop writing ever. There are a lot of times that you get frustrated, if you are writing a bunch of material and nothing is really happening with it and it will make you dry out. You have to push through it as much as you can. We had plenty of times where we felt creatively drained, and it is tough. You have to understand that not everything you writ is going to be great, and it is just like anything else that you do in life. Not everything that you do is going to be amazing. You have to get out there and make those mistakes. Not to get too philosophical here, but you have to make mistakes to kind of figure out what works. We did that a lot on this record, so I am hoping that the next record we make is going to be less stressful because we worked out a bunch of the bugs on this record.
How did you guys decide on Razor & Tie?
Warning: We were talking to a lot of labels and they were the only label that felt like they really understood our band and were willing to give us the time and space that we needed to do what we wanted to do with the record. They never came in and said, “The songs are cool, but we want you guys to go work with some writer and go make a radio hit.” Which some labels did, they wanted us to do that and it’s not something that we are interested in doing. When we are writing songs, we don’t ever say “I think that this song needs to sound a little bit more mainstream,” or something like that. It’s just not how we write. We don’t sit around and think about what is cool right now, and is going to get us airplay. We just want to write songs that are interesting to us and that we think are going to connect with the fans that we have, and the new kids too. I think that is all that we can really do, or we would drive ourselves crazy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Breathe Electric Interview with Grant Harris

photo by Laura Means
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Breathe Electric frontman and creator, Grant Harris. Check out his newest release, Lovestruck. It is a perfect mix of electronica and pop-rock that may leave you fist pumping in the car, while fighting rush hour traffic.

How has the tour been so far?
Harris: It’s been good. We have gotten along with the guys really well, which is always good.
You have a ton of touring for the next couple of months correct?
Harris: Yeah, up until November sixth. It’s really good to stay busy, and we love it!
Now, “Lovestruck” came out just a few months ago in June. How would you say it differed from your previous releases, in terms of the writing and recording process?
Harris: On the last record, “Emotion”, I had a much clearer focus of what I wanted. I did the first Ep completely by myself, including the recording. When I went to a studio for the first time, I went through a period where I didn’t know which direction to take the music. There were a few tracks on the second record, “Emotion,” that are really electronic and others that are not electronic at all. On the new record, “Lovestruck,” I wanted to mix the two sounds together. I wanted to get more of a pop-rock vibe, but electronic at the same time. I recorded the album in two different trips, recording the first time and then went in four months later to finish up the other three.
How does the writing process normally pan out for you? Do you write everything yourself?
Harris: Yeah, I sit on my computer a lot and will just write things. My phone is full of voice notes of me just humming, and I just have bits and pieces of songs ideas everywhere. Then I will sit down and try to make sense of all of it, improving on some of the parts that were lacking. I then take a rough demo of how I want the song to sound and take it into the studio. From there we fix some of the parts, and sup-up some of the sounds.
Now that members have been added to the live show, is Breathe Electric still considered a solo project?
Harris: Breathe Electric is still technically me, but playing live is just so hard to do it by yourself. We wanted to bring more of a full band aspect to mainly represent the music on the album in a live setting.
What would you say was the idea behind the “Acoustic Sessions Ep?”
Harris: I was kind of going for some diversity. I was trying to also show that the songs can stripped from their electronic nature, and still be good songs. I wanted to show my voice in a different setting, as opposed to a really tuned electronic setting.
I was talking to Cady Groves a little while back, and she was telling me how the re-mixes that you did for her songs were also did the same thing. You were able to take her acoustic songs, and turn them into something completely different. Are there any other re-mixes that you are working on for artists?
Harris: Yeah, I did one for a band called Artist Vs. Poet on Fearless records. I am working on a lot of songs that I just do for myself, songs that I enjoy. In fact, I am working on a Katy Perry one right now. I have been looking online for acapella version of songs that I can remix, just to start releasing stuff for free. People like free stuff! I starting to post some re-mix on a Tumblr site that I have, and also some free demos that I have done. It is something I like doing in my spare time, something that I can do while I am on the road. It’s tough to write/record a song out on the road, mostly because it is difficult to record vocals. When I already have the vocals there in front of me, it’s more possible for me to do a re-mix opposed to writing whole songs for a new record. It’s just something I enjoy, that I think I will keep doing. I don’t see why not.
She also said that you guys may start up a side project in the future? Do you think that will ever pan out?
Harris: Yeah, we talked about it but it is tough to follow up, because we are both so busy. She is writing a new album on RCA, and I am in the process of going back into the studio in a couple of months to record a new Ep and doing re-mixes. Also, we are both touring so it is almost impossible for us to be like “well, let’s do this band right now!” It would be too tough to put time aside time to do it right now, since both of our own projects are our top priorities. Who knows? Maybe when she has some time off, and I have some time off, we could do something.
How do you feel about social networking as an artist?
Harris: I kind of owe everything I have to it (laughs). It’s funny, because I was talking to some of my friends that also owe everything to MySpace and I was like “Have you been on MySpace lately?” and they were like “No.” Nobody is on it anymore. I used to get hundreds of messages on MySpace every day, now I will be lucky to get one every other week. On the flip side, I have seen a huge upside in Twitter and FaceBook. I think it’s a great way to connect with fans and let them know what you are doing.
Yeah, you seem to have a strong following online. I saw that a little over a month ago you won the popular vote for “Best New Indie Artist of the Year” on music website.
Harris: It’s funny because there were a bunch of people that were upset at that website. We ended up with 60% of the votes, which was far ahead anyone else in that category. The voting then went on until a certain day, and then it just stopped without any post of who won. So many kids were pissed. I got copied in on a bunch of e-mails that were sent to the website.
So earlier you mentioned that you were working on a new Ep?
Harris: Yeah, I am always writing, even two days after I finished the last Ep I started writing again. Sometimes, things work out and I have a few songs that I am really excited about. On the other hand, you may write a song one day and then come back to it and say, “what was I thinking?” After this touring we will have some off time, so I think I will head off to L.A and do some more writing and recording. Who knows when a new Ep will come out? Hopefully soon?
Have you only put Ep’s out?
Harris: They have all been Ep’s and they are all going to be Ep’s, at least while I am still unsigned. I think to myself, why release a full-length right now? You can barely hold attention spans right now but you can release six songs and sell it at a show for $5 or less. Instead of having a full-length and feeling like you have to charge $10 ($12 on iTunes), you can keep it at five bucks. It is also easier keep writing music and releasing it at different times, it holds people’s interest a little more. It seems to be a good system, and I like doing things that way. I think we will continue to do it will I am still un-signed.
Your live performance tonight was fantastic! Who are some people that you have looked up to in the past as far as stage presence/performance goes?
Harris: I love Ben Folds, which is kind of funny because he sits down most of the time. He is just so crazy and engaging with the audience. On a side note I think I am seeing him in Chicago in November. I have seen him a few times before. My friend call and said that tickets were pretty expensive, I was like “I don’t care! I will sell all of my belongings to see him.”
What about musical influences? Ben Folds?
Harris: Oh yeah, Ben Folds of course. I grew up listening to a lot of pop music, and I really love drum and bass music. I have really been getting into dub-step and electro/house music. There is just something about a really deep bass, combined with a dance beat that just hits me in the brain somehow and gives me this feeling. Some people have drugs that they do, and I have never done a drug in my life, but music does that for me. I know it sounds cliché, but when I hear that bass something comes over me. I can listen to anything really; I have even been listening to some country music. My big thing is that I can appreciate a really good song, no matter what it is, or who writes it. There will be people that say “that artist didn’t even write that song,” often about artists on the radio. Well, someone did, and I can appreciate that. Even more so, to be written by someone behind the scenes that knows just how a song should be written. A lot of people argue that the songs that are played on the radio, pop songs, are just made to sell, but that in itself is such an artform. To be able to know what will reach a huge audience, something that will sell, and everyone will immediately hear that song and say “oh, this is so good.” It is amazing to me, that there are people like that who can consistently write songs that are made for radio and will go to the Billboard “top 10,” if not number 1. There are so many producers and writers that have produces hits time after time, which blows my mind.
Is that something that you see yourself doing down the road? Produce/write for other artists?
Harris: Yeah, I am trying to do it more so now and just trying to be more in tune with writing. Re-mixing kind of goes along with that too, because I really like the production aspect of music and it is definitely something that I want to get in to. Right now I am focused on being a performer. Down the road, when I am fifty, I will hopefully be able to still write music and do music as my “job.”
Driving down the road, with the windows down on a perfect day, what are you listening to?
Harris: That is such a broad question, because it all depends on my mood.
How about you are in a great mood…
Harris: Great mood? Right it would be “American Trash” by Inner Party System. It is kind of a weird song to play on a perfect day, but it’s one of those songs that just hits home with me when I hear it. My favorite song of all-time is still “Still Fighting It,” by Ben Folds. I can always listen to Ben Folds, but I also listen to a lot of Inner Party System and Passion Pit.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Artist Vs. Poet Interview with Tarcy Thomason

Artist Vs. Poet, an awesome power pop band hailing from Dallas Texas, has been hitting the road a good bit the past several years. They have been playing alongside some of the biggest names in the scence, supporting their Ep's and critically acclaimed full-length album, "Favorite Fix." Check them out this fall on the "Fearless Friends Tour," along with Go Radio, Every Avenue, Breathe Carolina and Mayday Parade. Lead vocalist Tarcy Thomason spent a little bit of time answering some of our hard-hitting questions...

So you guys are about to go on one of the biggest tours of the fall, the Fearless Friends Tour. Are you guys tight with your label mates?
Tarcy: Oh yeah! Thats whats so great about this tour, and fearless records. All the bands have some sort of a bond, and it just so happens we are friends with every band on this tour, it will be my favorite for sure!
I heard you guys have been tight with been tight Breathe Carolina for a long time now, even before Artist Vs. Poet. Is that true?
Tarcy:Yes it actually is! They came down to Texas(our home state) for there first "out of Colorado show", and we just clicked. Amazing dudes!
What excites you the most about this tour? Big shows, new audiences, etc.?
Tarcy: I think a bit of both. Last tour we did was warped tour, and we were in the HEAT all the time! haha its going to be nice getting back to the club shows, touring with some of our best friends.
Something I have admired about you guys is that you sometimes hang out with fans after the show and play some acoustic songs. What drives you guys to do this?
Tarcy: Well, honestly it really is all about the fans. They are the reason we are even playing a show out of our home town. They are paying money to see us play music, so why wouldn't we take a few minutes and hang out with them? Something I always say is "Bands are NEVER greater that the fans."
When you guys were approaching the writing/recording process of your debut full-length, "Favorite Fix", what were you trying to bring to the table that differed from your previous Ep's?
Tarcy: I guess just something for everyone. Our last EP's kind of stuck in one electronic driven pop vibe, and this record we brought a little of that but also some more rock guitar driven songs. I really hate to use this but we matured in our song writing. haha
When you were writing "Favorite Fix," were there any bands or artists you guys were listening to heavily that could have potentially been considered inspirations for the album?
Tarcy: Third eye blind, for sure, has always been one of those bands we will always take something from.
How was it working with Mike Green?
Tarcy: Amazing, the guy is a machine. It was a pleasure.
Are you guys continually writing new material? How does the writing process normally pan out for you guys?
Tarcy: Its actually funny cause we write more on the road than anything, we love starting our songs out acoustic so we can get a REAL feel for the song from the ground up.
As a group, are you guys more into producing ballads or anthems?
Tarcy: I think anthems to be honest, or at least that's what I would hope.
Can fans expect an Ep or full-length soon?
Tarcy: New music for sure soon
How did you guys decide to cover, "I Believe In A Thing Called Love", for "Rocking Romances II and the soon to be released "Bad Romance" from "Punk Goes Pop 3"?
Tarcy: We didnt think ANYONE would expect it out of us, maybe a typical love song but not a rip off 80's ballad.
How did the Breathe Electric re-mix come together?
Tarcy: Oh how did you know about that?! ahha! Its awesome, that guy is a great and has some of the most sick re-mixes. I am in love with it!
Can you share the a recent crazy tour story?
Tarcy: The entire vans warped tour, honestly just getting to tour with my favorite bands and actually hanging with them, a dream come true.
How important is social networking for an artist these days?
Tarcy: Its essential, its hard to make it these days without it!
Perfect day, driving in your car, with the windows down what are you listening to?
Tarcy: Pierce The Veil
What is next for you guys, after the Fearless Friends Tour?
Tarcy: Writing!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chromeo Interview with Dave One and P-Thugg

Chromeo is an act made up of two former hip-hop producers hailing from Canada, Dave One (guitar/vocals) and P-Thugg(Keys,Synth and Voice-Box). Their newest release "Business Casual" has been creating a great deal of continual buzz in the indie community.  Chromeo's perfect combination of heavy beats, smooth vocals, 80's synth-pop and the occasional voice-box keeps listeners coming back for more, and their shows sold out. Recently I had the chance to chat it up with this duo, before a show in Atlanta.

Being an internationally recognized act, do you feel like there are any barriers between you and the audiences when you travel overseas?
Dave One: No, not now. At first maybe, just because people didn’t know our records when they were first released. I think that culturally our music was closer to certain American or British sensibilities. Now, people know the songs, and thankfully they have traveled everywhere. We just have to show up, play them, and try to put on the best show possible.
So Business Casual came out the 14th of September, can you tell me a little about the writing and recording process and how it differed from previous releases.
Dave One: We tried to make the arrangements and the production more sophisticated, making the sound fuller. We had songs on “Fancy Footwork” that we were really happy with. I guess the difference was that when we did “Fancy Footwork,” we were sort of already over our first album and thought we could do way better. For the making of this one, we still think that the second album was really good and we are totally happy with it still. We haven’t outgrown it that much; we just wanted to make it more interesting.
P-Thugg: We wanted to make it a bit better musically, pushing the envelope on everything we do musically. We worked on improving the music in multiple areas including our vocal harmonies, piano cords, and core progressions. We even added string sections on two of the songs. Which was departure for us because we really hadn’t done anything that orchestrated before.
How does the writing process normally pan out for you?
Dave One: It depends. P does a bunch of demos, and I choose the ones I want us to keep and we just work on those. Sometimes I will come up with ideas, present them to P and if he likes them we work on those as well. It really does depend on the track. Luckily there is no strict formula…
P-Thugg: Most of his ideas come in voicemail messages (laughs).
Dave One: Yeah, I will sing a melody or hum. I usually have all of the arrangements in my head, and we just sit down and do it together. Yeah, a lot of phone messages and beat-boxing (laughs).
For this album, did you stick to your classic formula of funk/electronic?
Dave One: A little more soft-rock this time around.
P-Thugg: Still a lot of funk, but with a bit more soft-rock and some pop.
What would you say influenced your funk sound in the beginning of the project?
Dave One: Yeah, funk and pop from the 80’s. Anything from New Edition, to Cameo, to even the first Madonna record. Daft Punk was always a huge influence, along with Justice and whatever was going on in electronic music at the time was also a big influence.
P-Thugg: We have always listened to soft-rock; we just haven’t integrated it into our music that much. Now it takes a bigger part of the songs.
Dave One: On the new record, you can definitely hear it.
You guys have always shown a unique artistic style even through imagery and the visuals that you use, including album artwork and music videos. What would you say influence these specifically?
Dave One: A lot of the 80’s artists that we looked up to had that “total package,” which was both music and aesthetic. Someone like Prince, for example, was recognized not only for his music, but for his album covers and obviously his image. His image branched out to his off-shoots, and the other bands that he was working with. Someone like Jack White even does the same thing today, where everything he does has a really strong musical and artistic drive behind it and the same goes with Daft punk. We just want to build an aesthetic legacy down the line that will be as defined, and refined as those people.
You have recently released two music videos in support of your new album. I especially liked how in the “Night By Night” music video, you (Dave One), seemed to get almost shorter when you were dancing with the girl?
P-Thugg: (Laughs, while almost falling over)
Dave One: (Laughs) Huh, how could that be? That was so weird right? How I managed to get shorter, then taller again (laughs). It’s funny because when I was shorter in the music video, I danced better. Then the taller I got, the more I started to suck (laughs).
How do you normally come up with the ideas for them? Are they normally presented to you, or do you have a hand in the creation?
Dave One: They were presented to us, but usually for the videos it is a dialog between me and the director that last for a few weeks(laughs), if not a few months. Most of the times for videos instead of making a call for treatments and filtering between a dozen different treatments, we zoom in on one director that we like and we try to elaborate a concept with him/her. In both of the recent videos, they were people that we chose to work with, beforehand and there was a dialect in the creative process. Obviously the ideas mostly came from them, but we try to chime in and stay involved until the editing stages, until the very last stages of color correction. It is extremely tedious, especially for “Don’t Turn the Lights On.”
Have you worked with some of the same directors?
P-Thugg: Yeah, on some of them we have.
Dave One: “Tenderoni” and “Night, By Night” had the same director. He also might do the next one, “Hot Mess”. Maybe…
Are there any particular favorite music videos you guys have done?
P-Thugg: Mine is “Momma’s Boy,” still. It just has something. Maybe it is just the childhood dream of seeing yourself drawn out, and the guy is really good too.
Did they film you guys first, and then draw it?
Dave One: Yep. He basically just drew everything over at 24 or 32 frames per second I think…
What would be some of your favorite all-time music videos?
Dave One: “Thriller,” obviously.
P-Thugg: “Take On Me”
Dave One: Yeah, A-Ha’s “Take on Me” is the greatest music video of all time. “Money for Nothing” is amazing, and we reference that in one of our music videos. Prince, “When the Doves Cry” is cool. Daft Punk “Around the World” is one of the greatest ever and the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” Even all of the Hype Williams stuff from the 90’s. I think people go back and say “Wow, that is such a unique look and sign of the times.”
Are there any re-mixes that you are working on for other bands/musicians?
Dave One: Not now, we just finished something for Aeroplane, because we just did a “swap” with them. We did a re-working/cover of one of their songs and they did “Don’t Turn the Lights On.” We just got done last week on all of the musical projects, now we just have to sit back and wait for them to all come out.